La La Land Breakdown: Part 1, City of Stars

Two trailers have been released for La La Land, and I’m more in love than ever. The songs are stuck in my head daily, and I find myself humming them or singing at random times. Of course I know all the words, and it’s completely, totally normal and not obsessive. I don’t need your judgement. Anyways, after watching each trailer for the umpteenth time, I started noticing connections and the storytelling going on between two trailers. I’ve been wanting to do a trailer breakdown since the first teaser, “City of Stars,” was released, and “Audition” provided me with a reason to dive deeper.

Before we get started, I’ve seen a few theories floating around that the next trailer could be a duet, taking my musical-loving little heart straight to the grave. I don’t know how I’m supposed to wait until December, but alas. Onward with the tender melodies, let’s dive into hidden layers of these beautiful trailers.

Teaser Trailer #1: City of Stars

lalalandiris

Oh Damien Chazelle, how did you know Iris Shots make me weak in the knees? If there is anything that sets the tone of Classical Hollywood, it is an Iris Shot. But more than anything, these specific shots seem to serve as an introduction to La La Land’s characters. With the far glance of the city and the romantic blue haze that illuminates the setting, Ryan Gosling‘s Sebastian might as well be marked as a Pisces because he is a dreamer. The full sound of piano brushing your ear drums during this scene matches the feeling established in this shot: while LA is crazy beast that can devour you in one bite, it is also a place where dreams begin and the greatest of love stories are born.

emmastone

ryangosling

With the sound of sweet humming flirting around, we are officially introduced to our two main characters: Emma Stone‘s Mia and Gosling’s Sebastian. We soon see that it is Gosling’s melody that is gliding us along, dawning on us that this specific trailer is his story.

walkin

smooth

“City of Stars,” the words eagerly flow into the rhythm of the trailer. While this shot is established early on, I have a feeling that this particular scene is towards the end of the movie (more on that later). But the feeling of longing between Stone’s eyes and Gosling’s piano strokes, we know we are in for a story of two lovers.

snow

daze

What follows next are two dreamy shots of Stone: one where she is making her way through a “chaotic” party, and the other where she is staring longingly out of a cafe window. But just as dreamy as they are, I think it also establishes a strong tone with her character; she’s the one trying to figure out her path.

piano

Gosling’s character on the other hand seems pretty settled into what his life revolves around: music. It seems fair to say that while Sebastian doesn’t feel like he has struck it big, he is rather comfortable in his way of life. He isn’t trying to reach for more, he’s attained the level of satisfaction that he was aspiring for.

distraught

But Mia is the struggling character that is trying to find her way. Really driving this point home, folks.

surprise

rg

It feels like Sebastian is trying to help Mia establish her way. While this next bit of info is gathered more from pictures, it looks like this matches the setting with them on a date at a movie. If I know my movies like I think I do, that is James Dean and they are seeing Rebel Without a Cause, which totally comes into play later on. Plot wise, this is still early on in the movie and in the relationship. Sebastian helping Mia realize what she wants? Or that she is better than how her circumstances are at the moment?

glamour

together

The next shots establish a taste of the Hollywood lifestyle, and it feels like maybe Mia is starting to catch her break or maybe just showing Sebastian why acting is important to her. I’m leaning to the former. I bet this is when we start seeing the cracks forming in their bond.

worseday

Continuing her no good, very bad day spirit, Mia is on the next level of fed up. And the huge coffee stain emblazoned on her shirt might be why. Matched in between these two scenes, this feels very out of place. Maybe to fully establish that Mia isn’t where she wants to be in life.

magic

Because in this shot, it’s back to another reality with Sebastian.

lunch

Because love is real, and the chemistry between Stone and Gosling is palpable. I haven’t even seen the movie and I can feel the Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant vibes through my monitor. Maybe I’m crazy, but this movie is an ode to Classical Hollywood and an open love letter to Los Angeles. And these scenes, in their simplistic form, scream the film bonds that have eluded us for such a long time.

smile

smile2

This feels like the peak of their relationship. Mia is starting to blossom as an actress, her makeup and clothing has already started to change. Sebastian looks like he is in the prime of his career. They’re happy. Who knew…

dreamlike

subwaykisses

snap

Is this the start of something wonderful and new? All these glitzy shots of their beautiful relationship. From the riches of blues, to the brightness of the day and we end on an subtle red hue that is creeping into their love story. While this musical might be based on some of the golden eras of film, it seems like this will match place with real life struggles and triumphs, meaning it won’t venture too far into the dreamland of musicals past.

nogood

whathaveidone

Leaving this scene to echo of a couple that is no longer in the company of one another. Why? Gosling is a hot mess, his hair no longer groomed as it was before. Stone is starting to look the full transition of an actress who has arrived at her big break. Coming to reminiscence over her long lost lover, Mia sees the mess that was caused by her departure.

