Girls Season 3 Was Missing Something.

Girls Season 3

Girls Season 3 ended this Sunday and before we know it the show will end as well. Lena Dunham’s take on the twenty-something in Brooklyn can only last so much longer, as our main character Hannah has just celebrated her 25th birthday. This show will not work in their late twenties, early thirties. It’s honestly hard to believe that three 25 year old Oberlin graduates in New York City are still struggling to find a “real job,” but can also pay their rent on time. Brooklyn is a cheap alternative to Manhattan, but that does not make it cheap… especially where they live.

Season 2 of Girls had such a strong finish. This could be due to the fact that Lena Dunham wrote away Jessa, arguably her most pointless character, for the last three episodes. Season 3 opened softly and continued to remain soft throughout the entire season. In my opinion, the only episode where anything actually happened was our characters’ weekend at the beach house.

I think we can all agree that we watch Girls for the writing and we were given some inspiring dialogue this season. (My two favorites were from Marnie: “Guys, we’re so disconnected now. I thought that this would be a good opportunity to have fun together and prove to everyone via Instagram that we can still have fun as a group.” & “I wouldn’t be eating pizza in front of you if I liked you!”) However, there was something substantial missing from this season. Even with the created potential, there seemed to be an absent story.

Marnie Pizza

So what exactly were the missed opportunities of Girls this season?

1. Charlie
Of course. Weren’t we all mourning the loss of the best looking male character on Girls? Thanks to some creative differences, Christopher Abbott left the show. I still wonder how this season would have been constructed with him there? Would Charlie and Marnie have been together this season? This leads to…

Charlie

2. Underutilization of Auxiliary Characters
As I am not the biggest fan of Hannah, much of what I enjoy about Girls is her supporting cast. This season was ALL about Hannah. Particularly, the exploration of her relationship with Adam. She missed major opportunities to introduce new story lines with the other three ladies.

3. A New Story Line for Marnie
How many times can we watch the “perfect” Marnie fall apart? Charlie has affected her happiness and ability to succeed in season one… season two… and oh wait, season three. Not to mention, Lena chose to take Marnie on this singing route? It was great to watch in a car crash kind of way in season two, but now I’m just convinced that Alison Williams just wants a record deal or a shot at Broadway. There is no comedic value to this anymore.

Girls-Season-3-Episode-11-Marnie

4. The documentation for Shoshanna’s turn for the worst
Shoshanna is one of the most unique and interesting characters on television and despite her annoying demeanor, is fun to watch. After her break up with Ray, she began to explore promiscuous and casual sex; however, this was only hinted at or briefly shown throughout the entirety of the season. Of course, we sympathized with her meltdown in the finale, but maybe a little more exploration as to how she got to that point.

5. Writing Jessa off the show
Couldn’t she have remained missing or just stayed in rehab forever and disappeared? Ugh, no one cares about Jessa.

6. Hannah’s New Coworkers
With the absence of Charlie, I was delighted to find some new likable, or at least interesting, coworkers for Lena to use. Yes, they were there to bring Hannah to her ultimate realization of “what artists will do for money and/or a career,” but if only we had some sexual tension? Unrequited love? Or perhaps she could have introduced her cute coworker to Shosh or Marnie and created drama there.

GQ

7. Friendly Fights
“Beach House” was the first episode where I felt like something happened, or all of the tension building FINALLY came to a point of discussion amongst the girls. As beautiful as the moment was when they ultimately expressed their pent up negative feelings toward each other, their interactions in the hotel room in the next episode were as if that conversation never happened in the first place.

hannah-jessa-marnie-and-shoshanna-in-the-girls-season-3-trailer
I’m not going to rip on this season entirely. Like I said, there were some key moments with the dialogue and despite the fact that Lena really only gave the great plot to Hannah, Hannah’s romance with Adam this season was very touching. Adam is, by far, the most complicated character on the show and Adam Driver is, by far, the best actor on the show. How has this kid not won his Emmy yet? So, you give me more Adam and I will be a happy watcher. Although I was generally unhappy with this season as a whole, my love/hate relationship with Girls will continue and you will see me next season!

2014 Oscar Predictions — The Technical Ones

I am submitting defeat to the Academy. It is 1:28pm on Oscar Sunday. Unfortunately, the Oscars begin at 5:30pm in Los Angeles and that does not give me much time to prepare for Oscar festivities, including but not limited to: baking cookies, baking Nutella treats, pouring salsa into a bowl, popping popcorn, chilling champagne, slow cooking pork, and getting ready for an Oscars After Party event. As disappointed as I am that I will be missing some of the ceremony to drive from Santa Monica to Beverly Hills, I am beyond thrilled that I am going to find out this year’s Best Picture while in the same room as James Cameron. Yes, I just said that.

Back to the films, this year I watched 41 out of 57. The categories in which I am lacking the most are Animated Feature, Feature Documentary, Foreign Language, and Visual Effects. Visual Effects, no surprise there. Here is a list of the films I missed this year: Despicable Me 2, Ernest & Celestine, The Wind Rises, The Invisible Woman, The Act of Killing, Dirty Wars, The Square, The Broken Circle Breakdown, The Great Beauty, The Missing Picture, Omar, The Book Thief, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, and Star Trek Into Darkness.

I did my best to at least watch the films that are favored to win. The only exception being The Great Beauty for Foreign Language and the chance that The Act of Killing takes Documentary from 20 Feet from Stardom. I always feel uncomfortable giving my opinions on categories in which I have not seen all 5 nominations, but bare with me.

Animated Feature Film
The Croods; Despicable Me 2; Ernest & Celestine; Frozen; The Wind Rises
Should Win: I have only seen two of these films. I am disappointed in myself because I really do want to see Ernest & Celestine and The Wind Rises, but I did not get to them before Oscar night. I, obviously, will be pulling for Disney… not because I love Disney so much, but because they actually deserve this one. So Frozen. Fun fact! Disney has actually NEVER won this category. It is about fucking time (excuse my language, but that was necessary). I did, however, have an issue with the nominations. I totally understand that Monsters University was far from Pixar’s best, but that does not discount it as a well-made feature. I think that the Academy holds Pixar to a very high standard and that is why it did not get a nomination. However, it surprises me that you can place that film next to something like The Croods and believe the latter to be the superior film. No no no.
Will Win: Disney will win this award for the very first time. Almost seems like a crime, doesn’t it’? Frozen.

Cinematography
The Grandmaster; Gravity; Inside Llewyn Davis; Nebraska; Prisoners
Should Win: 
So, I haven’t technically watched all of these. I’ve seen four of them and then enough of The Grandmaster to count. As much as I hate Gravity, I have said that I am not going to discount their technical advances. They used a single light source. Gravity actually deserves this one.
Will Win: Gravity… and then you’ll notice a pattern.

