Monday, December 31, 2007

Tanked and Friendless: Modus

He’s just so adorable, this bartender, with his painstakingly crafted bed-head and his dimples. He looks about 19, so I don’t so much want to make out with him as I want to pinch his cheeks and pack him a lunchbox for school.

“A glass of Shiraz, please,” I say. Generally I don’t like ordering wine in bars unless it’s a wine bar. I’m not that kind of girl. But the d├ęcor in Modus says cocktail and wine much louder than beer, and the gin and tonic I had earlier wasn’t that good. So I’m breaking down and going for the wine.

The cute little bartender looks at me with a blank little smile for a few seconds, then turns around to get my drink. I see him go into the fridge where they keep the whites and I think, “Oh sweet pea, that hair of yours is the reason you’re here isn’t it?” After failing to find red wine in the fridge, the little fella asks a female bartender. She motions to the reds up on the counter and he digs through those for a minute. Then he comes back to me and asks, “Did you want Shiraz or Syrah?”

I tell him they’re the same thing, and he laughs at himself a little and goes back and gets me an $11 glass. I leave him a decent tip because those sheepish little smiles won’t be so cute in a few years and he’s going to need some savings. I just hope he doesn’t spend it all on gumballs.

I finished my wine on the small but fun outside patio with my friends, because it was getting crowded inside and the furniture, while interesting in design, isn’t really that comfortable.

Name: Modus Supper Club

Location: 2202 4th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101
Fun Fact: As the full name implies, Modus is a “supper club,” so it has a full menu. I've heard the food is decent. Not really a fun fact, but an important one if you’re deciding where to go out.
State of Guinness: I’m not 100% on this, but I think its non-existent. Yeah, I know.

Happy New Year!

We here at GITW want to wish you a very happy and safe New Year. We hope you do something super fun, kiss someone really cute (a ginger, perhaps?) and, most of all, look ahead to another year where we can all try and make the world a little better. Thanks for reading. See you next year.

( case you are wondering, Liz has been home for the holidays and will return in the New Year with more hilarious posts. I'm sure you've missed her as much as I have.)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Top 10: Movies of 2007

I really wanted to wait until I saw There Will Be Blood before I compiled this list, but it's only playing at midnight on Saturday here in SD and I am a grandma and will probably be fast asleep long before midnight. So here you are...the top 10 movies I saw this year (I should say, these are my favorite films. Some films not on this list were better from a cinematic standpoint (Sweeney Todd, for example), but these are the 10 I enjoyed the most):

10. Hot Fuzz - This is probably the only top 10 list where you'll find Hot Fuzz listed, but, for me, it was the funniest movie of the year. Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes and this send up of cop/buddy movies did not disappoint. Hardest I laughed all year.

9. I'm Not There - A supremely original look at the life of Bob Dyan. I've never seen another movie like it. It's only this far down the list because there were so many other great movies this year.

8. Atonement - The most beautiful movie of the year with a likable Kiera Knightly. Will wonders never cease.

7. Waitress - Keri Russell was my least favorite Mouseketeer (really because I was jealous of her because she was so pretty and dating Tony, the hottest Mouseketeer. (This was obviously before Justin grew out of his awkward stage)), but I've loved her since Felicity (even if she was a bit maddening sometimes) and she is really wonderful in this sweet film. And anything with Nathan Fallon as the romantic lead is bound to be awesome, right?

6. Grindhouse - I am a huge Tarantino fan and will see anything he makes (even if no one else will). I actually saw Grindhouse twice in the theater. The first time, I preferred Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror and liked Tarantino's Death Proof more the second time around. I understand you can only see the films separately on DVD and that's a shame. The double feature feel (with faux trailers) made Grindhouse a unique experience.

5. Darjeeling Limited - I don't think anyone enjoyed this film as much as I did, but it looked amazing, made me laugh and cry, and had something interesting to say. You can't really ask for more from the cinema.

4. The Bourne Ultimatum - The best action movie of the year. I was riveted (to use a cheesy clique) and loved every minute. All action movies should be this smart and exciting and all trilogies should be this consistently awesome.

3. Once - So lovely and pitch perfect (pun totally intended).

2. No Country For Old Men - I had a terrible time deciding my #1 pick (really, I think, 1 and 2 are tied). The Coen Brothers came back from a creative slump and delivered something truly remarkable with career performances from Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin (and that's really saying something). I loved this movie. Stuff like this makes me happy to be living in 2007.

1. Into the Wild - I didn't expect to like this film as much as I did, but it kinda changed my life. The story of a young man named Chris McCandeless who gives up everything and travels across country and up into the Alaskan wilderness, Into the Wild made me re-examine what is important to me and what I want from life. I would never travel alone into the wilderness (well, not without a nice warm hotel nearby), but the values and world view Sean Penn presents in his film are important and truly moving. Combine that with incredible and dramatic scenery and an unbelievable true story and all the elements combine to make Into the Wild my favorite movie this year.

Honorable Mentions: Juno, 300, Zodiac, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Knocked Up.

I imagine Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, The Savages, Eastern Promises, maybe Gone, Baby, Gone and a few others would have made the list if I'd seen them, but a girl only has so much free time on her hands. All complaints can be posted in the comments section below.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Top 10: TV Shows of 2007

Oh, how I love year end top ten lists. So subjective, yet so definitive (I mean, if you disagree with my picks, you are obviously wrong). Here now, I present the top 10 television shows of 2007:

1. 30 Rock - Funniest show on television. Period. From Kenneth and Tracy to Jack and Liz, every relationship is hilarious and insane...just like real life! (BTW...did any one watch the Clash of the Choirs finale? For some crazy reason, NBC decided to have Tracy Morgan announce the winner of the competition. It was so funny I almost peed myself. It was like Liz Lemon begged someone to let Tracy appear to boost his never ending ego. Funniest moment of the holiday season).

