Archive for Entertainment and Pop Culture
I love Jersey Shore. It is an absolutely terrible show, but it is unendingly hilarious, and the characters absolutely fascinate me. I’m one of those people that likes to look beyond the surface and check out what’s really going on. Today is the season finale of this season, so I decided to share my thoughts about the people on the show. This post contains my opinion on some of the inner workings of the members of the hit television phenomenon, Jersey Shore.
1. Mike “The Situation” - Mike is obviously the Loki of the group. That being said, he also seems to be the most insecure man in the bunch. He constantly causes ruckus: telling lies about people, sharing secrets he shouldn’t, etc… He has a drive to create drama and trouble no matter the repercussions. In my estimation, he has a conflict within himself that he is trying to find resolution for. Maybe he had a terrible relationship with his mother, or maybe he had an ex-girlfriend that broke his heart. Maybe he has unresolved feelings for Snooki; at least that’s what the show would like you to believe. On some level, the situation isn’t under control. Something continually nags at him to be fixed, and that nagging translates to all kinds of conflicting situations in his life. This leads him to be dishonest and hurt the people around him. It may even be that he is unintentionally trying to recreate the conflict scenario that is causing him so much pain to begin with. He constantly needs attention, but he doesn’t understand why, and he feels lonely when he doesn’t get it. Yet, he refuses to accept the reality that his own actions are what alienate people and cause him to be alone in the first place.
2. Ronnie - Ronnie is from the Bronx, but he’s not a typical Bronx macho man. I suspect that he was never a social leader in high school or after. He was likely the “third wheel” for a good amount of the social interactions in his life, or the one bro who never really fit in with the rest. He is big, but his confidence doesn’t match his stature. Ronnie is probably the happiest in the group, even though it may not seem like it because of his constant fighting with Sammi and his recent altercation with Mike. He is just happy to have found people in his life that he can consistently call his “friends.” He clings to Sammi because she is the first girl in his life who has treated him as her first choice and has shown a willingness to devote herself to him. He is probably not in love with Sammi, but rather in love with being in love. All this is demonstrated by his tendency to “swack” his fellow cast mates and his over the top dance moves at every club he ever goes to. Ronnie is finally in with the cool crowd, has a hot girlfriend, and is very content with it all. Although, he was only recently included in MVP to form MR. VP.
3. Vinny – Vinny is a family man. He feels a void in his life, and he can’t fill it with partying, drinking, or having lots of shallow sex. If you notice, Vinny is the one guy who is never shown consistently bringing home a girl to get it in. He won’t turn down a smush opportunity when it’s presented to him, but he doesn’t actively try to game women on the regular. He is an old fashioned romantic in the end. Vinny loves his mother, and he misses his life at home on Staten Island. He wants the comforts of a family life, and he is yearning for a quality woman to settle down with. That being said, he is surprisingly accepting. He is not judgmental of the other members of the house, and he’s always available to lend a nurturing word. He tries to recreate a strong family vibe among his house mates, and he becomes very disappointed when he fails. This is the reason Ronnie and Sam’s fights bother him more than they bother the others. He is genuinely affected by them because those conflicts are a direct threat to that family comfort he so ardently desires.
4. Pauly D. - Pauly is obsessive and meticulous. He is from Rhode Island, and probably comes from a wealthy background. He has never really had to deal with a great degree of responsibility in his life, though that is not unique to him. He focuses a disgusting amount of attention on his appearance, and that is likely because he needs something to devote his time to. He is not intelligent or capable enough to do anything outside of the club domain, so he focuses on his appearance and being a DJ. He is unambitious, and his lack of movement will catch up to him sooner or later. Though he is content with where he is at now, I suspect he will become bored with his life fairly soon and seek other avenues to channel his energies. Things have likely just fallen in his lap throughout his life, and he doesn’t really know what it is to earn something. Pauly will probably learn this lesson quickly and harshly.
