Larry got sick on Friday so we’ve spent the weekend chilling at home. You know what’s great to do when you don’t leave the house? Watch movies! Especially those that you have been meaning to see but didn’t!
On Saturday, after getting errands done, we finally watched I, Tonya. That movie was incredible – Tonya Harding’s story is insane, and even though they’re clear that this movie is based off of highly unreliable narrators, you still feel a smidgen of pity for her. Her mother looks to have been a monster, she fell in love with an abusive idiot, and she didn’t know how to “play the game” with the Figure Skating authorities so that she could be judged on more than just her athletic talent. Margot Robbie is amazing as Harding while Allison Janney absolutely disappears into the role of Lavona Harding, Tonya’s mother. The first half of the movie is mostly dedicated to Tonya’s life up until the point of “the Incident”, which is of course when Nancy Kerrigan was attacked. The rest of the movie is about the attack and the aftermath, and man, what a shitshow. I mean, the movie is still entertaining, but it’s hard to believe the shit that went down.
Today, we then watched another of last year’s Oscar films, The Shape of Water. Yeah, the fish fucking movie. I think I was bracing for this movie to be not my cup of tea, and it turns out I was correct in that assessment. So, the story the movie tells is about a mute janitor woman in the 50s or 60s who works at some kind of secret government lab and she strikes up a relationship with one of the creatures being worked on there. Comedy ensues! Ha, not really – this has some elements of comedy but mostly it’s a weird love story where one half is a fish monster. The production design and the performances are all very good – I won’t knock the movie for not having style, as it’s got that in spades due to it being a Guillermo del Tero movie. But the actual story didn’t really work for me. I’m kind of in shock that the damn thing won Best Picture this year. It really is a movie about a woman who fucks a fish. That’s no lie. So cheers to the Academy for having an open mind, but I think it was an award for del Toro and a very beautiful-looking movie. Eh, what do I know?
Okay, it wasn’t all movies. This past week, Larry & I have been watching Cobra Kai, the Youtube Red series that picks up the Karate Kid story of Daniel and Johnny as they’re now middle-aged. Here’s a great trailer for it which basically spells it out:
The premise is fantastic – Daniel has grown up to be a successful family man while Johnny ends up a burn out. But then he sees a need to teach a local kid, Miguel, how to defend himself, which leads to the re-opening of Cobra Kai. Daniel isn’t having any of that…and suddenly we get a complex world where perhaps Johnny isn’t the defacto bad guy? We watched all of it last week, finishing up on Friday night. It’s FANTASTIC. The show was lovingly made by people who definitely knew their stuff from the movies, and both Ralph Macchio and William Zabka do great coming back to these roles. Highly recommended, and here’s hoping a Season 2 is in the works, as while Season 1 certainly wraps up a lot, I could see this continuing.
I bring up Cobra Kai because it definitely triggered all the nostalgia and neither Larry nor I had seen the original The Karate Kid movie from 1984 in years, maybe decades. Of course it’s up in our head as we are children of the 80s, but yeah, it’s been a while. Cobra Kai references the original movie a LOT via flashbacks and so it was like, you know what, let’s watch it. And surprisingly? The movie is still really good and holds the hell up. Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi is still the fucking best, and Elisabeth Shue is wonderful as Ali. Ralph Macchio had so much charisma in his role too, but it isn’t just the performances – the story and the way it’s told is really well done. All the memories and references are still epic: “get him a body bag!” and “sweep the leg” and “wax on, wax off” – it’s awesome. A great rewatch.
We went and saw A Quiet Place yesterday. Watch the trailer here:
Scary, right? YES, SCARY.
At just about 90 minutes long, A Quiet Place is quite a thrilling movie and is the right length to keep you on the edge of your seat before. Too much more than that and you’re gonna kill people. As you see, this movie is intense. Set in the near future, we find ourselves with a family surviving in the aftermath of a world in which a kind of creature has overrun the world and decimated the population. The creatures are attracted by sound and WILL kill you if they hear you. Because of that, this movie is unrelentingly quiet. So much so that even when you’re eating snacks in the movie theater, it feels like EVERYONE can hear you.
