Film Festival Recap: ‘Beside Still Waters’ Review & Being Inspired

This weekend I volunteered at and attended my first film festival, The Big Bear Lake International Film Festival. It was a wonderful introductory experience to the world of film festivals where I got to volunteer at a venue, see a few films, and meet many filmmakers and film fans like myself. Sometimes working in “the industry” it is easy to forget the passion and spirit of the independent film community who struggle to make the films they want to make with little money or support. It was inspiring to see so many people making movies just because they love it and they have a story to tell; it gave me a renewed sense of purpose for what I want to do with my own career.

One film that inspired me in particular was the centerpiece film of the festival Beside Still Waters, the directorial debut of Chris Lowell of Veronica Mars fame (I know him as Dell from Private Practice). I knew I was going to love this film even before I saw it because I love friends-going-to-lake-houses-and-dealing-with-relationship-issues films (see my love for both Drinking Buddies and most recently, Your Sister’s Sister). These films always start out with a simple and innocent premise of vacationing and recalling childhood memories before turning darker and delving into the real reasons why all the characters are there and the problems between them. This time it is Daniel (a captivating Ryan Eggold) inviting his childhood friends to his lake house as a goodbye party for the house they all loved so much growing up. His friends include married couple Martin and Abby (Will Brill and Erin Darke), free spirit Charley (Jessy Hodges), reality TV star James (Brett Dalton), funny man Tom (Beck Bennett), and Daniel’s former girlfriend Olivia (Britt Lower)…who brings along her new fiance Henry (Reid Scott). Besides knowing (and loving) Brett Dalton from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. the cast was full of relative unknowns for me. It was one of those rare films where I wasn’t sitting there wondering if I knew anybody from something else and I could be completely captivated by the story and the believability of the characters. The chemistry of the cast struck me from the very beginning; it is easy to believe these people are childhood friends with their rapport.

Most of this realness comes not only from the way the characters interact, but also the script written by Lowell and his friend Mohit Narang, who actually attended the Big Bear Film Festival and was incredibly nice and answered every question asked of him, even from us lowly volunteers.  The script is one of those I respect so much for representing the way people, particularly old friends, actually talk. They make dirty jokes. They’re sometimes downright mean to one another. They tell stories that the others have heard a thousand times before. Most importantly they are deeply flawed people who love each despite of and because of these flaws.

I cannot say enough about the performances of this film. Eggold is outstanding; Daniel is equal parts pathetic, loveable, and heartbreaking. Out of everyone in the film, I could relate to his character the most-the romantic who doesn’t want to let go of the nostalgia of the past. And Dalton, who is one of my many Marvel fangirl crushes surprised me in ways I never thought he could. His performance in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been one of the strongest on the show, but I never knew he had all this in him. It makes me excited to see him grow as an actor even further. The rest of the cast fills in well, each rounding out a strong cast with characters full of their own struggles. No one falls into a stereotype, they are all well rounded real people you feel like you could know or have known in your own life.  I particularly liked the portrayal of Martin and Abby as a young married couple trying to figure it all out.

Beside Still Waters is being released in theaters November 14th and everyone should go out and support this amazing film. It’s laugh out loud funny, sad, and mostly raw and real. You may have never had a lake house you visited with your friends, but this film will still resonate and make you nostalgic for days gone by and friends missed.

Rating:

Needs Milk(4.5)

Final Thoughts

  • This film is dedicated: “To the dreamers. And all the parents gone too soon…which is every parent.” Which makes me cry.
  • During the Q&A for the film Narang said he and Lowell both wrote their own scripts and then combined them to make the final screenplay. He said that both of their scripts had very similar scenes, down to matching dialogue…without them having ever discussed it.
  • The film also includes some super 8 footage and Lowell’s black and white photography, both of which are used with great effect. Also, they look damn pretty.
  • This film has one of the best “let’s talk about what happened last night while we were all drunk out of our minds” scenes I’ve ever seen.

Film Festival Wrap Up:

  • My favorite film I saw at the festival was Split Gas (dir. Jacques Edeline) which also won the audience award for best feature. See it somehow if you can. Also, the soundtrack is awesome and the filmmakers/actors are some of the nicest people I met at the festival.
  • Shorts Bis Gleich (dir. Benjamin Wolff) and Glinda (dir. Nicole Cosgrove) both made me cry out of happiness and sadness.
  • The documentary My Shanghai (dir. P.H. Wells) was an incredibly interesting look at a woman imprisoned by the Japanese in China during WWII, something I didn’t even know happened despite my interest in the second World War. Also, the story is narrated by the woman who went through it all, now age 92.