2. Life on Mars - This show appeared on the BBC earlier this year and is now playing on BBC America. It's the story of Detective Inspector Sam Tyler (I love the English and their funny titles) who has an accident in 2006 (this is the second, and final, season...which makes me very sad) and wakes in the 70's, not knowing if he's traveled through time, in a coma or dead. It's funny to see the sexism and human right violations the 70's cops practice (well, not funny ha-ha, but you know what I mean). Everything is wrapped up at the end of the season and it really is one of the best seasons of television I've ever seen.

3. The Sopranos - It was sad to say good-bye to one of my favorite families, even if they had some weak seasons along the way. Thank goodness they went out on a high note (insert Steve Perry joke here).

4. Pushing Daisies - By far, the best new show of the year. Nothing else on TV looks or feels anything like it. Here's to many more seasons to come.

5. Jekyll - Why do the Brits make better TV then we do (until we steal their ideas, of course)? I've told you about this show before and if you didn't take my advice and add it to your queue, you really should. You'll love it...I promise.

6. Big Love - This show was pretty great in season one, but this year, things really got crazy. From Bills "affair" to the shooting of Roman, this show has become a soap opera...and it's awesome. It even sparked a conversation between a friend and I that maybe polygamy isn't so bad (I mean, someone buys you a big ol' house, you only have to share a bed 2-3 nights a week and you get 2 other women to help you raise your kids...doesn't sound like such a bad deal to me).

7. The Office - Sure, it wasn't the strongest season, but there were still some real gems this year (and I'll take Michael and the crew over 90% of what's on TV any day). Jim is still my TV crush, Pam is still the girl I'd want to be best friends with, and the Michael/Jan storyline has made me laugh and almost cry more times then I can count. It will always be my Thursday night staple.

8. Damages - I realize I was one of 10 people who watched this show, but it was really good. Awesome performances and an intriguing story line (that included murder and insider stock trading and Glenn Close as the bitchiest character pretty much ever). FX is bringing it back for another season (probably next summer). Check it out...seriously.

9. Flight of the Conchords - The other funniest show on television. Bret and Jemaine are my new favorite characters. I would totally be their second fan (behind Mel, of course).

10. Extras - Ricky Gervais is a genius. After creating The Office, where he played the most awkward human on the planet, he now gets to play straight man to the hilarious Stephen Merchant and celebs willing to make fun of themselves. This season, he was mocked by David Bowie, hit on by Ian McKellen and nearly had his ass kicked by Gordon Ramsey...all while keeping the sweetest platonic relationship on TV with his best friend, Maggie.

So there you have it. Your turn...

See This...

I had a very emotional experience this weekend...I saw Into the Wild. I was gonna write a review, but I can't seem to find the words. Just go see it. It's gorgeous and heartbreaking and maybe the best movie I've seen this year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Christmas!

In my family, I have 2 Christmases (Christmas Eve with my dad and Christmas day with my mom...ahhh the joys of modern families. More presents!) so for me, today is Christmas and we here at GITW want to wish you a very happy holiday and hope you receive all you've ever wanted (like ponies and Mercedes and such).

Happy Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Bloody Good Show

Ahhh the holidays. Time when Hollywood pulls out the big guns to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside...and delivers a little movie filled with enough blood to make the Coen Brothers giddy as school children. I saw Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street last night. It always takes me about 30 minutes to get used to musicals (and this is a pure musical. I'd say, more then half of the film is sung...just know this) because musicals are inherently cheesy...and frankly, Sweeney Todd is no different. It's the story of Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp) who's wife and daughter were stolen (basically because they were so beautiful. Seriously, beautiful women sure cause a lot of problems. I guess we should blame Helen of Troy) as he was sent away to prison for 15 years for a crime he didn't commit. He returns to London as Sweeney Tood and meets Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) and bloody madness abounds. As a serious musical lover, I must admit, Sweeney Todd is not one of my favorite musicals (I think the music is a little dull), so while the film was gorgeous and the voices were great, I didn't love it. This has nothing to do with the film. Tim Burton really did a fantastic job (it's like a typical Tim Burton film, elevated to the next level), Johnny Depp is a terrific singer (not just getting by on his wonderful Johnny Depp-ness) and Sasha Baron Cohen is really hilarious (as a rival barber). Even the story is awesomely wicked, but I personally don't like the way the story is told (I've only seen the play once and wasn't enamored with it) and this really bothers me. I really wanted to love this movie...and I would have if they did away with the songs (which is horrible! As a musical theater kid, I should automatically love anything with singing...especially when it's written by Steven Sondheim). It's a great movie, definitely worth seeing, and the singing is really wonderful, however, the songs left me wanting. I'm just being honest...and it kinda makes me sad. I think I'm having an existential crisis here.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Naughty is the New Nice

My co-worker just gave me an xmas card with a $20 Starbucks card. Now I feel like a jerk because the only thing I've given her this year is the privilege of seeing my lovely face everyday (and really, isn't that enough?). Anyway, it got me thinking...maybe there are other people who want to get me presents that won't be reciprocated. If you are one of those people, here's a list (with pictures, no less) of what I'd like:

Mercedes McLaren - C'mon! It's only, like, $500,000. (Wow. I'm actually blown away by how expensive this is. I took a guess at the price before looking it up on Wikipedia and I was about $400,000 short. Who pays that much for a car? Someone who loves me, that's who).

