Archive for April, 2014

I did my last post about starting a bucket list.

So I started.

My goal was to have 100 items on the list. I’m going to post #1-45, seeing as I’m not finished. I’m thinking maybe some of the things I wrote will give you guys some ideas. Continue to give me suggestion to add to my list!

 

Bucket List

1. Make a short film.
2. Write a novel.
3. Stay overnight in a haunted house/hotel.
4. Attend a Hollywood movie premiere.
5. Go on stage at a rock concert.
6. Donate at least $1,000 to a charitable organization.
7. Ride in a hot air balloon.
8. Drive on the Autobahn.
9. Get an actor to introduce himself/herself to you as a character they have played.
10. Go whitewater rafting.
11. Leave a $250 tip for a waiter/waitress.
12. Eat at least one meal in every state.
13. Be an elementary school teacher for a day.
14. Eat pizza in Italy.
15. Be on Ellen.
16. Donate 100 blankets to the homeless.
17. Go to Times Square for New Year’s Eve
18. Pay for a family’s meal in a restaurant.
19. Be a bridesmaid.
20. Throw a dart at a map and travel where it lands.
21. Stay overnight in an abandoned asylum/prison.
22. Go to a Superbowl.
23. Live in another country for at least 6 months.
24. Take a picture every day for a year.
25. Go to a “coffee shop” in Amsterdam.
26. Go on a cruise.
27. Visit at least 5 European countries.
28. Make a scrapbook.
29. Go to Comic-Con.
30. Befriend a complete stranger.
31. Play with a baby cheetah.
32. Go scuba diving.
33. See the 7 wonders of the world.
34. Go to Mardi Gras.
35. Drive a Lamborghini.
36. Hold a snake.
37. Go to Buckingham Palace.
38. Do a pub crawl in Ireland.
39. Take a tour of Alcatraz.
40. Ride a gondola in Venice, Italy.
41. Drink at an ice bar.
42. Pull an all-nighter in Las Vegas.
43. Write a letter to myself and open it in 10 years.
44. Learn to play poker.
45. Learn how to ice skate.

Advertisements

I’ve decided to wait until May 10th to start the 30 day writing challenge that I posted on Monday. I will be out of town this coming weekend, and the following week will be finals week, so I figure it would be best to start with summer.

 

On to today’s post: The Bucket List.

Many of you may be familiar with the TV show, The Buried Life.

the-crew (1)

Basically, Ben Nemtin, Jonnie Penn, Duncan Penn and Dave Lingwood go around the world marking items of their bucket list, while helping others cross items off their bucket lists as well.

These guys have crossed off some major bucket list items over the course of their project:

#89: Play ball with the President.
#59: Ask out the girl of your dreams. (In this case, it was Taylor Swift.)
#124: Be on Oprah.
#91: Get married in Vegas.
#25: Capture a fugitive.

Ok, so back to reality. Most of us don’t have MTV funding our bucket list adventures.

Creating a bucket list has been on my bucket list for a long time (see what I did there?) but regrettably, I’ve never gotten around to it. What does one add to a bucket list? I think we all have a mental bucket list, whether we realize it or not. If you see the a picture of the Eiffel Tower and say to yourself, “wow, I would love to visit the Eiffel Tower before I die!” That sort of counts, right? That’s been basically the extent of my bucket list making, but I’ve decided I want to actually write 100 things I want to do before I die. Also, are there rules for bucket lists? Are you allowed to add and immediately cross out something really cool that you’ve already done? I’m sure that around #50, I’ll start getting desperate for ideas and my list will begin to look a bit like this:

#51: Visit England.
#52: Go shopping in England.
#53: Eat shepherd’s pie in England.
#54: Buy an umbrella in England.
#55: Take a picture in England.
#56: Sleep at a hotel in England.
#57: Fly home from England.

While all those items (ok, maybe not #54) are [somewhat] legitimate, I want 100 original ideas. I have quite a few already, but I want you guys to give me some insight.
If any of you have a bucket list, what items do you have on it? Or if you don’t have a bucket list, what would you put on it if you did? Have you done anything that you really enjoyed that I should consider adding to my own bucket list? Leave me some comments and let me know, I’d love to hear what you have to say!

