Review coming soon...

I've come to the startling conclusion that lesson plans are the lovechildren of the devil and the Department of Education. One day, they will release their barbed wire-encrusted grip on me and I will be free to have an evening to myself. To read, or finish a screenplay, or go to a concert, or have any semblance of a life.

Until then, I am up to my eyeballs in rationales and ongoing assessments, and the online reviews will have to be put on indefinite hiatus. Not that it matters, since most of you read them in hard copy.

If I have the time, I'll be posting the reviews of Jericho's "Smoke Signals", Season 5 of Supernatural, Season 1 of Glee, my unimpressed thoughts on FlashForward (or, as I call it in my mind, CAN'T DEAL WITH JOSEPH FIENNES'S EMO WHERE'S THE FUCKING REMOTE?!), an incredibly late review of Frightened Rabbit's "The Midnight Organ Flight", and much more!

... If I have time.


Tristan Clopet & the Juice: Live at the All Asia (06.26.09)

Until June 26, 2009, my 23-year old best friend had never seen a live show.

I know.

Prior to last night, I would take a few minutes out of my day, every week, to check Live Aid and Ticketmaster in hopes of finding a band coming to Boston that I could take my best friend to see. But it never worked out; either she didn't care for the bands playing, or tickets were just too expensive. I was still determined, however, to be the one to take her to see her very first live show.

Then, one day, I received a Facebook message from the lead vocalist of one of my favorite bands, a band whose EP album I'd reviewed a while back, who told me that they were coming to Boston and would love to see me there. It was perfect. Little did I know that it was the CNC Indie Music Marathon, which meant my best friend would be exposed to several bands instead of just the one. It was something I was grateful for. I wanted her to have different sounds to compare, to see different set changes and the multitude of different instruments used. But it made me wonder just who she would be raving about by the night's end.

Unsurprisingly, it was Tristan Clopet & the Juice.

I'm not saying that because I am somewhat biased where this band is concerned, but rather because their sound was superior to the other bands playing. They definitely had competition from New York-based band, The Gypsy West, but still came out on top – as far as my best friend was concerned.

I'm inclined to agree. I spoke with Tristan after the performance and he bemoaned how it had sounded; after all, his admittedly large band had to contend with the little All Asia bar and their less-than-ideal acoustics. However, sometimes it's less about the actual sound and more about stage presence and the rapport a band has with its audience. Tristan Clopet & the Juice was the best of the evening not only because their music was more innovative than any of the other acts', but also because they were down on our level.

The band plays in such a way that it feels almost as if they are playing solely for you. They make eye contact; they smile at you, with you, almost as if you are sharing a joke that only you know. Their dialog with the audience was limited due to time constraints, but it was cheeky and fun, especially during the band member introductions. They were relaxed, comfortable in their skins like they had come out of the womb with their instruments, which made everyone in the bar that night as contented as they. Their songs slid seamless into one another, making it so the air was always filled with some type of music, whether it be the skipping roll of the guitar or an impressive drum solo performed by the entire band.

In addition to having my great expectations met, there were also two surprises for me last night. The first would be the actual band, itself. I had no idea their band and set-up was so large. Two drum sets, complete with bongos, two guitarists, a bassist, and one keyboardist amid a dozen different instruments (although the many drum sets would aid them in their last song, where they went out with a bang). Although their set-up was big, it wasn't a hindrance. All instruments were used, and not one of the band members had a hard time navigating through them. I've seen bands with large set-ups that have the performers practically swimming through them aimlessly; Tristan & the Juice were well-rehearsed and perfectly synchronized. Would they benefit more from playing bigger venues? Definitely, but they didn't let the size of All Asia to hamper them in any way.

The second surprise would be that the band has a new keyboardist, Alejandro Elizondo, who was incredibly impressive. I'm looking at the notes I took last night at the show and the first thing I wrote was "new keyboardist is made of win". It's true. Alejandro isn't just limited to his stellar keyboarding: he also plays guitar and drums – a little one-man band all on his own. It was definitely a good move for an already great band to have added him.

After my best friend got EPs from the other bands playing, as well as a t-shirt, we left All Asia at about 1:30am to make the drive home. Her first words upon entering our car were, "Tristan's band was the best out of anyone we saw, hands down." When I asked her why, she looked at me like I was brain damaged and said, "Because they were playing for us, not at us."

