Posts tagged ‘Entertainment’

Awkward Facebook Moments #1-3

It’s totally awkward…

#1 …when someone unacceptably rejects a friend request

Sometimes it’s not okay to not be someone’s friend. We all have different thresholds of who we will “accept” as friends on Facebook, but I think a vast majority of people would agree with me that “rejecting” or “quietly ignoring” the following people is unacceptable:  someone you’ve slept with (assuming, of course, there’s no drama involved); a close friend from high school, even if you haven’t spoken for many years; a family member you’re on at least mildly decent terms with; a fourth-grade “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”; a friend’s pet or child or sibling; someone with the same first and last name as you; someone who accompanies a friend request with a totally clever message explaining why you don’t know him but should “accept” anyway.

So remember: The next time you log onto your account, think twice before rejecting or ignoring. Karma is a bitch (See awkward moment #3).

#2…when you’re in a relationship but not “in a relationship”

Tsk, tsk, tsk. I just don’t get it. I understand not putting “in a relationship” or even “it’s complicated” when “it’s” legitimately complicated or not too serious, but when two people are in a bona fide relationship, there should be some indication thereof (and leaving relationship status completely blank doesn’t count). Unless your profile is completely bare-bones, hiding love behind privacy settings is unfair to you and to your partner.

#3…when you realize you were…D-E-F-R-I-E-N-D-E-D

I’ve been on Facebook since it was called “The Facebook,” so I have quite a few friends. The great thing about having a lot of friends is that you’re much less likely to realize someone’s done the d-word to you. Unless, of course, you happen to be stalking that person. (But only sociopaths with too much time on their hands use Facebook to stalk, right?)

In all seriousness, being “defriended” is awkward as hell, especially if you have no idea as to why. It’s happened to me at least once (that I know of…eek!), and I remember thinking, “Hmmm…glad I’ll never be stumbling into you again.” Then I realized that the awkwardness would really be on the “defriender” and not the “defriendee” if the two were to cross paths again.

Think about it: What’s more awkward than bumping right smack into someone you “defriended” unnecessarily? Karma’s a bitch, indeed.

July 8, 2010 at 5:11 am 2 comments

Lolly’s Top 5 Michael Jackson Songs

5. “Black or White” (1991)

“Eat this,” Macaulay Culkin says, in an “If it’s too loud, you’re too old” sort of music video. Call it ironic, call it corny, but it’s the best pro-miscegenation song to date.

4. “The Way You Make Me Feel” (1987)

Work out, groove, or make love to this song: It will provide the appropriate soundtrack.

3. “Will You Be There” (1991/1993)

Michael Jackson released “Will You Be There” in 1991 on Dangerous and in 1993 on the Free Willy soundtrack. The lyrics read like a prayer: “Hold me like the River Jordan”; “Mary, tell me: Will you hold me?” Jackson expresses vulnerability, sorrow, and hopefulness as a gospel choir sings in the background, crescendoing and decrescendoing like ocean waves.

2. The Jackson Five’s “I’ll Be There” (1970)

This love song manages to croon and groove simultaneously.  Michael and Jermaine harmonize perfectly as the lead vocalists, each of their lines flowing forward smoothly and sincerely. I imagine many brides and grooms use these lyrics as an inspiration for vows. I can also vividly envision teens and preteens in the early 70s swaying back and forth to the ballad at school dances. Mariah Carey’s cover of “I’ll Be There” was nominated for a Grammy in 1993.

1. The Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back” (1969)

Love and/or  lust isn’t as strong as you thought…until it’s gone…and someone else has a chance to do better. Young Michael sang this so sincerely that it almost seemed like he had experienced a broken heart. “I Want You Back” is naïve, honest, and groundbreaking. Like the love interest in this hit, we took Michael’s genius for granted.

I want it back.

