Monday, March 29, 2010

Reviewing A Review

Roaming through IMDB, my BFF stumbled into this wonderful film review - she was looking for Tim Burton movies, and unfortunately, this is what she found! Or... fortunately?! I mean, we couldn't have gone on with our lives not knowing about this. The movie itself is worthy of attention - but the review... it was written by "animaging", from The United States - whom, I'm guessing, was in the habit of skipping a whooole lotta English classes!.He lacks grammar, spelling, punctuation and... story-telling skills in general. But he's a very obliging person: he explains why the scenes are funny or the actors "work so well together". He explains everything - except for the movie itself. And his parenthesis, which he uses loosely. Hence, I saw it as my duty to bring this to my faithful 19 readers. I realize it's a huge post, but I didn't see what more I could write off, really. I stuck only to the essential - believe you me! So read this if you've got some good 20 minutes to spare. But you won't regret it: this movie involves surfers, cat fight (I mean, between women. Not real cats, you know), misterious Businessmen, a GURU, zombies and a flying head. Yeah. A flying head. A famous flying head. (Cue drum roll).
animaging, a tip: when a foreigner criticizes your English - you, who seems to be American... man, that's just rock bottom for ya. 
On to the review of the movie Luau.
(animaging's review are in bold and italic, with my comments right below.) 

What makes a "cult classic" is that to the average public nobody would know the actors in this movie!
Really? That's what makes a "cult classic"??

But, what the public doesn't know is that these actors do know each other and it plays out well here. Bob, beach comer, (Mike Gabriel), you made this film a hit you were well cast and really great! Especially, (Sue Kroyer) bouncing around during the titles, some really old, 60's worn film out of focus stuff.
Well I'm guessing, by the name LUAU, that it all takes place on a beach - hence, I assume all the characters are beach comers, not only Bob. But hey, I might be out on a limb here, of course! And why's Sue Kroyer's name in parenthesis?! And why was she "bouncing around during the titles"?? How disturbing... 

Really the main story point hovers on the beach GURU guy "Kahuna", (Phil Young), who at the Luau Party becomes dis drought [sic] over the same "Luau" parties all the time and wants to make a big change for himself. "Man! It's just one big gigantic brain fry!" Kahuna,(Phil) proclaims. He now declares that he will be known as "Vladamir [sic] Moon face Junior"! It is an epiphany for him!
As I read this sentence, I could hear a thousand English teachers cringing all over the world... first of all, as one reads on, one realizes that this Kahuna guy is so not the main story point... In fact, the whole story seems pointless... and animaging also fails to explain why Kahuna is a GURU. And... why he decides to be called "Vladamir Moon face Junior". (I think, I THINK, he was going for Vladimir, but never mind that, so many things to mention, this one is a lesser evil...). Talk about random, hu? Well, since there's a "junior" in the end of the name, the only possible logical conclusion is that this is his father's name as well.  Not that logical conclusions apply here. Icing on the cake: that's his epiphany. Virgina Woolf is certainly shedding a proud tear somewhere...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Watching My Brother Get Mugged...

(With this one, I officially end the "Mugging Stories Cycle"...)

Apparently, my good luck does not extend itself to those around me... but the danger magnet that I seem to be continues working nonetheless...

