Thursday, November 17, 2011

Admitting Guilty Pleasures II

Their time is long long gone, along with my teenage years. Those bands started falling apart, and each of the singers went after their solo careers (or NASA careers – yes, I'm looking at you, Lance Bass. What the hell were you thinking? NASA, seriously?! Yeah, right, you can sing Bye bye bye to that).
They all sang pretty well and the music in itself was always either rather groovy or quite pretty. But C'MON, have you listened to the lyrics?
The Backstreet Boys' I want It That Way: “You are my fire, the one desire, believe when I say, I want it that way”.
We've Got It Goin' On? “Jam on cause Backstreet's got it, come on now everybody we've got it goin' on”.
Incomplete: “Empty spaces fill me up with holes, distant faces with no place left to go”. How clever!
'N Sync's I Need Love: “I need love, you need love, we all really need love. All I want, all I need, we all really need love”.
Tearing Up My Heart: “It's tearing up my heart when I'm with you, but when we are apart, I feel it too, and no matter what I do I feel the pain, with or without you.” #U2feelings?
5ive's Everybody Get Up: “Everybody get up, singing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 will make you get down now!” Yeah sure, whatever British dudes.
And don't even get me started on Westlife.
No matter how well they sing those songs, the lyrics always remind me of a wine tasting session: whiny and cheesy. Those songs only talk about three things: a) a girl the singer loves but can't have – she's either friend-zoned him, or she's dating some jackass; b) a girl who left him cause of some stupid mistake he made, and now the singer's begging her to come back; c) a girl he used to love and now hates cause she left him (usually for some other guy with more money).
However, there's a reason why I know their lyrics well enough to write them down without having to google them. I still have all of them in my iPod, and yes, I still listen to them. Just yesterday I was cleaning up while singing It's Gonna Be Me. I like to listen to those horribly tacky songs, and I like to sing along, and make faces while at it.
In my iPod, all of those boy band songs are in a folder called “Things I'm not proud of”. But they're all there. And when the Backstreet Boys came to Brazil last year, I went to their show. Proudly. Or almost.
Also: I still have a HUGE crush on Justin Timberlake. Britney seriously lost the best catch in Hollywood. 

VanessaHudgens HAS to be one of the most annoying actresses I've ever seen. Her pretty face is too small, her voice is too pitchy, and everything she says sounds annoyingly self-righteous. Besides, her character in the movie, Gabriella, is ridiculously exasperating: she's pretty, she's part of the scholastic decathlon team, she can sing well, she's incapable of harming anyone, or saying anything mean, she's C'MON! If there's one thing Hollywood producers, executives and screen writers have yet to learn is this: perfect protagonists are impossible to empathize with. We like to see flawed characters, characters that mirror ourselves. Which is why most people end up rooting for the villain or the underdog rather than the hero/heroine of the story. A thoroughly nice beautiful girl that can do everything perfectly is definitely not the mirror of the average Jane.
Same thing goes for Zac Efron's character, Troy: he's abusively handsome, a nice son, a nice friend, a nice student, a nice boyfriend, the complete jock, captain of the basketball team, he can sing well, AND he's got loads of charisma (something Vanessa Hudgens definitely lacks). Again, not your average Joe.
The premise of the movie is also kind of stupid: Troy and Gabriella's friends have a hard time understanding that they have other interests? They can't accept the fact that those kids might be interested in something else other than playing basketball/studying Math? What kind of world is that where people can only like and be good at one thing??
And yet, I've seen the three movies, I've got the complete soundtrack in my iPod, and I can sing almost every song. And I have a blast every time I watch the movies/listen to the songs. A few things that occur to me in my defense: 1. Zac Efron is really handsome and charismatic; 2. the songs are nice to sing along; 3. the “villains” are funny as hell; 4. it's better for a child or a teenager to be watching this than some movie full of violence and sex. Am I right?

To be continued...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Admitting Guilty Pleasures

The other day I was watching TV – and feeling terribly ashamed of myself.
We all like stuff that friends and significant others think silly: I've already dated a guy who thought Agatha Christie was everything that is wrong in Literature; a friend of mine hates Nirvana; my boyfriend won't even go near a Disney movie.
Nevertheless, I love Agatha Christie, Nirvana is my favorite band, and I watch Disney movies all the time. Because while those people might not like that stuff, I do. I think Agatha Christie created great stories and wrote them well; Nirvana composed awesome songs, and the band played them all really well (well, perhaps not live); and Disney movies are amazingly well-made. I'm not ashamed to say I like those things. It's simply a case of “different strokes for different folks”, and that's fine.
But then, we all have our guilty pleasures. Something we know it's bad – badly written, or composed, or filmed or thought of, or whatever – but still enjoy. Stuff we rarely admit we like, that we might even trash in front of our friends!, but that we also secretly enjoy, no matter how ridiculous it is.
Thus, I've gathered here a list with my guilty pleasures. I thought of listing 10 of them, like most lists do – but then, I don't play by the rules. I'm a maverick. Hence, I'll be treating you to a list of my 7 guiltiest pleasures.
It might also be due to the fact that I simply couldn't think of 10 things. Anyway:

When the TV series was announced, all those years ago, I thought to myself: “I see. Another series about ridiculously rich teens, who have no sense of reality whatsoever, and make big dramas out of nothing. Just like Beverly Hills 90210 and The O.C.
I was not disappointed. It was everything I expected – nay, hoped it would be: beautiful 25-year-olds playing high-school teens, money all around, houses I'll never have, overpriced clothes and DRAMA. I was instantly addicted to it.
However, there's a HUGE difference between allowing yourself to watch a TV show on cable (you pay for the cable tv, and the show comes with the package, what can you do?) and going to a bookstore, finding the book, willingly taking it to the cashier, and paying money for it. I took that book with me wherever I went, and did not put it down till I was finished.
But, truth be told, I was extremely ashamed of opening it near people I knew! From the heights of my literary knowledge, I look down on stuff like that. It's instinctive: I know I'm supposed to despise such things. But... all that drama! It's so enticing! How could I not be attracted to it?!
Notwithstanding the siren's spell, I've managed to read it only once, and not look for the sequels. Phew! Crisis averted!

6. Reality Shows
I know, I know: they ARE everything that is wrong with television nowadays. Still, there's a reason why they're successful: people love watching other human beings stuck in awful situations, and making drama where there's none. Which is why most people enjoy a god old soap opera. And a reality show is even better than a soap opera, because it's got real people in it! O.o
I actually refuse to watch shows like Big Brother and Survivor. I think there's no good reason to put yourself through all those indignities. Oh, money? Is that what you're after? Then go get yourself a job, like the rest of us. 
As for dating shows, like The Bachelor... well, here's where things get shady for me. I entirely disapprove of both the premise and the execution of it – but still catch myself watching it from time to time.
But THEN, we have things like American Idol, The X Factor, So You Think You Can Dance, Top Chef, Runway Project, The Glee Project, etc. etc. etc. Shows on which people gotta have real talent in order to win. I can totally get behind that. It's entertaining for us, and good for them (I guess). And I do love a good singing competition! (Though now that Simon and Paula have left American Idol, there's no reason to keep watching it. The thing now is The X Factor, am I right?). Top Chef is also really interesting – but I don't keep track of it: it makes me hungry. And even though I don't watch Glee either, I LOVED The Glee Project! And those girls on America's Next Top Model are too good to miss: they CRY when they get a haircut! They actually think they've lost their identities! They're like “I don't know who I am anymore...”! Still, the photo shoot sessions are great to watch, and the pictures are beautiful.
And the dearest show in my heart: So You Think You Can Dance. God, how I love that show. Can't wait for next year.
But yeah, it's hard to tell that to most of my friends... I usually get laughed at. [sighs]

I used to love Grey's Anatomy (I'm very partial to hospital dramas as well), and Katherine Heigl's character was my favorite. Then, she started appearing on romantic comedies, and I thought “hey, great! Lemme watch that one, what's the tagline?... Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Huh. Ok, let's see”. The fact that standing by her side was James Marsden, aka Cyclops, aka the prince from Enchanted, aka one of my biggest crushes ever, was another reason to watch said film. "From the screenwriter of The Devil Wears Prada" didn't hurt either.
Is it original? No. Does it convey any special message? Nah. Is the acting particularly mind-blowing? Nope. And nowadays, I don't even like Katherin Heigl that much, she's turned out to be somewhat of an insensitive bitch who chooses to play the same role in different films – most of them, soul-crushing bad films.
But I can't stop watching “27 Dresses”! Damn it!
Maybe it's James Marsden, I don't know. He sure makes everything better just by existing and looking the way he does. And when he moves, my heart totally skips a beat.
But the thing is: whenever I'm switching channels, and I stumble on 27 Dresses, I stop to watch it. Until the freaking end. Because it's 27 Dresses. I've got the DVD, but I'm gonna watch it on tv anyway.
But if you're a friend of mine and ask me what I think about the movie, I'll tell you right away: “God, does that movie suck or what?!”.

To be continued...