Books Do It Better: ‘Gone Girl’ Trailer Talk

Rarely does a trailer get a book so. right.

My usual M.O. when I finish reading a book that is going to be a film (or already is one) is to close the book, compose my thoughts, and run to my computer. I need to know as soon as possible if the images that are in my head are the same ones that are coming to the big screen. Usually I am met with frustration and anger and cries of, “Did they even read the book?” while shaking my fists to the sky.

With Gone Girl I was never worried because like Allstate I knew the film was in good hands. It’s being directed by David Fincher. Fincher, my favorite director, the man who brought us Fight Club and The Social Network and another phenomenal book-to-film adaptation The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. But I didn’t realize how not worried I had to be until I finished the book Saturday at 3:30 am (in a record of 14.5 hours for me) and then watched the trailer. Everything is spot on.

Gone Girl is a psychological thriller to the highest degree. As I was reading I kept growing more and more excited, not only for the
story, but because of how I could see what Fincher was going to do with the material. Fincher works best in shades of grey (literally and figuratively). His characters are morally ambiguous, usually in retaliation to society or their environments or a combination of the two. What better man to direct a film featuring downright unlikeable characters who manipulate your emotions every chance they get and where nothing is quite as it seems? A film about what knowing someone truly means and about the crazy things love does to us? In my mind, no one.

The casting is pretty spot on with Ben ‘Batffleck’ Affleck and Rosamund Pike in the lead roles of Nick and Amy Dunne. Both look the part, but also have the acting ability to pull off the rolls. I loved Pike in The World’s End, but already in the trailer alone she appears much differently than she did in that film.Her voice over narration is eerie and vulnerable, but with an undercurrent of something more sinister. I love Ben and I think he is perfect for the role of Nick who is described in the books as the working class kid who “looks like the rich-boy villain in an 80’s teen movie.” Both Nick and Ben are likable guys who you sometimes just want to punch. But never has a trailer nailed a moment from a book so perfectly as the quick flash to Ben as Nick attempting to smile at the press conference. Throughout the book many references are to the fact that because he’s so good looking, Nick doesn’t smile often so when he tries it comes off awkward and creepy. Just how Ben plays it. That’s when I knew this movie would be perfect and actually John Bender fist pumped in my living room.

The only thing I was surprised to see was the casting of Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry as Desi and Tanner Bolt respectively. Both actors are not at all how I pictured the characters and I’m hoping NPH can shed his likable persona for this character. Otherwise I can’t wait to see everyone else. I particularly like the looks of Carrie Coon as Margo and Kim Dickens as Detective Booney.

I know that a trailer does not necessarily have to indicated how good a film is going to be, believe me I’ve been let down before (I’m looking at you Where the Wild Things Are), but I just have so much hope for and faith in this film and its director. The only thing that makes me nervous is the fact that they are changing the ending as to not spoil the book for anyone. Flynn herself is the one wrote the screenplay and made the changes, but to me it seems like a disservice to have a book end differently than you intended it and the way it was read and loved/loathed by millions. Believe me, if you haven’t read it, it’s a hell of an ending. But don’t take my word for it, read the book before the film comes out. There’s really no other way to do it.

Final Thoughts

  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are doing the music. Score! (Pun intended)
  • If you like Gone Girl then read the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. Each book features a character who played a small part in the previous one and all work for the fictional Dublin Murder Squad. She is one of my favorite current authors and her books have great twists and real fleshed out characters. The 5th book in the series, The Secret Place, comes out today!

P.A. Life: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Being Freelance

Recently I’ve been writing a lot about my life in California, but I realize a lot of my family/friends/readers don’t know what it is that I actually came out here to do. I think I’ve mentioned before that I am a production assistant, but many people don’t know what that even means. I get asked, “What do you actually do?” on a daily basis. I’ve been trying to write the answer to that question in several posts, but it never seems to fit anywhere. Here are all the answers to some frequently asked questions like,”What is a production assistant?” and “Why don’t you just get a real job?”

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A production assistant is the lowest person on a film/TV set. Coffee running low? Need someone to stand in as the lighting department fixes the lights? Have paperwork to fill out/copies to be made/a chair that needs moving/an overflowing garbage? Ask a PA, those are all things we do. In the most basic terms, a PA is the extra set of hands that does the jobs that are essential for the rest of the crew to get the project made, but that the higher ups are too busy to do. We do anything and everything that’s asked of us. Seriously.

