Spartan Girl!

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I'm a journalism freshman at MSU, and I hope to eventually publish my own novel one day.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Courtney's Christmas Special Guide

Hey, everyone! Since it's the holiday season, I've been seeing a lot of holiday movies and specials on TV. So to keep up with the holiday spirit, I've come up with my "what's hot and what's not" list when it comes to holiday specials. Keep in mind that this is my opinion, and you may or may not agree with what I think about certain movies.

It's A Wonderful Life- We have to start with this one, since it's the most popular. It's always on at least once a year. I first saw it when I was a kid. I remember being bored in the beginning; it wasn't until Clarence comes and shows George what it would be like to never be born that I got interested. I still tend to wait until the last half of the movie before watching it. All in all, it's a good movie, definitely worthy of being a holiday classic.

Elf- I wish they would hurry up and air this movie on TV because it's so funny! I didn't think I would enjoy this as much as I did, so go ahead and rent the DVD.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town and The Year Without A Santa Claus- Admit it: you loved watching the little claymation Christmas specials when you were a kid. These two are the ones I've seen the most often on ABC Family. Personally, I like The Year Without A Santa Claus the best. The most memorable scene is the musical sequence with the Miser brothers. "I'm Mr. White Christmas, I'm Mr. Snow..."

Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July- This I didn't enjoy so much. It's bad enough how early some stores start advertising for Christmas, now we have to have TV specials encouraging this kind of commercialism! Geez!

Rudolph's Shiny New Year- Again, I didn't like this one. These are supposed to be Christmas specials, not New Year's specials, for crying out loud!

A Charlie Brown Christmas- Best Christmas special of all time. 'Nough said.

A Garfield Christmas- Why don't they have air this on TV anymore? It was delightful! Now all I can do is hope I get it on DVD for Christmas!

Jack Frost (the special, not the one with Michael Keaton)- This one was okay, but I don't think Jack Frost should have wasted his time trying to be human for that girl. She wasn't even into him! In fact--pardon me for saying this--I think she was kind of a tease.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas- I loved both the cartoon version and the movie version. It was years before I found out that Boris Karloff was the voice of the Grinch. Very fitting, since he played another green guy (Frankenstein's monster). I thought the Whos were kind of annoying though. No one I know would be that perky after basically getting robbed on Christmas Eve! As for the live action version, I don't know if a lot of people liked it, but I thought Jim Carrey was hilarious! I also liked how they tried to add a little more to the story, since there is no way the original story would have stretched passed an hour.

Grandma Got Run Over by Reindeer- Okay, this was just plain stupid. The song was funny, but why on earth would they turn it into an animated feature?? The story was corny and stupid, and I really didn't like the rest of the country songs it featured--aside from the obvious.

The Santa Clause-How can you not like this movie? It's just a shame Disney's going to turn it into a trilogy. Yes, there is going to be a third one. Geez, Disney won't rest until they ruin every single one of their classics, will they?

What are your favorite Christmas movies? Leave a comment and tell me!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Regarding remakes

I'll get right to the point: I don't like remakes.

For instance, when I went to go see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, there were only two movie previews, and both of them were remakes. Those previews were Peter Jackson's King Kong and Superman Returns.

What does this say about Hollywood? That they have so few original stories left that they have to resort to remaking movies that have already been made? And they wonder why there was such a big box office slump this year...

For me, remakes are unnecessary. Why should I go see a movie that is basically the same movie I've already seen, only with little or not so little changes.

Actually, some people don't seem to mind remakes. There was some praise for the remake (or whatever you want to call it) of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I outright refused to see it. Why? Two reasons:

1) The "Willy Wonka" song played in the movie trailer was so annoying that I knew it would be downhill from here.

2) I loved the original Willy Wonka movie.

Remakes are also a clear sign that Hollywood in general is running out of ideas. I mean, what was wrong with the original Willy Wonka with Gene Wilder. I thought it was just fine. But apparently some people prefer the creepier version that's more faithful to the book. Besides, the Johnny Depp version of Wonka scared me. My first impression of him was Edward Scissorhands, only without scars and nicer hair.

I know some directors are under the impression that movies have to be remake because the special effects in the previous one were so crappy, such as War of the Worlds. Well, I think it's because that the special effects look so silly that they are endeared as classics. They remind us of what special effects looked like before we got the technology to make them better. Think about it: people still enjoy watching Jaws despite claims that the shark looks fake.

I might also add that better special effects didn't save the War of the Worlds remake from critical disdain.

I'll bring up another remake that was awful: the animated version of The King and I. To make it more enjoyable for children, the screenwriters added a villain, a romance between the eldest prince and the slave girl, Toptim, and--oh, yeah--they let the king live in the end.

