Singleton + Writer + Book Lover + Moviegoer = Screen Spinster

Welcome to the loneliest blog on the web. I have no words of wisdom to espouse. (why does espouse sound so much like spouse? Is that word trying to rub it into my spinster brain?) Anyway, I don't own a cat. Never will. I don't cook, nor do I sew or knit, but I do spin a yarn (tale) from time to time. I have no domestic talents, I am not a domestic engineer/goddess, nor do I want to be. I'll sometimes post my views on scripts, (mine & yours or theirs) movies, television shows and maybe theatre, along with my own musings usually in the style of a poem. So pull up a rocking chair, sit back as your cherry pie bakes and stay a while if you like.

Monday, July 25, 2011

An excerpt from something I am working on. CHICK LIT.

Date # 76 and #77, with the same man, Seth, lead to an important discovery. On our second date, which we had because the first one was such a success, he took me to a reunion concert of The Guess Who. Not really my generation of music, but fantastic nonetheless. Since we got along like gangbusters, I agreed to a second date and he agreed to cook me dinner. After almost eighty dates, no man had ever offered to cook me dinner, so I jumped at the chance. Dinner was wonderful. He baked the feathers off a chicken. Since my mom is a Martha Stewart fan, I knew right away that he was using her recipe for buttermilk baked chicken. I also noticed a Martha cookbook on the bookshelf.

I drank lots of white wine and gingerale, a great combo with baked chicken. I excused myself to use the bathroom before dessert was brought out, which he informed me was strawberry shortcake. Dinner and dessert? I almost had an orgasm right there.

The bathroom, blue and orange, with a plastic shower curtain was your standard bachelor pad lavatory. And there it was before me. The all-knowing medicine cabinet. The crystal ball of relationships. It beckoned me. It promised me riches of gold and a fountain of information. He had Flintstones vitamin, along with unscented shaving cream for sensitive skin, toothpaste for sensitive teeth, and Old Spice aftershave. Nothing out of the ordinary, or so I thought. I opened the Flintstones vitamins. I felt like a Wilma fix, and low and behold, inside the Flintstones bottle was a string of glow-in-the-dark anal beads! I made an excuse about cramps and left. And since then I’ve always looked in medicine cabinets.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Is Emma Stone the new Julia Roberts?

Once upon a time, the biggest name in Hollywood was Julia Roberts. She was in almost every movie in the 1990's, on every magazine cover, she was tabloid fodder, commanded top salary and adored by fans the world over. But we all know that in Hollywood, age isn't kind to women. Men, unfair as it is, in Hollywood, don't have to suffer as much with ageism as their female acting counterparts. Hollywood is fickle, but so is fan adoration.

Julia Roberts
has an oscar, and commanded the silver screen for the better part of a decade, but as a mother to three young children, acting has taken a back seat. And in that time, many younger and talented actresses have taken up the gauntlet. Emma Stone stands out in that group (Carey Mulligan is a talent to be reckoned with as well). I suppose the comparison can come down to hair colour? I told you Hollywood is fickle. Mind you, both Roberts and Stone aren't natural red heads, but the colour suits them well.

They both started off as supporting actors, and eventually took to being the lead. Roberts did that a bit quicker with the breakout hit, Pretty Woman, and Stone has done that with the film, Easy A. And they pretty much did it around the same age, 22. What was I doing at 22? Trying to write a proper paragraph for my English paper. I'm still trying to write properly. Both of those films were turning points for their careers. Roberts could star in anything, some failed (Mary Reilly) and others were huge successes (Notting Hill, My Best Friend's Wedding). Stone has a string of films coming out in the next year. She plays the romantic interest opposite Ryan Gosling (hubba, hubba) in Crazy, Stupid, Love and she's the lead in the best selling novel turned film,, The Help, and, of course, the revamped, Spiderman movie.

Roberts has yet to star in a superhero action film, and I doubt that's in the cards for her now. Smart move on her part. Playing the romantic lead in a superhero movie is a boring choice for an actor. It gives them major exposure, but the role tends to lack real range (ie. Kirsten Dunst and Katie Holmes). Hopefully, Stone will make challenging choices as an actor in order to sustain longevity because no matter what one thinks of Roberts, she is standing the test of time, even if people don't go to her movies in droves like before. Because for every Larry Crowne, there's an Eat, Pray, Love. She has the ability to bounce back at her own leisure.

