One Flew Over the Receptionist’s Desk

First, it should be noted I have signed non-disclosure agreements at many offices in New York City as occasionally I am privy to sensitive financial information not intended for public knowledge.  I always joke with the compliance departments (some of whom laugh and others who seem to have lost their sense of humour the minute they donned their first blazers) at these financial institutions that as a twenty-five year old actor who has never had any wealth whatsoever to “manage,”

"Greed...is good.  And so are my fancy-ass suspenders and slick-backed hair."

“Greed…is good. And so are my fancy-ass suspenders and slick-backed hair.”

I wouldn’t even know what to DO with the kinds of stock or bank information I MIGHT happen to see or hear about other than to do my best Gordon Gekko impersonation and slimily say, “Greed…is good.”  I didn’t know how to manage and sell my TY Beanie Baby collection at the “prime market time,” so I’d say that’s a good indicator I probably also wouldn’t know how to buy or sell stocks at the right time either.  All this is to say I am trusted to maintain some sense of security and professionalism in all the financial institutions in which I so often do temporary work.

As a receptionist, you are the gatekeeper (“Are you the Keymaster?”) to the company both physically and telephonically, and you have the power to grant or decline entry to people’s offices and phone lines.  I am so accustomed to answering phones and greeting guests at so many offices around the city, I’m unfazed by pretty much everything a guest or caller could throw my way, and I know all the tricks people use to try to get you to give them access to people within a company so they can harass them with sales calls, money schemes, etc.  The fact is, unless you can give me a specific first and last name of someone within a company, legally, I cannot and will not put your call through.

Who would ever slam the door in Bill Murray's face?

Who would ever slam the door in Bill Murray’s face?

(I am Dana Barrett possessed by Zeul and will slam the door in your Peter Venkman face, so to speak)

So naturally, when a young woman called the office where I am working for the next two and a half weeks and asked to speak to someone about handling her money a few days ago, I told her just that: “I’m sorry, but unless you have the name of someone in the company, I cannot put your call through.  That is company policy.”  What I did NOT expect was her to launch into a perplexing and semi-unsettling confessional of her life situation for the next ten minutes that:

  1. a) Intrigued me
  2. b) Sort of terrified me
  3. c) Made me question the validity of her claims/sanity
  4. d) Led me to look her up on Facebook/Google

Her first words after I said my spiel were, “I’m sorry, I don’t know who I am.”

So I did what any person in this situation would do which is stay silent and pray I wasn’t talking to a Moriarty or a John Doe-from-Se7en or something.

Moriarty: our favorite dreamboat consulting criminal

Moriarty: our favorite dreamboat consulting criminal

She continued, “I am about to get a LOT of money from several medical malpractice suits in St. Louis,” (SHE IS ALSO FROM MISSOURI!!!! WTF!!!) “and I don’t even know what to do with it.  I don’t want it all, just enough to give some away and take some trips and live my life and get away from all these crazy people.”

My inner monologue: Um, okay…

“I’m just kind of really overwhelmed right now, and I think my parents are hiding information from me.  They won’t tell me anything, and every time I try to ask questions, they put me in a hospital and hold pillows down over my face.  They keep admitting me to mental institutions to force me to have electroshock therapy, and this one nurse actually beat me with this leather strap.  Like, with serious intent to harm.  I’m not crazy.  I have a really high IQ.”

Just like Sherlock?  A high-functioning sociopath?

I wanna 221B with you, Sherlock.

I wanna 221B with you, Sherlock.

“I don’t even think they’re my parents, like I don’t belong to them.  My family has forced me to be on my own.  I don’t really have anyone to go to, and I really need financial advice, but I can’t ask my parents because they keep sending me to hospitals to have electroshock or make me take pills.  I’m not crazy.  I just have a really high IQ.  And I’m young, so I don’t know how to handle all these millions of dollars I’m about to get in settlements.  My lawyers, which are some of the best settlement lawyers in St. Louis have been investigating and trying to get answers from my parents, but I just don’t really know who I am, and I’m alone.  I am investigating everything and trying to get names, but it’s such a slow process.  I need help, and I don’t know where to go.”

