Saturday, October 18, 2008

Candy Girl

If you’ve seen “Juno” and I think most of us have, you have an immediate fascination with its screenwriter, Diablo Cody. She is one of those Hollywood stories we love. She basically came out of nowhere and wrote a hilarious, Academy Award winning screenplay. She’s our new Matt Damon and Ben Affleck back in the “Good Will Hunting” days. Let’s just hope the similarities end there. I’d hate to see Diablo breaking up with a lover on Oprah or see her dating J Lo!

So the curiosity with the new Hollywood babe naturally led me to want to read her memoir, “Candy Girl: The Story of an Unlikely Stripper.”

First, I have to say Ms. Cody has an unusual definition of unlikely. She has some tats and she mentions disliking a particular mesh stripping outfit because it always snagged her nipple piercings (normal?). She and her boyfriend (now ex-husband) would frequent “booby bars.” I feel she refers to “unlikely” because she’s college educated, doesn’t have enormous fake boobs and is not a drug addict. In that vein, I guess I’ll agree with her definition, which does, unfortunately, uphold a particular stereotype, but still…this not quite the girl next door.

This memoir was apparently written, not only pre-Juno, but pre-anyone even being interested in her stripper bio. Once her stripper days were behind her, Diablo attracted attention for her writings on the now defunct “Pussy Ranch” web site. You can still read some older content at: She had already had “Candy Girl” in the can when approached by Mason Novick of Benderspink.

So the memoir itself is really just a stop on Ms. Cody’s evolution to who she is today. Her humor and pop culture references abound and we also learn a bit about the stripping world.

For those of us who don’t know, it’s pretty surprising how much a stripper owes the house by the end of her shift and it’s even more surprising that you can shake your goodies all night and go home with nothing. There’s also not a lot of camaraderie because no one has time to chit-chat. Time is money and you’re only as good as your last performance. These are learned skills that I’m sure Ms. Cody now finds prepared her perfectly for a career in Hollywood. This is written about as clean as a stripper memoir can be, but even with the interest young girls may have in her, I’d still make sure it’s an adult read.

Now, with an Academy Award under her belt, Diablo Cody is a busy woman. She writes a regular column for Entertainment Weekly, has a couple of other flicks in the works and a TV show for “Showtime.”

In a sense, women are still taking off their clothes to make it in Hollywood, but at least it’s not a dirty little secret anymore. “Have you seen these? Yes, they are my breasts. Now, can we move on?” You go Diablo!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Vicky Christina Barcelona

Ten minutes into the new Woody Allen movie, “Vicky Christina Barcelona,” I relaxed in my movie chair and thought, “Ah, Woody’s back.”
I hadn’t been very interested in seeing any of Mr. Allen’s films lately, but this one had the allure of Spain and didn’t seem too heavy.
If you’re going for sexy, you can’t go wrong with Spain. It was also nice to see actual Spaniards, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, at the helm. Javier does a complete 180 from being one the least appealing characters on screen last year in “No Country for Old Men,” (remember that Dutch boy haircut?) to oozing sexuality as hottie painter, Antonio. You believe he could get women to fly away with him for a weekend of art and sex. For him to be able to carry off both of these roles - hey, that’s acting!
The message of this film is an interesting one. We are led to question our definition of monogamy and how to incorporate past lovers and current ones into our lives. You can’t help but wonder if this is how Woody wished his life turned out. An artist who needs different people to fulfill the many facets that makes up his muse. He most likely resembles the manic Maria Elena, (Penelope Cruz) as opposed to the grounded Antonio.
Rebecca Hall, as Vicky, is really the one to watch here. She’s whip-smart funny, has a natural beauty and transforms the most on screen. She has a lot to deliver as an actress if we’re to believe her “awakenings.”
Penelope Cruz is always such a joy to me when she’s allowed to be a Spaniard in Spain. I never quite understood her appeal until I saw “Volver.” In her European clothing and messy hair, I can finally see her beauty and abilities. When she’s all scrubbed up and watered down for films like “Vanilla Sky,” she comes off as just that…vanilla.
This was an enjoyable romp with a perfect cast, including Christopher Evan Welch, (The Hoax) as our narrator. The use of a narrator is so Woodyesque. It’s a technique that often comes off as tacky, yet Woody always makes it seem arty and useful for moving the plot along. It’s effective in getting us inside the characters heads without having to rely on one person to be our main character. In this way, a good Woody Allen film can feel like reading a great short story; a glimpse into the lives of people we don’t know and then, with no easy answers or solutions, we are left to dissect our conclusions over coffee.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Terrifying Television