A Castle in Ireland - But, I'll settle for a month long trip if you're too cheap to spring for the whole thing.

John Krasinski - Because what I need most is the gift of love.

If you can make any of this happen, that would be great. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

There Must Be Something in the Water

Usually, I leave the breaking news to Liz (as she has more experience reporting really important news...and crap about LiLo), but I had to say something about this...Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. She is 16. Yikes! (Seriously, what did the Spears' parents do to these girls? Child protective services should look into this). However, I was even more shocked to learn Lily Allen is pregnant, too (One of the guys from The Chemical Brothers is the father. They've been dating 3 months. It's totally gonna work out, I'm sure) and in even more pregnancy news, Fantasia from American Idol is pregnant (I realize most people could care less about that one, but I'm trying to establish a pattern here people). So ladies, be warned. It's a dangerous time out there for all of us...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Best Show Ever (Or This Week Anyway)

I was a bit blue when I came home tonight...just one of those days, feeling sad and lonely and missing people...then I put on Clash of the Choirs and my life (or mood anyway) was changed. A combination of American Idol and my High School showchoir, Clash of the Choirs follows 5 celebrities as they form choirs to raise money for charities in their hometowns. You've got Nick "thank God he got rid of Jessica" Lachey from Cincinnati, OH; Kelly "the OG Destiny's Child who's not Beyonce" Rowland from Houston, TX; Michael "male equivalent to Celine Dion" Bolton form New Haven, CT (which is just perfect really); Blake "adorable and hilarious country singer I'd never really heard of" Shelton from Oklahoma City, OK; and Patti "Lady Marmalade" LaBelle from Philadelphia, PA. In last nights episode, they held auditions in their hometowns and put together choirs of 20 people from all walks of life (there is a seventy year old lady and a Hurricane Katrina survivor and 2 soldiers who served in Iraq. It's very refreshing, actually, to see a reality show with normal looking people as opposed to whomever Simon Cowell deems pretty enough to be talented), then they sang Kirby Shaw arrangements to some of your favorite tunes (like George Michael's Freedom, Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer) and It. Was. Awesome! (by awesome, I mean, completely cheesy and dorky and only enjoyable if you've been in a choir at some point...or if you are my grandma (that's not a slam. My grandma is really cool. She just loves singing shows)). It cheered me up, anyway, and now I am super excited to watch it all week. As of now, I'm rooting for Team Shelton because they wore green sequined dresses just like my High School. I really can be bought pretty easily.

I really have lost all credibility here, haven't I?

Trainwreck Watch - Amy Winehouse (Vol. II)

When someone like Britney Spears jumps aboard the Trainwreck Express and embarks on a public downward spiral for all the world to see, first it's kind of funny, then it's kind of sad, then it's kind of both and then it's really sad before finally it's just boring and no one cares anymore. But for some reason I feel differently about our dear friend Amy Winehouse.

It's a point of contention, but I for one think Amy has a lot of talent and I enjoy her records. I'd like to see her make more of them. I think she's making a valid contribution to the entertainment field, and not just giving 8-year-olds a disturbing role model and men from puberty to the nursing home a new addition to their spank banks.

So it pains me to hear that Amy is in reportedly in the clink. And she's been spotted wandering the streets in nothing but jeans, a bra and a look of distress. A lot of this trouble seems to stem from the fact that: (a) she's married to douchebag (albeit a dapper one) and (b) she often confuses drugs with oxygen. But there is a light at the end of this tunnel Camp Winehouse, because both of these things can be fixed! If we roll up our sleeves and put our backs into it, we can help Amy kick the douchebags and the doobies alike to the proverbial curb and get her back to where she belongs: writing and singing songs for my enjoyment.

Things I Learned from Reality TV in 2007

I don't really watch a lot of reality TV (well, not compared to some people (my former roommate) anyway), but I have learned some valuable lessons from the genre this year...

Being evil can win you big money - The 2 best examples of this are Hung winning Top Chef and Todd winning Survivor. The difference between the two? Hung was one of the most annoying, arrogant reality TV characters ever, while Todd was kinda adorable (in a completely evil way).

Complaining can get you decent money, too, but not as much as being likable - This Sunday, on the Survivor finale, the fourth place finisher (Denise "The Lunch Lady") told a sob story about losing her job when she returned from the show and being forced to work the night shift as a janitor. Mark Burnett was so sad, he gave her $50,000! (Now it turns out she was possibly lying. Seriously, what's wrong with people?) She should have stopped complaining and been James...who took home $100,000 as the "fan favorite"...and has a pretty crappy job, too (I think grave digging would be the worst job in the world, but my, if it doesn't give you amazing arms).

Also, on America's Next Top Model, Jenna (the best of the bunch) was voted off because she had a sarcastic sense of humor (you know, like all the cool girls you want to be friends with). Dumbest final 2 ever...and this is a show about models!

China is so hot right now - This season of Survivor was the first show ever to film entirely in China and ANTM traveled to China to show it was a major fashion capital. You think the Chinese government begged Mark Burnett and Tyra to come shoot there to counter bad PR for trying to poison our dogs and children?

Men are better cooks then women - In 4 seasons, a woman has never won Top Chef and the 2 women on Next Iron Chef America were kicked off faster then America rips off good foreign TV ideas as their own. I think this should lead to flipped stereotypes where women get to sit on the couch and drink beer while their husbands cook dinner. Awesome...