Costume Design
American Hustle; The Grandmaster; The Great Gatsby; The Invisible Woman; 12 Years a Slave
Should Win: I am going back and forth between two: American Hustle and The Great Gatsby. The Great Gatsby has BEAUTIFUL costumes, but I loved the outfits in American Hustle so much and I want them for myself.
Will Win: This really is tough to say. I think this is American Hustle only chance of winning an award, so I want to give it to American Hustle. The Great Gatsby might pull through with this one though. I’m going to predict American Hustle though. Stick with the bracket I turned in on Friday.

Documentary Feature
The Act of Killing; Cutie & the Boxer; Dirty Wars; The Square; 20 Feet from Stardom
Should Win: I’ve only seen 2 of these (Cutie & the Boxer and 20 Feet from Stardom). I was disappointed with the nominations, but out of these two, I’d pick 20 Feet from Stardom. Cutie & the Boxer was quite boring.
Will Win: This one is between The Act of Killing and 20 Feet from Stardom. Because of the change in the way we now vote for this category, winners have veered toward the mainstream side and therefore, I think 20 Feet from Stardom is going to take it.

Film Editing
American Hustle; Captain Phillips; Dallas Buyers Club; Gravity; 12 Years a Slave
Should Win: Part of me doesn’t want Gravity to win this category. I thoroughly enjoyed the editing in Dallas Buyers Club and Captain Phillips. I’m going to pick Dallas Buyers Club as my choice for editing.
Will Win: Gravity.

Foreign Language Film
The Broken Circle Breakdown; The Great Beauty; The Hunt; The Missing Picture; Omar
Should Win: Can’t comment. I’ve only seen one. Where was The Past?!
Will Win: The Great Beauty.

Makeup & Hairstyling
Dallas Buyers Club; Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa; The Lone Ranger
Should Win: I mean, really. Bad Grandpa SHOULD win. It actually does have the most extravagant makeup.
Will Win: The Academy is never going to award Jackass for anything, despite Bad Grandpa being the best choice. It’s like when The Iron Lady won. Dallas Buyers Club will take it. The Academy eats this shit up.

Original Score
The Book Thief; Gravity; Her; Philomena; Saving Mr. Banks
Should Win: None of these score actually stood out to me, to be honest. If I had to pick one, maybe Philomena? Her?
Will Win: Despite the fact that I don’t even remember the score, Gravity apparently has this one.

Original Song
“Happy” Despicable Me 2; “Let It Go” Frozen; “The Moon Song” Her; “Ordinary Love” Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Should Win: LET IT GO.
Will Win: LET IT GO.

Production Design
American Hustle; Gravity; The Great Gatsby; Her; 12 Years a Slave
Should Win: The Great Gatsby is beautiful. I don’t think it’s unique when compared to Baz Luhrmann’s other work, but yes, it’s pretty. I did appreciate Her‘s simplicity though.
Will Win: The Great Gatsby.

Sound Editing
All Is Lost; Captain Phillips; Gravity; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; Lone Survivor
Should Win: Gravity. The sound is pretty awesome.
Will Win: Gravity.

Sound Mixing
Captain Phillips; Gravity; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; Inside Llewyn Davis; Lone Survivor
Should Win: Gravity.
Will Win: Gravity.

Visual Effects
Gravity; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; Iron Man 3; The Lone Ranger; Star Trek Into Darkness
Should Win: My least favorite category. This is always my worst, because, well, look at the nominations. But, Gravity.
Will Win: Gravity. This will be the biggest upset if it loses. They had to literally create this whole film.

 

 

2014 Oscar Predictions — The Short Ones

Going to college in the middle of nowhere Ohio does not lend itself well to independent film and the Oscar Shorts Programs. Last year in Cleveland, I also found it to be quite difficult to find the right theater at the right time showing the programs. This year, in Los Angeles, it was much easier.

Let’s start with the Oscar Documentary Shorts.

Documentary Short Subject
CaveDigger; Facing Fear; Karama Has No Walls; The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life; Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
Should Win: I am back and forth between two of these shorts. Karama Has No Walls was a fearless and extraordinary feat. While Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall had be weeping like a baby. I felt terribly sorry for the man sitting next to me who had to listen to me sobbing and sniffling. Side note: You can catch this short on HBO at the end of the month. As for the other three, CaveDigger was quirky, fun, and beautiful to watch, Facing Fear did nothing for me and was clearly the weakest of the five, and I caught myself dozing off in The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life despite the upbeat and lovable character of the subject. While Karama Has No Walls is an edge-of-your-seat Tim Hethington-type film, Prison Terminal had me emotionally.
Will Win: While I think there is a chance that the Academy will award Karama Has No Walls for the accomplishment of this film, The Lady in Number 6 features quite the character and an upbeat storyline despite its subject matter. It’s rare for the Academy not to award a Holocaust film. I’d go with The Lady in Number 6.

Animated Short Film
Feral; Get a Horse!; Mr. Hublot; Possessions; Room on the Broom
Should Win: Unfortunately, this is a very weak category this year. I loved every single short from last year’s five, while this year I found myself waiting for each to end. That is, except for Get a Horse!, which I have now seen 3 times (Telluride, before Frozen, and at the shorts program), and Mr. Hublot. Mr. Hublot is cute and adorable. It was pleasure to watch and I even found myself emotionally connecting myself to the characters. Get a Horse! is fun. It’s not emotional like last year’s Disney submission, but it is a technical achievement. Not a surprise to anyone, I loved Get a Horse!.
Will Win: Disney will win this award for the second year in a row. Like I said, this is a weak category and Mr. Hublot has the only other shot. There is a chance, but I think the Oscar is going to go to Get a Horse!

Live Action Short Film
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me); Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything); Helium; Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoiteaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?); The Voorman Problem
Should Win: Unlike the animated category, the live action category is FULL of great shorts! The only one that didn’t feel as strong as the others was Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?. That Wasn’t Me was TERRIFYING and a struggle to get through, as a woman in particular. Helium got my tears. I LOVED The Voorman Problem. It was so delightful, light, and funny. Martin Freeman is classically hilarious, and the writing was suburb. My favorite though was the French drama Just Before Losing Everything. This was a quiet, but suspenseful story of an abused wife escaping with her children from her husband. While The Voorman Problem was everything I love about shorts, I enjoyed Just Before Losing Everything. The acting, the writing, the storytelling, the suspense. Mostly, the final shot.
Will Win: There isn’t much research about the shorts, but I believe the Academy is going to chose The Voorman Problem for its eccentric story or Just Before Losing Everything for its suspenseful and quality filmmaking. It’s hard to say. Curfew winning last year was such an easy guess for me. I’m interesting to see which will take the prize.

Let’s all take this time to remember not only my favorite Oscar nominated short film of 2012, but my favorite Oscar nominated film of 2012. It gets me every time. Love ya, Disney.

