Spoiler-Free Thoughts on “American Hustle”

Well…as spoiler free as possible.

  • This movie is really long…maybe too long. Be prepared.
  • Holy crap, Louis C.K. is in this? Semi-reprising his role as Officer Dave Sanderson, the cop in “Parks and Rec”, but this time working for the F.B.I.
  • Yes, there is a crazy cat lady featured in this film. Thank you, Hollywood, for finally giving some representation to this very real type of woman (and some men, too).
  • They got Amy Adams looking reeeealll haggard in a scene or two–THANK YOU for that. I’m tired of seeing her always looking angelic. That and the copious amounts of side-boob, an especially hilarious pee-ing scene, and some other speckles of nudity put her solidly in the running for that Oscar she’s gunnin’ for.
  • Bradley Cooper in perm-hair-rollers  is surprisingly NOT AT ALL HOT.
  • Robert De Niro without hair is surprisingly hot (jk/lol).
  • SO MUCH CHEST HAIR. The 70’s were apparently a furry, furry decade.
  • There are black people in this–no, they don’t have speaking roles (well, a secretary with one line), but at least they’re still featured (and not as homeless/druggies) in a NY/NJ based movie–unlike the first season of GIRLS. I’m not saying we need to force diversity into every story, but when you’re in a major metropolis such as The Big Apple/New Jersey…
  • Shows of fidelity are best symbolized by the passing of a kitchen appliance from one friend to another.
  • J-Law is real cute in this movie, she’s also kind of gross and a little creepy (which just makes her more endearing)–she needs some accent work, though. Kind of love that she doesn’t take her clothes off when this role could have clearly called for it (sorry, that was a spoiler).
  • Elton John–“Yellow Brick Road”.
  • This movie is way too freaking long.
  • Everybody in this movie is a hypocrite–I think that’s the point.
  • Louis C.K. is awesome in this–can he get a “Best Supporting” nom, please?
  • “You’re too beautiful to be unhappy”. HAHAHAHA.
  • Christian Bale is aiight. The beer belly becomes him.
  • Am I still watching this? It’s been over 2 hours. How has my limited attention span allowed for this?
  • Cold Cut King of Long Island.
  • Anti-climactic ending.

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An Ode to the SAHM

One of my friends and readers pointed out that one of my previous posts seems to shine a negative opinion on mothers that opt-out of the workforce. The Stay at Home Mom (SAHM).

So totally not my intention, you guys! I’m deeply sorry if it came off that way.

In my post, I was reflecting on a topic that seems to constantly flow through my brain like ticker-tape. That is, to find a guy (any guy), get married, and devote my life to my kids because I’m too scared to reach for a goal where the odds aren’t at all in my favor (yep, I’m re-reading “The Hunger Games” Trilogy).

It was in no way meant to make the SAHM out to be some crappy alternative for when your plans don’t work out. I know a plethora of women that choose to stay home and raise and educate their children. Many of these women in my acquaintance are complete badasses and could run rings around most other people with the amount of energy and dedication they place into their family.

For me, though, I know I would suck at it. Even as a rich SAHM, I would drop the ball.

And here are just some of the reasons why:

  • I am not a selfless being--right now, I’m all the family that I have to take care of. There is no way I could put the best interests of my children (and significant other) in front of my own.
  • I have not the patience— yes, I am a full-time nanny to two children under four. This does require an inordinate amount of patience. HOWEVER, at the end of the day, after the 1000th tantrum, I hand those kiddos over to their mother and father and say sayonara!
  • I’m not that skilled–Cooking is something entirely new to me and I’m just passing the “boil water” phase. Cleaning is something I do naught at all (Hoarders: Buried Alive has been asking me to sign a contract for decades). The general fix-it-ness of most SAHMs that I know didn’t quite make it into my DNA. Budgeting for an entire family on one income isn’t something I would be able to master. And speaking of money matters:
  • I’m too much of an impulsive buyer–I realize that when working off of one income for an entire family, budgeting becomes a factor. Although my bills are paid regularly, I will admit that I do have several items in my possession that nobody needs (I’m looking at you, LEGO Diagon Alley). One day, I’d be sitting at home in front of Amazon Prime and BOOM, there goes Ullyses’s tuition for the month on a pair of Moon Shoes and a diamond encrusted cocktail shaker.
  • PROCRASTINATION–Little Chauncey doesn’t need a bath today, he had one two days ago. I’ll just keep reading this Harlequin romance novel while Little Ferguson gnaws away at that extension cord (it is pretty thick). What’s that? The dishes are piled so high in the sink that it looks like some strange homage to the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Well, one more plate won’t hurt.

There are many more aspects and facets to the SAHM, you guys, but the above are just a few of the reasons why that path just wouldn’t work out for me. I’d drive myself just as crazy as my children would.

But there is a very rare subset of woman out there that completely ROCKS the SAHM path and I just wanted to give the ones I know a shout-out. Y’all are awesome.

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This is true for me, though.

Free Speech and a Duck Call

The internet is in a right kerfluffle with news of a character from a popular A&E show getting the boot from…well, his own show.

Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” decided to let the world know that homosexuals are all sinners and are going directly to H-E-Double Hockey Sticks. That’s me paraphrasing, by the way–but it is, in essence, the crux of his statement.