Hopefully, with the onslaught of Spiderman, Stone can keep the tabloid fodder to a minimum, and make smart choices. Hollywood takes about having "it" more so with female actors than with males. But that "it" factor can vanish as quickly as it comes (ie. Gretchen Moll, Lindsay Lohan). Stone, so far, has made the right career choices, and if she continues to pick the right screenplays, and directors and costars, she can be around for a long time. Ultimately, the goal isn't to have a career like Julia Roberts, it's to have a career like Meryl Streep, or Helen Mirren, even Roberts would agree to that.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

YA Fiction: BUMPED by Megan McCafferty

And my YA fiction reading continues. BUMPED is set in the near future, but not dystopia, so at least that's a bit different from the slew of books that I've been reading. Melody and Harmony are twins, separated at birth. Harmony was raised in a religious cult, The Church, groomed to wed at 13 and have has many babies as possible. Whereas, Melody was raised in the more secular world, groomed by her parents to be the best at everything in order to secure a birthing contract with a rich couple. In this future, a virus has made most of mankind infertile and only teenagers can get pregnant and give birth. Making them a commodity. Girls willing to pregg out for a price and have good DNA are hot on the market. They can pay for their education. They get gifts. It's a sweet deal. You just have to have sex, (for some reason, invitro doesn't work in the future due to the virus), with either your boyfriend or someone who's been paid to be the male counterpart.

Melody leaves her home, in fact, she sneaks off. She wants to convert her secular sister, at least that's what she thinks she wants. Both Melody and Harmony aren't what they appear to be.

The world Melody and Harmony inhabit is fairly standard teenage fair apart from the pregnancy thing. Kids go to school. They have clubs. They party. They drink. They have sex (for procreation, as condoms are banned), and they obsess over celebrity culture like most teens do now. But their obsession isn't about actors and musicians, it's for prolific teen birth mothers and hot studs like Jondoe.

McCafferty's style is simple and accessible, and her prose flows well. It's easy to get inside her protagonists' heads. Each chapter alternates between the twin's perspective. By doing that, we get a unique insight into how the story unfolds. I really enjoyed that part of the book. There were times that the religious aspect got to be a bit too much and at times, cliched. And I could have done without an ending that left us hanging. Am growing a bit tired of so many YA Fiction books being a part of a trilogy. Why can't stories be told in one book? I think this idea could have been finished and done with without a sequel.

Grade: B

Monday, July 18, 2011

Non-Fiction Book Review: Cinderella Ate my Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

Cinderella Ate My Daughter got me thinking. what would I do if I had daughters? How would I raise them to be healthy, happy and courageous people in this consumer, internet and celebrity obsessed culture? No matter how much you love and protect a child, the world is still out there, and it can be big, and bad and scary, as well as lovely and inspiring. You shelter them too much and you screw them up. You let them be free to discover their own way and they can get screwed up. Striking a balance is difficult to do, but not impossible, right?

Peggy Orenstein chronicles the ups and downs of raising her own young daughter, while researching and commenting on what it's like out there for girls today. She hits upon the princess identity, and how Disney has made billions off of telling our daughters that they are princesses in expensive, yet cheaply made costume dresses with tiaras and fake plastic heels. Are we doing a disservice by telling little girls that they're a princess? What does it even mean to be a princess? Is it about accessories? The right hair? The perfect complexion? Can we make girls feel beautiful on the inside without hinting at all to the external shell that they inhabit?

Orenstein balances her objective and subjective voice throughout the book. She isn't afraid to reveal her own downfalls in motherhood, succumbing to doll buying sometimes. Her happiness at her daughter liking Wonder Woman, but the irony that although she's a superhero and not Cinderella, she is, in fact, still an Amazonian Princess. She can't win, can she? Her writing style is accessible to all, and isn't preachy. She observes mothers who enroll their daughters in toddler pageants, but doesn't poke fun at them. She can see the damage such a childhood can do to a child, but she can glimpse a good thing about it too.

Girls love the colour pink. I do too. I liked it when I was little, but I remember for a while that I even hated it. I thought it was too babyish at one time. I made my way toward loving blue, all shades except royal (decades later, I now love royal blue, but still enjoy my hot pink pillows). When did pink become synonymous with girls? Orenstein wants to know how to avoid pink, but how can we when it's everywhere in girl's clothing and toys. There are pink baseball bats that ensure consumers will buy two bats, one regular one for a boy, and a pink one for a girl. But pink was once a man's colour. It is interesting to note that Orenstein's cover for this book is pink.

