Friday FabOoolousness – I Need a Movie to Watch…

I had a different post planned for today, but I’m feeling a bit under the weather and decided to save it for another time.  Since all I can think about is curling up in my chair, drinking warm liquids, and watching movies, I thought I’d share some of the films that are on my radar and that I’d like to see.

Deciding which movies to watch may not be a factor, especially if I don’t start feeling a bit better and I stay in my chair all weekend.  But I thought that by sharing, perhaps everyone could help me prioritize which ones I need to move to the top of the list.

First up, the comedies… because we all know that I love to laugh.

Next, we have a few dramas… with a touch of action.

And, we have the action/adventure films with the added bonus of some eye candy…

with Ryan Reynolds…

With Justin Timberlake, Alex Pettyfer, and Matt Bomer…

With Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, and Michael Fassbender…

With Jesse Metcalfe…

And last but not least, we have one of my favorites… the psychological thrillers.

Have you seen any of these films?  Which one/s should I  move to the top of my viewing list?  Any I should stay away from completely?  Do you recommend any other movies?  I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FabOoolousness – “Let’s Dance!”

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and I to break down another cinematic original and its remake – this month, we discuss Footloose.

First, let’s review Catie’s summary of the 1984 film:

Footloose is the story of a big-city kid who moves to a podunk town where dancing is illegal.  The big-city kid fights to hold a school dance, a prom, and encounters resistance from both town leaders and other kids who don’t like slick, fast talking outsiders.  Footloose has it all–romance, fighting, laughs…and dancing.

And in keeping with Catie’s style, here’s a taste of the most recent, Footloose (2011):

I’ll be the first to admit that when I saw the trailer, I felt the remaking of Footloose was sacrilege.  The 1984 film is and forever will be a classic – why mess with greatness?

But it’s because of this negativity that I asked to review the 2011 remake by MTV Films.  And I won’t lie – I prepared myself for a horrible film.

The opening scene gave me goosebumps, blasting the original Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose” as today’s teens danced and partied.  It almost seemed like there wasn’t a generational gap between kids today and kids twenty years ago – everyone appreciates good music.  Heck, I wanted to get up and dance with them.  Already, my opinion of the movie slowly began to turn around…

Immediately following the opening scene, five teens are killed in a horrendous car accident.  The driver, a senior football star, was also the son of the town’s reverend (Rev. Shaw Moore, played by Dennis Quaid).  This accident forces the members of the Bomont, Georgia city council to impose strict laws, forbidding teens from drinking and participating in public dancing.

The “new” Ren

Fast forward three years and viewers are introduced to the new kid in town, Ren McCormack (played by Kenny Wormald), a boy who also recently suffered a great loss of his own with the death of his mother.

The “new” Ariel

Ren immediately finds himself not mixing well with the locals and can’t quite understand why a local police officer pulls him over for disturbing the peace (he was playing his music too loud).  He attempts to befriend the reverend’s daughter (Ariel, played by Dancing with the Stars’ Julianne Hough), but she’s too busy rebelling and dating an older, rough-around-the-edges man to give Ren the time of day.

The “new” Willard

After Ren makes friends with a fellow high school boy (Willard, played by Miles Teller), he learns that the town also enforces a “no dance” ordinance.  Needless to say, Ren is miserable in Bomont.

Does this sound familiar?  It should – the 2011 film mirrors the 1984 classic throughout.  Usually I’d list the differences between the original and remake, but today we’re going to appreciate the similarities:

Ren’s car – a yellow Volkswagen Beetle, also known as a Slug-Bug around Texas
Ren’s hobby and pastime – Gymnastics
Ariel’s boots – red
Ren’s first day of school attire – a neck tie
Ren’s “blowing off some steam” dance scene – a lot of the moves were the same (but the music was way off)
Willard learns how to dance – wearing a straw cowboy hat to the music “Let’s Hear it For the Boy” by Deniece Williams
The high school students’ secret hangout – The Yearbook
Ariel’s t-shirt at the council meeting – “Dance your @$$ off”
Ren’s prom attire – dark red, almost maroon, tuxedo jacket with a black bow-tie

Can everyone see where I’m going with this?  I applaud the attention to detail in keeping the original alive.  Of course there were also a few differences, but the bottom line is what matters – the story remains the same.

Footloose is a story about a boy, a stranger from another part of the country, who moves in and changes the town people’s lives and opens their eyes to believing in their children again.

Footloose is the story of a town coming together to celebrate life, not just mourning the dead.

Footloose is the story of children finding their voice – peacefully and respectfully.

Catie mentioned the music in the original Footloose, something none of us can argue with – the soundtrack is simply amazing, featuring artists such as Kenny Loggins, Sammy Hagar, Mike Reno (of Loverboy), Ann Wilson (of Heart), Bonnie Tyler, Foreigner, John Mellencamp, and Quiet Riot.

How does the remake compare?  The 2011 soundtrack may not be considered a classic twenty years from now, but the movie does feature many of the original’s hits – including Kenny Loggins’ and Blake Shelton’s rendition of “Footloose”, a Quiet Riot heavy metal song, plus remakes of “Hero” and “Almost Paradise”.

Catie also enlightened the rest of us with a fun fact – Kevin Bacon was not the first choice to play the role of Ren in the 1984 hit — Tom Cruise and Rob Lowe were considered first.  Can any of us imagine anyone besides Kevin Bacon playing Ren?

The “original” Ren

Similarly, Kenny Wormald wasn’t the first choice for the remake either.  Apparently Zac Efron, Chace Crawford, and Thomas Dekker all passed on the role first for one reason or another.  I was a little disappointed, especially that Chase Crawford didn’t work out, but I must say I am not at all sad after watching Kenny Wormald’s performance.  I don’t know who he is, but he’s absolutely adorable and nailed the character of Ren.

Speaking of relatively unknowns, the same can be said for Miles Teller.  Catie honored the fabOoolous performance of Chris Penn as Ren’s best friend, Willard, in the 1984 film.  But what about the 2011 portrayal of Willard?  Miles Teller may actually be the best casting of the entire film.  Sometimes I actually saw and heard Chris Penn in his performance.

