The Aftermath

This weekend I attended a memorial type party for a very dear friend of mine’s mother who passed away a year ago. She is the first person that I have really known that I have attended any type of memorial for. There was a small rememberance type thing shortly after she died, but there was never a real funeral or memorial service because her husband couldn’t handle it. So after nearly a year to the day her second eldest daughter decided to have a celebration of her life, the way she had wanted.

The rented facility was decorated beautifully, with tables laid out in the departed’s favorite colors, soft music (mostly classic rock) playing, white lights on the ceiling, gorgeous flowers, and a table with candles burning, a small shrine to the Virgin Mary, charms, a sign that said “Hippies use side door”, and other items of the departed’s. It really felt like her. The people who set up did a wonderful job.

There was plenty of food laid out, salads, cold cuts, rolls, fruit, vegetables, cheese… and there were lots and lots of people! The departed had a lot of friends and had known a lot people, and there were a lot of people who felt like they needed some closure that they had been denied a year ago. Everyone was given some time to enjoy the food, then two of the departed’s oldest friends began the “program”.

They started with a prayer, said a few words, then opened the microphone to anyone who wanted to come forward and tell a story about the departed. I was struck as more people went to the microphone how fake so many people sounded as they talked about the departed. A main theme running through the evening was the departed’s faith, making it sound as if she was one of the most devoted Catholics walking the earth. I think her faith may have been very important to her at one time, but not during the last several years of her life. She did love the Virgin Mary very much, the speakers got that much right.

There were a few people who were genuine, but for the most part it was people who were talking about her as though she was some kind of superhuman saint, romanticizing her life, her relationship with her husband, and her faith. There were only a few people who spoke to told stories I identified with, that I thought to myself, ”that sounds like the woman I’d known since I was thirteen or fourteen”.

It wasn’t until hours later, when most of the people had cleared out and we were starting to think about cleaning up that I felt that we were really honoring the departed the way we were supposed to. We turned up the mix of her favorite songs, sang along to Paul Simon, John Couger Mellencamp, and many others, danced, talked, laughed, ate desert…. That was when she was truly honored, not when a priest was speaking and said “She was a grace-filled woman”.

My mom said later that was totally wrong - she was a spirit filled woman. I have one better. She was a life filled woman. She wasn’t a saint, she was a real person, and I don’t think she would have enjoyed being set up on a pedestal.

I remember her as being funny, down to earth, and always welcoming to me and all of her daughters’ friends. I remember having conversations with her in her kitchen, and laughing because she was so damn funny. She could sting wickedly too, and she could be mean. I remember her hideous Virgin Mary bead curtain that she absolutely loved and hung in front of the glass back door, and how her daughter and I laughed about it. I remember her gardens. I remember the fights that she and her husband had. I remember prying up tile floors with her and her daughter when the family bought their new house, and how we actually had fun doing it. I remember her as being a really interesting woman, vibrant, edgy, pragmatic, cranky, down to earth, and although she was a kind person, she would always tell it to you like it was. She didn’t really mince words. I remember a lot about her, good and bad.

That’s how I try to respect and honor her memory the most, by just remembering who she was as a whole, not cutting parts out to make her seem greater than she was. When people do that, when they set her up as a saint and ignore the parts of her that made her human, they do her a disservice. They make her less than what she was.

Well, I’ve rambled on enough about this, so in closing I’ll say one more thing:

I didn’t know her all that well. She was a part of my life for many years because her daughter and I are best friends, but it wasn’t like I was her friend, or I was all that close to her. But I will say that in many, many ways she was a wonderful, loving, virbant human being who continues to inspire me. And I don’t want to sound presumptuous, but I hope I never lose sight of every aspect of how I knew her. Good and bad.


Reno 911!: Miami Movie Review

Reno 911!: Miami
**1/2 out of ****

If you’ve ever seen the Reno 911 show on Comedy Central, then you’ll know what to expect from this movie. Slapstick, goofball humor. Nothing serious or sophisticated here, folks. I’ve only seen Reno 911 a few times, but the times I have seen it have made me laugh, so I was excited to see the feature length film. And it was exactly what I expected, so I have absolutely no disappointment.

