Month: April 2016

GSL 2016 Decision- Rewarding or Fun?

gslSo I need help from all of you. I am trying to make a decision.

This June 4th is the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim. If I swim it I will be my 5th time completing the 1 mile race. Here’s my struggle.

It’s EVIL but very REWARDING!

When I say evil here’s what I mean. You step into the water and your skin burns. Your pores sting and you feel your hands and toes getting chapped and swollen. Your nose gets raw and then your throat starts to burn and your tongue gets numb.

Then there is the race. They always seem to have to start the race in a weird spot. Twice we have been climbing over rocks to get to the starting point.  Then there is nothing to sight while you swim so it is hard to keep up morale. You feel like you are on a swimming treadmill and aren’t making any progress. You don’t have your own kayaker like at deer creek to motivate you (although normally I’m so far behind that I have one by default!).

The water saps energy from me so it is exhausting and brutal.

But then and here’s the rub…

I FINISH!

gsl1I get that medal and hear my friends cheering me on and it is all worth it. It’s great because it was so hard. It’s an accomplishment because I really pushed myself.

But aren’t things like this supposed to be recreation, supposed to be fun? I’m super out of shape so I guess I’m nervous on that front but I’m sure I can do it. It will just be insanely hard. A side of me thinks why put myself through all that?  Especially when I can do Bear Lake and have a much more pleasant experience with time to train in July.

What do you think? Should I do it and make it a 5-peat or take a break for a year?  What would you do if you were me?

Friday 5: Best Songs from the 80s

Hey guys! Quick post today. I hope you are all doing well and getting ready for a fun weekend. I don’t have a ton planned but I haven’t been feeling super well so I may just rest up and work on content for next week.

Speaking of content it’s Friday so that means it’s time to participate in the Friday 5. This is a weekly series of youtubers/bloggers who get a topic and have to pick 5 songs that within that topic.  This week was wild card so we could pick whatever we want. I decided to have a little fun and dive into my favorite songs from the 1980s.

To me when I think 80s music I think of big arena type sound- you could call them epic songs! I think all 5 of my picks capture that spirit. Let me know what your favorite songs from the 80s are and what you think of my picks.

Also if you have a blog or channel you should participate in the Friday 5. It’s really fun! Take a look at the tumblr page to see upcoming topics and then join in! http://thefridayfivemusic.tumblr.com/

Have a great Friday guys!

Trolls, Twitter Wars and Diversity of Opinion

Hey guys!  Hope you are all doing well. Sorry it’s been a few days since my last post. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with things going on in my life and my sleep, or lack of it has been stressful.

You guys might recall that I have never been that into superhero movies. However, with The Avengers in 2012, Marvel began to win me over with their style of family friendly films. With each release I have become  more open to comic book movie films until now for the most part I enjoy them.

I have never been a big Batman fan but I made a big effort to get ready for Batman v Superman. I watched all the Batman and Superman movies (14) and was pretty excited to see them on the big screen. And what did I think of the movie? I didn’t really like it. I’ve seen it twice and liked it less the second time.

Anyway, the only reason I mention this is because I kind of wish the movie didn’t exist at this point. Critics didn’t like the movie either and certain fans have seen it their duty to lambast them and claim an anti-DC agenda.  It’s nonsense. Certain people I think are doing it to get attention to their twitter but others just can’t handle anyone not agreeing with them.

I have been mostly saved from this nonsense except for one person who trolled me pretty hard. I engaged with them  first on a forum we were in thinking it would be fun but they resulted to insulting me very quickly. Over a stupid movie for goodness sake. The interesting thing about this particular person is they haven’t actually posted a review of Batman v Superman on their channel. And they called me a sheep…

Despite having written 3 lengthy blog posts on what I would do differently and the detailed strengths and weaknesses of the film I am accused of copying and pasting my thoughts and going along with some anti-DC agenda.  It’s complete nonsense. I don’t have time for people like that so they are BLOCKED!

Meanwhile other people I respect are getting it a million times worse than me and their integrity as critics and human beings are called into question. I just don’t understand why people would do such a thing over a difference of a opinion on a movie? Sure can critics be too hyperbolic? Of course, but most of these same people who are upset used the same hyperbole for Jupiter Ascending– a film I actually had fun with and enjoyed.Where was my going along with the crowd on that one?