I only need 10 items in my closet - According to Tim Gunn, there are only 10 essential items women need in their closet. I am thisclose to chucking everything, running up my Banana Republic bill and creating a whole new "soul stirring" wardrobe. Something is holding me back though. Maybe it's my complete and utter fear of credit cards. Or my (deluded) belief that I will be on a makeover show someday, so TLC or Bravo can pay for the new wardrobe...which is really a better plan in the long run.

Jeff Probst asks the tough questions - During the Survivor reunion show, Probst asked Denise about her mullet (which she says is for her husband so he'll know she's pretty and feminine. Uh, sure), Erik's virginity (which he still 26) and Courtney about her weight (she got down to 80-something pounds by the end of the show...yikes!). Who does this guy think he is? Katie Couric?!

Sarah Jessica Parker makes people freak out - I remember when I was in NYC this summer, my cousin and I discussed who we would most want to run into on the street. I, as always, said John Cusack, but my cousin nailed it when she said SJP. I think I would've died if we saw SPJ on the street in NYC. Then SJP appeared on Project Runway and all the designers freaked out. She has become so's like our version of Elvis, where people just completely lose their sh*t when she appears. It's fantastic.

Pretty good life lessons, if you ask me. Here's to many more in 2008.

Monday, December 17, 2007


I have an uncle who went to Vegas a few years ago, saw the Celine Dion show and swore before God and his record collection that it was the greatest thing he had ever seen on stage. I laughed at him.

But apparently, he's not alone. Dion's show, which just concluded a five-year run, took in about $400 million! Some fans have seen it 100 times!! Repeat: Celine Dion has fans!

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, she's sold like eleventy billion records or something like that, but I thought those buyers were mostly dentist offices. No offense to anyone who worships at the altar of the Greatest Singer in ze World. I'm not hating. I'm just fascinated that you exist.

See This...

It was one of those weekends...not much to real I caught up on my Nexflix, cleared out the DVR and went to the movies. Pretty much the perfect weekend. I saw 2 of the 5 movies I've most been looking forward to - Atonement and Juno.

I feel I can't tell you much about the plot of Atonement without giving away serious plot points...I didn't know much about the story going in and I think it helped my enjoyment of the film. Just know, it's a drama set before and during WWII about love and loss and all those great and important themes that make films worth watching. What is really amazing and wonderful about Atonement, however, is not so much the story or the performances (which are all great), but the look of the film. It is absolutely gorgeous. Much like director Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudice, England appears other what I imagine heaven would look like. Kiera Knightly is gorgeous (the now (semi) famous green dress she wears in the film should be, like, put in the Museum of Really Beautiful Things (it's in DC, I swear)). James McAvoy is gorgeous. Even the war is gorgeous. I just wanted to sit in the theater and live in that world forever. Also amazing was the music. Never before have a seen a film where the music was so perfect at setting mood and ambiance. It should totally win the GG for best score.

I suppose my only problem with Atonement is it didn't stay with me like I thought it would. I didn't find myself really thinking about it afterward. It ended and I moved on...unlike some of the other great films I've seen this year which made me think on them for hours after they ended. I think my hopes were a little too high and it was impossible for the movie to live up to them...except for that is still the loveliest thing ever.

And then there was Juno, which spent about 30 minutes being a bit too quirky (seriously. Who still uses novelty hamburger phones?) and finally grooved into a very sweet and funny comedy about a 16 year-old girl who gets pregnant because she is bored and decides to have sex with her best friend. Ellen Page, who plays the title character, is bloody fantastic (it really has been a good year for young actresses). She is so funny and smart...her relationship with George Michael Bluth...I mean, err, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera) is really adorable. They are smitten with each other, but her sass gets in the way of any real relationship (what young girl hasn't treated a boy like crap as a defense mechanism? Hell, I still do it and I'm 29!). As much as I liked Juno, I couldn't help but think about Waitress, a superior unwanted pregnancy movie released earlier this year and now on DVD. I think my preference for the latter has everything to do with my age. Juno is about a high school girl where Waitress is about an unhappy 20 something. Obviously, I have more in common with Keri Russell's waitress then some Iggy and the Stooges loving 16-year-old. Both are definitely worth seeing, but I think Waitress should receive the same love as Juno this award season. Guess Keri Russell shoulda had a hamburger phone.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My, What Nice Globes You Have

I am giddy this morning (even after a horrible ANTM finale. Chantal in the final 2?!? Tyra has really lost it). The Golden Globe nominees have been announced (I've really no idea why I get so excited about these things, but I love the Golden Globes. I think I've come to prefer them over the Academy Awards for several reasons:
1. They let the audience drink during the ceremony leading to hilarious acceptance speeches and someone inevitably in the bathroom when their name is called.
2. It's TV and movie stars together in the same room...which is cool for some reason I can't explain and
3. There is an element of surprise about the winners because they are selected by strange foreign people.
It's great. Unlike The Grammys, it's an award show worth watching).

There are no real surprises among the film nominees (Atonement leads with 7 nominations) other then maybe Denzel Washington's The Great Debaters (which basically looks like Remember the Debate Team Titans), but the Hollywood Foreign Press tends to nominate one random film for Best Picture every year. I am very excited about the television nominees and all the love for Pushing Daisies and Damages (even though I am pretty sure I'm the only person who watched that show) and BBC standouts like Jekyll and 5 Days. I am kinda surprised The Sopranos is basically no where to be found (other then Edie Falco for Best Actress). What's the deal with that? Is the HFP pissed at David Chase over the ending? I need answers!!!

