Friday, March 12, 2010

Metal: A Headbanger's Journey

When I first saw the title of this documentary (or, as VH1 Classic called it, 'rock doc'), I figured it would just be the story of some metal bands and where there are today.

That was so not the case.

Metal: A Headbanger's Journey did feature short stories of metal stars like Alice Cooper and Dee Snider, but it wasn't the focus. This rock doc was all about the heavy metal genre as a culture. When I put it like that, I guess it sounds sort of creepy--like all metalheads are in some sort of cult and worship Ozzy Osbourne, but it wasn't a scary documentary, either. It was exactly what the title says it was: a headbanger's journey, looking for why metal is contantly stereotyped and metal's ties with religion, sexuality, fans, and musical influences.

It was competely fascinating. I was glued to my TV screen, the whole time thinking about how I have to blog about it or I would never forgive myself. I don't even think you have to be a fan of heavy metal to enjoy this movie. I'm more of an 80's hair metal fan, but I still loved hearing what members of Slipknot and Cannibal Corpse had to say; there's a little something for everyone.

It's totally eye-opening, too. Bands like Slayer are proven to not be Satanists. Dee Snider of Twisted Swister speaks about censorship in court (that part was my favorite). Controversial issues like violence and death are discussed. You get to see the sense of belonging, empowerment, and safety that fans of metal feel. Some information is shocking--like how churches were burned down by some Norwegian black metal band members. Some information is just interesting, like how groupies really did want to be with the band and don't regret one thing.

The entire film showed heavy metal--along with all of its subgenres, which are pretty mind-boggling when they're all listed--as a social movement. It was awesome, and I do not use that word lightly. The influence that metal has obviously had on people all over the world is incredible, and that power (from any musical genre) is one of my favorite things about music.

This movie is for anyone--anyone who adores metal, anyone who doesn't know anything about metal, anyone who has never understood metal, anyone that just doesn't get it--because it is so informative. It's informative and interesting in the best way possible.

One moment of the film that really touched me was during an interview with a teen. He was asked what was it he liked so much about music (he had posters all over his wall, he played bass, and was wearing an Anthrax T-shirt. You could tell from one glance that music was a huge influence on him).

He answered by saying that music was always there.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


"You've lost your muchness!"

It's finally here! Tim Burton and Disney's Alice in Wonderland is now in theaters, and if you didn't rush to the theater to see it last Friday, then stop reading this blog now and go see it. You don't even have to see it in 3D (I didn't, but I want to soon!). Just see it. I am sure the effect will be the same.

I was too excited for this movie to come out. I kept seeing pictures of Jonny Depp in is Mad Hatter getup, The Red Queen's fabulous makeup, the gorgeous scenery...March 5th couldn't come fast enough. I have to admit, at first I was a little upset that Tim Burton was doing a 'remake' of this movie--to remake a Disney classic is a sin.

And then I found out it was actually a Disney movie, and I felt a lot better.

For those of you who are concerned like I was about this twist on a childhood favorite, don't be. Yes, it's real actors and fancy animations and scenery and some of the characters look absolutely crazy (but it's Wonderland--what do you expect?), but it's not a movie that wipes away the original movie at all. It's just another adventure for Alice. It left me thinking that everyone should have his or her own little Wonderland; for Alice, it was a place that taught her so much. I know that's incredibly vague, but I hate even the tiniest of spoilers. I'm a dork like that. Besides, once you see it, you'll know what I'm talking about. All of the hype is greatly deserved. Alice in Wonderland is a beautiful movie, and if you're wondering why...go see it, because there is no way I am giving it away. =)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Movie Night

Comedies are by far my favorite type of movie to watch. Comedies don't have to have a stellar, confusing plotline that critics seem to love so much and they can still have their adorable moments (Have you seen The Ugly Truth? That hot-air balloon part was awesome!) without getting ridiculously cheesy. What's not to love?

If you're in need of a good laugh, here are my top picks for an hour and a half (minimum) of non-stop hilairty:

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy- Will Ferrell plays Ron Burgundy, a news anchor in the classy city of San Diego. Everything in his life is one big party, but when a woman--Veronica Corningstone (who has beautiful eyes and hair that smells liek cinnamon)--joins the news team, things get a little crazy. "60% of the time it works EVERYTIME."

The Brady Bunch Movie- Every word the Bradys say in this movie cracks me up. This parody of the popular sitcom is one huge Brady adventure. They still think it's the 1970s; Jan can't seem to get any attention because it's always about MARCIA MARCIA MARCIA; Greg tries to win a groovy girl's heart by writing a song; Cindy learns about tattling; and the kids call an emergency family meeting and try to come up with $20,000 before they have to move! "But don't have any friends."