Now Catie closed her post on an entirely different note, introducing the true story on which Footloose is based.  Be sure to remember and click over to her blog to read all about it.

For me, I’m just going to close with Ren’s words: “There is a time to dance.”

“Let’s Dance!”

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the remake of Footloose?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.

Friday FabOoolousness – Playing Hooky

Today I’ve decided to take a break from my usual Friday FabOoolousness posts – sort of like playing a game of blogging hooky.  At first I thought about another installment of Movie Madness (we watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Darkest Hour last weekend while we were battling our colds).  But instead of writing about things that make me say Ooo, I’m going to partake in a question game that Nigel Blackwell tagged me in.

Like with every game, there are rules:

1) Answer the questions set by the tagger.  In my case, this would be Nigel.
2) Create eleven new questions to ask eleven new participants.
3) Share links to those eleven people in your blog and let them know you’ve tagged them.

Sounds simple enough, right?  So let’s play…

*****

What sort of vacation do you prefer, activity filled or relaxing on a beach?

Relaxing on a beach, without a doubt —  I worshiped the sun when I was younger, but now it’s more the peace and ambiance of the waves crashing against the sand; the sounds of the seagulls; and the smell of the salt water.

Beach view from our cabana...

Last year we were blessed to have the opportunity to spend a long weekend at the Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada, Florida (one of the Florida Keys).  We set up a shaded cabana area, lathered on the sun block, ordered pina coladas, and grabbed a book.

This is my ideal vacation, and I can’t wait to book another…

You have to go back to elementary school – what would you rather do, fifth grade science project or show off your latest dance moves on stage?

I have NEVER been one to dance in public without consuming a few adult cocktails ahead of time.  Today I can dance in front of those I love without them worrying about my mental stability, but in the fifth grade?  Definitely not.  I was not at all comfortable in my skin back then…

I’d rather set up a new science fair project.  Actually, I’d probably do the same one – photosynthesis.  I have such a hard time keeping plants alive today, why not experiment and showcase the most successful ways to kill a plant?

What do you juggle the most of? (and don’t forget this isn’t an X-rated site!)

My time — I juggle between writing my YA stories, my blogging, my freelance gig, and finding the time to complete my exercise routine and my house chores each and every day.  Who says staying home isn’t a full-time job?  And we don’t even have kids…

What country would you most like to visit and why?

Italy — visiting the Vatican has always been my number one wish on my traveling bucket list.  But Italy has so much more to offer between the archaeology, the food, the wine, the countryside, and the beaches.  I simply must go.

Image via ItalianVisits.com

Have you ever met any of your childhood heroes, and what did you think of them?

No — most of my childhood heroes were either family members or fictional characters.  Obviously, I have of course met my heroic family members — Mom, Dad, and Mimi; but I was never quite lucky enough to meet the others — Nancy Drew, The Lone Ranger, Wonder Woman, etc.

However, I have been lucky enough to meet a childhood crush, and he lived up to all of my expectations.  Who?  Oh — Matthew McConaughey.

My girlfriends and I were HUGE fans of Dazed and Confused in high school.  During my first few years of college, I drove a beverage cart around one of the country clubs in my home town.  Matthew, as I like to call him, visited his brother one weekend who also happened to be a member of the very same country club.  Needless to say, everyone was excited about his visit; but despite what my insides were doing, I played it cool.  I drove my cart up to him, asked if he needed any cold beverages (and by that, I mean beer), and what he said next literally made me want to scream and kick my feet – “Alright, Alright, Alright.”

I’m not kidding.  He really said it, in that sexy and raspy voice of his.  But that was just the beginning.  After his weekend stay, he sent a few of us autographed portfolio pictures of himself to thank us for treating him like a “normal human being” — and yes; my Matthew picture is framed in an 8X10 frame and was the center of my mantle for the longest time.

Thankfully, my “real-life” guy is very comfortable with my crushes…

Can you imagine what you would do with a mega-lottery win?

No — I really can’t.  I imagine I’d do the obvious, including treat myself and my loved ones to a nice vacation, pay the bills, donate to a few worthy causes, and save the rest.  A part of me thinks that my life wouldn’t change much, other than I’d spend a little more on myself than I do now.

What sort of pet do you have?

It’s more like pets, plural — We have our Shadow, a geriatric mutt who has recently lost her hearing; Shady-cat, my beautiful and somewhat protective Maine Coon; and Lucky-cat, our little, fat, and happy runt that I rescued from the parking lot at work.  We also have a 135-gallon salt-water aquarium, but we’re having a difficult time keeping our fish from dying.  The water tests fine; we have no idea what the problem is what that thing.

Yes, my guy built that beautiful stand and matching canopy (which we really can't see from this picture).

Friday night movie – scary, funny, romance, or … ?

Scary — 100%.  I’ve always had a fascination with scary movies, and I honestly have no idea why.  My parents never watched with me, but they also never discouraged me from scaring the living daylights out of myself.  To this day, I love to watch anything scary — even the B-rated and direct-to-DVD releases.  Nothing is off-limits.

Does seeing tomorrow’s weather forecast matter to you?

Absolutely — probably too much.  Just ask my guy.  I stress about things that I can’t control, the weather being probably the scariest thing in the world to me.  I have a prescription to get me through the worst of the storms, but I refuse to take it.  Why  be all drugged up when I really need to be paying attention to the storms around me?

We recently experienced a severe storm that brought over fifteen tornadoes to the DFW area.  I abandoned my writing, unplugged my laptop, backed everything up to my flash-drive, and glued my rear to the couch.  I watched as one twister devastated the ground for over thirty-five minutes straight without lifting back into the sky.  Once our sirens blasted, I wrangled up the one cat that would come with me, and we sat in the downstairs bathroom until the noise stopped.  Our neighborhood was blessed, nothing bad happened; but I can’t say the same for the rest of the Metroplex.

Whose marriage did you last attend, and with who?

Sarah & Michael — it was a beautiful ceremony in a small, old-fashioned town-square church with only the closest of friends and family in attendance.  The reception was outside the bride’s parents’ house, and the setting was absolutely breathtaking.  I of course attended with my guy, and he even got out on the dance floor with me at one point (something that rarely happens).

