Monday, February 28, 2011

Incredibly Useful Information


I think music makes most things more enjoyable so check out this new song while you read my blog! Just press play, it won't open up a new window. "Devils" is a new song by the band Say Hi.


If you're headed to the theaters this week I suggest checking out Cedar Rapids. Comedies are said to attract the most consumers to the theaters these days, and I usually won't pay to see a flick that's going to make me scared, sad, or hopeless, so I would agree with this statement. If there was a comedy as good as Cedar Rapids out every weekend, I would definitely frequent the theaters more. John C. Reilly makes the film worth watching. Check out the trailer here.


Party Down was a half hour comedy that premiered on Starz March 20th 2009. The show was canceled after two seasons, but the best shows always are so don't let that stop you from watching. Produced by my favorite, Paul Rudd, and many others, Party Down is about a Los Angeles Catering company full of misfit workers, actors, and writers who didn't make it in Hollywood. The show documents the crew as they provide less than average service at a new event every episode. The show stars Martin Starr (who I very much adore), Lizzy Caplan, Jane Lynch, and Adam Scott. Watch the Party Down trailer here.


If lately the sites you used to go to -catch up on a TV show you normally follow or a movie you missed in theaters- aren't working or now want you to pay to watch, you should check out I've used this site after coming to find surf the channel and Hulu have started charging their viewers and want you to download a bunch of plug-ins to watch anything. This site offers links to each show after you've selected the episode using Loombo, which is a safe and free uploading file service. It's pretty self explanatory once you're on the site.


You could change your own oil or you could go to the Mobile Gas Station located at 17661 Ventura Blvd Encino, CA (818) 788-3626 where they change your oil, hand wash your car, and detail & vacuum the inside of your car all for $28.00. You should change your oil every 3,000-5,000 miles. If you don't live in LA, I would suggest going to your local Wal-Mart!


If all this reading has made you incredibly hungry you should check out my new cooking blog:


A lot of my friends who graduated after me have been asking me for help concerning their student loans. As mentioned in my last blog, you can easily consolidate your loans here, however I failed to mention if you have private school loans they may not be able to help you and in the case of have private loans you should consolidate your loans here.

Before you consolidate though, you can always put your loans into forbearance so you do not have to pay on them right away. I would suggest putting your loans into forbearance for as long as you can so you have time to save money for when you must begin paying on them. Finding a well-paying job right out of college isn't likely for anyone and to qualify for forbearance you can claim a temporary hardship, unemployment, or part time job. It's also important to know that after the forbearance is over you will NOT have a lump sum of accumulating money to pay, instead the bills begin generating after the forbearance is over.

Consolidation does take 30-90 days though, so you should begin this process 1-3 months before your forbearance is over. There are many consolidation plans to choose from including a new income-base plan that fluctuates according to your salary, but does not go over the general planned amount per month. These plans tend to stretch 20-30 years, however you will not be paying on theses loans for the rest of you life. After the 20-30 years, whichever time period you chose, the rest of what you owe is forgiven.


Thanks for checking out my blog!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Everything else!

Enough about movies what about everything else?

    I doubt you're getting any useful information out of reading about what I think of character driven films or that awesome comedy I reviewed, Adventureland soooooo......Obviously I've taken a trip back in time with my latest blog posts, because I'm busy with everything else! Busy with more important things such as finding affordable insurance, which you can do here (I pay $140.00/month total and that includes dental insurance. My deductible is only $900, which for the state of CA is really good. I chose Blue Shield of California as my health care provider and Dr. Maurice Haber in Valley Village, CA  (818) 766-5231 -gets me in the day I call!)
     I've also been busy job hunting as I still have not found that dream job I thought a college diploma would get me. Which reminds me, I recently consolidated my school loans, and you can do the same by clicking here! Some good sites for jobs: & Also, if you're looking for work in the LA area and would like to receive my job list blasts email me at:
    And oh yeah I started an awesome cooking blog, which you can check out here: ...And use it to cook that someone special something tasty for Valentine's Day <3
    And I'm still playing with my Christmas Gifts! I'm learning how to play my new guitar, listening to vinyls on my "NEW" record player, and I just finished watching Twin Peaks -which i highly recommend watching.

   Twin Peaks was a television series Created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, which premiered April 8th, 1990 on ABC. Those of you from small towns especially would enjoy this series. It's about a girl everyone knew and loved in a small town being murdered and the effects her death has on the entire town. The investigation is led by FBI special agent Dale Cooper, and the audience follows Dale around as he discovers the many secrets that inhabit this small town. I recommend buying this series online, at a Borders Book Store, or order it off Netflix.

    As if this blog entry wasn't random enough, here's an awesome song I've been listening to on repeat! 