Okay, I understand the desire to keep the king alive, yet I don't think that musical is the best one to "edit" for the sake of the children. The real subplot with Toptim was that she was a concubine in the king's palace that fell in love with some other guy and wanted her freedom. It didn't have a romantic ending, but it was a clear illustration of the social barriers that kept Anna and the King from getting together. It made the plot more interesting. In addition, the eldest prince was supposed to be a child in the original. What was the point of making him older to fall in love with Toptim? Isn't that whole subplot a bit overdone?

I admit, there are some good remakes. I wasn't too keen on seeing Batman Begins, but it turned out to be one of the best movies I saw this summer. Christian Bale was the best Batman ever, and Michael Caine was a pretty good Alfred, though I did like the old one a little bit better. The only person I didn't like was Katie Holmes, but then again, I hated Dawson's Creek with a passion, so that might make me a little biased.

Technically, Batman Begins wasn't a remake, more like a different version. I just hope they don't end up doing a sequel, because for me, Jack Nicholson was The Joker.

I recently saw the new King Kong and I loved it. Peter Jackson is a good filmaker, and to all accounts, he has respected the original version. He's even improved the story a little: for example, Kong FINALLY walks like a real gorilla--on all fours--and the female lead ends up making friends with him rather than being scared of him. After all the times he saves her butt, one would realize that he isn't going to eat her.

However, I'm not thrilled about Superman Returns. What was wrong with the original, for crying out loud? The casting doesn't look too promising. Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane? Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor? I just can't picture them in either role... and if they're going to get a new Superman, why not get Tom Welling to do it? The only reason I'm still watching Smallville is because I want to see him become Superman!

I probably will end up seeing it, much to my chagrin, because my dad wants to. Even if it does end up as good as Batman Begins, I still think that remaking Superman is unnecessary. To me, Christopher Reeve will always be the real Superman.

So don't be fooled by remakes. Some may be good, but most of them are only made because movie studios think that if movies feature characters we love, we'll automatically go see them.

But heed my words: if these remakes don't stop, what's going to stop studios from remaking classics like The Wizard of Oz? What will happen to the movies that we love? Will they all be remade and forgotten? Will there be no more original movies to enjoy?

If you have thoughts, as always, leave a comment. Thanks to everyone who has read this blog so far.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Tolerance

So I was watching Movies That Shook The World on the AMC channel. In case you don't watch the show, once every week, they discuss a movie that made a big impact on society. This week, they did the movie Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington.

I am aware that it was the 80s, and that not there wasn't a lot known about HIV and AIDS, but I was shocked at how flippantly society wrote off AIDS as a disease that only affected homosexuals. Just because people didn't like the way homosexuals lived does not justify turning their backs while people were dying. Apparently, a lot of uber-religious people thought that this was their punishment for being who they were.

I liked Philadelphia, but it took a movie for some people to grow a conscience and realize that AIDS was a problem for everyone? That every disease, no matter what kind of people were suffering? It shouldn't have to take a movie for people to know this--it's only common decency!

Things are slightly better today. More people are aware of the fact that AIDS isn't just a disease affecting homosexuals, even though they are the majority that are affected by it. Still, there is bigotry in the world. The biggest example would be that Proposal 2 was approved to deny homosexuals the right to marry.

I ask you, is denying rights from homosexuales any different than when the government denied African Americans certain rights? Or when women were denied certain rights. Isn't it hypocritical to demand rights for yourselves, then take them away from others?

It shouldn't be a big deal about whether homosexuales should marry or not. All they want is to be treated like equals. How would you feel if a law was passed that forbid you to marry the person you loved?

Personally, I don't think that homosexuality is a sin, even though I'm a Catholic (apparently, that's what some Catholics believe). It makes me mad that so many people use the excuse that the Bible condemns homosexuality, regardless of whether or not it was true. Relgion was used to justify the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisitions, and even the Holocaust. Call me naive, but I also thought that the Bible should be used to promote equality and brotherly love, not hatred.

Back in high school, I knew two guys that were homosexual, and they were the nicest, funniest guys I ever met. I honestly was a little thrown when I learned that they were homosexual, yet after the initial shock wore off, I didn't think much of it. Neither did a lot of people. They were who they were, and that's all there was to it. What I admired about them is their ability to make fun of their lifestyle. That's why everyone liked them: they were open about who they were.

Maybe more people like them wouldn't be afraid to be themselves if they felt that they were in a more compassionate environment.

As always, if you have any thoughts, leave them in the comments box.