Who can argue with that?

Performance: *****
Music: *****
Presence: *****
Overall: *****


Westboro Baptist Church: Number 1 on God's Shit List

The Westboro Baptist Church (ie: those crazy people from Kansas) is going to picket Natasha Richardson's funeral.

This is from their "news release":

"Thank God for the Bunny Slope of Cursed Quebec, Canada!
She lived in adultery with Robert Fox (he had a living wife).
She raised her sons in the catholic pedophile whorehouse.
She enabled feces-eating fag beasts by supporting AIDS research.
She had a megaphone; she should have done her duty, to love her neighbor; but she hated her neighbor, so she failed to warn them not to be proud sinners."

It's just kind of funny, because God facebooked me six hours before and said he was going to come down and picket the WBC.

It's unfortunate that there are people like this still around, passing their message of hate onto their kids and their kids' kids.

But look on the bright side! It's only a matter of time before evolution weeds them out.

Source (Don't click it if you can help it)



R.I.P. Natasha Richardson


You will be missed.


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (The "Watchmen" review)

The above question was first asked by the Roman poet Juvenal, which translates to "who watches the watchmen?" or "who guards the guardians?" Socrates also was asked the question, and in Plato's The Republic, his answer is simple: they will guard themselves against themselves.

But the real question is, who will guard me against mediocrity?

I have a soft spot for Watchmen. The graphic novel, that is. It really opened doors for me, showed me how unconventional fiction can be, how the structure isn't always limited to simple words and paragraphs, but can unfold right before your eyes. I remember finishing it for the first time, about six years ago, breathless and shaking and refusing to believe it was over. This, I thought, is the Great Modern Novel everyone's always talking about, right here in my hands, all 416 pages of it.

When they announced a film adaptation, I was psyched for a split second before I realized that they were going to allow an industry that doesn't believe in making films for the sheer art of it to film an unfilmable subject.

Needless to say, I wasn't too thrilled with the film.

Yes, to the haters who will probably hunt me down and firebomb my car, it was practically panel-for-panel. But that can limit a film, especially when you're also lifting dialog that just doesn't translate well from the page to the screen. Rorschach's narration was awkward and unbelievable at times. Each scene worked if you viewed them individually, but not as a whole. The direction and flow of the movie was so disjointed that I actually stopped caring at one point. Cohesion? Why would you ever need that in a film?

Don't even get me started on the laughable soundtrack. Or the uncomfortable sex scene (which Zach Snyder seems to just LOVE putting in his films... Remember 300?). I was disappointed in the lack of character development, too.

There were some character changes that I just didn't enjoy. One of which being Rorschach's coherence. In the novel, he's rather... um, fucking insane? Is that the word I'm looking for? Yes, I do believe it is.

I also didn't enjoy how sinister Veidt was. In the novel, he always seemed at least a little human, but in the movie he really came off as cold and calculating. Even his rationale about the detonation and the resulting fallout was just so... inhuman. I was really upset that the "I did it!!" scene from the novel never made it in, since it was such an emotional reaction. But sacrifices must be made in the transition from page to film.

Dr. Manhattan's character was changed, too. And he was also hung like a friggin' draft horse.

However, errors and bad decisions aside, the casting was rather brilliant, Jackie Earle Haley and Matthew Goode in particular. Both slipped into their roles with frightening ease and really stole the show. Patrick Wilson, who is a fantastic actor, really sold me as Nite Owl II, not afraid to show the audience that boyish charm and conscience that we see in the novel. However, it was Carla Gugino as Silk Spectre I and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian who really captured my attention. Casting JDM was a stroke of pure genius -- he's exactly as I pictured The Comedian in my head, right down to the jaunty gait and his smoke-over-gravel voice. Ms. Gugino shone as the aging hero, the bitter quirk to her lips telling of a lifetime of unhappy stories and countless disappointments. She was fantastic.

My only qualms were with Malin Akermann and Billy Crudup as Silk Spectre II and Dr. Manhattan, respectively. Akermann definitely had the look down, but I couldn't stand her. Her acting was dry and lifeless, and she showed no facial expressions whatsoever. Even after learning a very important secret, there was no emotion. I watched her, thinking, "Fortunately Snyder wanted no reaction from her in this movie". As far as Crudup goes... I don't know what it was, but he rubbed me the wrong way. Which is funny, because I'd normally let that man rub me however he wants. I just don't think he was right for the part, although he definitely looked like Ostermann, pre-accident.

