Posts Tagged ‘films’

When I read today’s topic from The Daily Post, countless ideas flooded my mind. If I could be any celebrity for one day, who would it be?

My first thought was whatever supermodel was fortunate enough to be currently dating Leonardo DiCaprio. No, that would be a waste of the day. (I’ll come back for you, Leo.)

After that notion faded, my mind came to a few of my favorite directors. Frank Darabont (The Mist, The Green Mile), Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight), or Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist). I can’t imagine what fifteen minutes inside the mind of any one of these men would be like. Maybe it would inspire a new way of thinking that would skyrocket me to fame, my name mentioned with the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Quentin Tarantino. I kind of envision me just walking around in their minds as if they were museums. I would see all the fantastic ideas they had already claimed as their own, without thinking of any for myself.

Okay, maybe I’ll be an actress. Working under the direction of one of the greatest directors to ever life has to be inspiring, right? My favorite actress is definitely Kathy Bates. If you haven’t seen the movie Misery, watch it and tell me she isn’t the most incredible actress to ever walk the earth. Or maybe I could play a Victorian era goddess compliments of Keira Knightley. Can I go back in time to be Christian Bale in American Psycho? I have the Huey Lewis & The News scene memorized, I would blow everyone away. Then again, I feel like there is never a day that being Bruce Willis is a bad idea. That could work. I can do Die Hard. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Will Smith, Sandra Bullock and Emma Watson are also among my favorites. Or I could be Bethenny Frankel from The Real Housewives of New York. (The last one is a joke.)

Then the answer came to me.

The most brilliant writer to ever put pen to paper (or fingers to keys). Horror maven, Mr. Stephen King. The man responsible for The Shining, It, Carrie, The Mist, Misery, The Green Mile.. Shall I continue? Clearly this man’s imagination is a gold mine. If I could think like Stephen King, there was nothing I couldn’t do. Although, I wouldn’t just want to inhabit his body and live as him for a day. Can I just sit in a dark corner of his flourishing mind and see how his imagination works?

Come to think of it, Stephen King’s mind is a celebrity in itself. That is who I would be. A fly on the wall in the mind of the Master of the Macabre, himself.

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Being home for summer, you have to get creative to keep yourself entertained. And I figured a good way to keep busy would be to start putting a dent in the infinite stack of books I have purchased but not read.

I decided on Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I bought this book a while back. It was on sale for $5 at Barnes and Noble in honor of the upcoming release of the final book in the series. The book had a really interesting cover and a great sale price. The synopsis written on the back cover was interesting enough for me to seal the deal.

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So here’s the plot, in a nutshell: Awkward high school girl, Nora Grey, is assigned a new lab partner in biology. He is elusive, uncooperative, and refuses to answer any of her questions. She figures out that his name is Patch, but that’s about all she learns. He’s tall, dark and handsome, and despite being endlessly frustrating, she finds herself strangely attracted to him. He begins showing up at the same places she is, claiming it was coincidence. She later finds out that he is something more than what he seems. Their romance plays out in a gloomy, rainy locale (for example: Maine or Washington.)

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Nora Grey is basically a reinvented Bella Swan. Nora is more annoying than the book version of Bella, but less annoying than the movie version of Bella. Patch and Nora meet in biology class, just like Edward and Bella. Patch descends into frustratingly mysterious behavior, also just like Edward. Nora’s friend Vee Sky is seemingly intended to be the comedic relief, but just comes off as kind of annoying, not unlike Jessica Stanley in Twilight. Nora gets into trouble when she travels to a nearby town, Portland, only to be rescued by her elusive love interest. Maybe it’s just me but that sounds strikingly similar to when Bella gets scared in the alley while on a trip to Port Angeles, only to have Edward come to her rescue in the nick of time. There was no secret in beginning Twilight or Hush, Hush that the male leads were superhuman.

I don’t know about you, but when I read Twilight, I knew Edward was a vampire from the beginning. I read the book before all the hype began to generate from the movie, so there weren’t endless spoilers everywhere I turned. It just wasn’t that hard to figure out. As for Hush, Hush, all you had to do to realize that Patch was a fallen angel, was look at the cover of the novel. If there was any doubt left in your mind, the summary on the back would surely clear it up for you.