Just the two of us...having a great time!

It was a romantic evening, topped off with our Red Raiders beating the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, Oklahoma.  Heck, it was practically the only Texas Tech victory we were able to celebrate this past football season, so we remember the evening…

You’ve just been tapped to star in a new Hollywood action blockbuster, would you do your own stunts?

Heck NO! — I’m the biggest klutz ever, plus I’m terrified of heights.  I’ve been known to trip going up stairs.  My mom once said that she had no idea how I could be so athletic, yet trip over my own two feet.  Yea, I have no idea either.

Do I look capable of pulling off my own stunts? I didn't think so...

I’m also a firm believer that if anything bad can happen, it will happen to me.  My mom says I’m a pessimist, but I like to believe I’m more a realist than anything.

*****

Well there we have it.  I answered each and every one of Nigel’s questions, maybe a bit much on a few.  Now I pass this game along to eleven others…

Amber West
Jen L. Kirchner
Catie Rhodes
Stacy Green
Angela Wallace
Ellie Soderstrom
Ashley Prince
Liz Schulte
Emma Meade
Jillian Dodd
Angela V. Cook

And finally, my questions for the amazing eleven listed above:

Do you prefer coffee or tea in the mornings?
What book have you read over and over again?
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
Do you cook and/or bake straight from the recipe, or do you get creative and throw things together in the kitchen?
Where is your favorite place to visit in the United States?
Which animals must you see when visiting a zoo?

And I wouldn’t be myself without asking…

What’s your favorite television show airing today?
What’s your favorite television show of all time?
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
What do you like to snack on when at the movie theater?
Who is your current Hollywood or otherwise famous crush?

If I didn’t include you in my list of eleven, feel free to join the game and play along with us and answer any of the above questions in the comments.  I’d love to hear from you!!   

Friday FabOoolousness – Reuniting with our Pals from American Pie

Thirteen years ago we all met and fell in love with the quirky teenagers of American Pie.  In my early twenties at the time, I joined millions of other moviegoers and watched the group of young adults as they frantically fluttered about, preparing for their senior prom.  Would they all find a date?  Would any of them lose their virginity?  Would this night be a night to remember, forever?

American Pie was a huge box-office hit, and the success continued once the movie was available on DVD despite critics claims that the film was lewd and shallow.  Regardless, the American Pie film franchise has now grown to include four films starring our favorite characters and another four films following other groups of teenagers.

But for the sake of today’s post, we’re only focusing on the “real” American Pie favorites:

The original, American Pie;

The sequel, American Pie 2;

The official consummation, known as American Wedding;

And the most recent theatrical release, American Reunion.

One thing that I truly appreciate about the American Pie films is that the story follows a group of teenage boys; it’s not the usual girl drama of most YA films.  While there are female characters crucial to the storyline (Michelle, played by Alyson Hannigan; Heather, played by Mena Suvari; Vicky, played by Tara Reid; and Nadia, played by Shannon Elizabeth), the movie tells the tales of five male friends as they move throughout life: Jim Levenstein, played by Jason Biggs; Kevin Myers, played by Thomas Ian Nicholas; Chris “Oz” Ostreicher, played by Chris Klein; Paul Finch, played by Eddie Kaye Thomas; and Steve Stifler, played by Seann William Scott.

The boys/men of American Pie... in order from left to right: Kevin, Jim, Stifler, Oz, and Finch.

Another thing that I applaud is the fact that the franchise kept the original actors throughout; even when a particular star couldn’t return or wasn’t written into the sequel scripts, the casting remained the same.  We recently splurged and treated ourselves to a Sunday afternoon date at the AMC Cinema Suites where we sat back and enjoyed juicy hamburgers and parmesan fries while we witnessed the crew (the ENTIRE crew) come back together for their twelve year high school reunion.

The American Pie franchise keeps true to the comedic moments, with each movie featuring at least one outlandish and hilarious scene (usually featuring Jason Biggs).  In the original, Jim “makes love” to a warm apple pie after he’s told that’s what “third base” feels like.  In American Pie 2, Jim superglues a pornographic VHS tape to one hand, and his other hand to his you know what after he mistakes a bottle of lube with the super sticky adhesive.  Jim’s up to his old tricks in American Wedding when he decides to “manscape” before his nuptials to Michelle, and he disposes of the remnants a bit too close to a vent which of course blows the hair all over the wedding cake.  American Reunion doesn’t disappoint, but for those who haven’t made it to the movie theater these past two weeks to see it, we don’t want to give anything away.

How it all began...

Another great aspect of the American Pie films has to be the pranks.  For what seems to be true of most young boys, the American Pie movies are filled with boys playing pranks on one another.  For example, we have the famous scene of Finch blasting a massive bowel movement in the high school bathroom in the original, courtesy of Stifler (or the “Stifmeister” as he likes to be called); and we have the forever famous and ultimate payback when Finch has sex with Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge).

Stifler's Mom & Finch

Heck, our generation owes the American Pie franchise for introducing us to the word MILF — meaning Mom I’d Like to…Fondle (so that’s not the actual word, but you have to fill in the rest; sorry, we like to keep The Ooo Factor as clean as possible).

And speaking of parents, let’s not forget to mention Jim’s awkwardly awesome dad, Noah Levenstein, played by the great Eugene Levy.  Mr. Levenstein is actually the only character in all eight films credited to the American Pie franchise.

Jim and his beloved and quirky father, Mr. Levenstein

But back to what prompted us to write this post in the first place — American Reunion.  It’s too early to give a summation of the movie, but know this:  it does not disappoint.  My guy and I never go to the theater, but I was dying to see this film.  Instead of ignoring my constant pleading, my guy agreed to go with me (usually he asks that I attend “my movies” with my girlfriends).  And let me just say — he laughed, and laughed, and laughed.  While the credits were rolling, he actually said how fun it was.

Did American Reunion exceed our expectations?  No — but seriously, it did NOT disappoint either.  The story was very well done, and the fact that every single one of the major characters (and a few of the minor) shared the screen at one point or another deserves a standing ovation.

