Archive for the 'Film' Category

Bridesmaids and Girlfriends

Bridesmaids and Best Friends

Bridesmaids and Best Friends circa 1994

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about hosting a party to celebrate the DVD release of the movie Bridesmaids. While my post was carefully worded, my post was not entirely true. Let me explain:

When the Bridesmaids PR team asked me if I wanted to host a pre-screening party, I jumped at the chance. (Friends? Laughs? Wine? Kristin Wiig? Count me in!) But the timing of the DVD release coincided with my best friend’s *surprise* 40th birthday weekend get-away. I wanted to write about the movie-watching party, but I couldn’t give away the surprise on my blog. I had to choose my words carefully.

Turns out, the timing was perfect.

You see, if I am going to host a party like the one I described in my post — a party where we look at old wedding photos and use my actual wedding napkins - I want that party to be with my best friends. You know, the friends who were in my wedding, and I was in theirs. I wanted the chance to laugh at wearing bridesmaids dresses with giant shoulder pads, using way too much hairspray and dancing to Push It by Salt-N-Peppa… with the ladies who witnessed it first-hand.

The four of us traveled from our hometowns of Austin, Orange County and Des Moines to the delightful town of Kansas City. We spent the weekend laughing, dancing, drinking, shopping, and oh yes, remembering our weddings. No husbands, no kids, no laundry, no cooking. Just uninterrupted time together. Adding Bridesmaids, a hilarious movie about best friends sharing live-changing moments, was the perfect topper for the weekend. Just like the friends in the movie:

  • The four of us have evolved and grown as people and as friends.
  • We met as kids, and are still best friends 25+ years later.
  • I know exactly what I would put into a personalized “memory box” to present to each of my friends.
  • I know which friend would take us to the exotic restaurant, which friend would create uber-creative and personalized bridal shower invitations, which friend would do something embarrassing on an airplane to make us all laugh, and which friend would grab a microphone and break into song.
  • We were inseparable, and we took time when we needed to focus on building our own lives.
  • And we always came back to each other.

When we were in high school, our go-to movie was Shag because it was about four best friends who went on a high school Spring Break trip together. I think we now can add Bridesmaids to our list of must-watch-and-repeat movies because we are all grown up now and we still love to laugh together. And we will always be there for each other… no matter what.

- LTV Mom

Photo credit: Really? Some things are better left unsaid. But yes, I am the Bridesmaid on the far left. The other three gorgeous ladies are my best friends. Hairspray and curling irons sold separately.

I was provided with a free copy of Bridesmaids on DVD and a party pack of goodies by the PR team representing Universal Studios. I was not compensated for this post, and the words and opinions are my own.

Bridesmaids!

Bridesmaids on DVD 09/20/11

Bridesmaids on DVD 09/20/11

There are many things in life that make me happy, and topping the list are smart and funny women, good wine and dear friends. Lucky for me, this weekend, I get all three!

This Saturday I will be throwing a party to preview the uber-popular movie Bridesmaids, starring Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph. (Smart and funny women = check!) I’ll also be pouring wine, and lots of it. (Good wine = check!) And of course, I will be surrounded by my dear friends. (And check!)

Now, I have to admit, I am probably the only woman in the United States who has not seen this movie yet. Seriously. I blame my working-mother-with-a-young-daughter lifestyle. It’s ironic because I’m a huge fan of Wiig and Rudolph. (In fact, I’ve been known to yell “welcome to Target” every now and then.) Needless to say, I cannot wait to see Bridesmaids with my girlfriends.

In honor of the movie theme, I’m asking my guests to bring a photo of the bridesmaids dresses from their own wedding, which will certainly inspire lots of laughs! I’m also serving the appetizers with cocktail napkins from my own wedding. (Yes, even 17 years later, I still have a box of wedding napkins!) And since Bridesmaids is all about girlfriends, I’m honoring my dear friend Gina von Esmarch by serving appetizers from her cookbook called Taste This!

Now, I ask YOU this: How many bridesmaids did you have in your wedding and what color dress did you force them to wear, er I mean, what color gowns were they wearing when they walked down the aisle?

I hope that you too are able to enjoy your own trifecta of smart and funny women, good wine and dear friends this weekend!

– LTV Mom

I was provided with a free copy of Bridesmaids on DVD and a party pack of goodies by the PR team representing Universal Studios. I was not compensated for this post, and the words and opinions are my own.