Anyway, because I've nothing better to do, here are my picks for who I think should win in the major TV categories (we'll discuss who I think will win closer to the actual award show...and I'm not picking the film nominees because I haven't seen enough of the nominated films/performances yet). Here goes:

Best Series (Drama): Big Love (If Grey's wins, I might punch something).
Best Series (Comedy): 30 Rock
Best Actor (Drama): Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Best Actress (Drama): Glen Close, Damages
Best Actor (Comedy): Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Best Actress (Comedy): Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds
Best Supporting Actor: Ted Danson, Damages
Best Supporting Actress: Jamie Priestly, My Name is Earl
Best Miniseries or TV movie: 5 Days
Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV movie: James Nesbitt, Jekyll
Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV movie: Bryce Dallas Howard, As You Like It

Feel free to disagree and tell me I'm an idiot in the comments section. You know, if you like being wrong (insert smiley, "just kidding" emoticon here).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What's death got to do with it?

Ike Turner, who wrote some great musical hooks and threw a mean left one, has reportedly died today.

Turner was one of the original architects of rock 'n roll, but he's probably best remembered as the coked up monster who beat former wife Tina Turner. He denies that he did any of that, but no one believes him.

Apparently he'd working to fix his legacy lately, touring and recording some award winning blues records. (He'd also been living in San Marcos! Who knew?)

Anyway, rest in peace Ike. I guess. You know what, scratch that - let Tina be the one to finally rest in peace.

Top 5: Holiday Movies

It's that time of year...when critics groups around the country start handing out awards to movies most people haven't seen yet. So far, No Country for Old Men, Into the Wild and There Will Be Blood are all looking pretty good (and Amy Ryan has won every Best Supporting Actress award for her role in Gone Baby, Gone. This makes me very happy...not because I saw the movie and thought she was amazing, but because, as McNulty's girlfriend, she needs all the positive accolades she can get). Anyhoo, here are the movies I am now really looking forward to seeing before the end of the year:

1. There Will Be Blood - I've been looking forward to this one forever (I've even mentioned it here before). Love, love, love Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia is one of my all time favorites). I think I'm most looking forward to Paul Dano's performance (aka the mute brother in Little Miss Sunshine) as a young preacher. He looks phenomenal in the previews. I wish it would hurry up and come out already!!!
2. Atonement - I kinda hate to admit it, but Keira Knightly is growing on me. I didn't hate her in the last Pirates movie and I actually really liked Pride and Prejudice (although, can we please stop remaking this story now? The BBC version is perfect and the KK version is good too if you only have 2 hours and Bridget Jones is the ultimate updated version. It's done. Let's move on to something else...Jane Eyre perhaps?). I'm also looking forward to James McAvoy. He is so dreamy...

3. Sweeny Todd - The more previews I see for this, the more excited I get. I love that the studio is trying to trick people into thinking it's not a musical (and I don't mean with a few songs here and there. Almost the entire thing is sung. It's kinda like when they marketed Evita so people wouldn't know it was a musical. I remember, whoever I went with, turned to me in the first 5 minutes and said "This is a musical?" Uh, yeah). For me, the fact that Johnny and HBC and Sasha Baron Cohen will sing is part of the draw (but then I am a complete musical geek, so I guess I don't really represent the typical moviegoer). It's gonna be great. Go see it and don't be afraid of the singing.

4. Grace is Gone - Like every woman my age, I am in love with John Cusack (well, really in love with Lloyd Dobler, but same difference, right?) This is common knowledge among my friends and family. My mother called me from Vegas to tell me she saw him at the Hard Rock and my friend Monick called once to say she'd made eye contact with him at some bar in LA. I hated them both for a few days after their calls. All that to say, I will see pretty much anything JC is in (this includes train wrecks like Must Love Dogs). Grace is Gone is supposed to be JC's Oscar chance. He created all kinds of buzz at Sundance with his performance as a father of 2 girls who has to figure out how to tell them their mother died in the Iraq war. I cried at the preview...enough said.

5. Juno - This year's quirky, indie serio-comedy. I'm not 100% sold on it (mainly because Jennifer Garner is in it), but it does star Jason Bateman and Michael Cera (aka Michael and George Michael Bluth...nice to see the Bluth men together again). It was also written by a former that's pretty cool. We all need a funny movie about teenage pregnancy to get us through the holiday, right?

Your turn. What are you still looking forward to seeing this holiday season?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What is, a heart attack?

Alex Trebek had a heart attack!!! Supposedly its minor and he's expected to recover and get back to hosting Jeopardy next month. I hope so. Jeopardy is one of the few game shows I like and Trebek is like 40% of the fun. (The other 60% is the awkward guests. Nerds make me smile). I love how he acts like he already knows the answer to all the questions and gets that smug look on his face when someone guesses wrong.
In the words of Sean Connery*: "You think you're pretty smart, don't you, Trebek? What with your Drago mustache and your greasy hair!"

Seriously Alex, get well soon!

* Not the REAL Sean Connery, obvs.

