Is ‘Eternal Sunshine’ hopeful or depressing? Or both?

Spoilers follow. But the movie’s 12 years old so … come on.

I am not lukewarm on much. In general, something is the greatest thing on the planet, or it is the very worst thing I’ve ever encountered.

This is especially true with movies. Up until Sunday afternoon, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” was on my Worst Movie Ever list.

Which has always been strange to me. People seem to love that movie. I’m not sure I’d ever know someone else to dislike it.

But it did nothing for me. My major issue was, I felt, the lack of character development. I simply did not care about Joel and Clementine’s relationship; and by not caring about it, I didn’t root for them; and by not rooting for them, I had absolutely no stake in the end of the movie.

Sunday, I gave it another try. Sunday, I realized I was an idiot.

Because “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” is a damn incredible flick. (Welcome to the party, Jaclyn. You’re late.)

I love that Joel and Clem are flawed, and I root for them to figure it out. I root for them to outrun the memory wiping. I root for them to ignore the obvious signs that they have no business dating. I cheer when they decide, in fact, to ignore the forgotten audio tapings that list the other’s fatal flaws and massive deal breakers.

The movie has been on the back of my mind for the last day or so, and I can’t figure something out: Is the ending hopeful? On the surface, it is, absolutely. They’re going to try again. They may very well fail. But that inexplicable something that draws us to another is so strong, they decide to follow that instead of listening to reason.

It’s rosy, and it’s romantic. And it’d have never been possible without Dr. M’s magic memory machine.

So the machine that helps the lovers forget is also responsible for those lovers’ eventual heart re-break. Because you know: These two cannot be together. So they’re going to go through all the bad stuff again.

Which is dire, and depressing.

My brain hurts.

(Any Eternal Sunshine lovers out there, please weigh in: What do you love about it? Is the ending hopefully depressing or depressingly hopeful?)

Some Neil Gaiman ‘Neverwhere’ love

So the day became one of waiting, which was, he knew, a sin: moments were to be experienced; waiting was a sin against both the time that was still to come and the moments one was currently disregarding.” ~Neil Gaiman, “Neverwhere

This is my fourth foray into a Gaiman book, and each time, I am amazed at the man’s creativity and storytelling ability. I stayed up way too late last night because of one of those can’t-put-the-book-down-right-now scenes, which, honestly, hasn’t happened to me in ages.

The scene started with the above quote, one I read three or four times because of its perfect sentiment. I try my best to live in the moment, and mostly, I succeed. But it’s so easy to look forward to exciting weekends or fun trips and lose the day-in and day-out’edness. Just because it doesn’t look like a weekday has anything special in it doesn’t mean there is nothing special about it.

I’ll end this short ponderance with a similar reference from one of my favorite movies, “About Time.”

And so he told me his secret formula for happiness: Part one of the two-part plan was that I should just get on with ordinary life, living it day by day, like anyone else. But then came part two of Dad’s plan. He told me to live every day again almost exactly the same. The first time with all the tensions and worries that stop us noticing how sweet the world can be, but the second time noticing. Okay, Dad. Let’s give it a go.” ~Richard Curtis, “About Time

30 things to do before my next birthday. Which is in two months.

I’m taking another prompt from Journaling Sage over on Instagram:

List 30 things you want to do before your next birthday.

My next birthday is less than two months away. It definitely puts some parameters on my list of 30 things to do, making them perhaps a little more fun, a little less serious, than they might be if I had a year to cover everything.

Without further ado:

    1. Finish the book I’m reading. I started “A Storm of Swords” Saturday, and it’s 1,177 pages.
    2. Get another 10,000 words finished in my manuscript.
    3. Go to yoga at least three times a week, each week.
    4. My awesome friends like to send me photos of Donald when they see him (thanks, Christy!) Look at him, arms wide open, calling to me!

      My awesome friends like to send me photos of Donald when they see him (thanks, Christy!) Look at him, arms wide open, calling to me!