There were some good things about this book, and some bad things. I think Becca Fitzpatrick does a good job of creating this Hush, Hush world that readers just fall into. Some may disagree, but this book was a page turner for me. I finished it in just a couple hours. While it was easy to read, that doesn’t mean the story was great. It most definitely doesn’t mean that the story was original. I am certain I would’ve appreciated this book if it was the first of its kind. I read Twilight when I was about 12 years old, and I was completely enamored by it. I had never read anything like it. Now, 7 years later, Barnes & Noble has a section dedicated solely to “paranormal romance.” Hush, Hush just seems stale. It was entertaining and I enjoyed reading it, but books like that are a dime a dozen. There wasn’t really anything special about it. I intend to read the rest of the books in the series (Crescendo, Silence, and Finale.)

This is the summary from the back of the novel, if you want a better idea of what the story is about:
When Nora and Patch are forced together as lab partners, Nora would rather fall to her death than put up with his elusive answers to her questions, his teasing, and his infuriatingly handsome face and hypnotizing eyes. It seems Patch was put on earth just to drive her crazy. But before long, Nora’s defenses start to break down as her curiosity about Patch heats up. Why does he always seem to be wherever she is and know exactly what she’s thinking? How does he know what to say to both attract and repulse her? And what is up with those V-shaped scars on his chiseled back? As their connection grows stronger, Nora’s own life becomes increasingly fragile. Nora needs to decide: Is Patch the one who wants to do her harm or the one who will keep her safe? Has she fallen for one of the fallen?

Upon doing a little research for this post, I learned a film adaptation of Hush, Hush is in the very early stages of production (fingers crossed for Thomas Dekker to play Patch.) Patrick Sean Smith, writer behind ABC Family’s Greek, has been commissioned to write the script for the film. If you want to get ahead of the movie hype, now is your chance.

If you enjoyed Twilight, and are just looking for a quick, easy read, Hush, Hush isn’t a bad choice. If you’re looking for groundbreaking literature, I don’t think I need to tell you to look elsewhere.

Let The Right One In, released in 2008, is a Swedish horror film starring Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson. You can watch the trailer for the film here, or watch it in its entirety on Netflix. The film is based off of a novel of the same name by John Adjvide Lindqvist. If there’s one thing about Let The Right One In, it’s that it cannot be easily categorized. While it is considered both a horror film, and a vampire film, it really doesn’t seem right to categorize it as either.

Kare Hedebrant plays 12-year-old Oskar. He is the quiet, socially awkward target of school bullies. He notices a girl around his age and her father moving into the apartment next to his family’s. He later finds out that the girl’s name is Eli, and the man with her is not, in fact, her father. His job is to get blood for Eli. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Eli is a vampire. After letting her borrow his Rubik’s cube, which she returns solved, she and Oskar begin to form a friendship.

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I had heard countless rave reviews about this film, claiming that it was much better than the U.S. version, Let Me In (starring Chloe Grace Moretz, also available to stream on Netflix). Reviews said not to be put off by the fact that this is a “vampire movie.” It’s more of just a movie, that happens to have a vampire in it. That’s mostly true; it’s unlike any other vampire film I’ve ever seen. There are definitely no sparkling Edward Cullens in this film. While there are still age old vampire tropes included (aversion to sunlight, being unable to cross a threshold without being invited in) it is still quite unique. It sounds pretty generic in the summary I provided above, but I kept it short to avoid major spoilers.

Here’s where I’m probably going to upset some fans. I didn’t think this movie was all it’s cracked up to be. After reading 100 positive reviews for every 1 negative review, I was convinced I was about to see something profound. I enjoyed watching this movie, but I was quite disappointed. The story didn’t waste time getting started, but nothing exceptionally eventful really happened until the first hour had passed. Going in to the film, I was thinking that I would like Eli because she was a “good” vampire; a misunderstood, tortured soul. I found myself pretty indifferent to her. Oskar elicited more emotion from me. I was rooting for him to fight back and stop letting the bullies get the better of him. I think the only reason I really like Eli at all was because she seemed to be the only thing that made Oskar happy.

To be completely honest, and this is just my opinion that 99% of people will disagree with: I found Twilight more entertaining than Let The Right One In. I’m not saying that Twilight has a better story, but I didn’t find myself bored at times, like I did while watching Let The Right One In. (Yes, I enjoyed watching Twilight. Judge me.)

The story, as I said, is very unique. I can appreciate that. It’s not at all a bad film, in fact, it’s a pretty good one as far as story quality goes. I just didn’t enjoy watching it as much as I had anticipated. It’s possible I would have felt different if I had watched the film without hearing all the hype, but as it stands, it was really just okay for me.

If any have you have seen this film (or the American version, which I haven’t seen) let me know what you thought! I would love to hear your opinions (aside from bashing me for saying I liked Twilight.) Thanks for reading!