Top 5: Guilty Pleasures

As I mentioned yesterday, I am a snob, so this confessional will be a bit difficult. I find myself enjoying things any self respecting 29 year-old with a college degree should really avoid at all costs, but I can't help it...these are my guilty pleasures:

1. The Spice Girls - I am so fascinated with their reunion tour. Ginger Spice was always my favorite in the 90's (duh), but I love that Posh has become the real superstar (as she's probably the least talented of the bunch (See ladies. It's very important to choose your mate wisely)). Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are their #1 fans and even Governor Schwarzenegger caught their show in LA (and I love that Becks is on tour with them, too), so I guess I'm in good/crazy company, but I still feel too old to be singing Stop! everywhere I go. I even set my DVR to record the Victoria Secret Fashion Show tonight, only to watch their performance. It's like I'm 18 all over again!

2. Big Girls Don't Cry by Fergie - I loathe Fergie. I firmly believe My Humps is the worst song ever written in the history of the world...and yet, I find myself scanning the radio for this song. I love it...especially the chorus and the video with the delicious Milo Ventimiglia. I'm so ashamed, but I still really want to sing it at karaoke someday.

3. America's Next Top Model - I've become rather obsessed with this show over the past few seasons and this current season has been pretty awesome. From Heather, who has Aspergers, trying to control her social awkwardness, to Sarah, a "normal sized" girl who was eliminated because she lost weight, to Tyra being completely insane for 13 weeks, ANTM is one of the few shows I watch live. I love it...and hope Jenna kicks Chantal's vapid ass this week in the finale.

4. - In a genius bit of cross promotion, and display the other's headlines on their respective sites. So, when I visit 50 times a day, I am inevitably drawn to People's "headlines" and I click over to read all the celeb gossip. The best stories recently were, of course, J. Love Hewitt telling the media "A size 2 is not fat!" and J. Simp's friends saying Tony Romo is a great match for her (uh...sure). I hate that they suck me into the the gossip, but I just can't resist.

5. Now I Can Die In Peace by Bill Simmons - Bill Simmons writes about sports (and Pop Culture) for and ESPN: The Magazine. He's probably the most popular sports writer in the country, but, like his beloved New England teams, he is suffering from a major backlash (because we hate things that are too popular. We really are a weird species). His book is really fun and entertaining (even if it is all about the Red Sox), but I feel I should basically turn in my San Diego Sports Fan card for reading it.

So there it is. Some pretty embarrassing...some maybe not so much. Hey, at least I don't watch The Hills, right?

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Snobby Way to Waste Time

I am a snob. I love knowing/doing/being a part of something very few people know/do/are a part of. Thus (see. I'm such a snob I use the word "thus" even though it's 2007), I am loving hulu which is basically YouTube meets your network websites (in other words, you can watch tons of current TV shows and movies...all good quality...all free) except you have to be "invited" to access the site (of course, everyone who requests an invite is invited, but still, very exclusive and thus (ha!) snobby).

I mean, it's really just another way to fill my life with television, but what else am I supposed to fill it with? Meaningful human relationships?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Counterpoint: The Grammys

Nickelback is from Canada? NOW it makes sense!

People watch the Grammys. I do, sometimes. There's nothing like a stirring live performance by Shania Twain to nourish the soul, and inspire you to move forward with your drab, meaningless existence. But in any case, we love the Grammys because, well, they're the Grammy's and they have the same shit every single year:

1) Bombastic, Over-the-Top hip hop artist/producer

This is a fucking Grammy staple, you CANNOT avoid this. Snoop, Pac, Diddy, Chuck D, ODB the list goes on and on. This year it's Kanye, and his album is good, so I won't hate. Rock Solid Prediction: K-Weezy does live performance with church choir and/or mismatched pop star. Vegas has John Mayer at 2-1.

"Cuz I'll do anything for a Klondike. And I would do anything for a blonde dyke."

That's deep, Kanye. Deep.

2) Mary Chapin Carpenter

This broad must be the greatest musician of all time, because she gets nominated for something every single year it seems like. Must be like, the female Harry Connick or something, I have no clue. This year, Mrs. Carpenter garners the nomination for Best Comtemporary Folk/Americana Album. Alright Mary, strap on the knee high leather boots and give us your unique brand of sultry blues/folk/Lillith Fair/whatever. Open wide America, here comes the airplane! Rock Solid Prediction: She wins, the Acadamy pours billions into stem-cell research in an attempt to create a Mary Chapin clone for the benefit of future generations.

3) Token Lifetime Acheivement Grammy for over-the-hill artist

Put on your best suit, Herbie Hancock. Get a facial. Go to a few Toastmasters meetings. Cause you're going to be making an acceptance speech. The Boss would be a shoe in, but he got his for that one album, with the trolly car video, something about Philedelphia. Anyways, the main reason Herbie is a shoe in: 57 albums. Dude's got Grammys for Rock It and some other stuff, but has yet to go home with any "Big Game/Elephant's Head" awards. His latest is a jazz/funk tribute to Joni Mitchell, with guest vocals from the likes of Norah Jones and Tina Turner. This is the Acadamy equivelent of getting an entire bag of red Skittles, it's just SOOOO much goodness. They set the standard after passing over Kid A for Steely Dan, and a Bob Dylan later, it's Herbie's turn. Rock Solid Prediction: Pretty sure I just gave it to you. The few songs I've heard off of this album are pretty good, actually.

4) Emotionally Powerful/Evocative Alternative Rock Performance

"Yeah, Dave Grohl? Yes, this is the Acadamy. Please don't shave the beard. Ummm, yes we do want you to perform live. Of course, play whatever you want, just make everyone cry." Rock Solid Prediction: Flea streaks on stage and does the first "Commando Crowd Surf" in Grammy history.