2014 Oscar Predictions — The Big Ones

The Oscars are upon us and it is time for me to give my educated opinions and suggestions for this year’s race.  I will follow suit and complete a “should win” and “will win.” As always, my should win is really just a personal favorite of the category; whereas, will win is my educated and well-researched prediction. In the past, I have completed ballots to keep track for myself or to play a good, clean game with my dear friends, competing for bragging rights, of course. The stakes are higher this year and I’ve entered myself in a pool. Let’s hope that I have finally put my talents to good use and I will come out on top.

Best Picture
American Hustle; Captain Phillips; Dallas Buyers Club; Gravity; Her; Nebraska; Philomena; 12 Years a Slave; The Wolf of Wall Street
Should Win: Let’s go through this list, shall we? I was able to catch Gravity, Nebraska, and 12 Years a Slave early in the season at the Telluride Film Festival, including myself in some of the first audiences of these films. I love this because it gives me the opportunity to see them for what they are, without any critic and friendly opinions in my head as I enter the theatre. Nebraska is a delight. With its typical Alexander Payne flair, it’s a lovely combination of humor and depression. I understand Gravity’s technical achievements and I do not want to discount that, but I hated this film. It had to be one of the worst screenplays I have ever experienced. If Murphy’s Law were a film, it would be Gravity. Sandra Bullock’s character Ryan left much to be desired. I didn’t find myself getting caught up in her hardships. I mean, really, I could have cared less if she made it out or not. 12 Years a Slave left me feeling a whole lot of emotions, mostly embarrassed. This film is all around incredible in its storytelling, acting, directing, and technique. Although it felt a little too studio for Steve McQueen (I preferred some of the more drowning choices in Shame), I have nothing negative to say. The only other film that I have negatives feelings for is American Hustle. Costuming, acting, music… fantastic! Actual storyline and writing of the film? Terribly boring. What even happened in this movie? Moving on, Captain Phillips was action-packed and kept me at the edge of my seat, but did nothing for me otherwise. Dallas Buyers Club showcased some great performances. I enjoyed the music and the editing was my favorite component. Her was an original and interesting concept and I found the film to be quite poetic; however, there are two films that have stuck with me. That is, Philomena and The Wolf of Wall Street. I expected Philomena to be a dry British film, but I found Judi Dench’s character to be both honest and a pleasure to observe. The story was heartbreaking and I found myself connected to the characters, crying when maybe they should be. The Wolf of Wall Street gets my pick though. Attach my favorite filmmaking pair to an unlikable protagonist in a raunchy 3 hour comedy and I’m hooked. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun at the movies. This story, by all definition, shouldn’t work and yet, I find myself enamored with this man and his life, both cheering on his bad deeds and hating him for his choices. Everyone is interpreting this film as controversial, but my opinion of it is not. It was my favorite film of the year.
Will Win: This is a tough call. If Gravity wins, I might find myself as disgusted with the Academy as I was when Crash took the prize over the much-deserved Brokeback Mountain (No, I will never let it go). The race is between three films: American Hustle, Gravity, and 12 Years a Slave. The hype for American Hustle has dwindled, so we are looking at the films that tied at the PGA: Gravity and 12 Years a Slave. 12 Years a Slave is most likely going to pull through on this one. It’s too important.

Best Director
David O Russell, American Hustle; Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity; Alexander Payne, Nebraska; Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave; Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
Should Win: I don’t have a clear favorite in this category. Marty is my go-to guy, but is this his best film? I mean, let’s get real. The Wolf of Wall Street is not Goodfellas. It’s not Raging Bull. It might not even be The Departed. It’s easy to lean towards Marty because his film was my favorite of the year and typically these categories go well together. However, my pick is either David O. Russell (come on, he brought out some great performances with his cast) and Steve McQueen. Although I felt like his direction has succeeded in his past films, I still cannot deny that I loved the prolonged scene of Soloman hanging from the tree and how that was cinematically handled. It has stuck with me.
Will Win: We are going to make history on Oscar night. Alfonso Cuaron is going to take this prize and become the first Mexican to hold the Best Director Oscar statue.  If there is an upset, it goes to McQueen who will become the first black director to hold the statue. Cuaron is swept all of the major directing awards, including the most important at the DGAs. You are safe putting Cuaron on your ballot.

Best Actor
Christian Bale, American Hustle; Bruce Dern, Nebraska; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street, Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave; Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Should Win: Christian Bale left much to be desired.  Bruce Dern tore me apart in every way possible. Chiwetel Ejiofor is powerful as Soloman. For me, though, this race is between Leo and Matthew. Matthew made me feel terribly anxious, particularly in the scene in his doctor’s office discussing the research he has done for medication. She tells him that the FDA has not approved those drugs. The panic in his voice and mannerisms were so real to me. Despite Matthew giving the performance of his career, there is someone more important out there. That important man is Leonardo DiCaprio. My favorite actor killed it in The Wolf of Wall Street. A fan of the film or not, you cannot deny that. He has been snubbed enough, can we please PLEASE just give him an Oscar already? This is long LONG overdue. For the Quaaludes scene alone, he deserves maybe a lifetime achievement award or something, no?
Will Win: Matthew McConaughey is pulling ahead in this race. Once tight with Chiwetel and Leo, he is entering March as the clear front runner. Thanks to the SAG Awards and the Golden Globes.

Best Actress
Amy Adams, American Hustle; Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine; Sandra Bullock, Gravity; Judi Dench, Philomena; Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Should Win: It is a joke to me that Adele Exarchopoulos of Blue is the Warmest Color did not receive a nomination. In my opinion, she gave the female performance of the year. Sandra doesn’t belong in this category. Other than that, there is not much to talk about. Cate Blanchett is sweeping the season and cleaning up. It’s deserved. She’s fantastic. Woody Allen knows how to write and direct for women in the best way possible. I’m glad for that. She was a pleasure to watch.
Will Win: No question. It’s going to be Cate Blanchett. Some people are throwing out Amy Adams’s name, but they are being way too hopeful. Stick with Cate.

Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips; Bradley Cooper, American Hustle; Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave; Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street; Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Should Win: This is yet another clear race. Not because Jared Leto’s performance was so strong, but because all of the other performances are lacking. Jonah Hill’s work is expanding and improving, but he’s not all the way there yet. We’ve seen Cooper and Fassbender give their “winning” performances in other roles (see: Silver Linings Playbook and Shame). As for Abdi, I’m sorry, but you will forever be typecast or we will never see you again. I don’t think this is it for you.
Will Win: All signs point to Jared Leto. Don’t expect an upset in this category.