I seized the minuscule pause in her oration to try to regain control and courteously end the conversation.

“Well, unfortunately, I’m just not allowed to connect you to anyone within the company without proper identification.  If you can do some more investigating with your lawyers and call back with a name, we’re very happy to be of help to you.  Good luck with everythi-”

She cut me off, “I’m sorry to cut you off, and I know you are trying to help, but I just want to explain that my parents are hiding things from me and making it difficult for me to get the information I need.  But I’m going to get millions of dollars, and I’m just so lost and overwhelmed and I need help.  I married into a crazy, weird family, and they all think I’m crazy and keep trying to hurt me to keep me quiet.  And my town is the same way; it’s small and weird and there’s all these secrets and lies, and it’s like everyone is against me.  I’m not crazy.  I have a really high IQ.  All I want is someone to help me manage the money I’m getting because I don’t know who I am and how to do anything.  I really don’t want it all, just enough to give some away and take some trips and live my life and get away from all these crazy people.  I’m doing investigations and trying to get names, but it’s such a long process.  And my parents have forced me into hospitals where the nurses, many of whom are African American…”

Oh lord.  Another race issue in St. Louis…and secrets and lies?  What is this, Twin Peaks?!

Twin Peaks-era Kyle McLachlan looks as confused as I felt during that phone call

Twin Peaks-era Kyle McLachlan looks as confused as I felt during that phone call

“…and they hurt me and kept trying to make me forget who I am.  My parents are trying to like, brainwash me and make me forget who I am and what I’m trying to do, and all I want is to get away from them and make all this stop.  They’re trying to make me forget things because they’re hiding things from me.  Maybe they’re scared because I’m going to have a lot of money from these settlements, but I don’t know.  I’ll definitely be calling back.  I don’t know when but when I get more information, I’ll call you.”

“Yes, have your lawyers do some investigations and we’ll be happy to help you when you have a little more information.”

I was doing EVERYTHING in my receptionist playbook to try to get her the hell off my phone, because I was really beginning to feel uneasy the longer our conversation continued and the more she kept reiterating she “wasn’t crazy” and just had a “really high IQ.”  I felt as though her extreme paranoia was radiating through the wires of our telephones.  What if all this was some elaborate ruse?  Was she really mentally unstable?  At this point, I still am not sure whether she was telling the truth or not.  Crazy people don’t realize they’re crazy, you know?  Or at least, most don’t.  I could tell just from her voice she believed what she was saying and had convinced herself of the story; there was adamant conviction behind her words.

And I sensed that perhaps the help she needed more than anything was someone to LISTEN to her without judgment or interjection.  We all so desperately long at times to have our voices heard by another so we can purge ourselves of thoughts and words weighing on our bodies and especially our minds.  It can be absolutely maddening when you are speaking and feel as though no one is listening, and while I was uneasy with her confession, I realized this might be the only thing I could do for her: provide an ear and supportive silence.  If her stories really WERE true and she was a girl interrupted, she could either be a Lisa or a Susanna.  I hoped she was the latter.

Are you more Winona or Angie?

Are you more Winona or Angie?

My silence must have satiated her for the time being, because she finally said, “I’m sorry for throwing all this at you, but I just feel alone.  Thank you for listening to all this.  I will get more information and call you back at some point.  Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.  I hope you get the answers you need.”

As I finally placed the phone back on the receiver, I wondered aloud, “WHAT just happened?”  Could she have been telling the truth?  Her story seemed like something out of the Lois Duncan suspense novels I used to read as a teen; you know, Summer of Fear, Stranger With My Face and all that.  Or Gillian Flynn’s novels.  Or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

She gave me her full name, so I looked her up on Facebook just to see if I could glean any information about who she really is.  She’s a beautiful girl, probably around my age, and seems normal-ish in photos.  I will probably never know if what she said really happened or if her sanity IS intact, but I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt…because I gave it to R.P. McMurphy and Susanna Kaysen.