What is the greatest movie ever made?

It’s a loaded question. There’s no possible way to ever get a definitive answer, unfortunately. How would you even go about deciding? You could look to box office success and decide that way (accounting for only theatrical revenue, that would be James Cameron‘s Avatar). You could poll movie critics, movie-goers, filmmakers… But it’s unlikely that you would get more than 3 people to provide the same answer.

As for the top ten highest grossing films, the list is as follows:

1. Avatar (2009)
2. Titanic (1997)
3. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
5. Frozen (2013)
6. Iron Man 3 (2013)
7. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
8. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
9. Skyfall (2012)
10. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

My personal favorite of the films listed above is Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises, and it is likely that there are plenty of people who don’t think Avatar is worthy of the title of “Greatest Movie Ever Made.” Great? Sure. The greatest ever? That’s debatable.

Most of these films have not won any Oscars (Avatar, Titanic, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and Skyfall were the only ones to snag an Oscar, [or 2, or 11 in the case of Titanic] but a few of the others were nominated.)

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There are plenty of factors a movie can be judged on. I prefer the story in The Avengers to that in Avatar, but there’s no question that Avatar was deserving of its Oscar wins in the categories of Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Visual Effects. You could also base your decision off the performance of the actors. I prefer Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic to Sam Worthington in Avatar, even though Avatar is higher on the list. You could also merit the films based on the quality of the plot, the overall look of the film, and many more factors.


 

After scouring the Internet for “The Greatest Movie Ever Made,” I found about a dozen different lists from different contributors. You can check out IMdB’s list of the 250 greatest films here – this list seems to encompass most of the films listed by other contributors. There were many lists that covered just the greats of one genre, but I omitted those, and only counted the ones that looked at movies overall. A lot films were on nearly every list. Francis Ford Coppola‘s 1972 film, The Godfather, was the most common film listed, taking the top spot on quite a few of the countdowns. Other films that appeared on numerous lists include Citizen Kane (1941), Vertigo (1958), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Casablanca (1942), and Psycho (1960). There is no doubt that all of these films are considered great by many people, and I think it’s safe to say a lot of them could be considered classics. (Notice that though Avatar was the highest grossing film ever, it didn’t top any of the lists I encountered.)

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I found myself pondering this question, “what is the greatest movie ever made?” and I have come to the conclusion that there isn’t, nor can there ever be, one definitive answer.

So now I am posing this question to you: In your opinion, what is the greatest movie ever made and why?

 

Leave a comment below and let me know! Thanks for reading!

Since I haven’t posted in a while, I thought I would tackle a few posts today. In this post, I am addressing a question posed by The Daily Post. However, this post includes much more than just that. I preface with discussing the power of words, so that once you reach the actual question, you will have a more imaginative mindset to answer an interesting question.


 

The Daily Post’s question today caught my eye. This is a blogging site, so words are important. Maybe your favorite blogger has an unparalleled eloquence that makes their posts so fantastic. Their word choice is impeccable, and everything flows without skipping a beat. On the opposite end of the spectrum, maybe you’re browsing some new blogs. Maybe their posts are interesting, maybe not. What is it that helps you decide whether or not you want to follow them? What is the element that makes you say “ah!” and delve into their post, consuming their words with urgency.

Well, I believe it’s just that: words.

Words are important. Imagine a world without words. You can’t, because you wouldn’t have the words sad, boring, uninspiring, bland, dull, and depressing to describe such a bleak world. Words can do so many things, it’s all in how you use them. You can make someone, or you can destroy them, all with words alone.

The YouTube video above is from the 1989 film Dead Poets Society. I attached it for a few reasons. First of all, I love movies, and the majority of the posts on my page are in some way, if not completely, about movies. As I am trying to convey the importance of words, this scene comes to mind. It explains the difference that words and literature can really make. This is a great movie, and I’m sure many people will agree with me. It is great for many more reasons than Robin Williams‘ consummate acting chops, and my perpetual adoration for the infinitely underrated Robert Sean Leonard (Dr. James Wilson, for any fans of the TV series House, M.D.), who plays Neil Perry in the film. As a writer (more than a hobby, less than a profession), Williams’ character, Mr. Keating, has taught me one of my most valued rules in writing. At the beginning of this scene, he describes the inadequacy of the word “very.” He encourages his students to avoid it; “A man is not very tired, he is exhausted!” While it seems like a common sense rule, I didn’t truly follow or appreciate it until hearing the way Mr. Keating expresses it in Dead Poets Society.