Best Supporting Actress
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine; Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle; Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave; Julia Roberts, August: Osage County; June Squibb, Nebraska
Should Win: Julia Roberts is back and with a FLAWLESS middle part. While everyone is having the Lupita/JLaw debate, I’m over here thinking about June Squibb. I know I can’t be the only one. She stole the show in Nebraska. My copilot in film festivals and I both agreed that we’d be expecting a nomination for this lady and I am sticking with my love for her in Nebraska. Lupita is fearless, particularly in the whipping scene, and while J Law adds much of the comedic elements, I still felt like she was too young for her role in American Hustle. GO JUNE SQUIBB, GO!
Will Win: Like I said, this race is between JLaw and Lupita, and it might be the closest race of the night. My ballot still sits empty and I might never be comfortable with my decision. If we are going by numbers, JLaw has it. However, judging by the SAG awards, I think Lupita has this one. I’d go with Lupita Nyong’o.

Best Original Screenplay
American Hustle; Blue Jasmine; Dallas Buyers Club; Her; Nebraska
Should Win: For this category, I am torn between Blue Jasmine and Her. Woody Allen is an incredible screenwriter and he nails it every time. I apologize for the spoiler, but I did find it odd that Jasmine was lacking any character development. She started and ended the film in the same state, but it was also quite genius. He explored his supporting characters and led us to believe that Jasmine’s story was really beginning post-film. Despite my love for Woody Allen, I am going to go with Her for the sole reason that I have never seen anything like it. Not only is the concept completely unique and original, but I found the writing to be quite beautiful to the ears. I think this film should win just for the letter writing on its own. Spike Jonze dove into the story so quickly that I felt almost violated by what was happening with the characters, but the early exposure was what got me through the rest of the film.
Will Win: This is a race between Her and American Hustle. Her has picked up the majority of major awards and I don’t think this will be different. Her is too original to lose the original screenplay award.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Before Midnight; Captain Phillips; Philomena; 12 Years a Slave; The Wolf of Wall Street
Should Win: I’m going to ignore all other films and talk about one very important one. That film is Before Midnight. I am obsessed. When I was in Telluride, I was lucky enough to catch a discussion with Michael Fassbender and Steve McQueen. Fassbender was discussing McQueen’s use of long takes in his films and how this makes performing both challenging, yet easier. It was easier to remain in character without a director yelling cut every 30 seconds, yet challenging to hold a strong performance for a prolonged period of time (compared to other films). If you explore the duration of cuts among cinema’s history, you will find that they have been significantly reduced. Maybe it’s my love for avant-garde cinema or old films, but I love love love a long take. This film is FULL of them. It is essentially three or four long takes and that is all. I believe you can really showcase a performance with this filmmaking technique. Not only can you showcase a performance without the ability to cut during a 15-minute span, but you can’t edit the writing. It is what it is, and it is BEAUTIFUL. There was something about listening to Celeste and Jesse’s raw conversations that made me feel like movies can actually depict real life situations. Love stories are not a meet-cute, a montage, a break up, and a make up. The writing in this film explores what it really feels like to be in a committed relationship. I can’t wait for Oscar season to be over so that I can watch the first two of this “franchise.”
Will Win: Philomena will be offering the only upset to this category, but I think 12 Years of Slave has it.

How to Celebrate Black Friday

Title
Everyone interprets Valentine’s Day in their own way. There are those who plan romantic dinners in advance with their significant other and those who prefer to drink. Guess which category I put myself in.

Yes, the girl who grew up watching prince charming sweep a poor girl off her feet in virtually every Disney animated classic doesn’t believe in love. Ironically, the only the time she feels love is when Jack and Rose have a three-day long affair before one of them dies of hypothermia in the Atlantic Ocean. Don’t ask me why this makes sense.

Either way, this Friday is Valentine’s Day, and I’m going to be drunk. It’s the best time to gather your single friends and cause a scene at the local bar(s). This year, I’m celebrating the special day with my roommate and the girl who introduced us. My best friend from college is coming into town to experience LA for the first time! Will a romantic dinner in Manhattan Beach and a limo ride to a trashy bar beat out my all-time favorite Valentine’s memory? The epic bar crawl of 2012? See below. Flight was cancelled. Trip was cancelled. Thanks, winter storm Pax.

Bar Crawl 3Bar Crawl 6Bar Crawl 5
Bar Crawl 8Bar Crawl 7Bar Crawl 2

If going out and drinking enormous amounts of tequila isn’t really your style and you’d rather stay in and wallow, then this blog is for you. Here my choices for best ways to stay sad on Valentine’s Day. Grab a bottle of wine, make a heart shaped cake, and make the conscious decision to never believe in long-lasting love.

*Note: All of these films have torn me apart in one way or another.

Blue Valentine
Blue Valentine
My take: Love may exist, but it’s not going to last.
Depressing Quotes:
“You always hurt the ones you love. The ones you shouldn’t hurt at all. You always take the sweetest rose and crush it until the petals fall. You always break the kindest hearts with a hasty word you can’t recall. So if I broke your heart last night it’s because I love you most of all.”
“I feel like men are more romantic than women. When we get married we marry, like, one girl, ‘cause we’re resistant the whole way until we meet one girl, and we think I’d be an idiot if I didn’t marry this girl. But it seems like girls get to a place where they just kinda pick the best option… ‘Oh he’s got a good job.’ I mean they spend their whole life looking for Prince Charming and then they marry the guy who’s got a good job and is gonna stick around.”
Don’t have time for the whole movie?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e36DNjn4kCQ

(500) Days of Summer
500 Days of Summer
My take:
 No matter how much you like each other or how much fun you have together, you’re probably not on the same page.
Depressing Quotes:
“I don’t actually feel comfortable being anyone’s anything, you know. Relationships are messy and people’s feelings get hurt.”
“I need to know that you’re not going to wake up in the morning… and… feel differently.”
Don’t have time for the whole movie?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-xJ15AN9ts

Revolutionary Road
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
My take: Pretty much Titanic 2. Never give up on your dreams or else everything else in your life is also going to fall apart.
Depressing Quotes:
“Tell me the truth, Frank, remember that? We used to live by it. And you know what’s so good about the truth? Everyone knows what it is however long they’ve lived without it. No one forgets the truth, Frank, they just get better at lying.”
“I wanted IN. I just wanted us to live again. For years I thought we’ve shared this secret that we would be wonderful in the world. I don’t know exactly how, but just the possibility kept me hoping. How pathetic is that? So stupid. To put all your hopes in a promise that was never made.”
Don’t have time for the whole movie?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2lTpPptOWA

Closer
Closer
My take: Everyone cheats.
Depressing Quotes:
“It’s a lie. It’s a bunch of sad strangers photographed beautifully, and… all the glittering assholes who appreciate art say it’s beautiful ’cause that’s what they wanna see. But the people in the photos are sad, and alone… But the pictures make the world seem beautiful, so… the exhibition is reassuring which makes it a lie, and everyone loves a big fat lie.”
Dan: I fell in love with her, Alice.
Alice: Oh, as if you had no choice? There’s a moment, there’s always a moment, “I can do this, I can give into this, or I can resist it”, and I don’t know when your moment was, but I bet you there was one.
Don’t have time for the whole movie?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbeXU9FIFw8