The book touches upon the Miley Cryus of the world. The cyberbully. The oversexualization of pre-teens and so on and so forth. It's kind of scary out there for girls and for their parents. Because no matter how much we protect our daughters, we can't close off the media. The media's influence is powerful and everywhere. I guess the only thing parents can do, and aunts and uncles, and grandparents, who help to raise little girls, is to be the bigger and more loving influence.

If you have daughters, or nieces, or goddaughters in your life, give this book a read. It could prove to be interesting, and might make you rethink that Ariel costume (after all, she is a 16 year old princess who gives up her voice for a man and gets married much too young) (oh, how I do love The Little Mermaid. But this book has made me rethink some parts of it)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2: The end of Pottermania?

When the final book of the Harry Potter series was released four years ago I was eager to read it and find out what happens to the magical wizard, but at the same time, I didn't want it to end. I had treasured this world for years, and wanted it to keep going. I took solace in knowing that there were still movies to come, which extended my potterworld for four more years. That extension has now passed as Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 hits theatres this weekend.

I am not an uber Potter Nerd, more like a fond geek. I skipped the midnight screening, much too old for such things, as I would have fallen asleep during the previews. Instead, I went to a Friday matinee. It's much more pleasant that way as it tends not to be sold out. I had my drink and my M&M's and was ready to be transported. I had gone into this film with high expectations, maybe too high, hence why I was slightly disappointed. That doesn't mean that I didn't like the film. I just wanted some of the things to be different. At times, things felt rushed, despite its two hour running time.

Part 2 picks up where the other one ended, and this finale is action packed with barely a moment to breathe. But don't fret. There were still quiet moments, reflection, and a bit of kissing to be done. Harry, Hermione, and Ron find themselves back at Hogwarts to find the final horcruxes and to do battle with Voldermort's followers. In this world there are way more baddies than goodies. Hence why the film is so jam packed.

There might be some SPOILER talk, but I will warn you about it...

The battle sequences are brilliantly done. They look real, and if wand combat were an actual thing then I'm sure it would look exactly like the ones in the film. The CGI was top notch, and didn't feel fake (SPOILER WARNING: Except for the silly CGI at the end when they aged the characters. It could have been better done, but also it could have been worse. The biggest highlight was Ron's potbelly. haha SPOILER ENDING).

The big set pieces are pretty much limited to two places, Gringotts Bank and Hogwarts. The bank sequence is a fun ride as Harry, Hermione and Ron set out to find a horcrux, and along the way get into trouble and release an imprisoned dragon. (Hermione is after, all still, an advocate for magical animal rights). Once we get back to Hogwarts where the new headmaster, Snape, has created a Nazi like atmosphere, things really heat up and don't cool down under the final embers fade amongst the ruins of the school.

I expected to bawl like a baby during the film, as I tend to be an emotional mess most of the time, but perhaps over the years, my cold, cold heart has finally turned into coal. Except, there is some hope for me, as I did get teary eyed during Snape's demise and how all was revealed about his motives and his true love for Lily Potter (Harry's mother). Unrequited love sucks, but at the same time, it can turn any cold hearted slytherin into an emotional pile of goo. Alan Rickman is a genius and has been a great Snape, if a bit too old to play the character. (SPOILER WARNING: His CGI'd cheeks during the flashback scene were a bit jarring. SPOILER ENDING)

I haven't read the book in years, so some of my memories of what happened on the page are blurry, but I do know that I was more emotionally struck by reading the book than watching the film. (SPOILER TALK: I felt that the deaths of certain characters during the battle scenes were overlooked and weren't given their due respect and time. SPOILER ENDING) That being said, I was still invested in our hero's journey and was absolutely delighted by Ron and Hermione's hand holding as they finally became a couple. (SPOILER TALK: The kiss between them was good and sweet, but Ron's giant head was in the way of the whole thing. SPOILER ENDING) I will say that Ron and Hermione have way more chemistry than Harry and Ginny. Poor Ginny comes across as just so wooden. Not sure if that's an actor's choice or just her personality.

I may have to see the film again, and this time just go in with no expectations, and let the potterworld transport me to somewhere else, and leave my opinions on how I would have made the film at the door. The film is a success. It's a true testament to how much love and dedication that the entire cast and crew has given to this production. A labor of love for a decade, and if JK Rowling approves then that's all right with me. I'll always be a fan, and the potterworld will live on with old and new fans. I'll continue to watch the films throughout the years, and I'll even reread the books someday. And I know I'll get my butt down to Florida and visit the Harry Potter themepark and have myself a few glasses of butterbeer. Mmmmm, butterbeer.