2010 Oscars Recap

My family has an annual tradition of watching the Academy Awards with our friends Lisa and Clay. We take turns hosting, and we love it when the party moves to Lisa’s house because she is the Silicon Valley’s very own Martha Stewart. (That woman can prepare a spread like I’ve never seen!) This year’s party was great, the food was amazing, the wine was delicious, the five-year-old daughter was awesome… and I won the most Oscar picks! All that said, here are LTV Mom’s highlights from this year’s Academy Awards:

Best Dressed Female: Well, this was the year of my favorite color: RED. I know the TV pundits and critics have been praising the metallics, but I am a red girl. So, my best dressed is the gorgeous Penelope Cruz, with Vera Farmiga as a close second (was that red or magenta?). That said, I love a RED LIP, so the awesome Sandra Bullock gets a special nod for her luscious red lips (and the Oscar award for Best Actress!)

Best Dressed Male: Duh, it’s George Clooney (even though he needs a haircut). I forget, where there other men at this year’s show? I do have to give a nod to my fantasy-BFF Neil Patrick Harris. I had no idea he was performing this year, and he is adorable as always. Like I always say, he and I would be GREAT friends!

Best Line: Maybe it’s my age, but the best line has to be Steve Martin pulling out the “I was born a poor black child” when referring to the movie Precious. That line received a round of laughter and a DVR rewind so we could hear it again! I do have to say I thought Steve and Alec Baldwin were great, and I would easily ask them back for 2011.

Best Moment: Again, maybe it’s my age, but the tribute to John Hughes brought tears to my eyes. I grew up on his movies. I still quote Ferris Bueller. And I am so glad to see the Academy honor the man who influenced my generation, even if his movies are not Oscar-worthy. I challenge you, read the list of John Hughes movies on IMDB… you will be surprised how many you have seen (and how many you love!) Watch the tribute HERE.

Best (or worst) Fast Forward Moment: Sandy Powell wins Best Costume Design for The Young Victoria and begins her speech with “I already have two of these.” Lame. The only redeeming moment is that I picked her win at random, because period pieces always win Best Costume Design.

Worst Speech: Easy. The “what the hell happened” moment when the team from Music by Prudence won Documentary Short. I’m not going to take sides on the drama, but you can read about it HERE.

Best Presenter: Easy, Sandra Bullock. “Dude, make me look good!” when explaining the role of the cinematographer during her presentation of the award for Best Cinematography.

Best Milestone: To quote Barbara Streisand, “The time has come!” Katherine Bigelow is the first woman to win Best Director for The Hurt Locker. Just awesome…

Best Wine of the Night: Easy. The red sparking wine from Mumm, recommended by my cousin Sheryl. (Thanks a ton, and you were so right, it was delicious!)

– LTV Mom

Photo Credit: Yahoo! Images and AP

2010 Golden Globes Recap

I write this 2010 Golden Globes recap with a touch of hypocrisy. You see, I have not seen a single movie nominated this year. In fact, the only movie I have seen this year is The Princess and the Frog because I have a five-year-old daughter who loves Princesses. (It was a great movie by the way, made me cry!) That said, I watch a lot of television (um, I write a TV blog!) so here is my recap of this year’s Golden Globes:

Best dressed female: This one is easy. Halle Berry. That woman gets hotter and hotter every year. When she took the stage, my jaw dropped. I give a solid second place to Jodie Foster, partly because she looked beautiful and partly because she is a stud.

Best dressed male: I give this award to Neil Patrick Harris and his classic suit. (And his giant forehead… his words, not mine!) He is one guy I would like to take to dinner someday. (I’m quite sure we would drink wine and have a great time.)

Best speech: This nod is a tie between Mo’Nique and Sandra Bullock. Both speeches were filled with passion and emotion. I too have an amazing husband who makes my life possible, and I would love the chance to thank him in front of millions of people around the world.

Award that made me cry: I was so happy when Glee won for best TV show, comedy or musical. And I must echo the words of the show’s creator when he reminded us that we need the arts in our education system.

Award that made me yell “yeah!”: I am a long-time fan of Big Love and was so happy to see Chloe Sevingy win for her role as the uber-bitchy Nicki. (Sorry about the ripped dress!) That said, I love-love-love Sue Sylvester and will be cheering for her next year!

My take on the host: I liked Ricky Gervais. My first favorite moment was his take on the American view of The Office (and Steve Carrell’s dead-pan reaction). My second favorite was his introduction of Mel Gibson, it goes something like this: Ricky picks up a beer, takes a sip, and says, “I like a drink as much as the next man. Unless, of course, that next man is Mel Gibson.” D’oh!

So, if all goes well and I find 1) the time, 2) the money, and 3) the babysitter, I might see a few movies before the Academy Awards. And then we’ll be in business!