    5. GO TO THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER. (I’ll be in Orlando for my bday. All together now: AHHH!)
    6. Meet Donald Duck.
    7. Pick a weekend day and spend 24 hours in my pajamas.
    8. Watch both Kill Bill movies, back to back.
    9. Make something for dinner that I’ve never made before.
    10. Make something ELSE for dinner that I’ve never made before. (That’s two new dinners.)
    11. Dye my hair black.
    12. Take my laptop to Florida and spend a day writing on the balcony of our hotel. (OK, this might happen a few days after my birthday, but whatever–close enough.)
    13. Jump in the Atlantic. (See parenthetical above.)
    14. Subscribe to “The New Yorker.”
    15. Mail the few Christmas gifts I still haven’t yet sent to my friends. (Whoops.)
    16. Purchase nothing for myself online. Nothing. (Unless they’re tickets to things in Orlando.)
    17. Post at least six new listings in Jac & Elsie.
    18. Rearrange my living room to fit the new TV.
    19. Print out eight favorite photos for wall collage behind the new TV.
    20. Throw out half of my makeup. Offer the makeup I no longer want to friends, and then throw out the rest. (I have A LOT of crap I never use.)
    21. Clean up the spare room so it’s a spare room again and not my giant closet.
    22. Spend a week without my phone. (This may be tough, but I really want to leave my phone at home when I go to Orlando.)
    23. Find a new favorite blog or two to add to my roster. (Taking suggestions! I like slice-of-life blogs best.)
    24. Get my tax stuff together. (This isn’t so much a “want” to do as a “must” do.)
    25. Go to a solo matinee.
    26. See some form of live entertainment.
    27. Send a donation to Easter Seals Arc. (You should, too.)
    28. Have a writers’ retreat.
    29. Finish two personal essays currently in the first draft stage.
    30. Properly sift through Netflix, which we just started subscribing to.
    31. Start a travel journal. (I really like Journaling Sage’s idea of using it more of a spot for ticket collection, though I would like to go backward and at least list the dates and locations of previous travels.)

The best fashion from Oscars 2014

I don’t often watch the Oscars. I always mean to, but I usually forget about it until Monday morning when Facebook is full of “OMG, did you see her cleav??” and “Um, Meryl Streep/Martin Scorsese/Nicolas Cage was TOTALLY robbed last night.”

But I had a girl friend over this weekend who loves the movies, so I actually watched the show. And sorry, but the best part is looking at the pretty dresses. These were my fav:

Jennifer Garner

I think this was a dress that was made to be moved in. The photo is not doing it justice. When she walked onto stage to present, I got all giddy. So flattering, so interesting, so blingy. Yes.

Jennifer Lawrence

Why? Two words: That fit. The top looks as though it’s just part of her skin. Also, I hate peplum, but if you’re gonna do it, do it THIS way — with just a few pieces on the hips instead of a full-on tutu around your midsection. (See: Julia Roberts)

Lupita Nyong’o

So ethereal. She looks like an angel princess. That plunge is amazing. Her makeup is perfection. And she made a Blair Waldorf hair choice look elegant and demure.

Bradley Cooper

Best-dressed man. So classic. So yum.

Charlize Theron

I’m super digging the top. On closeups, you can see the clear straps, but from a distance, it just looks like the dress is made out of fashionable paper mache, in a perfect, awesome way. I don’t love the bottom half of the dress, but the straps/not straps make up for it.

Chrissy Teigen (AKA Mrs. John Legend)

I admit, I did not see Chrissy on the awards show, but when perusing Entertainment Weekly‘s fashion images, this dress stopped me short. I adore the pattern and color, and it reminds me so much of my Favorite Awards Dress of All Time, as worn by Lucy Liu.

And my absolute, No. 1 favorite?

Bette Midler, during “Wind Beneath my Wings”

The fit is divine. The pattern is amazing. Flattering, unexpected, perfect. If this was short, I would want it so I could wear it all the time. Also, she’s wearing the greatest bra known to man.

Runners up for favorites:

Camilla Alves (AKA, Mrs. McConaughey)

This color is amazing, especially on her complexion, and I kind of dig the one-sided cape thingy.

Cate Blanchett

Awesome, awesome texture.

Kerry Washington

THIS is how you be pregnant at the Oscars. (Not this.)