Premise: The Reno, Nevada Sheriff’s Department is invited to a national law enforcement convention in Miami. Due to mix ups with their registration they are forced to stay at a hotel away from the convention, which turns out to be a good thing when the convention center (filled with cops) is the target of a bio attack. As the only law enforcement officers not quarantined, the Reno Sheriff’s Department sets out to patrol the streets of Miami. Let the antics ensue.

This movie made me laugh. And laugh. And laugh some more. Then it got old. Like most slapstick movies, it’s hilarious for a while, but there is only so much of this kind of humor that I can take. I probably should have waited for it to come out on video, but as it is I’m not upset that I saw it in the theater. It was worth matinee prices. ^_^

It’s hard to separate the good and bad points of this movie because of the genre it’s in. Really it comes down to you either like this kind of film, or you don’t. It’s getting bad professional reviews because most critics aren’t kind to slapstick comedies. It’s getting decent amatuer reviews because the people who go to see this movie know what they’re getting in to, and want it.

It’s funny. It’s really funny in fact. It has some jokes that fall pretty short of the mark, but it has just as many (or more) that succeed in their intention. But I’m sure this is one of those movies you need to be in just the right mood for. ^_^

So rent it when it comes out on video and enjoy. ^_^


And the Oscar Goes To...

The lost 2007 Academy Awards Ceremony Best Looking People category!

Best Looking Actor:

Clive Owen

Best Looking Actress:

Rachel Weisz

Best Looking Actor Runner Up:

Leonardo DiCaprio

Best Looking Actress Runner Up:

Jessica Biel

Congratulations to our 2007 winners! ^_^


Rebecca's Guide to the 2007 Academy Awards

Ah, the Oscars. How I both love and hate them. Actually, last night was the first time I had watched the Oscars start to finish in a couple of years - fortunately it was a decent year, so I don’t have too much to gripe about. I have a few usual complaints about past Academy Awards ceremonies that I always mention that I decided not to bring up this year, mainly how never in Gwyneth Paltrow’s career has she EVER deserved to win an Oscar. I’m still not over that. I probably never will be. Ellen DeGeneres hosted this year, and while I was a little leery about that, she turned out to be very funny - certainly a better host than some I’ve seen.

So, imagine the scene - myself, my mother, my grandmother, my 17 year old sister, and my friend Bob are all at my grandmother’s home to watch the Oscars, ready to mercilessly mock any hapless person in the entertainment industry who didn’t happen to dress or speak up to our high standards. Poor Bob was forced to endure plenty of high pitched “Oh my GOD look at her DRESS, what was she thinking??”, “who told her THAT looked good??”, and “Leonardo DiCaprio is SOOO HOT!” “OMG CLIVE OWEN!!!” And if anyone dared take longer than ten or fifteen seconds with their acceptance speeches, we were all over them. “Shut UP!”

Yes, we are mean, but we sure have a good time. ^_^ So this blog entry will serve to enlighten my readers about the fashion highlights and lowlights, and some of my favorite parts of the 2007 Academy Awards.

We’ll start with the fashion lowlights (my favorite part!):

Meryl Streep is an indisputably beautiful woman. At the Oscars, her clothing was simple, black, elegant. Everything you would expect from Meryl Streep. However, unfortnuately for her fashion statement at one of the most media covered entertainment events of the year, Meryl decided that it was necessary to wear the gigantic amulet from her voodoo priestess, in case she needed to cast bad juju on her competitors. Fortunately, Meryl has a kind heart, so even though she didn’t win Best Actress for her role in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, she held off on using the amulet to cast any malicious spells. Either that or she’s waiting until Helen Mirren is least expecting it.

Nicole Kidman is pretty hit and miss with her Oscar fashion. This year, the simple red dress was a nice touch. The huge bow, dog collar thing, and long Shinobi-style train scarf thingie look BAD. Nicole, we know you want to be a ninja. Too bad. You aren’t.
I also think that Nicole Kidman is an alien. I don’t want to shock or frighten anyone, but I believe her true colors are finally beginning to show. I believe that she and Gwynneth Paltrow were sent to Earth by their alien leaders to subvert and destroy humanity. Just look at the photos. It’s obvious.

See what I mean?

And as you behold this photo of Gwyneth Paltrow, I can only say one thing: Beware the pod people!

