Archive for the 'fun and games' Category

Some thoughts on pop culture, friendship, and one of my favorite people.

One of the many reasons why I believe it’s a worthy pursuit to spend so much of my precious life consuming “pop culture” is because of the way mutual love of the same movies, TV shows, and books has helped me identify those people who’ve ended up being truly important in my life. There are a lot of people out there, and it’s just not practical to issue a full compatibility test to all of them. But if you are reading a battered copy of I Capture the Castle, or wearing a t-shirt for the Dillon Panthers, or standing in line for the latest silent film they’re screening at SIFF…these are all signs I might want to get to know you better.

I have a close circle of girlfriends that came together our junior year of high school. When we’re all in town, we still always try to get together to do the very thing that helped to solidify those friendships when we were teenagers: watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy nights were sacred back in the day. (I recall being gathered once for such a night, when a young male showed up at the doorstep to ask the hostess to the prom. He had to wait for a commercial break.) It became shorthand to refer to this particular group as the “Buffy Girls”—BGs for even shorter-hand—and we use that moniker to this day (including to distinguish ourselves come group photo time this past weekend, as we married off the first of the BGs…sniff!).

Anyway. You see, when it comes to this sort of thing, my friends and I are not messing around.

I invoke the Buffy example to set the tone for the following photographic essay in honor of one of said BGs. She and I have bonded over many a piece of pop culture, be it high brow or low. And though I do not agree with everything she loves, I’ll defend to the death her right to love it—and always seek her opinion, because it’s so much more fun to argue about these things with people whose opinions you respect, am I right?

On August 19, 1983, Rebecca Taylor Brinson was born. She lived 16 good years before meeting yours truly.

She was as blonde as Buffy! And though she did not yet dress as well (Tevas!), she has totally gotten there since.

Having grown up in a house where they watched things like Jeeves and Wooster, her sense of humor was a bit different from an average 16-year-old girl. (She would eventually introduce me to Jeeves and Wooster, and it is totally funny and awesome.)

We both liked a certain boy band. If pressed, I’m sure we both would admit to still liking a certain boy band.

She also liked some even more questionable musical groups…

…but in other ways, her tastes were quite sophisticated. (“Oh, C.K. Dexter Haaaaaaaaa-VEN!”)

And literary hotties were the best!

Although she still had a soft spot for less suave and gallant types.

New things came along that we loved together. Like…

Llama face!!!!!!!!!!

Tobias…you blow hard!

Dark times ahead, Harry…

But Riggins will help you!

We became roommates, and that meant I made her watch Smallville. She liked it, but the game where we tried to one-up each other making fun of it was even better!

“Clark! Take my Yaris! It’ll be faster!”

I would have returned the favor for Veronica Mars…but she didn’t appreciate a peanut gallery for that one as much.

I was there when she sobbed after a certain Joss Whedon character met his maker…

And in happier times, when Captain Jack and Spike kicked each other’s asses and then totally made out!

So hot.

Also hot? That time we dressed up as Betty and Veronica for Halloween.

Just yesterday, we made a reading date for our newest obsession, the last installment of which comes out Tuesday.

Because it’s true, sharing your enthusiasm for things like this is one of the best parts of having great friends.

Also, she once gave me a magnet with this picture on it:



Friday, part three: let’s play a game!

Recently, my esteemed friend Brandon sent me a link to an article on Radar Online titled Project Redlight, which shared the top ten entries in Radar’s call for readers to pitch their worst movie ideas. The results are quite amusing, but for the record I must state that there are three ideas on here that are definitely movies I would actually watch:

Christ Rider: A mix-up during the second coming of Christ results in Jesus’ soul being trapped in the supercomputer of the LAPD’s latest high-tech police car.

Jack and Dick: Secrets of the Oval Office: The real reason behind the JFK assassination is revealed when one brave Kennedy administration aide comes forward with startling evidence that Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy were involved in a torrid love affair.

Zom-Bees: Exterminated killer bees return from the dead and go on a rampage.

That killer undead bees one especially sounds sweet, am I right? And how funny could the other two ideas be in the right hands? Both of them sound like they could be episodes of South Park anyway. I say make the movies!

The article has me wanting to come up with my own pitches for movies that sound bad yet awesome. How about these?

Evil Spirit: When a demon is trapped in the body of a high school nerd after a spell gone wrong, he decides to make the most of it by wreaking havoc on the student body during spirit week. He gets more than he bargained for, though, when he switches the bodies of the head cheerleader and the star quarterback a week before the big cheer competition and Homecoming game. Determined to switch back and win their respective contests, they enlist the help of a local witch to help them find the demon, and a deadly war breaks out. Who will survive, and who will come away a champion?

G.P.S.: College friends embark on a GPS treasure hunt in search of money. Instead of finding buried treasure, they find a buried coffin that contains photos of a kidnapped woman and GPS coordinates that lead deeper into the forest. Are the photos real or part of a game?

The Last War: Cursed in his dying moments on the very first leap day in the year 45 B.C., the greatest warrior the world has ever known comes back to walk the Earth once every four years, on February 29. But on that day in the year 2012, he will find himself in the middle of the Apocalypse. Will one day be enough to stop the end of the world?