Which looks were your favorite?

Why I love scary books and movies

Do you like being scared by books, films, and surprises? Describe the sensation of being scared, and why you love it — or don’t. ~ The Daily Post

If you’ve followed me on any social media outlet for any length of time, you may have picked up on the fact that I love Stephen King (I recently went on a King pinning spree … sorry, guys).

I have a vacation in my mind where I fly into Maine, rent a car, and spend two weeks meandering toward Florida, stopping when I feel like it. My first stop would be a drive-by of King’s home. Because LOOK AT IT.

You may have picked up on the fact that I adore scary movies. “The Twilight Zone” is one of my favorite television shows of all time, and no New Years Day is complete without watching Syfy’s “Twilight Zone” marathon for anywhere from one to seven hours.

My favorite kind of “scary” is not blood and gore and creeps with chainsaws. Movies might make me jump when the piano sounds the chords after your heroine closes the refrigerator door to have the scary burglar standing behind it is NOT the stuff real fear is made of. No, I prefer the inexplicable. I don’t believe in demons, ghosts, or aliens, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a scarier flick than “The Exorcist,” “Paranormal Activity” or “The Fourth Kind.”

I watched this for the first time with my bestie when we were in high school. She went home and told her younger siblings about it, scaring them so much that her family created an Exorcist jar, where you had to put money if you said the E-word.

Now, despite my degree in newspaper journalism and eight years in the profession, I hate the news. I don’t watch it. It’s too depressing to watch about kiddie rape, kidnappings, murders and all the assorted fun you can find on the 10 o’clock news. It leaves me feeling helpless and more than a little sick in my gut. So I don’t watch. Because why do I need to know that another hundred people have died in a third-world country from hunger? I can send my checks to buy some food, but and it’ll make a tiny difference, but really, those people are still going to starve to death. And sure, knowledge is power, but frankly, I don’t need that much power all up in my face, reminding me that the world can fucking suck.

This is my apology for that creepyass picture of Regan from “The Exorcist” up there. See. Puppyface.

I’m a pretty empathetic person. One of the myriad reasons I don’t ever want to live in a major city is that I’d be poor; I’d want to give money to every homeless person I see, buying him or her a Dunkin Donuts sandwich (why do homeless people always hangout at Dunkin in Chicago?). I can’t pass someone going through this without tearing up, so I do the face-to-the-ground, I-can’t-see-you walk, which makes me feel like an ass. I don’t want to be that person. But I can’t be the person who walks around with her wallet in her hand, money compartment unzipped, either. So I avoid it.

And yet, when Stephen King tells me about a group of vampire-like individuals who feed off the stuff released when they torture children who have the shining, like Danny Torrence had in “The Shining,” I eat that shit up (“Doctor Sleep”). When a group of kids can band together to fight an evil, otherworldly force that sometimes takes the shape of a clown, that’s the damn best book I’ve ever read in my life (“It”). When a man wakes up with horns and finds that he is gaining the powers of the devil, I wish I had an English class to talk it over with me (“Horns,” not King, but his son, Joe Hill).

These stories are an escape. They can completely absorb my mind and transport me into a different when and where. Not that I need transporting–I love my life– but reading to lose yourself is delicious. Hours that feel like minutes due to a book is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Holding my hands over my ears during the scary parts of a movie (yes, over my ears, not my eyes — it’s the music that makes me jump more than the visual “boo!”) is fun for me.

A friend recently told me I’m the most harmless person she knows, in that I’m friendly, nice, easy to talk to and all sorts of other sweet things to say about a person. But I adore “American Horror Story” and “The Conjuring,” which maybe doesn’t fit with a girl who collects Donald Ducks and has a growing affinity for chickens in her kitchen. Maybe it’s a contradiction, but maybe not.

All I know is, these scary books and movies and television shows — these good stories — are part of the reason I love life so much.


My new (& probably improved?) laminated list

A friend posted a Mumford and Sons music video to Facebook earlier this week, and I realized something: Jason Sudeikis is now on my laminated list.

