Monday, December 30, 2013

Some 2014 Hopes/Dreams/Goals

2013 has been an interesting year.  I'm a year older, but I feel like I've grown decades into my wisdom. Work has been fruitful, and I feel like I've gotten closer to God.  When I first moved here, I did so with the goal of becoming an Oscar and Tony winner.  I wanted awards.  The last couple of years have molded me into becoming a workaholic with realistic dreams.  Nowadays, I just like staying busy and helping artists execute their visions.  I don't think this is a downgrade, or me settling.  I think I've grown more passionate about my career(s), with the goal now being that I want to do it for me and my crew/team rather than me and my imaginary fame.  Less selfish, more selfless.  That being said, here's to the older, more mature me.
My Hopes/Dreams/Goals for the New Year:
-Listen To My Body More
"You can't argue with the body, Jerry.  Its an argument you can't win".  Kramer was oh so right.  I am not a machine, and its time I accepted that.  I need to rest more often.

-Filter out all the haters and the shitty people in my life


This is great because you just make my really good friends seem saintly. Like it takes a lot for me to just cut people off, so just know you're like way more fucked up than I ever expected. Remember, that is your problem, not mine, even though you try to make it seem otherwise. I also appreciate the amount of shit you talk about me. That just shows you have a rather unhealthy obsession with me....again, your problem, not mine. I know now to keep my heart guarded more than ever.  

Its emo for sure, but being a grownup presents grownup problems.  Unfortunately, grownups seem to know less and less about what it takes to be a good friend.  

-Lose 20 pounds
Its a healthy goal.  

-Get scuba license
I've put this off for too long.

-Quit putting off the Krav Maga
I've signed up so many times and have had to cancel.  I need to do this!!

-Wear More Black
I've decided to become one of those New Yorkers who dresses in all black.  Those who know me personally will find this a bit shocking since I'm known for my love of bright colors.  No, I'm not trying to be in the elitist clique…I'm just not "wowed' by fashion anymore.  I just don't see a point.  I'd rather just keep it simple and solid.  Just black.  We'll see how long this lasts.

-Do More Good
This needs to be the reason I wake up in the morning.  Not money, not glory, not work.  Simply do more good.  

-Skydive
I keep putting this off as well.  I just need to hurry up and get it over with.  

-Turn Down Work and Feel Okay About It

-Work More Outside of NY
I'm currently bi-coastal.  I was also blessed to work on 3 shows longterm that required extensive travel.  I need to get myself more acclimated with more production cities and just be ready to hit the ground running.  There is life outside of NY!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

12 Years an Oldboy


   I saw 12 Years a Slave and the American adaptation of Korea's Oldboy.  Care to guess which one was heaping pile of garbage?
    Steve McQueen is currently my favorite director.  I've pretty much enjoyed all he's put out because of his unapologetic style and charisma.  Spike Lee has also been a favorite of mine for sometime now, also for his unapologetic style, but I find myself questioning his choices this time around.
   12 Years a Slave, was a gruesome film to watch.  I must say that I really appreciated the period dialog used in this film.  It wasn't just people trained to speak in Southern drawl, it was people actually speaking as if they were in that time, heavily influenced by the King James Bible.   Except for you, Mr.  Benedict Cumberbatch.  Good try, but your accent was a dead giveaway.   I'll let it go because you're such a charming Englishman and otherwise incredible actor.  
   This was quite the all star cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Adepero Oduye, Michael Fassbender, Michael K. Williams, Brad Pitt, Paul Giatmatti, Paul Dano--I mean the list goes on, and not once did I feel like I was taken out of the story due to an all too familiar face.  However…what was up with the dude from Raising Hope and an SNL funnyman making their way in this movie?!  
   Anyways, I appreciate McQueen for tackling such a difficult project but I absolutely commend him, Fassbender, and Dano for really showing the PSYCHOTIC MADNESS of it all so well.  If I was to shake either of Michael or Paul's character's hands, my inner monologue would definitely be saying "yeah….this motherfucker is crazy.  He's smiling, but he's definitely got some crazy behind the eye that I don't think I want to get to know…" and back away slowly.