2008. My brother I. had gone downtown to see his father, and I met him there afterwards; we were headed for this huge bookstore we like. But a problem soon arose: he rarely goes downtown, and didn't remember where the bookstore was; I, on the other hand, am always downtown, but have been cursed - like most of my gender - with the utmost lack of sense of direction.
Hence, there we were, completely lost and trying not to look it. But I gotta do justice to my brother: he always looks cool - blazé, really. As if he had not a care in the entire world.
It was high noon, the main avenue was positively crawling with people, and we stoped at a corner to try and come up with a plan. As Julia Roberts would say: big mistake. Huge.
Now: my brother is tall and handsome, but almost as skinny as myself; his glasses only enhance his extremely non-threatening vibe; top it off with my being short, skinny and looking a little dumb, and we were as far from being an intimidating pair as possible.
An enormous guy, much bigger than the two of us together, got really close to us before we'd even noticed and said to I., in this really low voice:
"You're gonna act like you know me and shake my hand." And out loud:
"Hey man, 'sup?!"
I stared, dumbfounded; I., however, thinks quicker than I do. He shook the hand the mugger had offered him, warmly:
"Hey man, long time no see!"
"I know! Hey, cool watch!"
The watch my brother's father had brought him from Italy.
Low voice again: "Now you're gonna take it off your arm and give it to me."
My brother did not hesitate, and not losing his "oh, I'm so glad we ran into each other!" look for a second, he took off the watch and gave it to the mugger, coolly:
"Nice, huh? Take a look!"
"Yeah, lemme see..."
The mugger examined the watch very naturally, with an indifferent appreciative look; all around us, people passing by, unaware. Then, putting the watch in his own pocket, said in his low voice:
"Now hug me and say goodbye."
I., hugging him: "Listen man, we gotta go now - but hey, call me alright? We gotta hang out sometime!"
The mugger then assured him he would, smiled at me, as one might smile at a friend's little sister whom they don't actually know very well, and left. Walking in the calmest of paces.

When we finally lost sight of the guy, my brother turned to me, looking extremely amused, and asked:
"What the hell just happened here?"
I ventured a smile, a little amused myself.
"Well... he took your Italian watch, that's what happened!"
He smiled back, put his arm around me and said casually, while we walked away:
"Well, it's just a watch. Besides sis, he didn't take it; he earned it! Fuck, that was awesome! Hats off to him, he can have my watch alright!"

Monday, March 22, 2010

(Not) Being Mugged III

Third time around: 2009

This time I think it was much more stupid than anything else... but like I always say: no pain, no gain. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And all the other clichés of the sort.
Well, I was right across from my work at night, waiting for the bus after a long long day of endless teaching. The bus stop is right in front of this huge supermarket, which was still open and crowded at 10pm. The bus stop itself was full of people, but I remained a little far from them - like, 3 meters away. Holding my backpack, looking tired and listening to music in my iPod (safely in my pocket).
This guy, a little bit taller than me, stood right in front of me looking pissed, and said something to me. Since I was listening to music, I only saw his jaw moving up and down; not that it mattered, I knew perfectly well the message he was trying to convey, by the look on his face! Unmistakable, really.
Nonetheless, I pretended not to get what he wanted, and not to be worried about it. It was real fast thinking, and I've always prided myself on having quick reflexes (I'm just not sure they're the right ones all the time...). Looking nonchalant, I took off the headphones, looked at him cooly and asked:
"I beg your pardon?"
"Gimme your mobile."
What IS UP with these people and my mobile anyway?! Let it go!
I had a better cell phone then; it still didn't have bluetooth nor camera, but it was cuter, and it didn't fall apart every time you held it.
I wondered why he wanted my cell phone, since I was clearly in the possession of some kind of mp3 player. But then it hit me: he obviously thought I had one of those fancy mobiles, that play music, take pics, make coffee and fry hamburgers. He thought I was listening to music on my mobile. The minute I handed him my really not-at-all-fancy cell, he'd realize I had something else that played music, and would demand it too.
He could even take my humble cell - but NOT my iPod nano!
I looked at him: not much taller than me, really thin and shirtless. And he either had no gun or he wasn't happy to see me. He was obviously trying to rob me using only the intimidation factor: "Yeah, okay, she's a skinny tiny little girl, all alone and looking meek. I'll intimidate her and get her money or whatever!".
Buddy, sorry to break it to you, but I really think I could take you!
The guy was like 5 cm taller than me! I'm a 5'1''; if I were intimidated by taller people, I'd never leave home. Besides, my quick reckless thinking told me there was nothing that this undersized man could do to me right next to a whole bunch of people and an open crowded supermarket.
All of that crossed my mind in a sec. So I immediately turned to him:
"Sure. Where's your gun?"
He had not seen that one coming.
"Where. Is. Your gun?"
He looked even more pissed. But his quick thinking told him the same thing mine had: people all around. And also: "She's got a point, you know. You have NO gun."
He stared at me, and I stared back - hey, I'm great at this game. I'm never the first one to look away.
He gave up after 5 seconds, and walked away, still glancing back at me sometimes.
Big-eyed, I got closer to the other people at the bus stop - almost sitting on their laps, really, while my quick thinking yelled at me: "You're so goddamn stupid, what the hell's your problem?!"
"Hey!" I answered "YOU told me to do that!"
It sighed. "We need some serious help. We gotta get over this Rin Tin Tin complex."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Looking For A Book (Whilst Being Outrageously Adorable)

This was me yesterday, before I finally stumbled into my copy of Dumas' The Vicomte of Bragelonne.
Except for the fact that not even I can look that ridiculously cute.


