* First Festival shift. I won’t go into it all, but it was about as chaotic and stressful as any first shift of the Festival. At least I get to work with Natasha.

* Shift ends and I immediately join the line to see Cannibal, a ticket I actually forgot I had when I sorted my schedule. Eep.

* I enjoyed Cannibal, though I don’t think I got as much out of it as I should have. The movie was really beautiful, but I was far too tired for a film with extended shots of mountaintops and long takes where I watch a character drink a whole glass of water. When the dialogue ebbed out and the movie got quiet, I would find myself doing the baby-head-bob. I thought the acting was superb though and the lead reminded me of a young, Spanish Alan Rickman.

* Unfortunately the movie runs longer than expected and I miss the rush for Mystery Road. I am now at a loss – do I join the rush line for Dallas Buyers Club 3 hours before the movie starts? Can I last that long? Should I try rushing something out. These are the dilemmas that only TIFF can create.

* On an impulse I decide to try and rush The Double – I have a ticket for later in the week, but I decide I would like to see Richard Ayoade in person if I can, and I can always exchange my ticket for something else.

* Once we pass the 15 minute mark into the movie, I bail. I am too tired and hungry and decide to go home and sleep. I have no intention of seeing Midnight Madness – an Eli Roth movie in general is rarely my cup of tea, and one about a tribe of cannibals in the amazon is definitely not something I would seek out. “But didn’t you just see a move called ‘Cannibal’?” you might ask. Yes, yes I did. But I felt fairly confident that an artistic Spanish film would not gross me out as much as anything Eli Roth would make. I find the man delightful, I find his films far too much for me to take.


Cannibal – Liked it. I will definitely need to rewatch it when I am more awake and able to pay closer attention, but I thought it was an interesting character piece and I really enjoyed Antonio de la Torre’s performance as the emotionless killer who begins to feel something for his latest victim’s twin sister. Definitely worth a viewing.



* Spend my work day yo-yo-ing between extreme exhaustion and anxious energy. Probably should have taken all days of the Fest off. To keep in mind for next year…

* Head to Ryerson for Jason Bateman’s Live Read of Boogie Nights. Run into a TIFF Trivia friend in line and we start chatting about last night’s films – I think we are both talking about Only Lovers Left Alive, he thinks we’re talking about All Cheerleaders Must Die. “I loved it!” I exclaim. “Really??” he replies perplexed. It takes us longer than I care to admit to realize we are not talking about the same movie.

* The Live Read is so much fun. I get to hear Jason Sudeikis channel his inner Don Cheadle, Dane Cook attempt a Puerto Rican accent, Dakota Fanning make casual comments about ejaculation, Jesse Eisenberg sing off-key acapella, and Josh Brolin laugh hysterically at Jesse Eisenberg singing off-key acapella. Utterly delightful and worth every penny.

* Try to catch people coming out the back door again. My luck is not as good as it was with Hiddleston. Despite mymovie buddies all heading home to bed and my own immenient exhaustion looming, I decide to still try and rush The Last of Robin Hood at Isabel Bader. I am not optimistic about my chances, it IS the premiere, but I figure it’s worth a shot.

* Arrive at Isabel Bader to find a very reasonable rush line. In my surprise and excitement, I manage to drop my camera on the hard pavement and send it flying. Immediately fly into a panic that I have destroyed my only means of photography that isn’t my shitty phone. Thankfully, I’ve only managed to mangle the battery holder; I McGyver a hair elastic around it to keep the batteries in and all is well.

* Last Of Robin Hood is decent. It was interesting to see the complex relationship between Erroll Flynn, his much younger paramour, and her capitalizing stage mother, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the performances (Susan Sarandon in particular was riviting) but I wouldn’t say I was blown away by it.

* Q&A was delightful. Susan Sarandon is sharp and witty and charming and I adore her.

* By the time the film gets out, Midnight Madness is essentially a pipe dream. Disappointing, because I was intrigued by The Station, but sleep is very necessary; I have my first shift of The Festival in the morning.


Jason Reitman’s Live Read of Boogie Nights – Loved it. So much fun. I definitely recommend checking out a Live Read if you ever get the chance, absolutely worth it.

The Last of Robin Hood – Liked it. I would recommend it to some people, but probably not everyone I know.


* After leaving work and changing into my party outfit, head to Elgin to stalk the red carpet. Am informed there isn’t a red carpet at Elgin that night. Despite knowing full well this isn’t the man in the headset’s fault, am still filled with misplaced annoyance with him.

* Go to Roy Thompson instead. So many fan girls. So very intimidating. Natasha joins me and we shiver together in the cold while we await the arrival of Mr. Cumberbatch.

* He arrives! I see him! I scream his name shamelessly! I take a blurry picture! He does not come over. I feel quite sad.

* As I’ve always suspected, the red carpet is a lot of effort for very little payoff. People who’d been there far longer than I had didn’t get any autographs either. I’d much rather spend time watching films, thank you.

* Trudge to Ryerson for Only Lovers Left Alive. We have a decent place in line. James, Natasha’s boyfriend, holds my spot so I can run to the red carpet to try and catch a glimpse of Tom Hiddleston. I do not get close enough for a pic or autograph, but I enjoy seeing him nonetheless.

* The movie is SO. GOOD. An unconventional but still beautiful love story about two people who just happen to be vampires. Somehow this fact is both integral to their story, and almost inconsequential. Mia Wasikowska plays a perfect bratty sister and Jeffrey Wright has a small scene-stealing role that gave some comic relief.