   I had some issues with costuming....I always will because that's what I was trained in.  The aging and dying of the costumes appeared almost nonexistent.  I found it rather hard to believe that Patsy and her crew picked over 500 pounds of cotton a day and were never offered soap but still had nice outfits on.  The fact that we "are working in mud and dirt on a scorching hot super humid day in the South and our clothes look brand spanking new"  sort of made me give a side eye but what can you do...Some of the nicer period costumes looked a little off as well, but I can't really put into words why/how.  Sorry about that.  If I can figure it out, I'll be sure to update.  

  

   Oldboy….oh Spike, why'd you do it?!  As I said before, I do love Spike, but I'm sorry…I will be reading this movie for filth.  And…here we go:  Foreign films are better left as foreign…the language and the style used all supplement the story in its own unique way.  Just because a foreign picture is a huge success, doesn't mean we need an american version of it to make it more marketable!!  I honestly think American remakes are like a "dumbed down" version which makes audiences here seem rather....stupid...?  I will not fully blame Spike.  I know he was frustrated and lost a lot of creative control, to the point of even removing his usual "Spike Lee Joint" from the title cards.  
   The makeup was awful.  Do you know why it was awful?  Because I could tell it was makeup.  Bad makeup.  The wardrobe looked like it was all shopped at Walmart, in the clearance bin full of things from 1998 that no one would take, even after being marked down to nothing.  The effects were cheap.  The music sounded like the free loops you get on Soundtrack Pro or even Garage Band.  What the hell was up with Samuel L.  Jackson's look?!  Apparently, he's some sort of gay space alien who has his own boy band??  ....and I won't lie.  I was a bit offended by the asian ninja girl who protected Adrian...


   WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT HAMMER SCENE!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
   The whole way this relationship happened between Joe and Mari was so artificial and forced…I'll stop there and go back to what I know:  wardrobe.  We've already discussed Samuel L. Jackson….how about that flashback??  One of the best ways to convey a flashback is through wardrobe.  I feel like all they did was change the lights and hairstyles but kept the same shitty Walmart clothes.  Don't get it twisted…I'm not saying they should have been in head to toe Armani…I'm just saying it shouldn't have been so obvious that you had a shitty budget.  
Semi-Conclusion: 12 Years a Slave=yay; American Oldboy=nay
I don't think I could work with either director simply because the pattern I see in their work is that they don't really care what their characters are wearing and neither do their producers and probably cut as many corners as possible starting with wardrobe.  
I will say, I loved seeing both directors' trademarks in their respected films…its always good to see those.  McQueen's excrutiatingly long takes and Lee's floating actor


   While 12 Years was the better film, the experience of watching Oldboy was more fun.  The theatre was about three quarters full.  In front of me was an African man and his girlfriend.  To the right of me was a group of younger black adults.    (I only mention race here because of an interesting exchange of words that occurs later)  The group was being loud so the African man got angry and yelled at them.  So the group retaliated and they were at each other's throats during the movie, all while the African man's girlfriend was sitting there saying "seriously?"  over and over again in what sounded like her impression of The Nanny.  It doesn't stop here.  
The African man threatened to beat up the entire group and call the cops on them.  One of the guys felt hurt by this and walked up to him in the middle of the theatre, pointing his finger in his face, "Calm the fuck down, brah.  Don't even joke about calling the cops.  I am black just like you.  You ain't no different.   If they take us, they're gonna take you too.  WE ARE BLACK LIKE YOU. CALM DOWN."  The man actually did in fact calm down and even apologized.  It still doesn't end here. 
The group eventually got louder and apparently drunker.  One of them even drunkdialed his girlfriend, Josephine during the movie and started yelling at her.  In his frustration, he lit a cigarette.  This caused management to step in and force the group to leave.  They did not go quietly.  All of this was happening during the big sex scene in the movie.  The group was finally taken out right at the climax, to which the African man applauded, causing the group to call him and apparently the rest of us all 'faggots' and threw a water bottle at him.  Thankfully, I was not in the splash zone.