To quote a friend of mine, “everyone who saw the original American Pie in the theater, owes it to themselves to take a trip back to the movies to see American Reunion.”  I’m going to take it a step further and add that this rule applies to anyone who has seen any of the American Pie movies in the theater.  Actually, let’s go even further — this rule applies to everyone who has ever seen any of the American Pie movies — anyhow, anyway.

See? Even Mr. Levenstein gives it a "thumbs up!"

Have you seen American Reunion?  What are your thoughts on the entire American Pie franchise?  Which movie and/or character is your favorite and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

For another review of American Reunion, click over to my friend Jillian Dodd’s blog.  It seems she and I agree that it’s a must see!

Friday FabOoolousness – Living with a Wicked Stepfather

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and I to break down another cinematic original and its remake – this month, we discuss The Stepfather.

First, I must applaud Catie’s homemade summary for the 1987 thriller:

Jerry Blake is in search of the American Dream.  Somewhere out there is a house surrounded by a white picket fence and a family who will live up to his expectations. And if Jerry’s family doesn’t live up to his expectations, he’ll murder them and start over again.

And in keeping with Catie’s style, here’s a taste of the most recent, The Stepfather (2009):

When I first watched the trailer, I had no idea this film was a remake.  I saw the stars of the movie (each from past and current day television programs that I highly enjoy) and the premise of the movie, and I was hooked!  Not to mention, you know you’re aging when you have just as much of a crush on the dads of the film as you do the young actor playing the teenage son…

Now for a few differences between the original and the remake:

Jerry Blake is now Grady Edwards, or David Harris (played by Dylan Walsh, Nip/Tuck).  We can’t be sure of his real name because he has changed it each time he has murdered his family and attempted to move on with his life.

David is definitely no Sean McNamara...

David meets Susan (Sela Ward, CSI: NY) in a grocery store where he discovers his next opportunity — his next American Dream — a single mother with two young children, a boy and a girl.  He introduces himself, she invites him to dinner, and the happiness commences.

Susan just wants to be happy...

That is until Susan’s oldest son, Michael (Penn Badgley, Gossip Girl), returns home from military school.  Apparently, Michael didn’t respond well to his mother and father’s (Jon Tenney, The Closer) divorce, so Mama sent him away to give Michael time to contemplate whether or not his acting out was the best way for him to deal with his life changes.

Michael is ecstatic to be home, but he’s not thrilled about David — he doesn’t like the speed with which David has courted his mother; and David makes him uncomfortable when he invites Michael down to the now padlocked basement for a shot of tequila for the two to bond over.  But Michael’s girlfriend (Amber Heard, Playboy Club) convinces him to give David a chance — after all, his mother has been so happy since David came into her life, and she doesn’t want Michael shipped back to military school.

Don't do anything stupid, Michael!

Everything in David’s new world is perfect — Susan’s sister (Paige Turco, Person of Interest) hires him at her lucrative real estate agency; he and Susan will soon marry; and it seems he has successfully escaped his life as Grady Edwards.

That is until the neighbor sees a man resembling David on America’s Most Wanted.  Of course this neighbor loves to gossip, so Susan laughs her off.  But not David.  No, he can’t have a nosy old woman sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong.  So he does what he does best — he murders her.

It’s also about this time that Michael and Michael’s father begin questioning the new man in Susan’s life.  And they aren’t the only ones…

Mom, are you sure you can trust David?

Why is the basement padlocked now that David lives in the house?
And since the basement door is already padlocked, why are the brand new shelving units that David built down there also padlocked?
Why does David call his deceased daughter by two different names?
Why doesn’t he have any form of identification to provide to his boss for his required government tax documents?

Stepdaddy is CRAZY!!!

Catie mentions in her post that including the POV of the brother of Jerry’s dead wife saves the predictability of the 1987 film.  The same can’t be said for the 2009 remake.

What’s not predictable?  The fact that David escapes at the end…  I honestly didn’t see that one coming.  Of course, had I known at the time that there was an original and subsequent sequels as I watched The Stepfather (2009)  for the first time, perhaps the ending would not have surprised me the way that it did.

But here’s the best part — The Stepfather movies are loosely inspired by actual events.  Has anyone ever heard of John List?  John List murdered his entire family and then walked away — vanished into thin air.  For more on List, click over to Catie’s blog today and read all about him on her Freaky Friday post.

David can change his appearance, but he can't change the crazy!

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the remake of The Stepfather?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.

Tele-Tuesday: Supernaturally Yours – Warlocks

We had so much fun with our last blog collaboration (Right to Remain Dreamy – our favorite men with and without badges), that we decided to take another stab at sharing our favorites – this time, we’re dealing in the supernatural.

Supernaturals and paranormals are taking over the world, aren’t they?  Who isn’t familiar with at least one of these book series, movies, and television adaptations: Twilight, Harry Potter, The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, Being Human, Alphas, I am Number Four, Teen Wolf, Merlin, Supernatural and Charmed?

The popularity of the supernatural is what led me to choose warlocks, well that and Stephanie Nelson had already selected witches.

By definition, a warlock is a traitor or oath-breaker; however, many commonly relate a warlock to the male version of the witch, since witches are stereotypically women.   Warlocks and wizards are oftentimes confused because they share many of the same traits and characteristics.  This similarity has led to debates regarding whether or not the character of Harry Potter is a wizard or a warlock.  Some argue wizard, because he’s not evil – but who’s to judge?

A warlock has the ability to cast a spell, or magical action, by reciting an incantation or by performing a ritual using herbs, potions, and amulets.  A warlock can also conjure the dead (necromancy), which might be one reason why many view warlocks as evil.

Because many view witchcraft as evil, mankind has attempted to eliminate witches and warlocks for centuries (think the Salem Witch Trials and witch hunters).  But I don’t view a warlock as evil.  I actually think a warlock is sexy, literally and figuratively, which is why I jumped at the chance to feature a few of my television and film favorites in this edition of Supernaturally Yours.

Enjoy!