The Perks of Being a NYC Temp Worker

I came to New York to be an actor.  I’d much rather be onstage or in front of a camera than behind a desk, but when you have rent to pay and no acting jobs currently coming in, temp-ing is necessary.  When you think about it, all acting jobs are temp jobs too, so I guess practice makes perfect.  Instead of lamenting my status as a “gypsy worker,” I decided to make a pros/cons list to temp-ing in NYC!

The Perks of Being an NYC Temp Worker While Trying to Be An Actress:

1. FREE office coffee.  It may not always be Starbucks (unless you’re temping for the Starbucks HQ or in my current case, a Starbucks-affiliated company, Barnes & Noble Corporate HQ), but it’s hot, freshly made, will keep you awake while you’re staring at a computer screen all day, and did I mention it’s FREE?  It’s okay to splurge once in awhile on your morning cup of joe for something like the Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Latte (my personal fave) or Peppermint Mocha, but like the McDonalds McRib and Monopoly season (I’ve come to the conclusion I will never get that damned Boardwalk piece to match my Park Place for the $1 million prize), all good corporate promotions/seasonal items must come to an end, so just bring a travel mug and stop shelling out for expensive coffee when the free stuff does the trick just as well.

2. Discovering new parts of New York City.  Unless you work with a shitty, backchannel temp agency (By that, I mean you work for the Mob, Mafia, or other underground organized crime ring, which I won’t judge you for because you’re probably making more money than I am, and your life has a better chance of becoming a gritty Martin Scorsese movie nominated for like, twelve Oscars), you probably won’t be venturing to some of the seedier parts of the City and its burroughs.  I’m currently working in the Union Square area.  Next week, I might be in Midtown, the Flatiron District, Chelsea, the Upper East Side, or the Financial District.  I get to explore all sorts of areas of the Big Apple without taking the Circle Line Bus and finding out where all the celebrities live (It’s called Google, people.).

3. No office drama.  Though sometimes you’ll receive longer gigs, most of your work will probably be no longer than a week or two at a lot of places, which means there’s not enough time to really get involved in any office fights or gossip unless you’re really trying or are filming a reality series for E!, MTV, VH1, or Bravo.  And let’s face it: you’re probably not going to be on one of those networks unless you happen to be something people in red states deem as “controversial.”  Anyway, being a temp means (most likely) never getting into table-flipping catfights.

4. Pretending to be on Mad Men.  If you are hip or care about high quality, niche dramatic television or possibly lived through the 1960s or just have a thing for skinny ties and sleek suits (or in my case, most of the above and I have an inappropriate crush on the dreamy Jon Hamm), you probably are a fan of Mad Men.  Every new office is a new chance to pretend I’m actually roaming the halls of Sterling Cooper Draper Price where I’m bound to have a steamy, albeit Old-Fashioned induced tryst with Don Draper or greet representatives from Lucky Strike in a sexy Joan Holloway manner (though I will never have Christina Hendricks’ impressive, um, “accessories.”).  This can, of course, lead to problems if you have a long-term temp job and are constantly boozing, smoking, and seducing your way around the office, because not only will your work performance suffer, people might think you’re a drunken whore who sounds like Harvey Fierstein.

5. You get to work a variety of jobs.  Though I have a slew of secretarial/receptionist gigs lined up, most temp agencies have big projects come through they need people for such as the U.S. Open (Hellooooo Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer!), designer sample sales, trade shows, and holiday promotional gigs.  So even though this week I’m stuck behind a desk, next week I might be donning a Santa hat and selling specialty toys or wearing Ralph Lauren and helping people to their expensive seats in Arthur Ashe Stadium whilst ogling Nadal’s very fine derrière.  It’s a little bit of everything that will make for great anecdotes in magazine interviews profiling my (impending) rise to stardom.

6. Learning how different companies operate.  Actors are excellent observers, so I try to take the opportunity to learn as much as I can.  It never hurts to actually know what the company you’re working for really does just in case you actually want to work there someday if you get tired of waiting in lines for auditions at 6 am everyday.  Also, I’m just nosy.  That’s why I stare at people on the subway too.

7. Meeting lots of new people.  Goodbye EHarmony and Match.com!

…Just kidding.

(Only partially.)