 

Also, this is a really cool website you should check out if you’re interested in making a bucket list for yourself. You can look at what other people have on their lists, and you can also keep track of your own on the site.

Last summer, I started a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Nikki Sixx, who is the bass player for the rock band Motley Crue recommended this book on his radio show, SixxSense. Nikki Sixx was a contributing writer for a lot of Motley Crue‘s music, he is an avid photographer, has written two books (The Heroin Diaries and This is Gonna Hurt), has a side music project, Sixx:A.M., and hosts his own radio show. He spoke so highly of the book, and what it did for his creative process, so I decided to check it out.

This book isn’t a novel, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a how-to book either. It takes you through a journey to bettering your creativity. I began this book and really enjoyed it. I started working through the activities and implementing the tips. At first I thought it sounded kind of hokey, but it really works. It’s just something you have to try for yourself – which I don’t think you would regret doing.

51+HkCfGpFL

I’ll just be honest; I didn’t finish the book. I started it, and got really into it, but soon enough, it faded and I moved on to something else. (If you know me personally, you know how often I do this.)

While I was still reading Julia Cameron’s book, I discovered a practice that I really enjoyed doing, that I felt really did help me creatively. I give you, The Morning Pages.

The idea behind The Morning Pages is to write 3 pages every morning of unfiltered, unedited, stream-of-consciousness writing. It can be about anything you want. However, your Morning Pages are never to be re-read after you write them. This exercise helps you to stop unnecessarily criticizing your work. It allows you to write whatever is on your mind. It helps you to transfer what’s in your mind, effectively to paper. I often have difficulties with that; by the time I’ve edited my though, implemented correct syntax, and spiced up the vocabulary a bit, it doesn’t convey the original thought the way I want it to.

I’m not going to post my morning pages to this blog, but I will update you with how they’re going (3 pages of unedited nothingness? I highly doubt you would enjoy reading that). If any of you have read this book, let me know what you think. And if any of you decide that you want to make morning pages a part of your daily routine, tell me how it’s going for you!

iStock_book_typewriter_writing (1)

 

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” -Thomas Mann

To anyone reading this blog who is a writer (more than college essays, less than Ernest Hemingway) I know you’ve been in the same boat. Sure, it’s comforting to know that even the most renowned authors like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling struggle with writer’s block, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant as you sit in front of a blank page waiting anxiously for something to happen. All the how-to articles tell you to “just write.” They claim that all writing is good writing (*scoffs*) and that it doesn’t matter what you write. Just begin to get the ball rolling. It’s not always that easy when you absolutely can’t think of anything. Every writer has their own technique for writing; some are highly ritualized – same time, same place on the third Wednesday of every month, while some write best in a spontaneous decision to jot down some ideas while you’re drinking a macchiato at Starbucks. Once I get going, I will be glued to my laptop for (literally) hours on end. Other days, when I just can’t muster up anything interesting, I give up after about 30 minutes (if we’re being honest, the last 20 minutes were probably spent browsing Pinterest).

It’s hard, for me anyway, to create a fool-proof formula for success with writing. I would venture to call it impossible, in fact. There isn’t a technique that will magically turn me into Charles Dickens every time I sit down at my computer. So, I come to you all for advice. What is your technique? What is the process that you go through when you have a successful (or unsuccessful) writing session? Do you have any tips that you find helpful in either busting writer’s block, or keeping you focused on your writing.

One technique that I really think helps break writer’s block is to go online and find “story starters.” You can Google it, and find them for any and all genres. They are either prompts for you to write about, or a basic thought for you to elaborate on and build your story from. (Like I said, you can find them for any genre, but here are some horror story starters.) Even if these prompts don’t serve as the premise for your next New York Times best seller, they can help you brainstorm. The prompt will inspire a new thought, and you can build and build, and before you know it you will have the premise for your next New York Times best seller.

Please don’t hesitate to post a comment telling me about your writing techniques, and tips on how you overcome the dreaded writer’s block. I’d love to hear it, so let me know! Thanks everyone!

“You just have to trust your own madness.” – Clive Barker

14 Must-Read Filmmaking Books

Posted: April 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

What makes a horror movie? Is it a charismatic protagonist that everyone is rooting for? Is it an iconic villain like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers? Is it the suspenseful music that floods the speakers as the villain approaches? (I know you’re humming the theme for Jaws as you read this.) Are the reality based horror films that are the most frightening? Or are the supernatural monster movies the most horrifying? Is it the film’s ability to produce genuine fear in the audience? (Do you guys agree with this list? Top 50 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time.)

