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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mom At Sixteen

This Lifetime film is actually one of the better ones. We meet Jacey, (Danielle Panabaker) a teenager who has just moved to a new town with her mother and two siblings. In a world of teenage promiscuity Jacey seems strangely subdued. Something is eating at her which the school guidance counselor (played by Ally McBeal's Jane Krakowski notices right away. A major subplot of this movie is the counselor's desire to have children of her own.

We learn rather quickly that Jacey's brother Charlie is in reality her son. Her mother is pretending that he is her son in order to save Jacey from the shame of being a teenage mother. Jacey is miserable however as she feels she has the right to decide what to do with her own child. Her mother is so overbearing she wouldn't even let Jacey tell her boyfriend/baby daddy about Charlie.

This movie shows a very honest and enlightening potrayel of teenagers sexuality and the way that they feel about it. It doesn't wrap the movie up in a happy bow, it shows just how hard it is to be a teenage mom in a world where people look down and don't respect you. Panabaker is believable as the main character and truly gives her all to the role. The ending is sweet and will make tears well up in your eyes, at least mine did.

Highlight below for spoiler
My chief complaint has to do with the end of the film. Jacey ends up handing the baby over to her counselor to raise. We see them four years later and since then the counselor has given birth to a child of her own. This is a theme common used in the media, the mother struggles to conceive adopts a child then miraculously has a biological child soon after. I think this is kind of insulting to the infertile mothers out there who won't have that miracle baby. Would it really be so wrong to have an infertile mother adopt and happily raise those children with no regrets about not having them biologically?

The Best Little Girl In The World.

Once upon a time I used to religiously buy a copy of Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. For a movie buff in the pre internet it was a plethora of movie information and trivia. One of the movie's listed in there had always intrigued me but damned if I could find it. That movie was The Best Little Girl In The World. It listed two of my favorite actresses Jennifer Jason Leigh and Ally Sheedy.

Well imagine my delight I was channel surfing to finally catch this much anticipated but never found film. Sigh anticipation is overrated. The movie while I'm sure pivotal for it's time was a script by numbers bore with a mostly uninteresting cast.

Based on the novel by Steven Levenkron, the film centers around Casey a high school junior. Casey is the epitome of the all American girl, an aspiring ballerina, cheerleader, good student, and someone who avoids sex, drugs, and booze. Casey's family on the other hand is a nightmare, her mother is overbearing, her father's a doormat, and her troublesome sister has just announced that she is pregnant. An overwhelmed Casey soon succumbs to Anorexia as a method of coping.

As I said before the movie is dull. With the exception of Leigh, the cast seems to be going through the motions. Not that I can blame them as the movie veers from dull and predictable to insanely ludicrous within seconds. You can predict every twist and turn without using single brain cell. And to add insult to injury Sheedy only appears in the film for one or two scenes playing a friend of Casey's.

Simply put if you are a major fan of Jennifer Jason Leigh then definitely give this a scene, she is quite wonderful. But if not it's better to avoid this film.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Zuker Returning To Days

Arianne Zuker who played the scheming Nicole Walker will be returning to Days sometimes this March. Zuker joined the soap in 1998 and stayed until 2006 when the actress decided to pursue a movie career.

Arianne's main story lines were being married to Lucas while being in love with Eric, marrying Victor Kiriakis and then attempting to kill him, and finally trying to keep her lover Brady from finding out that his true love Chloe was alive.

Zuker would marry Kyle Lowder the actor who played Brady in 2002, the duo announced their separation in 2007. I hope Days continues to bring back fan favorites to fill the void that the recent spate of firings. Hopefully by bringing back all the fan favorites Days might save itself from the brink of canceling.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Finally A Reason To Watch SNL Again

Tina Fey will return to her old stomping grounds Feb 23 as host on the first post-strike show of the season. I for one am thrilled I used to watch religiously during the period she was on and never realized how much of an asset she was until she was gone. As talented as the current cast of SNL is, I simply could not watch after she left.