The opening credits left me breathless, though. I thought they were absolutely perfect and will probably go down in history as the best of their kind. Kudos, yU+Co Design & Animation!

Overall, the film kept me rather detached throughout and I didn't actually leave satisfied as so many Watchmen fans did. Which is a shame, because I really wanted to. That being said, as many faults as it has, I think this is as good of an adaptation as we'll ever get.

The unfilmable film still remains as such.

I give Watchmen 3.5 out of 5.


T-1000 in "Terminator 5"?

Seems so, kids! Fan-favorite Robert Patrick is in talks to play a scientist in Terminator 5, which would be ALL TOO COOL BECAUSE HE NEEDS TO BE IN EVERY MOVIE EVER.

"I like the idea in a prospective next picture that you meet Robert Patrick the way he looks today, and he’s a scientist that’s working on improving cell replication so we can stay healthier and we can cure juvenile diabetes and all these things that once again sound like good ideas — and once again live as an idealized expression of ourselves. So imagine seeing a sixty-year-old Robert Patrick and knowing, ‘Holy shit! That’s gonna be the T-1000 – who comes back perfect, lean and the whole thing.’ I haven’t concluded that, but Robert and I had dinner the other night and talked about it."

Maybe they'll end the franchise with 5. Or maybe McG will beat it to death. Either way, ROBERT PATRICK!!



Hollywood Needs a Shot of Originality, Part II

Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) is remaking Tomas Alfredson's hit, Let The Right One In. You know, the Swedish vampire film that came out LAST YEAR?

This is ridiculous. Is nothing safe? Is nothing sacred?





Hollywood Needs a Shot of Originality

I've been working up to this for a long time, ever since I started keeping a tally on all of the announcements on Oh No They Didn't. A very long time. When The Fugitive was one of them, I could feel myself boiling over. And then The Neverending Story joined the list and I exploded all over the fucking walls.

About five minutes ago, I compiled a list of remakes, sequels, and adaptations that just SHOULDN'T HAPPEN. I understand that some movies need to be remade because they were so horrible the first time, but seriously? Can't we let masterpieces be?

The answer is, of course, no. Because Hollywood is run by a bunch of pansies who are too afraid to try something new, so they enlist writers (and they're all a bunch of sell-outs for going along with this) to make "reboots" of franchises with nary a care for respecting some of the movies they're murdering remaking.

For those who are protesting my words because they loved the remake of The Amityville Horror just so fucking much, let me ask you: would you remake The Fugitive, nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture and winner of Best Actor (Tommy Lee Jones, 1993)? I'm hoping your answer is no. What about My Fair Lady, Audrey Hepburn's most famous film and winner of 8 Oscars including Best Picture and Director? How about the Japanese fan-favorite, Battle Royale?

Well, guess what? They're ALL being remade! Mm, makes you die a little inside, doesn't it?

It's not just remakes, either. As I'm sure you've noticed, they're churning out sequels and adaptations faster than I can type this rant. Remember when everyone went up in arms about the Donnie Darko sequel, S. Darko? They didn't stop there. You can add Tron 2 and Monsters Inc. 2 to that list. Yes, that's right. Pixar's jumping on the sequel-making bandwagon, although you can expect cinematic gold from them (Toy Story 2 was a hit and possibly better than the first one, but will Toy Story 3, due out in 2010, be as good?).

Video Games, classic novels, and old TV shows have been adapted for the big screen ever since Ang Lee had the brilliant idea to take The Incredible Hulk and turn it into suck. This was soon followed by video game adaptations of Hitman, Street Fighter, and the upcoming Tekken. For those fans of Jane Austen's work and have enjoyed the adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma, I'm sure you'll be thrilled to hear that an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is being made... with the Predator aliens. No, you read that right.

There are some adaptations I'm looking forward to, such as Max Brooks's World War Z, but there are some things that should stay as they are. Like, Twilight. Should it have been made into a movie? Absolutely not. A shitty book series can only beget shitty movies.