I, for one, am floored that an overtly religious (Baptist Christian), deep southern, white male could have any sort of sentiments that could be interpreted as anti-gay.

Just kidding, you guys. OBVI.

There are many people (of course) coming to his defense, pointing out that the man has a right to freedom of speech because this is AMMURRICA, dammit!

And I agree–it is true that Phil has a right to “Freedom of Speech”–which only extends so far as not being prosecuted by the government.

As far as I can tell, he isn’t holed up in a federal or state prison (watching his show on the cable TV provided by my tax dollars when even I can’t afford cable) for his comments–he’s probably straight chillin’ at the family homestead surrounded by boxes of duck calls and his numerous animals.

A&E, on the other hand, has every right to put him on “hiatus”. This is a cable channel that openly supports LGBT causes–it’s one that’s attempted to make this down home, back woods family palatable to the entire country. It’s a cash cow, more or less, and the minute you do something to offend what could be a large population of viewers, that’s when they crack down.

Take, for instance, the ever multiplying Duggar brood–19 kids and an affinity for conservative politics and Baptist Christian teachings. It’s inferred by the gentle viewer that these people are very much anti-gay.

But do you see TLC broadcasting that fact?

NO! Because pushing that sort of agenda on a widely viewed television audience narrows the numbers and the ratings plummet. In recent years, they’ve become outspoken about their anti-abortion stance and it has certainly chinked away at the armor of what once was TLC’s most popular show.

So when A&E asks the Robertsons to keep those opinions out of the public limelight, when they ask them to finish their nightly prayer with “God” as opposed to “Jesus”–it’s because they’re trying to make the audience of the show bigger.

That’s A&E’s job, you guys. The network is nothing without an audience.

This man has a right to his opinion, but he doesn’t have the right to jeopardize the network’s ratings.

So I would posit that the next step for the Robertson clan is to decide whether evangelizing takes precedence over the money they’re dragging in in barrels from their SCRIPTED television show (yes, ladies and gents, if you couldn’t tell from the bad acting, the situations in that show are all fake).

Something tells me that the show will go on because piles of money are obviously very important to this bunch (why else would one have an intrusive television show follow around your family if you’re already “self-made billionaires”?).

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It Would Be Easy–Some Introspection

It would be easy to blame exhaustion from work for your lack of motivation in your creative pursuits.

Vegging out on the couch watching entire seasons of past-hit televisions shows doesn’t take any effort at all–so when the Netflix red loading screen is calling your name, you haven’t been one to turn it down. Working a 50+ hour work week chasing two very active children around Los Angeles is enough to make even the most stalwart human ready for a month-long nap

It would be easy to throw in the towel after being handed a big fat bag of rejection. 

What is the artist’s life if not one rife with rejection. Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab [FINAL ROUND] turned out to be a “no” for this year. And a sketch team audition didn’t garner a call-back. News of both happened on the same day within mere hours of each other. That’s enough to make anyone want to bury their head in the sand.

It would be easy to shut down the computer, close the notebook, and let Writer’s Block have control of your creative process. 

When that blank page is staring you in the face–when you make excuses not to work because your favorite pen is out of ink and it’ll be a while before you can get back to the store–when you tell yourself that everything you’ve ever written has been absolute junk so why bother? Most people wouldn’t bother–most people don’t bother.

It would be easy to constantly compare yourself to others–to find your shortcomings in other’s successes. 

When you’ve surrounded yourself with other aspiring industry nerds–when you’re inundated with the flood of media glorifying those that have done the things that you want to do— one can’t help but lose perspective. That tiny little devil on your shoulder whispers tantalizingly in your ear: “If you give up now…I’ll buy you some cake to enjoy while you drink your cocktail of coconut rum and the tears of your unaccomplished goals”. Who could resist such an offer?

It would be easy to pick a more secure/safe/certain path. 

You’re really good at working in retail. You’ve helped raise so many babies over the years, surely, if you just found a guy [not even Mr. Right, but Mr. That’ll-Do], you’d make some awesome little offspring to drive to soccer and ballet and whatever other activity you chose to live vicariously through them. Surely.

It would be easy to pack up your car and move back east. 

Out of LA, back to where you won’t spend a majority of your wages on rent. Back to a place where you can live the rest of your days trudging to the movie theatre wondering what would have been–yelling at the actors on the silver screen “I COULD’VE DONE THAT BETTER”. Where a solid lead ball will drop into the pit of your stomach every time you think about how you surrendered because it was too “hard” and because you were too “tired”.

But you’ve never been the one to do that which was EASY.

Someone tells you “No” and “Can’t” and you immediately spring into action–it’s not simply that you must prove yourself to THEM–you must prove yourself to…well…yourself. You wrote a spec script and got an actively working sitcom writer (for your most favorite show on the entire planet, no less) to give you some valuable feedback. While he gave you a ton of notes to work on specifics, he also gave you some words of encouragement: “You clearly know what you’re doing in terms of joke writing…You really get the characters voices!…You know how a 3 act story is structured, etc.”. You aren’t shooting blanks, at least, so keep aiming at the target.

You came to Los Angeles with a goal–an astronomical goal–but you chose it for yourself. The only one that’ll be disappointed in your failure to achieve these completely fabricated life missions is YOU. If you want it, go get it. So get to work!

[And for God’s sake, go take a shower.]

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