Ah, I almost forgot - dear Penelope Cruz (at least she’s not an alien!). Penelope Cruz has steadily been becoming less and less annoying, and looking less and less like a hound dog. She was actually very pretty at the Oscars, although what she wore is an entirely different matter.
I actually have the inside scoop on Cruz’s dress. A day before the Oscars, Cruz was trying on her dress, originally a lovely pale pink confection that was slim and elegant. Cruz, eating a hot dog, dropped ketchup all over the skirt of her dress. “Oh no!” Cruz cried, looking was despair upon the ruin of her gown. A day before the ceremony, and I’m nominated for Best Actress! What am I going to do?” Suddenly she remembered - in one of her spare bedrooms, covering one of the beds, was a comfortor of the exact same color of the dress. But… could it be done?? It could. So now you know why Cruz wore a blanket to the Oscars.

One wonders what Kristen Dunst was thinking when she chose to wear this to the Oscars. It looks like an elaborate child’s dress that someone saw and said “Hey, this would be really cool if we stuck some feathers on the bottom!” >_<>

I really feel that this photo speaks for itself. Eva Green has the potential to be beautiful. I just don’t think I’ve ever seen her actually pull it off. She kinda looks like she’s trying to look like some frightening gothy bride of Frankenstein, minus the scars. Someone should tell her that’s not a good look to go for.

And now, I am done dissing rich actresses dresses. I’ll now share some of the fashion highlights of the evening, for there were just as many people who looked stunning as there were people who looked like idiots.

I’ll start with Helen Mirren, who won Best Actress for her leading role in ‘The Queen’. Mirren’s dress was beautiful and fun, elegant without being stuffy. She looked absolutely perfect, and I don’t think anyone can really argue about that. The top of her dress may have looked a little wierd, but the overall effect, jewelry and makeup included, was excellent. Kudos to Mirren!!

Without further ado, I present Rachel Weisz, the most stunning, luminous creature at the Oscars. Her dress was lovely and was perfectly complimented by her hair and dramatic (but not too heavy) makeup. The necklace was a little much, but we’ll forgive her for that. ^_^ Of course, Weisz is so gorgeous she could probably come to the Oscars in a paper bag and I would be saying how the outfit was an unusual choice, but the brown of the bag brought out her eyes, or something like that. ^_^

I love love love Kate Winslet’s dress. I think that if she had done her hair a little differently, she would be almost as beautiful has Rachel Weisz. As it is, I love the dress, I love how simple she went with the jewelry, but her hair…. Anyway, this dress was probably my favorite dress of the evening.

Reese Witherspoon is wearing the runner up for my very favorite dress. I also love her straightened hair and makeup. Unfortunately she looks to me like a stick insect. She’s pretty, but could stand to gain some weight. ^_^ Anyway, the dress is lovely - I love the color, and it looks fantastic on Witherspoon. Some actresses canNOT pull of the strapless look, but she does it beautifully. Now go eat a cheeseburger.

Gorgeous Jessica Biel proves to the world that she can still look like a badass in a bright pink dress. ^_^ She makes it onto my list less because of her dress and accessories, but more because she is still as buff as she was when she made Blade Trinity! Incredible body, and actually I think her hair was done very well. Very nice updo. And the only other thing I have to say is THAT is why I go to the gym. Maybe one day I will look as amazing as Jessica Biel.

Okay, now I’m finished with the fashion highlights of the Oscars. My next section (and I know every female who happens to read this is going to appreciate this next part) will be highlighting the best looking men who made an appearance!

I must, of course, start with Clive Owen. When he walked out from backstage to present an award, every woman in the room was awestruck. Of course, as anyone EVER seen Clive Owen looking anything but divine? I feel like I want to go watch ‘Sin City’ and ‘Closer’ again. Right now.

Next, of course, is Leonardo DiCaprio, looking ten million times better than he ever did. He was in two incredible films this year, ‘The Departed’ and ‘Blood Diamond’, and was nominated (I think) for Best Actor for his role in ‘Blood Diamond’. This isn’t the greatest photo, but you’ll have to take my word on the fact that he looked unbelieveably good. He’s second to Clive Owen in hotness. ^_^

And, well, what can one say about Robert Downey Jr.? He is adorable. That’s it. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. And his hair is awesome. ^_^

Mark Whalberg, nominated for Best Supporting Actor, ‘The Departed’, was all smiles and jokes, which of course makes him all the more adorable. And he is a BAMF. He exudes BAMFness. And hotness. ^_^ And that’s about all I have to say about Whalberg.