Okay, so what do you do all day?

There is no typical day as a PA. It depends on what type of project you are working on and what your role is. On an “average” day I will go on runs (meaning going out and purchasing/picking up anything that’s needed on set from food to wigs to cardboard boxes), restock the kitchen (film crews can eat), move something heavy (there is always something heavy to move), and help any department that needs assistance (could be the camera, lighting, or art departments or even a producer or director who needs an extra hand). Like I said before, my job is to assist everyone else. It’s right there in my title. Sometimes I’ll get to do side projects of my own like research or writing.

Is that stuff any fun?

It can be! The fun part about being a PA is that everyday is different. There is always something new to learn and someone new to meet. Being a PA allows you interact with almost everyone else on the crew, many of whom started out their careers as a PA. You gotta start somewhere, right?

As a PA I have worked on some pretty cool shows. My first ever gig was on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade where I got to stand in Herald Square and see all of the performers and balloons come by. I’ve also worked on the Christmas Tree Lighting in Rockefeller Plaza, the season 14 finale of American Idol, a talk show called Just Keke, and a few reality shows. I’ve loved them all for different reasons. To me the best part is seeing all the hard work and the little pieces come together. That moment right before a show starts (especially a live one) is magical because anything can happen. (What you hope happens is the show goes off without a hitch.)

That all sounds great…what’s the catch?

Being a PA is fun, but it is also A LOT of work. The average day is 12.5 hours. This ain’t no 9-5 job so say goodbye to your social life. You will be exhausted pretty much every single day. Being a PA can also be very physical. There are tables and chairs to move, boxes to carry, sets that need to come up and down. When a show is over PAs have to help with load out which means taking EVERYTHING that was brought in has to come out so the next show or whatever can come in. So all of office supplies, computers, hair and makeup products, food, you name it, it must be moved. During load out you will not go home and eat. You will go home and fall into your bed and maybe wake up in time for work the next morning.

Another not so fun part? No job security.  Shows/films/commercials end. Or sometimes they get canceled. Or decide to go on strike. You could be employed one day and unemployed the next.

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Wow that sucks.

Yeah it can suck, I get major anxiety every time a show ends and I don’t have another job lined up. But you know what would suck to me more? Working 9-5 in an office  and staring at a computer all day. I love being able to move around to different projects. Earlier this week I finished a show one day and the next day I was working on the Primetime Emmys. Not too shabby.

You don’t have a set job so why can’t you just take vacation/come home whenever you want?

The nature of production is very fast paced. If things are happening they are happening tomorrow or right now. If I leave, I can’t work and I will be replaced. It’s as simple as that. Since I don’t have a “normal”  job I could be unemployed tomorrow or I could be booked for the next 2 months, but I won’t know until that phone rings.

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Also, each day of production relies on the day before so when I am working and you want to hang out with me be prepared to make plans at the very last minute.

I get out late, I work early, I’m usually tired. Sometimes I don’t even know what time or if I’m working the next day. And if there’s a problem a shoot will run late or the scenes will have to be completed the next day. This can change everyone’s schedule. That’s just the way it is. There are a lot of little parts that depend on other little parts and sometimes these things can’t be helped. Hence, no social life.

Is there anything else we should know about your life as PA?

Wow thanks for asking such good questions. Sure there is. Please stop asking me when I’m going to get a real job.

John Watson Seriously animated GIFThis is my real job. My hours may be unconventional, I may spend my days sweeping glitter and counting walkie talkies and worrying if we have enough red vines, but this is what I do. I won’t always be a PA, but there’s a good chance that as long as I stay in this industry my life will always be like this. This is the business we’ve chosen. But it also means I get to go to the Emmys so that’s a trade off I’m willing to make.

This is the most basic of description of what a PA does so if you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask. I am in no way an expert, but I can share my stories and experiences. It’s an important job that I feel like more people should know about (and yes that has 110% to do with the fact that it is my job and me who is doing it)!

P.S. If you happen to be reading this and need a PA, I’m available.