What’s the most terrifying show on television? Is it a show on SciFi channel? Is it a new HBO or Showtime project where they don’t have to worry about network censorship? No. If you are the mother of a teenager, like me, hands down the most terrifying show is ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

It’s ironic how so many of ABC Family’s shows have disclaimers at the beginning regarding their mature content. This show follows the life of Amy Juergens (Shailiene Woodley), a fifteen year old high school student who loses her virginity at summer band camp and ends up pregnant.

The writers and actors do a wonderful job making you care about this girl. You feel her anguish and various stages of denial, panic, and acceptance. The casting is also pitch perfect in that this girl looks fifteen. She’s not all glossed up like the stars of Gossip Girl. She’s a fresh faced cutie that reminds you what fifteen looks like…way too young to be having a baby!

The other characters help round out a juicy teen soap-opera as we observe the diorama of high school. Miss Perfect, The Playboy, The Jock, The Slut, The Lovesick Puppy Boy and the gossipy best friends are all represented.

Initially, the draw to the show was the casting of Molly Ringwald. This is a nasty little trick which would ensure viewership. Naturally, all of us 80’s moms want to tune in to see how she’s doing. After six episodes the story has yet to shift much focus to her character, but the dissolution of her character’s marriage and impending grandmahood should give her something to sink her teeth into soon. As for catching up with Ms. Ringwald, I applaud her for looking like a forty year old woman. More mature, curvy and still fiery red, Meg Ryan can take some tips by seeing that you can grow into your cuteness without going under the knife or going overboard with the Botox.

This is a solid show worthy of one of the big networks, but these days it seems like you are more often turning to basic cable to find shows that go out on a limb. Time will tell if this show can have staying power. The impact of the situation initially draws you in, but you’ll need strong character development in order to tune in once the baby comes. For now, I’ll keep watching, even though I’m sitting white knuckled the whole time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kick back and enjoy the boys!

I can't wait till new "Flight of the Conchords" episodes start up again on HBO. Until then...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Netflix Snafu

When I arrived home from work yesterday, I expected my next Netflix DVD to be in my mailbox. It wasn’t. Oh well, I wasn’t planning on watching it till the weekend anyway. Then, today, I received an e-mail from Netflix informing me that they received my DVD return, but they are experiencing some shipping issues. I would receive my next DVD as soon as the problem was resolved and they’d be issuing a credit for my inconvenience.

A short time later, I saw a story on MSN about “Severe Shipping Issues at Netflix.” Now the concerns were about customers jumping ship to Blockbuster and questions arising in regards to what the real issue may be.

Can we just lay off? I’m guessing someone at Netflix screwed up. I’ve been a Netflix customer since 2001 and it’s been one of the best companies I’ve ever done business with. They constantly e-mail customers to track when DVD’s arrive and I’ve never received an incorrect DVD. Once, when I didn’t receive a DVD, it was no problem notifying them to remove it from my account.

We’ve become so incessant in our instant gratification, that as soon as there’s a mistake or problem, everyone’s ready to bail. That’s sad.

Let’s cut Netflix some slack. As companies go, they’ve had a pretty good track record. Unlike some companies these days, Netflix handled the situation well. They alerted me to the problem instead of trying to cover it up and they already answered my next question by informing me that I’ll receive some kind of credit for my inconvenience. Netflix stood up to their goof and I’m confident they’ll do right by their customers.