Grade: A-

Skip the 3D versions. 2D is perfect just as it is. I hear the film's stock is already dark, so the 3D conversion just makes it darker and muddier. With the 3 bucks you save by seeing the 2D, you can then buy yourself some Harry Potter memorabilia instead.

Monday, July 11, 2011

To-Do List

I've been thinking about writing a To-Do list since I read The Single Girl's Guide To-Do List. I have had lists in the past, and carried through on many things on said lists. But I am not that organized anymore and I sort of just let life flow and take me where it's going to take me. Lists have been on the back burner for a long time. I've also developed a huge procrastination problem, and lists are a big no-no :)

How about a list for anyone, boy, or girl, single or married, broke, or not. A list that doesn't discriminate? Hmmmm, let's see.

1. Eat Ice Cream Cake for breakfast at least once a year. Preferably, the day after your own birthday or that of a child (daughter, son, niece, nephew etc). Please don't go out and steal some kid's birthday cake.

2. Visit an art gallery, and when nobody is looking, skip through the gallery like you once did as a kid. (Even if someone is looking, skip anyway. It's not like you'll be back to that gallery)

3. Have a movie-a-thon with friends. Whether it's a Die Hard Extravaganza, or a Pride & Prejudice fawn fest. Invite some friends over, eat candy, chips, and popcorn, and have fun!

4. Walk in the rain without an umbrella, (not a T-shower as you don't want to get struck by lightning).

5. Get a book, and read it in a 24 hour span. Read it while you're eating, lying down, walking, or on the toilet. Just you and that book all day long.

6. Go to a traditional tea party. The Royal York in Toronto has one, or the Plaza in NYC. If money is tight (which it always is) then make your own tea party. (finger sandwiches area a must, or crumpets, but you can hold off the clotted cream if you want)

7. Go to a concert by yourself.

8. Swim in an ocean, or a sea, and if you already have but haven't swum in a lake then swim there. Bays are good too.

9. Play a board game from your childhood. Hungry Hungry Hippo, Uno, Trouble, Sorry...Do it and don't keep score, or if you do keep score, Kick ass in it!

HORRIBLE BOSSES: Do you hate your boss this much?

Do you have a boss you hate? Do you want to punch them in the face? Do you hate your job? I'm sure sometimes we've all felt these things at one time or another. In Horrible Bosses, three friends, feel it all the time, and decide to do something about it. They're going to kill their bosses. And that's when things take off into chaos as these three friends are pretty much bumbling idiots.

The film stars Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis as the put upon underlings up against their crass, crazy and slutty bosses: Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, and Jennifer Aniston (who instead of acting with her hair, acts with her body this time around). Out of all the bosses, Kevin Spacey is the most evil. From my seat, I wanted to punch his smug face into the ground. Farrell's character could have been used more, but the little screen time that he has, he goes for it. I'm not a big Aniston fan, but for her role as the one note nympho, she does a good job and goes for it sexually.

The film is okay. I didn't love it, nor did I hate it. I'm just "meh" to lukewarm about it. I laughed out loud a few times (the biggest laugh came from a set piece of a poster that hangs above the bed of Colin Farrell's character.) I enjoyed the physical humor, and wished there was more of that. It's a film that is better suited as a rental than on the big screen. But it's harmless fun, and you won't feel insulted afterward (unless you don't like the word c*ck because c*ck is used a lot).

Even though I enjoyed myself while watching it, I couldn't help thinking that it could have been funnier and even darker. It makes me wonder if the original script was darker, and the producers decided to hold back a bit. I left the theatre light hearted, but I also couldn't remember much of the dialogue, and the ending felt rushed. I do remember, however, that Jamie Foxx has some funny moments as the potential hitman, but they all came from his eyes. The eye rolls, and side glances were pitch perfect. It goes to show that a little can go a long way. I also thought that Charlie Day was delightful! I loved his performance. He's the quintessential bumbling idiot.

Grade: B-

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Poem I wrote for my Best Friend's Bridal Shower!

Annette is getting hitched
It seems she's been bewitched
So come to this anti-bridal party
We can eat hummus and party hearty!