glitter

runaway

Glistened up by their lighthearted melody, the series of shots end with Mia running away down the middle of the street. I also want to highlight that it is snowing in this scene, or maybe it’s leftover glitter from the one before. Or one last dream…

fuckedup

frontflip

That I cannot make true. Although these are a lot of highly stylized shots of Stone and Gosling, I’m fairly confident this pool shot is Finn Wittrock‘s Greg. This feels like it might be the same party we see Mia entering towards the beginning of the trailer.

observatory

Sidetrack from the last few shots suggesting sorrow, we enter into the Observatory. The same one from Rebel Without a Cause. My heart beats with excitement for these little nods to the classical era.

skyfullofstars

Then it explodes when it feels like it is reaching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers territory. Side note: I’m a huge Astaire and Rogers fan, and I feel like La La Land has played on their dynamic more than any other of the Classical Hollywood duos.

whistlewhileyouwork

Insert Gosling to tell us his story is coming to an end (for now).

monet

johnlegend

dance

Which leads us to mirage of dazzling shots, including the introduction of John Legend‘s Keith. Please note, that Legend’s character is the only supporting character to have a established introduction. Of these shot, my favorite is the top one, which seems to be a continuation of their first date. They look like they are running through a Monet styled painting. My hope is that the bottom picture lead us in to the closing of the trailer.

rg

es

Before we get to that, Gosling and Stone get their last look at each other. This seems to be from the scene where I felt like they were no longer together. My hopes that this is the climax of the movie, and not the actual ending.

bigmove2

Because if there is one thing that is imperative to a Classical Hollywood movie, it is an over-the-top happy ending. But perhaps this isn’t a Classical Hollywood movie, it is just a nod to a genre that is no more.

LaLaLand

So let’s tie my jumbled mess of thoughts together. Gosling’s Sebastian sings of falling in love with Stone’s Mia. He feels like she is a gift from the galaxy, but fears that she will slip away because nothing in life is guaranteed. Based on the images throughout the trailer, we can probably conclude that they depart from one another for awhile causing Sebastian to slip into self destruction. While the City of Stars can cause broken hearts, it is also known as the City of Dreams, leaving me to believe that they find their way back to each other. Point of the story? No matter how much you may be struggling in life, it is better to struggle together than struggle alone. There’s a hidden magic when you are in the company of the one you love. And with that:

This is Sebastian’s take on La La Land.

Next up, La La Land’s “Audition” Teaser Trailer.

For the Love of the Game

The moment I heard about Kevin Durant leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors, everything was wrong for the rest of the morning. I claimed I had lost all respect for him, I tweeted good riddance. Did I mean any of these things? No. I did this because I was human, just like Kevin Durant is human.

Like many others out there, I want to be mad. My Kevin Durant, the one I welcomed into Oklahoma City in 2008, was not the same Kevin Durant that accepted the deal with the Warriors. That Kevin Durant has been hardened from injuries, not being able to return to the finals and constantly pressured into getting a ring. Wanting to be in the same league of LeBron James and Stephen Curry, the players who boasts both MVP titles and championships within their home courts. That changes a player, and each year I have watched become KD become more bitter and be more vocal about his complaints.

These are not things to blame or burden him with, Kevin Durant is constantly trying to evolve as a player and become the greatest player in the world, like Russell Westbrook and I think he is. That’s why he went to the Warriors. This is the next step for him to prove himself to critics and show he isn’t a slumping superstar. For those who criticize him and call him a bandwagoner, these are the same people that criticized LeBron about his move to Miami and praised him for his return.

The Difference? Durant always said he was not LeBron, he tweeted in 2009 that he wanted to stay in Oklahoma City all of his career. He was the Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant of our generation, or that’s what we were led to believe. In the end, he’s was the LeBron James of a few years ago. The LeBron who I thought I understood, and then I was disappointed in. The LeBron every one hated and burned jerseys over, who people criticized and called a bandwagoner.

Neither of these men are bandwagoners, they went on this journey because basketball isn’t what it was a few years ago. It’s about super teams. Why have one good player when you can have five? This decision wasn’t about money, it was about a ring. The same reason LeBron left Cleveland to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. It’s the reason everyone wants to ignore because it’s easy to complain and wish for the basketball style of the 1980s or 1990s.

Does this mean Kevin Durant could come back? I hope so, but I don’t want to get my hopes up and place faith in a hollow place. Although I heard the reports of Jerry West whispering sweet nothings in Durant’s ear, I also heard the “close insider” talks about how Durant would return. I didn’t think he would leave Westbrook, the dynamic duo who was awarded KIA’s December MVP together because when in sync they are unstoppable. I believed the trading of Ibaka, the one that hurt because it was another member of the unstoppable 2010 team, would show Durant that we were growing and becoming stronger. There were many factors that I thought would lure Kevin Durant back for one more year, but the odds were always stacked against us.

Alas, the Thunder could never deliver him a ring as fast as the Warriors could. Truthfully, I’m not even sure they can get a ring this year, but I know a part of me doesn’t want them to. That’s partly my bitterness over the situation, but I don’t think they will be the team everyone wants them to be. One slip and it won’t be Steph Curry or Klay Thompson or Draymond Green’s fault, it will fall on the heavy shoulders of Durant. He’s walking a fine line between basketball hero and villain, when the truth is he’s just playing for the love of the game.