8. Meeting lots of new people.  Temp-ing provides all the perks (making lots of fast connections) of a New York City swanky party minus all the actual perks (booze) of a New York City swanky party.  You never know who might be able to advance your career or just want to add you to their Facebook friends list so they can stalk all your photos and then awkwardly comment on them all.

9. Paychecks.  Sure, it’s not like you’re rolling in the Benjamins (like apparently a lot of rappers do…or at least, that’s my impression based on their lyrics and music videos), but at least it’s a decent paycheck to help pay the rent and the highway-but-actually-train robbery known as Unlimited Ride Metro Cards from the MTA.  As any actor will tell you, any paycheck is a welcome paycheck (a fact which Nicolas Cage’s more-recent film credits currently reflect.).

10. Different bosses/supervisors.  I’ve had my share of strict and not-so-strict bosses (luckily, most of them have been the latter).  If you can’t stand your boss because she’s an ice-maven a la Miranda Priestly in Devil Wears Prada or he’s a “that’s what she said”-ing doofus a la Michael Scott of Dunder Mifflin, thankfully your job will be a quickie rather than working under them for forever.  That’s what she said.

The Cons of Being an NYC Temp Worker While Trying to Be An Actress:

1. You’re not actually on Mad Men.  No Don Draper.  No quippy one-liners from Roger Sterling.  No drinking in the office.  No screwing in the office.  No Don Draper.  No cute 1960s outfits.  No awesome office presentations about Kodak Slide Projectors.  No Don Draper.  I could go on and on, but for those of you poor unfortunate souls who either don’t get AMC or just don’t watch the show, I won’t waste your time with lots of insider references.  But please, do yourself a favor and watch the damn show.  Did I mention Jon Hamm is in it?

2. Never staying in one place long enough.  You don’t always really get to know people and forge any lasting connections.  Oh dear me, how ever will I find a husband or a doubles tennis partner?  Oh right.  That’s what working the U.S. Open is for.  Or being on the Bachelorette.

3. No Facebook/Twitter at work.  Companies who want people to be more productive have such websites blocked, which means I can’t stalk the cute guy in the cubicle down the hall or let everyone know I support #SelenaandJustin4eva.  This means I have to stalk people the old-fashioned way: Google and a pair of binoculars.

4. Boring office tasks.  Without Joseph Gordon-Levitt in (500) Days of Summer or Jim from the Office to distract me from the mundane tasks of office work, how can I possibly keep from falling asleep?  Oh, and thanks JG-L for giving me completely unrealistic expectations about getting a hot makeout session every time I go into the copy room.  And also IKEA.

5. Always being “the new kid.”  Now I know how foreign exchange students feel (Sorry for making fun of your Hasselhoff obsession, random German kid in high school) and also animals at the zoo (no wonder the Bronx Zoo cobra escaped!).

Clearly, the perks of being a New York City temp worker outweigh the cons although, being a temp worker means I’m still not actually doing what I came to NYC to do…land a husband.

As if!  I’m only 23, and this is New York, not Kentucky!  (No offense, Kentuckians, just trying to make a veiled Clueless reference.)

One day, I will no longer be the resident Xerox-girl, but until I land my big break, I’ll just drown my boredom in free coffee and thoughts of Don Draper.

Trying to Catch Up (Not Ketchup)

Okay, okay.  So I got lazy and extremely behind on my whole 365 days of post-graduate blogging.  Sue me (Actually, don’t.  I’m trying to save every cent I make for my move to New York as I’ve said only about five million times on this blog).

Let’s just fast forward to where I should be in my post-grad blogging and forget this whole being lazy thing ever happened.  Deal?  Thanks!  You’re the best…whoever you are that might read this.  Internet high-five.

Not much has happened in my life here in this existential redneck hell known as a summer in the Midwest.  The weather has been getting hotter, which unfortunately means the town white trash thinks they’re at liberty to wear as revealing of denim as possible, leading to the poking out of my eyes during trips to Wal-Mart.  The winery is still sucking up my weekends.  Though I took a fun, brief trip to Tulsa to see my BFFs Caitlin and Hassan about two weeks ago, I was hit on at a gas station on my trip home by an imposing black man who looked like a cross between Snoop Dogg and Antoine “Hide yo kids Hide yo wife” Bedroom Intruder rapper (I swear I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried…okay, I could, but I swear I’m not.).