Now that's my kinda cat!
Pics like that make me feel like Elmira, from Tiny Toons...
Have a nice weeked y'all! (Why am I being Texan?...)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Watching The Soap

I never thought much about soap operas in general; they're a tradition here. At night, people come back from work, have dinner and turn on the telly to watch the news and then the 9 o'clock soap. You just do it. Like Nike. My family had always gravitated around the soap (except for my dad, with his books and classical music), so I gravitated with them.
At 19, I went to live on my own. And in my bedroom, a new tv set. But without my family gravitating around it, it just seemed to lose its meaning. Though I continued watching all the sitcoms, hospital series and rich teenagers' dramas available ("welcome to O.C., bitch!"), I neglected the soaps. And Big Brother too, thank you very much. I went to college, and I had no idea what people were talking about; I read gossip magazines headlines, and knew not a single one of those names. It felt sooooo good! And for 6 years, I paid attention only to my books.
One day, however, I came back home to find Roomie sitting on the couch, completely focused on whatever it was she was watching. I was surprised: she's the only one person I know who actually watches no tv whatsoever. I looked at her, big-eyed, and when she noticed me, she was positively beaming: "B., you gotta watch this! This is priceless!"
It was, of course, the 9 o'clock soap. I could not believe my eyes. I sat down next to her, gobsmacked.
But in 10 minutes I totally got her point: that was amazing!
The current 9 o'clock soap is "Viver a Vida": To Live Life. Poetic, huh? 
Our protagonist is Helen, a beautiful top model who gives up her career to marry Mark, a rich-30-years-older-than-her executive. She marries him for love, though  - she was already rich herself...  but one of Mark's daughters, Lucy (also a model, and the exact same age as her new stepmom), hates Helen, for... oh, god knows what reason. As if it really mattered! Helen's younger sister, Sandy, is in love with a drug dealer, and gives up the good easy life she leads at her mother's inn to live with her true love in the slums. Oh, love!...
Lucy's boyfriend is George, a serious young architect - who's got a non-evil twin brother, Mike, a bubbly happy-go-lucky kinda doctor. Mike's girlfriend, Renny, is a wannabe model who struggles with her drinking problem. Mike has simply become every girl's ideal husband around here, btw! You know, like Brandon Walsh from "Beverly Hills 90210" in the 90's. (Oh, the 90's!...)
Helen and Lucy go to Jordan for a fashion show. They meet Bruno, an extremely handsome Brazilian photographer; he and Lucy have a one night-stand (poor serious young architect George!), though he's really in love with Helen, who remains loyal to her wedding vows. 
The same, however, cannot be said about her husband Mark, who has a 2-day affair with Doris, this beautiful single mom who had once saved Helen's life.
Lucy has a terrible accident in Jordan, and ends up quadriplegic! They come back to Brazil, and bubbly Dr. Mike is now in charge of saving her from the fate of never walking again. The photographer Bruno comes back to Brazil as well, and we learn he is actually Mark's ilegitimate son! And he's in love with his stepmother! Oedipus would've been so proud!
Single mom Doris comes to Rio de Janeiro (where it all takes place, as in any 9 o'clock soap), pregnant, running away from her ex, who's trying to blackmail her! As soon as Mark sees her, they resume their affair; at the same time, Helen starts missing the modeling days, and plans to go back to working - but her chauvinist prejudiced husband won't hear of it. Their marriage starts to fall apart, while both Bruno and Doris hang around, just waiting.
Meanwhile, Lucy and Mike fall in love - but they have a dilemma to face: Mike's girlfriend is not only an alcoholic, but also Lucy's friend. And Lucy's boyfriend is Mike's brother! What to do, what to do?!
This week, everything I've been waiting for finally happened: Lucy and Mike finally kiss, after ending their relationships. To forget his heartbreak, George is now dating a prostitute! Helen's finally filed for divorce and has the courage to hug Bruno, while having this conversation:
Helen: Can you feel my heart?
Bruno: Yes. It's beating oh so fast!
Helen: It's anxious.
Bruno: Can you feel mine?
Helen: Yes, it's beating so fast too!
Wow. This is quality tv alright!
Other than that, everybody knows Helen's sister Sandy and her criminal lover will die, leaving their baby to be raised by our favorite prime-time top model! Eventually, Doris will walk out on Mark as well, and the jerkish womanizer executive will be not only all alone, but also completely bankrupt. Yes!
I watch it with Roomie everynight - it's our bonding time, since we rarely see each other during the day. And there's not a single scene we do not mock. 
But we have to admit: we love Mike. He beats every E.R., Grey's Anatomy and House doctor! Oh, Mike!... And we hate Helen, she annoys the crap out of us. She suffers too much. And then, there are all those people traveling short distances by helicopter, living in ridiculously big and fancy penthouses in front of the beach, and angry women throwing whisky glasses at mirrors.
How can anyone not love this amazingly complex and utterly down-to-earth plot?!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Remembering II