* Someone at the Q&A fangirled out on Hiddleston and it was absolutely cringe-worthy. Nothing fills me with more embarrassment than a  fellow nerd making someone unnecessarily uncomfortable. This isn’t Comic-Con, it’s a film festival; try and keep the questions relevant.

* Through sheer luck I manage to get near the back door as Hiddleston exits. Can’t get close for an autograph, but I get a decent photo on my phone. Day MADE.

* Shoes are killing me, I’m exhausted beyond belief, yet still manage to get talked into going to the Opening Night Party – I did dress up after all, might as well show it off.

* Was at the party maybe 20 minutes before bailing. I was too tired to mingle and it just wasn’t my scene. Came home to my mom’s condo to sleep, only to find that the party raging across the street is now keeping me up. The misplaced rage returns.


Only Lovers Left Alive  – Loved it. Realize I’m a little biased, but I don’t care.

TIFF 2013 – Sandra’s Festival Schedule

Merry TIFF-mas, friends and neighbours! It’s that time of year again! The time of year where I lose track of time; The time of year where I remember I have this blog, and actual attempt to use it; The time of year where I forgo food and sleep and sanity in the name of movies and star gazing and fun.

For those of you who will also be partaking in the most wonderful time of year, here is my planned schedule. It took forever to finalize because my life lately just seems to be an unending stream of things that I am wholly unprepared for, despite having months of notice. But I digress. As always, my plans may or may not change depending on crowds, hunger and sleep deprivation. If any of our screenings overlap, let me know! I love movie buddies!

UNDERLINED = I have a ticket
ITALICS = I am going to attempt to Rush it

Thursday, September 5th:

* DAY JOB (8:00-4:00pm) – Being trapped in my cubicle Thursday and Friday might actually kill me. Ugh.

* The Fifth Estate (6:30-8:34pm, Elgin) – I’m not gonna lie, kids – I am going to the Elgin after work and I am straight up red carpet stalking until I can see Benedict Cumberbatch. Sherlock is in town and I WILL see him, or die trying.

* Only Lovers Left Alive (9:00-11:03pm, Ryerson) – JARMUSCH. YELCHIN. SWINTON. HIDDLESTON. VAMPIRES. YES.

* Opening Night Party! – Though I know the locale isn’t a popular choice with some, it is directly across the street from my mother’s condo which means I can make an appearance and won’t have far to go to trudge home to bed; I still have my day job to go to come Friday morning.

Friday, September 6th:

* DAY JOB (8:00-4:00pm)

* Jason Reitman’s Live Read of Boogie Nights (6:00-8:00pm, Ryerson)SO. EXCITED.

* The Last Of Robin Hood (9:45-11:19pm, Isabel Bader)I am fully aware that my chances of getting into this one are slim. But it’s Kevin Kline, so I gotta try.

* The Station (11:59-1:32am, Ryerson)Let the Midnight Madness BEGIN!

Saturday, September 7th:

* WORK (7:30-3:30pm, Scotia) – My TIFF shifts begin, as does my slow but steady mental decline with each early morning shift.

* Heart Of A Lion (4:15-5:54pm, Scotia)One plus of working at Scotia in the mornings: I can join the Rush line immediately after work. Bonus!

* Mystery Road (7:15-9:13pm, Lightbox) – I will be attempting to Rush more public screenings this year than any year previous. Should prove an interesting experiment for me.

* Dallas Buyers’ Club (10:00-11:57pm, Princess of Wales) I am not overly optimistic on my chances for this one, but I figure I might as well try and if I fail, early night’s sleep for me! Which wouldn’t be the worst idea…

Sunday, September 8th:

* Labor Day (9:00-10:51am, Lightbox)My only day off! I am hoping 9am is early enough that most people will still be sleeping and my attempt to Rush this one won’t be in vain.
Like Father, Like Son (10:00-12:00pm, Lightbox) Just in case Labor Day falls through.

* Horns (1:00-3:03pm, Scotia)The whole reason I gave my shift away on the 8th. I read and loved the book so I am extremely excited to see Harry Potter with horns growing out of his head.

* We Are The Best! (4:30-6:12pm, Scotia) (P&I) – Do I see this, or Le Week-End at 6:30? Might I be able to pull off both? To be determined…

* Devil’s Knot (9:00-10:54pm, Elgin) – I’m pretty sure Rushing this one might be in vain…
* The Bit Player (9:45-11:36pm, Scotia) – If I can’t see Egoyan’s latest, I will watch an adorable Filipino film instead.

* Oculus (11:59-1:44am, Ryerson) – I have never had a problem Rushing Midnight Madness (until Seven Psychopaths, that is) but I am really starting to regret not getting myself a guaranteed ticket for this one… I really, really want to see Karen Gillan vs an evil ancient mirror!

Monday, September 9th:

* WORK (7:30-3:30pm, Scotia) – Back to the early morning grind…

* Finding Vivian Maier (4:45-6:08pm, Lightbox) – This documentary looks so interesting, you have no idea how relieved I was that it fit into my schedule.

* One Chance (8:00-9:43pm, Winter Garden) – I contemplated joining my roommate at the red carpet for August: Osage County this evening, and if I don’t see Cumberbatch Thursday I still might, but… James Cordon. Looking adorable. And possibly singing? How can I not!

* Enemy (10:30-12:00am, Lightbox) – My basic plan here is to race to the Lightbox and check out the Rush line; provided it doesn’t look too bananas, I will try my luck.
Afflicted (11:59-1:24am, Ryerson) – If I can’t see Enemy, I might inflict yet another late night/early morning combo on myself.

