Friday, December 10, 2010

10 Reasons Why I Love Friday Night Lights (season 1)

Over the summer I began watching Friday Night Lights (FNL) and I finally finished season 1 today. Here are 10 reasons why I love this show.
10. Its Real (as real as TV can be)
While FNL is a show there is something so real about it. It seems more like a documentary of a real town than a scripted show. The characters and their relationships, the dialogue, the football games all feel so true to life. It makes the show about a town nothing like anywhere I've ever lived extremely relatable.
9. Footballl as a backdrop
Yes the show is about football, but it is not all about football. The show uses football as an overlying theme; a way to connect the diverse characters and their narratives. Even being a girl who knows little to nothing about football, the dialogue of football talk never bothers or confuses me, it adds to the realism of the show. Plus the games are truly spectacular. I always find myself (stupidly) wondering if the Panthers will pull out a win in the end (in the whole season they only lost once). The Mud Bowl episode was especially awesome with the characters sliding around in the mud and the State game was of course inspiring.
8. Filming methods
The almost documentary style filming of FNL is very well done. It adds to the feelings of reality of created in the show. I love the use of  the handheld camera with its close up shots and quick zooms. It puts the viewer right into the action. Long shots of Texas landscapes and empty locker rooms establishes the setting. Besides being beautifully shot they help to create the environment that the characters inhabit. Closes up shots on the characters' faces as the enter the field before the big game say so much more than words ever could. The little shots of hand holding and feet touching also are just little things that reveal so much of the characters' relationships.
7. The fact that I cried during every episode
 Every episode. Some more than others. I  happy sobbed when Riggins' dad showed up to his game for the first time, during the cuter moments that take place in the Taylor family, and when Matt's dad came home from Iraq. I sad cried during Jason's injury and some of the numerous breakups. Rarely have I had such emotion evoked by any TV show.
6. Coach Taylor's speeches
Clear eyes, full hearts, can't loose. Such a beautiful sentiment, it gets me every time. Plus every pregame speech Coach Taylor inspires his team not only confidence to go into battle, but deeper themes about ways the players can make themselves better people. You can tell this guy really cares about his players. He demands respect and a definite level of quality from his players. Dillon Panthers are the best period.
5. Bigger themes 
FNL like I've said before is not about football. There have been episodes on race, class, family, bipolar disorder, steroid use, and paralysis. Each episode is better than the last and brings about great moments for discussion. The idea of the family as developed in the show is one of the most important themes. I love the multiple ideas of family represented from the Taylors who seem to represent the ideal and the numerous unconventional family structures. And the family made up of the team and the separate families created with the groups of friends.
4. Jason Street
When Jason got hurt in the first episode I thought he was done for. I love how they have let him stick around for the entire season. I really love the development of his character from the hot shot quarterback to a man of real substance. And his relationship with Lyla, no matter how flawed, grows and changes in a very real way. I loved seeing him learn how to adjust to life in his wheelchair and making new friends with whom he can relate.
3. Tim Riggins 
Need I say more?
But for reals, I am a sucker for the bad boy with a heart of gold. He is so wounded and misunderstood. I love the changes his character goes through in the season and the relationships has with his father, brother, and Beau. The females in his life cause problems but I do think he has good intentions. And he and Lyla had some serious chemistry, I feel that there is still more their story.
2. Relationships between the characters 
I love the different groups and their relationships. I was extremely happy when Street and Riggins reconciled near the end of the season because their friendship I feel is so important to the show. I'm always a fan of the bromance (hence my love of war films...but I digress) and I love the relationship of the team and how they grow as a unit throughout the course of the season.
1. The Taylor Family
I want to be a part of the Taylor family. The relationship between the mother and father is one of the sweetest I've seen. I love the power of the mother and the deference of father, they balance each other perfectly. The mother/daughter and father/daughter relationship are also so cute and pure. I love how they talk about things to work out problems and they seem to genuinely care about one another. Very TV but at the same time very real. And I hate that I keep saying real but for me that's what FNL is, a representation of real life.
And I can't wait for season 2!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Deathly Hallows: the review