Thelma and Louise

    I thoroughly enjoyed this 1988 chase action comedy by Callie Khouri. Two women who are unsatisfied with their lives set out for an adventure that will change their lives more than they ever could imagine. A housewife's dream come true. 
    Thelma and Louise, are unhappy with their day-to-day lives and decide to get away and go on a two-day trip to a cabin in the mountains. On the way, Thelma gets hungry and the two are encouraged to stop at a Bar & Restaurant for dinner. Thelma meets a real charmer and the two dance the night away cheek to cheek. Thelma gets sick and the man accompanies her outside. He becomes too friendly with Thelma as the situation escalates quickly into him attempting to rape her. Louise stops the man and holds him at gunpoint. The girls begin to leave, but when the man continues to utter degrading words showing he didn’t learn his lesson, Louise pulls the trigger. Never being in this situation before, the girls jump in their convertible and speed away. The women continue to run from authorities and move from location to location. Louise tells Thelma she’s off to Mexico because she has no reason to go back since her boyfriend doesn’t love her. Thelma attempts to phone home to her husband, but when he takes a fatherly role of control, Thelma finally tells him to fuck off. 

From there, the two meet a very attractive hitchhiker named Simon, who Thelma falls for and has the night of her life with. Other than the best sex ever, Simon also shares with Thelma his techniques of robbery, which prove to be useful to Thelma later on. Louise boyfriend, Jimmy, shows up with the money he was supposed to just wire to her. After a romantic night of engagement, marriage, and consummation Jimmy leaves promising to love her no matter what happens. Thelma and Louise are back to their change purses after realizing Simon has stolen the money Jimmy brought. Thelma then uses Simon’s skills to rob a convenient store so Louise doesn’t have to sell her ring. Thelma and Louise continue to outsmart the police and teach ignorant men who are woman users a lesson. The two almost completely switch characters and become true criminals along the way. After a final run from the police, there’s no going back now and the two decide to...I can't ruin the best movie ending of all time -read the screenplay or WATCH THE MOVIE!!
    The plot was highly original and significantly different from other adventure films. Many popular themes were addressed such as women’s rights, but the overall plot of two harmless women becoming criminals has never been explored in this manner. This plot was successfully interesting. Watching these two characters roll with the snowball effect never seized to entertain. I do believe given the right circumstances and time, anyone is capable of anything. These characters were driven to their questionable actions. I reasoned with them the whole way. This plot is plausible, not necessarily likely, but given the characters circumstances it is believable. The premise from which the conclusion is drawn from works for me, however some may feel the two needed to eventually be caught and return home. I was glad they were never caught and in the end, they found the only possible solution to remain free and wild.

    The concept of two characters that are finally going to seek a fulfilling life and the way they go about it, completely transforming their identities, was sincerely original and appealing to any audience. The housewife, whose life is totally controlled by her husband, takes off with out permission and has the time of her life. When Thelma’s husband demands she returns home instantly, she finally tells him to fuck off. After finally telling off her husband, Thelma is free from him and runs wild. This script demonstrates how hell is other people. People make people crazy. After years of suppression, Thelma is out of her cage. Louise is a real man hater, but she falls in love and shows she actually has a sensitive side. Thelma has the best sex of her life with a stranger, and Louise shoots one. These small town girls become big time criminals. The characters make this movie. Unsatisfied best friends step out of their comfort zones for a break from their daily scene, but never return. The fact that these two women are two of the most unlikely people to become criminals only furthers the interest of the reader/viewer. Even hot stuff Darryl, is taken off his pedestal and put in his place. The concept holds interest and the characters only become more intriguing and developed as the script progresses.    

    The dialogue was humorous and not over done. I enjoyed reading each character’s dialogue and their words fit well with their character persona. I love when Simon tells Darryl he liked his wife. This comment only parades Thelma’s actions and recent sense of self-discovery. Also, the script for robbing the bank was especially entertaining. Even the corny wedding vows read well and entertained. The action and scene description was highly detailed and painted a clear picture for the reader. The descriptions were unique and kept the interest of the reader. The description of the bar in the beginning, and when Louise is waiting in the line for the bathroom, are so well written I can still envision these specific scenes in my head. Harlan suffocating Thelma’s personal space and then getting his brains blown out all over some nice car, is just one more out of the many impressive scenes described in this well developed script. The cinematographer has it easy with this script. The writer just lays everything out for the reader. The actions and scenes were so meticulously described the reader could in fact paint the scene onto film. However, I do not believe the write went overboard; instead she just clarified the situations. The writing flowed well and kept pace, as this was a chase story. The ending scene was a masterpiece as it speaks volumes and highlights the entire meaning and intent of the script and its characters.
    This screenplay is so interesting because of its unlikely criminals. The characters were amusing and exciting people to follow around. Witnessing their thought process and tagging along to see the effects of their decisions made their onscreen/on-page transformations all the more enjoyable. The ending might catch some people off guard as it was quite edgy, but nonetheless the perfect ending in my opinion. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

“Self-Imposed Loneliness, Glorified Bloodshed, and a Psychotic Fantasy”

   When the Wizard’s only advice is to “Go out, get laid, get drunk, cause we’re all fucked anyway,” that’s when we know for sure we aren’t in Kansas anymore.