Pretty good, huh?! Okay, here’s the truth: two of those ideas are just me entertaining myself, and one is a real movie I came across on IMDb today and now really want to see.

The Game!

1. Without cheating, guess which movie pitch is the real deal.

2. Pitch your own bad/awesome movie idea, or give us two of your own ideas and one real movie for another guessing game. It’s just like Balderdash, so I know lots of you out there can do it!

3. If enough people participate, we can vote for our favorite pitch, and shower accolades upon the winner.


Buffy 2.0

A few months ago, I challenged you all to submit your ideas for casting a hypothetical remake of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It was a lot of fun to read people’s suggestions, so I always meant to do it again. Little did I know that this is actually a regular activity over at the massive pop culture blog Buzz Sugarand that this week’s challenge is for the one and only Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Blasphemous! But fun! Let’s do it. (Thanks, Whedonesque, for the link that led me to that discovery.)

Post your responses here so we can argue amongst ourselves, but you should also pop over to Buzz Sugar and post there, because the winner gets a free t-shirt. Who doesn’t love a free t-shirt? I wasn’t too impressed with most of the lists already posted there (a lot of people way too old for the roles, and I don’t get the obsession with Hayden Panettiere), so give it a shot. Their rules: you must cast Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles, and Spike. All other suggestions are for extra-credit only.

My list:

Buffy–Amanda Seyfried (Karen in Mean Girls, Sarah in Big Love). She’s 22 but easy to make look younger, still completely believable as a teenager on Big Love. Also a great actress.

Willow–Martha MacIsaac (Becca in Superbad). She’s 23 but also looks very young, and has the cute-girl-we-can-make-look-a-little-geeky vibe that Willow needs.

Xander–You’re gonna laugh, but after much internal debate I’m going with Lucas Grabeel, aka Ryan from the High School Musical movies (shut up, yes I watched them). I almost wanted to say Jesse Plemons, since his Landry on Friday Night Lights is essentially the Xander of that show anyway, but ultimately I want someone a little less world-weary, a little more slap-sticky. We are talking season one here, people. Plus I can picture him better with my first two choices.

Giles–Chiwetel Ejiofor. Excellent actor, British, able to play both stuffy and loveable, handsome but in an approachable way that would be easy to nerd up a bit. And this cast could use a little diversity, am I right?

Spike–Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Why? That‘s why.


Angel–Ian Somerhalder

Cordelia–Rachel Bilson

Anya–Anna Faris

Oz–Shia LaBoeuf

Tara–Evan Rachel Wood

Dawn–Ivana Baquero (the girl from Pan’s Labyrinth…she’s 13 now but would be a good age come season five…wow, I am putting way too much thought into this. Time to stop.)

Your turn!

Someday when I’m in charge of all of Hollywood…

Both times that I’ve written and directed a short play, one of the most fun parts of the process has been casting. Other people might have found it frustrating or tedious, but trying to find that perfect combination of actors was, to me, a delightful challenge. And as soon as the chemistry was there, the satisfaction was exhilarating. I think being a casting director would be a pretty sweet job. So, let’s play a little game called Fantasy Cast. I’ve been talking a lot about remakes lately, so here’s the assignment: cast a remake of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Bonus points for showing your work.

Step one: Holly Golightly, originally played by the unparalleled Audrey Hepburn. What contemporary ingenue could play this country-turned-city girl, equal parts ditzy and deep? We have to love her even when we’re exasperated by her, and want to make things better for her even as she keeps messing them up. My pick for this role would hands down be Michelle Monaghan. She’s a great actress, warm and funny, obviously beautiful, but most importantly, indisputably likeable. (Yes, I’ve said before that I have a huge girl-crush on her, which further illustrates why she’s perfect for the role: the women in the audience have to want to save Holly too, not just the men. So no Jessica Biel-types. Bleh.)

Step two: Paul ‘Fred’ Varjak, Holly’s dashing wannabe-paramour, baffled and fascinated by her without really being able to say why, and hiding some secrets of his own. Originally played by George Peppard, handsome and elegant with just a stripe of ruggedness. Who can fill those requirements and look good on screen with Miss Monaghan? I’d throw a couple million at Ryan Gosling for that. Okay, the thought of the two of them kissing in the rain at the end of the movie just got me a little hot and bothered…moving on…

Step three: the supporting roles. First of all, I’d forget all about Mr. Yonioshi, played with legendary racism by Mickey Rooney. Even if you made the role PC for a remake, it’s a pointless character. Any decent writer could come up with much more interesting ways to demonstrate that Holly doesn’t have her life together than having her landlord yelling at her for the rent. That leaves us to contemplate ‘2E’, the slightly older, married woman Paul is sleeping with, and Doc Golightly, Holly’s ex-husband. For 2E, I like Andie MacDowell. She’s maybe a bit older than the role calls for, but still looks seriously good, and could definitely project the combination of longing, sympathy, and cynicism that 2E represents. As for Doc, I’m thinking a contemporary version of the movie is going to require someone a little better looking than Buddy Ebsen for that part. Not too good-looking, though, and with the right amount of country in him…I can’t think of anyone I’d prefer over Woody Harrelson.

Ooh, that was fun. Who would you cast? I’ll pick my favorite and then buy you a pastry some hungover morning.

Other projects:

Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

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