Last weekend I went to the wedding I discussed in one of my more recent posts.  What I thought would be an impromptu high school reunion (I was already prepared to reenact the scene from Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion with the interpretive dance to “Time After Time”) actually turned out to not be a big deal at all (except for the fact someone forgot to mention it was an OUTDOOR WEDDING IN JULY so I sweat my ass, tits, and all other appendages off.)  In fact, I barely knew anyone there, and the people I DID know were all people I like/am good friends with still/can tolerate.  I spent most of the evening with my long-time friend, Claire, and her new boyfriend.  Though I realized later I might have been kind of third-wheel-ing all night, I don’t think they minded because I provided a lot of witty, snort-into-your-free-but-shitty-liquor quips about some of the other guests aka I provided plenty of laughs at other people’s expense (which is what comedians/comediennes do, right?)  Though of course we couldn’t get through the whole reception without some good ole high school gossip and obviously a drunken sing-along to Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” (which I am a little embarrassed to admit I have ceremoniously performed drunk AND sober in many a bar in Oklahoma City in college).  When the groomsmen started singing along to old frat-house standards (rap crap and Journey songs) and getting teary eyed about it, I knew it was time to leave, so Claire, her boyfriend, and I snuck out, and I nearly sprinted for my car so I could get some A/C on my almost-as-sweaty-as-the-sweat-villain-Moist-from-Dr-Horrible body.

Thank god for car A/C and Frank Sinatra.  I couldn’t stomach one more generic rock song from one more generic rock band (I’m looking at YOU, Nickelback) or “Get Low” rap at that reception (Applebottomed jeans and boots with the fur went out a LONG time ago, rappers.  Don’t you read VOGUE?!).  I mean, actually, I was impressed by all their indie choices for their ceremony: Damien Rice, Ingrid Michaelson, etc.  Their first dance was to Adele’s version of “Make You Feel My Love,” but after that, the shit music started, and I had to bail.  I mean, where were the wedding reception standards like the to-the-left-take-it-back-now-y’all “Cha Cha Slide” and the B-52’s “Love Shack”?!  I was all ready to bang-bang-bang-on-the-door-baby!

Whatever.  I just put Frank Sinatra on in my car and let Ole Blue Eyes cleanse my sweaty, sweaty soul all the way home.

34-36: Ten Cent Skee Ball

I’ve fallen a little behind in my 365 blogging, so in order to catch myself up, I’m combining some entries together.  I guess this could be considered “cheating,” but since this 365 days of blogging thing was my idea in the first place, I figure I get to make my own rules.  While there’s nothing that says I HAVE to blog every day, I do think I should at least ATTEMPT to get myself back on track.

Anyway…

Last Friday (June 17, as it were), my childhood best friend, Meredith, came over for a day of fun and frivolity.  The original plan had been to go to that theme park of apparent number bias, Six Flags in St. Louis (Why only six, oh theme park gods?  Why not Eight or Five?  Or one of THESE numbers…).  Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperative, and in the best interest of our hair and clothing, we decided against braving a rainstorm for roller-coasters run-ins with too chipper costumed versions of Bugs Bunny and the 1990s’ favorite t-shirt decoration, Tweety Bird (*shudder.  Don’t act like YOU didn’t own one too.)

Instead, we checked the weather and decided to head south where the rain was on its way out.  Meredith and I, in a fit of boredom, decided on a rollicking day of trashy mini-golf, outlet mall shopping, and outdoor arcade games at the Lake of the Ozarks.  The Lake is like Branson-lite (if there is even such a thing): it has a few awful country music shows, a “strip,” outlet malls, mini-golf, tourist trap stores, and a wealth of tanned-to-the-point-of-looking-leathery women whose outfits reflect their desperate cry to recapture their youth and their rich, corny husbands who espouse such sentiments as “God Bless America” or “Proud to be an American” every five seconds.