It's going to be in Ajax, (please don't judge)
If you come out this far, there might be fudge
To get to Ajax you can hop, skip or jump
Or you can drive, if you fill up at the pump

Join us in celebrating Annette's love for James
We pinky swear there won't be any party games

Annette's fave colour is purple NOT hot pink
She likes to wear handcuffs made of silky mink (NOT!)
She's registered at Home Outfitters and The Bay
We can chat and nibble on food throughout the day

Come prepared to share with her one piece of advice
And no! Not how to use a birth control device!
Come rain or shine, umbrella or not
It's time to laugh and party a lot!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book Review: The Single Girl's Guide To-Do List by Lindsey Kelk

I received an advanced copy of The Single Girl's Guide To-Do List by Lindsey Kelk when I attended a Facebook fan appreciation event held by Harper Collins. I love chick lit and couldn't stay away from free chocolate! I'd never heard of Lindsey Kelk before. She's written a series(I Heart Paris, I Heart Hollywood, I Heart New York) that I have yet to read, so I went into this brand new book (and characters) with fresh eyes.

Rachel Summers loves making lists, she's a bit OCD about them. She has what she thinks is a perfect life with a great job, fun friends, owns a fabulous flat in London, and lives with her boyfriend of five years, Simon, a man she thinks will be her husband and the father of her babies. That future ideal comes crashing down when Simon announces that he wants a break for a while, which turns out to be code for "you're not the one." Devastated, Rachel drinks her pain away with her friends, Emelie and Matthew, and together they create a new list, and you guessed it, it's the single girl's guide to-do list of ten things that she has to do in two weeks to prepare herself for the single life. Things like confronting her fear of heights, getting a makeover, finding a date for her dad's wedding, and breaking the law, among other things.

The plot is predictable, as it tends to always be for romantic comedies/chick lit. It's the nature of the genre, and I embrace that fully because it's more about the journey than the destination. I enjoyed the journey that Lindsey Kelk has created. Her words are crisp, and she has a rhythm that is light hearted and witty. The book is quick and easy. When not reading it, I would look forward to getting back to it. I was transported to England, got to pretend that I lived in London. And I enjoyed the Canadian references (despite some of the cliches, but I will own up to loving Maple Syrup), and who knew Toronto was such a fabulous city in which I live! (Perhaps, I should write a chick lit novel set in Toronto?) Oh, and Niagara Falls is one of the cheesiest and tackiest places on the planet and I love it too!

The characters were relatable, especially Rachel. I think most women have been heartbroken at least once, and contemplated a makeover, searched Facebook for an old crush, or written a letter to their ex. I've chopped my own hair once, sick of it, as Rachel was, due to what I thought was a broken heart. Looking back, it was really just split ends that needed to be trimmed. But I did wish that Rachel dug deeper, with her soul searching, as to why she was never single. I'm sure it goes back to her parents' divorce, but spending six weeks single just doesn't seem like enough introspection before moving on. Then again, this is a chick lit book, and it ends the way we all know it will, on a happy note. And I could have done without her mother's speech about "alone doesn't mean being lonely"(pg. 323). It would have been nicer to hear that said in a different way, something not so on-the-nose. Subtext goes a long way in getting a point across sometimes.

I also have to mention that there was one scene in particular that came across as odd to me. It was when Rachel was in Toronto and she met some woman in the bar. The woman approached Rachel and just starting talking and it was too much exposition, and felt out of place, and for the first and only time during my reading experience, I was taken out of the story. After finishing the book, I discovered that the mystery woman, Jenny, is the main character from Kelk's other series. I suppose it's a treat for fans who have read those books, but for those of us who haven't, it can be confusing. I kept wondering what is this woman's motivation? Was she hitting on Rachel? Was she, in fact, associated somehow, to Rachel's high school crush? Was she going to hire Rachel as a makeup artist? I think this book is strong enough to stand alone, and didn't need a wink back to the other series.

If you like watching romantic comedies, or love a good chick lit read then pick up The Single Girl's Guide To-Do List. I plan on reading her other series now. Lindsey Kelk has earned a new fan. And I have to say that the Canadian cover is far superior to the UK one. In fact, the cover in Canada makes the book look sophisticated, and this non-poutine eating Canadian who has bungee jumped thinks the new Red-Headed Rachel would agree!

P.S. It's Doogie Howser not Dougie Howser as it was written on Pg. 296 :)
P.S.S. Stay tuned for a To-Do List posting! (single or not!)