My Black Swan review

December 30, 2010

I decided to go see Black Swan this afternoon with two really good friends. They’re both huge movie buffs and I’d heard nothing but really great things about it so I figure that it would be fun to go watch it together. Judging from all the previews, it was going to be one of those psych thrillers that fuck with your mind.

Two hours later, the entire movie can be summarized by the five minutes I sat through after the credits started rolling. The lights slowly came up and the applause (from the movie, not the actual theater audience) faded away, but I stayed in my seat and continued to stare at the screen. As names of cast and crew members dissolved into a feathery white background, I asked my friends, “…what the fuck just happened?”

I get that the director was trying to go for a movie that didn’t completely make sense. I get that the story itself was supposed to be a blurred line between delusion and reality. That’s fine. But the movie did it in the worst way possible.

For those of you who don’t know, Black Swan is about a sheltered ballerina rising to prominence as she lands the lead role in her company’s production of Swan Lake. She is considered technically perfect, but the director (or producer or whatever) wants her to let go and feel the role of the black swan and find her sensual side and seduce the audience. The rest of the movie chronicles her descent into madness as she experiences crazy hallucinations and literally becomes the black swan she is trying to portray.

That being said, there was no line drawn between the hallucinations and reality. I didn’t know what happened and what didn’t. That’s probably what the director was going for, but I personally did not appreciate the effort. I felt no sympathy or connection with Nina, the protagonist, and the hallucinations themselves were fucking creepy. There was a part in the movie when the former prima ballerina, Beth, stabs herself in the face with a nail file.

Let me repeat that.

SHE STABS HERSELF IN THE FACE WITH A NAIL FILE.

In addition, Nina peels a hangnail that goes all the way to her second knuckle, she starts growing black feathers all over her back and there’s this one really terrifying part when Nina’s taking a bath and she slips under the surface of the water when the shot just suddenly switches to a shot of her evil doppleganger (or split personality or whatever) hovering over her in the bathtub.

And don’t get me started on the gratuitous sex scene between Lilly and Nina. There was literally no need for that scene and I’m certain that the director just threw that in for shock value. She could have had hallucinatory sex with anyone else. Or better yet, there shouldn’t have been a sex scene period. If the sex scene hadn’t happened, it would have made her spontaneous kiss with the director and her transformation into the sensual black swan that much more intense.

I also found myself laughing at parts that I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to laugh at. Like when Nina bites Thomas after he forces a kiss on her. Or when he dances with her and ends up seducing her. Or when Nina tries masturbating and her mother’s in her room (that made me crack up). Or pretty much any time anyone tries or actually accomplishes touching Natalie Portman’s crotch. (Honestly, I think that the movie should have been billed as starring Natalie Portman and Natalie Portman’s crotch, because it seems to have been just as big a star in that movie as the actress it belongs to.)

There was one part of the movie when Thomas brings Nina to his apartment right after this big benefit/gala/fundraiser/party thing and he’s trying to come onto her and asks her all these questions about sex and enjoying it and touching herself and all that stuff. He says, “I have some homework for you.” Marc whispered next to me, “And it’s in my pants.” Which made me crack up even more than I already was.

Maybe I would have enjoyed the movie more if I felt that was entirely free to mock it with my friends. It’s certainly a mockable film.

But in the end, it took itself too seriously, and the whole storyline was way too creepy in general. My ultimate opinion: Don’t bother. It’s a waste of time and a waste of money.

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Fashionably Confused

December 5, 2010

Let’s talk about fashion, or more specifically, the way the high fashion culture flies completely over my head.

Don’t get me wrong; I love clothes. I love shopping, mixing and matching. I love the way a white cardigan can complement any dress or the way an accessory can make or break an outfit. I have more shoes than can fit in my closet and it takes four days to do my laundry.

But my wardrobe is the product of years of acquisition. One of my favorite tops is this cute little blouse I’ve had since I was a junior in high school. I have another top I wear all the time and I’ve literally had since I was 12 years old. So my clothes are kind of recycled, but I make them work. And I’m not just saying this. One of my best guy friends told me over the Thanksgiving break that I’m always dressed to the nines.

And I love clothes that are versatile. I recently bought this sweater from Walmart (I make no apologies for that) and I absolutely LOVE it because I can wrap and tie it a million different ways so it never looks like the same top or the same sweater. I’m not high maintenance with my clothes. I’m creative.

