Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Eclipse Spin-Off: Milking the Twilight Cash Cow or Reason To get Excited?

Yesterday a press release announcing that Stephanie Meyer would be releasing a 192 page novella titled "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner" based on a Bree a minor character from the third novel in the Twilight Saga made it's rounds in the media. Some Twihards are super excited about this, me not so much.
Stephanie Meyer is famous for maintaining close contact with her fans via her website, which includes multiple outtakes from the 4 books in the saga. Readers can also find the first 13 chapters of "Midnight Sun" on her site, for those who don't know, Midnight Sun was the planned 5th book in the Twilight Saga and is a retelling of Twilight from Edwards perspective. The first draft of the manuscript was leaked by an insider and Meyer decided to make it available via her site promising that her next book would be Midnight Sun.
Now it's two 2 years and 2 ridiculously successful movies later and just in time for movie number 3 she has decided to release this novella which is based on a character from book/movie #3.
The character Bree appears in one scene in the approximately 700 page Eclipse, part of the army of vampires sent to kill Bella she surrenders to the Cullen's who offer to show her the way but kick ass Volturi Hench-Woman Jane kills her instead. The novella will show her journey with the army of bad vampires(lead by Victoria and Riley) from Seattle to Forks.
It could be an OK story, but truth be told I simply do not care about the character(s). We all know why Victoria goes on her mission, we all read when Riley realized he was a tool in Victoria's quest for vengeance and we all read Bree describing how she and the other newborns were brought into Victoria's Army. All three characters die in Eclipse, we know who they are, what they do, why they do it, and we know how they reach their demise. There are an infinite number of spin off options and according to many online polls that were made after yesterday's announcement people would have preferred it if she wrote about anyone else.
Me personally I would prefer reading the completed "Midnight Sun", as the ""would be fifth book in the series it benefited from better writing and stronger story telling. It also let's the readers see the where Edward's darkness comes from.
My verdict is that this is not a reason to get excited but an example of further milking of the Twilight cash cow, you know the milking I'm talking about: Edward panties, Jacob ice cream bars, Bella lipgloss and a novella about insignificant characters.
On the plus side, it will be available for free online for a period of time and $1 from the 13.95 selling price will be donated to charity.

Wicked Wednesday-Shoe Porn

In my post on my theory of "Shoe Porn" I stated that it would become a weekly feature, now Wicked Wednesday's has been born. Every Wednesday I will detail a new Shoe Porn find. Sometimes the shoes will be from my personal collection others will be online or magazine finds.

Today's shoe is a peep toe boot from my personal collection. I love this boot!! When the package arrived, I slipped it on and my worn down "work sucked the very life & joy out of me" attitude changed. I instantly felt the desire to go out and make something happen, it's was like shoe Viagra awakening the lifeless.

If I had to compare this particular shoe to a lover (see previous post) I think it would be a hybrid of a Dominatrix and a Bad-Boy. Similar to the bad-boy with it's air of the dark and mysterious(the stitched leather and zipper detailing scream biker boy) it also has a decidedly kick ass feminine aspect (the multiple straps and hints of skin are very "bondage" you almost expect a whip to be a part of the outfit, while the peep toe and skinny heel keep it approachable & sexy). It's a bit hardcore, a bit edgy and calls attention to itself.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Epic Battle of: Fatgirl VS Skinny Jeans

I have recently encountered one of the biggest shopping challenges ever...trying to find a pair of skinny jeans. Sounds easy enough right? Skinny jeans have been around for years now and are being sold by the millions in every shop imaginable. However let us not forget that I am in fact a fat girl, and that fact made the search for jeans 100 times more challenging than anything I had previously encountered (including the hunt for knee high boots that fit my calves).
So if it's such a challenge why bother? Why not wear regular fit jeans? Well I love shoes, boots, even sneakers and the best way to show off nice footwear is with skinny jeans or a skirt. So I started my search for a pair.

First there was a delay because it took the manufactures of plus size clothes quite a while to jump on the skinny jean bandwagon and once they did they managed to do it all wrong. Case in point below is a pic of me wearing my first pair of "skinny jeans"(HAH!). I purchased them online from an unnamed department store last spring...the manufacturer is calling these jeans "skinny" and I'm calling BULLSHIT!! A skinny jean should fit right on your ankle there should be little to no empty space between the jean and your skin around the calf and ankle. This jean is practically boot cut.

