Monday, August 6, 2012

The Dark Knight Falls

This past weekend, I finally saw The Dark Knight Rises. I was eagerly awaiting the third, final movie in Nolan's Batman trilogy. Although I wasn't too impressed by Batman Begins, I thought The Dark Knight was one of the best movies I've ever seen, action/superhero movie or otherwise, and figured Nolan was going to top off his trilogy with an even more epic film.

While it wasn't a bad movie by any means, and Christian Bale did a phenomenal job as Bruce Wayne, I have to admit that I wasn't nearly as impressed by it as many of my fellow moviegoers. Moreover, not only do I not think that it was the best movie of the trilogy, I don't think it even belongs in the same league as The Dark Knight.

Here are my issues with The Dark Knight Rises:

1. Bane

Bane wasn't scary and creepy like the Scarecrow. He wasn't clever, witty, funny, twisted, intriguing like The Joker. He wasn't a sideshow with a moral conflict begging to be psychologically dissected like Two-Face (Dent). Instead, the most interesting/intriguing thing about him is this ridiculous face mask thing that he supposedly wears because he got some infection/sickness when he was younger and it's the only thing to stop the pain. Unfortunately, the mask doesn't make him intimidating or intriguing. Rather it turns him into a poor man's, second-rate Darth Vader wannabe.

Let's dissect Bane's personality for a moment. This is a man who risked his own well-being to save and raise a child who wasn't even his own. He loved this child and helped this child escape the hell-hole they were living in even if it meant incurring the wrath of other "inmates", for lack of a better term. He was unselfish, compassionate, self-sacrificing. I'm sorry, but based on his history, he is not the kind of man who would have no problem annihilating an entire city and murdering millions of people. He has a heart, he cares about human life, he has compassion and sympathy. A person doesn't just go from innately possessing a moral compass and those traits and turn into someone who has no problem killing a whole damn city full of innocents. The only plausible explanation for this is....

He loves Miranda Tate. First of all, based on their age difference, that is clear due to flashbacks of her escape as a child and the fact that he was able to care for her and raise her when she was a baby, this is not a romantic love. It should be a fatherly love. That being said, he saved her life. She owes him, not he owes her. How is it that he is somehow some sort of minion of hers and she can tell him what to do because she decided she wants revenge. All of a sudden this little brat decides she wants revenge because Wayne killed her father and so she's willing to murder millions of innocent people along the way just to get to one person she's mad at, and because Bane "loves" her, he's willing to go along with this plan. Please.

Speaking of her plan of revenge....

2. Miranda Tate

Wayne killed her father, she wants revenge. She's willing to destroy an entire city and murder millions of people to do it? Fine, maybe she's a freaking psycho. I can accept that. But, seriously.. turning her into some sort of Bond girl? Seducing Bruce Wayne, sleeping with him, acting like she's in love with him to get access to his weaponry and secret access codes and then backstabbing him by exposing that she's really working against him. This was annoying. I'm watching Batman, not 007. Villains should be Villains.

3. Robin

First of all, the big reveal at the end when we find out his real name is "Robin" isn't that much of a reveal. He is exposed as Robin much earlier on in the movie when he's having a discussion with Bruce. If I recall correctly, it was something about a cape or a mask, blah blah blah and immediately, you understand: This is Robin.  So it was blatantly foreshadowed so badly, they might have well have hung a banner behind Gordon-Levitt saying: "Look at me, I'm Robin" and it wasn't a surprise at the end. Robin Reveal = Fail.

