Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Oh lovely readers, I am so sorry to have been silent this long.  This past week was a bear at work and rather busy otherwise and this whole month, in fact (typical for this time of year) has simple overwhelmed me.  But I haven’t forgotten about you.  Quite the opposite; sitting down to write a little something here on this blog is a favorite pastime of mine and it feels so good to finally get back at it.  We have a great many things to talk about, so let’s dive right in, shall we?

First and most importantly, like all othervigils in this nation and probably the world over, we here at rms are mourning those lost and wounded in Newtown, Connecticut during the recent atrocity.  There have been so many conflicting reports in the media that we won’t try to speculate on what led to it.  We’ll simply say that like all of you and countless others, our hearts are broken and we’re hoping for brighter days for the families and friends of those who’ve suffered such tremendous loss.

Homeland has completed its second season, and what a season it has been.  You know I’ve been a fan of Rupert Friend’s Peter Quinn from the start, but his stand against David Estes wherein he called Carrie the “best intelligence officer” he’d ever known and promised to target Estes should anything happen to Brody was one of the most powerful scenes the show has given us.  I didn’t know if Brody would live or die or if he’d turn completely and swear vengeance for Abu Nazir’s death but I did think this whole not knowing where his loyalties lay thing had to end.  How could they plausibly keep it going?  Silly me.  They found a way, and a good one.  Did Brody have anything to do with the bombing at Langley?  Was he willing, once again, to risk his own life in order to slaughter those chiefly involved in the drone bombings that killed Issa?  He told Dana he’d changed, that he wasn’t the same man who wore that suicide vest.  But his body language seemed to contradict his words.  He didn’t move to hug or touch his daughter – he was rigid and cold, keeping a reasonable distance.  He spent the night with Carrie and appears genuine in his interactions with her but we know he hasn’t abandoned his faith in Islam, not in itself an indication of guilt but perhaps a sign that he is still the man he became while imprisoned by Nazir.  Does he love Carrie or did he use her to find an escape route?  Estes is dead, which puts Saul in command and Carrie the youngest station chief in CIA history, which is where season 3 will likely pick up.  I cannot wait.

Speaking of Saul Berenson, my thanks to the gods of the Golden Globes for nominating Mandy Patinkin for his truly exceptional performance in the role.  He consistently exercises controlled restraint in his portrayal of Saul, quietly and calmly commanding your attention while allowing his facial expressions to say what his mouth doesn’t.  Patinkin is a total pro and I have no reservations in championing him for the win.

Speaking of the Golden Globes, Tina Fey & Amy Poehler are hosting this year and you can tune in here as we liveblog the event, Jan 13, 2013.

I know this was made and released last year on Christmas but I love it so much, I thought I’d post it again.  (Note to Donald Faison: if I weren’t already married, I’d want to marry you and call you Turk in the boudoir.)  Seriously, I want to hang out with these guys ALL THE TIME.

And finally, the world did not come to an end yesterday, as anyone with even half of a functioning brain could have guessed, but the media’s determination to willfully misinterpret and misrepresent the Mayan calendar did give us this fantastic gem, courtesy of Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, Rihanna, Paul Rudd, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, David Krumholtz, Martin Starr, Mindy Kaling and probably more.  Basically, the majority of the most talented comedic actors currently alive.  Enjoy.

Happy Holidays!

If Daryl Dies… We Riot

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the kind of shit the mafia did (does)?  Read this article.  So, a few guys buy a bar (pizza place, diner, bowling alley, whatever) and decide to spend most of their time there working.  Except they don’t like working, they like drinking (or eating or bowling or whatever) and since it’s their bar, they drink for free.  Then they decide they should make more money so they give themselves raises.  What happens next?  They can’t afford to keep the bar going what with their inflated salaries and constant skimming off the top, so they go bankrupt.  But not before drinking every last bottle behind the bar and spending every last dime in the register.  Sound familiar?  Damn similar to a scene out of Goodfellas.  But also what apparently is now legal on Wall Street and has effectively ruined not just our economy but also contributed to the downfall of the economies of every major industrial player on earth.  When the f*ck did this kind of behavior become okay?  Maybe my Italian ancestors were just vastly ahead of their time.