After that debacle I decided it was time to go shopping in person. I will admit that I had a bit of an issue strolling into stores as an obviously non skinny person and saying "oh I'm looking for skinny jeans", I always felt like I was being judged even though I never received so much as a raised eyebrow. Anyhoo six months and many stores later I have figured out a few things:

#1 Florescent lights are a bitch and a half. I know myself and I know clothes really well so I can go into any store pick up an article of clothing and know how it's going to fit without ever having to try it on. For this skinny jean hunt I ventured into fitting rooms for the first time in years, and found myself bouncing around tiny little rooms as I tried on jeans. I was sweating like a pig and fighting the urge to strip naked because of the heat from the ever present fluorescent track lighting. May I say that looking a hot mess never encourages me to shop so fitting room fail.

#2 As your jean size goes up so does the circumference of the ankle on the jeans so while you may find a true skinny jean in say a size 14 by the time you get to the top of the size chart which I believe is a 28 the ankle has increased significantly however not every big girl has thick ankles or calves. Case in point my nameless friend (who is a woman of size) was very excited a few weeks back when she ordered a pair of skinny jeans online and was very disappointed when they arrived and found that because of her slim calves and ankles her skinny jean turned into a straight leg. I warned her that would happen.

#3 Expensive is not always better. I detest buying work know beyond plain, un-fun, blah black slacks....because of my intense hatred I refuse to spend good money on them. I found that Ashley Stewart has line of "professional pants" that sells for $20-29. Now I do not like Ashley Stewart AT ALL, the clothes are usually tacky, poorly made and for some reason they are under the impression that plus size women like to wear massive amounts of leopard prints and pleather, but they make a good cheap "work pant". On a random trip to buy work pants I happened upon their stretch skinny jeans, and was shocked to see how well they actually worked. Unlike my $80 online purchase their 29.99 skinny jean was almost perfect and they come in petite which is great because I'm almost hobbit sized.
And they come on colors! Hot pink pants woohoo!! I think I want to get a shirt that says "Hot Pants" to wear with my pink jeans...kidding.

#4 Denim leggings are not skinny jeans but a close alternative. Both Target and Torrid offer denim leggings and they sell from from $20-$60. The Target version is very much a stretch jersey cotton legging stitched and dyed to look like jeans. Torrid offers a alternative by Z.Cavaricci that is a verrrrrrry verrrrrry light weight soft denim, and unlike the Target alternative these have pockets and button/zipper closures. I used the Torrid leggings for the 6 months it took me to find the Holy Grail of fat girl denim.

#5 Classics are classics for a reason....after months of searching I finally found a absolutely perfect pair of true skinny jeans in plus size made by non other than Levis. Perfect inside a boot or with pumps and cute sneakers. I had put off my search once I found the Ashley Stewart jeans but was surfing on a couple of weeks ago looking for cropped "Boyfriend" jeans and peep toe booties when I my eyes caught sight of the "You might like" bar on the side of page and there they were, what looked like the perfect jeans reduced to $40 so I took a chance and placed them in my online shopping cart. They arrived this Monday and I literally screamed in excitement as I pulled the motherfuckers on (sorry, my jubilation has led to a potty mouth). I was shocked they are the perfect length and color, close fit from waist right down to ankles and they still managed to allow for a comfortable range of motion. I love them so....the Levi's Plus Ultraskinny jeans are currently available in indigo or black(I bought black).

So the fat girl emerged victorious in her quest to find plus size skinny next challenge has yet to present it self but I'm game.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Shoe Porn

I often mention Shoe Porn and no one around me has any idea what I'm talking about. So today I'm going to explain the wonder of shoe porn.
Your typical porn magazine provides visual fantasy for the reader, they look at the photos of highly airbrushed women in supposedly sexy poses and they...well lets be honest they use these images to get off. It's about looking at something they may consider beautiful, hot, sexy or naughty and using it to bring on a visceral experience(orgasm anyone).
Shoe porn is similar, but instead of ogling the pages of Playboy you ogle Vogue. While you can get a shoe anywhere there aren't many of us who can drop $1000 on a pair of fuckhawt Luboutin's, so they become an object of fantasy. Something pretty and unattainable that is fun to look at. And while admiring shoes does not lead to heavy breathing and screaming(unless you are kinky that way)a person who appreciates the beauty of a shoe feels happy after admiring the pretty.
And it can at times be a more tactile experience, because unlike the women who live on the pages of magazines and in DVD players you can easily purchase a shoe that makes you happy or feel hot.