Tuesday, September 10th:

* WORK (7:30-3:30pm, Scotia)

* Bad Hair (4:00-5:33pm, Scotia) (P&I)
One Chance (5:00-6:43pm, Lightbox) – If I can’t see One Chance Monday night, I WILL see it Tuesday. I WILL. If I do manage to see it, Bad Hair it is!

* How I Live Now (8:00-9:41pm, Winter Garden) – I haven’t read the book yet, but Allison has and she assures me it is good. Plus, I’m a sucker for some post-apocalyptic storytelling.

* McCanick (10:15-11:51pm, Isabel Bader) – The futility of trying to rush one of the final Cory Monteith films is not lost on me, but I am genuinely interested in the flick so I might as well try.
Almost Human (11:59-1:19am, Ryerson)McCanick is probably a pipe dream. Provided I am not dead on my feet, Midnight Madness once again!

Wednesday, September 11th:

* WORK (7:30-3:30pm, Scotia)

* Don Jon (3:00-4:30pm, Ryerson) – You may have noticed a discrepancy there between the end of my shift and the start of this film. Do not fear, friends. I will move heaven and hell to make this work. Someone will take the second half of my shift. Some kind soul will save me. I BELIEVE.

* Dom Hemingway (6:00-7:33pm,Scotia) (P&I) – Jude Law looks ROUGH in this one. Colour me intrigued.

* Tom At The Farm (9:00-10:35pm, Bloor) – I wasn’t able to see Laurence Anyways last year and I regretted it so much; I really hope Rushing this one works out!

* Rigor Mortis (11:59-1:44am, Ryerson) – Truthfully, I might bail on this one. It looks good, but I think I might be too tired to function at this point…

Thursday, September 12th:

* WORK (7:30-3:30pm, Scotia)

* Une Jeune Fille (A Journey) (3:45-5:10pm, Scotia) (P&I) – This is assuming I finish my shift exactly on time and immediately join the Rush.

* Cold Eyes (6:15-8:13pm, Scotia) (P&I) – I was really torn between this one and Blind Detective. Location ultimately made up my mind for me.

* A Promise (9:00-10:35pm, Elgin) – I promised to take Allison to one movie (because I am a good roommate) and this is the one we picked. If she gets to see Robb Stark and Severus Snape in person, she might just plotz.

* R100 (11:59-1:39am, Ryerson) – I really hope I can still buck up and make it through this one… Sleep is for the weak!

Friday, September 13th:

* WORK (7:30-3:30pm, Scotia)

* Palo Alto (6:00-7:38pm, Bloor) – I love James Franco. I just do. He’s pretentious and weird and so effing crazy but also brilliant and funny and so damn talented. His foray into directing didn’t fit in my schedule, but this one did!

* The Sacrament (8:45-10:20pm, Scotia) – I’ve made it a rule for myself to see at least one Vanguard flick that I know very little about, but that grabs my attention. This policy has served me well in the past (Here Comes The Devil blew me away last year) and so I am trusting my instincts once again.

* Why Don’t You Play In Hell? (11:59-2:05am, Ryerson) – I really want to see this Midnight Madness selection, but it runs SO LONG and I have an early morning the next day. Decision to be determined…

Saturday, September 14th:

* WORK (7:30-3:30pm, Scotia)

* Belle (6:30-8:15pm, Lightbox)

Bright Days Ahead (6:45-8:18pm, Lightbox) – I’m still torn between these two. Leaning towards Belle, but we will see, my mood is ever-changing.

* Sunshine On Leith (9:15-10:45pm, Bloor) – Originally I got a ticket to 12 Years A Slave, but who was I kidding? I can never pass up a musical. Especially not one that uses the music of The Proclaimers!

* Witching & Bitching (11:59-1:49am, Ryerson) – Last Midnight Madness. I WILL suck it up. I WILL make it through. I WILL.

Sunday, September 15th:

* WORK (7:30-3:30pm, Scotia) – Final TIFF shift of 2013! 

* The Double (6:00-7:33pm, Bloor) – My final TIFF ticket is for Richard Ayoade’s latest. I’m bummed that he most likely won’t be there, but I am excited to see it – especially if I manage to see The Enemy earlier in the week. A chance to compare and contrast!

* Enough Said (9:00-10:33pm, Lightbox) – My final Rush attempt! The end of my Festival! To be followed immediately by sleep!

There you have it folks! My goal is to recap my days on here like I did last year, so stay tuned for hastily written thoughts typed on my iPhone while I wait in line!

RIP Anne “Carrots” Shirley, 1908 – 2013

Dear CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (aka Amazon),

We need to talk. About this:

I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt here. I really would. I mean, if you’d never read the books, knew nothing about them, literally went about creating an updated cover based on nothing but the title then maybe, MAYBE, I could see how we got here. But lets face it guys – you’re in publishing. Says so in your name. You’re gonna try and tell me that at no time in this process did anyone in the organization stop and go “Wait, isn’t this chick supposed to be a redhead? And isn’t this a children’s book? We might need to rethink this…”? Someone, somewhere had to at least be AWARE of everything that is wrong with this, right?

Look, I get the concept of trying to get modern youngsters to read the classics by making them seem more relatable. I don’t agree with it, I think it’s further evidence that our civilization is slowly but surely degrading, but on a completely pragmatic level, I get it. You want kids to read! I want kids to read! Kids should be reading Anne of Green Gables, it’s a wonderful book and Anne Shirley is a relatable and admirable heroine for all young girls. What I don’t get is why an “updated” cover has to have a blonde teen instead of a redheaded kid; what exactly are you trying to say? How is that a modern imagining of Anne? Because that up there? That is not Anne Shirley. That is just offensive.