Moreover, what an ungrateful little brat. The whole movie, the only person who believed in him, who treated him with respect, who realized his potential and allowed him to live up to it, was Commissioner Gordon. If it was up to everyone else, especially Foley, he would've been pushing paper behind a desk back at the police station. Then, when he finds out that Gordon was actually responsible for the fall of Harvey Dent but allowed Batman to take the blame so that his hands could remain clean and he could continue his important role in keeping the city safe, suddenly Blake is so appalled by him and goes all holier-than-thou on his ass. Excuse me, but first of all, STFU Blake. Who the hell do you think you are, you ungrateful brat? This is the man who cleaned up the city from crime, this is the ONLY person who believed in you, and the only person who understands the need for Batman, your hero, and knows who the real enemy is. You haven't accomplished ANYTHING yet and now you think you can ride some moral high road over him and act like you're so damn noble and his hands are so "dirty?" Please. That's how the world works. People, including Batman, himself, understand that sometimes you make sacrifices -- including someone taking the fall for somebody else's actions -- for the greater good. And whether what Gordon and Batman did was right or not, who the hell is Blake to pass any judgment on the Commissioner at all? He needs to keep that ego in check.

Also, although I do appreciated JGL as an actor, and I like him in almost all of his movies, he had one realy bad acting job. When he kills two of the goons, and it's obviously the first time he killed anyone so he's shocked and appalled and he looks at his hands and the gun in shock and horror, he kind of had a delayed reaction there. It's like you could see JGL's brain going: "Ok, on the count of three look shocked and horrified by what you've done." You could SEE the acting, which makes it bad acting. This is not necessarily JGL's fault though. Nolan should've just done another take.

4. Catwoman

She's the worst. Her character always is. She even ruins her own movies. She's really just unnecessary.

And if I may make one comment, she's a burglar. All of a sudden, with no training, she automatically knows how to fully operate Bruce Wayne's Batman Motorcycle thing to the point of being able to maneuver it like a race car driver and use it's weapons like an expert? Just saying.

5. The Doctor and Helpful Inmate

So these guys are helping Bruce Wayne recover and escape from his prison. They strengthen him physically and mentally. They tell him the story of how the child escaped. They tell him what's necessary for him to escape. They're obviously on his side. It seems as though they know who the child is since they know the entire rest of the story. They should know it's a girl. Unless my memory is failing me, I thought Wayne made a comment while hearing the story about the child being Bane. Why wouldn't they correct him? Why won't they tell him it's a girl, or tell him the name of the child? They're obviously rooting for him, yet they're allowing him to just go off with false information? It doesn't make sense. They should have told him it was a girl or that the name of the child wasn't Bane.

Ending on a positive note -- Scarecrow was back and he was hilarious as the head of the People's Court. That was a beautiful cameo.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sweet Silver Lining

I Will Always Love You

There are people whom you come across once, maybe twice, in a lifetime, if you're lucky. They change how you feel about yourself, they change how you feel about love, they change how you feel about human nature. They restore your faith in the goodness of a person, in kindness, in the ability to love.. to love selflessly and truly and wholly.

I am lucky enough to have such a person in my life. And I am lucky enough to have loved him, to have him love me, and I know we will always love each other. Sometimes though, life doesn't work out the way you want it to. Things change, people change, they grow... sometimes upward, sometimes downward, sometimes sideways. It's not always for the better, but it's for a purpose. And so you have to rearrange your life in an unexpected, and unwanted way. But, to remain true to yourself, you have to do it.

Change brings tears. But, as AA Milne once wrote in his classic (and one of my favorite) books, "Winnie the Pooh":  "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

And it's not a real goodbye, because I know we'll always care for each other and hopefully we'll be close friends. But, it's a goodbye to the life we once shared together.

"And so I come in here and I sit in silence and hear the echoes of who we used to be. And so I wish for patience, and grace, and strength to help him be happy. Mostly I pray for the strength to not make his life worse because of what I want. That's the toughest part, letting go, you know? That's the part of grace that really sucks."

S, I will always love you

But, we can and we will get through this. And I know that in the end, we'll be "cool"...  S, I will love you always! XO

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dreams of the Past

There's a certain recurring dream of mine which takes place up in my old stomping grounds of Boston. I've had this dream many times throughout the years, and now I find it haunting me for the past two nights. I'm always wandering the streets of Southie, where many of my close friends and I spent the majority of our time in the early 2000's.