Young Frankenstein-Mel Gibson's scary-movie parody is in black and white and has everything a terrifying movie should...except it's downright hilarious. Dr. Frankenstein's grandson (Gene Wilder) leads a happy life, teaching science in New York and denying that he is related to Frankenstein (It's pronounced Fronk-en-steen). When his grandfather dies, his will leads the young Frankenstein to his castle in Transylvania. With the help of hunchbacked, hilarious Igor, his sexy assistant Inga, and his grandfather's ex girlfriend, Dr. Frankenstein creates a monster of his own.

Killer Clowns From Outer Space-This movie is supposed to be terrifying, but it is far from it. Just watch it and laugh. You know you want to.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall- Peter's life will never be the same once his girlfriend Sarah Marshall dumps him for a vegan hippie rock star. He tries to hook up with other girls, but when that doesn't work out too well for him, he decides to go to Hawaii and forget his heartbreak...only to find Sarah Marshall is staying in the same hotel.

Napoleon Dynamite- Napoleon's brother Kip has to brag about all the hot babes he chats with online; his grandma had a bike accident and now his football-obsessed Uncle Rico had to stay with them; and he can't get a girlfriend because girls only date guys with skills. Can't anyting go right? Turns out, it can! When his best friend Pedro decides to run for class president, Napoleon does everything he can to help--and learns some pretty sweet dance moves along the way.

Bruce Almighty- Bruce is 100% sure that God is picking on him, not doing his job, and laughing at him up in heaven. God decides to give Bruce all of His powers and see how he fixes the world, but first Bruce has some changes in his life he's going to make...

Have fun, everyone! I know I left a lot of funny movies out, so comment below with your favorite comedies! =)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Music is Universal

Before I get to the actual post, I just wanted to give everyone who has read my entries, given my blog a glance, or commented on my entries a huge THANK YOU. It totally makes my day when I see I have a new comment and without people visiting I probably wouldn't continue this blog. So thank you and much love. xoxo

Okay, let's do a little exercise. I'll list a band or an artist, and you try to think of the type of people who listen to that type of music. Ready? Set? GO!

Britney Spears
Mayday Parade
Avril Lavigne
The Sex Pistols
Lady Gaga
Fall Out Boy
Chester French

If you're like most people, Britney Spears and Ke$ha probably made you think of cheerleaders clad in Abercrombie & Fitch and Juicy Couture; Elefant and Chester French made images of hipster/indie kids sipping on coffee and discussing the next art show/fim festival they're attending; Mayday Parade, Fall Out Boy reminded you of so-called emo/scene kids who enjoy covering their face with their hair; Anthrax and Disturbed made you think of head-banging guys with long hair; blink-182 and the Sex Pistols made mohawks and punks pop into your head; Avril Lavigne made you think of more preppy girls or girls who thought they were punks, and Lady Gaga made you think of wild, over-the-top chicks who liked to dance (or maybe just everyone in the world, since so many people love her catchy tunes).

Every artist had a sterotype matched up to it. Does anyone else see how wrong that is?

Our culture has come to accept that only this type of person listens to this type of music and if they listen to anything else, it's weird.

I was at a forensics/debate tournament one day, jammin' out to the music on my Zune when my friend came up to me and asked me what type of music I was listening to.

"Uhhh...Killswitch Engage," I said, sort of hesitantly. I knew he would be surprised, and sure enough, he looked at me sort of funny, laughed, and then said, "I expected you to be listening to some happy pop song."

Yeah, I love the song "Holy Diver" by Killswitch Engage. I love "Cowboys From Hell" by Pantera and I also love anything by Skid Row. I'm a metal-head! Whoohoo!!

But I also adore the sweet, springy sound of A Fine Frenzy, Broadway showtunes, the dance tunes of Ke$ha and Lady Gaga, and the older punk/emo tracks of Fall Out Boy. Say whaaat?!

Maybe it's the fact that I never thought I fit into any of those labels our society likes to assign people (skater, punk, prep, emo, scene, goth, jock, nerd, etc.), but I'll listen to anything, not just the type of music I'm 'supposed' to like (which is apparently 'happy pop music'). Sometimes I get into those moods where I HAVE to listen to some heavy metal or classic rock right NOW (or the Rent soundtrack or some Panic! at the Disco and Fall Out Boy to remind me of my early teenage days), but that doesn't mean it's the only thing I'll listen to.