This brings me to my next point the shoegasm. Similar to an orgasm, a shoegasm is the sense of euphoria that comes over a person when they find that perfect shoe. It can come in many forms, a big a loud "FUCK YES!" brought on by a hot stiletto, or a happy cry of "pretty, pretty,pretty, pretty" brought on my a girlie sandal, or a soft whimper of "oooooh" brought on by changing into an uber comfortable pair of Ugg boots after a long day of stomping the streets of NYC in heels.

Finally there is my comparison of types shoes & types of lovers---

This shoe is the equivalent of the Badboy---it's dark and dangerous and it makes you feel tough and hot by association.

This is the "I kissed a Girl" or the girl on girl shoe if you will, eternally soft, frilly, romantic and pretty it can not be tied to masculine energy in any way.

The Husband-Tried and true this shoe is the guy you have been married to for 20 years. he knows you and supports you and is reliable if nothing else.

This is the Musician-The musician is cool, sexy, slightly aloof, and adds an air of badass. You're the cool chick if you're hanging out with the band and you're the cool chick if you're wearing this shoe.

This is the Debonair shoe, it could be new or it could be vintage. It's kind of like the Pierce Brosnan or Sean Connery of shoes. It's classic and beautiful and just as good if not better 20 years down the line.

So that's my definition of shoe porn. I will frequently add a pic or post on new examples of shoe porn. So now that I sufficiently made myself look like some kinky foot fetishist (I assure you I have no such fetish) I shall sign off and get to thinking about my next topic of conversation.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chhhhherry Bomb!!!!

After months of going back and forth on getting this blog up and running I am finally making my first post. I think it is fairly appropriate that I am popping my "blogging cherry" with a review of "The Runaways" whose biggest hit was the song "Cherry Bomb". Eww cant believe
I just wrote that.
So I'm a big fan of Joan a huge fan..."Bad Reputation" and "Little Liar" are two of my personal anthems. I'm such a big fan that I converted my six year old Hannah Montana loving niece into a Joan Jett fan.

When I read about the biopic based on The Runaways I was super excited especially when I heard that Kristen Stewart would be starring as Joan Jett because I think that girl is kind of a bad ass and if you're going to play the queen of bad ass you need to be one yourself.
Now I get that people hate Twilight but I really think that the actors should not be judged on the Twilight films, it's hard to make something out of source material that includes some of the corniest lines ever to be published.

But back to The Runaways, music biopics can be very good (Walk the line) but can also quickly fall into a kitschy costume piece that's more about big name actors wanting to play Rock N' Roller than about telling a story. The Runaways is a good movie, it's not epic and it wont turn the movie industry on it side but it holds it own which is not easy for independent movies in this day and age. Made for under 10 million dollars in the summer of 2009 the film rounded up a great cast, is visually gritty, honest and respectful of the story it is telling.

The movie serves as an inspiration/cautionary tale. Cherrie falls hard and fast, Joan stumbles but perseveres and becomes one of the biggest Rock N' Roll icons of all time(note I did not say female icons, Joan is too big for that, she is not a female rocker she is a rocker period.)
The strength of the film comes from the performances, Stewart as Joan Jett and Michael Shannon as the bands manager/svengali are the standouts.

Stewart serves as the spine/anchor of the movie and the band. She plays the role with the quiet intensity of the real Joan. She is vulnerable, open and I want to say raw in her delivery. In every scene that she is onscreen but not the focus of the scene you want her to be the focus. The role of Cherrie is undoubtedly more flashy and fun and has more screen time but the role of Joan has more depth (or is played with more depth) and more heart. Stewart literally becomes Joan, walking like her(like a boy), writing with her left hand, adopting an east coast accent, loses her own trademark ticks (lip biting and blinking) and taking on Joan's ticks.
An acoustic guitar player she learned how to play the electric guitar in 3 weeks so that she could do her own guitar playing and singing in the film. Her impersonation of Joan singing is so spot on it even confused me with her rendition of "I love Playing with Fire" almost identical to the original. For those who question her acting ability based on Twilight her performance in The Runaways is a great big fuck you....and an example of her believability and skill.