Everything looks exactly like I remember it, although time has passed in my dream along with reality. It's always present day, with the acknowledgment of time passed, and it always stars a revolving cast of friends I once held dear. Anyway, I won't bore you with too many details of a dream that only it's protagonist would find interesting. But, I will say that I boy I once loved deeply, who was my world for quite a few years, always makes an apperance. It never lasts too long and it's hard to describe the nature of the interaction. It's bittersweet and warm. It feels like getting lost while being found. But it always reminds me of love. So I wrote him a note to say Thank You and I shall post it here:

For the second night in the row, I've dreamt of a time that used to be. Walking down streets past red subway stations and Irish pizzerias. But I realize it's not a journey back in time, it is a journey back in place. For every night that I walk those streets, catching up with familiar faces I thought I'd never see again, we marvel at how long it's been since I've been back to that place. And it's great to see these people.. people whom I hope I'd recognize if I saw them in the waking hours. But then, right on cue, yet somehow unexpectedly, you always show up. Usually on that steep street that overlooks the water if you're standing right at the top of the hill. And we don't know if it's ok to see each other and catch up as friends, though we always want to. And we remind each other that at some point we were family. So we make plans that involve meeting up at a later time that never comes because the hours on my alarm clock pass quicker than those in an imaginary world. But it feels nice, how perhaps it would be if I booked a plane ticket out of curiosity to see if Guinness is still served warm because the owners of that pub are more authentic than those in a land of palm trees. And I don't want to know how real or unreal the vision is, I just want to say thank you. Thanks for showing up. Thanks for the love.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A modern old-fashioned gentleman

Thank you, Tom Ford. Finally someone respectable, successful, and truly debonair is teaching men how to act like a gentleman in today's world. What happened to taking off your ball cap when singing the national anthem? What happened to pulling out a lady's chair or opening up the door for her? And do men ever wear suits (besides for work) anymore?

There's a certain amount of class and breeding associated with well-mannered gentlemen. No movie star of the modern era can ever hold a candle to the legends that were Cary Grant, Jimmie Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, and Gregory Peck. They abided by a golden standard of behavior that radiates an aura of class and dignity. And with impeccable manners, they reached a level of attractiveness that good looks (even Brad Pitt level good looks) can never achieve on their own.

Luckily, Tom Ford is bringing "class" back.

Tom Ford

Tom Ford – fashion powerhouse, film mogul and old school romantic – is the cover star of the spring/summer 2011 issue of Another Man. AnOther presents Tom Ford's five easy lessons in how to be a modern gentleman, taken from Jefferson Hack's intimate conversation which appears in full in the issue.

1. You should put on the best version of yourself when you go out in the world because that is a show of respect to the other people around you.

2. A gentleman today has to work. People who do not work are so boring and are usually bored. You have to be passionate, you have to be engaged and you have to be contributing to the world.

3. Manners are very important and actually knowing when things are appropriate. I always open doors for women, I carry their coat, I make sure that they're walking on the inside of the street. Stand up when people arrive at and leave the dinner table.

4. Don't be pretentious or racist or sexist or judge people by their background.

5. A man should never wear shorts in the city. Flip-flops and shorts in the city are never appropriate. Shorts should only be worn on the tennis court or on the beach.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just Like Riding a Bike

Isn’t that what they say? When you haven’t done something in an extremely long time, but you’ll be able to pick it up again right away -- it’s just like a riding a bike? 

Well, I put that saying to the test this past month when I got back on the bike saddle again after about 15 years of not riding. As a kid, I used to love riding my bike. After school or on weekends, I’d strap on my helmet and ride around the area for hours. I’m sure I was racking up miles upon miles. As often happens, however, I grew up, went away to college, started working in the real world, and soon forgot about the one activity I really loved to do.

Well, this year, in honor of entering my thirties, I decided to stop, take hold of where I’m at, and really examine my life and where (and who) I want to be. I made a little 30 things to do when I’m 30 list. But, there are also more serious, life-changing goals. The first step in my transformation, if you will, was to concentrate on my health – specifically, eating better and developing an exercise regimen.