On a side note, Common's Finding Forever has in fact, been nominated for best hip hop /rap album of the year, good to see him be recognized. A real banner year for Chi-Town, here's The People, off of said album:

Thursday, December 6, 2007

On a lame note...

Grammy nominations were announced today. No one cares.

Somewhere along the line, the Grammys became the Pro Bowl of award shows. It gets hyped but no one watches it. Why is that? As someone who’s obsessed with music, I should be stoked about the Grammys. But I’m not. At all. I watch other award shows (although Oscars, you've been on notice since that Crash win) but the Grammys have pretty much never interested me.

I was thinking that it’s because only top selling acts win and artistry gets no credit. This has some validity, but not entirely. I figured OK Computer is probably the best album of the last ten years and assumed it didn’t even get nominated for a Grammy. Wrong. It won Best Alternative Album and was nominated for Album of the Year. It lost to Bob Dylan. That’s pretty legit, right?

Other Album of the Year winners were surprisingly legit too. Not always my favorite albums, but inarguably good ones: The Joshua Tree in ’89, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in ’99, Speakerboxx/The Love Below in ’04. Yeah, there’s some George Michael and Celine Dion and stuff like that in there too, but usually some good albums were at least nominated those years. This year, Kanye West and Amy Winehouse got the most nominations. Two popular and critically acclaimed artists.

So what’s the deal? Why do we all yawn at the Grammys? My newest theory - which can’t be tested and is therefore binding – is that awards shows go against the very nature of pop music. Rock and pop stars are supposed to defy convention and test the limits, not sit politely in an auditorium and receive trophies. Actors are supposed to covet our praise like little lost puppies; musicians are supposed to have meltdowns on stage, expose each other’s nipple shields and say the president doesn’t care about black people.

Music is probably the most immediate of all art forms, which also means it’s the most fluid - you can create it and perform it very quickly, so it changes with the most frequency. Beethoven is music, and so are The Arctic Monkeys. So are Tony Bennett and Ghost Face Killah. That’s what makes music so awesome, but it also makes it nearly impossible to celebrate with one big, flashy, nationally broadcast awards show that pays reverence to people whose gift is their irreverence.

I don’t know who the members of The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences are, but their awards indicate that they really don’t get what music is all about. It’s about movement and change and discovery and biting the heads off bats.

Something tells me you won’t see any of that at the Staples Center next February.

Top 5: Holiday Movies

It's that time of year...when your TV set is bombarded with ads for diamonds and HDTVs (which are both great gift ideas if you were thinking of sending me something) and holiday movies like It's a Wonderful Life. And while I do love a good morality tale, you won't find me watching Jimmy Stewart this time of year. Instead, here are the 5 films that get me in the holiday mood:

1. Scrooged - My all time favorite Christmas movie and, in my opinion, the best telling of A Christmas Carol ever (Yes. Even better then the one with Mickey and Scrooge McDuck). Bill Murray is funny as ever and pretty much makes the entire movie. Sure the supporting cast is wonderful, but this is Bill Murray's movie. I still remember seeing it in the theater and people singing along at the end...makes the world seem a little brighter during the holidays.

2. A Christmas Story - I think most people regard this as a modern Christmas classic...and rightly so (they don't play it for 24 hours every Christmas Eve for nothin'). I think my favorite moment is when the family is at the Chinese restaurant for dinner (because the neighbor's dogs have ruined Christmas dinner) and Father is trying to get the Chinese waiters to sing "fa-la-la-la-la" rather than "Fa-rah-rah-rah-rah." Hilarious. And I learned some valuable lessons from this movie...don't stick your tongue to a frozen pole or it will get stuck; eating soap can make you blind; "fragile" is Italian; "fudge" is a perfectly acceptable alternative to "fuck"...valuable lessons, all.

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas - I've never seen the Bass and Rainkin stop motion movies (like Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Year Without Santa Claus), which I'm sure is creating a serious hole in my life, but HTGSC has always been enough to fill the void. This wonderful (original) animated telling of the Dr. Seuss story is always a highlight of the holiday season (we'll just pretend the dreadful live action version never happened).

4. White Christmas - This is about as old-school classic as you can get. Bing Crosby is so charming and Danny Kaye is just phenomenal. I also really like Holiday Inn (which is basically the exact same movie and the first time Bing Crosby sang White Christmas). They both make me wish I lived somewhere with snow...if only during the holidays.

5. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - It's kinda sad the National Lampoon movies have become such crap because the Griswolds were a truly great American family. I know this film is not what you would call "good" or "smart" or "original" or, I dunno, worth watching multiple times, but I love it and have probably seen it 20 times (though it has been awhile). Sure it has the exact same plot as all the other Vacation movies (Chevy Chase is an idiot, screws up as much as possible, gets really angry at someone and does something illegal and it all works out in the end), but this is holiday film making at it's finest! (That last bit is completely untrue)

So, what are your favorite holiday movies?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Happy Repeal Day!

On this day, in 1933, the 21st Amendment was passed which repealed the 18th Amendment (the one that made alcohol illegal in the US) and ended Prohibition. So, it's pretty much your patriotic duty to drink tonight. If you don't, the terrorists have won.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

When I was a kid, I totally wanted to be Jewish (mainly because I had the biggest crush on Grant Shaud (aka Miles Silverberg on Murphy Brown), but also because the Jews are God's chosen people and who doesn't want to be "chosen"?) and Hanukkah sounded pretty cool (except when a Jewish boy in my class told us he usually got socks as one of his eight gifts...which is pretty lame (and can I just tell you, the first time I wrote that sentence, I spelled it "sox." Damn you Liz!!!))