– LTV Mom


LTV Mom’s 2009 Oscars Recap

Best Picture 2009

Best Picture 2009

It’s no secret I am a huge fan of Slumdog Millionaire. After I saw the movie, I shouted: Bring on the Oscars! Needless to say, I loved this year’s Oscars show, and here an overview of LTV Mom’s highlights and lowlights:

Highlights:

  • Two words: Hugh Jackman. I though he was great! Loved the opening number, loved the song-and-dance routine (even if my lame brother-in-law disagreed!)
  • Loved Ben Stiller’s spoof on Joaquin Phoenix. Instant cult-classic.
  • Loved Tina Fey and Steve Martin’s presentation. It was smart and witty. (And Tina Fey looked beautiful.)
  • Best dressed: Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman and Alicia Keyes.
  • Loved the personal touch when they “big awards” were nominated. Especially loved Robert DiNero’s tribute to Sean Penn.
  • Watching the Oscars with dear friends and my family.  We always have a feast, some wine, lots of laughs, and a fierce competition to see who can get the most picks right! (Um, I did not win.)
  • My four-year-old daughter, who could clearly “get” that mommy loves Slumdog Millionaire, asked if she was old enough to see “Slum-aire Million-dog.” How cute is that?!

Lowlights:

  • No Bruce?
  • Mickey Rourke’s career is back, but his fashion sense is not.
  • Four words: Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s outfit.
  • Sorry, I did not like Marisa Tomei’s dress. I agree with Randolph Duke who said it looked like 100 napkins folded into a dress.
  • I hated Miley Cyrus’s dress.  Young or old, I don’t care… it was ugly.
  • I wish the production for Best Picture included clips of each movie that was nominated.

Anyone else have highlights (or lowlights) to share?

In the meantime, I am a working mom with few babysitters… back to watching movies on-demand or on TBS.

Photo Credit: Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Slumdog Millionaire: Bring on the Oscars

I’m lucky enough to have an adorable 4-year-old daughter, a pretty cool husband, a home and a full-time job.  This means lots of crazy and few pre-baby habits like movies in actual theaters.  With the Oscars right around the corner, I wanted to plug the best movie I have seen in ages:Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire.

When I saw the trailer for Slumdog Millionaire (of course, I have no idea where or when I saw the trailer, can’t remember that far back), I immediately loved the movie.  I turned to my husband and said, “that looks like the perfect movie for me.”  So when the movie came out, I arranged a babysitter, grabbed the hubby, and ran to the theater.  I am happy to report the movie did not disappoint, in fact, it lifted every ounce of my soul.

Just in case you have been living under a rock, Slumdog Millionaire is the story of a Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.  (Credit IMDB.)

Along this journey, the audience learns lessons of life, love, happiness, struggle and loyalty.  This movie made my laugh, cry, think, and rejoice… just what I need for a perfect movie.

Of course, I can make the shallow comments like “if I could only look like Freida Pinto” or “Dev Patel is a-dor-a-ble” but I don’t want to cheapen the mastery of this film.  It’s not overly complex in storyline and character development, yet thought-provoking with beautiful imagery and clever dialogue.

If you are like me, and a movie in an actual theater is hard to come by, go see Slumdog Millionaire.  It’s worth the price of admission… and an overpriced babysitter.

– LTV Mom

Movie must-see: Young at Heart

I have a 3-year-old.  I have a husband. I have a home.  I have a full-time job.  I do NOT have time to see movies in the theaters.  Sigh.

Regardless, many months ago, I saw a segment on the Today show highlighting a choir comprised of fantastic senior citizens called the Young at Heart Chorus.  This choir is now featured in a heart-warming movie called Young@Heart.  I was lucky enough to see the movie en route to vacation… and was not ashamed to cry on the plane. Tears of complete laughter… and tears of sincere sadness.

I tell you this: see this movie.  It’s a great look at how important and how impactful senior citizens can be to our lives.  This group of singers — belting out contemporary music from Coldplay to Bruce  Springsteen to The Ramones — proves that people have something to share regardless of age.  (You will never laugh as hard as I did to seeing 80 and 90-year olds singing "I wanna be sedated.")

The documentary reminds us that ALL people need to feel valued, loved and worthy. Many of the choir singers are dealing with serious health issues, and they choose to attend choir practice because they need to feel like they have something important to contribute to society.

As the movie progresses, we learn that the singers are working toward a concert in a major theater.  To practice and prepare, the choir performs at a local jail, and the talent and the honesty they share had the prisoners (and me!) in tears.  We also share in the sadness and angst when choir members die before the big concert… and how the compassionate and brave singers rally to ensure the show will go on.