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A Little More Personal: Time Spent in Los Angeles

So A LOT has happened since my last post about my life in California. 3 more months have gone by making this my fourth month living in California. I cannot even begin to explain how surreal that is to type. Four month is a lifetime. It’s a high school relationship. So much can happen in that amount of time and really so much has happened in that amount of time. The one major change since my last post?  NO MORE COUCH SURFING. That’s right,I actually have a permanent California address. I live in the Valley, which means I’m actually a Valley Girl.

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(If you care, living in “The Valley” means that when you are looking at the hills, you see where the Hollywood sign should be, but not the letters themselves, the backs of them. Basically it’s like living in Long Island or maybe even Brooklyn without the hipsters, you can go to/see Manhattan, but you don’t actually live there.)

So I’m an adult now.

I pay rent. And bills. Too many bills. I cook for myself. Or I eat cereal. I still don’t have a bed because buying a mattress scares the crap out of me and its expensive, but these things take time. It was just a few weeks ago that my10525833_10204361307497289_5708163816375541443_n roommate and I were eating our meals off cardboard boxes  and having our friends sit on the floor when they came to visit us. We just got a couch and a table and even had a bonafide trip to Ikea. I can’t believe how far we’ve come. With every experience, I have proven to myself more and more that, yes I can do this. As much as I’ve cried and struggled (and still cry and struggle), I am making it. I am quite literally living my dreams and at the same time doing things I never dreamed possible. If you had asked me earlier this year if I saw myself not only moving cross country, but finding work and making friends and having a place of my own (with a pool) I would have say no way Jose.

All of this living on my own has really made me both appreciate and miss my parents. I finally understand why my dad constantly yelled at us for leaving the lights on or why my mom always wanted us to be just a little neater. Having your own place is a lot of work! It makes me realize all of the things I took for granted. Not to get all PSA-ey on everyone, but if you live at home or anywhere within driving distance of your parents, appreciate it. Don’t just call, visit them. The thing I miss the most about home is not pizza or Dunkin Donuts or free laundry, but just sitting and talking/laughing/joking with my family. Sure that sounds sappy, but living 3,000 miles away from the people you love can do that to you.

Other than missing my family and furnishing my apartment I’ve been spending a lot of time working which is alway good. I don’t like sitting still and more than anything I hate being bored. Recently I’ve spent my time working on several different shows. I worked on a talk show for a little while and recently I’ve been on a reality competition show. I’ve enjoyed the reality show because I’ve been able to see the entire season of the show from start to finish which I find fascinating. People may knock reality TV, but a lot goes into making it all come together. There are challenges to plan and contestants to watch over and eliminations to be had. It’s all be great fun.

Next up in my life? Looking for the next project and the project after that, finally making that big bed purchase, and counting down the days until Christmas when I can finally go home and see my family and friends (127).

I’ll end this post with a little list…

California Favs:

  • Malibu

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I really can’t say enough about it. Every beach I’ve been to is prettier than the next.

  • Hiking. Yeah it really is that good here.
  • Thai food. Seriously some of the best I’ve ever eaten.
  • In-N-Out. Completely lives up to the hype and then some.
  • Catered meals. If you work at all in production you will understand what a gift that is. If you don’t it basically means someone provides a hot lunch for you on set. No pb&j for this girl. (Wow a lot of these involve food)
  • Making friends with other transplants who also work in production and have no family/other friends close by and so we all live the struggle together.

California Un-favs:

  • The fact that the L.A. Kings beat my NY Rangers and now I have to listen to everyone pretend to care about hockey for another season (compounded by the fact that Kings tickets are now RIDICULOUSLY expensive and I will never again be able to see a hockey game live)
  • Traffic. Where are you all going at 9 am on on Saturday??
  • Parking. Paying for parking, actually parking, not finding parking. (Yes, I have officially become one of those people.)
  • Chinese food. Those are not egg rolls, those are spring rolls. All I want is a crispy shelled deliciousness. Is that too much to ask?
  • Bills.
  • Being this close to Comic-Con and missing it (this year at least).
  • Not having any good celebrity sightings (besides Lance Bass).

Oh and here’s the song that inspired the post title:

‘Guardians of the Galaxy': Proof Marvel has the Infinity Gauntlet

Since people are still talking about Guardians of the Galaxy, I figured I would throw my two cents in.

Guardians of the Galaxy is Marvel’s infinity gauntlet. (Please hold while I explain). It is the company’s way of showing they have The Ultimate Power. Make a comic book movie that’s pretty much an original story with a ragtag bunch of unlikely heroes no one’s ever heard of and have that film make millions of dollars? Done. Fire (because of “creative differences”) beloved fanboy director Edgar Wright? Easy. Make a movie about a guy who can turn himself into an ant? What else you got?  As if we didn’t already know, Marvel is the master of the universe and we’re just along for the ride.