At this point, some of you may be thinking, This girl is nuts. I don't think people listen to music they're 'supposed to' at all, so here's another example for you:

One night my cousin was eating dinner with me, my parents, and my brother. Somehow we got into a discussion of these labels we seem to like so much, and my mom asked, "What's the difference between goth and punk and emo and all of those?"

And if you've never had to answer this question before, it's actually really hard. As a teen in America who is exposed to these stereotypes every day, it's not something you consciously think about. You just sort of...know.

As I tried to think of the best way to explain these differences, my cousin said jokingly, "It depends on what sort of music you listen to."

"That is so true!" I said, amazed at this revelation. It is true. Think about it for a minute; don't certain bands like My Chemical Romance remind you of certain stereotypes? I know it's a yes for me. Why?

Unfortunately, to make it in the music business, you can't just have a good album. You need good marketing, and a lot of it. Everything a band does appeals to a certain group of people that our society has made up (because those labels we talk about so much are completely ridiculous too). There are always exceptions, of course--but the majority of people will only listen to bands in the same genre, the genre that our society says they should listen to.

This labeling makes people afraid to explore different genres and share with others the music they love. For example: me and Killswitch Engage. I LOVE "Holy Diver", and I knew, just knew, that that type of music was unexpected from a girl who acted and dressd the way I did. Stereotypes and music have almost become instinctive.

When telling one of my friends to listen to Say Anything, he asked what type of music they played. I should have just kept it simple and said "alternative", but I tried to think of how to explain their sound and said, "They're an alternative band...they're sort of like Fall Out Boy."

"Fall Out Boy? That cutter emo band?"

Yes, because every single person who listens to Fall Out Boy is an emo kid who hates their life. And every single kid who cuts themselves dresses in black, and every single kid who likes to dress in black cuts themselves.

And I don't know about you, but when people diss my music like that, it makes me feel bad, like the music I love did not pass a test. So I go on trying to find music that I 'should' be listening to that other people 'approve' of and think is 'good.' I drive myself crazy sometimes by hoping that others will tell me that I have a wonderful taste in music. It's ridiculous.

How exactly does anyone define what 'good' music is? To me, good music is things I like. That's all. Nobody knows what is considered 'good music'. We all know what good means to us personally, but it's impossible to have a universal definitition of good music because everyone is so different.

I understand that certain songs will appeal to you; maybe you can't stand those hardcore bands or the twangy sounds of Tim Mcgraw. There's nothing wrong with that. What's wrong is the way we stick to one type of music because our culture makes us hesitant to listen to anything else.

People shouldn't be afraid to like a certain genre of music. People shouldn't have to worry about if the band they love is one that will get the world's nod of approval. It's music. Music is supposed to bring joy, inspire, help your hearts heal, and make you want to dance. It's for you, and it shouldn't have to go with the norm or please anyone else but you. You're the one listening to it!

Music was not meant to be something we were assigned or ashamed of. Music speaks in a way nothing else can; it's universal and should be shared with everyone, not one tiny group in a world of millions. Go forth, find songs you love, and jam out fearlessly.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympic Games

With the 2010 Winter Olympics underway, everyone has skiing, figure skating, and snowboarding on their minds. As well as all sports wintery, I remember great moments from the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing (MICHAEL PHELPS! SHAWN JOHNSON! Oh my gosh, they were so much fun to watch!) and I am super excited for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Along with my favorites, swimming and gymnastics, we may be watching...pole dancing?
Yes, believe it or not, campaigns have been launched to add pole dancing to the Olympics. Yes, this is the same 'pole dancing' that automatically reminds you of strippers.
But does pole dancing always have to mean strippers?
When I first heard of this campaign (and when I heard there was a men's league of pole dancing...), my mind was a little boggled. My thoughts were something like this: Uh... yeah... okay... let's not.
And then I thought, well...gymnastics is an Olympics sport. Figure skating is an Olympic sport. Both combine graceful movements and require incredible altheteicism. I don't know about you, but I can't do any of those twirls and leaps that gymnast or skaters do, and I certainly wouldn't be able to do a pole dance if someone told me to (a legitmate pole dance routine, not just walking around a pole seductiveley in boots and lingerie). Pole dancing requires the same sort of flexibility and strength that dancing, gymnastics, and figure skating does (and probably a lot of other sports, too).
When I saw this video, I was blown away. Can you do all of that?
I didn't think so.
And look at how buff she is!
Pole dancing shouldn't have to have a bad rep and be kept out of the Olympics because of it, especially when a routine like that would take years of experience. Pole dancing is good exercise; it requires incredible strenght and flexibility; there are competetitons. It's a sport. Put pole dancing in the Olympics, I say--I want the rest of the world to be blown away, too.
More information
I know some of this information is not the most recent, so if anyone has any updates, please leave a comment and I'll add it to the list.
Also, NO RUDE COMMENTS. Think what you will and state your opinion, but do so in a polite and intelligent manner. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

If you could go anywhere in the world right now...