Okay, I am gushing.  But it’s no secret that I have a soft-spot for senior citizens.  I find them wise, experienced and valuable.  See this movie, and you will agree.

LTV Mom and “Get Smart”

Get_smart_poster_2LTV Grandma was in town last week, so the hubby and I were able to catch a movie. We chose Get Smart for two reasons:  1. I loved the TV show as a kid, and 2. I absolutely adore Steve Carell. Easy choice.

Before I dive into a movie review, you have to remember this working-mom has not seen a movie since last December when I took my daughter to see Enchanted. It’s been a long time.

That said, Get Smart did not disappoint.  The casting was perfect, the jokes were just corny enough, and it captured the flavor of the TV show while showing some originality. It made me laugh out loud… what more can you ask for in a summer movie?

I have read the reviews — from Hollywood Reporter to USA Today — and the critics are hard on Steve, Anne and the crew.  As a mom who works around the clock, I really liked the movie. It made me laugh, made me smile, and was a nice break for 2 hours.  (Plus, Steve Carell just looks at the camera and I belly-laugh!)

One last note: I saw a preview for the new Batman movie with Heath Ledger as the Joker, and it looks awesome.  I think I will actually pay for a babysitter to see this flick in the theater.

“Hairspray” has staying power

LTV is proud to feature another guest-blogger, my friend and colleague (and super-cool chica) Stefanie Penland.  Stef and I share a love for musicals (both on-stage and on-screen), so I asked her to share some thoughts on the blockbuster hit Hairspray.  Plus, we all know Mommies with 2-year-olds don’t get to see movies in the theater.  (It’s also worth noting that Stef wrote wrote this review while I was out of town, so I am late in posting her review.)  Regardless, enjoy!

– LTV

****************************************

I
hadn’t read many reviews about director Adam Shankman’s take on the Tony
award-winning Broadway musical, so when I went to the theater last Thursday
night excited about four things only: John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer,
Queen Latifah, and
Broadway tunes.  For the Broadway-loving, celebrity-obsessed individual
that I am, that’s all I needed to know to be game. 

But
when Tracy Turnblad (played by newcomer Nikky Blonsky) is all
smiles as she belts out “Good Morning Baltimore” in the first five minutes of the
film, the rest of the movie was no longer solely about seeing Travolta in drag
or checking out how amazing Pfeiffer looks after her five-year break from the
silver screen… It was about this charismatic, determined girl’s journey towards
achieving her dream – and the charming and heart warming story of the
experience.  Clearly, a cheesy takeaway, but I was utterly hooked.
Occasionally, I would sort of become aware of my surroundings and realize that
I was literally smiling throughout the entire movie!  My cheeks were a
little sore, even.

Because
I hadn’t seen the
play on Broadway
, I wasn’t exactly familiar with its overall message going
into it.  As Tracy paves her way to stardom on the local variety program,
the Corny Collins Show, she starts to enact real change as she stands up for
the individuals who participate on the show’s “Negro Day” and raises awareness
of the importance of seeing past racial differences.  By the movie’s end,
the Corny Collins Show features a huge, “integrated” song and dance number to
showcase her small steps towards a change for the better.

A
lighter-hearted – but just as important – takeaway is that Travolta as Tracy’s
mom, Edna Turnblad, is almost better looking as a woman than he is a man.
A flawless portrayal of a woman, rather than the traditional
man-playing-a-woman.

And
yes… the next morning, I was literally singing “Good Morning Baltimore” to
myself during the car ride into work.  Talk about staying power.

Hairspray_2














Edna
Turnblad (Travolta) and Tracy (Blonsky) grabbing a bite after getting dolled up
and breaking out on the Baltimore streets in song and dance.


Stefanie Penland

 

Monsters Inc.

Traveling leaves little time for blogging.  Traveling with a 2-year old leaves little time for anything.

We made our 10-hour trip better by dragging along a DVD player.  Quite simply, it’s the best way to keep a 2-year old quiet on the plane.  (Plus, my kid is not quite 2 so she flew on our laps!) We flew a couple weeks ago, and we watched a lot of Elmo’s World.  Good for The Kid… got really old for Mom. So, I needed to get some movies that were good for a 22-month old… and tolerable for me.

We watched Shrek — which was a huge hit — but it was Monsters Inc that stole the show.  The Kid loves it!  (She calls is "Monster Movie".) Great movie for a kid since it’s beautifully colorful, has great characters, and has an appropriate plot line for my little girl. I like it for The Kid since there are no Barbie-like characters, the dialog is not dumbed-down, and the she can remember her favorite parts.

DVD on a plane is not laptop television, but it’s pretty cool to have that much time to laugh with your kid.