But what a fun ride it is. Guardians is laugh out loud, punch drunk fun. It can stand on it’s own as a kind of space adventure film while still weaving in critical Marvel Easter Eggs, characters, and storylines. And while I applaud all of this, at the same time I am not in the least bit surprised. Why did people think this movie would fail? Marvel could make a film about paint drying in Tony Stark’s garage and fanboys (myself included) would line up to see it. By now, it’s far more about the Marvel brand than the film itself. You want to see how the films connect, where they take the universe, what’s going to happen next. And to be involved in that conversation means seeing every film, regardless of if you think it looks good or bad.

When I first started hearing the news about Guardians I admit I was skeptical, but there was never a point in my mind where I considered NOT seeing it. Well, maybe there was, but with the fanboys of twitter a buzz, I decided I wanted in. Marvel movies have become a conversation as much as an experience. If you are active in social media or in life and you haven’t seen the newest Marvel movie opening weekend, be prepared to avoid all forms of communication or just plain have nothing to say. My favorite part of seeing a new Marvel film is talking and reading about it afterwards. Which is why, as a Marvel fan and social media user, I knew I had to see this film. I was curious as to what it was all about and I wanted to be informed-not just for Avengers 3-but also for everyday conversations. 

So is Guardians groundbreaking? I would say no. The Marvel name is attached and that alone that brings in a fanbase, money, marketing, and a set of expectations. I don’t see too many differences between the tone of Guardians and the first Iron Man film. I would be more impressed if this film was made by a small studio with everything to lose. And sure, Guardians could have tanked costing Marvel money and causing people to talk about if they were “losing their touch”, but in the long run would that have meant anything? Would ANYONE consider not seeing Age of Ultron because Guardians was a bad film? I don’t think so.

Did I enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy? You can bet your bottom dollar that I did and hope to see more characters that make me laugh as much as Drax did with his “Nothing goes over my head” line. But if you think I thought this film was better than Captain America: The Winter Soldier then I’m going to assume you’re an agent of Hydra.

 

Final Thoughts

  • This is the first film where I didn’t leave elated/pumped because of the end credits scene. Maybe I’m a bit young, but I didn’t get it/thought it was pointless. Tease the next film that’s the only reason I stay! (Just kidding, someone has to care who the 2nd gaffer is besides his mom.)

Emmy Nomination Reactions: Please No More ‘Big Bang’, I Wish I Didn’t Sleep Through ‘True Detective’, One Day Jon Hamm Will Win

Guess who’s back, back again? I apologize for the infrequent nature of my posts, I’ve been super busy in both good ways and bad (but that’s a post for another time). Right now I am here to talk about one of my favorite topics: award shows. The Emmy nominations were announced this morning and I can honestly say I have been waiting to for this list for a long time. I am more excited about this award show than I ever have been, maybe because I live in California now and I see those “For Your Consideration” advertisements EVERYWHERE (which I actually really enjoy). Or maybe it is because TV has just been SO GOOD lately and I have been indulging in my fair share…while still managing to never have seen even one episode of Breaking Bad. While it is said every year, I really think this year is has some of the best actors competing in some of the best roles representing some of the best shows.

Show without further ado…here are the nominees.

Best Drama Series
Breaking Bad- “Wow I’m so surprised the final season of BB was nominated” said no one ever
Downton Abbey- Kind of surprised to see this show still getting nominations when it is nowhere near as good as it used to be
Game of Thrones- Again, no surprises here
House of Cards- Netflix FTW
Mad Men-YAY
True Detective- I probably should’ve given this show another chance, but I kept falling asleep during the first episode 

*The only thing that could really give BB a run for its money is the super successful and critically loved True Detective. Other things these two shows have in common? Everyone watches them and I don’t.