The eating better part was easy – I love food and cooking. I’m addicted to the Food Network, Top Chef, and the countless Gordon Ramsay cooking shows on FOX. As a gift to myself, I got a subscription to Food Network magazine (it’s actually a really good magazine - tons of cool stuff besides just recipes). After months of trying different recipes and learning as much as I can, I’m really developing into a quite a little cook. I try out new recipes all the time and I’m finally at the stage where I’m beginning to put together my own little concoctions – and they actually taste good. I use almost all fresh ingredients and I really try to make my dishes as healthy as possible. 
**Disclaimer: In the beginning, I did make a ton of Paula Deen recipes (“now just add another whole stick of butter, y’all”) but I’ve since learned to adapt them into low-fat, healthier versions of themselves.

Anyway, part two, the exercise part, was a little trickier. It’s been a while since I really took working out seriously. Sure, I had a gym membership for years and I would log in some cardio/weight work a few times a week, but I never enjoyed the experience. I noticed that although I was always happy after I completed my workouts, it was always hard to motivate myself to actually get there in the first place. I would come up with any excuse for why I’d have to put off the gym til tomorrow – “If I go to the gym now, then I won’t make it to Publix in time to pick out the freshest head of lettuce… guess it’ll have to wait til tomorrow.” Seriously, ANY excuse.

So, I got to thinking – if I’m gonna really get in shape and stick to my workouts, I need to find something I WANT to do. Plus, it has to be something free, convenient, and accessible. I used to ice skate and I love skating, but being limited to the hours of the skating rink, plus having to drive there, plus paying to skate each time, would just put me back in the position of always having an excuse not to go. Plus, I want the freedom to work out whenever I want. I shouldn’t have to worry about gas mileage or paying to exercise every single time.

Eventually, I remembered – I loved riding my bike! Cycling is perfect for me. I can take out my bike whenever I want, it’s free (to actually ride), and I enjoy it. So, after years and years of not touching the pedals, I put that little saying to the test. And guess what… it’s absolutely true. I got on the bike and started pedaling. I felt the wind on my face, and although in reality I was probably going pretty darn slow, it was thrilling. I felt more alive and active than I have in years. “Now this is something I can get into,” I thought.

And so here I am, becoming a cyclist. I may just have a little mountain bike for now and I may not be the fastest rider out there. But, I do love it. And, being inspired by my cousin, Erica, who ran her first marathon this past year, I decided to set goals for myself and join an awesome website called DailyMile. DailyMile is an awesome online community full of athletes - runners, cyclists, triathletes, swimmers, etc. And they’re all at different levels. There are people who have been running for years and have completed tons of marathons and there are people just starting the Couch to 5K program who haven’t run a mile in their lives. I have only been on the site a couple of days and I’ve already made a bunch of new “friends” who are so supportive and motivating. The site is designed to keep you motivated and keep you out there exercising. The people are ultra-friendly and are always quick to keep your spirit up and motivate you to keep on going!  They’re also full of advice for all of us beginners out there.

Anyway, for now I’m just enjoying the thrill of being back on the saddle again. I finally feel like I found a way to exercise and actually enjoy it. I feel myself getting stronger, both physically and mentally, already. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Crazy Dog Lady

I'm officially obsessed... with Figment! I've totally morphed into one of the people I personally find most annoying -- "look at my baby" women!

Believe me, I get it - no one else is as interested in your dog/baby/cat/other-cute-living-thing as you are. And I hate when people always want to show pictures and tell you about what their baby did that day. But now, look at me -- I've become totally obsessed with everything Figment. I'm like the Wheaten Terrier paparazzi at this point.

Granted, I've only had him for two weeks so I have a bit of a right to be super excited for a little while. I'm sure it will die down eventually. But, for now, please bear with me as I continue to document his every move. Ha ha...

And yes he has a Twitter and Facebook page (I know, ridiculous, but I couldn't help myself)

Find him on Twitter: @FigmentDog
Find him on Facebook: (use email:

It might be annoying --  but for all my fellow dog owner friends out there, I would love the opportunity to talk about things with you and meet up for playdates!