Also up for hosting will be Ellen Page who I also can't wait to see. She is an awesome actress who refuses to go for the script by numbers movies that a lot of actresses her age are stuck with. If you are unfamiliar with her go out and see Juno or stay at home and rent Hard Candy. They are both amazing films. Ellen Page will host March 1st.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

More Joel McHale Love

I have no idea who this Heidi Montag chick is. All I know is that she suddenly showed up out of nowhere and really cannot carry a tune. Luckily for us Joel Mchale is here to add some humor to this travesty of a video.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Eye

Honestly not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Jessica Alba plays Sydney a violinist who has been blind since she was 5 years old. She gets a cornea transplant that brings her more than just sight. It brings her the ability to see the dead.

These new visions begin to effect Sydney's life threatening her very sanity in the process. With the help of her therapist she begins to search for the donor in an attempt to get answers.

This film is quite suspenseful with honest to goodness and some pretty scary scenes. Jessica Alba shines as Sydney and we are even blessed with awesome Parker Posey as well. The script is most decent however I found the ending to be rather ludicrous and tacked on. And the final reveal of the donor seemed rushed and not properly thought out. All in all though it's a decent movie that will entertain.

On a personal note: To the people in the theater with me, I am aware you probably didn't like the film as much as I did. That's okay not everyone has the same tastes. However not everyone pays nearly 20$ for film and food just to listen to you guys. Laughing for nearly 30 minutes during a horror movie, yelling such witty platitudes as "Oooh scary," and "Run bitch run", and ignoring the people who kept shushing you is simply trashy and ignorant. If you don't like the film and can't keep your trap shut then leave, the rest of the audience will thank you.

Movie theaters need to bring back movie ushers to patrol the theaters during the films. We need to have theaters that aren't afraid of ousting the problem customers. So you might lose one or two customers, you've just gained the respect of the other 40. We pay a lot of money to see these films, we should be able to see the film in peace.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Fair warning: if the Blair Witch made you feel sick to your stomach or you are prone to motion sickness do not watch this film. Cloverfield is an interesting if not visually intense film seen entirely from the point of view of a camcorder.

The film focuses on a going away party for Rob (Michael Stahl-David) who is moving to Japan for a job. Rob and his best friend Beth (Odette Yusman) are estranged due to the two of them having made love a month prior. The two argue and Beth leaves the party early. His best friend Hud is asked to film the party but winds up documenting the chaos that follows.

Soon the building rocks with earthquake-like intensity and the party goers race down to the streets where the Statue Of Liberty's head is thrown in to the streets nearby and a gargantuan creature is seen in the distance.

Despite the inherent danger Rob and his friends face they navigate the city to locate Beth who is trapped in her apartment.

If you can get past the jerky camera work, Clovefield is an awesome, atmospheric, thrillfest that you simply cannot miss a minute of. The actors aren't big Hollywood stars which also lends credibility to realness of the flick. The film also stars Lizzie Caplan who is best known for her role as Janice Ian on Mean Girls.

Update: They finally released a studio pic of the Cloverfield monster. Click here for viewing

This is image was found on Cloverfield Clues. Which if you are a fan I highly recommend visiting.

Friday, February 1, 2008

LadyJ's Top 10 Of Music Videos

Remember the olden days when MTV played these wacky three or four minute movies set to music. Remember when VH-1 also showed those odd little things. Nowadays the so called music video channels might show an actual video interspersed with the loads upon loads of reality television but that's once in a blue moon. In honor of this lost television art I present my list of the ten best videos I've ever seen. If you want to watch the video just click on the title of the songs and it will lead you to the Youtube link.

Before Clueless and Batman and Robin, Alicia Silverstone was best known as the "Aerosmith Girl". She had appeared in three videos off of their Get A Grip album. Cryin was the first. Silverstone plays a young girl obsessed with a guy (Stephen Dorff) who pretty much treats her like crap. She begins acting out eventually getting his attention and telling him to get lost in a single breath. Lost fans can spot the future Sawyer Ford (Josh Holloway) at 3:45 in the video.