But Hollywood doesn't even seem to be trying anymore. It's as if all of the good ideas stopped as soon as 1997 came and went. The 1970's were prime and produced some of the best movies ever made. But the 2000s have only proven that Old Hollywood is over and this new commercialized Hollywood will only kill movies as we know it.

Look at the new Dragonball movie and tell me I'm wrong.

So, I think it's time for a whole new generation of writers to set things straight. More studios need to pick up indie films to balance out the shit that is being thrust into the theaters. It's all about money now, not the art.

Hollywood needs a shot of originality; someone get me a syringe.

Remakes (Recent and Upcoming):
- The Neverending Story
- The Fugitive
- My Fair Lady
- A Nightmare on Elm Street
- Hellraiser
- Total Recall
- Clue
- The Last House on the Left
- Battle Royale
- Race to Witch Mountain
- Wolfman
- Day of the Triffids

Upcoming Sequels:
- Scream 4
- Cloverfield 2
- Monsters Inc. 2
- Toy Story 3
- Little Fockers
- Tron 2
- Donnie Darko 2 (S. Darko)

- Pride and Predator (I seriously am not kidding)
- Dragonball
- Tekken
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Blood: The Last Vampire
- Halloween 2
- The A-Team

The Neverending Story remake
The Fugitive remake


Cautious Chemists: Providing the Soundtrack to the Subconscious

The small snippet of their work that we’re given on their Myspace page makes it very clear that the Cautious Chemists are presenting us with the soundtrack to the subconscious. Their playlist yields four songs, and only one of them plays just over three minutes, leaving us with fragments of words and sound that are startlingly easy to piece together. They do so much with so little.

Brian Leak (vocals/bass) and Bryan Layne (guitar/vocals), or B² as I'm calling them in my head, bring an experimental sound that makes me feel as though I'm in a dream, or in that place between asleep and awake, listening to vague whispers in the next room. "Sailing", the longest song on the playlist, plays out the role of the ocean, late morning, on a calm day. I'm very much a visual listener, so I sat back in my chair and soaked up the overly-bright sun provided for me by the hypnotic strings of the guitar and the soft vocals of (I'm guessing) Brian. It's not so much a song as it is a quiet, unassuming experience.

This review is, unfortunately, short due to the lack of other songs and information about the band, but I hope it will encourage others to go take a listen. It won't take long, but it will definitely stay with you.


Tristan Clopet & The Juice: Best Upcoming Band in the History of Ever?

When I was first contacted by Tristan Clopet & The Juice, for some reason I thought, “This’d better not be another Christian rock group. How do these people find me?”

Luckily, they weren’t a Christian rock group. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a Christian rock group.

After listening to “Concrete Dreams”, the first song on their debut album Duende, I was intrigued. Then “End of an Era” began and I was sold. Although they claim to be Alt/Funk/Ghettotech, I found so much more in their music. In a world full of poseurs and mediocrity, I was pleasantly surprised to hear such a unique sound. They transcend genres, world regions, and times, bringing Spanish-esque guitar riffs and 70’s funk together to create something that makes me long for the hot, rolling haze of summer. I tasted sex and caught the bitter-sweet smell of musk throughout the seductive “Your Love is a Drug”, a throwback to the sounds of Soul.

But there’s a startling emotional honesty about their music, a wisdom far beyond their years that really makes me wonder if this is really their first album. This kind of caliber of music-making is not what you’d expect to find among a group of newcomers. I went in expecting amateurs and instead came out wondering how the hell they were going to top this. Because this? This is quite literally amazing.

Tristan Clopet croons as lead vocalist, possessing a voice that will literally leave you shivering where you stand and wishing that the days of Blues and Soul were still with us. The Juice (comprised of Phil Mullerschoen - drums, Colin Veit - bass, Sean Skelton - that oh, so sexy guitar, and frequenter Rich Chwastiak - percussion) complement Clopet’s vocals beautifully, seamlessly flowing all around him like music ought to. There are far too many vocalists who are at war with their other band members, all vying to be heard; Clopet and Co. are not among them.

Tristan Clopet & The Juice dare to be innovative while paying homage to the giants that have come before them, making for a fantastic debut. I only hope that they’ll make their way up to ....Boston.... sometime in the future. With talent like this, touring can’t be too far away.

I give Duende (EP) 5 out of 5.