The question posed by The Daily Post today was thisIs there a word or a phrase you use (or overuse) all the time, and are seemingly unable to get rid of? If not, what’s the one that drives you crazy when others use it?

As it is difficult to detect through a blog post, some of you might not know that I am extremely sarcastic. Because of this, I have a highly specialized technique for speaking to others. If you think about it, sarcasm is an art, really. Both speaking it, and understanding it when it’s spoken to you. Not an art? Okay, probably not.

One of the “verbal ticks” I overuse is directly related to my affinity for all that is facetious, and that is adding sarcastic third person modifiers to the end of sentences.

If an impassioned, melodramatic person came to me describing, in an infatuated tone, some romantic gesture that their significant other performed, once they are done speaking I may say, “she said fervently.” Sometimes I even do it to myself, when I’m the one speaking.

There are plenty of little words or phrases that I use often, but this one often bothers people. I mean, if you were gushing about the dozen roses your boyfriend gave you for your two year anniversary, a dry, sarcastic response is not really feedback you were searching for.

A verbal tick used by others that I despise is the word “awkward.” Okay, it isn’t the actual word that I hate. People take the word “awkward” far beyond its definitive territory. I understand that there are situations that simply cannot be described with any other word. However, when I hear people use the word “awkward” to describe something like a pencil or a shoelace, it bothers me. I’m sure they mean well, but when you describe every item, experience, and situation as “ugh, that is so awkward,” the points I initially assigned to your assumed I.Q. begin to dwindle. Expand your vocabulary. Pencils aren’t awkward.

I also hate the word “wow.” I don’t think it’s overused, I just think it’s an annoying, pointless word that, if you think about it, isn’t really a word at all.
Anyway, those are just a few that came to my mind. I enjoy when I notice other people have “trademark” words or phrases that they often use.

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So what is the verbal tick that you guys either use yourselves or one you have disdain for that others use?
Leave a comment, and  let me know! Thanks for reading!

 

Last night, I went to the theater to see 22 Jump Street. This film is the sequel to 21 Jump Street (not to be confused with the TV series starring Johnny Depp).

The films, 21 Jump Street (2012) and the new release, 22 Jump Street, star Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.

I know quite a few of the reviews I do are about horror films, but I’m a fan of all genres so this review is going to be a little different! Admittedly, I am typically pretty hard on the comedy genre. It really reminds me of horror, in that it is a very polarizing genre. I don’t think there is a lot of middle ground. It’s either really funny/scary, or just stupid. I know there are many viewers who will be critical of the “silliness” of the Jump Street films, but if that’s not your thing, that’s okay. When I saw 21 Jump Street once it was released on DVD, I was impressed. I would be lying if I said these movies had characters who are hardened into emotional stoicism only to have their heart of stone changed by the love of their life, or an unpredictable, mind-bending plot, but what comedy does? The comedy is more witty and clever than Dumb & Dumber, Zoolander, or any Will Ferrell movie (I’m not a fan). Clever and witty humor, in my opinion, makes the best comedy. (Poop began to lose it’s comedic effect around roughly age 6 for me). I would say I have a pretty eclectic taste in terms of comedy, but smart humor usually prevails (I won’t lie though, as stupid as the film was, Sacha Baron Cohen in The Dictator made me laugh enough for me to watch it more than once.) Previously, Horrible Bosses was my favorite comedy, but Jump Street has surpassed it in terms of how funny the films are. However, watching Charlie Day pretend to be on cocaine and sing “That’s Not My Name” in Horrible Bosses will always be hilarious.

In 21 Jump Street, Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) go undercover to find the supplier of a new drug at the high school they graduated from, while the drug is still contained to their high school. While they were actually students, Jenko was a hunky jock, who has beauty, but not so much with brains. Schmidt was the Not-So-Slim Shady, who, while he wasn’t popular, is intelligent. Jenko and Schmidt end up at the Police Academy together, and become friends. One thing with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum is that they have incredible chemistry. I imagine that they’re pretty tight off screen with a chemistry this dynamic. After being taken off bicycle cop duty to go undercover because of their youthful appearances, they find that high school is different than it used to be. After accidentally switching their assumed identities, Jenko ends up in AP chemistry (“Fuck you, science!”) and becomes friends with the tech nerds, while Schmidt falls in with the mellow, environmentally conscious popular crowd (“Ja feel?” “Ja feel. Ja definitely feel.”) Schmidt befriends Eric (Dave Franco) who they figure out is the dealer. You can get a better idea what the first film is about by watching the trailer.