One woman in particular who has been at the heart of critic feud lambasted others for an anti-DC agenda. Last year she claimed those that liked Inside Out were deluded by Pixar fandom and that Tomorrowland was one of the worst movies of 2015.  That’s fine if she feels that way about Tomorrowland but then in her Gods of Egypt and Pixels reviews she claims critics are being unfair for not liking the films? Why is she allowed to dislike some films but others aren’t?  And why does it bother her so much to be in the minority view? I loved last year’s Good Dinosaur and not many shared that opinion.  It was tolerated but I LOVED it. It can be frustrating when it is treated like the worst Pixar movie ever made but I am confident with my feelings. I don’t need to always be in the majority of every opinion I have. That’s ok. I don’t think someone has an anti-Pixar bias if they didn’t like it or is a sheep. Give me a break.

Anyway, I just wanted to state my peace. If people don’t like mine or any other critics opinions on films or you think we are biased than newsflash- don’t follow us! Find someone who speaks to you and follow them. I have no problem with that at all. But to belittle someone because they don’t like something that you like is childish and frustrating.

So, that’s  my thought on that. The great thing about creating my own content is I can delete and monitor such nonsense. Thank goodness for that.

Jungle Book Review (2016)

My review of the latest Jungle Book movie from Disney. I thought you guys might like to read it.

Rachel's Reviews

(My Youtube review)

I know some of you have been wondering when I would finally post my Jungle Book review here on the blog. I posted my youtube review on Thursday night, so make sure you are subscribed to both the blog and channel because sometimes I don’t have time to update both at same time (I’m only one person friends 🙂 ).

I also wanted to wait to see the Jungle Book a second time on IMAX today before posting this review. I find on these big films it is often helpful to see the movie twice just to make sure my first read was accurate. I can confidently say I had the same experience in both screenings, so I’m pretty assured about my feelings.

It’s a good movie. I liked it a lot. Is it perfect? No but what movie is? Let’s talk about the pros and cons.

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Expectations and Hype

I’ve been thinking today about the dangers of expectations. What got me on this track is an excellent article over on Rotoscopers.com about hype . The author MJ talks about her experience with Zootopia and how she was super pumped for it- had even bought the art book in advance. And then despite loving the film felt a little underwhelmed by it.  I think any movie fan shares in this experience.

Before Force Awakens I wrote a post called The Value of Hype and I stand by that piece.  What my main point is that people discount hype as a negative thing but I think being part of the excitement is part of the fun of being a movie fan. It makes me feel like I’m a kid again and part of something bigger than myself.

Maybe part of it is I live kind of a boring life if I’m honest.  I mean what do I really have to get excited about? My swims in the summer are probably the most exciting thing but it’s not like I have some super thrilling job or personal life.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like my life but as far as something new, fresh,  to look forward too movies is kind of all I’ve got.

But on the same breath I have definitely been part of hype and been super excited and then let down big time.  Anyone remember my feelings on How I Met Your Mother finale?  Or the show that broke my heart and pounded it into a million pieces… (yes even now still a little bitter about it).

Other things I am probably over-eager like MJ was for Zootopia and leave liking it but not loving it like I’d hoped.  A recent good example is Only Yesterday.  This is a good movie but being Studio Ghibli and knowing it was  held up for 25 years to be released I was a little disappointed that I didn’t love it.  It was not a masterpiece.  It was merely good.

I know a lot of people felt that way about Dark Knight Rises and Interstellar, but me watching them later than everyone else I thought they were pretty great.  People super hyped for them were a little let down.

Brave is a movie I went into very hyped.  The ads were great and I thought it could finally be the epic heroine adventure I’d been waiting for.  But then when it was  just an ok movie I was so let down. It was only after watching it a couple times that I grew to appreciate it for what it is and ignore what I wanted it to be.

On the other hand, there is something to be said for going into something knowing nothing and having a great experience. Recently I saw 10 Cloverfield Lane and what a fun surprise that was!  I haven’t reviewed it because I wanted everyone to have the same experience I did. It’s such an entertaining little movie.

Song of the Sea is another one that I knew next to nothing about and it blew me away. One of my favorite movies I’ve ever seen.

Boyhood is another one I knew almost nothing about and it left me speechless.

So I guess I see a bunch of different sides to this issue. I see the value of hype and being part of a movement- something bigger than just you.  That to me is fun. But I’ve also been let down by that experience and I have discounted something that’s good just because it isn’t a masterpiece.

I don’t know what the answer is.  I think it is almost impossible with my social media life to not be sucked into the hype so I guess I just embrace it and have fun with it.  I think I am a seasoned enough moviegoer to be objective even for ‘hyped’ movies. Plus, these movies I will usually see several times before reviewing just to make sure I am not too caught up in the moment.  I even saw Batman v Superman twice to make sure I was being fair.