Does anyone else find it offensive that they couldn’t get an actual American Indian to play Tonto, an American Indian, in the upcoming film The Lone Ranger?  Johnny Depp has been cast as Tonto and even though he claims to have American Indian blood in his veins (it is totally possible), he’s clearly predominantly Caucasian.  How is this any different than getting a white guy in black face to portray an African-American?

If you’re not watching season 3 of The Walking Dead, you are MISSING OUT.  I’m actually kind of glad Merle is back, even though he’s a maniacal tool, and I’m so happy Rick’s balls have finally dropped.  Even better, Lori has died, leaving us with the achingly adorable image of Daryl holding a swaddled infant.  I don’t think it’s possible for me to love Daryl any more.  And, apparently, I’m not the only one.

And, finally, tomorrow is the ultimate foodie’s holiday, so I’ll leave you with this link from our favorite Cleveland cook.



It’s Christmas and We’re All in Misery

English: Christmas lights in Haughton, Staffor...

Image via Wikipedia

‘Tis the time for another list – our Christmas present to you, subscribers and readers:  Our favorite holiday flicks.  We know, we know, it was EXACTLY what you’ve been waiting for, right?!?!  😉  Hold on to your butts!

It’s A Wonderful Life – My parents told me every year how amazing this movie was, that Jimmy Stewart was perfect, that it’s not a feel-good movie, it’s the only movie in existence that will make you feel better than you’ve ever felt.  Like, better than five years of therapy or a bottle of Prozac.  Finally, in college, I watched it.  Start to finish.  How many times must I be taught that my parents are almost always right?!  ~Nikki

What’s hilarious is that I had a similar experience, although I watched it as a kid.  I was disgusted by the thought of an ancient, black-and-white, presumably BORING, way to spend an afternoon – at my parents’ insistence!!   I was fucking dead wrong.  If you don’t like this movie, you’re missing part of the basic human DNA code.  I remember when this was CONSTANTLY on TV, now they’ve wised up to the universal love and squander it, showing it once a season.  Assholes.  ~Annie

English: Screenshot of Jimmy Stewart and Donna...

Image via Wikipedia

Christmas Vacation – I refuse to watch this from Jan 1 through Nov 30 every year.  But, as soon as Dec 1 hits, I’m free to watch as frequently as I see fit.  The record: December of 2005, 11 viewings within 31 days.  It NEVER gets old.  EVER.                                                     Nikki’s favorite line: “I wouldn’t be more surprised if I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet.”                            Annie’s favorite line: “Take a look around here Ellen!  We’re at the threshold of HELL!”

The Family Stone – There are a lot of things I really hate about this film.  But what I love about it outweighs all that.  I really like almost everything about it.  Sarah Jessica Parker is vile and her character is too repugnant for words.  I think she was supposed to come off as uptight and chatty but still vaguely charming and instead, maybe because her performance was too convincing, she was just entirely awful.  Like, so bloody awful it was nearly unbearable while she was on the screen.  Also, I might not have minded the whole SJP jumping from Dermot Mulroney to Luke Wilson and Dermot Mulroney falling for his girlfriend’s sister thing IF any of those couples had any degree of chemistry.  SJP and Mulroney weren’t believable as a couple and she and Luke Wilson’s character were even less so.  Mulroney and Claire Danes had a tiny bit of chemistry, but not near enough to save that whole story line.  Aside from all that, I really liked it.  I loved everyone else’s characters and their performances.  I loved the whole New England family feel and their house and the Christmas vibe.  And Rachel McAdams at the end was so totally perfect.  (Actually, she was perfect throughout.)  SJP just fucked it all up.