9. Bad Girl by Madonna

This video is from Madonna's 1992 Erotica Album and seems to borrow from the 70s film Looking For Mr. Goodbar. Madonna plays a reckless, cold-hearted business woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown. She spends her evenings getting loaded and taking home strange men. Unknown to her she being watched by an angel (Christopher Walken) who finds himself enamored with her. This is an intense and amazing video that shows us a more honest side of Madonna.

This in my humble opinion is one of Britney's more innovative videos from her 2001 self-titled album. She plays a spy who dons a variety of disguises in order to obtain a vial of poison in which to use on what I presume to be an ex-lover. It seems to have Alias type vibe to it and features actor Taye Diggs in the motorcycle segment. It's fun and creative, not like the other videos where Britney just dances and writhes around.

In 1987, George Michael created an image for him with his Faith album instantly becoming a notable pop star. However by 1990 he was quick to jetison that image and Freedom '90 was that image's swan song. George Michael refused to appear in the video and instead hired the biggest supermodels of the time to mouth the lyrics. The models were Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Patitz, and Christy Turlington. He took potshots at his Faith image by blowing up his trademark jukebox and burning the trademark jacket that appeared in his Faith video. It's a great F.U. to an image he had long outgrown.

This epic video also spelled the end to this band's career but what a way to end. Based on Del James' short story Without You, we follow the love, marriage, and eventual death of a couple (played by Guns N' Roses lead singer Axl Rose and then girlfriend Stephanie Seymour). Interspersed with these scenes is the band playing among a huge orchestra and a killer shot of Slash's guitar solo in the desert. This video is breathtaking with great symbolic scenes and just IMHO the best power ballad ever made.

Take the three little pigs, throw in a falsetto cameo by the lead singer of Tool, ganja, Harley's and Rambo and you have a pretty kick ass video. Done entirely in claymation this 1992 video only debuted as a video not a single. The only way to get the song at the time was to buy a pink vinyl 45. This innovative video helped propel this song to #17 on the Billboard charts.

4.Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time is probably the only video to make me cry every time I see it. Cyndi plays a girl who's outgrown the small time she lives in. The only thing keeping her there is her boyfriend whom she loves. She eventually leaves and her boyfriend momentarily agrees to leave with her, however he chickens out at the last moment. She tearfully watches him as she prepares for her new life. It's just amazing and makes great use of such an emotional song.

This video may seem a little stark in contrast with the other videos but I love it just the same. It's simplicity is probably what makes this video the most striking. It showcases what made Janet an '80s phenomenon in the first place her dance moves and her voice. The song can be found on her 1986 album Control

2.Always by Bon Jovi

This single from Bon Jovi's 1994 Crossroads album potrays the good and eventual bad times of a couple (played by Jack Noseworthy and Carla Gugino). They are intensely happy and very attracted to one another. Until he attempts to hook up with another girl while she's away. She catches them and runs off eventually meeting and hooking up with an artist who paints her nude. The next day she decides to take her boyfriend back only to have him freak out over her infidelity. She says Goodbye and he ends up destroying her lover's apartment and presumably is on the run. He is last seen in a Mexican hotel obviously still haunted by her. This video is just perfect and I can't get enough of watching it. The video also start Keri Russell as the "other woman" and Jason Wiles as the painter.

This video from 1985's Hunting High And Low is ahead of it's time. It bears a great blend of live action and animation in a time where CGI was unheard of. We see a young woman in a diner reading a comic about a motorcycle racer. She is stunned when the studly star of the comic pulls her into the pages. Their moment together is interrupted by the comic's antagonists and she manages to flee the comic only to find her cartoon lover presumably dead. She brings the comic home and sees him fighting to break free of his world in order to join her in hers. It's innovative and withstands time.