Anyhoo, all that to say, we here at Gingers is the Watchword want to wish all our Jewish readers a very Happy Hanukkah, which begins tonight at sundown. Hope you get something better then socks.

Top 5: Breakup Songs

(I'm really into the top 5 lists right now. Not sure what that's about.)

Exactly one year ago, almost to the day, my boyfriend broke up with me (not that I can't get over it or anything). I was pretty heartbroken...more then I'd ever been before...and there were some songs I couldn't listen to for awhile (pretty much anything off the Born to Run album...and Rilo Kiley was kinda tough, too), but there were a few songs that helped me out, if you will, and they kinda became my breakup anthems.

1. Irreplaceable - Beyonce: This song coincided with my breakup pretty perfectly. It kinda became my girl power/screw him/you can do better/feel good song (not that I had someone to replace him with, but, you know, I imagined I did). Ahhh, Beyonce. It's like you know me, girl!

2. I Don't Love You - My Chemical Romance: The 12-year-old Emo chick within loves this song. It's kinda harsh (I don't love you, like I did yesterday...ouch), but for some reason the tough truth helped.

3. Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac: This is probably my favorite breakup song of all time. It's great to drive fast on the freeway and sing at the top of your lungs. This song also, probably more then any of the others, is the most lyrically true to our relationship and break up. (I also love this song because Lindsay Buckingham wrote it about Stevie Nicks...who then had to sing backup on it. Such sweet revenge).

4. Gravity - Sara Bareilles: I don't even know what to say here because the lyrics say it all...

5. Breakin' Up - Rilo Kiley: A fun breakup song (which is what we all need, right?). This song was released probably six months after the breakup when I came back to reality and realized being single is so much more fun. Oooh, it feels good to be free indeed.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Tanked and Friendless/Point Counter Point: The Ould Sod

Ahh the karaoke birthday party: right of passage, bane of existences, bi-polar bacchanalia of joy and despair. Every year around a certain date, that one friend who has either a terrific singing voice or just irrepressible self-confidence invites you all to a bar in order to celebrate their birth and butcher some ABBA and Elvis tunes. The night starts slow, with everyone giggling at the first brave souls to go up and talking about how they wouldn’t be caught dead on that stage. Three hours and six beers later, you remember how good you sounded rapping the Beastie Boys “Paul Revere” in front of your mirror in the 6th grade, and its all downhill from there.

This can all be yours on Thursday and Saturday nights at The Ould Sod on San Diego’s underrated Adams Avenue strip in Normal Heights. A bitty little Irish bar tucked amidst coffee houses, stores and other bars, the Sod aims for authenticity. They have Irish beer specials, serve Bailey’s in the proper mini-snifters and the walls are covered in Daniel Day Lewis movie posters and Gaelic signs. Once a week there’s an Irish music session. But it’s the music of a tone-deaf variety that really sets the Sod apart.

The Sod’s biggest problem is its diminutive size. Its really narrow at the front and opens into a small alcove at the back, and working your way to and from the bar – never mind the karaoke stage – can prove troublesome. It may dissuade a few people from going up to the front to belt out “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Actually, maybe its size is an asset in disguise.

Name: The Ould Sod
Location: 3373 Adams Ave.
San Diego, CA 92116
(Normal Heights)
Fun Fact: You probably already knew this, but the name “ould sod” is an old Irish immigrant nickname for Ireland
State of Guinness: Fantastic! Served in proper pint glasses (bulbous at top, narrowing at the base) and one of the bartenders will draw a shamrock in the foam for you.

Top 5: Karaoke

This weekend, I celebrated my birthday (as I did the year before) singing karaoke at my local pub. I love karaoke...probably more then any normal person really should (but this site is pretty much all the evidence you need that I am not normal) and, despite the fact that Liz did not sing Gwen Stefani as promised, we all had a blast (well, I did anyway, and it was my birthday so my happiness is all that really mattered). I thought I'd pass along my top 5 karaoke songs because, you know, I care about you and want you to have more fun in your life.

Not actually a picture of me singing karaoke

Here goes:

1. You Outta Know: Alanis Morisette - This is a great song it get the crowd pumped. People love singing along (and it shows off some serious range). It's pretty hilarious when a guy sings it, but when I sing it, it kinda scares off the fellas. Eh, whatever. They just can't handle my truth.

2. Open Arms/Don't Stop Believin': Journey - Really, any Journey song works, but these are my two favorite. Everyone loves Journey. If you're a guy and you can really hit the Steve Perry high notes, you must be a pretty decent singer. Ladies love good singers. And because Steve Perry is basically a eunuch, these songs are in a good range for most women, too.

3. Dancing Queen: Abba - Again, anything by Abba is great (I've been working up the guts to try The Winner Takes it All for, like, a year now), but this is the classic. This is the first song I ever sang for karaoke so it has some sentimental value. A guy sang it Saturday night and was pretty awesome.

4. Hopelessly Devoted to You: Olivia Newton John - This one is just for the ladies. I should sing this song more. People love it, shows off the voice and, if you're lucky, some cute guy will ask you to follow up with a duet of Summer Nights (and presumably, you will fall in love, get married and have ten thousand babies).

5. Sweet Caroline and/or Livin' on a Prayer: Neil Diamond/Bon Jovi - Just for the fellas. Both are awesome. Both get the crowd singing along. Both rock my karaoke world.

Now, get out there and sing!