Cover of "Scrooged"

Scrooged – Lord knows it’s dated, but how can anyone with a pulse dislike Bill Murray?  Or an adaptation of A Christmas Carol?  His evil, scheming, Ebeneezer-like, bastard TV executive Frank Cross, sporting that mystifying half-balding/half-mullet hairdo, is hilarious to behold.  Everything else is damn funny as well, and the straight 80s-ness comforts me like a binky and pajamas with footies.  My college roomies and I watched this almost every night before Christmas break – it was our “fall asleep-to movie.”

Bridget Jones’s Diary – not entirely a holiday movie, but it begins and ends during the holidays, which, as far as I’m concerned, is enough for this list.  And it really grasps the feel of the holidays from the music to the alcohol consumption to the snow (OH the snow — falling so softly, while Van Morrison sings and Colin Firth swathes you in his chic wool trench…) and the awkward family gatherings…it gets it all exactly right.

Just Friends – Ryan Reynolds and Anna Faris make one hilarious team.  Silly, outrageous, over-the-top, but also sweet and charming in this screwball comedy about a man who returns to his hometown the week of Christmas to face the woman who broke his heart in high school.  Ten years later, and 100 pounds lighter, Chris Brander (RR) confronts his unrequited love (the charming Amy Smart) while trying to keep Samantha James, the pop princess he’s unhappily hooked to (Faris), out of trouble over the holiday.  It’s ridiculous, for sure, and full of shameless absurdities, but the chemistry between all the characters and that special, Christmas-y return-to-hometown feel make it a holiday must.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles – Steve Martin and John Candy – need I say more?  Their banter and Odd Couple-esque relationship make this holiday comedy one for the ages.  A slovenly Candy hitches a ride with uptight Martin, both trying to get home for Thanksgiving, and a wild, troublesome road trip ensues.  Funny and full of heart, it reminds us why the holidays are worth the hassle.  RIP, John Candy.  You are missed.

Die Hard – I know action movies aren’t typically considered holiday flicks, but Die Hard is set on Christmas Eve and, despite all the violence and death, it really feels like Christmas.  Oh, who are we kidding, it feels like Christmas because of all the violence and death.  Also, this movie just kicks so much ass.

Love Actually

Love Actually – I actually hate this film (dripping with schmaltz, cheese, bashing us over the head with all the messages about love), BUTTTT it IS London at Christmastime, and stars like, 175 people that I reallly, really love.  I usually hate myself when the end credits begin, but if you want Xmas eye candy and tons of Brits, this is where you go.

Home Alone – I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that this is one of, if not THE, most entertaining family holiday flicks around.  Who would have guessed that a movie about a family freaking accidentally abandoning their child would be be so hilarious, heartwarming (and sort of believable!).  I love the old man neighbor, who Kevin McAllister has to learn is a decent man.  I love Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci, killing it as the bumbling robbers.  And I LOVE THIS SONG.  It is FOREVER Christmas.

While You Were Sleeping – I’ll never stop loving this precious little film, which takes place over the entire holiday season.  This is another one that gets the family stuff, the feel of the weather, the way their house looks, sooo right – you can practically smell dinner cooking.  If only 90s-era Bill Pullman would come sweep me off my feet. 😉

Shout out to Elf and Bad Santa– neither had enough of the warm, snuggly feel of Christmas to make the actual list, but both will make you laugh until you cry.  Will Ferrell makes Elf worth watching, in my opinion.  No other adult could behave like a naive, child-like imbecile with such sincerity and charm.  Billy Bob Thornton, on the other hand, sells the vile, repulsive drunk con artist shopping mall Santa as though he were made for the role.  And maybe he was.

English: A bauble on a Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas!!

~Nikki & Annie

Mele Kalikimaka Is The Thing To Say

Dear friends, loyal subscribers, lurkers, transient readers and first-timers (to this blog):

Today, in light of the impending holiday season and all of its accoutrement, I’d like to talk to you about holiday movies.  Annie and I will, sometime in the very near future, provide for you a list of our most beloved holiday movies, but for now I want to talk about what makes the great ones great.  (For the purposes of this post, a holiday movie is defined as a film set during the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season, which may or may not involve New Year’s, and in which the holiday itself plays an integral role.)