Oh, and guess what? When I got home from work today, my next DVD was in my mailbox. Good job Netflix!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dr. Horrible's Sing - Along Blog

What does someone like Joss Whedon do during the writer’s strike? Well, if you have an overactive imagination for shows like “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly,” you’ll probably gather your friends together and create a mock musical.

This was originally available free on the web and has generated enough buzz to now be available for $3.98 on iTunes. This will get you all three acts that run approximately fifteen minutes each.

It’s not for everyone. Strike that! It should be for everyone. C’mon, this is pretty silly fare and you should get off your high horse and laugh just because it’s funny. Neil Patrick Harris is Dr. Horrible, a wanna-be villain who has created an online blog. His goal is to be accepted into The Evil League of Evil, but his attempts at pulling off a truly sinister deed are often thwarted by his nemesis, Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion of Firefly fame).

Of course there’s a mutual love interest, Penny (Felicia Day), a do-gooder who is drawn to Dr. Horrible yet unaware that he is, in fact, horrible. She is inexplicably connected to Captain Hammer however, because his superhero efforts keep having unavoidably positive effects on her daily life.

Everyone sings and does a respectable job. Neil Patrick Harris has become such a natural comedic actor. It’s such a delight to see a child actor make the transition without the drama and turmoil. And what’s up with his neighbor being named “Moist”? Is that a shout out to one of my favorite “How I Met Your Mother” episodes from Season Two entitled “Stuff”?

Okay, so this is light and goofy, but it’s nice to just enjoy a show without ratings and demographics. I think Joss Whedon has proved there’s an audience out there. It’s been a huge Internet hit and he has said that there will be a sequel. Let’s just hope it keeps the small-time charm and doesn’t become, “Dr. Horrible: The Movie.”

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Journey to the Center of the Earth

A Summer Treat for Your Eyeballs!

The new Brendan Fraser film, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” was great summer fun! I can’t imagine why this film would play on some screens minus the 3-D. Really, why would you want to see this without the 3-D effects?

I was quite surprised by how much tension was created in the film. I have to credit the fine acting of Brendan Fraser (Trevor), Josh Hutcherson (Sean) and Anita Briem (Hannah). They are basically the only actors in the film except for some minor, brief appearances by some other characters. Hutcherson in particular, did an excellent job of conveying fear and wonder. Fraser manages to always be the ultimate ringmaster for special effects/light plot fare. He’s become reliable entertainment, but we’ll see if he can pull off yet another summer opening with “Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.” It could prove to be Fraser overkill.

The scariest scenes in this film do not come from the 3-D effects but from the plot itself. I just dropped my eleven year old son off for a week at my sister’s house and then went to see this film with my husband and fifteen year old daughter. This is the first time my son has been away for an entire week. He’s my youngest, my baby, and it’s tough enough, but then I go to see this movie where the plot entails Brendan Fraser being left to care for his nephew for a week and what does he do? He takes him TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH!!!! I thought all I had to worry about were inappropriate video games and movies, but apparently your childless relatives have no qualms about taking your children on wild adventures and putting them in mortal danger. This built quite a bit of tension in me as I sat in my seat while I was chased by a dinosaur, chomped on by mutant piranha fish (those were the scariest!) and almost eaten by Venus Flytrap plants. I made it to the end and returned my 3-D glasses back to the depository. I know in real life your relatives would never risk your child while entrusted in their care for the week. We had a wonderful time and came home satisfied with our movie experience….then I called my sister’s house to talk to my son. You know, just to make sure.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Welcome to Colleenie's Couch

Sit down, pour yourself a cup o' joe and stay awhile. I will tell you all about the cool things you should be watching, listening to and reading! Some new things, some old things and often some weird things!

I'm a regular person just like you. This means I have no other agenda except to point people towards great entertainment. The drawback is that I can't hip you to anything before it happens. I have no clout, so I may lag behind but, I tend to catch on pretty fast.

I hope you'll visit me regularly. Don't mind that unfolded laundry-just push it aside and make room for yourself. Leave me a comment if you enjoyed one of my suggestions. I have a wide range of taste however, it's rough out there and I tend to lean towards things that just make me laugh. Stick around and I think I can find just the right thing for you...