*****

Harry Dresden (Paul Blackthorne) – The Dresden Files

Harry Dresden resides in Chicago where he consults with the police department and performs individual consulting gigs involving suspicious (paranormal/supernatural) circumstances.   Harry was raised by his uncle after the deaths of his parents (his mother was a witch and his father a magician), where he learns to utilize his finely crafted warlock skills and wizardry.

*****

Daryl Van Horne (Jack Nicholson) – The Witches of Eastwick

Daryl Van Horne is the mysterious, wealthy, and sexy man who moves to the town of Eastwick and mesmerizes three of its local women – Alex, Jane, and Sukie.  But Daryl’s arrival brings more than companionship for these ladies – he opens them up to using their witchcraft.  Daryl is the ultimate ladies man, sharing the love and attraction of three beautiful women.  But he’s also not afraid to wreak havoc on anyone who protests his actions or stands in his way (love the famous cherry scene).  Daryl puts his powers to use one final time just before the women decide to never see him again, when he impregnates each and every one of them, leaving his warlock legacy intact for years to come.

*****

Darryl Van Horne (Paul Gross) – Eastwick

This Darryl Van Horne is television’s counterpart to Jack Nicholson’s character for the short-lived Eastwick series.  Same concept, similar stories – Darryl, a mysterious, wealthy, and sexy man moves to the town of Eastwick and woos three of the local women who are unaware they possess a secret witchcraft – Joanna, Kat, and Roxie.  Unfortunately, the series ends before we know Darryl’s fate, but Paul Gross definitely does Jack Nicholson justice.

*****

Pogue Perry (Taylor Kitsch) – The Covenant

Tyler Simms (Chace Crawford) – The Covenant

The Covenant didn’t get much as far as positive critical acclaim, but I personally enjoyed the story of the five beautiful teenage warlocks (Caleb, Pogue, Reid, Tyler, and Sebastian) fighting to protect their families and keep their secrets and powers.  All of the boys qualify as eye-candy, but I believe Pogue and Tyler rank at the top of the list.

*****

Jake Armstrong (Chris Zylka) – The Secret Circle

The Secret Circle follows a group of teenage witches and warlocks who are bound for protection.  But when one member dies, his brother returns to town and automatically becomes the sixth member of the circle – Jake.  While I wasn’t expecting a supposed main character to die so suddenly (and early in the series), I am most grateful for the addition of Jake.  Jake is a bad boy warlock, who for the longest time uses his knowledge of witches to hunt and kill them alongside other dangerous witch hunters.  But once Jake meets Cassie, his intentions change and audiences can now fall in love with his smirks.

*****

Brendan (Michael Weatherly) – Charmed

Along with Supernatural, Charmed may be my favorite supernatural series of all time.  One of the first warlocks we meet, Brendan, just happens to also be one of the most popular characters on TV today (on NCIS, where he’s of course not a warlock).  Brendan asks the Halliwell sisters for help so that he doesn’t fall into his family’s curse and become an evil warlock like his brothers.  Why?  Because if Brendan joins his brothers – they will become the “evil power of three” to offset the Halliwell sisters “good”. 

The earlier seasons (this is from season one) were always my favorites…

Wyatt Halliwell (Wes Ramsey) – Charmed

As Charmed moves forward, Piper and Leo have two sons – Wyatt and Chris.  Once baby Wyatt grows into manhood, his sexy good looks overcome the fact that he’s destined at one point to be the ruler of the underworld.  Because Wyatt is a baby or toddler most of the series, there’s not a lot of story to tell here – other than I loved the flash-forward scenes where we could see adult Wyatt in the future and enjoy his long locks and scruffy face.

*****

John Van Owen (Sean Faris) – The Brotherhood 2: Young Warlocks

In the middle...

John is a transfer student at a private academy who makes friends with a beautiful girl. Sounds like a typical teenage movie, doesn’t it?  To fend off a group of angry jocks jealous of his new female companion, John joins forces with a group of warlocks.  But like many innocent teens, John doesn’t quite understand his newfound powers or what the others have planned for him and his black magic.

*****

Warlock (Julian Sands) – Warlock

A warlock from the 1600’s, Warlock, is cast forward in time to 1980’s Los Angeles, and a witch hunter follows him through the portal.  Warlock is taken in by a nice young girl, who later partners with the witch hunter after Warlock places an aging spell on her.  This warlock is actually evil…but enticing enough for sequels.  He may not be my perfect idea for eye-candy, but Sands did bring the warlock to the big screen and was probably the first warlock that I thought of…

*****

One might ask why I didn’t list Adam Conant (Thomas Dekker, The Secret Circle), Chris Halliwell (Drew Fuller, Charmed), Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and Merlin (Colin Morgan), but our list was supposed to be somewhat relatable to eye-candy or the hot factor, and while these four are very powerful warlocks, they just don’t quite do it for me.

What do you think?  Who’s your favorite warlock – books, film, or television?  Who did I forget?  If you could, would you practice witchcraft?  I’d love to hear from you!

Remember to stop by the next Supernaturally Yours post, Fae by MG Ainsworth.

And just in case you want to see more of….

Liz Schulte – Demons
Cait Lavender – Werewolves
Elizabeth Sharpe – Vampires
Sarah Ross – Angels
M.D. Christie – Ghosts
Christine Powell – Elves
Stephanie Nelson – Witches

Friday FabOoolousness – All Good Things Must Come to an End

Over the holidays, we watched a movie that I remember had grabbed my attention when the actors were moving through the daytime and nighttime talk shows doing press – All Good Things.

The story is based on, or inspired by, alleged events surrounding the life of Robert Durst.  My family, who has lived in both New York City and the great state of Texas, remembers hearing about these stories and the people involved.  Loving true crime the way that I do, I was shocked to realize I wasn’t familiar with this case and immediately logged onto the Internet to read about it.

The real-life story, and the movie, is right up my alley.

***** WARNING – SPOILERS *****

The movie stars Ryan Gosling as David Marks, the eldest son and heir apparent to his father’s New York City real estate conglomerate.  As a young boy, David’s mother commits suicide right in front of him and his life changes forever.  His father (Frank Langella) never gives up hope, and continues to push David to be at his beck and call, including having him dressing down to fix tenant’s maintenance issues at the drop of a hat and dressing up to showcase at political events and high society dinners.