Recommended Downloads: “Your Love is a Drug”, “Let It Go”, “Oceans”


"Almost Like Being In Love": There's nothing 'almost' about it!

So, a professor told me (that's right. A PROFESSOR. As in, people in positions of authority read my expletive-laden blog) that I ought to do a post about my favorite book. Because, well, why not?

I tore through my small library, searching for the one book that touched me like no other. I could have chosen the Gaiman-Pratchett corroboration, "Good Omens", but it seemed to obvious. Or I could have picked my childhood love, "A Wind in the Door" by Madeleine L'Engle, but it didn't seem to fit the mindset of this post. But I thought of my Young Adult Literature class from last week where my professor told us about a book that listed the best 500 or so YA novels by category and genre. A fantastic idea, thought I, until my professor finished off with "But there was no LBGT category".

And that? That really steams my clams.

So today's post is going to be dedicated to one of the funniest and heart-warming books I've read in the last ten years. And yes, it's LBGT-themed. Don't like it? Well, Jesus will probably skip over you during the Second Coming for being a small-minded douche.

I'm not entirely sure how I came upon Almost Like Being In Love. I don't remember anyone recommending it to me, or hearing about it on any book lists. Hell, it was probably one of those times when I was browsing the Fiction section in Barnes and Noble and happened upon it by accident. By the novel's non-descript cover, one wouldn't assume too much about it.

By page 2, I was hooked. By page 7, I was laughing out loud. Seriously. Everyone says LOL, but no one actually is LOL'ing. I was. In fact, I was LMAO.

I'm hip.

Almost Like Being In Love is an epistolary novel (told in notes, letters, emails, etc) about a very unlikely pair, Craig the all-star jock and Travis the Broadway-obsessed nerd, who fall in love during high school, spend a summer together in New York City, then part ways when they go to separate colleges. Twenty years later, Travis is a nutjob professor who thinks Tom Sawyer and The Bill of Rights have something in common, and Craig is partner of law firm McKenna & Webb and happily settled down with his boyfriend of 14 years, Clayton. After a slew of disappointments, Travis wakes up and realizes that Craig was THE one and embarks on a cross-country journey to find him and win him back.

Still not convinced? Any book that has such winning lines as "Why didn't somebody tell me she was a gynecologist?! Do you know how it looked?! Nine pregnant women in the waiting room, and I'm up at reception holding my stomach and moaning! "What trimester are you in, sir?" Fuck you, lady!" deserves a closer look!

Steve Kluger's writing, as seen in his other novels ("Changing Pitches", "Last Days of Summer"), is smart, witty and unfailingly charming. His characters are three-dimensional, genuine, and HILARIOUS. I really, really wish I were friends with these people. Especially Gordo -- you guys will LOVE Gordo.

I can't say more without giving the story away, but Almost Like Being In Love is a fantastically funny and sweet story that will make you wonder if there might actually be something to all that "true love" business.

I give Almost Like Being In Love 5 out of 5.


Sex With Strangers: Giving Canada Sex Appeal Since 2006

I’m never entirely sure what my music preferences are, as they change on a nearly-constant basis. However, it takes a lot to really grab my attention beyond a fleeting fancy. That being said, Canadian band Sex With Strangers not only refuses to let my attention go, but they’re holding it for ransom. Since I’m a poor college student, it doesn’t look like I’m going to be free of them for a long time.

Sex With Strangers (myspace.com/sexwithstrangers) is hard to categorize. Are they pop? Are they rock? Are they pop-rock? Are they electronica? New wave? Are they my new favorite word, rocktronica? I, personally, have no idea. They claim to be “robot rock”. If that’s the case, the future’s looking pretty damn spectacular.

Their first full-length album, The Modern Seduction paints a vivid picture of a futuristic dystopia, all sharp angles and sheets of steel, in which the ruling class and the rebels clash. Or at least that’s what I got out of it. The album is fantastic – I couldn’t stop listening to it. I swayed my way through “The Modern Seduction”, I bounced through the endlessly fun “Dance Commander”, and rocked out to the loud and fabulous “Downtown Fever”. The album culminates with “New Persuader”, a tune that sounds like the lovechild of Eurythmics and Duran Duran and will leave you with your toe tapping and your mouth stretched into a huge grin.

