Mean Girls

Destroying Personal Limitations - "The limit does not exist!" - Mean Girls

Well. It's been an eventful month. I was in an off Broadway showcase back in New York. Two weeks later, there was an attack in Tribeca. The Weinstein scandal hit, and then so many other people have been shown to be abusive as well. Halloween. Personal technological problems (all of my electronics are dying all at once help).

Obviously, some of these are bigger and more relevant than others. Those are the ones that take more time to think about and really consider. The growing number of sexual harassment accusations in Hollywood is one of them. I'm gonna make a post about that soon, because I have Thoughts and Things I Want to Say. But the situation is still unfolding, and it's so sensitive that it deserves a measured, well-considered response. But don't worry. It's coming. (Pun, while morbid and in bad taste, intended.)

Instead, I'm writing about something lighter today. It's the showcase I did of Taking Wing: Legends of Emimencia in mid-October, and how it showed me that, even though I have self-esteem coming out of every inch of me, I still put limitations on myself that don't exist outside of my mind.

I hadn't done musical theater since college. Then I was brought on to this show relatively early, and didn't entirely know it would be a musical. I knew music would be involved, but when I got an email asking me to send the composer/lyricist my vocal type, that was a bit of a surprise.

And then I walked into my first rehearsal. I was handed the book for the show, some sheet music, the music director played the music for the opening song, we said the words together in rhythm, and then he said, "Okay, go." And he just played the song and we had to sing it perfectly with him and I had never done that before but the cool thing was... I did it. I just made it happen.

The show overall was insanely fun - it's children's theatre, after all, why wouldn't it be? - and I got to meet so many lovely, interesting, funny, dedicated people through doing it. I couldn't have had a better excuse to go back to New York. And it was a whirlwind two weeks in terms of personal growth. Just like I would expect NYC to be.

(I'm not trying to turn this into an essay about how great New York is. It's already great. It doesn't need yet another essay on the subject for that. But just so long as I'm mentioning the city, it seems like a good time to say, once again, how much I love it.)

Now, here's to more projects ahead full of destroying the limitations that I only believe exist.

Heart and Brain in Film - "Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed." - Paul Gallico? Red Smith? I Dunno Who Said It, Really

I don't have a lot of time today, so this is gonna be a hella short post, but I've been thinking a lot over the past week about what makes a movie smart, and why is that good.

Spotlight won the Best Picture Oscar on Sunday, which people tell me was an upset. These are primarily people who had put money down on The Revenant winning Best Picture. (I didn't post my predictions here this year, but I definitely had Spotlight and I wish I had bet on it, myself.)

But I really wasn't surprised because it was just such a smart movie. But what is it that makes it so intelligent? Is it having smart characters? Does that always coincide with having intellectual characters? It oftentimes seems to, especially with Oscar winners, but there were Oscar nominees that don't.

And, at a time where films like Zoolander and Dumb and Dumber are incredibly popular and get at least one sequel, is intelligence the most important thing in making a good movie? Do these count as good movies? They may not have smart characters, but they're made by smart people, they make smart people laugh, and they have tons of heart.

I'm not even gonna try going into what it means to have heart. That's a discussion for a different day/blog post. But what means more? And how is that meaning shown? Through box office returns, or awards? And what about films that get neither of those things, like Steve Jobs? What about films that have both, like The Martian?

At the end of the day, there really ought to be films across the board with characters of all kinds of intelligence, just like there ought to be characters of all kinds of different genders, sexualities, cultures, races, et cetera. That's certainly the moral answer. And it's not untrue.

But (personal opinion time) I think intelligent characters are the best because they make the most interesting decisions. It's harder to put them into comedies, but that makes it all the more impressive when someone can. (I'm looking at you, Mean Girls, 30 Rock, and anything produced by Michael Schur and/or Amy Poehler.) And I think interesting decisions are what really hold us with a good movie. Not random ones, but interesting ones.

And now, to end this blog post, I have to nerd out at least a little bit over the Oscars.

I'm so excited for Leonardo DiCaprio winning his first Academy Award!! I know, me and the rest of the internet. But it's been a long time coming, and I'm psyched for him.

Gerda was not a supporting character. But since no one was ever going to beat Brie Larson for Best Actress, I was really rooting for Alicia Vikander to win Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl. Also, I'm so happy The Danish Girl got at least a little Oscars love.

Mark Rylance one billion percent deserved Best Supporting Actor award.

A year ago, even though I'm a film score nerd, I couldn't have told you who Ennio Morricone is. Now I have such insane respect for him. He's incredible. And it's even more amazing that this is his first Academy Award as well!!

Go Mad Max for practically sweeping the production categories.

...Oops. Remember that time this was supposed to be a short blog post?