Needless to say, the movie shows us this family (headed by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) as they do their best to survive without getting slaughtered. If you’re a fan of monster-ish movies (think, Cloverfield, which apparently was a momentary consideration at Paramount, but they decided to let it stay stand-alone) and can handle some high tension, this movie is for you. It’s a thrill ride, but definitely keeps you nervous the entire time. Whenever the sound drops out and no music is playing, you find yourself gripping your chair bracing for some fresh hell to occur. And it does. 🙂
Anyway, it’s well worth seeing, especially in a theater when you kind of have to keep quiet too. Go see it!
The Not So Quiet Places from my post headline is that last night we went out. We hung out with Nicki and Rekha at the Largo Theater again, this time to see a 2-man improv show. I think we may have hit a threshold of how much improv we want to see. But it was funny, but $30/ticket funny? Not so sure about that. Regardless, I always love seeing friends and getting out of the house. After the show, we walked from the theater over to West Hollywood, where Carey & Paras were celebrating Paras turning 30. Ah, 30. They were set up at Pump, a fun hotspot that is staffed by gorgeous folks, which of course is to be expected. Had a lot of fun and managed to not get utterly shitfaced. Yay me!
Larry, me, Nicki and Rekha at the Largo
Me and Rekha at Pump
And now today, we went out and looked at furniture that we’d like to think about getting for the new house. Went to the Living Spaces in Panorama City, which is a mile or so north of our future home. It’s a pretty impressive store and we ended up finding a few things we’d certainly consider getting. They have some interesting outdoor furniture for our roof deck, and we also saw some couches and a new bed frame that would be kinda perfect. So we’ll see…quite a bit of time left and when we went and visited the GlenLA lot on our way home, one of the sales reps was indicating that our Phase is scheduled for September still but to be flexible as it could be longer. Here’s hoping it’s not that much longer.
I’m not getting into The Last Jedi yet, but yes, I’ve seen it (three times) and I fucking love it. I’m so pissed that the music from my favorite trailer is NOT in the official soundtrack though. WTF, Lucasfilm?
This post today is all about some of the recent movies we’ve seen that are complete Oscar frontrunners, and happily, they’ve all been very good movies!
Call Me By Your Name (2017)
We saw this two weekends ago as it’s getting a bit wider of a release, finally. Long story short, it’s a fantastically beautiful and sensual movie, which happens to focus on a budding gay romance in gorgeous Northern Italian rustic scenery some time in the 1980s. Armie Hammer is a hunk of a man and Timothee Chalamet is the more earth-bound guy that gets a summer in Armie Hammer’s orbit. The gorgeous scenery and slow but sure seduction between these two is captivating, but let’s be honest, this is a complete gay fantasy. Nevertheless, it’s such a well-done movie that it’s hard not to get swept up into the fantasy. It helps all the performances are amazing, and critics are rightfully talking about one scene/monologue that the father figure has at the end, as it’s quite a stunner. Funny, erotic, emotional and mesmerizing – don’t be surprised if it wins Oscars this year.
Here’s the trailer:
The Disaster Artist (2017)
It’s possible you’ve never heard of the movie called The Room, a justifiably terrible movie made by Tommy Wiseau. It came out in 2003 and almost immediately jumped into that weird world of cult movies, this one getting the branding of sooooooooooooooo bad it’s good. Like, I used to say Showgirls was so bad it’s good, but there’s still a lot of decent stuff in Showgirls. The Room is just bad all around, and in very weird, confounding ways. Full disclosure: I’ve not seen The Room, but have seen the scenes most people talk about and I’ve read plenty and listened to the “How Did This Get Made” podcast for it, which had a special guest of Greg Sestero, who is the guy who helped Tommy Wiseau make the movie and co-stars in it with him as “Mark.”