While Oklahoma is no longer my home, there are things you hold dear. The Oklahoma City Thunder was one of them. While I and Thunder fans held Durant up with pillars on one side, Westbrook and the team held him up on the other. Durant is going to test the waters and see if this is truly the evolution he envisioned for himself, but I think it will fall short. Not because the Warriors aren’t talented and won’t be able to deliver another crazy season, but because it’s not the home or the crowd that has followed him and loved him for eight years. I cannot follow Durant to Golden State, but I hope he finds what he wanted there. I’ll keep my Durant jersey folded away for now, but I’ll be excited when this NBA season is over and we are in the summer of possibilities.

No matter how much hurt I carry around, a part of me will always view Kevin Durant as my favorite player and the best in the world. I’ll long for the days of a Durant and Westbrook team up, miss the little things they did with one another on the court and enjoy it a little too much if Westbrook can lead the Thunder to beat Durant with the Warriors. For now, it is a bitter goodbye and a message for the next year: Come home, KD. Oklahoma City is the home you need, and the Thunder is the team you deserve.

We Deserve Better, DC Comics

Let’s imagine a world where Christian Bale was still Batman and Zack Snyder stuck within the realm of the Dark Knight universe. I would be happier, you would be happier, hell even Christian Bale would be happier. and we wouldn’t have to endure the two and half hour shitfest that was Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. DC Comics always has been dark when it came to its films, but there was an underlying feeling of hope on the horizon. Unfortunately with Batman v Superman, there is no hope.

Let’s Talk About Characters, Baby

From the opening scene of Batman v Superman, it was clear that this was Batman’s movie, not Superman‘s. That’s great and all, but even from the glimpse into Bruce Wayne’s parents’ death, it was clear that this wasn’t a Batman that would be recognizable to fans. It bothered me how Thomas Wayne attempted to punch the attacker before he made a move because it changed the whole dynamic of Batman’s quest for the underlying good. And boy, did it change it a lot. Don’t get me wrong, how could you cast Jeffrey Dean Morgan in a movie and not have him be a macho man, but that isn’t who Thomas Wayne was. Due to this turn of events, Batman became a superhero everyone feared, not just the guys lurking in the shadows. He used extreme brute force and even seemed to take joy in his excessive cruelness. He stance on justice was that “real men fight for it,” not aliens who come down and play god. While I’m aware that Batman is a vigilante, this was like a step too far into Snyder’s dreamland. I mean, when the people he saves identify him as a “devil,” then we have to know someone went wrong somewhere. Nothing against Ben Affleck, he did fine and it was the best fighting from Batman we have seen to date. I just don’t want him anywhere near the Batman character, plain and simple. (Please Ben, go take your script and get someone else, preferably Bale.)

As for Superman, can this guy be anymore of a wet blanket? He wants the same thing as Batman, and he will be just as pouty to prove it. When he isn’t too busy saving Lois Lane, who was painted as a glorified damsel in distress, he is wondering why people don’t like him. As Martha Kent pointed out in the Comic-Con trailer, “be anything they need you to be or be none of it.” Superman is the ultimate vision of good, but he is also idealistic and it that idea is killed a little bit when he just seems so down and negative about everything. We never see a side of Clark Kent where he isn’t brooding in a corner, complaining about the bat. And maybe that’s the problem, there wasn’t enough of a difference in moodiness between Batman and Superman, and their triumph to friendship felt forced and too quick. Understandably, I guess you have to speed up things when Doomsday starts attacking. But there has to be a way to personify who Superman is as a character. Look at Smallville, they successfully captured the essence of Superman growing up and becoming a hero. Why can’t a major motion picture do the same?

The Golden Age of Television

DC Comics is dominating the television game. With Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, they are literally setting the stage for comic book stories to be told. The disappointing thing is, Zack Snyder doesn’t want to use the television version of these superheroes because it doesn’t match his “tone.” These series already have a decent size following, and if they incorporated them into their movie multiverse, people would be even more drawn to catching up on what they missed out. Marvel did it with their show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and that show isn’t even as highly reguarded of as any of the holy trinity. People are more interested in characters that they know and trust, and Grant Gustin is that when in character because he fully embodies Flash.

Truly, I feel like DC Comics and Warner Brothers is missing out on a huge opportunity by not incorporating these shows. They are established and well written, and even with the different “tone,” Snyder’s Flash sounds a lot like the television show. Greg Berlanti has brought some much life to DC Comics with these three television series, and I feel like he could do even more if he could incorporate them into the movie multiverse. Part of the reason we are in the second or third Golden Age of Television is because of series like these, and it is a disappointment that they won’t be transferred over to the big screen.

Zack Snyder’s Obsession with Frank Miller

Much of Snyder’s career has been over Frank Miller‘s work, such as 300 and Watchmen. Batman v Superman seems to carry a lot of influences from ThDark Knight Returns, especially Batman’s costume and the ultimate showdown between the two heroes. Unfortunately, that is where the comparisons stop. Kevin Smith said it perfectly when describing Snyder with Batman v Superman, “he read one comic once, and it was Dark Knight Returns, and his favorite part was the last part where Batman and Superman fight.” The thing is, every time Snyder adapts a film for Miller’s source material, it always has a feel like this. He takes what he likes, but he forgets the heart.