The Lake has its merits too though.  First and foremost, the lake itself is large and beautiful, and there ARE a lot of rich people who live on or around it in huge homes with even bigger boats.  There are some decent restaurants (selling “fresh seafood” as it were, despite the fact this is a FRESHWATER lake in a LANDLOCKED state, but whatever), and there are some great golf courses around (so I’ve been told.  I don’t play golf or even pretend to understand it.).  But all this does is make me upset that I don’t live closer to a REAL beach on one of the coasts where fresh seafood is actually fresh and there’s a chance I’ll spot some cute, rich boys who aren’t backwoods white trash.

But back to our roadtrip, Meredith and I got down to the Lake and headed straight for the Black Rock  Pirate Cove mini-golf.  It features two different courses (the Captain’s Course or Blackbeard’s Course) with historical facts about different famous pirates at each hole.  There’s also a giant, blue waterfall.  When I say blue, I mean BLUE.  Apparently, the groundskeepers (I imagine a Hagrid-like furry man who only comes out at night) at Pirate Cove want to give the waterfall a Caribbean, tropical feel by way of INTENSE aqua dye probably last used by the costumer for the Lawrence Welk Show in the 1970s.  Anyway, Meredith and I chose to play the Captain’s Course on recommendation of the nice, old man at the ticket window.  We golfed our way around the course, hoping to not lose our balls (Yes, you can snicker), giggling at each subsequent historical fact, and not giving Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus any reason to worry about upholding their golfing titles.

Me with the gorgeous, BLUE waterfall at Pirate Cove mini-golf

After our golfing excursion, we noticed two things:

1) Despite our best attempts at saving our hair from rain troubles, we had NOT saved it from humidity troubles.  Damn.

2) We were hungry.

We hit up Vista Grande, my favorite place to eat at the Lake based on its awesome salsa, margaritas, and chicken chimichangas.  It was reliably tasty and a welcome escape from the swashbuckling “fun” of Pirates of the Caribbean Pirate Cove.  It also provided us with a chance to bemoan our humidified hair.  Following our Mexican fiesta, we headed right across the street to the Factory Outlet Mall for some bargain shopping although it turned out to be a lot of looking around at clothes not snapped up by the tanned, leathery ladies of the lake (ha.  Ladies of the Lake?  Get it?  Lady of the Lake?).  I wound up buying some awesome jams but that’s not the good part of the story.

So last but not least on our grand tour of the Lake, we went to the old “strip,” which is like if a 1955 carnival came to town, overstayed its welcome, and slowly but surely became a forgotten, backwoods, junky version of its former self.  We found the Holy Grail of outdoor arcade games: 10¢ SKEE BALL.  As we walked up to the building, I instantly thought of the awesome movie Adventureland starring the awkwardly cool Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg (and the girl who defines acting as biting her lip and running her hands through her hair whilst she kisses a vampire or werewolf, Kristen Stewart): I got the feeling that if you worked there, you’d feel like you were dying a slow, painful death from heat, white trash, junky prizes, and the annoying sounds of the skee ball machines.  Meredith and I played $2 worth of skee ball and with our collected tickets, we won two cheap finger traps and a couple Tootsie Roll Pops.  Awesome, right?

Ten cent Skee Ball place on the old "strip"

Right across the street was the “Haunted Hotel,” which basically looked like it had been decorated by the leftover Halloween decorations from Wal-Mart.  There was a sign in the door window indicating that if we wanted a tour, we’d find the owners across the street at the Old Time Photography Studio.  Clearly business was booming.  There was also a dead cat skeleton in the window, which they claimed was from a cat that disappeared in the building in 1977 and was found in 2004.  CLASSY.

The cat skeleton from the "Haunted Hotel"

So it may not have been roller coasters and log flumes, but I’d say Meredith and I had a successful if not memorable sojourn.  At least we know we fared better than the cat in the window of the Haunted Hotel.

Why “Inception” Is This Summer’s Movie Savior

I think we all can agree that this has been one of the most dismal summers in recent memory for movies.  Box office is down.  While I know the economy is basically still in the shitter, and people don’t have the money to take the whole family to the movies plus buy snacks and drinks, there’s a stronger force at work here.