Yeah, I’m offended by this. I’m offended by the suggestion that a sexy blonde is more relatable to little girls than a freckle-faced redhead. I’m offended that a teenage model was selected to vamp and pose when she’s supposed to represent an eleven year old girl. I’m offended that a publishing company, people who work in BOOKS, could know so little about a classic piece of children’s literature that they’d miss the mark so completely on who the main character is. Do you not understand how crucial Anne’s red hair is to her life? How it is a major factor in her temper, her vanity, her imagination, everything that makes her our favourite little Anne with a “e”? It is that red hair that leads to her blowup with Rachel Lynde; to her accidentally dying her hair green in a fit of vanity; to that fateful moment when Gilbert Blythe calls her “Carrots” and gets a slate broken over his head, providing the impetus for one of the sweetest literary love stories I’ve ever read. It is that red hair that makes Anne… Anne.

Oh, and this may have escaped your notice, but Anne? She’s a CHILD. A precocious, imaginative, 11-year-old orphan who daydreams about fairies and talks to imaginary friends that live in her mirror. She is young and she is innocent and she most certainly is NOT a buxom blonde teenager chillin’ in a haystack. If anything, that’s something Ruby Gillis would do in her later years, amiright? (You probably don’t get that, but trust me, if you’d read the books you’d get a chuckle out of that reference).

But hey, maybe this is just an honest mistake. Maybe this is an entire publishing company comprised of people who’ve never cracked open a book in their life. I suppose it’s possible. But if I might make a suggestion? Maybe you could try at least skimming the books you publish before dreaming up covers as disappointing and heartbreaking as this. You work in PUBLISHING. This book is a CLASSIC. Get your shit together. And if you do decide to finally give this book a read, I suggest starting with Chapter 27: “Vanity and Vexation of Spirit.” It’ll give you some wonderful insight into why trying to change Anne’s hair colour is never a good idea.

Oh, and for the record? If the thought process was that little girls would prefer a blonde heroine over a redhead, I’d just like to say that as a blonde child, there was nothing in the world I wanted more than to be just like Anne Shirley – right down to her ginger locks. Which is probably why in high school I went from this:

To this:

And never looked back.


Sandra, a true Kindred Spirit

Predicting the Golden Globes

It is that time of year again, kiddies! Awards season time! I don’t know why I care so much, I always get unnecessarily worked up when I KNOW full well that half the times all the winners are political and that they don’t even mean anything, but guess what: I DON’T CARE. I LIVE for awards shows. For those moments when someone wins for the first time and are genuinely surprised; those moments when an upset has taken place and EVERYONE is surprised; when someone cries during their speech; when someone makes me laugh during their speech… I love it all. And no award show is more rife with memorable and hilarious moments than the Golden Globes, the only award show where the attendees get progressively drunker as the night progresses. It’s genius. And tonight’s awards show is hosted by two of my all-time favourite women, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

I AM SO EXCITED. Tonight, I will be having some people over to watch the awards with me and to join me in my snarky commentary, my irrational rage, and my undeserved excitement and pride when someone I want to win, wins. It’s going to be awesome.

Once again, I have broken down my predictions for the night’s winners: Who should win, and who really will. I like to think I’m getting pretty good at predicting these things but, as I said, nothing delights me more than a surprising upset. Let’s dig in, shall we?

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Will Win: Zero Dark Thirty
Should Win: Argo

I’m not 100% on this, Lincoln could very well take it, but I suspect the buzz behind Zero Dark Thirty will push it to the top. And though I’d have personally picked The Impossible as the best drama of the year, of the options available I’d say that I’d want to give it up for Argo – somehow both quietly intense and surprisingly funny, it’d make my night to see Affleck’s flick get the gold. Don’t see it happening though.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Will Win: Silver Linings Playbook
Should Win: Les Misérables

I liked Silver Linings Playbook, and I am not opposed to its inevitable victory per say, but Les Misérables was an incredible feat. It wasn’t easy bringing that beloved stage show to life and most theatre geeks would agree that somehow, they pulled it off. However, Silver Linings Playbook has a mystifying amount of buzz around it and I’d honestly be surprised if the Weinsteins’ lobbying didn’t pay off.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln

It’s no contest. Even if you didn’t like Lincoln, it’s hard to argue with Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance. From his soft-spoken demeanor to his slouching gait, that man WAS Abraham Lincoln.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Will Win: Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty
Should Win: Naomi Watts for The Impossible

Naomi Watts’ performance is one of the strongest on film this past year and I’ve already heard many of her fellow actors agree with me in various interviews. I am fairly certain she will walk away with the SAG Award in a few weeks but tonight? I am not sure. I could be wrong, and I certainly hope I am, but I suspect Chastain will take it this year. I haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty yet, so it’s hard to say whether she deserves it or not, but I’ve been a fan of hers for a while so I’d find it hard to begrudge her the win. But seriously guys, TEAM NAOMI. All the way.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Will Win: Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook
Should Win: Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables

Again, Silver Linings‘ buzz is going to carry it through this category. Plus, Bradley will be benefiting from what I like to call the “Chris Colfer Effect” of giving a touching, dramatic performance in a “comedic” work – gives people an easy out. And it’s a shame because Hugh Jackman’s performance was leagues above Cooper’s, especially when it comes to emotional nuance. And the man had to sing while doing it. That’s award-worthy.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook
Should Win: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook

If anyone else wins this one, I will honestly be shocked. Not only is Lawrence Hollywood’s “It” girl at the moment, she’s in one of the only flicks in this category that everyone voting is sure to have seen. That said, I LOVE this girl. I will be more than happy to see her walk away with a Golden Globe.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Will Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master
Should Win: Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained

This is a toughy, kids. I’m actually not sure who is going to take it. My gut says Hoffman is The Master‘s only shot at an award and so they’ll give it to him, but recognizable names like Alan Arkin and Tommy Lee Jones could cause an upset. For my money, I’d like to see Django get a little love and, yes, to have my childhood crush Leo get the recognition would be a glorious moment for 13-year-old me, but of the two performances I gotta say, Waltz acts circles around Leo. He deserves it.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Will Win: Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables
Should Win: Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables

Don’t believe me? Watch that trailer again. Case closed.

Best Director – Motion Picture
Will Win: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln
Should Win: Ben Affleck for Argo

Bigelow has a shot, and she could prove me wrong, but it’s hard to argue against a recognizable name like Spielberg. And while I liked Lincoln, it didn’t feel particularly “Speilbergian” to me, if that makes sense. If this was a perfect world, I’d get to see Ben Affleck FINALLY get recognition for proving himself to be a legitimate director. But this is not a perfect world.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Will Win: Lincoln: Tony Kushner
Should Win: Django Unchained: Quentin Tarantino

They might throw Quentin a bone for Django, but I really doubt it. Tony Kushner is a critical darling so I think he might take this one, though don’t count out David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook. For the record though, Rian Johnson was robbed of a nomination for The Looper screenplay. ROBBED.

Best Original Song – Motion Picture
Will Win: Skyfall: Adele, Paul Epworth (“Skyfall”)

Half of these songs I’d never even heard of. Bon Jovi did a song for a movie called Stand Up Guys?! There’s a movie called Stand Up Guys?! What the hell is up with this category?!? Whatever, I’m giving it to Adele because it’s Adele and who doesn’t vote for Adele? I mean, Taylor Swift has a shot I suppose, but since this is all Skyfall can potentially win this year, I’m hoping they’ll give it to them.

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Will Win: Lincoln: John Williams
Should Win: Cloud Atlas: Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek, Tom Tykwer

Personally, I dug the score of Cloud Atlas the most, and hey, maybe the HFP will agree with me. But I strongly suspect that seeing John Williams’ name on a ballot will be hard not to check off….

Best Animated Film
Will Win: Frankenweenie

Unfortunately, of the nominated animated flicks the only one I saw was Brave which, admittedly, I really liked, but I wouldn’t say it was the best animated film of the year with any confidence. But everyone and their mother seems to love Frankenweenie, and Tim Burton usually nails it, so I’m gonna say Frankenweenie will edge out the competition.

Best Foreign Language Film
Will Win: Amour

Again, haven’t seen any of these nominees (yet, I have plans to see Amour later this week!) but Amour is already up for Best Film and Best Actress at the Oscars. I think it’s a pretty safe bet.

Best Television Series – Drama
Will Win: Homeland
Should Win: Homeland

Breaking Bad is insanely popular, but Homeland is the runaway hit of the past year. I’ve only watched the first season so far but yeah, it’s fantastic, it’s totally going to win.

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Will Win: Modern Family
Should Win: Girls

Confession: I don’t watch Girls. I will, one day, I’m sure I will. But thus far I just haven’t been able to talk myself into doing it. That said, I have heard from many reputable sources that it’s brilliant, and I kinda find myself having a girl crush on Lena Dunham after following her on Twitter this past year. I think it’d be great to see a smart, real comedy from a talented young woman win, but Modern Family is a juggernaut. This might be a bit of an uphill battle for those Girls

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Will Win: Hatfields & McCoys
Should Win: The Hour

Americans do love their British miniseries imports, so The Hour definitely has a shot, but The Hatfields & McCoys is about cowboys and has Kevin Costner in it. I don’t like my lovely little Brits’ chances.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Will Win: Damian Lewis for Homeland
Should Win: Damian Lewis for Homeland

Cranston could take it. Cranston usually takes it. Everyone loves Cranston and I am no exception. But Damian Lewis KILLS it on Homeland. He is the sexiest/scariest ginger ever. I also really love Jeff Daniels on The Newsroom but I’m not sure the majority agree with me…

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama
Will Win: Claire Danes for Homeland
Should Win: Claire Danes for Homeland

No contest. This is Claire’s to lose. Nashville is too new, The Good Wife‘s heat has died down, and while this is Glenn Close’s final year with Damages, I don’t think anyone really cares. And Michelle Dockery is great and all, but she’s one of the least likable characters on Downton. No, this is Claire’s award, just give it to her now.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Will Win: Alec Baldwin for 30 Rock
Should Win: Louis C.K. for Louie

There’s a small, hopeful part of me that thinks, “Louis might just take this! Louis could totally win!” And then I remember 30 Rock is ending and everyone loves Alec and also Jim Parsons is everyone’s favourite thing about Big Bang and oh what’s the use =(

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Veep
Should Win: Amy Poehler for Parks and Recreation/Tina Fey for 30 Rock