Miller is a brilliant writer and there is a reason everyone wants to adapt his stories, but imagine if Snyder had dug deeper for a story in both Batman and Superman’s lore. What if Snyder took from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo‘s current Batman masterpiece to build his Batman? Or John Byrne‘s Superman: Man of Steel to shape the dynamic between Batman and Superman? Ultimately, Snyder had so much material to build off of, but he stuck to his safety belt and relied on watered down renditions of Miller’s stories.

Who Run the World? Girls

If there was one saving grace to Batman v Superman, it is Gal Gadot‘s take on Wonder Woman. Her entrance as the amazonian princess is electrifying. Any minute Gadot was on the screen, I was captivated, which is really unfortunate because she barely had any screen time. You’re biggest take away from this film should be your pure, unadulterated excitement for the Wonder Woman film coming to us in June 2017. While Batman has to dodge Doomsday attacks and Superman is off saving Lois Lane, Wonder Woman is facing him head on. She is the female superhero we have all been waiting for (and who we deserve), and I hope she marks the beginning of more female superheroes being transitioned to film.

Now on to Lois Lane. I want to begin this simply: Amy Adams deserved more from this film, and so did we. Lois Lane is a badass character, and Adams shined when she got to show off that side of Lois. Regrettably, those scenes were usually met with her somehow getting captured and Superman having to come and save her. This happened three times, THREE TIMES. Lois is way smarter than this, she even figured out that Lex Luthor was behind these crimes before anyone else (which, come on Batman is a super detective, and I’m supposed to believe he fell for Luther’s tricks, give me a break). Before she could even have a chance to save the day, they would have her do something out of character and that didn’t make sense, which ended up creating huge amounts of trouble. Still, Lois Lane was central to plot of this film. Even if they didn’t get the time or story they deserved, Adams owned her role and Gadot owned this movie reminding us that girls truly do run the world.

 

Why I’m Supporting Bernie Sanders

Before we get started, let’s get some preconceived notions out of the way: Yes, I am a young millennial, a recent college graduate and a female. Unfortunately, this formulaic assumption leads to comments like, “Of course you support Bernie, you naive little thing.” But like most millennials, I grew up in a broken system.

This broken system was lead by the Clinton and the Bush family. We grew up watching the system fail before us, 9/11, the housing market crash, bailouts galore and now we are going through one of the biggest racial divides our country has ever seen. Even seeing all of this, we aren’t negative, we’re distrustful. Maybe I am being presumptuous and speaking for a generation who doesn’t feel the way I do, but look at the support gathered around Bernie Sanders.

If you are younger than 55, you tend to lend your helping hand to Bernie Sanders, a self proclaimed democratic socialist who wants to fix a broken system. Based on that alone, we are drawn to his idealistic ways, even though we were skeptical when he first announced his candidacy. Then how did he attract the younger crowds, you might ask? His record, his history, his approval rating in the senate. Unlike many politicians, he isn’t afraid to go out of his way to voice an unpopular opinion because the thing is, it isn’t so unpopular.

Our drive is for a candidate who is open and cares about our voice, the voice of the working class. Take a peak into how politics is being ran right now, the voice of the public rarely turns out real results. And now comes along a senator who stands up to “Big Brother,” and we flock to him. It’s the same reason Republicans are drawn to Trump. The system is rigged, and we want someone who we feel can change it. The only difference between the two lies between “telling it like it is,” and someone who actually listens to the people and wants to make a difference.

Sanders is leading a political revolution, he is funded by the people and has voiced his distrust of the establishment. The same distrust I mentioned earlier, the one that strikes a chord with millennials and turns them against main stream media. We want the American Dream in the sense that we want a government that provides equality for all and cares about the betterment of society and its people. It makes sense why younger generations are attracted to someone who is anti-establishment because we want to restart and build something better, like FDR with the great depression.

And that’s really the meaning of democratic socialism, right? Providing people with the opportunity to succeed without capitalism getting in the way. Big money shouldn’t be in our politics, our medical care or our schools. The graduating class of 2015, my graduating class, will graduate from college with more debt than ever before. We are being set up to fail before we even get into the business world, so Sanders’ message of cutting the bullshit resonates with a lot of us. It is resonating so well, that even Hillary Clinton has started adapting his stump speeches into her own. And this is not to bash HRC, but to show that she recognizes the power Bernie has tapped into.

Millennials biggest concern with Hillary is her indecisive nature. Six months ago, Hillary wasn’t running the campaign she is today. I’ve always struggled with the Clintons’ simply because I remember them growing up, I remember her campaign in 2008 and how she has a very fear heavy tactic of deeming the GOP as our biggest enemy, and clinging to people like Obama and Henry Kissinger. It makes me afraid that she cannot work across the aisle and won’t be able to pass through a lot of the ideas that she is now promising. It makes me afraid that she will say what people like to hear to get elected, but not follow through when it comes time.