Which is why girls who toss their wardrobe out every fashion season completely baffles me. Even if something isn’t technically “in fashion” you can always reuse it. That’s why people who buy vintage can always make something work. Looking good isn’t about staying in fashion; it’s about creativity and confidence.

The subject of this blogpost came about when I was trolling around on a peer’s blog. It was a really well-kept and professional-looking. Overall I was impressed, except for one thing: its content. It was a beauty blog with fashion and makeup tips and millions of pictures of rail-thin models with cooky makeup and “couture” sweaters that made them look like yetis. There was one blogpost about how to make some weird peacock-inspired eye makeup more wearable. And granted, it was a really good tip, but seriously. There was even a blogpost about Chanel lipstick. (What’s with that, anyway? Lipstick is lipstick. Can you tell just by looking at someone’s lips that she’s using expensive, designer lipstick? If you can, I am of the severe opinion that you should get a life.)

And ignoring the fact that I don’t really like wearing lipstick (it dries out my lips and I was in band for nine years, so wearing it was kind of pointless because I just had to wipe it off anyway lest it smeared all over my mouthpiece), the blog only reinforced the idea that I must be doing the whole “girl” thing wrong. I am surrounded by so many girls everyday that have perfectly coordinated outfits, impeccable makeup and gorgeous hair that doesn’t move an inch. I am literally lucky if I have more than an hour to get ready to leave the house in the morning. The only event that I put any sort of effort into looking girly for is Mass, and even then that usually just entails brushing my hair, shaving my legs and wearing a pair of jeans I didn’t wear the night before. And if I’m feeling particularly jaunty that Sunday, I’ll swipe on some mascara.

Granted, being all girly is fun every once in a while. For example, I spent my entire summer hanging out with a bunch of boys and one girl. Pretty much every weekend we would get drunk and wreak havoc in our town to Top 40 soundtracks like we were going to live forever. It was a great life, believe me, and I love being one of the boys, but sometimes a girl just wants to feel like a girl, you dig? So one week Katie — the only other girl in our group — and I were determined to look and feel like girls for that weekend. We told the boys that we’d been hanging out with that summer that we were going to go clubbing and we were going to drag them with us. In preparation, Katie and I drove out to Independence, Mo., which is two hours away because it’s the closest city with a decent mall, and we shopped for the perfect clubbing outfits. The night of, Katie came over three hours before we went out to dinner so we could get ready. And seriously, I looked hot. My hair was done, my legs were shaved, my eyebrows were threaded and my clothes were fantastic. We never actually made it to the clubs, but nonetheless I felt great because I looked great.

It’s just…that required so much effort. Makeup, hair, clothes. Preparation for that night took three hours because I had to take a shower, shave my legs, thread my eyebrows, do my hair, do my makeup and paint my nails. And don’t get me wrong, that night was lots of fun. But doing that every single day? Forget it.

So I’m kind of oscillating between two different reactions to that fashion blog. Sometimes I feel a little insecure because sometimes I don’t think that I’m a good enough girl — like I’m not watching enough fashion television, I don’t own enough shoes or I don’t do my hair enough. I’d venture to guess it’s like how a man doesn’t feel manly enough if he’s not interested in sports or if he doesn’t look like he might be on steroids.

But most of the times, I feel like these girls should put down the eyelash curler, pull their faces away from the mirror and read a book or something, because if you can distinguish the difference between regular and designer lipstick, imagine what you can do when you put that effort into something useful.


Thursday Three: end-of-semester freak-out edition

December 2, 2010

It is officially December. You know what that means? It means that college students all over the country are beginning to realize just how much money and brain cells they’ve spent on alcohol and are officially panicking as finals loom ever closer. I am no exception. And thus, I present you with the Thursday Three: end-of-semester freak-out edition.

1. WHY IS THANKSGIVING BREAK SO CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS BREAK?

It makes no sense! We get an entire week off for Thanksgiving only to come back for two more weeks before going back. When you think about it, it’s completely inefficient.

I propose a different system. How about we start school in the end of July and just end the semester before Thanksgiving. It makes much more sense than lulling students into a false sense of security with a comforting, food-filled Thanksgiving break, only to thrust them back into the stressful school atmosphere for a final couple of weeks and force them to prepare for finals that have little to no bearing on the bigger picture.