Unfortunately although Gael Garcia Bernal is absolutely gorgeous, his hair was so bad he didn’t deserve to be included in the best looking men section.

Now for the final section of my uber long Oscars post - my three favorite parts.

Jack Black and Will Farrell sing a song about comedies in the Oscars. Absolutely hysterical, we were all laughing. ^_^ It would definitely be worth trying to find on Youtube. Best part is when Black and Farrell start singing about how they’ll beat up all the Oscar nominees. Farrell gets to Mark Whalberg (nominated for Best Supporting Actor, ‘The Departed’) and says something to the effect of, “and Mark Whalberg… I’ll leave you alone, you’re actually kind of a bad ass."

Host Ellen DeGeneres comes up with a solution for where to put your Oscar when making acceptance speeches, and for later at after parties when you want to show it off and have both hands free.

Martin Scorsese wins Best Director for ‘The Departed’. Congratulations, Mr. Scorsese. It was well deserved.

I have one final photo for you to behold.

Are you ready?

This requires some mental preperation.

Are you ready now?

You sure?


Here it is.

Yes, that is Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. I think Nicholson was drunk, and Keaton high.
No, I’m not kidding. ^_^


Things I Have Learned About Stella

1. Kitty (a.k.a. Stella) thinks that hands and feet and faces are fun toys.

2. Kitty also thinks that earrings (when they are attached to ears) are fun toys.

3. Kitty’s favorite game involves waiting until Rebecca is asleep, crouching on her windowsill, then jumping on her face (Rebecca has since started spraying kitty with water from a squirt bottle every time she gets on that window sill, because that is not one of Rebecca’s favorite games).

4. Kitty requires her litter box to be immaculate, filled with evenly distributed litter, a plastic garbage bag beneath it with at least a half inch of litter on the floor covering it, and the life size cardboard stand up of Spike the vampire hiding the litter box. If one of these elements is not in place, Kitty will poop on the floor.

5. Kitty thinks that cute white stuffed fluffball bunnies are fun toys and will maul them.

6. Kitty thinks it is fun to learn how to open cupboards and knock Rebecca’s garbage can on the floor.

7. Kitty enjoys wandering around meowing at the top of her voice for no apparent reason.

8. Kitty thinks Rebecca’s toothbrush is a fun toy.

9. Kitty thinks it is fun when Rebecca’s mom comes over wearing a long skirt that she can hide underneath and devour mom’s flesh at her leisure.

10. Kitty is a demon.

11. Kitty thinks that Cadbury Mini Eggs are fun toys.

12. Kitty thinks it is fun to interfere as much as possible when Rebecca tries to make her bed. This usually involves flying leaps into the middle of the bed, attacking Rebecca’s hands, and latching on with needle-like claws to any covers that Rebecca s attempting to spread.

13. Kitty enjoys sitting right in front of the computer monitor, and occasionally sitting on the keyboard causing random buttons to be pressed and strange things to happen.

14. Kitty thinks that hands controlling computer mice are fun toys.

15. Kitty waits by the door for Rebecca to come home, and as soon as Rebecca picks her up she purrs.

16. Kitty makes the home where Rebecca lives all alone feel full of life.

17. Kitty will sleep near (sometimes on) Rebecca’s face early in the morning and purr.

18. If Rebecca steps outside but does not leave the front porch, Kitty will sit on the windowsill, watch her, and meow until she comes back inside. Then she will repeat # 15.

19. Kitty will sit on the edge of the bathtub when Rebecca takes a bath and will stick her paw in the water every once in a while to see if it is less wet. Kitty is very cute when she does this.

20. When Rebecca is watching a movie and is covered in a blanket, Kitty likes to sit on Rebecca’s lap underneath the blanket and purr.

Rebecca loves Kitty.

Rebecca is going to stop talking about herself in the third person now.