What do you think about this issue?  How do you deal with expectations and hype? Do you find yourself feeling let down by things often?

Spoilers and Spoilerphobia

I’ve been working really hard lately and battling headaches and other issues.  Yesterday I posted a video where I let out a little rant about something that has been driving me crazy- spoilers or SPOILERPHOBIA!!!

I get not wanting to be spoiled on big epic moments but we have come to a point where talking about media or books is almost impossible.  Somebody always ends up yelling ‘spoiler alert’.  It finally got so annoying I had to rant a bit about it!

The spoiler culture we currently have drive me crazy.  What about you?  What do you think about the video?

I would love your feedback.  Thanks

 

Friday 5: Songs About Spring

Hey guys!  I hope you are having a Happy Spring!  Things are going well for me.  I’ve been keeping myself busy with blogging, movies, writing and work.  Next week I’m eagerly anticipating watching Jungle Book! Make sure you are subscribed to my channel and blog to find out my thoughts on it.

Today is Friday and that means it’s the next entry in the Friday 5 series.  This is a music series where we get a topic each week and have to pick 5 songs that fit said topic.  This week the topic is ‘Songs that Remind You of Spring’.  It’s not a time of the year that is very musical compared to Winter or Summer but I like all 5 of my picks.  They are each songs I feel are joyful and bright which is what I think of with Spring.

My 5 songs are:

Best Day of My Life-American Authors- I thought of this song because graduations and other big events happen in the Spring.  It seemed like a good fit to sing about the best day of my life!

Great Day to Be Alive- Travis Tritt- I hadn’t done a country song in a while and this one is the definition of chill.

Colors of the Wind- Pocahontas. If you’ve read my Disney blog you know I’m not the biggest Pocahontas fan but I do like the music (except Mine, Mine, Mine which is one of the worst Disney songs).  Judy Kuhn as Pocahontas’ voice is one of the best in all of Disney.  My Pocahontas Review.

Daydream Believer- The Monkees- Cheer up and sing a song with The Monkees!  This is such a fun song.

Pocketful of Sunshine- Natasha Bedingfield- It’s a song about a pocketful of sunshine. What’s more spring than that?

So those are my picks.  What would be your picks?

Rogue One Trailer Review

My thoughts on the new Rogue One trailer. I’m pumped. What do you think?

Rachel's Reviews

Man it’s a good time to be a nerd. Particularly a Star Wars nerd! In just a week and change we’ve gotten the amazing Star Wars Rebels finale (oh my gosh it was awesome!), Force Awakens on bluray (still waiting for mine stupid Target!!!) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer this morning!!!  I’m giddy!

I will definitely be posting a review of Star Wars Rebels Season 2 down the road a bit but the finale had me pumped to get more information on Rogue One because the two properties aren’t that far apart in the Star Wars timeline and it looks like they share some similarities.

They both have strong female presences although Rebels has 2 lead men. Ahsoka and Sabine are complex, rich characters.  Nobody can claim they are Mary Sues (I hate that phrase more than I can say!).  In Rogue One we get Jyn Erso…

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Saturday’s Warrior Review

I normally don’t review movies on this blog very often but since Saturday’s Warrior is an LDS film I felt like it belonged here more.  It was interesting because I saw Everybody Wants Some, the new film from Richard Linklater today along with Saturday’s Warrior.  Both films are set in the late 70s and both are heavily nostalgic and both rely on music to tell their stories.  It’s funny because on the surface they couldn’t be more different but seeing them back to back I saw some similarities. To read my review for Everybody Wants Some go here.

Anyway, let’s talk about Saturday’s Warrior.  Based on the popular stage play written by Lex de Azevedo, Saturday’s Warrior is a musical focused on a Mormon family in the 1970s.

It starts in the premortal spirit life where the family is gathered to say goodbye as each of them leave to join their earthly family.  The oldest Jimmy and Pam promise the youngest Emily that they will make sure their parents don’t get tired of having kids before they can have her, the 8th child.

Then Julie, the second daughter, sings to her love Tod that they will find each other on earth. The last group is Wally Kestler who is desperate to go on a mission and convert the world.

saturdays warriorOnce they get to earth things get more complicated with the appeal of that darn old rock and roll music (gets you every time!) and Jimmy gets dragged into a band that is up to no good.  They even start singing a song literally called ‘Zero Population’ criticizing his big family and threatening the birth of little Emily.

Meanwhile Tod hasn’t been born with the gospel and is an artist and poor Elder Kestler doesn’t have much luck on his mission (until he meets Tod…spoiler alert).