To quote The Dark Knight (2008), Bernie Sanders is the hero America deserves, but he is also the hero America needs right now. For those put off by his plans to uproot the political system, research his policies, look through his history and how he has always championed social issues. Maybe this is a “rose-tinted glasses” view of the Sanders’ campaign, but it fits the candidate I choose to support and the idea of what I want the country to become.

 

 

All About That Oscars Take 2

It’s my favorite time of the year: awards season, more specifically The Oscars. I’ve been keeping up with all the different award shows, taking in all the best picture nominations and generally being upset about the Oscar nominations (and potential winners) this year. We’ll dive more into that later, but without further ado, let’s get this show on the road.

Best Supporting Actor

Who I want to win: Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Who will win: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Let’s be real for just a second. Look at all of the past award shows and notice that Idris Elba won best supporting actor for Beasts of No Nation. Does the Oscars have a very real problem? Yes, 100 percent. I’m just scratching the surface of what every other entertainment site has been saying, but I just want to be real when I say that when Sylvester Stallone accepts the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in Creed, we all know that the award should have gone to Idris Elba. Now, of the people nominated, Tom Hardy (hands down) had the best supporting actor performance. Hardy is phenomenal in everything he does, and this year was no exception between his two performances in Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant, respectively. Unfortunately, the two vying for the award are Sylvester Stallone and Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies). In the end Sly will end up taking home the little gold man because he was the underdog of the late 70s and 80s and people want to see him win for the Rocky series since he was”robbed” the award in 1976.

Best Supporting Actress

Who I want to win: Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Who will win: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Spotlight was my favorite film this year, just like Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) was last year. Out of all the Best Supporting Actress nominees, Rachel McAdams has one of the quietest performances but also one of the strongest. Like I was real earlier, let’s be real here: Rooney Mara (Carol) and Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) should not be nominated in this category, they should have been nominated in the Best Actress category. This year we had a ton of strong performances from actresses in every movie nominated, more powerful than a lot of the actors who were nominated. If Vikander was nominated in this category for Ex Machina though, she would win the Oscar. Like Tom Hardy, Vikander had a lot of strong performances this year, especially since these roles were her breakout roles. Personally, her presence in Ex Machina was what really sold the film, and she was what carried The Danish Girl, but her role in Ex Machina just was on another level. Ultimately, I think the Oscar will be awarded to Kate Winslet. She is an awards season sweetheart, and with her early nab for Steve Jobs at the Golden Globes, I see her taking it again at the Oscars. And like Vikander with The Danish Girl, Winslet carried Steve Jobs on her back and delivered a beautiful performance (really though, she is the only reason worth watching Steve Jobs).

Best Actor

Who I want to win: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Who will win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Out of all the categories, Best Actor is the weakest link this year. Yes, the performances were good, but they weren’t on the level of the actress categories or even the supporting actor category. Will Leo take home his first Oscar? Yes, and he knows it. Was it Leo’s best performance to date? Absolutely not, and for some reason I’m really disappointed that this is what he will win for. The only performance I really feel passionate about from The Revenant is Tom Hardy, mostly because he made me hate his character so much. A great performance makes you feel something, it makes you connect. Leo’s was another “pat on the back” good performance, but this isn’t top notch Leo. Alas, I digress. In tune with my last opinion, Michael B. Jordan should have been nominated for Creed over Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs (another awards show sweetheart, but I just don’t get it), and if we are giving away awards for performance with a strong penchant for grunting then Tom Hardy should have been nominated for Mad Max: Fury Road over Matt Damon for The Martian. Just to push the envelope a little bit more, Abraham Attah (who just won Best Actor at the Independent Spirt Awards yesterday) and Jacob Tremblay should have been nominated for their respective roles in Beasts of No Nation and Room. Ending this on a sweet note, of the performances nominated, Bryan Cranston was my favorite. He always brings such charm to every role he is in, and Trumbo was no exception. The film itself is simply okay, but Cranston is a delight in it. If anyone nabs the Oscar from Leo, it will be Cranston.

Best Actress

Who I want to Win: Brie Larson, Room

Who will win: Brie Larson, Room

The only performance that could give Brie Larson a run for her money is Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn (who is always a pleasure to watch). Besides that, this award is pretty much being thrown at Brie Larson, and rightfully so. She dominated her performance as a mother struggling to adapt to the new world after being kidnapped for 7 years. Larson is constantly turning out amazing performances (see Short Term 12), and I’m happy she is getting the recognition she deserves. On a nomination note, Jennifer Lawrence should not have been nominated for Best Actress in Joy. Another awards season sweetheart, but this was probably her weakest performance to date.