For me, a really good holiday movie must include all (or most) of the following:

  • the feel of home and family (both the warmth and the aggravation)
  • enough stress to be relate-able and/or to feel real
  • enough humor to cut the tension
  • at least one parent-to-child conflict
  • at least one sibling-to-sibling conflict
  • snow (I’ve never seen a great holiday flick set in Hawaii, or anywhere that doesn’t get snow during the winter)
  • alcohol and at least one somebody-drank-too-much-and-made-a-scene scene
  • one or more scenes in a crowded shopping mall
  • a soundtrack that includes either (or both) modern holiday music or the Christmas classics
  • a climactic scene involving a balls-out everything’s-going-to-shit freak-out
  • Christmas carolers
  • a botched holiday party/celebration

Tell me: have I forgotten anything?  Stay tuned for the flicks we recommend to enhance your holiday season.


But The Wind Goes Right Through You

You know how, after the holidays, you feel exhausted to the point of collapse, bloated and cranky and eager to hibernate for a month or two until the sun returns and the snow melts?  I feel that way right now…and Thanksgiving is still a week away.  I’m tired.  I’m drained.  And the very thought of holiday cheers and mashed potatoes and apple pie makes me want to crawl into bed and pull the comforter over my head.

Why the lack of enthusiasm, you ask?  I’m not entirely sure.  There is no snow to speak of (thank god; I would surely descend into despair if there were), we’re still getting intermittent sunshine and, aside from starting the holiday season 12 lbs heavier than I’d prefer, the reasons for my disdain are unclear.  Even to me.  I guess I’m just not in the mood.

You know, the mood.  The warm, sugary sweet coziness that fills your chest cavity like the innards of a chocolate eclair.  That overwhelming desire to spend hours with your family, people you see every few weeks (or months) usually but of whom now you suddenly can’t get enough.  Their jokes are funnier, their smiles are friendlier, their hugs feel warmer.  You eat and talk and laugh and eat some more and talk for longer, for hours, and feel like regardless of whatever differences you have with these people all year round, right now said differences mean nothing.  They’re family after all and what does that word mean if not that these are the people to whom you belong?  The people who get you, who need no explanations or pretensions, who just like being around you.

This year, though, I don’t feel particularly gotten.  And all the eating and talking and laughing sounds like work to me, energy I could spend sleeping or reading or staring at the newly painted walls of my “home office” wasted on the costly exertion of listening and sharing and smiling and pretending to care about the woes of others.  When all I really want to do is curl up under a blanket with my laptop or my Kindle and pet my dog.

I’m desperate, folks.  It’s time to pull out the big guns.  To watch The Family Stone and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  Maybe even Christmas Vacation.  I need something to snap me out of it…or snap me into it, whatever.  Something to remind me why the holidays are worth all the trouble.

Any suggestions?  I need all the help I can get.



The Dead Start To Walk In Their Masquerade

Another Labor Day has come and gone, my friends, marking the unofficial end to sweet summertime.  I would be devastated were it not for my intense, burning love of what follows.  This is why fall trumps all seasons:

    • Fall colors – by far, the boldest, most stunning in the spectrum
    • The non-humid, not-hot-but-not-cold sweatshirt weather
    • Halloween
    • All things related to Halloween, i.e., the plethora of new horror movies released in theaters, scary movie marathons on TV, unabashed candy-eating, trick-or-treaters, costume parties, haunted hayrides/houses, pumpkin carving, pumpkin seed eating, macabre decorations (including creepy spiderwebs)
    • sweaters
    • It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
    • the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks
    • the pumpkin smoothie at Robeks
    • oh screw it, everything pumpkin flavored
    • the start of new seasons of TV shows
    • 3rd Rock From The Sun reruns (I own all 6 seasons on DVD but will only watch them in the fall; any other time just doesn’t feel right)
    • pre-holiday excitement
    • I was born in the fall (shout out to all my fellow Libras!)
    • the wicked summer mosquitoes finally wither and die
    • my neighborhood perpetually smells of woodsmoke (Mmmm, camping)
    • Did I mention pumpkins?