Maybe the movies just aren’t very good.

The best movie of this summer so far (in both box office and critical acclaim) has been the hilarious, poignant Toy Story 3 from the awesome people at Pixar (can they do any wrong?  I think not.).  It’s been the lone, true “blockbuster” of this summer.  Other so-called “blockbusters” like The A-Team and Iron-Man 2 have done solid business, but didn’t leave much of an impression on audiences.

However, (if you’ll pardon my perceived sacrilegiousness) a savior is coming…in the form of Christopher Nolan’s new thriller Inception. If you’ve been watching TV at all the last several weeks, you’ve no doubt seen the awesome confusing teasers ads for the movie, which show Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, my future husband Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, and Cillian Murphy discussing something about entering people’s dreams and a lot of images of buildings folding over themselves.  The movie looks twisty, dark, thrilling, and undoubtedly awesome (How is Michael Caine in anything NOT awesome?).

Here’s why Inception is going to be awesome (and save this summer’s movies):

  1. Christopher Nolan is a cinematic genius. Before he rebooted Batman, he was making interesting, dark thrillers like Memento which kept audiences guessing.  Nolan knows how to make old-fashioned thrillers/dramas on a huge scale without making them feel overproduced.  In addition, he wrote the screenplay to Inception with his brother, whom he also collaborated with on Memento, so it should be a head trip.
  2. The cast.  Nolan gets big names who also have serious acting chops (save for Katie Holmes as Rachel in Batman Begins…ick).  The cast for Inception includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, and Nolan-favorite Michael Caine.  While we’ve seen that a lot of big names does not always equal a good movie (see Valentine’s Day), Nolan is smart enough to pick actors who can back up their hype with the goods.
  3. The visual effects. Buildings folding into themselves, anybody?  How is that NOT cool?
  4. It’s not a sequel or prequel to anything. Need I say more?  How refreshing to have something original.
  5. It’s for adults. There’s nothing animated (no offense to Pixar).  There are no talking animals.  There are no lame vampires and werewolves fighting over a dull, spineless human girl (Offense is meant to you, Twilight).  It’s a movie for adults who want a good, old-fashion head trip at the movie theatre without having to deal with crying children or texting tweens.

Early reviews are already buzzing about this movie.  We’ll see next weekend how it does, but if I’m right, then we’ll all have Christopher Nolan to thank for saving our summer.

Finals Week Distractions Day 3: Birdemic Trailer

Today’s Finals Week Distraction is going to make you howl with laughter. 

Since my mom emailed me the link to this movie trailer, I have been obsessively watching it the last several days.  The trailer (which I’ve embedded below for your viewing pleasure) is for an independent romantic-horror-thriller entitled Birdemic: Shock and Terror.  The premise basically is about what would happen if the birds from The Birds (Hitchcock is probably rolling in his grave right now) were genetically mutated to attack with fire and acid.  The trailer features possibly the worst acting I’ve ever seen coupled with amateurish CGI.  The whole thing looks like it was shot at a Motel 6.  James Ngyuen, the writer-director,  tried to submit it to Sundance, but it was rejected.  After watching the trailer, I can’t imagine why! (note my sarcasm, please)

For some reason, I can’t stop watching it.  It’s so bad, I feel the need to actually find this movie and rent it just to experience the sheer awfulness of the whole thing.  I laugh so hard watching the trailer that I can only imagine what would happen if I were to see the whole movie.

Watch and enjoy.  My favorite part is toward the end where the three lead actors are swatting at the CGI birds with coat hangers.  Classic.

Happy Birthday, Carol Channing!

Attention world:

Today is Broadway broad Carol Channing’s 912th birthday! Okay, really she’s only 89, but I feel like this woman has been old for forever! Though I’ve never cared for her abrasive voice or looks, there’s no denying she’s truly one-of-a-kind and a legend in her own right.

Hello, Dolly!  You’re still glowin’, you’re still crowin’, you’re still goin’ strong.  Cheers, Carol!