Award season is heating up. The Golden Globe nominations were announced last week. And while sometimes controversial, they are considered to be fairly accurate prognostications for the Oscars. And, as always, the snubs are as provocative as the selections.
This year, if people were thinking about it, people were googling it. These are the top 10 topics people were searching for in 2014.
Almost everyone has some sort of Christmas/holiday television tradition. Whether it's football, the Frosty cartoon, or forcing the younger set to watch an old black-and-white movie, we all enjoy a bit of holiday entertainment. Now, I'm the first to admit my mistletoe tastes are less serious than most, shall we say. I love Bing Crosby, but the only way I'm watching White Christmas is at gunpoint. Like most movies, the way I decide if something is a classic is simple: If it came on at 10:30 at night, would I stay up and watch it? So without further ado, these currently are my 10 favorite holiday comedies. I limited the list to comedies, although I'm not sure it would be much different if I opened the contenders up to all holiday films.
Right about now, you should be contemplating a cold turkey sandwich while the booth reviews the call on the field. Here's a little quiz for halftime entertainment:
So, Cranky is 16. Like most 16-year-old girls, she is focused on a few priorities: clothes, boys, texts, One Direction and homework—if the last item is not on that list, please don't shatter my belief system. So it comes as no surprise that when a diet miracle appears on social media, Cranky would be quick to jump on it.
It's no big secret that the news media want to scare people. Is something you eat every day killing you? Does a madman want your children? What pills did a student find in her teacher's desk? The answers, of course, are: no, no and vitamins. The weather is no exception. If anything, the weather coverage sets the bar for fear tactics. You want a good scare? Check the weather.
Halloween is over. The costumes and gear have been returned to the storage closet. The pumpkin is in the garbage. Or, if you live in my house, the jack-o-lantern is slowly imploding on the front stoop—the face falling inward and sliding down like that Nazi in Raiders of the Lost Ark. But I digress. Halloween is over, yet one thing remains; one wonderful, awful, terrific agonizing thing: candy.
November is always an interesting month, cinematically speaking. The serious Oscar contenders rear their heads, the holiday family films are released, and a stray R-rated comedy or two makes an appearance for variety's sake. This November is no exception.
So, Halloween is next week. Depending on your disposition, you are either stocking up on Fun-Sized Snickers or making sure you can override the timer on your exterior lights. Regardless of your penchant for spooky—or lack thereof--the season often calls for a costume. I have always prided myself on my ability to turn the most everyday, comfortable outfit into a costume. For three years, I was Alex from Flashdance (off-the-shoulder sweatshirt, leggings—piece of cake). I also revisited Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction a couple of times (all-black with Cleopatra wig—I'd even do the dance).
Halloween is upon us. There's a chill in the air, wet leaves in the grass and an inexplicable credit-card receipt from something known only as the 'Halloween Super Store' on the table. For those of you not familiar, the Halloween Super Store is what I imagine as the modern-day equivalent of the gypsy caravan: It pops up overnight in a previously abandoned retail space, stays open for one month selling all things spooky, and then—more quickly than it appeared—it's gone. The HSS is not a new concept. The receipt, however, strikes me as odd, odd because it means the kids have already gone to the Halloween store—and they have gone without me.
So I've been doing some substitute-teaching of late—just a class here and there. I get to brush up on some subjects in which I used to be proficient, back when the wheels were well-oiled. It's a win-win, really—for me. The students (I think) enjoy their time with their new sub. I haven't been pelted with spit wads or been fooled into spending the entire class discussing The League on FX (OK, once, it happened once). So far, I'm teaching, they're learning. All is as it should be. And that's when the teacher I am helping out informs me of one tiny detail: On Tuesday, you'll be taking my beginning Greek class.
As a parent, you constantly hope you are doing it right. Occasionally, things happen that confirm that hope, changing it into a belief: I believe I'm doing it right. Be it an A on a test, a win in the big game, a good decision on the playground or at a party, the belief becomes a surety. Wow, I'm a good parent—no, I'm a great parent! You bask in the glow of it and fleetingly consider baking cookies or taking on a DIY project. And then one day, your teenage child stands in the kitchen, between you and the cupboard, and says with disturbing sincerity: I need a plate.
Now, I don't know how I missed this, but apparently kids get hit in football. Was there a meeting I skipped where they told you your child is going to get beaten to a pulp in-between Gatorade breaks? I don't want to come across as one of those hysterical mothers, but seriously, I'm not prepared to have Punch finish middle school missing D through H of the alphabet.
It's officially fall: School is in full swing, sweaters are coming out and thoughts turn to pumpkin-carving and apple-picking. I know it's fall for another reason: At the cineplex, the film previews have turned to all things sinister. You know what I mean. The trailer starts off with a girl entering a long, abandoned attic, and pulling drop cloths off Victorian furniture. Then she comes across an old charm/mirror/clock/masque and the violent montage begins. After a few lines of dialogue explaining the premise--the man murdered a dozen girls then disappeared/they thought she was a witch and burned her home with her in it/he walked into the old mine one day and never emerged—the credits pop up. Brace yourself. Then, there's one final scary shot of a face with yellow eyes (or a dead body sitting up). Yeah, yeah.
So, that happened. After some 17 years of being louse-free, last week, I got the call: Punch has head lice. Now, before you recoil in disgust—well, after you've finished recoiling in disgust, I feel I need to clarify. Having lice is not a reflection of one's general hygiene. The daughter of my most germaphobic friend had head lice five separate times. The cleaner the head of hair, the more likely a louse will find a suitable home. Much like us, it seems lice like a clean living space. Why they would choose to reside on the head of a 13-year-old boy who showers only at gunpoint only confounds me more. Regardless, a home they did indeed find.
Summer is over—maybe not according to the calendar; but according to the cineplex, it is.
We've all been doing a lot of texting. Lately, I have noticed an increase in the use of something that seems to take the sting out of an unfavorable text—something that conveys so much in the small amount of space provided: The emoji.
So, I was robbed. Well, more accurately, I was burgled. You see, to rob someone is to approach an individual and take something that belongs to them--remove it from their person. To commit burglary--or 'to burgle' (although I can't say burgle without slipping into a British accent much to the annoyance of the police)--is to enter a structure in the absence of permission...and, well, in this case, take stuff.
So, Frozen, Disney’s most recent animated offering, received an avalanche of critical acclaim. The film won two Academy Awards—Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song—and is being called the best animated feature film since…since what? What are the best animated movies of all time? Where are you failing in the parent (or grandparent) department, if you have deprived the little ones a viewing?
Anyone with children older than 10 has slowly come to terms with the fact that there is no summer. OK, that was an exaggeration. Of course, there’s a summer. According to the calendar, summer lasts about three months. Mentally, it lasts six weeks. Emotionally, summer is 16 reasonably pleasant days sandwiched in-between the end of school wrap-up and the back-to-school check-up.
Here’s a quick look at what’s showing--what to run out and see, and which ones to avoid:
It seems that every year, the window that defines summer vacation closes ever so slightly: Cranky has a summer school class, Whiny needs to be back for sports, Punch has camp. Summer used to mean June, July and August—Memorial Day to Labor Day. Now, summer is a two-week span in mid-July. Nevertheless, I’m determined to make the most of it, so I pack the car, load the family and head north. No matter how demanding the family schedule, nothing can replace a northern Michigan getaway. And, of course, whether we go for two weeks or two months, one thing always remains consistent: the drive.
If I’m being incredibly optimistic, I would say studios are opting for quality, not quantity, this summer. We shall see. Here’s what’s coming to theaters in July and August...