Basically, The Disaster Artist is the tale of how this movie came to be. James Franco is the director and mastermind of this masterpiece and also stars as Tommy Wiseau, and holy hell, he’s amazing. Not only is it an amazing retelling of the entire story from Greg and Tommy meeting in acting class up to and including the creation of The Room and its premiere, but the movie is fucking hilarious. You do not need to have seen The Room to enjoy this movie as The Disaster Artist lets you in on the joke: Tommy Wiseau is not a human. It’s not clear at all who he really is or where he gets the money to make this movie, and he’s got absolutely no acting ability. But Tommy had passion and with Greg’s help and encouragement, they get there. They destroy their careers in the process, but managed to become infamous. And here we are with this movie, so I guess it’s the silver lining.
The cast in this movie is thrilling. Dave Franco, James’ brother, is the co-lead of this movie and does a fantastic job playing the straight man to Tommy. Dave Franco is also super hot. A giant assembly of comedians from that crew is also here, like Seth Rogen, Paul Scheer, and Alison Brie. Amazingly, this movie has every likelihood of getting Oscar nominations and James Franco would certainly deserve one for acting, and who knows, maybe directing? I highly recommend catching this movie if you can, otherwise you’re just teaaaring me apaaaahrt!!!!
And finally, at least in this post….let’s get to:
Lady Bird (2017)
A very ‘feels real’ movie about a senior in a Sacramento high school who calls herself “Lady Bird.” Lady Bird wants nothing more than to leave for a New York college but the trouble is that her family can’t afford that kind of college and she’s also a little bit unqualified academically to make it. So she gets invested this last year of high school to make it happen. Of course over the course of this year, situations at school and home serve to get in the way. Saoirse Ronan as Lady Bird is amazing, but it was just wonderful to see Laurie Metcalf as her mother. You’ll be seeing both of their names likely as Oscar nominees as they both giving stunning performances. You’d think this is purely a drama from my notes here, but there is a lot of funny stuff to be found in this movie. And of the three movies listed here, this one had me in tears many times. Hopefully that’s not a deal breaker, as it’s a movie well worth seeing. Check out the trailer:
And that’s that. Stay tuned for my thoughts on The Last Jedi as well as whatever the hell else I can think of to post about. I have so many pictures still to get through it makes me nervous. 🙂
2017 may have been a shitshow for a whole slew of reasons, but one giant reason in its favor is that it was so full of Twin Peaks goodness. Not only did the revival on Showtime kick serious ass, we got 18 hours of it and it still managed to confound and excite us. I really should have known that with it being Twin Peaks, it wouldn’t end neatly. Then obviously I posted about it back in September, which was when Larry & I went to Seattle & Vancouver for a week and tagged one of the days as a Twin Peaks day:
I said it enough in the post, but that day was seriously one of the best days ever. I got to see nearly every Seattle-adjacent filming location that I would have wanted to have seen….except for the actual exterior location of “the Roadhouse.” It was located in the opposite direction of where we were heading, so it had to be dropped and I figured maybe one day, we’d go back? Well, may not need to as the Roadhouse came to Los Angeles!
Saturday, December 30, 2017 @ The Roadhouse in Los Angeles
The entrance to the pop-up Roadhouse on Melrose
Yea, I’m cool.
Heading down the Black Lodge entry
Calm down, buttercup
Can’t deny how cool it is to walk this path
An entrance to the Black Lodge
One-Eyed Jacks was going to be the theme for NYE
Owl Cave scrawlings
Larry in the trees
The items on the menu were of course Twin Peaks-related
The Steak Frites was no joke
Some neon is pretty damn cool
Wanted to steal it
I got photobombed!
The Laura Palmer
I like this pic
Cherry pie, naturally
And some donuts
A proper shot with the sign
On the way out
Larry awaiting at the gift shop
This pop-up was incredible. You enter and then walk through several corridors of Black Lodge goodness, passing into an outdoor area with some sycamore trees, the entrance to the Black Lodge, and Owl Cave scribblings. Then you head into the restaurant area where you are now in the Roadhouse. Great food and some solid, interesting drink offerings, all themed to Twin Peaks characters or motifs. I ended up getting a fantastic Great Northern Steak & Frites while Larry got Betty Briggs Meatloaf Burger, and then I had a Laura Palmer drink followed by a surprising hot cup beverage called Cherry Pie That’ll Kill Ya. All followed with Cherry Pie and Donuts. Yeah, we might have eaten a lot.