I honestly don’t know what I want here. I mean, Amy deserves it. She’s deserved it for years. She is INCREDIBLE on Parks & Rec. But Tina! My spirit animal is Liz Lemon and she is leaving me soon! Honestly, I would just love to see either of the hosts win because you just KNOW they’ll play it up for the rest of the night. That said, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is well-loved and she scooped that Emmy award out from under both my lovely ladies so it wouldn’t exactly be a shock if she pulled it off again here.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
Will Win: Kevin Costner for Hatfields & McCoys
Should Win: Benedict Cumberbatch for Sherlock

Cumberbatch. CUMBERBATCH. Anyone who doesn’t vote for this man has their head up their ass, sorry. Yeah yeah, I’m biased and want his babies or whatever, but seriously go watch Sherlock and tell me that man isn’t a genius actor. But sadly, Kevin Costner is a big, recognizable name. And he played a cowboy. And who DOESN’T love Cowboy Costner? He’ll take it. And I’ll weep.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
Will Win: Julianne Moore for Game Change

I haven’t seen any of these performances. I’ve fallen behind in American Horror Story, watched only the first ep of Political Animals (though my mother watched it and LOVED it and was totally bummed when I had to break it to her that it was canceled) and everything else just never crossed my radar. I feel fairly confident that the combination of a hot button topic and a major star playing a recognizable political figure should guarantee this one for Julianne.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Will Win: Mandy Patinkin for Homeland
Should Win: Mandy Patinkin for Homeland

I might be wrong. Eric Stonestreet is insanely popular (I like Cam, but Mitchell and Phil make me laugh WAY more, sorry) but Homeland‘s popularity keeps growing and Patinkin’s popularity keeps growing with it. I think Saul and his trusty beard might be a lock.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Will Win: Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey
Should Win: Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey

It’s MAGGIE SMITH. Who doesn’t love Maggie Smith? She’s easily the best part of Downton Abbey and she’s Britain’s answer to Betty White – everyone loves her and gives her all the awards because she is old and adorable. I know she won’t be there, but I’d KILL for an acceptance speech from the Dowager…

Those are my picks! Agree? Disagree? We’ll see how it plays out tonight!

PS I started one of those “My favourite movies/shows of 2012” posts but it took me too long to narrow my list down and say what I wanted to say about each pick and I feel like the window to put in my two cents has passed. If anyone is actually interested I can still post it, but otherwise here it is in list form:

12) Lincoln
11) Much Ado About Nothing
10) Silver Linings Playbook
9) Pitch Perfect
8) Cloud Atlas
7) Les Miserables
6) Argo
5) The Avengers
4) Django Unchained
3) Cabin In The Woods
2) The Impossible
1) Looper

12) The Newsroom
11) Face Off
10) Archer
9) Scandal
8) New Girl
7) Walking Dead
6) Parenthood
5) Community
4) Parks & Recreation
3) Doctor Who
2) Sherlock
1) Being Human
(Truthfully, those top 6 shows are kind of all tied for number one. What can I say? I love my stories.)

Feel free to rant at me about any of my picks, I am always up for talking about my favourite pieces of pop culture.

Halloween Horror Overload! Day Thirteen – The Monster Squad (1987)

Growing up in my house, there were a lot of films, songs, shows, etc. that my brother and I consumed with such frequency and regularity, that we assumed that EVERYONE watched, listened to, read, etc. the same things. It wasn’t until we got a little older that we realized, “Wait… you mean other kids didn’t watch The Hilarious House of Frightenstein before school? And not everyone knows all the words to “Surfin’ Bird” by age 6? And what do you mean you’ve never heard of Santa Claus: The Movie?! Dudley Moore and the dad from Harry and the Hendersons is in it, I mean COME ON!” The Monster Squad is one such example of a film that was so much a part of my childhood development, it baffles me that it wasn’t standard in all kids’ Halloween traditions.

And when I say standard, I mean standard. Our Halloween routines were fairly predictable: dig the boxes out from under the stairs; go through them to see what decorations were useable, what needed replacing, etc. while dad made a new “spooky” mixtape; go pumpkin picking; battle the parents on whether we needed new costumes or we could use stuff from previous years; watch The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t (HOLY CRAP THE WHOLE THING IS ONLINE I LOVE THE INTERNET SO MUCH RIGHT NOW), Ghostbusters, Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, and The Monster Squad. Eventually, Ernest Scared Stupid and Hocus Pocus made the rotation as well. I honestly assumed everyone watched these flicks at Halloween, kinda like how everyone watched Rudolph and The Grinch and whatnot. Turns out, not so much. It wasn’t until university when I met other weirdos that had seen this flick before and loved it like I did. To this day, I get REALLY over enthusiastic when discussing the film and tend to freak anyone out when they say they’ve seen it because I immediately want to be their best friend.

Quick Summary:

First, how boss is that tagline? I freaking love it. Anyway! This is the story of Sean, a smart-ass nerdy kid who loves horror flicks.

He and I should probably get married. But I digress. Sean is the president of his own nerdy club called “The Monster Squad” whose members include Sean; his best friend/sidekick Patrick; their overweight friend who they literally call “Fat Kid” through the majority of the flick; Rudy, the bad ass who is way too old to be hanging out with these kids; Eugene, who is way too young to be hanging out with these kids; and Phoebe, Sean’s five-year-old sister who isn’t really in the club but wants to be and is around all the time so practically is.

These kids eventually stumble upon the diary of Abraham Van Hesling that happened to show up in their small American town. You know, as they do. Coincidentally, guess who else shows up in town?