What would I say if she could hear me?

I wacthed Remember Me, starring cutie Robert Pattinson. I was extremely curious to see how he'd fare in a movie playing the role of a normal person, instead of vampire Edward Cullen or wizard Cedric Diggory. In fact, he did it quite well! I was duly impressed (I'm biased though, since I really like the guy). Thing is: when the movie ended, I was crying a freaking Amazon river in there.
While writing this, I worried that maybe I'd be spoiling the film for other people, by talking about my having cried - and I hate spoilers myself, so I'd feel awful. But honestly? The official poster for the movie is in grey, and the depressing background music that plays throughout the entire movie does not mislead anyone for long. Not saying the movie is predictable; I didn't think it was, but you know all the time some big shit is bound to happen. You can feel it in your bones. That didn't stop me from absolutely loving it, mind!
But I digress. Point is: Pattinson's character eventually asks himself what he'd say if a beloved one he'd lost long ago could hear him now. And I, too, wondered. (In all fairness, I gotta say I left the cinema in such a depressed mood, so hence this wondering). I wondered what I'd say to her if she could hear me. 
Well, it's not that she can't hear me: I can talk to her alright. She just won't have any recollection of my doing so 5 minutes later, rendering the whole process kinda pointless. Or not.
Cause according to Ghandi, quoted twice by Pattinson's character: 

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.

Is it really?

But I know what I'd say: I don't know if I forgive you, but I do wish I could've understood you better. Cause maybe then I would've loved you better.
But then again, what's the use in wondering?
Just watch the movie, it's freaking great.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

(Not) Being Mugged II

Continuing pretty Rml's adventures in this dangerous world...