Early in the 1970s, David meets Katherine “Katie” McCarthy (Kirsten Dunst).  They fall in love and marry, despite his father’s disapproval.  David and Katie move to Vermont and open an organic food store, fittingly named All Good Things.  After a short while, David’s father plants a seed of doubt in David’s mind that Katie deserves AND wants more than the measly shop out in the middle of nowhere.  They sell the store and move back to the city where David goes to work for his father.

Of course, working for the Marks family has its privileges – the money rolls in, the young couple buys a penthouse and a second home out on a nearby lake, and everything seems to be going according to the grand master plan that all married couples hope for when they start their new life together.  David and Katie associate and party with other successful couples, including David’s long-time best friend and bestselling author, Deborah Lehrman (Lily Rabe).

But everything is seldom as it appears….

The Marks’ family business isn’t as clean as a legitimate real estate company should be, and certain law enforcement officers are searching for a way to take them down.  David is tasked with collecting the rent, or books, of a few extremely shady properties for his father (one was clearly a porn house), and his buildings are the first hit by the police.

Katie wants to start a family, but David refuses without giving any explanation.   Of course, as luck would have it, Katie soon discovers that she is pregnant and David forces her to have an abortion.  Distraught, Katie focuses more on her education, and less on her marriage.  She slowly pushes away from her husband and at one point even attempts to file for a legal separation.  Unfortunately, for Katie to continue her dreams of attending medical school, she needs the Marks’ money and decides to stay with David.

Their lives were never the same; David spends his time in the city, and Katie spends her time at school.  They see each other on the weekends at the lake house, but the two fight to the point that their relationship turns abusive.  Late one night in 1982 while taking out the trash, Katie discovers that David has killed their family dog and she grabs the shovel to go inside and confront him.

Katie is never seen again.

Or is she?

The doorman at the NYC penthouse claims to have seen Katie arrive at the property early the next morning wearing oversized sunglasses and her hair down covering her face.  She was also reported making a phone call at the phone booth just outside the building that same day.

But back to the night of Katie’s disappearance, a very telling portion of the movie (in my opinion)…

David drives over to his father’s mansion for a quick late night visit.  Rambling and clearly disturbed, David ends the conversation by telling his father that they’re the same now – alone.  David leaves, on foot, and his father notices that he has left Katie’s Mercedes behind, parked directly in front of the house.  His father walks over to the trunk of the car, opens it, and the camera focuses on his face.

After an exhausting search by the McCarthy family, and publically supported by the Marks family, David leaves the city and moves to Galveston, Texas where he rents a small apartment.  He begins cross-dressing and pretends to be mute so that no one will bother him or discover who he actually is.  He repeatedly dodges phone calls from Deborah, who desperately needs help (money) and who begins to threaten him if he doesn’t call her back.

It is at this point that David decides to befriend his aging neighbor, Malvern Bump (Philip Baker Hall).   The two men bond by shooting guns together, and David later convinces Malvern to help him out with his situation in exchange for a place to live, considering he is facing eviction at his apartment complex.  With nowhere else to turn, and trusting David, Malvern travels to California and shoots Deborah dead inside her own home, execution style.

When Malvern returns to Texas to discover David never paid the escrow on the house, the two scuffle and David kills him.  He doesn’t stop there – he dismembers Malvern’s body, dresses in drag, and disposes of Malvern’s body parts in a body of water.

The movie ends with David on trial for Malvern’s death.  He is found not-guilty by way of self-defense, however did face a short stint in prison for the wrongful disposal of the body.  While Deborah’s murder in California prompts the NYC District Attorney to reopen Katie’s disappearance with David as the primary suspect, no charges were ever filed and he retires in Florida…selling real estate.

An aged Gosling playing David Marks

*****

This is not in any way a feel good movie.  A few one-liners by Kristen Wiig’s character might have been the only time I laughed out loud (the scenes with Katie’s attorney).  However, the performances by Gosling and Dunst deserve some sort of acclaim, any sort of acknowledgement.  The two young actors are absolutely brilliant with their portrayal of such haunted characters.

Obviously, the character’s names in the movie have been changed to protect the innocent and any surviving family members (Robert Durst = David Marks; Kathleen McCormack = Katie McCarthy; Susan Berman = Deborah Lehrman; Morris Black = Malvern Bump).

A story by the New York Times reported that Durst viewed All Good Things and basically had no major objections to the story, other than he wasn’t involved in the three murders.  For more from the Times’ Article on the Durst family’s thoughts regarding the movie, click here.

Are you familiar with the Robert Durst story?  Have you seen All Good Things?  What do you think?  Will his wife’s body ever be discovered?  Has he gotten away with two (alleged) perfect murders?  I’d love to hear your take! 

Friday FabOoolousness – The Titter Factor: Dazed and Confused

Will audiences ever tire of watching high school comedies and satires?  Probably not.  After all, we all survived the glory years, so why not reminisce?  Some of us were geeks, some were popular, but we can all relate to certain teenage characteristics one way or another. 

The Titter Factor has already revisited the nineties classic, Clueless; but in order to truly appreciate the high school movie greats, we still plan to ride the wave with Jeff Spicoli in the Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  But today, we remember the late seventies with the 1993 hit that left us Dazed and Confused.

First, we have to discuss the music.  It all starts with the music, and Dazed and Confused opens with the all-time great “Sweet Emotions” by Aerosmith.  Only the best films take us back in time with excellent tunes. 

The Dazed and Confused soundtrack continues to do just that with classic hits including:  “Slow Ride” by Foghat, “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper, “Tush” by ZZ Top, “Love Hurts” by Nazareth, “Rock and Roll All Nite” by Kiss, and “Tuesday’s Gone” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  The movie’s soundtrack was so red-hot, that a second album followed in 1994 leaving us Even More Dazed and Confused featuring Edgar Winter Group, The Steve Miller Band, Peter Frampton, and more Alice Cooper and ZZ Top.