It seems that Dracula wants to take over the world and to do it he needs Frankenstein’s monster, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Wolfman (who just happens to live in this town) and the Mummy to help him. So, they all gather in this small, unnamed town, searching for this magical amulet that is usually concentrated good but once every hundred years can be shattered and used for pure evil. Much like the diary, it somehow got here from Transylvania. (or maybe Germany?) IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW, GUYS, OK? All that matters is that it is up to The Monster Squad, Scary German Guy (that is how he is listed in the credits, THAT IS HIS NAME) and a turncoat Frankenstein (they all call him Frank, so even though I KNOW HE’S NOT CALLED THAT, I’m calling him that. Deal with it) to stop Dracula and his buddies from taking over the world. And if they can do it with a bitchin’ 80s montage well, then, all the better!

Thoughts as I watched:

* Fun fact: I have always and will always associate the Tri Star logo with the opening of this film.

Unrelated, the old school Disney logo opening always reminds me of Honey I Shrunk The Kids. Yeah, I’m odd…

* While the movie as a whole isn’t particularly scary, this whole opening at Dracula’s castle in Transylvania 100 years ago spooked me out as a kid.Very atmospheric, I dig it.

* Dracula turning from a bat into a FULLY DRESSED man, cape and all, always makes me chuckle.

THAT’S the lack of realism I take issue with – Drac’s clothes. Nothing else, apparently. I’m dumb.

* Van Helsing is supposed to be German; the girl is chanting in German; this beginning is taking place in Transylvania; So why does Van Helsing speak suck perfect English?



Or… the 80s. Close enough.

* Sean’s shirt needs to be my shirt and it needs to be my shirt NOW.

Why have I never bought and/or made this myself?! Perfect shirt.

* “Mrs. Carlson is a nice teacher and all, but she’s boring and has an odd-shaped head. That’s why Sean and the guys call her “Meow Mix”, cuz her head is shaped like a cat’s head. But I don’t sir, cuz how rude!”

Patrick is clearly the comedy relief.

* This is an educator that connects with kids. He is Mr. Belding and Mr. Kotter all rolled into one.

“I think science is cool. I dig it man!”

* I always block out the part where Sean repeatedly refers to his principal as a homo. I know he’s a 12-year-old in the 80s, but… ugh. It makes me sad.

* Poor Horace Fat Kid…

It can’t be easy having Kevin Arnold’s big brother as a bully.

Don’t worry Fat Kid, Rudy’s got your back!

You can tell he’s a bad ass on account of the leather jacket and the fingerless gloves and the sunglasses and the greased up black hair and the smoking on school grounds… Oh, and the fact that he looks at least three years older than everyone else. And when he tells you to eat a squished up candy bar, you damn well better eat that squished up candy bar!

* Sean and Patrick argue about whether or not Wolfman can drive a car or has genitalia. I once argued with a friend about whether or not it’s physically possibly for a vampire to have sex if their heart doesn’t beat. I AM THESE KIDS.

* I’m not entirely sure how Rudy fits into this group. He seems to know Fat Kid, and wants to stand up for him and such, but Sean and Patrick and even five-year-old Phoebe know him purely through his reputation.

So… why is this junior high kid hanging out with 12 year olds? Did Fat Kid teach him how to read or something? Whatever, I still love him. HE’S SUCH A DREAMY BAD BOY YOU GUYS!

* Where is this plane full of corpses coming from? How did Frankenstein get on the manifest? And where was it going before Dracula got himself and the crate dopped out the chute in the bottom of the plane’s cargo hold? OH WELL, DOESN’T MATTER, THE CRATE LANDED IN PRECISELY THE RIGHT SWAMP, NO WORRIES.

“I got this!”

* Rudy is in junior high; he is CLEARLY cool. Why on earth would he even want to BE in this nerdy Monster Club?

Oh, right. Nevermind then.

* Sean’s mom just happened to buy a book at a local garage sale from “that old house on Shadowbrook Road” that was written by Van Helsing. Yeah, THAT Van Helsing. His personal diary just happened to find its way to a small town garage sale. “Now, he’s the one that fought Godzilla, right?”

Ok, Mom? You don’t have to know monster movies but could you at LEAST know your literature? I mean, really.

* I still don’t entirely understand this moment.

Always freaked me out. Weird and unnecessary.

* Meet Sean’s dad:

He’s a grizzled cop who loves his family but always puts work first. He’s in marriage counseling and has a sassy black partner.

Sean’s dad is an 80s action movie stereotype.

* I love that there is absolutely no explanation as to why there is a werewolf living in this town, or why this mummy suddenly came to life, or where the creature in the swamp came from. DON’T MATTER! THEY’RE HERE NOW! ENJOY THE RIDE!

* Sean watching a drive-in movie on his roof is my dream. DREAM.

Is there anything better than the notion that you can watch drive-in movies FREE from your roof with binoculars and McDonald’s? Answer: No there is not. I want this to be my life one day. This flick has me dreaming the impossible dream.

* Sean sees this message from his mother:

He is immediately suspicious and sets out to decode the OBVIOUSLY fake name.


Ok, first of all, Sean’s mom refers to it as the “Van Halen” diary in her note. Sean’s mom is unrealistically dumb. Second, Dracula? That was the lamest attempt to disguise your name EVER. It’s not even really an anagram! It’s just your name backwards! A little effort please sir!

* I am kind of in love with little Eugene’s dad. When his son says there are monsters in his room, his dad immediately busts into his room and begins shooing invisible monsters out to protect his son; he is a wonderful dad. When he’s told he missed one in the closet, he gets a little snarky, much like I would if woken up in the middle of the night because of monsters.

Love it.

* The group decides to team up and take down these monsters. Only this ragtag group of kids could possibly take out centuries-old creatures of evil!