Where would you go?

New York, New York, USA.

"New York City. Center of the universe."("Sante Fe", Rent Soundtrack). Shopping, Broadway. Strawberry Fields, China Town, Little Italy, subways and taxis and bright lights and daydreams...sigh. I love New York.

Toyko, Japan. Japanese fashion? Yes, please! Japanese food? Yes, please. Japanese shops? Yes, please. I'd looove to viist this city--it reminds me of a foreign NYC and I'd be jamming out to Gwen Stefani's "Harajuku Girls" the entire time (I have no idea if the Harajuku fashion district is in Tokyo, but I really enjoy that song. Does anyone want to enlighten me?).

Venice, Italy. If you have ever read the book The Thief Lord, then you know why I want to go. A vacation without cars or the regular stop at McDonald's and filled with magic.

London, England. The land of Annie in The Parent Trap, The Great Mouse Detective, and of course Harry Potter! I would spend a day visiting castles, seeing a show at London's West End, and shopping--oh, boy, would my bank account be empty then!

Picture credit:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cheaper Than Therapy

I am completely obsessed with How I Met Your Mother.

My addiction and love for this show is the equivalent of Harry Potter freaks lining up at midnight at Barnes and Noble to get their hands on J.K Rowling's latest stroke of genius (and you fellow Potter fans know how deep that love for Hogwarts goes...I love How I Met Your Mother the same way).

For those who have never experienced the awesomeness of How I Met Your Mother, it is a show about Ted Mosby and his friends (Marshall and Lily, the married couple; Barney, the womanizer; and Robin, the single Canadian, 'gun-enthusiast' girl) living in New York City. Every girl he dates and every event leads him a little bit closer to his future wife and mother of his two future children, and the person he has to become in order to meet her. No, we still do not know who exactly the mother is, but we have some huge clues.

I could go on for HOURS about how much I adore this show. Mondays are no longer a day of tourture, because this show comes on at 7:00 PM (central time) on CBS on Monday nights. It totally makes my day. I own every season on DVD (aside from the fifthg season, of course, because that's the season going on now) and watch an episode or two before or while I fall asleep. I watch my favorite episodes when I am having a bad day. I enjoy quoting Barney Stinson in every day conversation. I can apply things like The Lemon Law, The Platinum Rule, and the Chain of Screaming to every day life. I always feel so dissappointed when CBS is shows a rerun instead of a brand new adventure.

I'm serious. This show is completely AWESOME.

My favorite thing to do (especially when I have had a rough day) is grab some ice cream, sit down in my living room, and watch this show--the BEST show in the whole world.


These characters are hilarious. They are so well-developed and realistc that it's hard to believe they are fictional. The things they do are hilarious--Robin tries to shave her legs in a restaurant bathroom, using a stick of butter as shaving cream; Barney dresses up as an eighty-year-old-man to try to hook up with girls; Ted has five shots and wakes up the next day with a broken ankle, a girl in his bed, and a pineapple. What's not to love?

Aside from it's hilarity, there's something magical about Ted's journey in finding his perfect girl. It's comedy sprinkled with some heartwrenching moments (uhh, Season 1 finale, anyone?) mixed in with completely romantic, melt-worthy moments. It has all of this and more, without going compeltely romantic-comedy and girly. It makes me laugh and forget about real life for a while. It makes me daydream about my future life as a young person in New York and my future husband. It makes me think of how incredible my friends are, because if there is any group of friends on TV (at least, on a show that is still going on) who completely love each other, it's this one. How I Met Your Mother is a party of laughs, friends, and romance, and if you have never watched it before, go watch it RIGHT NOW.

Bottom line: watching How I Met Your Mother while eating spoonfulls of vanilla ice cream is cheaper than therapy.

Episodes You Should Watch:
Pilot, Season 1
The Pineapple Incident, Season 1
The Limo, Season 1
Milk, Season 1
Come On, Season 1
Slap Bet, Season 2
Something Borrowed, Season 2
Something Blue, Season 2
Wait For It...Season 3
The Bracket, Season 3
Ten Sessions, Season 3
Everything Must Go, Season 3
Miracles, Season 3
Do I Know You?, Season 4
Shelter Island, Season 4
The Naked Man, Season 4
Three Days Rule, Season 4
Right Place Right Time, Season 4
Fast As She Can, Season 4
The Leap, Season 4

What's your cheap therapy?