Ghost Rider Movie Review

Ghost Rider
*** out of ****

This was the first movie I saw on my four day weekend last week, and it was by far my favorite. I mean, it’s Ghost Rider. Do I even need to saw any more?

Premise: A young motorcycle stuntman man sells his soul to the devil in exchange for the cure for his beloved father’s cancer. Years go by, and after finally being called upon to fulfill his bargin with the devil, Johnny Blaze becomes the Ghost Rider, the devil’s vigilante. And the devil has plans for his servant. His son, Blackheart, walks the earth looking for an item of great power, and the devil wants him stopped.

This is obviously not a movie that the critics are going to love. Or even like. But for those who get a kick out of cheesy action movies, like special effects, or are comic book geeks, this movie will satisfy. I gave it three stars not because it’s a good movie, but simply to reflect how pleased I was with it, and how entertained I was by it. Marvel movies are hit and miss, but this was definitely a hit in my book. And of course the cast is fantastic: Nicholas Cage as Ghost Rider, Eva Mendes as Roxanne Simpson, Wes Bently as Blackheart, and last (but certainly not least), Peter Fonda as Mephistopheles.

I am a comic book geek, and I do love Ghost Rider, but I can’t claim to know if the story in the movie is based on any Ghost Rider comic books. The only Ghost Rider comic books I’ve read through are the newer mini series illustrated by the great Clayton Crane. And as a side note, doesn’t ‘Clayton Crane’ sound like the name of some comic book superhero? Good lord. No wonder he became a comic book artist!

The movie was without a doubt cheesy and kinda dumb on more than one occasion (many more in fact) but there were a lot of things that saved it from being a bad movie, first and foremost the fact that it obviously wasn’t taking itself seriously!! The actors are all extremely appealing and charismatic, especially Nicholas Cage. Even Eva Mendes, who usually drives me crazy, was good. Wes Bently was excellent as the son of the devil, Blackheart, and his minions were appropriately gross. ^_^

If you spend too much time on the drawbacks of this movie, you’re taking it much more seriously than it was ever meant to be taken. So enjoy watching the skull-headed flaming biker strike fear into the hearts of evil doers and get the girl in a way that only comic books can deliver.


Smokin' Aces Movie Review

Smokin’ Aces
*** out of ****

I had a four day weekend last week. Guess what I did? I went to the theater three times. ^_^ This movie was probably my second favorite out of the three that I saw. It’s fun, violent, and has a fantastic ending.

Premise: Las Vegas. FBI. The Mafia. Loads of hitmen. All the elements of a great film. Or at least an extremely entertaining one! A mob boss takes out a contract on a Las Vegas performer/gangster (Buddy Isreal) who is ready to turn state’s evidence against him. Since the contract is $1 million, quite a few hitmen want to be the one to kill him and have a nice big payday. The FBI wants to keep Isreal alive. Quite the task when you’re faced with a whole pack of professional killers.

The resort Isreal is staying at becomes the scene of World War III when bullets start flying as the assassins try to beat each other out to get to Israel first, and things only get worse when the FBI shows up.

One of the things that absolutely makes this movie is the cast. Ray Liotta, Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia, Jeremy Piven, Ryan Reynolds, Alicia Keys, Martin Henderson (who is still gorgeous, even with a beard!), etc. And the diversity of the characters- from the cool, collected professional, to the crazy, psychotic Germans, from the bail bondsmen to the team of two feminist black women, from the friendly FBI agent to the spastic alcoholic attorney, they’re all entertaining.

All in all, this was actually a technically very decent movie. The writing was good, story was good, and acting was definitely above average. This was basically a good movie in a way that not many movies who spent 90% of the time being a bloody mess can pull off.

This movie didn’t really have many flaws. Obviously if you don’t like bloody action movies you’re not going to like this one, but if this is your cup of tea then you certainly won’t be disappointed. And the twist at the end is nicely surprising, but almost seems a little silly to me. Regardless, the very VERY end is wonderful. And for the record the last scene with Martin Henderson and the last German assassin is probably one of my favorites. ^_^

One more thing I’ll say - I was actually very impressed with Ryan Reynolds. Usually he annoys me (good LORD can we say Van Wilder and Blade Trinity??) but he was quite decent in this movie. So we’ll just give him a ‘you did a good job’ pat on the back. Keep it up.