    Taxi Driver is a Martin Scorsese film where a despicable character becomes the hero. The film is set in the streets of urban New York. The screenwriter, Paul Schrader, says he used New York because the city represents everything forbidden and crazy, but the irony is that it is the loneliness place. “You can only do real true loneliness in a crowded atmosphere,” Schrader explains. And Taxi Driver is a story about male drifting loneliness or more specifically self-imposed loneliness.
    Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro) is the confused protagonist in search for his identity and place in this world he considers hell. He’s referred to as the doughboy who will do anything for a dollar. Travis is a taxi driver who spends most nights alone, driving around in the darkness in search of an identity. However, he has a syndrome of behavior that reinforces contradictory impulses.  The viewer witnesses this as the film progresses; Travis engages in porn and puritism at the same time and often says “I gotta get healthy,” but then proceeds to ingest numerous, unidentified pills. Travis does all these things to make sure he’ll never get where he’s going. He reinforces his own doomed condition by preventing himself from achieving his goals.

     Cause-effect logic and narrative parallelism generate a narrative, which projects its action through psychologically defined, and goal-oriented characters, however, Travis is a character who does not operate in a parallel pattern. Cause and effect events in Taxi Driver are limited as the narrative is much more intransitive and loose. The world Travis lives in is chaotic and absurd at night, but seemingly harmless during the daylight hours. The government is frequently spoken of, but unfortunately not in control. The streets are dangerous, dirty, and full of crime. Palantine is the last name of the man running for office, but it is not coincidental that the names literal meaning is an old culture that has been destroyed. The world presented in Taxi Driver is not to be desired. Travis describes everyone around him as “cold and distance like the union, especially the women.” Lots of red color and red lighting is used in the film and can be seen in nearly every shot. At one point in the film, Travis tells Betsy (Cybell Shepherd), “You’re in hell and you’re going to die in hell like the rest of them!” This quote may be explaining the excessive use of red coloring in the film, as the color red has been closely associated with hell.
    Cinematic representation, mise-en-scene, cinematography, and sound are devices in which specifically function in a way that ultimately advances the narrative.  Taxi Driver uses these things and formal experimentation to not only keep the film advancing, but also to raise questions and give freedom to thought. This film allows its audience to decide for themselves what it is they are seeing and its meaning.

    Many American values and traditions are challenged in Taxi Driver. Prostitution and rape is presented as a way of everyday life. Iris (Jodie Foster) is only twelve years old, but the only one questioning the morality of the situation is Travis. He sees Iris as a classic flower in a dirty place much like her name implies. He sees her trying to get away and escape from this world and he identifies with that need to escape. Innocence often clashes with sin. Sexuality and age appropriateness is brought into question not only with Iris, but also when a young black boy tries to pay a whore to sleep with him.
    Travis is very neutral about everything -politics, music, porn, and film. He didn’t know seeing a porn film was wrong until Betsy will no longer see him because he took her to see Sometime Sweet Susan. He distances himself from politics and avoids choosing a side. The film doesn’t even mention what party candidate Palantine is.  Obsession is also brought into question when Travis refuses to leave Betsy alone. He never questions whether his actions are right or wrong, he just goes about life without direction of any kind. Classical perceptions of good and evil are both challenged and destroyed.
    Racism is called into question in numerous scenes. The man in the backseat of Travis’ cab, explains that his wife is cheating on him with a “nigger” and Travis has just driven him to the location where he will commit murder as his wife has committed adultery. Racism toward white men is also seen when Travis finds himself in the wrong part of town and African Americans egg his car. Travis shows signs of latent racism when he stares at African Americans, but like most things he doesn’t pick sides. Women in this film are disrespected and seen only for sexual pleasure, often being referred to as nothing other than pussy. Homosexuality is mentioned briefly in the coffee shop, but portrayed in a negative light when Wizard (Peter Boyle) talks about two men being fags. The pursuit of happiness is only mentioned as being something of the past.