*Side Note: Why There Should Be a Best Acting Ensemble Category

Before we leave the acting categories, I want to address something real quick. My favorite awards event is the Critics Choice Awards, their awards always seem to mimic how I feel about the awards season in general. They also have my favorite category, Best Acting Ensemble. There are a lot of performances that get overlooked or don’t get nominated because they’re amazing together in a film, but there might be stronger individual performances. You could argue that with this year’s Spotlight and The Big Short, my two favorite films of 2015. There was so many performances that got over looked this year or that will not get the awards they deserve, but if this category exsisted, let me show you how it would play out: Spotlight, The Big Short, Straight Outta Compton, Star Wars: Episode 7 -The Force Awakens, Beasts of No Nation and Mad Max: Fury Road would be nominated (in my dreams, okay?). This wouldn’t take away from the Best Picture award, but more so acknowledge the performances that worked better as a collective. I’ll leave this here and you can mull it over, but I think we could come to an agreement that this category would be a breath of fresh air at The Oscars. Furthermore, best performance doesn’t always mean best picture.

Best Director

Who I want to win: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Who will win: Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu, The Revenant

As a visual achievement, it really is as good as it gets between George Miller with Mad Max: Fury Road and Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu for The Revenant. If you wanted a subtle approach, Tom McCarthy for Spotlight or Adam McKay with The Big Short also deliver. This category is the most fairly stacked this award season. The only nomination I would swap out is Lenny Abrahamson‘s Room with Ridley Scott‘s The Martian. With technical style, The Revenant should win for best cinematography, but I prefer Miller’s directing style with Mad Max: Fury Road. Either way, I won’t be too upset with whoever takes home the Oscar for Best Director. I’m a big fan of Iñárritu, and to see him repeat his win from last year’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) would be a great feat.

Best Picture

Who I want to win: The Big Short or Spotlight

Who will win: The Revenant

Down to the nitty gritty, Best Picture is the biggest award of the night. With Chris Rock hosting, staying engaged with the 3 hour show should be an easy task. Like I mentioned earlier, The Big Short and Spotlight were my favorite films of 2015. Also, like I argued last year for Best Picture between Boyhood and Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Best Picture captures everything: writing, editing, directing, cinematography, acting, producing, etc. On this basis alone, I feel that The Big Short and Spotlight are better films than The Revenant. The Revenant is purely a technical accomplish, it is so beautiful to look at, but the story itself is lacking and, at times, boring. There is a reason it was not nominated for any of the writing categories. I will be very disappointed if it wins because it is not the film that Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) was last year. The Revenant, because of everything I listed, was one of my least favorite nominated films this year. Spotlight was the early favorite for this award, but as the awards season continued on, it lost steam. Although, it should be noted that it took home Best Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards yesterday. The Big Short, on the other hand, picked up the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture. For the last six years, the film that won this PGA award have went on to win Best Picture at The Oscars. Will this streak continue this year? I don’t know, but I surely hope so.

Top 10 Comic Book Romances

To celebrate the holiday of love and the release of Deadpool, I’m serenading all of you by compiling a list of the best superhero romances through out comic book history. Okay, maybe that is a bit dramatic, but these are my favorite romances. Fair warning, they are a little heavy on the DC Comics side, but I can’t help what compels my heart.

10. Superman (Clark Kent) and Lois Lane

supermanloislane

Beginning this list with one of the most iconic comic book couples only feels right. When you think of superhero relationships, Superman and Lois Lane are probably one of the first to come to your mind. While I am not a Superman fan, there is something about their relationship that draws you in. Perhaps it has something to do with its everlasting power. While they aren’t always together there is a part of Clark Kent that will always hold out for Lois Lane.

9. Gambit (Remy Etienne LeBeau) and Rogue (Anna Marie)

GambitandRogue

Rogue will forever be my favorite part of X-Men, and Gambit is your lovable southern mutant. Together they are a force to be reckoned with, but there is always something that will hold them apart. Rogue’s powers cause her to absorb the powers, life and even memories of any one who touches her. This causes a greater tension than “will they or won’t they?”

8. Wolverine (James “Logan” Howlett) and Storm (Ororo Munroe)

WolverineandStorm

I know many people prefer Wolverine with with Jean Grey, but I like to group Jean Grey and Cyclops (Scott Summers) and I love Wolverine with Storm. These two have a strong foundation of friendship and it blossomed into one of the better relationships within the Marvel universe. With all the alternative timelines inside the X-Men universe, at least I can pretend they are happy and married somewhere.

7. Raven and Beast Boy (Garfield Logan)

BeastBoyRaven

I grew up with Teen Titans as a little kid, and then when I matured and got into comics I still found an attachment to Teen Titans. More specifically I found myself still compelled by the relationship between Raven and Beast Boy. Sure, there is Terra and Jericho that complicates the relationship between these two, but like the above characters on this list there is just a special connection between these two. While Teen Titans seems to come and go, these two seem to stick around forever.

6. Batwoman (Kate Kane) and Renee Montoya

batwomanrenee

Kate Kane and Renee Montoya have a complicated history, but it is also one of the most progressive relationships in modern day comics. Through out Batwoman’s storylines, Kate Kane is still not getting the justice she deserve in DC Comic’s New 52. While Renee may not be the best fit for Kate, their relationship symbolized a new wave of comics and hopefully we will start to see more LGBT relationships blossom throughout the different superhero comics.