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
My take: 
Getting back together is never a good thing.
Depressing Quotes:
“Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating.”
“What a loss to spend that much time with someone, only to find out that she’s a stranger.”
Don’t have time for the whole movie?: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpux-Drk6EY

Shame
Shame
My take: Relationships are impossible if you love emotionless sex as much as this guy.
Depressing Quotes: This movie has barely any speaking. That’s what’s so depressing.
Don’t have time for the whole movie?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-sU8GWoD3w

Fatal Attraction
Fatal Attraction
My take: People are psychos. Also, don’t cheat on your wife.
Depressing Quote:
Dan: You’re so sad. You know that, Alex? Lonely and very sad.
Alex: Don’t you ever pity me, you smug bastard.
Dan: I’ll pity you… I’ll pity you. I’ll pity you because you’re sick.
Dan: Why? Because I won’t allow you treat me like some slut you can just bang a couple of times and throw in the garbage?
Don’t have time for the whole movie?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JS6Gw6NVgRg

The Way We Were
The Way We Were
My take: Your girl is lovely, Hubbell. EXCUSE ME WHILE I GO LOCK MYSELF IN THE BATHROOM AND CRY.
Depressing Quotes:
“If I push too hard it’s because I want things to be better, I want us to be better, I want you to be better. Sure I make waves you have I mean you have to. And I’ll keep making them till your everything you should be and will be. You’ll never find anyone as good for you as I am, to believe in you as much as I do or to love you as much.”
Katie: Wouldn’t it be lovely if we were old? We’d have survived all this. Everything thing would be easy and uncomplicated; the way it was when we were young.
Hubbell: Katie, it was never uncomplicated.
Don’t have time for the whole movie?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjGCRhWJsc8

Vertigo
Vertigo
My take: Wouldn’t be one of my lists without a little Hitchcock or Jimmy Stewart. A love that was meant to end in tragedy.
Depressing Quote:
Judy: If I let you change me, will that do it? If I do what you tell me, will you love me?
Scottie:: Yes. Yes.
Judy: All right. All right then, I’ll do it. I don’t care anymore about me.
Don’t have time for the whole movie?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tesqTwX7cpc

Can We Just Shut Up About Gravity?: Oscar Nominations 2014

86th-Oscar-Nominations-2014
There are 58 Oscar nominated films this year. I’ve seen 12 of them. No one talk to me before March 2nd. You would think with a trip to Sundance, LA Film Fest, and Telluride, I would have made more of a dent, but apparently I was seeing the wrong films.

Sundance nominated films:
Before Midnight
Cutie and the Boxer
20 Feet From Stardom
Dirty Wars
The Square

LA Film Fest nominated films:
The Act of Killing
Ernest & Celestine

Telluride nominated films:
12 Years a Slave
Gravity
Nebraska
All Is Lost
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Invisible Woman
The Wind Rises

Telluride continues to prove to be the best bet for the Best Picture winner. We still have over a month left of the race, but it’s looking like it’s going to be 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, or American Hustle. Can we all just shut the fuck up about Gravity though? I am THRILLED that it did not get nominated for Screenplay. When I heard it was a contender, I thought I was going to pull my hair out. Thankfully, because of it’s horrendously simple dialogue, it was left out of that competition. As it should be, it was nominated for several special effects categories.

When I first read the nominations this morning, I was disappointed by the lack of surprises. If I lived in a perfect world, Adele Exarchopoulos would have received a Best Actress nomination for Blue is the Warmest Color. Of course, it was left out of the Foreign Language category due to some “small print,” causing it to be ineligible. I hoped the Academy would hook this girl up with a nomination. Academy, I get it. Judi Dench and Meryl Streep are legends and they don’t fuck around. Blanchett apparently gives the performance of the year and is unstoppable. Amy Adams was a nice surprise, but please don’t sit there and honestly tell me that Sandra Bullock was better in Gravity than Adele Exarchopoulos in Blue. She is a goddess. Her performance was so raw and real, easily my favorite of the year. She led me to feel exactly what her character was feeling. As if I was discovering myself and revisiting a broken heart all over again, Blue is the Warmest Color was brilliant because of her fearless and emotional performance.

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Adèle Exarchopoulos in Blue is the Warmest Color

Alas, Best Actress in a Leading Role was a tough race this year, as was Best Actor in a Leading Role. These categories are where we find our “biggest” surprises. No Emma Thompson. No Tom Hanks. No Robert Redford. Who do we have though? Leonardo DiCaprio. Just give this man an Oscar already. Maybe a little bit of tears came out of my eyes when he lost for The Aviator, which until I saw him in Wolf of Wall Street held my personal award for Best Performance by Leonardo DiCaprio. Will the tears reappear on March 2nd? I certainly hope not. Leo knocks it out of the park in Wolf. He is so deserving. I just can’t watch him lose anymore. I won’t stand for it.

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Margot Robbie and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

The documentary and foreign language categories seem the most off to me. Blackfish was not a shoe-in by any means, but with all of the buzz it’s been receiving, who knows? I thought we would see The Crash Reel, Tim’s Vermeer, and maybe Which Way Is the Front Line From Here? I have only seen one on this list: 20 Feet From Stardom, so there is a good chance that I will change my mind after I watch the other four. As for Foreign Language, The Wind Rises seems to be missing. It was only nominated for Animation. Is there a rule that it can’t be nominated for both? Is that what’s happening here? Must be.

20-feet-from-stardom-review-photo

20 Feet From Stardom

Well, I’m way behind in the race myself, and I don’t have a strong favorite to win just yet. Mostly because two of my favorite films of the year were not nominated (The Spectacular Now and The Past). Right now, I would be happy to see Wolf of Wall Street take the prize. We’re going to ignore Shutter Island’s existence and I’m just going to say that you can never go wrong with a DiCaprio/Scorsese picture. Well acted, well directed, well paced. It made three hours feel like three minutes and I laughed the whole way through. Also, how is Margot Robbie only 23? Come on. If I want to be realistic, my ballot is going to say 12 Years of Slave. Telluride films win always.