At the end of our 90 minutes or so, we left and I bought two Twin Peaks t-shirts, and then we called it a day. This excursion also served as our ‘going out for New Year’s’ event as basically there were so many unpleasant outings for a few years it is just not fun anymore. But staying home? Hella fun. We ended up watching movies yesterday, starting with Diamonds Are Forever, then renting Despicable Me 3 from ITunes (it was okay – I think I liked the previous 2 more although I did like the 80s-themed villain), and following it up with Spy, which still is just so damn funny. Larry made a wonderful chicken parmesan dinner and then we watched the Kathy-less CNN NYE for a little and drank a bottle of champagne. And here we are now in 2018. Let’s make it a good year – lots of exciting things coming up, notably buying and moving into a brand new house!!!
This was a fun day.We were able to sleep in a little bit (not much), as we had tickets to the London Film Museum’s exhibit “Bond in Motion” – a collection of Bond cars and vehicles from throughout the movies.Started at 10am, which was our window (although from having visited there now, I don’t think it was quite necessary to buy the tickets in advance; better safe than sorry).So we got a quick breakfast in at the nearby Starbucks, then walked over to the museum.Yeah, walked, as our hotel is so centrally located.Walked through the West End, seeing the theaters for Aladdin and Harry Potter on the way there.It was also raining slightly, which was about time as London is supposed to have some rain! It also was nice for it to be cool a little as it’s been pretty damn hot/warm here and in Paris!
Anyway, we got to the exhibit and it was absolutely amazing.Everything was laid out in a great fashion and there were so many important cars to the series present, from the Aston Martins, the Rolls Royces, Jaguars, etc.Quite amazing, and I took lots of pictures.Larry bought lots of cool things too, including the guide book.We also got a few shots with the life size Connery mannequin up front.Just spectacular the whole thing.Well worth coming to London for!!!!
So….let’s try to break these pictures down in some kind of order…first, getting to the London Film Museum via the route shown above:
A rainy start to our day in SoHo
The walk to the museum took us through the West End – and next to the show we’d see the next day
Rainy conditions won’t stop us from taking a pic
Didn’t make it to this sold-out show
Our destination – the Bond in Motion exhibit
The Foyer of the Exhibit:
Awaiting us in the lobby – a Sean Connery Bond mannequin
Pretty good likeness
There were great clips being shown throughout
Barnes, Hobie Barnes
Now we’re talking
MI:6 Mock-up from The World Is Not Enough:
The MI:6 mockup used when planning The World Is Not Enough’s opening scene
The part of the building where the boat launches from
You Only Live Twice:
The “Little Nellie” autogyro from You Only Live Twice
Little Nellie from below
The boxes that held Little Nellie in You Only Live Twice
Heading down into the main exhibit…
The main floor of what was shown was simply spectacular. Almost every vehicle you’d expect to see was there, seriously.
A View To A Kill:
We found the Rolls Royce from a View to a Kill – poor Tibbets
It’s actually Cubby Broccoli’s Rolls
Goldeneye / Goldfinger:
The Aston Martin DB5s shown here had a model version based off of the Goldfinger one, as well as a real car that was used in Goldeneye.