Now, don’t act like you don’t know what the laminated list is. You watched “Friends,” right? The friends discuss the famous people they are allowed to sleep with, and the other can’t get mad. It’s like their top five hottest celebs list. But then Ross gets all Ross and laminates his list, cause he a nerd.

And I started to think about my five favorite guy celebs right now, and who I’d put on my laminated list, and how much it has changed over the years (my first one ever definitely included some Jeff Goldblum. Ian Malcom is dreamy as hell.)

In no particular order:

Jason Sudeikis. I think he’s my favorite comedic actor out right now. “Horrible Bosses” is amazing and wildly underrated. He was key on SNL. And dang, every time I see him, I find him sexier and sexier. (OK, maybe not as Jesus.)

Gerard Butler. He’s been on this list forever. He’s perfect, whether he’s playing a Spartan king or a dopey schlub in a bad Katherine Heigl movie. (Seriously, if I were to describe my physically perfect dude, I’d describe Butler.)

James Franco. Totally dreamy. And then he does shit like “This is the End” and he gets even better. He’s probably the only “pretty boy” on the list, but there’s way more inside that perfect face. (Seriously, they’re both him. See?)

Tom Hardy. “Lawless” was my favorite movie of last year, and he’s just yummy. I knew within the first five minutes of “This Means War” that Reese Witherspoon would choose incorrectly, and I wanted to step into the movie and brain her for bad decision-making.

I don’t have a fifth. Let’s just put Gerard Butler on here twice then.

And now … yours?

Some of the best movie quotes

This week, Stasha over at The Good Life asked bloggers to come up with their 10 favorite movie quotes. I have the memory of a goldfish, so this posed a particular challenge for me. However, I’m a movie lover, so I have to give this a go.

In no particular order, 10 of my favorite movie lines are:

  1. I’m going to start by cheating, as this line is from a TV show, not a movie: “I could play the oboe.” ~ Mr. Heckles, “Friends.” This is my go-to response to the idea that I can do, oh, just about anything I want.
  2. “You’re making fun of me, Rizz?” ~ Sandy, “Grease.” A go-to line with me and especially my parents. Said to acknowledge anytime someone points out a less-than-savory fact about you.
  3. “You smell like beef and cheese. You don’t smell like Santa.” ~ Buddy, “Elf”
  4. “I do the cha-cha like a sissy girl. I lik-a do da cha-cha. I’m sorry we seem to be having some technical difficulties.” ~Evan Baxter, “Bruce Almighty.” Without fail, this scene of the movie makes me double over laughing. The second time I saw this film was on a plane in college. I was going to a journalism conference, after we got off the plane, one of my friends — who had been seated about half a plane in front of me — asked, “Was that YOU laughing?” Um … yes, yes it was.


  5. “Remember: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Except for herpes. That shit’ll come back with you.” ~ Sid, “The Hangover.” OK, this movie is full of good quotes, but I think this is the moment — which is, what, 45 seconds in? — that let me know this movie was gonna be better than a run-of-the-mill comedy.
  6. “I love you, Daddy.” ~Ariel, “The Little Mermaid.” Tears. Everywhere. Every time.
  7. Ooooooo, that’s a bingo! Is that the way you say it? ‘That’s a bingo’?” ~ Hans Landa, “Inglourious Basterds. Christoph Waltz plays the best bad guy since the Heath Ledger’s Joker. Also, I have a really gross crush on him. (It’s gross only because he’s a week and a half younger than my dad. But he’s sexy. Look.
  8. This isn’t a quote so much as a little ditty in the middle of “The Lion King.” But it was one of my favorite parts of the flick when I first saw it. And even now, it’s so cute: “If you’re hungry for a hunk of fat and juicy meat, eat my buddy, Pumba here, because he is a treat. Come on down and dine. Lots of tasty swine. All you gotta do is get in line. Are you achin’ (yup yup yup) for some bacon? (Yup yup yup.) He’s a big pig. (Yup yup.) You can be a big pig, too.  Oy.” ~Timon

I’m having a really tough time coming up with two more. I’ve had this post saved for days as I add more. I’m happy with my eight.

Share your faves in the comments and let me know what I’ve missed.