Next, it’s all about the cast.  Writer and Director Richard Linklater hired mostly unfamiliar actors at the time to star in his film depicting a group of Lee High School Fighting Rebel seniors hazing the incoming freshman in a small Texas town back in 1976

The Seniors

Randall “Pink” Floyd played by Jason London (not to be confused with his twin brother Jeremy) – the football quarterback experiencing a bit of an identity crisis.  Should Pink do drugs and party the summer before his senior year, or sign the football team’s pledge that he will not do anything to jeopardize the team?  He makes his decision late one night at the 50-yard line when he calls out his play, “Marijuana on one; Reefer on two.” 

Slater played by Rory Cochrane (CSI Miami) – most of the seniors smoke marijuana in the movie, but Slater is THE stoner of the group.  He loves calling “Shot Gun!” as they drive around town and he rarely leaves the scene without saying, “Check ya later!”

David Wooderson played by Matthew McConaughey (yes, THE Matthew McConaughey) – the token graduate still hanging around with the high school crowd.  He loves his Chevelle and he loves women, particularly the fact that while he gets older, the high school girls “stay the same age.”  He steals the show with his tight orange pants, his soft repetitive laugh, and his famous line, “Alright, Alright, Alright.” 

Fred O’Bannion played by Ben Affleck (yes, THE Ben Affleck; is there an echo in here?) – the repeat senior, the “tool” of the group.  He’s not only oblivious to the fact that it’s not cool to flunk, he actually looks forward to hazing another class of incoming freshmen.  Loser.

Darla Marks played by Parker Posey (Scream 3) – the Queen “B”; the senior girl itching to stake her claim as LHS royalty.  Darla’s character had some of the film’s best lines: “Lick me, all of you!” and “Wipe that face off your head b*#$%.”  Posey’s comedic timing is impeccable, and her stumble at the kegger while trying to be cool has honestly happened to the best of us.  “Air raid!”

Other seniors include: Mike Newhouse played by Adam Goldberg (Saving Private Ryan); Don Dawson played by Sasha Jenson (Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers); Benny O’Donnell played by Cole Hauser (Chase); Michelle played by Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil movies); Simone played by Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy); and Tony played by Anthony Rapp (RENT).

We recognize many of these names today, don’t we? 

The Freshmen

Mitch Kramer played by Wiley Wiggins – little brother of Jodi Kramer (Michelle Burke, Coneheads), Pink’s girlfriend.  Mitch not only endures the worst beating by the seniors, but his courage earns him an invite to join Pink and the boys at the big keg party.

Sabrina Davis played by Christin Hinojosa – random freshman girl picked up by Jodi Kramer to participate in the hazing activities.  Her go-with-the-flow attitude also scores her an invitation to join the seniors later that night.

There are other freshmen in the movie like Kevin (Shawn Andrews) and Carl (Esteban Powell), but the movie primarily focuses on the senior class.

Finally, where would a movie be without a good story?

We watch as the seniors drive around town, cruise up and down the strip, hang out at the drive-in, play pool, drink beer and go one beer runs, smoke cigarettes (and a bit of pot), and smash mailboxes with a baseball bat, all while making their way to the party at the Moon Tower and to purchase Aerosmith concert tickets. 

Most of us can relate to the “nerd” crowd attempting to fit in with the “cool” crowd, to the “fresh meat” trying to outsmart the seniors and survive the traditional hazing night, and to the ugly effects of what it feels like to have partied all night long. 

Dazed and Confused is a cult classic

Grab your favorite paddle, and….

 “Fry like bacon you little freshmen piggies.  Fry!  Fry!”  {Simone}

And, just….

“Keep livin’ man, L-I-V-I-N.” {Wooderson}

Have you seen Dazed and Confused?  Which character is your favorite or can you relate to the most? What are some of your favorite quotes from the movie?   Have you played the popular drinking game while watching the film (taking a shot each time Mitch touches his nose)?  Were you hazed or did you haze anyone in high school/college?  What movie is your favorite flick about high school?  I’d love to hear from you!

On a personal note, in college I drove a beverage cart around a golf course in my home town.  Matthew McConaughey’s brother was a member at the club.  One weekend Matthew came to play in a tournament with his brother, and when I filled his cooler with beer, he literally said “alright, alright, alright.”  I think I turned every shade of red and it took everything to hold in my squeal.  I kid you not.  It was awesome. 

A few more fun personal facts: I graduated from Lee High School; we were the Rebels; our class of ’95 voted Dazed and Confused our class movie; and the senior girls made “Leaving you Dazed and Confused” shirts. 

As you can see, this film holds a special place in my heart.

Friday FabOoolousness – Friday Nights Flicks for Fall: Varsity Blues

What says Friday night during the fall months better than high school football?  The sun sets; the temperatures cool; and the sounds of marching bands, spectator’s cheers, and the crackling of shoulder pads crashing into one another echo through the neighborhoods.  Ah, memories.

So, grab the old letter jacket, microwave some popcorn, grill a few hot dogs, crack open a coke, and curl up on the sofa for a great movie that reminds us of the good ol’ Friday nights in fall. 

Varsity Blues (1999)

High school football is life in West Canaan, Texas, and anybody who’s anybody plays their part for the team.  Training begins at a very early age: the girls perfect their toe-touches and the boys practice tossing the pigskin through a tire hanging from a tree as soon as they can stand. 

Jonathan “Mox” Moxon (James Van Der Beek, Dawson’s Creek) plays quarterback for the West Canaan team.  Backup quarterback.  His best friend, Lance Harbor (Paul Walker, Fast and the Furious I, II, IV, V), is the starting quarterback.  The competition doesn’t bother the two boys, but it drives their fathers absolutely crazy.

The two teens seemingly have it all – Mox has the grades for prestigious Brown University, and he has a healthy teenage relationship with his best friend’s sister (Jules Harbor played by Amy Smart, Butterfly Effect).  Lance doesn’t have the grades, but he does have an opportunity to play college ball, and he’s dating a gorgeous cheerleader (Darcy Sears played by Ali Larter, Heroes).