Us with an Aston Martin DB5 – from Goldeneye, we think
It’s the same model of car that was also in Goldfinger, as you can see in the movie in the background
Another view of the Aston Martin DB5 as well as a model made for Skyfall
The Rolls Royce Phantom III from Goldfinger – what a car
Die Another Day:
Evil Zao’s Jaguar XKR from Die Another Day, with optional machine gun
Bond’s Aston Martin V12 Vanquish from Die Another Day
Larry with the fold-up jet from Octopussy’s opener
Octopussy’s Tuk-Tuk Taxi from the drive through India
The Living Daylights:
The Aston Martin V8 from The Living Daylights – note the cello and case in the background
The World Is Not Enough:
The BMW Z8 from The World Is Not Enough – this one wasn’t sliced in two
The model King helicopter from The World Is Not Enough with death blades
Quantum of Solace:
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service:
Tracy’s Mercury Cougar XR7 from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Another view of the Mercury from OHMSS
Diamonds Are Forever:
Diamonds Are Forever’s Spectre Bath-o-Sub that belonged to Blofeld
The Ford Mustang Mach I from Diamonds Are Forever
Honda ATC 90 belonging to White as Bond escapes in Diamonds Are Forever
Map Tokens for Diamonds Are Forever
The Spy Who Loved Me:
The submersible Lotus Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me
Very cool to see this
Clapper from Spectre
Inside the Cars from Spectre part of the exhibit
The gorgeous Aston Martin DB10 from Spectre
The Jaguar C-X75 that tries to catch Bond in Rome in Spectre
The Rolls Royce Wraith the picks Bond up in Africa in Spectre
Another view of the Jaguar
The Land Rover Defender that tries to escape Bond in the Alps in Spectre
Some promotional stills from the latest Bond movie, Spectre
For Your Eyes Only:
The Neptune 2-Man Sub from For Your Eyes Only
What remains of the Citroen 2CV from For Your Eyes Only
The Man With the Golden Gun:
The Man With the Golden Gun’s AMC Hornet X – not corkscrewing through the air at this moment
The really jacked up Aston Martin DBS from Casino Royale
It did a lot of rolls to look like that
Various Odds & Ends:
Pierce Brosnan’s Bond passport
And Daniel Craig’s Bond passport
The faked up IDs from Casino Royale – Stephanie Broadchest was really her spy name
Lots more motorcycles
Ken Adams’ signature – he’s the production designer behind so much of Bond
Props from Moonraker
The lounge down here was pretty nice and we enjoyed a cappuccino
Just saying – this was the best collection of James Bond cars you could ever hope to see.
The James Bond Walking Tour
But that wasn’t the end of our James Bond adventures today.So after the London Film Museum exhibition, we came back to the hotel to drop off the new goodies we’d just bought, then headed back out to Charing Cross Station as at 2pm, we were joining up for a James Bond Walking Tour!!!Holy crap, this is quite an amazing and somewhat grueling walk, as you walk a LOT.Starting at Charing Cross, you get some insight into how the underground sections were used quite frequently, especially for the chase scenes in Skyfall.
We then meandered through London to various locales that were used in Spectre and Skyfall before heading to the National Gallery Museum right near Trafalgar Square.Got a lot of backstory on the filming there as well as the use of art, especially in Skyfall.The use of the various paintings, combined with the accounts of Admiral Nelson in the battle of Trafalgar and how those were analogous to James Bond and M’s demise….holy shit, it was amazing.Then when in the National Gallery (didn’t know we’d be going in there!), we saw not only where Q and James Bond meet for the first time in Skyfall, but also the painting that James Bond notices in Dr. No, which at the time in the 60s had just been stolen. AWESome.
Heading to Charing Cross for our James Bond Walking Tour
You have to take this shot. It’s the law.
Making our way back into the West End
I’m everywhere – as is my name
The starting point for our Bond Walking Tour was the Charing Cross Underground station
In Charing Cross’ Tube Station & Outside Rules
Charing Cross Station was used a lot in Skyfall
although of course it will be changed for whatever the movie needs it to be
This staircase is featured in Skyfall
This upscale restaurant is where the team regroups before the final act in Spectre
Off to Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square was our next stop
and we were about to go into the National Gallery
Us in the Square
rude photobomb, dude
And Inside the National Portrait Gallery
This portrait is one of the items that Dr. No stole in Dr No
This Joseph Turner painting, The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up, holds meaning and was in Skyfall
The museum interior is beautiful
After leaving the museum, we walked through Trafalgar Square and over to the Admiralty Gate which faces Buckingham Palace. These were the scenes of other M:I6 locations in the movies, which was a lot of fun.The guide was just such a great source of knowledge and energy!