June 30, 2010 at 4:10 am 2 comments

Vanity v. Thrift: Round 1

Q: I’m a 56-year-old woman who doesn’t look a day over 43. I work hard to look as good as I do, and I take pride in my appearance. However, the movie theater by my house has a “senior citizen” discount for people 55 and older. The SC tickets are 5 dollars cheaper! I love passing for younger, but I also love a good deal. Do I shell out the extra money or admit to my SC status?

LG: Duh! Saving 5 dollars is like 50% off!! Looking 43 instead of 56 is like…23% younger! (You do the math.) In all seriousness, you should go for the SC discount. Most businesses these days realize that 50 is the new 40, so they only give SC discounts to patrons 65 and older. Take advantage of the fruits of your…wisdom. Also, if you really look over a decade younger than you really are, then you will feel absolutely flattered when the cashier asks for your i.d. in total disbelief.

June 23, 2010 at 6:30 am Leave a comment

Lolly’s Top 5 Hip Hop Hits of 2009

See also Lolly’s Top 5 Hip Hop Hits of 2008

Runner-ups: “Birthday Sex” and “Imma Star” by Jeremih, “So Sharp” by Mack 10 featuring Lil Wayne, “Best I Ever Had” by Drake, “Obsessed” by Mariah Carey, “Girls on the Dancefloor” by Far East Movement

#5 Omarion featuring Gucci Mane (or Lil Wayne) “I Get It In”

This song is cocky (pun intended) as hell: It’s about fitting really big things into tight places. Omarion brags about how his girl “fumble(s) when it hangs down,” and Gucci Mane is hooking up with gal who has “done fired” her panties. In the Lil Wayne version, Mr. Carter quotes Beyoncé’s “Ego” to make the same boast: “It’s too big; it’s too wide; it won’t fit, but…I get it in.” Ironically, the most phallocentric song of the year has a video that’s about as phallocentric as last year’s “I Kissed A Girl” by Katie Perry. Omarion has moves that would make most ABDC teams jealous, but he doesn’t save them for the few ladies in the video. Toward the end of the three-minute clip, the rapper forms a human seesaw with a male dancer. This quasi-homoerotic display is almost unheard of in hip hop videos. Perhaps the compact “parking spot” is unisex.

#4 Drake featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Eminem “Forever”

The line-up doesn’t get much better than this. Unfortunately, some radio stations abridge the 6+ minute song by removing one of the rapper’s verses. In ascending order, here’s how I would rank each rapper’s rhymes: Eminem (“He ain’t had a real buzz like this since the last time that he overdosed”), Drake (“Labels want my name beside the ‘X’ like Malcolm”), Lil Wayne (“My mind shine even when my thoughts seem dark”), and Kanye West (“You would think I ran the world like Michelle’s husband”).

#3 Mario featuring Gucci Mane & Sean Garrett “Break Up”

Breaking up never sounded so good! It seems Mario would do just about anything for his girlfriend (“Don’t I lace you with the Gucci? / Don’t I deck you in the Louis?”) except, of course, be faithful. And, for him, it isn’t so much about getting back together but, rather, having one last midnight rendezvous (“If you leavin’, baby, don’t leave me till tomorrow / Tonight we gon’ get a lil’ tipsy with a bottle”). If the break up is final, Gucci Mane reminds us that “girls are like buses: Miss one, next fifteen, one comin’.”

#2 Keri Hilson featuring Lil Wayne “Turnin’ Me On”

Miss Keri, baby! This song should be renamed “Pleasing Women for Dummies.” Keri stresses the importance of “recogniz(ing) a real woman,” and Lil Wayne brags about his oral prowess (“I’ma kiss the spot for ya…I turn you on like a handle / Like a television on the Weather Channel”). Sporting “on” and “off” brass knuckles, Keri rocks the music video that’s full of dichotomous imagery.

#1 Kid Cudi featuring Kanye West & Common and sampling Lady Gaga  “Make Her Say”

“And we can have one hell of a night / Through the day,” promises the casual (hetero)sex anthem of the year. Kid Cudi wonders, “When it’s said and done, will she spit it up or swallow?” Kanye West wants to hook up with a shorty, but he doesn’t want to make it “statutory”: “Hold up…Born in ’88. / How old is that? / Old enough.” Common reminisces about a girl whose “head was gooder than the music.”