Her standout moments in the film are fairly evenly dispersed but as Joan comes into her own toward the movies end so does Kristen. The breakup scene is my favorite, we see her in this dark studio looking OK and as things start to fall apart she angrily tries to keep it together. The lights come on and we see what time, drugs and life on the road have done to her. The moment where she jumps at the glass and finally says fuck you is one of if not the most powerful moment in the movie.
Other great moments include the her first appearance onscreen where she pours a bag of loose change on a thrift store counter and tells the shopkeeper" I want what he's wearing" pointing to a guy in a leather biker jacket we then see her running down the Sunset Strip as the title card comes up.
There are a multitude of moments and I wont mention them all because I want everyone to see this movie not just read about it.

Shannon is a scene stealer, I have not seen his previous work but dude owns the screen whenever he is on. His character could have become a complete joke because of his outrageous wardrobe, makeup and one liners but truth is Kim Fowley really is that out there. He is given what have to be the best lines in the movie and he delivers them flawlessly and dynamically like when he finds 15 year old Cherie in a club and knows he's found the final piece to the all girl band and exclaims "Jail fucking bait, Jack Fucking Pot!". He delivers his outlandish and sexists one liners without letting his character become the joke, examples of this brilliance are:

"You bitches are going to be bigger than the Beatles"
"You pussies showed those punks how to cock fight"
"I'm teaching you bitches how to think with your cocks"
'Men want to see women in two places, in their kitchens or on their knees. Not on stage with guitars"
"This is not about women's lib it's about women's libido" speaking to Joan about what they are trying to build together
"Do the death dance bitches" this is a scene where he pays teenage boys to throw garbage and poop at the girls so they can prepare themselves for hecklers.

OK so this getting pretty long so I'm going to say what really worked and what could have been better. What works:
This film is the first biopic of an all female band and it takes that honor seriously writer/director Floria Sigismondi weaves her tale well, infusing it with humor, heart and bad ass attitude. A music video director this is her first feature and her gritty yet beautiful imagery is stunning at times. Her musical performance sequences are amazing and casting the movie with two leads who could sing their own parts was a good move as no one wants to see lip syncing.
Wardrobe, for a movie with a limited budget they went all out,the pieces are true to the late 70's but they never come off as costumey (except the actual stage costumes).
The little details, the details that only super fans notice. They are plentiful in this movie, for example we see Joan enter the English Disco and we hear a cover of her future hit "Do you wanna touch me". Later in a moment of reflection we see her listening to music from the street, the song is The Arrows "I love Rock N Roll" which Joan covered and it became her first number 1. We also see her pick up a white Gibson guitar in her panties singing along to the song while jumping up and down on her bed, the guitar in question is a Gibson Melody Maker and it was her signature guitar during her rise to solo fame. We also see her in a bathtub reciting lyrics and writing a song, the lyrics she is reciting are to Joan's song "Love is Pain" That attention to detail really adds to the movie.

The title of the Runaways is a bit misleading as it is really the story of Cherie and Joan. However a bit more of the other Runaways would have good. Lita Ford only comes onscreen for about 5 lines(Ford would not sign off on the film) and the fictional bass player Robin Robins does not say one word in the whole film.

There are no clear notations of the passing of time but if you pay super close attention you may notice Joan's haircut changes subtly throughout the movie this is done to depict the passing of years, however very few will notice these details. It seems that mere months have passed when in fact the film spans approximately three years.
There is also an out of place sequence where we see Joan in a tub the image transitions to her body floating in an ocean. This fantasy sequence is odd because it is not a dream, hallucination or fantasy sequence.

Finally my thoughts on Dakota Fanning as Cherrie. Fanning has some strong moments, her drunken grocery shopping is a favorite moment of mine and she plays the innocent well. She also delivers in the musical performance scenes, like Stewart she does her own singing but does not impersonate Cherrie's voice which is good because Cherrie was not a good singer. But I don't think she was quite ready for this role. There is no difference in her portrayal of a drug free girl dancing in her room to a coked up girl dancing in a Japanese hotel. She shares good chemistry with Stewart and you believe in their friendship she also works well with Riley Keough (Elvis Pressley's granddaughter) who plays her twin sister.

So the good outweighs the not so good by a ton. Go see this movie! If not for the great music see it because it's about women, directed by a woman and executive produced by a woman.

There you have it my first ever blog post!! My next post is all about shoe porn and the shoegasm's it leads to.