5. Poison Ivy (Dr. Pamela Isley) and Harley Quinn (Dr. Harleen Quinzel)

PoisonIvyHarleyQuinn

To Preface this, Harley Quinn‘s relationship with the Joker has always bothered me. While many people still cling to that relationship, I have always preferred her friendship with Poison Ivy because it was an escape away from the abusive nature of the Joker. With the New 52, we have gotten to see Harley break away and become her own villain, and even more so we got to see the relationship with Ivy blossom into something more. I also do not think DC Comics is perfect, their handling of the Batwoman comics was poorly done, but I think they are starting to make strides and their comics. Making a relationship many people loved as cannon definitely speak volumes to me.

4. Batman (Bruce Wayne) and Catwoman (Selina Kyle)

BatmanCatwoman

This was the first relationship I was really introduced to with my comic book adventures. Batman was my first love; I own every movie, watched every cartoon and have done my best to read whatever I can get my hands on. Furthermore, his relationship with Catwoman was electric. She was the yin to his yang, in the sense that she walked the fine line between good and evil. Batman, for his part, mostly brought out the best in Catwoman. Together, they kind of defined each others moral code. Kind of like Superman and Lois Lane, you can’t think of iconic couple without thinking of Batman and Catwoman.

3. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage

LukeCageJessJones

They aren’t a perfect couple, but there is just something special they share. Through each chapters of their lives, they always find a way back to each other. Thankfully, Netflix and Marvel has done a great job of bringing this relationship to  life and showing its imperfections, as well as its perfections. I feel like I am simplifying their relationship, but it just feels very real minus the super powers. We even feel the journey between Luke Cage and Jessica Jones as they explore the world of parenthood and how they fit that into their “jobs” and everyday life. So maybe this couple truly celebrates the hero in all of us.

2. Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and Gwen Stacy (Spider-Gwen)

 

Gwen Stacy will always be the true love of Spider-Man, in my heart. Yes, there is Mary Jane, the girl who loved Spider-Man, but isn’t Peter Parker more than a costume? While the Amazing Spider-Man films suffered from a lack luster script, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone really captured the essence and chemistry that I felt reading pages shared between Gwen and Peter. Thankfully, Marvel has resurrected Gwen Stacy and created Spider-Gwen. And yes, I relish in joy with the interactions between Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen. While the two can’t be together in their respective universes, maybe they can find love within the Spider-Verse.

1. Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) and Dick Grayson (Nightwing/Robin)

NightwingBatgirl

And the couple to top the list is Batgirl and Nightwing. They grew up together, had flirtatious fights with stolen glances. They matured together and broke away from the bat that helped them so they could create good on their own. No matter what though, they always come back to one another. While they are good in their respective areas, they’re perfect together. They don’t have to hide who they are between each other, and they know each other better than anyone else could. Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson are perfect together, whether they want to admit it (or succumb) to it or not.

 

 

Grease 2: Live Dream Casting

Those who know me know I adore/prefer Grease 2 (yes, over Grease, go ahead and get your judgement out of the way). In fact, out of celebration for Grease: Live, I forced my husband to watch Grease 2 and appreciate how much better it is (insert your scoffs here). When Fox announced they were doing Grease: Live, I only had one thought: “Why not Grease 2?” I played along and watched Grease! Live. Vanessa Hudgens stole the show as Rizzo, Aaron Tveit was terrible not great as Danny (alas, people were mesmerized by his *ahem* dancing), and Jordan Fisher really made Doody come to life. That’s what these performances are about, giving people a chance to shine as iconic (or not as iconic) characters. After the show, Buzzfeed‘s Louis Peitzman made my Grease 2 dreams come alive. He put together what he thought a Grease 2: Live should look like. While I was intrigued by his article, it got me thinking about who I would love to see in these roles. So, without further ado, here is my Grease 2: Live dream casting (please make this happen, Fox).

Aly Michalka as Stephanie Zinone

grease2.stephanie

Aly Michalka Saints Row: The Third concert and event – Arrivals Held At Superclub Hollywood, California – 12.10.11 Mandatory Credit: FayesVision/WENN.com

No one will ever be able to top Michelle Pfeiffer, but if there is someone who could come close my bets are on Aly Michalka. One half of the female duo, Aly & AJ, they made all teenage girls feel empowered with their breakup hit “Potential Break-Up Song.” While she has the singing down to a pat, she also has some acting range. Look to the CW hit iZombie, she may not be in every episode but she makes an impact when she is there. Plus, wouldn’t you just love to hear her belt out the best of Grease 2 with “Cool Rider” and  my favorite “(Love Will) Turn Back the Hands of Time.”

Blake Jenner as Michael Carrington

grease2.michael

Peitzman was right, for Michael Carrington, Blake Jenner is the perfect choice (there is one other time that happens on this list). While not only having similar looks, Blake has a great voice (he won the The Glee Project for a reason, people). From his time of Glee, he had a lot of fun performances, but my favorite was when him and Jacob Artist performed “Unchained Melody” *note how great they sound together, just saying. Now let’s just hope he can bring alive “Charades“, the sleeper on an overall great movie musical soundtrack.