Second time around: 2007.
I worked as a cashier at a bookstore back then, and I was responsible for locking it up at midnight. Since the store was quite far from my boardinghouse, it took me about 40 minutes to get home.
I got off the bus at 1am, exhausted and sleepy. And frankly, in a bad mood - as a cashier, you gotta take a whole lotta crap from customers, for things that are absolutely not your fault. Please, people: try to be always polite towards cashiers! They deserve to hear "good morning", "thank you" and "bye" like everybody else!
All of a sudden, I see a couple of little muggers crossing the street towards me. (Just a couple of meters from the spot of my first not-being-mugged story.)
I rolled my eyes and thought the F word. See, they were waaaay younger, shorter and skinnier than me. And they had no guns whatsoever. Not even a splinter of glass. They couldn't have been less intimidating.
The first one approached me, trying to sound impressive - as if he knew what he was doing:
"You, give us your money now!".
I was so not in the mood for that. I looked him straight in the eye and said:
"Honey, do you honestly think that someone coming back from work at 1am has actually got ANY money? You're kidding, right?"
He seemed at a loss for words, and then the other meager little thing decided it was his turn:
"Then give us your mobile!"
I thought about that for a second. But it was still the same old crappy mobile from the first story (yes, that little thing hanged in there for much longer than anyone had ever dared imagine). Conclusion: they'd take it, then throw it away; and none of us would have the goddamn cellphone.
"Listen, my phone's really really old. Trust me: you don't want it."
They looked at each other, and finally said:
"Ok ma'am, sorry! Bye...". And they, too, went away without taking anything from me.
The thing is: I HAD money. I had R$20 - not much: you can buy a no.1 and some extra nuggets at McDonald's with that; but for them it was probably more than enough. And you know what? I would've given it to them, willingly, had they only ASKED for it! Had they appealed to my good nature, they could've had the money in the blink of an eye, and go eat something. But because they'd tried to take it instead of asking for it, I decided they wouldn't have it - not without a fight, they wouldn't.
They went away empty-handed, while I resumed my way back home trying to conceal a self-satisfied smirk. And walking juuuust a little bit faster.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I finally watched Valentine's Day yesterday. I'm a softy, and I spent the whole movie making high-pitched sounds of  "awwwwwww"!!! It's an extremely awwww-able movie, and I loved every second of it! I found myself rooting for Ashton Kutcher's character (I usually hate everything he does, on principle, you know), hating Patrick Dempsey (NEVER thought I'd hate McDreamy one day!) and finding a creepingly serious kid the most endearing ever. Whenever I wasn't awwww-ing, I was smiling or laughing. Besides, the ice on the casting cake: one of my eternal crushes Topher Grace and I-love-her-and-wanna-be-just-like-her Anne Hathaway! And a great surprise awaited me with Julia Robert's last scene: I cried immediately and shamelessly. Happy "oh, isn't it adorable?!" tears, of course.
And one of the things that made me smile to the point of hurting my jaw was one of Shirley Mclane's lines; I tried to find the exact quote on the internet, but since it's a very recent movie, I couldn't find it. But it went something along these lines: "When you love someone, you love them as a whole, and not just the good parts. The bad parts too."
If you really do love something or someone - be it your significant other, a friend or family - there is no "despite". Only "because". You love everything that makes that person be what they are, and that includes what we have the bad habit of calling "flaws". There are no flaws - only traits. That doesn't mean, at all, that you should delude yourself and consider the other perfect; it means that you should try to see them as clearly as you can, and take them for who they are - and annoying habits, bad-temper, silences, angry words, and what-nots come with the package. Stop labeling one's traits as "qualities" or "flaws" and just accept them. At least, that's my philosophy. For me, that's love - and loyalty.

But then again, I'm in a romantic mood. I was on the subway on my way to the cinema yesterday, and this adorable old couple entered. He looked strong enough, but his wife was small and really fragile-looking, and he helped her take every single step. As it turns out, there was only one available seat, three seats away from me; she sat down, and he was left standing by her side. I did the only thing there was to be done: I stood up at once and offered him my seat.
Adorable Old Man [smiling kindly at me]: "Oh no child, thank you very much, but that won't be necessary"
Me: "Oh please, I insist!"
Adorable Old Man then smiled kindly once more, while stroking his wife's snowy hair in the most gentle manner: "Oh no. You see, I don't wanna be away from her". Adorable Fragile-Looking Old Woman looked at me, smiling just as sweetly.
Three seats. They didn't wanna be three seats away from each other.
Growing old like that? We should be so lucky.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