    Depressed Travis confronts his old and wise friend, Wizard. Travis tells Wizard he has bad thoughts and doesn’t know what to do. He is worried and conflicted unsure of what’s right and wrong. At this point, Travis is on the verge of going psychotic. Wizard’s only advice is to “go out, get laid, and get drunk, cause we’re all fucked anyway.” Travis hates the “Taxi Life” of others but can’t sleep because of his sexual frustration.
    The characters of the classical narrative have clear-cut traits and objectives, but Travis’ character is more like those found in art cinema –characters that lack defined desires and goals and who’s choices are vague or nonexistent. Travis is similar to an art-film character, sliding passively from one situation to another.  He says, “One of these days I’m going to get organized,” but instead he slips into a psychotic state after being fed up with the disgusting world he lives in. “Bars, cars, sidewalks, stores everywhere there’s no escape,” Travis quotes Thomas Wolfe, “I’m God’s lonely man.”
    Travis decides to take action and prepare for war. He buys an entire case of guns from a traveling salesman and begins his training. He begins thinking he is the only solution this world has because, “All the kings men cannot put it back together again.” He takes on another identity when the secret service man asks for his name and address. He’s loosing control and easily breaks his television. He then writes home to his parents, telling them he’s part of the secret service and in a relationship with Betsy. If it’s not already obvious he’s lost his mind he goes on talking to himself, “Listen you fuckers, you screw heads. Here’s a man who would not take it anymore, a man who stood up against the scum, the cunts, the dogs, the filth, the shit. Here is someone who stood up. Here is… your dead.”

   Travis’ insanity comes in handy when a stick-up occurs in the store he is present in. Travis shoots the black man right in the face. He could have just injured him, but killed him instead. Was it because the thief was black that Travis shot him or did his latent racism have nothing to do with the justice he was serving? The film raises many questions to the audience and never clearly picks a side. Travis tries to help Iris and tells her to go back home, but she refuses. He is trying to cleanup this world he lives in. He tells Iris he wants to give her the money to go to the commune, because he’s got nothing better to do with his money. Iris wants him to come along, but he has assassination plans that are not real clear.
    Travis thinks he has to do this for the government, and that he is finally seeing life clearly.  He says he never had a choice, but only that this was his destiny. His Mohawk symbolizes his mental deterioration and insanity. However, he surprisingly hesitates and doesn’t kill Charles Palantine.  Instead, Travis rushes off to where Iris is kept. He kills Iris’ pimp, Mathew (Harvey Keitel), and continues this glorified bloodshed till he finds Iris. Travis tries to kill himself, but there are no bullets left. As the cops arrive, it appears that Travis takes his last breath and his eyes roll to the back of his head.
    The overhead angle of the bloodshed is reflexive as it points out that it is a film. Overhead angles like this one is unnatural to the human eye and calls attention to the film’s aesthetics. The point of view is almost always from Travis’s view, but it is very distant because the point of modernist films was distancing. Distancing the audience from the characters helped to foreground issues. Giving the audience that distance from the character allows them to emotionally identify with whomever they want and see all viewpoints instead of choosing a side and being close-minded.
    At one point, the point of view switches completely to that of Betsy’s POV. Travis is looking in his rear view mirror back at Betsy, and suddenly the camera moves to the backseat taking Betsy’s position and looking at Travis in the mirror. This shot may suggest that perhaps it is now Betsy that has a small obsession with Travis after reading about his heroism in all the newspapers. The camera often moves in other directions rather than following Travis. Sometimes Travis went one way and the camera went another way like when he’s talking on the phone and the camera moves pass him and focuses down an empty hallway.  Scorsese chose to experiment with the mise-en-scene and editing as he used a lot of slow motion shots to represent a documentary of Travis’ mind. When the audience sees this slow motion they realize this is happening in the character’s mind. The last montage of city shots over lapping each other also points out once again that what the audience is experiencing is in fact a film. This style requires the audience to be observant and watch the film aggressively; otherwise the material may appear quite confusing.
    Overall, the narrative was very structured, but the events of the story appeared free and loose at the same time. Contradictions were in every scene. Social and moral values were questioned through the formal aspects of cinema. Many other outside texts were referenced including Thomas Wolfe’ s “God’s Lonely Man,” Kris Kristofferson “The Pilgrim, Chapter 33,” Goodwin’s “Return to Greatness.” One of the best hidden references was the “Olive it Up,” advertisement that was written on the bus behind them when they were in the coffee shop. The viewer did not have to go outside of the film to understand the film, but knowing the outside references mentioned did help in clarification.
     The film has an ambiguous ending as most modernist films. It’s a happy ending if the audience believes Iris is happy back in Pittsburgh as her family suggests. Perhaps this horrible experience successfully changed her ways as Travis had hoped. Maybe the cops really have been inspired by Travis’ actions against the gangsters and will now take control of the city. Even Travis’ love life looks promising when Betsy slides in Travis’ cab for a ride home. Travis’ psychotic fantasy did end in glorified bloodshed, but perhaps he didn’t wake up from that coma and his ride home with Betsy was simply taking place in his dreamlike state. Maybe Iris will return to the streets and prostitution. To some extent, the audience can choose their own ending, but the final shot of the film is without ambiguity as Travis finally takes Betsy’s advice and looks himself in the eyes through his rearview mirror -finally seeing the real, the truth, himself.