I'm going to try and make this short since so far my posts seem slightly long winded.
I've seen Deathly Hallows twice now. The first time, I loved it. It was the midnight showing so it was pure adrenaline; I was just in awe of everything. The second time, I went with my sister who has not read any of the books. So if I were to have reviewed this movie after each viewing, they would be very different.
I will say that I liked the movie. The acting was better then ever and like everyone else I was surprised by the acting chops of Rupert Grint. It was weird seeing the characters so old (D. Rad has 5 o'clock shadow at one point). And the cinematography was amazing. The scene when they finally leave the forest and head to the open field where you are temporarily blinded by blue and green literally made me gasp out loud. The locations were stunning and I really tip my hat to Mr. Eduardo Serra.
However, as my sister said, "nothing really happened" in this movie. She asked me if Harry & co. were planning on searching the entire globe for the hocruxes and if they thought they might just find one by chance. This movie is not for the causal fan. You have to be a die hard or at least book reader to really get it. And yes, on the second go round, I did realize how slow it was. There is so much to put into these last two movies, so much to wrap up, and so much time was wasted traveling around the (beautiful) English countryside.
You would think with two movies there would be more explaining my my sister still had many questions for the car ride home (such as: Who is that woman that met them in the graveyard? Who was the young boy from the window? Why did it take the entire movie to find and destroy only one hocrux? All very valid questions I might add).
But despite these issues brought up by my non Potter reading companion, I really did like the movie. As a movie alone I thought it had good elements that made it a good film, not solely a good Harry Potter film.
 The music (not done by John Williams, which at first worried me) was superb. I especially loved the song that Harry & Hermione danced to in the tent (which was a nice scene in my opinion, it added lightness and showed the strength of their friendship. Plus, you can tell they had a blast filming it). Check out the song here
I'm so torn because I really did love it the first time. And I'll admit I cried both times during beginning and end. The beginning because mostly I realized for the first time that "wow, its finally over" and the end for the now widely known Dobby death scene.
I will say one of my favorite parts was the story of the three brothers. The animation was perfection; I absolutely loved the dark/ macabre style it looked like something straight from a Burton film. I literally fan girlishly gahhed during that part of the movie (and was teased for it later).
I also loved 7 Potters scene & the Ministry scene; they were supremely funny. I loved the actors portraying each other which must have been as much fun to film as it was to watch.
One of the most powerful scenes occurred at Grimmauld Place where Hermione remarks "we're all alone" as the screen fades to black. It really represented the tone of the movie and the books and just how much has changed since the beginning of the series.
I could go on for days about the Godric's Hallow scene (liked for the most part), the Voldemort getting the elder wand scene (ehh), new character such as Xeno (loved him!), etc. but I will refrain or else this post will reach from here to Hogwarts.
I'm still so conflicted because I really do see both sides: the die heart love for the purity and emotional impact and the non fan side of  lack of action so an overall consensus cannot be reached. All I know is, it set up the anticipation for Part 2 and in a big way. 
I don't know why I thought this would be a short post, with Harry it never is. Better luck next time I guess.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Can Glee Recover from their "Thriller"?