(Not) Being Mugged

Reading Rick's post about his awful experience, I remembered my own experienceS (yes, plural: 3, to be more precise)... of NOT being mugged! Actually, one of those times ended up being rather profitable for me!
First time around: 2006. I was coming back home from Lapa - the bohemian district of Rio. People go there mainly to drink, dance forró and play snooker. Since I love all of that, and can do it all rather well, I used to go there a lot. It was about 3 in the morning and, I have to admit, I was a little tipsy.
I got off the bus, and it was a 7 minute-walk from the bus stop to my place - back then, I lived at a boarding house, in another neighborhood. The whole area was immersed in darkness, the streetlights had gone out, and it was all a little creepy.
(By the BIG effing way: do you know why I was coming back home at such a late hour by bus, all by myself?!? Cause my then boyfriend, the jerk from my last post, said he wouldn't take me home. In his car. Taking me home from Lapa and then going back to his place wouldn't have been more than 15 minutes. Seriously.)
Anyway: as I was turning a corner, this HUGE guy appeared in front of me and blocked my way. I thought: "Shit." In Portuguese. When you wanna curse, there's nothing like your mother language! The guy proceeded then, very calmly, to demand my purse. I was already giving it to him before he'd even finished his sentece! Very self-collected, he opened up my purse and surveyed my wallet, casually - he found nothing there. I'd just spent my last R$2 taking the bus.
"Haven't you got any money?" he asked, almost politely.
"Well, I've got some change here..." I said, trying not to sound too scared. But he waved his hand dismissively, and said:
"Oh no, I don't want change. What about your mobile?"
I gave it to him, he inspected it: it was this little old thing, no bluetooth, no nothing, completely falling apart. It seemed to be hanging by a thread, and the fact that it still worked was truly a work of some charitable god. Without a word, he returned my mobile, my purse, searched for something in his pocket (and I was thinking "shit shit shit shit shit..." ad infinitum) and gave me a R$5 bill.
"Go home, kiddo". And went away.
The mugger GAVE ME MONEY!
He left me there, looking stupid - and I almost ran after him to say: "hey, c'mon, you gave me such a scare for nothing?! Now you HAVE to take at least my mobile!"
Almost. I'm not that stupid.
I got home with my heart pounding in my chest, thinking that I should def resume going back to church.
Oh, yeah: I did use the money. I took the bus to and from college the next day with it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Venting (or: Why Don't You Just Shove It Right Where The Sun Doesn't Shine?)

Women are utterly incomprehensible. Women date the biggest jackasses ever, for inexplicable reasons. And then, add'em on Facebook. 

Ok, from the top: the only thing I had to do this morning was teach my 7 o'clock class, and then come back home. Well, I woke up at 6 and went out in the cold rain (not that I mind the rain, I actually like it - but it's still kind of a nuisance, having to go to work in such a weather). I got there, punctually at 5 to 7.
No one showed up. 
I went back home literally fuming. And I immediately wrote my little story on my Facebook status. With cursing and all (well, by cursing I mean @#$%$#*&%$!$...).
A couple of friends expressed their sympathy towards my frustration. And then I saw someone else had commented on my status: this guy I'd dated eons ago (okay, 4 years ago, but, thank god, it feels much more than that! The guy's a complete jerk).
His comment: "Who told you to go and be just a teacher?..."
Now, I'm not sure if the translation does it justice... though I always write in English on my Facebook (for I have friends abroad), his comment was in Portuguese. And in our language, when we want to belittle something, we use the diminutive. And that's exactly what he did: he applied the diminutive suffix to the word "teacher". His comment was clearly deprecating. For him, apparently anyone can be an English teacher, it's easy like that.

Well: go. f***. yourself.

Even back when we were dating (and I didn't know any better), he was always making these kind of comments: "I've no idea how u can stand being just a teacher"; "Why are u wasting your time planning ur class? There's nothing to it!"; "Pfff, c'mon, anyone can do what you do!"; "I bet I could teach a class just as well as you do!"; "Any beggar can be an English teacher!"
Damn it! I studied for that! I had boring grammar classes after boring grammar classes at college! (We have to be fluent in English already when we get to college, so that we can learn how to teach it). Didactic classes; Latin, Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English classes - even a little German, for a better understanding of the history of the language; I read Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Dickens, Joyce, Wilde, Virgina Woolf, and a whole bunch of others in order to get a diploma enabling me to teach the goddamn subject! And where I work, I usually get the advanced students - because I'm that good a teacher. So don't, don't come to me with this crap, saying anyone can do what I do. 
I chose to be a teacher because I like it. And this profession is extremely important, how dare anyone diminish it like that? And if it weren't for English teachers, the jerk wouldn't even have been able to read and understand my status. (I've blocked him on my Facebook already, btw).
Jackass. Hope some angry god ties you to the top of a mountain for an eagle to eat your liver everyday, and that your liver grows back again over night just so the eagle can continue feeding on it. Jerk.

Wow, that was really liberating! I feel much better already!