5. Jenni “JWOWW” - Jenni is the most “normal” person on the show, though I hate using the word normal. She realizes how stupid the show is, and she realizes that the entire country is laughing at them. She doesn’t really care though. She’s in it for the money. She is getting paid lots of money for putting up with a group of ignorant irresponsible people, and she doesn’t really mind. She probably just does whatever the producers tell her too, and that’s likely the reason she has become the “big sister” on the show, regularly taking care of Snooki and defusing other conflicts in the house. Not to mention, she provides great eye candy with her giant chest. She is not a shallow person, and she isn’t fickle either. She knows what she wants out of life, and she knows how to take advantage of situations to achieve her goals. She appears to care about Snooki and other members of the house, though I suspect she cares a lot less than the show demonstrates.
6. Sammi “Sweetheart” - To me, Sammi is the most uninteresting of the house mates. She is a typical modern girl. She is somewhat intelligent, probably has a bachelor’s degree, or if not, is working on one. She will likely lead an average middle class life, working in an office somewhere. She enjoys partying and going out, but she isn’t a “partier,” so to speak. She probably keeps in touch with her family, and she has a tendency to over-dramatize her relationships, turning them into something they aren’t. I’m not quite sure about precisely how invested she is in Ronnie, but I am hesitant to say that she is actually completely in love with him, especially since her feelings really come out in full force only when she is drunk. There really isn’t much else to say about Sammi.
7. Snooki – I absolutely hate Snooki. She is an unattractive, stupid, spoiled little brat. She is the textbook definition of daddy’s little girl who was never disciplined and got whatever she asked for if she just cried a little. She has no tact and no class because she has never had any responsibility in her life. She is sloppy, regularly revealing herself in public environments and becoming uncontrollably inebriated even more regularly. She misses her daddy, and hates feeling helpless, which is why she becomes so broken after losing Jionni and after hitting a police officer’s vehicle in Italy. She doesn’t know anything about anything, and the last time she probably read a book was elementary school. She sometimes slips into insecurity, worrying about how people perceive her, but she eventually recovers and gets lost in living her life. This recovery usually happens through the consumption of a large amount of alcohol. Recently, Snooki has become antagonistic toward her house mates because they try to take care of her at every turn. What she doesn’t realize is that her own actions precipitate this desire in her house mates. Daddy has taken care of everything for her throughout her life, and she is incapable to doing things on her own. So, her house mates need to step in to take of the little girl.
Anyway, that’s all I have to say about that. I’m looking forward to the season finale tonight; it should be a good one.
I was all kinds of excited for this movie. Spielberg and Abrams on the same project? That has epic written all over it. I didn’t expect the film to be Oscar-worthy or anything, but I did expect it to be entertaining and captivating. I didn’t expect to be bored, and I expected it to live up to the hype.
The movie was almost exactly what I expected. It was suspenseful, funny in the right ways at the right moments, and full of action. It had a young teenage romance to add a something little extra to it as well. Super 8 features a group of young friends filming a movie to enter into a film contest. One night they are at the train tracks filming when a train crashes and chaos ensues. The train crash is followed by the disappearances of people’s belongings and beloved pets, along with the disappearances of several people as well.
I won’t give away anything else, but I will say that the movie is worth watching. Though there are no crazy plot twists, and most of it is pretty expected and straight forward, it is definitely a good popcorn movie. The acting is good, particularly by the main character, and the character development of the children is adorable, and it feels very real. The film isn’t sophisticated, but most should be able to relate to it, except for the whole train crash and otherworldly creature thing.
One last note, if you’re a fan of Stephen King, as I am, you should love this movie. It has King written all over it, and the film is very reminiscent of a plot line that the famous author would develop.
I don’t like a lot of modern shows that address issues about relationships, sexuality, and such things. Most of them are inaccurate or they dramatize real issues in a way that gives people a false representation of reality. Shows like Glee, Secret Life of the American Teenager, and even Grey’s Anatomy pretend like they have a grasp on what it means to interact with people in a real and complicated way (I will grant that some shows are better quality than others). While such shows can be entertaining and appeal to large audiences, they do a great disservice to the American public. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy such television shows. They are entertaining and fun to watch, but it troubles me that there are a lot of people with whom these shows resonate emotionally, when they really shouldn’t. They are usually, if not always, biased and shallow, and they are designed and written to sell. Again, there is nothing really wrong with that because the purpose of these television programs is to entertain.