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21 Jump Street ends with Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) telling the guys their next assignment (“You two sons of bitches are goin’ to college!”)

22 Jump Street takes everything we loved from the first movie and amplify it. They are similar; same type of comedy, similar characters (“It’s the same case! Do the same thing!” “It’s not exactly the same case, ’cause one of us got laid last night.”) But if you liked the first film, you will love the sequel. First of all, it’s hilarious. I was laughing through the entire movie, and even into the credits. From the moment they arrive in their dorm, hilarity ensues (Pop-up hamper. Bean bag chair. Hot plate. Hilarious shirt that signals we drink alcohol.) Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) has a larger role in this film. His mental breakdown at parent’s weekend at MC State University had me in tears. Jenko and Schmidt are up to their usual antics, but the comedy isn’t stale or, in my opinion, overused. Another positive note worth mentioning is nearly 2 hours of Channing Tatum, and his new frat-tastic football dude bro, Zook, played by Wyatt Russell (but sadly, Dave Franco had less than two minutes of screen time). If you even remotely enjoyed the first movie, I highly recommend you guys check this one out! You won’t be totally lost if you haven’t seen the first film before seeing 22 Jump Street, but it would help; plus, it’s another great film that’s worth the watch.

If you’ve seen either of the Jump Street films, feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think! Also, what is your favorite comedy and least favorite comedy? Leave a comment! Thanks for reading!

 

Oh, and there is no Korean Jesus in 22 Jump Street. Instead, Vietnamese Jesus. Word.

So this will be my first post after my unannounced (and unintentional) hiatus. Fortunately for you all, my hiatus was filled with tons of movies to review, after binge watching for the better part of a week.

Directed by Frank Darabont, based off the novella by Stephen King, The Mist was my favorite of the horror films I gorged on this week. You can read the NY Times review here.

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To be completely honest, the premise of this film may sound kind of stupid. A small town is plagued by a mysterious mist that holds a horrible, tentacled monster that preys on townsfolk. The majority of the film is set in the supermarket, where many people are scurrying to stock up on groceries before a storm arrives. Not surprisingly, the mist arrives, leaving them trapped in the store. The movie examines the interactions between the people in the supermarket as their situation grows exponentially bleak. The group is divided and turned against one another as the story progresses.

There is quite an interesting cast chosen in this movie. The hero of the story is David Drayton, played by Thomas Jane. David is accompanied by Amanda (Laurie Holden), his son Billy (Nathan Gamble), Dan (Jeffrey DeMunn), Irene (Frances Sternhagen), Private Jessup (Sam Witwer), Ollie (Toby Jones), and a few other less notable followers.

The loathsome Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) goes head to head against David and his “team.” Mrs. Carmody believes that the mist is God’s wrath against the less wholesome people in the store, claiming that they deserve it. (“Those of you who aren’t local should know that Mrs. Carmody is known in town for being unstable.” “No shit. What was your first clue?”) Mrs. Carmody drones on and on about the second coming and tries to stage a coup d’état against David, and the more likable characters. Due to the obnoxious nature of Harden’s character, a shining moment of the film was when Irene, a badass grandma, throws a can of peas at Mrs. Carmody (“Shut up you miserable buzzard! Stoning people who piss you off is perfectly okay. They do it in the bible, don’t they? And I’ve got lots of peas!”)

For those of you who didn’t notice above, this film features Laurie Holden and Jeffrey DeMunn, both of which starred in AMC’s The Walking Dead, as Andrea and Dale, respectively. Though she doesn’t have a large role in this film, Melissa McBride, known to TWD fans as Carol, also appears in The Mist.

This could just be me reading too far into what is meant to only be 2 hours of mindless entertainment, but I think there’s more to this movie than the characters trying to defeat a giant tentacled monster. It is always interesting to me to see the way different movies portray characters when they are thrown into a dangerous fight for survival. Each instance spurs a different reaction from the characters. You get to see who is loyal to the group, who would betray the group for their own benefit, the relationships that form, and who will emerge as a leader. It seems like this movie does a pretty good job depicting a group of people put into a dangerous situation and seeing how they react. As their fear becomes more intense, their relationships are strained and they begin to make more questionable decisions.

I’m not sure how many of you have seen, or are even familiar with this movie, but I recommend it. If you are a Stephen King fan like me, you should definitely see it. Any of you who have already seen this film, leave a comment and let me know what you thought. Thanks for reading.

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.

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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.

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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!

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.

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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.

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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!