We then walked over through the Whitehall street area which is a huge place for Skyfall, passing 10 Downing Street too.After getting a great shot in the middle of the street that matches Bond’s chase of Silva down the street, we all then hopped on a red London Bus (which I’d been wanting to do!!! Score!) and rode the route down to a station right across the Thames from where the MI:6 building actually is and what you see in the movies.That was where the tour ended, and it was just a blast to have gone on it.Seriously.Amazing!!!
Through Trafalgar Square to the Admiralty Gate
Bond exits this way in Skyfall
One of the lions in Trafalgar Square
Nelson, a little bit clearer
We’re outside what has been used as a facade for MI6 in certain movies
Looking towards Buckingham Palace
This is Admiralty Arch – and has been used in various establishing shots throughout the series
Walking Around the Whitehall Area:
Here we are in Whitehall
which is very much a government-focused area
More movie magic – this is NOT an actual Underground exit like it was in Skyfall
Royal Tank Regiment Memorial Statue
Who’s driving that?
Can’t remember what this exterior was used as
Oh – that’s the rooftop from the end of Skyfall
They’re the Horse Guards
And then near 10 Downing Street, with some Action Shots:
This is 10 Downing Street, where the Prime Minister lives
so now we’re in the middle of the street
and it’s where Bond is running after Silva through London in Skyfall
and so of course, we had to recreate the pose
I’m totally running here
The double-decker red bus took us down the Thames so we could get the across-the-river view of MI:6. It was awesome.
MI6 along the Thames
We got to ride a double-decker bus to the next location!
So exciting – I’d wanted to ride one
Our destination was across the Thames from the MI6 building
It’s obviously been made famous in the Brosnan and Craig Bonds, up until Spectre that is
Those apartments are insane looking
Levene, Larry Levene
Our tour group got a workout that day – they were so much fun
That loft up top was used in Get Him to the Greek
I coudl totally enjoy that living space
After the tour, we were on our own to get back
ooo, the Shard from a great distance
Such a striking building – want to visit it one day
Closer to MI6
You can see we’re a bit of a ways away from the main tourist part of London
Look at these places – kind of over the top
On the Vauxhall Bridge as we get closer to the other side of the Thames
The day wasn’t over yet!
We walked across the Vauxhall Bridge to the Tube station there, taking it back to the Westminster area as we had a Champagne Experience on the London Eye at 7.But that wasn’t for a few hours, so we ended up finding a place called Slug & Lettuce to eat at, which was a bit of a more corporate looking place to eat.It worked for us, although the food wasn’t anything special to write home about.After that, we got checked in at the London Eye for the Champagne Experience, which was okay.The time was good as the twilight was ending and the lights were coming on, and we got a glass of champagne and the host was very helpful with taking pictures of us.It was a good time but we were definitely getting tired.
Heading Back to the London Eye Area
After a brief tube ride north, we were back at the Westminster area
And the London Eye was our next destination
I like this picture
We had time to kill and were hungry – and there’s not a lot of places to eat in this area
ooooo, dramatic shot of the London Eye
The Champagne Experience on the London Eye at Sunset
About to board our Champagne Experience pod
Looking towards Charing Cross Station
The London Eye has a spectacular perspective of London
We were enjoying the time, but it was a bit packed in there
The Charing Cross Station and Golden Jubilee bridges
Pretty cool shot of Parliament and us
Parliament, Big Ben
You can see in the distance on the Thames where the MI6 area is where we just were
The walkie-talkie building
Inside our Champagne pod
We’d been on our feet most of the day, but that didn’t stop us from walking back to see what’s what.We crossed the Golden Jubilee Bridge and then meandered through the West End and SoHo again, finding Chinatown this time as well as the gay bar area.
Oh yeah, also found a gelato place that made the coolest rose formation of ice cream in a cone for you.It was delightful, and Delicious.
The Aquarium all lit up
London Eye – RED
Big Ben looks cool at night
Closer to the Jubilee Bridges
Charing Cross all dramatic like
Up on the Jubile Bridge
Oh yeah – we had a gorgeous presentation for our gelato that night
then walked through Chinatown, which is right next to the West End and SoHo