Ashley Tisdale as Paulette Rebchuck

grease2.paulette

Remember how Vanessa Hudgens stole the show as Rizzo? Well maybe she can give some tips to her High School Musical costar/bestie, Ashley Tisdale. Tisdale could perfectly bring the sexuality and vulnerability of Paulette to the live production. Also, what better way to start bringing back the cast of HSM than television musicals? Trust me, with Paulette’s costuming, Tisdale is going to “Score Tonight.”

Penn Badgley as Johnny Nogerelli

grease2.johnny

Before I get started, I just want to say that I adore Adrian Zmed and, like everyone else in Grease 2, he played this part to perfection. Now let’s dive into Penn Badgley. Don’t you want to see him as an insecure bad boy? No, not a mopey “bad” boy like his lonely boy character, Dan Humphrey in Gossip Girl (Disclaimer: I loved Dan, and I was huge Dan and Serena shipper), but a real bad boy. He’s the leader of the T-Birds and if you don’t want to watch Badgley going “Prowlin’” you can leave this list right now (but please stay so you can finish the dream casting).

Aja Naomi King as Sharon Cooper

grease2.sharon

You know how you kind of love to hate Aja Naomi King‘s Michaela on How to Get Away with Murder? Well, that is kind of the same feeling you have about Sharon Cooper in Grease 2. Now don’t get me wrong, Aja Naomi King is amazing, but her character is kind of annoying, but she ultimately she is a boss (hence the love to hate). Imagine if she put that kind of personality into Grease 2‘s Sharon, and it’s a masterpiece waiting to happen. I wouldn’t want to miss King imitating Jackie O and bossing everyone around so they can achieve perfection in “Girls for All Seasons.”

Tyler Posey as Louis DiMucci

grease2.louis

Louis DiMucci, he’s definitely one of the more interesting characters in Grease 2. Ultimately though, he is the key to Michael becoming a coo-oool rider (he’s the first to ask Michael to do his homework), but that isn’t the reason DiMucci is so memorable. Tyler Posey‘s DiMucci would be the perfect balance to Aja Naomi King’s Sharon, and maybe he could inspire people to “Do it for Our Country.” But really guys, this is just creepy. Please do not ever attempt to do this.

Troian Bellisario as Rhonda Ritter

grease2.rhonda

Out of all the characters of Grease 2, Rhonda was the least memorable of the pink ladies. That is why I think Troian Bellisario would be the perfect choice for Rhonda. She could pull of Rhonda’s insecurities about her nose and transform her into a goddess of confidence by a two hour time mark without a problem. Give Spencer Hastings a chance, let her be the Rhona Ritter we deserve.

Jacob Artist as Goose McKenzie

grease2.goose

Like I mentioned earlier with Michael Carrington, Peitzman nailed the dream casting for Goose: Jacob Artist. Artist could make you love him one minute and hate him the next on Glee, which is exactly what Goose’s character needs (and deserves). Also, Goose and Johnny had a true bromance, and to see that come to life again would be magical. Between backing up Johnny’s remarks and causing him to swallow a cigarette, these are the scenes that make Grease 2 a joy to watch.

Rowan Blanchard as Dolores Rebchuck

2015 Glamour Women Of The Year Awards - Arrivals

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 09: Actress Rowan Blanchard attends 2015 Glamour Women Of The Year Awards at Carnegie Hall on November 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Glamour)

Dolores Rebchuck was a scene stealer, and so is Rowan Blanchard. Dolores was ready to rule the school and redefine what a pink lady was, and her friendship with Michael was precious. Rowan is already making platforms on feminism, sexuality and friendship, and more than anything I am excited to see her star grow brighter. The pink ladies won’t know what hit them when Rowan’s Dolores steps into each scene.

Karan Brar as Davey Jaworski

grease2.davey

Truthfully, if I could have any person play Davey, it would be Fresh Off the Boat‘s Hudson Yang, but since he is still a bit young the next best thing is Karan Brar. He has the youthfulness that Davey embodies, and he is simply just the most adorable. Plus, isn’t Brar the perfect choice for Dolores to have a crush on in the end?

Rashida Jones as Miss Mason

grease2.missmanson

Miss Mason is the reason boys are hot for teacher, so who better to play her than the ever sexy Rashida Jones? Plus with Jones’ comedic chops, she will be able to kill the scenes that call for a little more jokes. I mean, without her would Mr. Stuart even be interesting? While I wait to get to that particular song, can you imagine Jones stealing the scene with just a few looks? I can, Rashida Jones is pure gold.

Jason Segel as Mr. Stuart

grease2.mrstuart

An I Love You, Man reunion. Think of Jason Segel as Mr. Stuart, only he could pull off the suave awkwardness, while also wooing Miss Mason with his teaching skills. I mean, what better way to learn about “Reproduction” than sitting in on one of his classes? Plus, Jones’ Miss Mason and Segel’s Mr. Stuart might have the hottest chemistry of all.