“How does that dog get up here, anyway?”

* “Gentlemen, I’d just like to say three words to you: Scary. German. Guy.”

I love Scary German Guy. I love that his name is Scary German Guy. I love that he is ok with these kids calling him Scary German Guy. I love that he just totally goes along with these kids, helping them translate German diaries and driving them to abandoned houses and churches, without blinking an eye. I love that monsters don’t faze him. I love that he is introduced to us as a rather ominous figure…

…only for it to be revealed that he is just a sweet ol’ grandpa type.

Yep, nothing scarier than free pie! Fat Kid’s right, Scary German Guy is bitchin’!

* Frankenstein meeting little Phoebe by the lake is actually kind of clever.

It’s a nod to the original flick, guys! When he tosses that girl in! Guys! It’s a clever callback guys!

Naturally, the charms of a five-year-old girl are greater than the magical influence of a centuries old super villain, so Frankenstein is now on the Monster Squad too.

I wish Frankenstein’s monster was MY friend…

* When Frank realizes he’s scary?

Phoebe’s face is my face when he’s sad. Poor Frank =(

* I’ll never understand why the Mummy attacking the car is scary. I mean, he’s dead, yeah, but he’s just dust and rags and bones. What is he going to do? Grab you, and… then what? Eat you? Is that what mummies do? Isn’t he supposed to have magic powers or something? This one clearly doesn’t. Rudy has to right idea:

Unravel that bitch and he’s not much to worry about. “See ya later, Band-Aid breath!”


“Meeting adjourned.”

Drac’s kind of a BAMF.

* “Where are you going, Rudy?”

Rudy is at his most bad-ass in this moment. He pushes pass the other kids and struts right up to the vampire mistresses coming to destroy them.

That is one cool kid.

* The poor Wolfman’s junk.

It really takes a beating in this flick. And of course, this doesn’t even stop him. Rudy tried to tell you guys, there’s only ONE way to kill a werewolf!


Silver bullets, bitches! PS, Rudy thus far has dispatched five monsters or so. No one else has done squat.

I nominate Rudy as the new club president. Sorry, Sean.

* I love that the “virgin” they get to read the incantation is Patrick’s sister, who they refer to as being trampy numerous times in the flick. When it doesn’t work, she admits that she’s not actually a virgin. “Well, Steve! But he doesn’t count!”


But what really kills me is that they seem to think only virgin chicks are applicable, since they skip over all the 12 year old boys running around and immediately get the 5-year-old to read it.

Yep. Makes sense.

* Duncan Regehr might be the best incarnation of Dracula I’ve seen. He’s ruthless, he’s scary, he’s kinda sexy…

“Give me the amulet, you bitch!”

Ok maybe not that sexy. But I dig him nonetheless.

* The kids finally get the portal open! The monsters are being dragged into Limbo! But wait! Dracula’s got Sean and is dragging him with him! Oh noes!


That’s right. Van Helsing came out of Limbo to grab Dracula and give Sean the thumbs up. THAT JUST HAPPENED.

* I love that a five-year-old is able to hold onto a 7 foot monster’s finger and keep him from being sucked into the vortex.

“Don’t go Frankenstein, don’t go!”

At least, for a time. But even the strength of a five-year-old’s love isn’t enough to resist the pull of a vortex. Frank is taken. But at least he gets to take a friend with him!

Farewell, Frank!

Favourite Part:

I have so many. But first? THIS. MONTAGE.

It might be my all-time favourite montage. Keep in mind, everything that happens in it happens in ONE day. ONE DAY! And that song sounds like it was written specifically for a montage. It is PERFECT montage music. It could only exist in an 80s film montage. MONTAGE! That whole scene is a thing of beauty, I love it beyond description.

Second place? It’s a tie. And both parts involve poor ol’ Fat Kid.

“Wolfman’s got nards!” Best line in the history of monster movie cinema. I love it so much. Nards might be the most underappreciated euphemism for male genitalia I have ever heard. And Fat Kid’s face!

He is just so stunned. And probably a little afraid of the concept of werewolf reproduction. Can’t blame him for that.

And then… there’s this glorious, glorious moment:

The gun cock! The musical sting! The kid’s face! Oh my God it’s beautiful!

Fat Kid is dead. Long live Horace!

Oh, and then there’s the ending. It’s not one of my favourite parts necessarily, but you need to see the montage to appreciate it. Because in that montage, Eugene writes an ADORABLE letter to the army:

That’s the the one. And once all the chaos is done and the vortex is closed, guess who shows up?

The army not only responds to Eugene’s letter, THEY RECEIVED IT THE DAY IT WAS SENT AND MOBILIZED IMMEDIATELY. I don’t think you understand how hilarious and ridiculous and absolutely PERFECT this is.

When they see there’s nothing left for them, they demand answers!


Why I love it:

Because it’s just… incredible. It’s incredible. It’s a love note to every monster movie ever made. It’s a time capsule of 80s gloriousness. It’s the perfect movie for kids that are too young for REALLY scary movies, but too old to watch Disney or cartoons (For the record, I am a firm believer that you are NEVER too old for Disney or cartoons). Plus, you get all kinds of naughty PG 13 swearing and violence! It’s a movie that reminds me of my childhood, of how much I loved the weird and scary, how nerdy I was and how I would have killed for a club like Sean’s with a bunch of nerdy friends to talk about monsters with. I love it because even as an adult, I can still relate to that inner nerdy kid who could talk monsters all day every day.

When next we meet: Cabin in the Woods!