Don't get me wrong-I'm a huge Gleek. But for some reason, season 2 has been rubbing me the wrong way. I think its because season 1 was Glee's "Thriller" (or St. Pepper, or whatever). Nothing can top it. It was such a surprise and such a success that no one knew what to do with themselves. Hence, we have found ourselves in shaking territory. The question is: how do you top "Thriller"? The answer: you don't. (Or MJ couldn't-RIP, the Beatles however are a different story...)
So here (in no particular order) are my problems with season 2:
1. Too much Shue.
I love Mathew Morrison. Love him. But this season Mr. Shue is getting on my nerves. His whining about "finding himself" and trying to be cool is obnoxious. Stop taking off your shirt (which I actually don't mind that much) and actually do something to help these kids. Also, if you need to stop singing. I know glee club was cool when you did it in high school blah blah blah, but really, its time to stop. You are an adult. It is not appropriate when you dance with your kids.
2. Too Many Guest Stars, Not Enough Time
There are so many people in the cast of Glee already that we hardly know about (Mike Chang anyone?) Then they add the guest stars. This years list has been quite impressive so far and I'm really loving the selection but I feel that there are just sooooo many. Where has John Stamos been? And is Gwyneth Paltrow now going to be another reoccurring (but actually only sometimes occurring) guest star? And they're going to throw Katie Holmes somewhere into this mix? Not to mention the rumors that all of last years guest stars will be returning? Geez, that's a lot of people for a show that only lasts 40 minutes (don't even get me started on commercials)
However, let me say on a random postive tangent how much I love Darren Criss. He along with Chris Colfer has saved the 2nd season for me. And this is not just a Glee crush. I'm a huge Criss fan, I've followed his youtube career and loved him before it was cool. He will always be Harry Freaking Potter to me. (If you don't get that reference please head to this link and watch "A Very Potter Musical" (yes you heard or read me right) But he is great and so was "Teenage Dream" so for that I do tip my (imaginary) hat to Glee.
But back to complaining...
3. One Dimentional Characters
Yes, I know this is a TV show. But I would like some growth. I feel like week after week the glee clubbers learn the same message of acceptance and team work. I want more. I would like to see more growth especially in Rachel (who is weirdly invisible this season and then when shown utterly annoying) and Mercedes who we never get to know much about. This episode especially ("The Substitute") was annoying because it morphed her usual girl power-ey self into a mope complaining about fried potatoes. Not to mention there are still people like Tina, Mike Chang, Sam, Brittany, and Santana who we know little to nothing about. I just like the main cast so much I want to get to know them all as I know say Kurt or Finn.
4. What do they feed those McKinley kids?
Just putting it out there that yes, this is a show but the characters all pick up the songs/dances miraculously fast. And they never practice the songs they are going to do for nationals. Ever. I would just like to see them struggle once and a while. And actually practice/ pretend for a moment that they are a real glee club. I think (as a non-music person) it would be cool to see how a piece is worked on and the different parts/harmonies/etc that go into making it sound so amazing. One episode is all I ask for.
But enough complaining. The show is what it is and I will watch regardless because its still good and the music is still superb. And it has been improving steadily. So I will wait. And while I don't think it can ever reach first season status, maybe one day it will return to the former place of love it once held in my heart.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Note from the Editor & American Idiot

Let me just start out with saying that while yes I am starting a blog, the frequency of the postings will be erratic at best. If you want more of me, check out my twitter (check the links on the side of the page). This is just in case I run out of characters or if I have something really good to say. Its just a way for me to discuss all the random bits of info that pop into my head as if people care and as if people are reading, neither of which are things I care about. I just want to write about what I think.
So I figured my first post should be about American Idiot which I saw yesterday. It was amazing.  Very Rent and Spring Awakening-ey. The sets & dialogue were minimal but it didn't matter, what mattered was the music and the emotions that were evoked. The story was slightly confusing to follow since occasionally it was hard to understand the music but for the most part I got it.
The ultimate for me was finally seeing a Broadway Show with (most) of the original cast. John Gallagher Jr. has been one of my Broadway crushes since I missed him in Spring Awakening. I did however catch him on The Battery's Down which is the ultimate Broadway geek out youtube show that should be watched by anyone who likes theater even in small doses. (check it out!) But it was exciting hearing the people live that I had listened to on the CD.
And the music is amazing. Suffice to say I have not listened to anything but the soundtrack and the original Green Day album for the last few days. And I am not a Green Day fan in any way, shape, or form. I actually used to kind of hate them. The musical gave me a new appreciation for their lyric writing and music. I have a new found appreciation for the band.  My favorite songs were "American Idiot" (of course), "Are We the Waiting," "Give Me Novocaine" (with its awesome war/ explosions scene), and "The Last of the American Girls/ She's a Rebel" (actually it would be easier for me to say the songs I didn't like but I really liked all of them, the only ones I'm unsure about are "Holiday" and "Letterbomb.") The only thing is that I think Gallagher sometimes sounds like Billy Joe Armstrong, which is not a bad thing, it just gets slightly confusing because the 2 CDs (or I guess 3) all sound really similar.
The actors were all amazing as they always are on Broadway. I'm not going  to through naming them all and saying what I liked about each of them but I super liked Johnny, Tunny (who I met and was super nice & cute!), Will, & St. Jimmy (who was a total badass!) and the guy who sang "Favorite Son" which was an awesome song.
Overall, it was a great day and a great play (which yes, I know rhymes.) 
I think that was a successful first post...