In my opinion, horror movies are typically a hit or miss. I usually don’t feel neutral toward horror films; I either really enjoy them or really hate them. I have a hard time identifying what it is that makes a horror movie worth watching. Obviously an interesting, well-executed plot is important. Horror movies have a reputation for being predictable and repetitive. There are only so many times we can watch a group of obnoxious teenagers get hacked up one by one, while on an overnight camping trip. However, when you get a horror movie with a never-before-seen storyline and an exciting ending, it really works. Acting is important in all films, but I think it’s somewhat difficult to give a convincing performance in a horror movie. Conveying genuine fear in a staged situation often comes off as fake and off-putting. Playing a deranged, psychotic killer can either come off as unconvincing or too exaggerated.

As horror films developed throughout the 20th century, viewers were given a bounty of horror films that have achieved status as cult classics. Films like Tod Browning‘s Dracula (1931), Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho (1960), Tobe Hooper‘s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and George A. Romero‘s Night of the Living Dead (1964) are all milestones in the evolution of the the horror film.

dracula1931psychonight of the living deadtcsm poster

Most often, it takes time before movies are considered classics. Looking back, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, at the time of its release, was probably not iconic. However, after countless remakes and global recognition of the film’s antagonist, Leatherface (a name given to the character by fans of the franchise), I think it’s safe to say that this film is a classic. While we’re only in 2014, it seems like 21st century horror does not provide us with as many films that have the potential to be, one day, considered classics. It sincerely saddens me that Sharknado (2013) is as widely recognized as it is, however I find solace in the fact that its claim to fame is just how truly terrible the film is.

There have been a few films released this century that are either well on their way to reaching the status of cult classic, or have the potential to do so. The Paranormal Activity film series has been wildly popular since its release, prompting 4 sequels (most recently Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones). From filmmaker Oren Peli, the first film in the series was made on a budget of next to nothing. Filmed with handheld cameras giving the appearance of home footage, the film was released into select theaters after generating some buzz at film festivals. Having five films with a continuing storyline in the horror genre is fairly uncommon. These films are also pretty exceptional with the fact that none of these sequels have been largely disappointing for fans.

MV5BOTE2OTk4MTQzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODUxOTM3OQ@@._V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_AL_ insidious conjuring

Another horror film that I am particularly fond of is Insidious. Starring Patrick Wilson (I am mildly obsessed with him) and Rose Byrne, Insidious was released in 2010, and the second installment of the series, Insidious: Chapter 2, was released in 2013. The expected release of the 3rd film is April 2015. This film definitely had an original storyline (you can watch the trailer here) . There were just enough moments of comic relief, and I have nothing but positive things to say about the actors. The convincing performances of the actors in Insidious were precisely why I was very excited to see that Patrick Wilson had signed on to play Ed Warren, alongside Vera Farmiga (another one of my favorite actresses) in The Conjuring. This film is also one of the best that I’ve seen in a while. Here’s the trailer for it. Anyone else who also enjoyed The Conjuring will be happy to know that Wilson and Farmiga have signed on for a second installment of the film.

So I have, in this post and a few others, told you guys a few of the horror films that I really enjoy. My point for this post is that I really want to know what you all think makes a horror movie? What is it about the film that makes people want to watch it? What makes a horror cult classic? Please leave some of your insight in a comment below!

I added a poll with just a couple answers, but feel free to add your own. I want to know what you think!

On my last post, I reviewed the film, Nothing Left To Fear, a film by ex Guns n Roses guitarist, Slash. I mentioned that I believed the king of rock n roll horror was Rob Zombie, and this movie is why.

Lords of Salem was released in 2013 by writer/director Rob Zombie. The movie stars his wife, Sherri Moon Zombie as Heidi, a local radio personality. Things get weird when the radio station receives an anonymously submitted track. When they play this song on the air, many women in the area, including Heidi, fall into a trance upon hearing the song. You can read a review of the movie here. As the reviewer says, “public burnings and satanic births have never been so visual.”