Hopefully this list will be updated frequently as I get through these films, but for now, here is the list of the 58 nominated films for the Academy Awards. You can find the full list of nominations here: http://oscar.go.com/nominees

  1. 12 Years a Slave
  2. American Hustle
  3. Captain Phillips
  4. Dallas Buyers Club
  5. Gravity
  6. Her
  7. Nebraska
  8. Philomena
  9. The Wolf of Wall Street
  10. Blue Jasmine
  11. August: Osage County
  12. The Croods (animated feature)
  13. Despicable Me 2 (animated feature)
  14. Ernest & Celestine (animated feature)
  15. Frozen (animated feature)
  16. The Wind Rises (animated feature)
  17. The Grandmaster
  18. Inside Llewyn Davis
  19. Prisoners
  20. The Great Gatsby
  21. The Invisible Woman
  22. The Act of Killing (documentary feature)
  23. Cutie and the Boxer (documentary feature)
  24. Dirty Wars (documentary feature)
  25. The Square (documentary feature)
  26. 20 Feet From Stardom (documentary feature)
  27. CaveDigger (documentary short)
  28. Facing Fear (documentary short)
  29. Karama Has No Walls (documentary short)
  30. The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (documentary short)
  31. Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall (documentary short)
  32. The Broken Circle Breakdown (foreign language)
  33. The Great Beauty (foreign language)
  34. The Hunt (foreign language)
  35. The Missing Picture (foreign language)
  36. Omar (foreign language)
  37. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
  38. The Lone Ranger
  39. The Book Thief
  40. Saving Mr. Banks
  41. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
  42. Feral (animated short)
  43. Get a Horse! (animated short)
  44. Mr. Hublot (animated short)
  45. Possessions (animated short)
  46. Room on the Broom (animated short)
  47. Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me) (live action short)
  48. Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything) (live action short)
  49. Helium (live action short)
  50. Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) (live action short)
  51. The Voorman Problem (live action short)
  52. All Is Lost
  53. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  54. Lone Survivor
  55. Iron Man 3
  56. Star Trek Into Darkness
  57. Before Midnight

The Most Wonderful Holiday Films

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and we only have one more weekend to watch all of our favorite Christmas classics before the big day! Despite my love for films and Christmas, I will be the first to admit that I have not seen enough Christmas movies. This is due to the fact that I prefer to watch my favorites on repeat. In fact, one of my favorite Christmas memories was when my college roommate and I skipped class and watched Love Actually and The Holiday. When both ended, we watched them again… In one day. Twice. Each.

It would be unfair of me to compile a list ranking the films from “best to worst” when I simply am not educated enough in this genre. However, if you need a little inspiration for Christmas this year, here are 16 films that I like to spend my time with each November/December (typically with a marathon every Black Friday).

It’s Not Christmas Until…
Frosty the Snowman
Frosty the Snowman
Happy Birthday! For as long as I can remember, it has been tradition to watch Frosty the Snowman every year with my father. It doesn’t feel like Christmas until we get out the VHS tape, make a fire, and drink some hot cocoa. Frosty is a lovable guy and I can’t wait to be home in snowy Ohio to watch this classic with my favorite men: my father and my pup.

Cleveland Classic
A Christmas Story
A Christmas Story

I’m from Cleveland and for the first time this year, I finally visited the Christmas Story house. They play this movie for 24 hours during the holiday, so don’t ask me why I only saw it for the first time two years ago. It is charming, hilarious, and a staple if you are from my town. I will never forget the Christmas that my uncle exposed us to his new favorite decoration: the giant inflatable leg lamp that sits in their front yard every year. What a major award!

Is This a Christmas Movie?
Edward Scissorhands

Edward Scissorhands
The last quarter of this film takes place during Christmas, so arguably this COULD be a Christmas movie. Even if you disagree, you can’t deny the fact that this film is pure genius and absolutely beautiful. What better way to spend a lazy day in December than spending some time with arguably Tim Burton’s best character.

So Bad It’s Good
The Family Stone & I’ll Be Home for Christmas
The Family Stone I'll Be Home For Christmas

Let’s get real. Both of these are not good. Are they so bad it’s good? Actually probably not, but The Family Stone is so heartbreaking and we all love a good cry, and I’ll Be Home for Christmas reminds us that JTT is and will always be a God and we get to make fun of Jessica Biel’s terrible outfit choices in this film which makes us feel a little bit better about the fact that she’s married to everyone’s prince charming, Justin Timberlake. Also, the villain of this film was also in 7th Heaven, so there’s that too.

Claymation at its Best
Nightmare Before Christmas
Nightmare Before Christmas
I already wrote about this film during Halloween, but it deserves another mention. This film will stand the test of time as one of the best films to watch at both Halloween and Christmas. Danny Elfman’s score is great background music for your house and the songs are great for a sing-a-long. And of course, the Claymation is absolutely beautiful.

The Best of the Best
These are the films that I will never go a single Christmas without watching. They are classics. The crème de la crème of Christmas cinema.
Love Actually
Love Actually 2 Love Actually

The ultimate Christmas film. Love Actually is king. The all-star cast. The amazing score. The fantastic writing. The hilarious jokes. The Hugh Grant dance sequence. It has it all! Not only is every story very different, but not one stands out as the best or worst! I love them all! Sometimes I think the widowed stepfather story is the best, and then Hugh Grant says “Would we call her chubby?” in a high voice and I change my mind. Colin calls himself the god of sex and I quickly think he is the superior character, and then the best friend of Kiera Knightly’s husband stands outside her door professing his love with Silent Night playing on a boombox and handwritten cards. I LOVE THIS FILM SO MUCH. This film requires multiple viewings for a sufficient Christmas… and by multiple, I mean, MULTIPLE.

The Holiday
The Holiday

A close second is The Holiday. While the Cameron Diaz/Jude Law story is clearly better than the Kate Winslet/Jack Black tale, Kate Winslet’s character is definitely the most relatable! Her fun times with Arthur are so adorable, but not as adorable as Jude Law’s children! Oh my gosh, Mr. Napkin Head! Hans Zimmer has also composed a great score to listen to while we’re all still at work before the Holidays.

It’s a Wonderful Life
It's A Wonderful Life

Jimmy Stewart and Christmas in one film? Please and thank you. If this film hasn’t changed you for the better, then I think you need to reevaluate your life. Both heartbreaking and joyful, It’s a Wonderful Life will make you FEEL and that’s important. This film also includes one of the most touching lines from ANY film (and with Titanic being my favorite movie, I am a sucker for romance): “What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.” Swoon.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
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With one of the best Christmas scores and most touching lessons, how can you not indulge in a little Charlie Brown Christmas every holiday season? At least to laugh at the jokes and help decorate the Charlie Brown tree.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
NO! Of course I don’t mean the Jim Carrey Grinch! THAT WOULD BE ABSURD! The Dr. Seuss cartoon is wholesome and it rhymes and it’s just the perfect length for the story. It’s adorable and no live-action movie will ever compare.

Friendly Picks
Like I said, I have always stuck to my favorites and rarely venture out. Even though I have seen these films and loved them, I don’t watch them every year, but I know my friends ADORE them. So I guess these are an honorable mention?
The Santa Clause
Because… yes.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Because… my Uncle wore a dickie for Christmas last year and I will never forget it.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Because… the Muppets. Duh.
Home Alone
Because… it’s just awesome.

Apple Cider Sangria

Completely irrelevant to the subject of my blog, I made delicious Apple Cider sangria this weekend. I couldn’t find a recipe I liked, so I decided to wing it. It turned out great and was a huge hit at my fall party.