2. Christmas shopping makes me feel like this: a;kldjfaweurwel nasrueohgoraypweiur

I hate Christmas shopping. I hate it more than I hate Hitler. You know, it’s not enough that I’m losing my mind over finals and projects and papers. No, I have to add the stress of shopping for Christmas presents.

Shopping for my parents is easy. Usually I just get them some Mizzou T-shirts or sweaters from the bookstore and they’re happy. Shopping for my little brother is a little harder, but he usually tells me what he wants for Christmas and even if he doesn’t like whatever I get him, his birthday is close enough to Christmas that I can make it up to him. My family is not the problem.

It’s shopping for everyone else that makes me break out into hives. I’m a broke college student! I can’t afford shit! So when I decide not to get anyone anything, I feel guilty when people get me something. Then when I get people something, they give that sort of half-assed smile, like, “Oh. Yeah. I love it…” except you know that they’re really thinking, “WTF is this? I don’t want this!”

Maybe I’m sticking to my guns and refusing to get anyone anything this year. Or I’ll draw cards like I used to when I was in kindergarten and decorate it with a finger-painted Christmas wreath.

3. Bureaucracy will be the death of me

I’m working on my advanced reporting project and as a government reporter, I have to talk to politicians and office workers all the time. This comes with miles and miles of red tape, outlining who I have to talk to before I can talk to the person who actually knows anything.

I experienced a little bit of this last year when I was an education reporter and reporting on the University. I always had to go through the University’s PR people, who were nice enough, but they acted more like a shield than anything else. This afternoon I tried to talk to the divisional director for a story I’m working on and she told me she couldn’t talk to me until she got clearance.

Translation: the media is dangerous and I don’t want to talk to you.

Look, I get that I’m a reporter and a lot of reporters are jerks. I wouldn’t want to talk to reporter if I were a government worker, either. But I’m a genuinely nice person and I’m not going to be rude. Granted, my story has kind of an investigative feel to it, but I’m working for the good of the people. Whatever happened to the best interests of the public?

That’s your Thursday Three, folks. You may continue panicking.


If it were physically possible to kill an atmospheric sensation, I would kill snow.

December 1, 2010

According to the clock in the corner of my computer screen, it is 3:30 a.m. right now. Sleep, you ask? Why yes, sleep would be lovely. Is it going to happen some time soon? Probably not.

Anyway, since I’m not getting to sleep any time soon, I wanted to dedicate this blog post to something that few of my friends seem to understand: My fiery, burning, undying hatred of snow.

Snow is like a polar bear: cute, but deadly. Snow is like that one chick in high school you never had a chance with: pretty, but cold. Snow is like Lord Voldemort: magical, in a ridiculously evil way.

Snow is Mother Nature’s droppings.

I can’t begin to describe how much I despise snow. I suppose it starts with the fact that I am of Filipino descent and I grew up in Texas where a mere half an inch of snow causes the entire state to flip shit. Seriously, people canceled school for snow days that never actually happened simply because the sky threatened to snow. It was never magical when I grew up. It was like some sort of mythical monster — talked about in hushed whispers, feared, and avoided at all costs.

So when I came up to Missouri for college, I found myself surrounded with the monstrous substance. But instead of retaining my fear of Mother Natrue’s droppings, it transformed into a fiery hatred.

Let’s make a list of why snow sucks, shall we?

  • It’s cold.
  • It’s wet.
  • It’s cold and wet.
  • It’s slippery, so when you’re walking in it you have to be super careful lest you faceplant in front of a couple of really hot guys. (Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything, I’m just saying hypothetically)
  • Columbia can’t seem to invest in proper snow plows, so you have to walk and drive through it.
  • It’s cold.
  • You have to scrape it off your car every morning.
  • It melts because of the salt city workers spread, but freezes overnight so the roads become icy instead.
  • It’s cold.
  • It gets dingy and gross after a couple of days because people are walking in it.
  • It soaks through your shoes and into your socks if you don’t have proper boots.
  • Did I mention it’s cold?

Take a look at that list. Even despite all the bullet points reminding you that it’s cold, that’s a pretty substantial list as to why snow sucks.

So now let’s make a list of why snow is awesome.

  • There is not a single reason why snow is awesome.

By that logic, we must conclude that snow is horrible.

And to drive home my point, I’m pretty sure in Dante’s Inferno it snowed in the lowest ring of hell.

So if it snows tomorrow, I might go insane. Just letting you guys know ahead of time.