Everything comes crashing down around the boys when Lance injures his knee during a game.  Mox is thrown onto the field and thrust into the spotlight.  He wasn’t as prepared as he should have been having not expected to play, but he manages his way through the final buzzer and later rushes to the hospital to be by his friend’s side. 

Doctors determine that Lance can’t play.  His football days have quite possibly come to an end.  Mox can’t believe what he’s hearing and grows even more devastated when he learns that the team’s legendary coach (Bud Kilmer played by Hollywood great, Jon Voight) has been covering up minor knee tweaks here and there by injecting Lance with cortisone shots. 

Mox makes the best of the situation and takes charge of the team with Lance and his other friends by his side (Charlie Tweeder played by Scott Caan, Hawaii Five-0; Billy Bob played by Ron Lester, Not Another Teen Movie; and Wendell Brown played by former Kansas City Chief, Eliel Swinton ).  Varsity Blues isn’t just about football, but more about teens finding their way in spite of what they have been conditioned to do.

Varsity Blues is about as realistic as it gets when talking about high school football in West Texas, without actually claiming to be inspired by actual events: the coach’s win-at-all-costs attitude; the quarterback’s celebrity (everyone remembers the whipped cream bikini, right?); the realization that great moments are often times the most painful; and that character is built by going against the norm.

The ending can make even the toughest man cry, and this movie will forever be one of the best Friday night flicks for fall. 

Next week, Friday Night Lights….    

Have you seen Varsity Blues?  Did your high school take football as seriously as West Canaan?  What other movies remind you of your high school days?  I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FabOoolousness – A Writer’s Life….in Movies

Everyone loves movies, particularly writers.  Writers find it extremely helpful to use movies as tools to identify crucial elements to the story making process, and even better yet, as research.

So, why not reminisce about some of the recent decades’ most popular movies about writers? 

*****

Romancing the Stone (1984)

This widely successful film stars Kathleen Turner as fictional romance novelist, Joan Wilder. 

Joan is lonely, living with her cat in her New York City apartment, when she receives a phone call from her recently widowed sister who claims to have been kidnapped by antiquities smugglers. As ransom, the smugglers demand a treasure map that Joan received in the mail from her brother-in-law.

Ransom demand in hand, Joan sets off to Cartagena, Colombia.  After a bit of a wild and crazy detour, Joan learns that other criminals want this treasure map as well.  She meets Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) and he promises to guide her through the jungle for a small monetary fee, not aware of what he’s gotten himself into. 

After sharing a romantic exchange, Joan and Jack decide to follow the map on their own.  They find a beautiful emerald, but not before one of the kidnappers (Danny DeVito) finds them.   One thing leads to another; Joan finally exchanges the stone for her sister, and shares her adventures in Cartagena by writing a novel when she returns to the city. 

Romancing the Stone has romance, action, suspense, and comedy.   In 1985, the movie was followed by a sequel, The Jewel of the Nile, also starring Turner, Douglas, and DeVito.   

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if all writers encountered a love affair, mystery, or adventure of our own to help push us through our stories?

*****

Her Alibi (1989)

Tom Selleck stars as Phil Blackwood, a fictional mystery novelist who meets his muse while sitting in a courtroom.  Blackwood forges an alibi for Nina (supermodel Paulina Porizkova), the beautiful Romanian woman accused of murder, and she is released into his custody. 

Blackwood takes Nina back to his house and begins plotting his story as he fantasizes himself in the role of his protagonist living with a mysterious woman.  Suspicions set in, however, after a police detective pays him a visit and places doubts in Blackwood’s head about Nina’s innocence.  Blackwood further questions just how well he knows this woman after she throws a kitchen knife across the room, stabbing and killing a bug crawling up a cabinet just inches from his face.

Not knowing if he’s made the right decision to protect this woman, and definitely not able to stop his romantic feelings for her, Blackwood follows Nina to a clown festival where they encounter the Romanian operatives responsible for the crime in which she was accused. 

How far will writers go to find the ever-important muse?

*****

Misery (1990)

Based on Stephen King’s novel, Misery stars James Caan as fictional novelist, Paul Sheldon.

On his way to deliver a new novel to his publicist, a story not related to the successful series that his readership has grown to admire, Sheldon crashes his car deep in the desolate woods during a blizzard.  Badly bruised and with multiple broken bones, including both legs, Sheldon is rescued by Annie (Kathy Bates), a nurse who just so happens to be his number one fan. 

Grateful for her hospitality, Sheldon agrees to let Annie read his new novel.  Unfortunately for Sheldon, she doesn’t like the new story and is offended by his language.  This disappointment sends Annie into a crazed tailspin where she obsesses about other mistakes in his storytelling; she tortures him, drugs him, spills hot soup on him, forces him to burn his manuscript, and finally takes a sledgehammer to his ankles.

Eventually, Sheldon escapes, and the movie ends just as he meets another number one fan…

Writers, how painful would it be to be forced to burn one of our manuscripts?  Does this story make us re-evaluate the importance of a “number one” fan?    

*****

Secret Window (2004)

Based on another Steven King story, Secret Window, Secret Garden, this psychological thriller stars Johnny Depp as fictional author, Mort Rainey. 

Secret Window keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, watching as Rainey spends most of his days alone in his cabin, agonizing over his wife’s (Maria Bello) affair which has created an untimely case of writer’s block. 

What’s worse than a writer suffering from writer’s block?  Being accused of plagiarism, of course. 

Rainey doesn’t believe he, the successful writer, stole the work of his crazed accuser (played by the great John Turturro).  After his dog is murdered, Rainey hires a private investigator (Charles S. Dutton) to look after the man. 

The movie takes an interesting turn when it’s revealed that Rainey is actually suffering from an identify disorder and has assumed the role of his character.  He lives out his story first hand by imagining the man accusing him of plagiarism, and by seeking revenge against his unfaithful wife and her lover (Timothy Hutton), thus overcoming his writer’s block. 

Are writers really this crazy?

*****

Did you enjoy any of these movies? What other movies about writers do you enjoy?  Writers, do you use movies and television programs as research for your stories?  I’d love to hear from you!

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