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2 standard (750ml) bottles of Riesling
1 quart of Apple Cider
1 standard (750ml) bottle of Sparking Wine (Champagne)
2 Granny Smith apples
2 Red Delicious apples
Cinnamon

Thinly slice two apples (one granny smith and one red delicious). Combine with the Riesling and Cider. Stir. Refrigerate for a (suggested) 24 period. When ready to serve, pour in the sparkling wine, thinly slice two more apples (in case the originals are browning; and because, more fruit the better), and add a dash of cinnamon to each glass. Add some ice cubes to keep cool if you wish.

Fun Facts from Sundance Favorites

Some of our favorite independents ran at Sundance Film Festival, so here is a list of some fun facts from 14 of our favorite Sundance darlings.

1. The Brave Little Toaster (1987)
With the film originally in development at Disney, John Lasseter was set to direct and planned to combine traditional hand-drawn animation and computer-generated imagery, making it the first feature to attempt it. Because CGI wasn’t going to cut costs, the project was dropped, Lasseter was fired from Disney (then co-founded Pixar), and the rest of the team produced it independently. Disney eventually bought the film to show on Disney Channel and it became a cult hit. (via IMDB)

2. sex, lies, and videotape (1988)
A year prior to sex, lies, and videotape winning the Audience Award, Steven Soderbergh volunteered as a festival driver. (via latimes.com)

BraveLittleToaster SexLiesVideotape

3. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
The final answer print of the film came back from the lab only 3 days before it debuted at Sundance. (via IMDB)

4. Bottle Rocket (1993)
Sundance initially refused the film; however, Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson, college friends from the University of Texas, completely rewrote and reshot the entire beginning to gain submission into the festival. (via IMDB)

ReservoirDogs BottleRocket

5. Clerks (1994)
Kevin Smith raised the film’s tiny $27,000 budget by selling off his comic collection, borrowing $3,000 from his parents, and maxing out his credit cards. He also worked in the store where they shot the film, clocking in at 6am and finishing at 11pm. Shooting would then take place until 4am. Smith would only get 1-2 hours of sleep before returning to work. (via IMDB)

6. The Brothers McMullen (1995)
The film was shot every weekend over an eight-month period from autumn 1993 to spring 1994. (via IMDB)

Clerks TheBrothersMcMullen

7. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The film cost $22,000 to make and made back $240.5 million. For every $1 spent, $10,931 was made. (via IMDB)

8. Memento (2001)
Although the film screened at major film festivals, including Venice, Toronto, and Sundance, it was difficult to find a distributor. Many passed, including Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein, who found the film to be too confusing. Within its first few weeks, the film reached more than 500 theaters and earned a domestic total of $25 million during its box-office run with Newmarket. Weinstein then tried to buy the film from Newmarket. (via The Making of Memento, by James Mottram)

TheBlairWitchProject Memento

9. Garden State (2004)
Although the film’s budget was $2.5 million, Miramax and Fox Searchlight purchased the film at Sundance for $5 million in a joint venture. (via moviecitynews.com)

10. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
Jon Heder was paid $1,000 to play the role of Napoleon Dynamite. The movie has grossed over $40 million in the US. (via IMDB)

GardenState NapoleonDynamite

11. Half Nelson (2006)
Despite critically acclaimed performances in Drive, The Ides of March, Blue Valentine, and Lars & the Real Girl, Ryan Gosling’s only Oscar nomination is for his performance in Half Nelson.

12. (500) Days of Summer (2009)
The production had a rule that it would only use buildings that were built before 1950 to give the film a classic look. Similarly, all the phone rings that were used were from old phones, not digital ringtones. (via filmschoolrejects.com)

HalfNelson 500DaysofSummer

13. Blue Valentine (2010)
Director Derek Cianfrance spent 12 years making the movie. During that process, Cianfrance said he wrote 67 drafts. (via IMDB)

14. The Sessions (2012)
To simulate his character’s posture, John Hawkes used a soccer ball-sized piece of foam which he laid onto the left side of his back in order to curve his spine. Consequently, some of his organs began to migrate and he was told by his chiropractor that now his spine doesn’t have enough movement. (via vulture.com)

BlueValentine TheSessions

13 Films to Watch on Halloween

1. My “Forgotten” Pick
Tower of Terror (1997)
Synopsis:
 Buzzy (Steve Guttenberg) is a tabloid reporter whose main objective is to write for a real newspaper again. Along with his tag-a-long niece (Kirsten Dunst), Buzzy investigates an old woman’s story behind the disappearance of the beloved child actress Sally Shine and four others at the Hollywood Tower Hotel in 1939. Legend says that the hotel is haunted, and Buzzy and his niece are about to find out why.
Why watch?: Everyone forgets that this film is the first Disney attraction-to-film movie that Disney made, testing the waters for other well-knowns like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion. As a Disney fan, it’s difficult not to enjoy a story that was filmed at this beloved attraction. Essentially this film is a long version of the pre-show, and you can’t hate on that video. This feature-length film is truly terrifying for a children’s movie.
Watch the Tower of Terror here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW2ds8Kk9YE

2. My “Disney Channel Original Movie” Pick
Halloweentown (1998)
Synopsis:
 Thanks to a visit from Grandmother Aggie (Debbie Reynolds), Marnie (Kimberly J. Brown) and her family’s tradition of ignoring the Halloween holiday are about to change. Marnie’s mother Gwen has been hiding a big secret from her three children–all of them possess supernatural powers. Now that it’s Marnie’s 13th birthday, she must begin her training as a witch or lose her powers forever.
Why watch?: Because Kimberly J. Brown is a Disney goddess, that’s why.  The film is fun and imaginative. It’s not trying to scare you with cheap thrills, but wants the audience to have fun with the characters and the holiday.
Watch the original Disney Channel promo here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EdgGsmswIo

TowerofTerror Halloweentown

3. My “Tim Burton” Pick
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Synopsis: Bored with the same old scare-and-scream routine, Pumpkin King Jack Skellington longs to spread the joy of Christmas, but his merry mission puts Santa in jeopardy and creates a nightmare for good little boys and girls everywhere! (via Amazon.com)
Why watch?: This film is a classic! I can’t think of a reason not to watch this film during both Halloween and Christmas. Never lie to me and tell you me you didn’t have a crush on Jack Skellington as a child. The Pumpkin King is one of the greatest characters of all time. Danny Elfman’s score and original songs are PERFECTION. The detail of Henry Selick’s Claymation is incredible. On top of a suave and misunderstood main character, the supporting characters are arguably what make this film so enjoyable. Everyone has a favorite and mine is definitely the little devil minion.
The film is available on Netflix.