Meg Foster as Margaret Morgan is one of the highlights of the film. Her acting is superb. You might have the idea that Sherri Moon Zombie isn’t going to deliver a great performance, but in my opinion, she did. This movie is pretty unique, so you’ll just have to watch it for yourself, and I recommend that you do so. The overall feel of the movie was really interesting. If you enjoy horror, this film is definitely worth the watch.

the-lords-of-salem-poster_510x510

 

If any of you have already seen Lords of Salem, please comment and let me know what you thought!

Nothing Left To Fear is the first movie we’ve seen from Slasher Films – the cleverly named production studio of former Guns n Roses guitarist, Slash. I am an avid horror fan, and an avid rock n roll fan, so needless to say I was pretty excited to see this. I will say that I believe reviews were too tough on this movie. I will also say there was much room for improvement. Before I go any further, one shining element of this film was its fantastic score, composed by Slash himself. (Here is one of the kinder reviews with a synopsis of the plot if you’d like to read it. To be fair, here is a not so kind review of the film as well.)
This film really wasn’t scary in the least, but that’s not to say that I didn’t find it interesting. The film starts out with a pastor and his family relocating to Stull, Kansas (I’ll come back to why this is important). One of the daughters gets a feeling early on that something is strange in this town, a well-kept, dark secret among its inhabitants. Cliche, right? However, this film proved to be fairly unique, in my opinion, as the story continues. I think this film really had some potential with the plot, however I think with a bit more elaboration, they could’ve improved the plot significantly. A pivotal scene near the very end of the movie reveals the dark secret of the town… But you’re left with more questions than answers. The perfect opportunity is presented for the explanation of the strange happenings in the film to be made a bit more clear, but the filmmakers waved as the opportunity passed them by. I suppose it’s still worth the watch. I sort of enjoyed it aside from the negative points I mentioned. Sorry Slash, Rob Zombie is still the king of rock n roll horror.

 

Alone, I wouldn’t have felt this film worthwhile to review. However, I have come across some information that made it a bit more interesting to me. It turns out that the claims of dark secrets in the real town of Stull, Kansas may have some merit. Now I don’t know how many of you guys believe in any sort of paranormal/supernatural happenings, and to what degree, but I find this kind of interesting (does that make me weird?) This rural town in Kansas, according to many legends, is home to one of the gates to Hell. There are many versions of the legend of Stull, as well as countless different stories about passages to Hell, accessible on Earth, and what the repercussions would be to opening these gates. There are claims of portals to Hell in hundreds of locations from Turkmenistan to Belize and back to New Jersey. Some of them have more reputable claims than others. Stull, Kansas is one of the most widely accepted locations. You can read a few accounts about it here. The website itself has urban legends from all over the United States. It’s pretty interesting if you take some time to browse the site. Another gate is allegedly located in Pennsylvania; it is also featured on the website here. I’ve always wanted to travel around the US and see some of the famous haunted locations (if finding a portal to hell interesting didn’t make me weird, I’m sure that wanting to go look for it makes me weird). I don’t want to dabble in the occult, because I personally don’t want to star in my own real-life horror film, but I would (in the interest of science, of course) like to go check out some of these supernatural locales. Many people who have visited haunted sites have reported an overwhelming sense of a dark presence. It seems like an experience you just have to feel for yourself. I’d just like to experience it in some shape or form.

Here in North Carolina, we have our fair share of local legends as well. One of the more well-known legends is the Devil’s Tramping Ground, which is located near Bennett, NC (I’ve never heard of this town and have no idea where its general vicinity is). One extremely close to my hometown is the Hunt House. Everyone around here knows there’s something weird about it (it gives me the creeps every time I ride by it), and everyone has heard a different version of the story. I’m sure that’s how it is with most, if not all, urban legends.
So I’m curious. I’d like to know if any of you have any urban legends from your hometown or state? Or even just a story that you find interesting that’s from a different location. If you feel comfortable, please don’t hesitate to post a comment and share it with me! I’d love to hear about it! Also feel free to share your opinion about the film, or give me some other movie recommendations. Thanks!