The main appeal to this movie is the songs.  If you have nostalgia for the songs than you will probably enjoy it.  There is no attempt to lessen the camp at all and this is true for the songs.  Aside from having popular Mormon singers like Alex Boye involved they feel like they are straight from the 1970s.

saturdays warrior2I guess you either go with that kind of vintage feel or you don’t.  There’s also no attempt to update the production either.  It might as well have been shot on the Brady Bunch set how low budget 1970s it looks.  That has some appeal but wears thin after a while.

One thing that was weird is the camerawork seemed off the entire time. I am wondering if there was something wrong at my screening.  It felt like everything was chopped off.  You’d have characters talking and their foreheads would be chopped off of the shot.  It was very weird but when I watch the trailer I don’t see that happening.

saturdays warrior3The acting feels low budget and it is a religious film where the Mormon way is the right way and the other is the way of the devil.  Not a whole lot of in between.  If you are looking for a subtle movie about faith this is not the film for you. It’s very cheesy but I knew that going into it.  No surprises there!

Unfortunately the acting isn’t very good and it all feels like a Mormon episode of Saved by the Bell.

If you are a big fan of the music than you will probably enjoy it.  I had fun with it on that level but I can’t really recommend it.  It’s not a good movie but not the worse thing I’ve seen either so take that for what you will.

Overall Grade- D+ (2/5 stars)

My youtube review- If you like this review I would really appreciate subscribing to my channel or giving it a thumbs up.  Thanks!

Pirate Queen Review (Hale Center Theater)

pirate queenAnyone who has followed this blog knows I love musical theater and that Hale Center Theater both in Orem and West Valley are two of the finest regional theaters in the country.  I would truly hold their productions up to anything I’ve seen on Broadway.  You probably also know I am a die-hard Les Miserables fan.  It was the first music, not just musical, that made a significant impact on me and I’ve seen it 3 times on Broadway.  So it was with a great deal of enthusiasium I went to see The Pirate Queen at Hale Center Theater written by Les Mis composers Alain Boublil (lyrics) and Claude- Michel Schonberg (music).

The Pirate Queen tells the true story of Grace O’Malley the daughter of an Irish Chieftan in the 16th Century.  She’s a fiery lass and wants to hit the open seas with her father.  There’s a lot of bold female talk in this musical including songs called ‘Woman’, ‘My Grace’, ‘The Choice is Mine’, ‘Boy’s’ll Be Boys’, ‘She Who Has All’ and ‘Woman to Woman’.  There’s a point where it goes from bold to a little cheesy and patronizing.  It’s kind of like if someone is telling you too often you look beautiful, you probably don’t look that beautiful…

pirate queen2Anyway, Grace gets on the open seas and ends up involved in conflict at sea, in arranged marriage, forbidden love, sword fights and even confronting Queen Elizabeth.  She even gets in a sword fight just after having a baby.  It is quite the lass indeed!

All of this is done with tons of flair by Hale Center Theater.  The costumes are particularly stunning capturing that Elizabethan feel perfectly.  The Irish dancing is a lot of fun  and feels right out of Riverdance!  As always with Hale, the singing was excellent.  I saw it with Bre Welch as Grace and Cecily Ellis-Bills as Queen Elizabeth.

You can get a feel for it in this little promo:

The problem is, and it pains me to say it, I thought the songs and music were really poor especially being they are from Boublil and Schonberg.  I left not wanting to download a single song.  Nothing was memorable or even stood out as a big number.  It all kind of meshed together.  B and S’s musicals are practically all music so if it isn’t good that’s a huge problem.

As far as the script the plot and dialogue were also weak. I get it is a true story but Grace felt like a stock, predictable character. There was no break out moment like Dreamed a Dream or On My Own and most of the side characters were completely forgettable unlike Les Mis. (I know tough to compare to Les Mis but I can’t help it when it is the same writing team). pirate queen3

It’s not like I was miserable or something.  If you want a generic, well put together play than you’ll enjoy it, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.  The whole thing just felt very flat and soapy when it should have been epic and engaging.

But I certainly appreciate the effort put in by the cast and crew.  Like I said, they did everything they could to elevate the weak material, so I give them a lot of props.  Hopefully Boublil and Schonberg will be able to find their mojo and write something better that Hale can than elevate soon.

Have any of you heard of this play?  Does it sound intriguing to you?  In a way I kind of wish the story could be retooled and tweaked because there is potential there.  It reminded me of Hale’s production of Scarlet Pimpernel and Zorro both which had way more memorable music and in a musical that’s kind of important. Oh well!