For a pop/rock/pop-rock/electronic/new wave/rocktronic band, their lyrics are surprisingly insightful. After the 3rd time I listened to “Dance Commander”, by far their most peppy song on the album, I really started to listen to the words. You can’t go wrong with lyrics like ‘It’s a long way from high fashion / everyone waits while the formers take action / the silence is coming tonight’.

All in all, for a first full-length compilation, it’s phenomenal. My only complaint is that The Modern Seduction is so recent, which means I’m going to have to wait a while for their next one.

I give The Modern Seduction 5 out of 5.


Alternative Ulster: Salem State's Best Kept Secret

It's hard for someone like me to find new music. I hate most of the new music that comes out, and the radio stations I enjoy play only classic rock or oldies. When the Jonas Brothers made the cover of Rolling Stone, I was just about ready to give up altogether.

Fortunately, I took a rather drab class with a rather fantastic individual. Said person happens to DJ a radio show on Tuesdays, from 9-12pm, called "Radio Ulster". Dan Forest helms an amazing little gig, playing everything from my beloved classic rock to indie to folk to punk to hard rock, not to mention whatever his listeners request. Forest's tastes are so eclectic that every listener will walk away satisfied, and possibly a bit spoiled.

I've discovered more songs and bands than I can name within the last few weeks alone. Alternative Ulster has become the staple of my Tuesdays, and the music I glean from the program usually tends to get me through the week.

Forest, himself, is a decent host. His music knowledge is second-to-none, and during his speaking segments he will definitely educate those who need it. I've learned quite a lot about the singers and bands he plays, everything from their roots in the music industry to concert dates to fun little tidbits that somehow bring it all together. My only complaint is that Forest sometimes doesn't seem all that confident in his abilities as a DJ. However, I think he has some great potential to take his little show to new heights, should he choose to up his enthusiasm level. Maybe if he takes a shot of pure espresso before every show...?

Anyway, should you be in need of some good music, both old and new, Alternative Ulster is where you ought to tune in.

Listen to Dan Forest on Alternative Ulster 91.7FM on Tuesdays, 9-12pm.



Twilight: Coldly calculated to pander to *your* shrieking demographic


It was brought to my attention today in Classics II, during a discussion about why Teri Hatcher should be cast as Sin in any adaptation of Paradise Lost, that I should make a blog and rant about the ubiquitous "Twilight" series.

Ten steps ahead of you.

"Twilight" came to my attention in 2006, when the "Harry Potter" series was close to ending and I was looking for something to read that would satisfy my inner twelve-year old. Some friends of mine told me that they were reading this great book series about vampires and I should really check it out. So, forgetting that some of these people thought "X-Men 3" was cinematic gold, I went out and bought the first book. Because I am an idiot.

I got to page 60 before throwing it across the room. And promptly bringing it back to Barnes and Noble. Where the clerk on duty and I subsequently burned it behind the store. True story.

This series proves that publishing houses will do ANYTHING for a dollar, up to and including putting out a series that not only gives teenage girls the impression that guys are really like that, but also takes the English language and SETS IT ON FIRE.

Have all the other writers died? Is that what this is? There's no one left, so we have to publish the drivel that's still lying around?

"Twilight" is about an annoying girl named Bella (of course) and the teenage vampire with whom she falls in love. During the span of four books, we have a virgin vampire (which is an oxymoron, because all vamps are giant sluts) that can walk around IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, crazy vampire enemies, werewolves (because why the hell not?), love triangles, a hellspawn, and a white wedding.

Also during the four books, we have a main character who sets the Women's Movement back about 75 years, a vapid love interest I would stake in a heartbeat, another love interest whose presence I frankly can't understand, a plot so convoluted that I stopped reading and had to put my head between my knees and wait for the braincells to regenerate, and an author in need of an afternoon of electroshock.

For those of you playing the home game, Twilight is brought to you by Stephanie Meyer, crazy Mormon extraordinaire. Hell, that she's a Mormon is purely incidental in this case! But the fact that she's crazy remains a FACT. She's 27, still lives with her parents, and is the biggest child I've ever seen. Everything she says and does makes me seriously wonder if she's ever left the comfort of her mall-goth bedroom and gone outside.