Image

 

This man is an absolute genius. I could write an entire book about why Christopher Nolan is amazing. He is my absolute inspiration. As you can see above, some of his films include Following, Memento, Insomnia, The Dark Knight trilogy, The Prestige, and Inception. If you’re reading my blog, I assume you’re somewhat interested in film. If that assumption holds true, I bet you’re familiar with at least one of Christopher Nolan’s phenomenal stories. If you have any experience with Christopher Nolan, you’ll recognize that he has a very distinct style. Mind bender plots, that don’t always progress chronologically. If you’ve seen one of these films, you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve made it a personal goal for myself to watch anything that Christopher Nolan has been involved in, simply because he is awesome. He’s done some production work on Transcendence and Man of Steel, and has a new movie, Interstellar, coming out later this year. I’m going to review a few of my favorites from Nolan’s filmography, but I encourage you to check all of these films out.

Image

This is one of Christopher Nolan’s most well-known films. Inception. This film took Nolan ten years to write, if that gives you any indication of how mind blowing this movie is. This film features an all star cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Michael Cain, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy, and Tom Hardy. You’ll see plenty of these characters in Nolan’s other films. This film was my first IMAX experience, which made it even more amazing. This story is extremely complex, and you’ll need to be paying close attention to grasp the story. Watching it more than once will probably help. I’ve seen this movie at least 100 times, and I still can’t completely determine my take on the ending.The story completely blows me away every single time I watch it. The actors are all incredible, but Leo (of course), along with Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt give exceptional performances. The basic premise of the story is that Saito, played by Ken Wantanabe, makes a deal with Dom, played by DiCaprio, and his team. The team specializes in extracting information from people’s minds through their dreams. Saito wants them to implant an idea into the mind of his business rival: Inception. If I tried to explain the plot in detail, I would just confuse you and take away from the story, so you can check out the trailer for yourself. This is one of the best movies ever made in my opinion. The story completely blows me away every single time I watch it. The actors are all incredible, but Leo (of course), along with Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt give exceptional performances.

Image

I know that people have very strong opinions concerning superhero films. This is my particular opinion, but feel free to share your own with me! To say that I love this film would be insulting. I saw this movie seven times in theaters, three times in the first 24 hours of its release (judge me). The cast is fantastic. Christian Bale will forever be the image I see when I think of Batman. Tom Hardy as Bane was absolutely incredible. With the majority of his face covered by a mask, and his voice altered, he still manages to convey emotion perfectly. Gary Oldman is one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood, who doesn’t receive enough credit. His portrayal of Commissioner Gordon in this film is no exception! Joseph Gordon-Levitt was great in Inception, and his performance in this film did not disappoint. I do have one complaint about this movie, and that is Catwoman. Sure Anne Hathaway did okay, but of all the people they could’ve cast, I don’t understand why they picked the star of The Princess Diaries. But never the less, this movie was still phenomenal. On a side note, Hans Zimmer composed an incredible film score for this movie (and the other two in the series). The composers don’t seem to get a lot of recognition, and this score is definitely worth mentioning. Here’s the trailer for the movie. All three of Nolan’s Batman movies are great, and definitely worth watching (Heath Ledger as the Joker is one of the greatest performances ever), but this is my favorite in the series.

Image

Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course… it probably isn’t. The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”.

As with most Christopher Nolan films, trying to explain the plot of this movie would serve no purpose. Here’s the trailer so you can get an idea of the story. This review will give you a bit more about the plot. This film stars Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as two rival magicians. This story is pretty unique, but I love the theme of magicians. The overall look of the film is very appealing, and everything just works. It took me a while to get my hands on this film. Waiting for a movie to hit the shelves of Edward McKay Used Books & Movies (because if you’re a broke college student, that is what you do) doesn’t always work. I finally broke down and ordered it on Amazon. Like the review I posted above says, in the beginning of this film, nothing makes sense. But by the end of the film, you’ll fall in love with it.

If you guys have any films or directors you would like to see up here, please comment and let me know! Or if you simply want to share your opinion about one of the films I’ve reviewed, I’d love to hear it. I also really want some film recommendations from all of you, so please share a small portion of all the cinematic wisdom that I know your mind contains. 🙂

So, the 2014 Academy Awards have come and gone, but I think there were some pretty worthwhile films that were up for best picture.

The full list of Best Picture nominees:

American Hustle
Her
Nebraska
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Philomena
Gravity
Captain Phillips

Admittedly, I did not get around to watching all of the movies in this category. However, I am going to review a few of the ones I did get the chance to see.