Best Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory- I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY THIS SHOW IS ALWAYS NOMINATED FOR THINGS, GIVE OTHER SHOWS A CHANCE
Louie
Modern Family- I just started getting into MF/appreciating how funny it really is
Orange is the New Black- More (well deserved) loved for Netflix 
Silicon Valley- On my ever growing ‘to watch’ list
Veep

*I wish I watched the final 2 shows on this list, I hear they’re really funny. Also, I’m surprised to see Brooklyn Nine-Nine  not nominated since they did win a Golden Globe after all

Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom- I forgot this show was still on
Jon Hamm, Mad Men- One of these days Hamm will win for playing Don Draper, this is not that day 
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective- The year of McConaughey continues. I’d be shocked if he lost
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards- As good as Spacey is this season he was overshadowed by Robin Wright

*Interesting Harrelson and McConney are against each other for the same show, but I guess there is no way around that

Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex-YES. 
Claire Danes, Homeland- I get it, Danes is good, but I think Homeland‘s time has passed
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey- Lady Mary spent 90% of the season moping and the rest of the time flirting so I’m not sure how she managed this nom
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards- Well deserved nom, she killed it this season especially with that CNN interview episode

*I would be ecstatic for a Wright or Caplan win. Both play such different, but equally powerful characters.

Update: just realized Elisabeth Moss wasn’t nominated for Mad Men and now I’m a little sad. Although she did spend a lot of time last season being mad at other characters for seemingly no reason.

Lead Actor, Comedy
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie
William H. Macy, Shameless

*I’m sick of Jim Parsons always winning this category, but I don’t know who in this group is funny enough to take the throne away from him.

Lead Actress, Comedy
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly- You go girl. Show people you can do better than Tammy
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation- I really need to start watching this show
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black- She’s good, but not in what I would consider a comedic sense

Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: His Last Vow- Such a great episode in what really was a perfect season 
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge
Martin Freeman, FargoI love how great Freeman is as the bumbling man trying to reclaim his life. Also, his midwest accent is spot on 
Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo- Since they didn’t consider True Detective a miniseries this is Thornton’s to lose. I keep calling him Daniel Day-Lewis in my head when I think of this role THAT’S HOW GOOD HE IS
Idris Elba, Luther
Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart

*Haha Sherlock and Watson are up against each other in this category. Which table will Martin sit at?

Outstanding Reality-Competition Series
The Amazing Race
Dancing with the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
The Voice

*I’d be pretty happy to see any of these shows win, it’s a good bunch. Although I do favor Top Chef. 

Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon- I would love to see Jimmy win in not even his first year of hosting

Outstanding Miniseries
American Horror Story: Coven
Bonnie & Clyde- Wasn’t this just a movie? Or because it was a two parter they consider it a miniseries?
Fargo- This and only this
Luther
Treme
The White Queen

Outstanding Television Movie
Killing Kennedy
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight
The Normal Heart- I’ve been meaning to see this movie, it’s a must watch before the Emmys
Sherlock: His Last VowI didn’t realize they consider this a movie. It was good, but can it stand up to the more dramatic ones on here?
The Trip to Bountiful

Supporting Actor, Drama
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad- Yeah bitch! (That’s literally the only thing I know about this show. That and meth)
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey- Awh good ole Carson. Don’t think he can compete with Dinklage though
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones- I feel like it is Dinklage’s year to win again
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Mandy Patinkin, HomelandWhile everyone else floundered this season, Patinkin did some great work, so unlike Danes’ nomination I’m okay with this one
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Supporting Actress, Drama
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey- She’s one of my favorites on this show and she had a pretty heavy storyline to deal with this season
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones- Still love her as Sarah Connor on the Terminator TV show so I’m happy for her even though I’m not a GoT fan
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men- Hendricks doesn’t get enough love for her work on Mad Men and she deserves it. She’s had some incredibly stirring moments 

Supporting Actor, Comedy
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Fred Armisen, Portlandia

*I don’t have much to say about this category except that I think the guys from Modern Family are pretty funny

Supporting Actress, Comedy
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen, Modern Family- She’s probably my favorite on this show with her deadpan deliveries and mom humor
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New BlackHappy to see more love for the OITNB cast, especially the always phenomenal Red
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live- One of the funniest ladies on SNL. Olya Povlatsky is always a ‘Weekend Update’ highlight
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie
Colin Hanks, Fargo- You’re making your dad proud with your work on this show, Colin
Jim Parsons, The Normal Heart
Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
Alfred Molina, The Normal Heart
Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart
Martin Freeman, Sherlock: His Last Vow- Oh Martin, always a bridesmaid and never a bride. You’re so good, but up against stiff competition and even better co-stars 

*Lots of love for the guys of The Normal Heart, but does that mean they’ll cancel each other out?

Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie
Frances Conroy, American Horror Story: Coven
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Coven
Allison Tolman, Fargo- She is the best part of what is an amazing show and I would love to see her win especially as a new comer 
Ellen Burstyn, Flowers in the Attic
Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart

*Allison Tolman should be proud to see her name listed alongside the rest of these incredible and long working actresses. Even if she doesn’t win that in itself is an accomplishment.

Guest Actor, Drama
Paul Giamatti, Downton Abbey- I rather enjoyed him as Cora’s rich American brother all the dads were creepily trying to set their daughters up with 
Dylan Baker, The Good Wife
Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards- He had a good story this season, but don’t know if it holds up along some of the others 
Robert Morse, Mad Men
Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex- His side story is probably one of my favorite parts of this show. I love how he plays Scully with a mix of pathos, self loathing, and denial 
Joe Morton, Scandal

Guest Actress, Drama
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
Kate Mara, House of CardsHow’d she manage this nom seeing as…you know…
Allison Janney, Masters of Sex- The best part of the show by far. Margaret Scully’s self discovery and transformation are what make me come back to this show again and again. More than anything I would love to see Janney win 
Jane Fonda, Newsroom- Jane Fonda was on Newsroom??
Kate Burton, Scandal

Guest Actor, Comedy
Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
Nathan Lane, Modern Family
Steve Buscemi, Portlandia
Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night LiveYES. I literally could not stop laughing for this entire episode. Especially when JT was playing Jimmy and Jimmy couldn’t stop laughing
Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
Gary Cole, Veep

Guest Actress, Comedy
Natasha Lyonne, Orange Is the New Black-She is my favorite character on this show, so happy to see her nominated 
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black- If I was Aduba I wouldn’t worry if I lost this year, her performance in season 2 was even better
Laverne Cox, Orange Is the New Black- It’s so hard seeing these three OITNB  actresses nominated against each other because I want them all to win
Tina Fey, Saturday Night LiveI don’t remember watching Tina on SNL this season but I’m sure she was great
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Joan Cusack, Shameless

There are plenty of other nominations including categories like “Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming” (Go Anthony Bourdain and Parts Unknown) and “Outstanding Animated Program” (which reminds me I have to catch up on Archer), but here is where I end. Until the August 25th I will be finishing Fargo and 30 Rock (finally) while continually contemplating what show to start next.

Track by Track: Ultraviolence

Don’t ask me what it is, but I have a soft spot  for Lana Del Rey. I remember hearing “Video Game” and “Summertime Sadness” when they first came out and thinking that nothing on the radio sounded remotely similar. She is a performer in the way of Marina Diamandis of Marina and the Diamonds: a talented singer able to put on a persona that makes fun of the music she’s making while selling it at the same time. She has a “good girl gone bad”/ “I-don’t-play-by-the-rules” vibe which has gained her both supporters and haters alike. When the track list for Ultraviolence was released articles and social media sites sprung up both criticizing her choices (Rolling Stone called them “absurd”) and praising her for her unique edge. I loved each title and have had the the single “West Coast” on repeat since it was released.

I have been looking forward to this album, Ultraviolence, which was released last week on June 13th, but I am only getting around to listening to in full now. If you don’t like Lana you probably never will, but for those of us who want to celebrate summer with an album that sounds like it comes out of a 1950’s soundtrack, this is just what we’ve been waiting for.

1. Cruel World

There’s no doubt Lana’s voice sounds good on this song in a haunting and faraway way, but I’m not sure if this is the strongest song to start the album off with. Then again, when it was over it still lingered in my head. I think all of Lana’s songs warrant more than one listen because they are so complex especially once you really take time to listen to the lyrics.

2. Ultraviolence 

This song is one of those typical Lana songs that is much deeper than it appears on the surface, although the title does give it away a little more than usual. I love the way she drags out the singing of the word “Ultraviolence.” This song feels slick and dangerous which I think is appropriate considering the subject matter (“He hurt me but it felt like true love”/”He hit me and it felt like a kiss”).

Favorite line: He used to call me DN/That stood for deadly nightshade/Cause I was filled with poison/But blessed with beauty and rage

3. Shades of Cool LDR

I can imagine girls in poodle skirts and guys in bowling shirts slow dancing to this song in a high school gymnasium straight out of the 1950’s. That’s what I love so much about Lana’s music, she paints a picture with each song that you can clearly visualize upon listening. The song may be slow, but there’s a good beat and an awesome section with an electric guitar. There may be a vulnerability in her voice in this song more than her others, but there is still that feeling that this girl is someone you don’t want to mess with.

