Friday, May 13, 2011

13 Reasons to Smile

When I have a particularly rough week, I make a list to remind myself there are reasons to smile. I really needed that list this week, so here goes...

Little things that made me happy this week:

1. Changing the wallpaper on my phone to Dave Grohl rocking out on his guitar.

2. Speaking of Dave Grohl…The Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light album which I have played over and over and over. "Bridge Burning" is my ring tone.

3. Student saying, “You’re a good storyteller, Mrs. Owens. You should write a book or something.”

4. This comment on Facebook when James got voted off of American Idol.

crooked mouth slang singing howdy doody looking still on and not James Omg!!

5. This slogan on a student's t-shirt.
6. Increasing my hand weights at Jazzercise by 6 pounds.

7. Reading Romeo’s dying words for the 70th time.
“Eyes look your last. Arms take your last embrace. And lips, o you the doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss a dateless bargain to engrossing death.”

And the dead (no pun intended) silence in my squirreliest class when we watched that part of the movie.

8. School board voting no school on Memorial Day.

9. The Dove dark chocolate bunny Bruce knew I would surely need this week. He’s half gone (the bunny, not Bruce). And yes, I ate his ears first.

10. The email telling me there were doughnuts in the workroom, and my friend, Linda, subsequently crediting the “f’n doughnut” for her sudden burst of inspiration.

11. The brownie that came with my lunch today. (I know, I know. I’m drowning my sorrows in sugar…but when you add the cocoa bean to it, sorrows do abate.)

12. A boy screaming “SPIDER!” and the girl next to him rolling her eyes and killing it.

13. The text message from my bff, Pam, which always seems to come at exactly the right moment.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Eye Candy and Car Porn

Is it possible to willingly suspend your disbelief in the face of a sketchy plot, eye-rolling dialogue, implausible stunts, and a total disrespect for the laws of physics?


Fast Five is two hours of totally ridiculous awesomeness. It seems to defy all the rules of good storytelling, and yet I left the theater happy and thoroughly entertained. Why? Fast Five has at least one story element working on all cylinders.

This movie has fun characters, and hidden underneath all that flash and silliness is a good old-fashioned buddy story.

Dom Toretto and Brian O'Connor are likable tough guys. Sure, they're criminals, but they do have a code. Loyalty to each other and to "family" supercedes everything, and they manage to make their law-breaking seem almost righteous. Their criminal activities are aimed at an evil supervillain (okay, a drug dealer, but he's cartoonish in his evilness), and they avoid hurting the innocent, even the federal agents chasing them (unless they get behind the wheel of a car, in which case, whole city blocks full of innocent people are fair game).

Toretto and O'Connor's friendship is believable even if nothing else in the movie is. You can't help but root for their crazy-ass schemes. Their friends are likable as well. Roman is still talking smack, and apparently Ludacris has become an expert in safe-cracking since the second movie. Even more surprising, Han, the cool Japanese drifter, is back from the dead. In fact, unless you see someone take a bullet to the head, dead is relative in this series.

The funniest addition to the cast is The Rock. He strides across the tarmac when his plane lands in Rio looking like he just finished curling 50 lb dumbbells, slathering himself in baby oil, and then liberally spritzing water over his face. He probably needed the baby oil to get his shirt on because it was at least 2 sizes too small. He says very little, and when he does speak, it's something like, "I want to know everything about Toretto, including how many times he shakes it."

O'Connor describes The Rock (Special Agent Hobbs in the movie) as Old Testament Wrath of God -- the guy the government sends in when they just gotta get their man. And in fact, his character is a cross between Tommy Lee Jones' character in The Fugitive and Conan the Barbarian.

And yes....that is exactly as hilarious as it sounds.

Fun characters and a believable buddy story keep Fast Five from being nothing but unadulterated eye candy and car porn. But honestly, maybe that's the real appeal anyway. Of the five movies in the series (Yeah, I've seen them all. Don't judge me), this has the thinnest plot.

It is, however, set in Rio where beautiful bodies abound, and those beautiful bodies are wrapped around the sweetest cars in the world.

Whether you like American muscle or high performance European road rockets, you'll get an eyeful in this movie. I tend to gravitate toward American muscle. The first car I bought with my own money was a red Mustang with a manual transmission. I loved shifting through the gears and making the engine scream. I think I got three speeding tickets in the first six months I had it. Kids happened, and I had to start driving more sensible cars more sensibly, but oh how I loved that car.

Do you see why I like these movies so much? Yeah, the guys are hot, but for me, it's all about the cars. To harness and control a barely contained engine growling underneath me for a 10 second quarter that's a fantasy.

The next movie may have no plot at all, but as long as Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are driving sexy cars like maniacs, I'm there.