And each wants a ménage à trois the only socially acceptable way he can have it (XX/XY/XX). To emphasize this common goal, each rapper begins his verse with a version of “She wanna have whatever she like / She can if she bring her [girl]friend.” Cudi wants a dominant girl with a “fat ol’ ass.” Kanye makes me wonder why I didn’t love college. Common likes to take charge – even if he has to pay for it.

That which is explicit in this hit is misogynistic at best (Cudi and Co. sample Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” to the tune of, “I make her say, ‘Oh…Oh-Oh-Oh…Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh’ when I p-p-p-poke her face.”). That which is implicit, however, is compelling and provocative. Just as most novels have autobiographical inspiration, lyrics often reveal aspects of artists’ personal lives. Each performer in “Make Her Say” shares more information on sexual preferences than would most hip hop artists. It’s one thing to talk about getting “brain on the train.” It’s another to express as-yet-unfulfilled desires, previously secret reflections, and subtle sociopolitical commentary to boot.

The melancholy undertone of an upbeat song that’s entirely about sex seems strange. The subject matter, however, isn’t as lighthearted as the music video’s balloons and peaceful scenes would have you think. “Casual sex” is a misnomer: There is nothing casual about sex. As a society, we take healthy sex lives for granted, and yet sexuality influences most of us in some very problematic ways. Whether they realize it or not (I think they do), all three rappers express this tension between carnal desire, heteronormativity, and mainstream constructions of masculinity. Lady Gaga, who defies gender norms, genre, and Jehovah, creates the backdrop for this musical dialogue. The final product is far from a “Bad Romance.”

February 12, 2010 at 7:26 am 2 comments

“Jumbo Jessica” and the Marlon Brando Paradox

Jessica Simpson needs to fire her stylist. Ever since the singer donned a pair of high-waisted jeans and double-layered leopard print belt to the KISS Country Chili Cookoff, the tabloids haven’t given her body a break. The New York Post described her as a “corpulent country star” and assigned her the hurtful “Jumbo Jessica” moniker. Us Weekly eagerly repeated the nickname, and People used the same series of unflattering pictures to publicize “her new fat curvy body.”

Days before her humiliating and oh-so-public breakup with Tony Romo, Jessica sang the National Anthem at the AT&T National golf tournament in a horizontally striped Michael Kors dress. The Daily Fix commented, “As the ditzy blonde singer’s career shrinks, her bottom line continues to expand.” Not to be outdone, Perez Hilton blogged, “Is JSimpleson finally pregnant with her dream baby?…That’s an ass you could serve Thanksgiving dinner on!”

Just under 5’3″, Jessica is a petite woman who has been blessed with curves in all the right places. Minor weight fluctuations become exaggerated on her small frame. Case in point: Within the same month, OK! ran stories on Jessica’s wardrobe woes, Romo breakup, and “revenge diet.” She “look[ed] like a blimp” one week and boasted a fit physique the next.

This repulsive practice of inventing weight problems for female celebrities certainly takes its toll on the common (wo)man. I’ve found myself turning down desserts lately and worrying about how I look in form-fitting jeans. It also serves as yet another example of our society’s rampant sexism and double standards: Tom Cruise’s diminutive stature and Jack Nicholson’s gut receive little press/criticism. This is what I call the “Marlon Brando Paradox.”

Marlon Brando is rightfully considered one of the greatest actors of all time. The Academy Award winner’s career spanned over half a century, but his svelte form progressively widened throughout. At almost no point, however, did the media criticize Brando’s weight or deny his talent because he wasn’t as conventionally attractive or as physically fit as he had been as a young man. With performances as “Vito Corleone” in The Godfather and “Paul” in Last Tango in Paris on his impressive résumé, we didn’t need him to look a particular way. But if he had been a woman, he almost certainly would not have landed comparable roles.