4. Brooklyn Baby

This song sounds most like the Lana I know and love. It’s half ode, half mockery of Brooklyn, the place that has become synonymous with hipsters, $5 coffee, and microbreweries. I can tell that this will be one of the songs I listen to most frequently this summer besides “West Coast” and that’s mostly just because I live in California now.

Favorite lines: Yeah my boyfriend’s pretty cool/But he’s not as cool as me/Cause I’m a Brooklyn Baby

5. West Coast

I have been listening to this song since it was released and so far it is my favorite on the album. Maybe it’s because I’m a west coast girl now and this song fits so well with my image of driving around Los Angeles, especially on the way out of the city and heading to the beach. (Mostly Venice Beach that is.) It’s most definitely a sexy song and I enjoy the sprinkling of Spanish lyrics.

Favorite lines: Down on the West Coast, they got their icons/Their silver starlets, their Queens of Saigon/And you’ve got the music, you’ve got the music in you, don’t you?

6. Sad Girl

The way this track list is going so far these could be chapters in my autobiography.

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After the high of “West Coast”, “Sad Girl” is a little bit of a let down. I am actually having trouble thinking of anything to say about it and when it ended I forgot it. It’s okay, most albums have one of these and who knows, maybe when I listen to the album through again (as soon as I’m done with this post) it may grow on me.

7. Pretty When You Cry

This song is an interesting look at a relationship. Rather than the typical “girl love boy, boy loves someone else” it’s “girl loves boy, boy loves drugs more.” And while the girl loves the boy, she also seems okay with knowing she’s weak and that the relationship is toxic. It’s a subject that could become un-relatable , but Lana takes it to that place of “girl, I’ve been there too.”

Favorite lines:  I’m pretty when I cry/Don’t say you need me when/You leave and you leave again/I’m stronger than all my men/Except for you

8. Money Power Glory 

A lot of people dislike Lana’s music because they feel she is untalented and only after fame. I like how she uses this song to acknowledge that she knows what people think and doesn’t care. She’s making a statement about the lifestyle she supposedly represents and what it says about our culture. I feel like this song could be a response to Lorde’s “Royals”; we may never be royals, but deep down we all want the same things.

9. Fucked My Way to the Top

Another self aware song, but this one is more in your face and fun. Love her or hate this is Lana’s show and we are all just  a part of it. The opening line alone (which happens to be my favorite) shows that she knows it’s all a game. One she truly knows how to play. (She is famous after all.)

Favorite lines: Life is awesome, I confess/What I do, I do best/You got nothing, I got tested/And I’m best, yes

10. Old Money

I love the sound of this song, the piano, the stripped down layered vocals, the sadness. Compared to the last two songs which were all about recognizing and celebrating her persona, this song seems the most personal and real. Or as real as we can get with Lana. She is still painting a picture, but it is one we can related to much more closely than her world of “dope and diamonds” from “Money Power Glory.”

11. The Other Woman

I have seen it quoted that Lana describes herself as “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” and when I heard this song I understood why. I could see this being in a Tarantino film, even though I have a feeling he’s not a Lana fan (don’t ask me why). It’s the shortest of the songs on the album and a breath of fresh air.

12.Black Beauty 

Another swaying song. This sounds more commercial than the typical Lana, but that’s not a bad thing. This album has a lot of different sounds while still maintaining her overall vibe.

Favorite lines: Life is beautiful but you don’t have a clue/Sun and ocean blue/Their magnificence, it don’t make sense to you

13. Guns and Roses

Another good groovy song with a nice beat. The lyrics are not as complex as some of the other songs, but not every one of them has to be a master piece. Sometimes you just need a song celebrating guys who love guns and roses. (And maybe the band too.)

Favorite lines: I should’ve learned to let you play/I wasn’t the marryin’ kind/I should’ve done it anyway

14. Florida Kilos 

I love the way this song starts out, it sounds so different from everything we’ve heard so far. It’s another song that paints a picture of the glamours fast life of drugs and money. I can almost picture what the video of this song might look like if it happens: awash in gold with lots of palm trees, convertibles, and Lana wearing killer shades and curls.

Note: There are 2 songs, one on the i-Tunes bonus version and one on the Japanese bonus version, that I have not listened to. I only listened to what is currently streaming on spotify.

Summer ’14, I’m ready for you.

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