** On one memorable occasion, a fan asked Ms. Meyer if Edward (the vapid virgin vamp) goes a bit stir-crazy whenever Bella gets her period. Because blood is the ONLY source of sustenance for a vampire, and Bella is his twu wuv. I, personally, think it's a very valid question. And Ms. Meyer's response?

"Eww! That is so gross! I can't believe you'd ask me that! You should probably leave."

What kind of CHILD shuts down a fan like that?**

And the fans of these books are INSANE. It pains me to admit that my sister is one of them, proving that I have not only failed in my duties as an older sister, but also as a future English teacher. Has anyone ever tried talking to a "Twilight" fan? My best friend's sister is a HUGE fan and every time she talks to me about Edward Cullen, all I can think is, "Fuck. I don't have enough breadcrumbs to get home."

And desecrating the written word wasn't enough, but they had to go and make a movie adaptation. My best friend saw it and said that if they'd muted the whole thing, it would've been good. And they got the most unpleasant, blank-eyed potheads to play the leading roles. Way to go, Goldcrest Pictures.

Unfortunately, as it has been made clear to me, I am in the minority when it comes to hating these books. Maybe 1 out of 10 people are rational individuals who understand where I'm coming from. The other 9 watch "Lord of the Rings" as if it were a documentary.

I'm not entirely sure how to end this rant, because trying to wrap my mind around the success of this series normally causes blood to shoot out my nose. But understand that I've been writing all of my life. I was a creative writing major for two years, studying under some of the best writing professors the country has to offer. I'm a semester away from doing my student-teaching in England, and I have a 3.8 GPA. I'd like to think I know what bad literature looks like.

And from here? It looks like "Twilight".



The "Revolutionary Road" review (or the one in which R.C. wants to KILL herself)

Every once in a while, two amazing actors will come together for what is purported to be the film of the year. So, naturally I nipped over to the theater, desperate to taste the fruition of 11 years. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, together again. There's no way you'd walk out disappointed. Or suicidal.

My ticket to Revolutionary Road should have come with a revolver.

I don't remember the last time I ever walked out of a movie so incredibly depressed. The audience filed out of the theater in complete silence to the soundtrack of the soft piano that played alongside the rolling credits. They called it Revolutionary Road. I called it A Nightmare on Elm Street, because I wanted to KILL MYSELF after watching it.

The film was based on Richard Yates's novel of the same title, and as far as I can tell stayed true to the source. According to those who have read it, the book was just as bleak as the movie. Even Yates agrees. In the October 1999 issue of the Boston Review, Yates was quoted on his central theme: "If my work has a theme, I suspect it is a simple one: that most human beings are inescapably alone, and therein lies their tragedy."

Um, wow. Excuse me while I go HANG MYSELF from the light fixture.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am all for sad. Sad is great! Hell, I use it more than I ought to in my writing. But this? This was bleak. This was worse than bleak: this was hopelessly empty. THEY EVEN SAID IT IN THE MOVIE!! While I can appreciate a dressing down of the fluffy portrait that the 50's painted, I can't deal with films that claim to have a purpose. This film had no such thing. It was just one incredibly long piece of total and complete OSCARBATION. (Although I'm feeling a bit vindicated, as it was not nominated for an Academy Award for Best Film.)

However, Leo and Kate do not disappoint as Frank and April Wheeler, a pencil-pusher and a failed actress. Both are at the top of their game, and their relationship will put you through the wringer. The ending scenes will literally leave you broken, as shattered as one of Kate's shiny ceramic dishes. And you will never look at rubber tubing the same way again. There is a sense of extreme awkwardness that permeates their relationship, despite their best efforts.

The one character I really enjoyed was Michael Shannon's John Givings, a once-brilliant mathematician who is in and out of a mental institution. Having endured 37 electroshock treatments he's forgotten all his math. However, he is blunt and does not abide by the unspoken conduct rule of that time, asking explicit questions and revealing the ugly truths about marriage, and the Wheelers, themselves. His performance was amazing and he totally deserves his Oscar nom.

But the successes of the film do not outweigh the failures. It was long, it was draggy, it served no purpose, and its conclusion felt far too forced and abrupt. I realize that it was working off of the novel, so perhaps my issues lie with Yates.

Either way, I would suggest popping a couple of Zoloft before seeing this film. You'll need it.

I give Revolutionary Road 2.5 out of 5.

"Wow. I'm seeing my wrists in a whole new light."