4. My “New” Pick
Toy Story of Terror (2013)
Synopsis:
What starts out as a fun road trip for the Toy Story gang takes an unexpected turn for the worst when the trip detours to a roadside motel. After one of the toys goes missing, the others find themselves caught up in a mysterious sequence of events that must be solved before they all suffer the same fate. (via Animation World Network)
Why watch?: Disney-Pixar premiered their very first TV special on October 16 on ABC. Toy Story of Terror did what all other Pixar films do, but in 22 minutes. The story and characters continue to warm the hearts of viewers. The special, although short in duration, was not short on adventure. After 3 amazing films and this TV special, Pixar has proven that they can do no wrong with their Toy Story franchise. Bring on more sequels and shorts, I trust them. The only disappointment: Our villain Mr. Jones was adorable and we wish we could see more of him in the future. The success of Toy Story of Terror will hopefully pave the way for more Pixar TV specials. Arguably, Pixar should be reusing their beloved characters for TV and focusing on original stories for their feature-length films. One can only hope.
Watch a sneak peek here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMYMn1BZX0o

NightmareBeforeChristmas ToyStoryofTerror

5. My “TGIF Halloween Episode” Pick
Boy Meets World “… And Then There Was Shawn” (1998)
Synopsis: 
Feeling that Cory and Topanga’s break-up is having severe ramifications on his life, Shawn instigates a class-wide argument, prompting Mr. Feeny to send them all into detention. Disappearing one by one, soon it develops into a detention like none of them have ever experienced.
Why watch?: I distinctly remember sitting on my living room floor with a bowl of popcorn watching this episode for the first time on TGIF and wondering why they were killing off the entire cast of my favorite TV show. This episode is downright terrifying. My sophomore year of college, I watched the entire series from start to finish (in 2 weeks, I know, I have a gift), and I actually screamed out loud. You will not be disappointed at any age or at any stage of a Boy Meets World obsession. Plus, adding Jennifer Love Hewitt in there, you can’t go wrong. Feffy is the best.
Watch on YouTube for $1.99: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyk-bYmm07E

6. My “Trendy” Pick
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Synopsis:
After 300 years, three sister witches are resurrected in Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween night, and it is up to two teenagers, a young girl, and an immortal cat to put an end to the witches reign of terror once and for all. (via IMDB)
Why watch?: I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I grew up watching Hocus Pocus on a recorded VHS every Halloween night. It was a tradition to watch this one post trick-or-treating during candy sorting and swapping in high school. Even at the age of 23, it just does not get old. The film has really become a cult classic and for good reason. In fact, “I Put A Spell On You” will be playing during my Halloween party this year. The film is just an all around good time and will be loved for generations, I am sure.
Watch the original 1993 trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UUMsInka2s

  BoyMeetsWorld HocusPocus

7. My “Series” Pick”
Goosebumps (1995-1998)
Synopsis: A collection of children’s horror stories by R.L. Stine.
Why watch?: Although I have recently dived into American Horror Story, I am sticking with the classic Goosebumps. This show is so obscure that I promise you will never be able to guess the ending. R.L. Stine gets me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Let’s just ignore the fact that the dog’s eyes look like Microsoft Paint in the intro. I think Ryan Gosling being the lead in one of the episodes (“Say Cheese or Die”) makes up for this entirely.
Watch 5 seasons of Goosebumps on Netflix.

8. My “Underrated” Pick
Casper (1995)
Synopsis:
A paranormal expert (Bill Pullman) and his daughter (Christina Ricci) bunk in an abandoned house populated by 3 mischievous ghosts and one friendly one.
Why watch?: I do not understand why Casper has not become a cult favorite. Casper is beyond adorable. Christina Ricci is in her PRIME. Everyone loves a great invention scene: when Kat discovers Casper’s father’s laboratory. Also, how can we forget Devon Sawa?! Everyone was so jealous of Kat when Casper turned into a teen hottie on the dance floor of a sick costume party in a haunted mansion. Just me? Okay then.
Watch the unforgettable scene here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7cW5YlHaeQ

Goosebumps Casper

9. My “Sequel” Pick
Addams Family Values (1993)
Synopsis: A comical Gothic horror-movie-type family tries to rescue their beloved uncle from his gold-digging new love. (via IMDB)
Why watch?: The sequel to the Addams Family is, in my opinion, better than the original. The film has an amazing cast, including Christopher Lloyd, Joan Cusack, and Christina Ricci (the last two making this list twice). Maybe I love this movie for the epic camp scenes. Wednesday is everyone’s favorite character and watching her at the happiest summer camp on earth is nothing short of hilarious. Words can’t even describe how much I love this family full of characters.
Watch the trailer here: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVlPzTPLC4M

10. My “MK&A” Pick
Double, Double, Toil & Trouble (1993)
Synopsis:
Mary-Kate and Ashley are two adventurous girls who discover that their Great Aunt Sophia has been trapped and cursed by her evil twin sister Agatha. On the 7th year of her imprisonment, Sophia will be doomed to the netherworld unless the spell is broken by the magical spell of twins. (via Wikipedia)
Why watch?: I cheated. There is only one Mary-Kate & Ashley Halloween movie, so this one makes it on the list by default. It’s obviously not one of their best films, but this is your excuse to watch an MK&A movie during the Halloween holiday.
Watch the full movie here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kurvv4DN6MY

AddamsFamilyValues DoubleDoubleToilTrouble

11. My “Scary” Pick
The Amityville Horror (2005)
Synopsis:
The film is based on the alleged real life experiences of the Lutz family who buy a new house in Long Island, which had been the scene of a mass murder committed by Ronald DeFeo, Jr. DeFeo murdered six members of his family in 1974, the year before. After the family moves into the house, they experience a series of frightening paranormal events. (via Wikipedia)
Why watch?: I think this film is underrated. I am anxious and jumpy every time I watch it. I’m not saying that this film is great; I’m just saying that it gets the job done. I think most people discount this film because it’s a remake and the speculation about the true story, but I think more people should give it a chance. It has made me jump and hide under a blanket more than any other horror film.
Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xHJOG03eDE

12. My “Slasher” Pick
Scream (1996)
Synopsis: A killer known as Ghostface begins killing off teenagers, and as the body count begins rising, one girl and her friends find themselves contemplating the “Rules” of horror films as they film themselves living in a real-life one. (via IMDB)
Why watch?: Scream is my favorite scary movie. Although the premise is to borrow “rules” from other slasher pictures, it is so unqiue and unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The film combines comedy and horror, which was an entirely new concept in 1996. Scream became a trilogy, and then in 2011, a fourth was added to the franchise. Scream is perfect for a movie marathon.
Watch the Scream franchise on Netflix.

AmityvilleHorror Scream

13. My “Classic” Pick
The Exorcist (1973)
Synopsis: 
When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.
Why watch?: The only film to ever give me nightmares. If you find yourself laughing at the outdated special effects, you’re doing it wrong. When I think of a horror film that is both well-made and terrifying, I think of this one. You can’t do any better. If this is your first time watching, stick with it. The beginning is slow, but don’t worry, it picks up and it will ruin your night in such a good way.
Watch the original 1973 trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDGw1MTEe9k

TheExorcist