I have been hard pressed, however, to find a program that is both entertaining and sophisticated when dealing with these issues. Finally, NBC has managed to put on the air a show that I think is nearly perfect in its approach to relationships. Love Bites is a new program that airs Thursday nights on USA, and it offers a refreshing a witty approach to the complicated interactions with others we all face in our lives. It is witty and charming, not unlike the films Love Actually and Valentine’s Day. It pans out in segments, focusing on different types of relationships, interactions, and people. It addresses issue like homosexuality, sex, and commitment, among many others. Granted, it has only aired two episodes, but I am already in love with it. It does not sacrifice accuracy and in depth commentary for entertainment and cheaply written lines. The acting is surprisingly good, and the writing is fresh and colorful. It is exactly what I’ve been looking for in a TV show about all things “relationshippy,” and I sincerely advise everyone to check it out.
Last night I went to Regal Cinemas at Severance Town Center with a good buddy of mine to watch the sequels to Kung Fu Panda and The Hangover, two of my favorite movies. I was expecting a night filled with laughter and hilarity, but these films exceeded all my expectations. It is rare that a sequel even matches the quality of the original, but in my opinion, both of these sequels exceeded the quality of their predecessors. I warn you, there are some spoilers in my commentary, so you may not want to read it if you haven’t seen the movies.
The first Kung Fu Panda is my favorite modern animated film (nothing will ever beat the classic Lion King). I enjoyed it because of its sophisticated philosophical content. It commented on identity issues which are relevant to most in some way or another. The voice acting and animation did a perfect job of conveying the precise emotions that we all feel when dealing with our parents, hopes and dreams, and those we admire. I feared that the second release would sacrifice this intricate emotional commentary in favor of humor and entertainment, which sequels tend to do because they are produced hastily and designed largely to make money. Kung Fu Panda 2 did add a great deal of humor and entertainment, though not at the sacrifice of everything I loved about the original film. The movie shows Po facing a new villain, Shen the Peacock. Shen was exiled from his childhood home by his parents, the peacock rulers of the kingdom, the kingdom to which Shen was heir. He has spent his life building a devastating weapon which will allow him, with his army of wolves serving him, to take back his throne and conquer the world. A soothsayer (an old sassy goat) had predicted that Shen will be defeated by a warrior of black and white, and so Shen had decided to attack and exterminate all the pandas. This plot line leads us to discover Po’s true origins because, shockingly enough, the goose is not his real father. The movie is action packed and hilarious. Not only that, Shen’s emotional construct is intricate and complicated, and it is revealed through great animation and voice acting. Po’s identity issues are devoted the same attention. Also, the movie isn’t terribly predictable or cliche. In fact, the ending was incredible and completely unexpected. I won’t tell you what happened, but it’s pretty clear that there will be a third film. The only criticism I have is that some of the new characters seemed forced, and did not have an adequate back story. This left a few holes in the plot which made it feel a bit incomplete. Aside from that, however, the movie was superb.
On to The Hangover 2. Absurdly funny is perhaps the most appropriate way to describe this movie. I can safely say it is the funniest movie I have ever seen, even more so than the first. The movie makes it perfectly clear from the beginning that the viewer is in for something unbelievably ridiculous. This movie finds “the wolfpack” journeying to Thailand for Stu’s wedding to a really hot Thai girl. The typical family issue of the asshole stepfather is present, but some brilliant writing makes it vibrant and different. Stu’s bride’s little brother, Teddy, is the new character of focus in the film. He is a 16 year old Stanford pre-med student, and Alan immediately takes a dislike to him, fearing that he may change the wolfpack forever. Alan makes a plan to spike a bag of marshmallows with muscle relaxant and ADHD medication and give them to Teddy, thereby knocking him out. Unfortunately, two bags of marshmallows get switched, and the group of friends find themselves waking up in a shady hotel in Bangkok, completely unaware of what happened the night before. Teddy is missing, and his severed finger is found in a bowl of water in the room, along with a monkey wearing a vest. The rest of the film includes the monkey giving Mr. Chou oral sex, Phil getting shot, Stu having sex with a Thai transvestite, and much much more. I cannot say anything bad about this movie. It is unerringly creative and unpredictable in its story line. Every twist is unexpected, and every moment throughout the film is gut wrenchingly funny. If you don’t think this movie is funny, something is clearly wrong with you. Enough said.