I’ll start with my personal favorite:

Image

I completely fell in love with Nebraska. It’s quirky and witty, with just the right amount of emotion. The cast, first of all, makes this movie what it is. Bruce Dern plays the patriarch, Woody Grant. His son, David, is played by Will Forte. June Squibb as the matriarch, Kate, and Bob Odenkirk (AKA Saul Goodman to all my Breaking Bad fans) as Woody and Kate’s other son, Ross, round out the perfectly dysfunctional Grant family. Basically the premise is that Woody thinks he has won a million dollars, and wants to travel to Nebraska to claim it. Woody begins his journey from Billings, Montana on foot, only to be stopped numerous times, before his son, David, agrees to take him. The whole family tries to tell him that he’s being scammed, but there is no stopping him. I know you’re thinking this story sounds extremely predictable. And to a certain degree, you would be right. But in so many ways, it’s very unique. I am fairly critical of the comedy genre, because I very often find myself being disgusted with the humor; it’s too forced, and just comes off as painful. I wouldn’t consider Nebraska a comedy, it’s more of a drama with a twinge of dark humor. However, there were multiple points in this film that had me laughing out loud. A scene near the latter portion of the movie involving David and Ross’s plan to take back an air compressor that their father believes to be his played out to be hilarious. This movie may be somewhat polarizing; a love it or hate it kind of thing. In my opinion, it’s certainly worth the watch, and of all the nominees, this story won my heart. Here’s the trailer!

Image

I was so beyond excited to see this movie when it came out. The director, David O. Russell, was also behind Silver Linings Playbook, which I loved. American Hustle also had two of Silver Linings Playbook‘s stars: Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. Both of whom I love on a professional and personal level. I’m not a big Amy Adams fan, but I love Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner. This film didn’t disappoint me. The acting was great (I’m looking at you, JLaw!) and the story kept me interested. However, I didn’t love it the way I loved Nebraska. The story wasn’t as relatable. The overall look of this film blew Nebraska (filmed in black and white) out of the park. It was bright and glamorous, all the characters were so exaggerated (this time I’m looking at you, Christian Bale). I definitely enjoyed this movie, I think it was well made and deserved to be nominated. I really thought it had this award in the bag, and honestly, I breathed a sigh of relief when it didn’t win. You can watch the trailer here. It’s worth the watch, if only to enjoy Jennifer Lawrence’s incredible talent.

 

And finally, Dallas Buyers Club:

Image

 

I didn’t watch Dallas Buyers club until after the Oscars. Matthew McConaughey snagged best leading actor and Jared Leto won best supporting actor for their roles in this movie. I’m a huge Leonardo DiCaprio fan, so I was a little upset to see that he was beaten out for best actor by Matthew McConaughey. I’m used to seeing Mr. McConaughey in silly, mindless romantic comedies, like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Failure to Launch. Enjoyable movies? Sure. Oscar-worthy acting? Hardly. I had heard all the buzz about Dallas Buyers Club, which is based on a true story, so I knew I should see for myself. Everything about this movie completely blew me away. This is no Kate Hudson RomCom, that’s for sure. Matthew McConaughey’s performance as Ron Woodroof was outstanding. Ron is a sleazy cowboy who contracts AIDS. He teams up with Rayon, a transgendered female, played by Jared Leto. Together, they form the Dallas Buyers Club. Here’s a little more about the plot, if you’re interested, and here’s the trailer so you can get a taste of McConaughey and Leto’s incredible performances. I just want to take a moment to talk about Jared Leto. I suppose it’s a stereotype that you can’t be a great actor and a great musician. While not everyone will agree with me, I believe Jared Leto defies this stigma. His performance as Rayon was absolutely fantastic. He plays such a lovable character, and if you couldn’t tell by his Oscar acceptance speech, it’s clear that this project means a lot to him. This story is really emotional, but don’t expect a sugar-coated love story. This movie brings out raw emotion and doesn’t hold back. I did not know a lot about AIDS prior to watching this film, and it completely opened my eyes. The emotion that Leto and McConaughey bring to this film is unreal. While neither of them live with this debilitating disease, their performances reflect perfectly the heartache and struggle it brings. I know I sound cliche, but watch it, and you’ll agree with me!