The Marlon Brando Paradox perpetuates our society’s commodification and fetishization of the female body.  By scrutinizing the female form in this manner, we are preventing progress and gender equality. While Jessica Simpson is the latest victim, almost no one–celebrity or not–escapes being viewed through this perverse, distorted lens: I am anxiously waiting for it to shatter.

August 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm 2 comments

Current and Classic Rentals & Ratings

Year of the Dog
Genre: Comedic Drama
Starring: Molly Shannon, Laura Dern, Regina King, John C. Reilly, Peter Sarsgaard
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Molly Shannon shines in this quirky drama about the multi-layered relationships between co-workers, friends, loved ones, and, of course, animals.  Mike White, the writer of The Good Girl and School of Rock, makes his directorial debut in what hopefully will be the first of many cinematic triumphs.

New York, New York
Genre: Musical Drama
Starring: Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro

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Minnelli and De Niro sizzle with musical and sexual chemistry in this Scorsese film set in the post-WWII 40s.

He’s Just Not That Into You
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Bradley Cooper, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Scarlett Johansson

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I expected more from this all-star cast. It has its funny and sweet moments, but, overall, this film portrays women as weak and inept players in the game of love and war.

Summer of Sam
Genre: Crime Drama
Starring: John Leguizamo, Adrien Brody, Mira Sorvino, Jennifer Esposito

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Set in New York City in the summer of 1977, this Spike Lee Joint follows a close-knit group in an Italian-American neighborhood as it responds to the surrounding violence, heat, humidity, and hatred. Son of Sam’s carnage serves as the backdrop for a reflection on the complex nature of relationships between members of a seemingly cohesive community. Make sure to check out Adrien Brody’s compelling performance during the “Teenage Wasteland” montage.

June 5, 2009 at 5:44 pm Leave a comment

From the Vault: Nine 1/2 Weeks Gets 8 1/2 Stars

Three years after I was born, Adrian Lyne (Unfaithful, Indecent Proposal, Fatal Attraction) directed Nine 1/2 Weeks, starring Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke. I saw it for the first time this weekend and felt puzzled by the film’s poor critical reception. Lyne manages to forge a balance between art and sex, creating an erotically-charged drama rather than soft core porn. The film is a meditation on the ambiguities and limitations of consensual liaisons between women and men.

Elizabeth (Basinger), a “divorced white female, beautiful statuesque blonde,” meets John (Rourke) while shopping for dinner party fare.  John is concomitantly creepy and desirable as he makes overt sexual advances toward Elizabeth. “You’re taking a hell of a lot for granted, aren’t you,” Elizabeth remarks as John pointedly changes the bedsheets after their first outing. And thus begins a 9 1/2 week sexual journey. Elizabeth’s endearing naiveté complements John’s carnal authoritativeness. Scenes of sadomasochism, female masturbation, spontaneous lovemaking, and erotic food usage ensue. Lyne’s images at once titillate and disturb as the couple crisscrosses sexual boundaries and societal norms.

In her early 30s at the time of the film’s production, Basinger is, in retrospect, living proof that some women are like wine; they improve with age. While undoubtedly attractive, Basinger’s Renée Zellweger-like poutiness in this film pales in comparison to her fetching sophistication in L.A. Confidential and The Door in the Floor (both filmed over a decade later). Rourke, on the other hand, has endured a transformation in the opposite direction. The intensive reconstructive surgery he underwent after his professional wrestling career has rendered his once-alluring face almost unrecognizable. That said, he still has the body of an Olympian and acting talent that ranks him among the very best. His portrayal of John in Nine 1/2 Weeks made me further appreciate his wide range as an actor, as evidenced in Body Heat, Sin City, and The Wrestler.

If nothing else, this film depicts two major actors at pivotal moments in their respective careers. Beyond that, the disquieting interactions between Elizabeth and John speak to the complications of human nature and the overwhelming responsibility that accompanies sexual desire.

June 3, 2009 at 4:53 pm Leave a comment

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