Michael B. Jordan: An Adonis To Be Thankful For

Guys, listen. It’s Monday. It’s the first day back from a four-day weekend. You stuffed your face with food and then stuffed your ears with Christmas music. We shouldn’t have to be at work right now. But alas, here we are. And I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to read this – aka procrastinating your work a bit more. In return, I’m going to stuff your eyes with one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind, Michael B. Jordan.

Over the weekend, I saw Creed, the Rocky spin-off movie. If you know me, this may be a somewhat surprising choice for holiday weekend viewing because I usually don’t put sports movies on the top of my list. However, if you do know me, you know I’m a fan of Michael B. Jordan and HBMs in general. On top of that, I kept hearing nothing but good things about Creed, so I caved and went to see it. And let me tell you  – I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It’s just that good.

Preface: Rocky is one of my Pop Culture Blind Spots. If I had planned this better, I would’ve watched Rocky in prep for Creed, but turkey got in the way. I of course knew the basics of the Rocky franchise – Sylvester Stallone, Apollo Creed, Philadelphia, Yo Adrian, the steps, boxing. But not the details. I was basically going into the movie *blind*. While there were a few things that my friend (who watched Rocky for the first time the night before) had to explain to me, they were fairly inconsequential, because overall, Creed is a fantastic film that deserves all the awards. The drama, the action, the writing, the acting, the score, the directing (Ryan Coogler FTW), the cinematography – everything – was a literal knockout. It reminded me of a Friday Night Lights vibe, where you find yourself rooting for the Panthers/Lions/Creed because you’re rooting for the person, not the team. Sport is secondary, personal victory is everything. This is the end of Traci’s Creed movie review (so go see it).

Back to MBJ. I’ve previously discussed how his excellent acting skills make me cry inexplicably (yeah, I cried at Creed a couple times, so what), but on this Monday after Thanksgiving, I’m just going to present you with some pure sexy MBJ goodness.

For Creed, MBJ clearly had to get into a boxer’s shape. Playing the son of a legendary fake boxer, he had to live up to the Creed legacy Carl Weathers started 40 years ago. So my boy called up his boy, trainer Corey Calliet, a former boxer himself. Over the course of a year, MBJ worked out twice a day, drank lots of water, ate boiled chicken and broccoli and brown rice (why does that sound good to me) and gained 24 pounds of muscle. !!

For comparison, a totally still hot pic of MBJ in January 2014 on some beach:

and a year ago:

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Looong road ahead of me but…#progress

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nine months ago:

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eight months ago:

on the cover of Men’s Fitness today:

yeahhhhh. I’m here for all of it. Have I convinced you to watch Creed yet? Well let me add that there’s a romantic component to the story, involving Adonis ‘Donnie’ Creed and his neighbor, played by the beautiful and talented Tessa Thompson. Y’all, there’s a scene in the movie that involves braids that’s not even sexual and I was getting sweaty. I died. Anyways, MBJ knows how to flirt and be romantic and stuff and here’s a video of him doing that.

Have you recovered from that stupid amazing video yet? Me either. Take some time, look up more pix of MBJ in private browsing, then go see Creed. I promise you it’s worth it. If not, come back here and complain to me. But I’ll barely be listening. I have Rockys 1 through 6 to catch up on.

MBJ thanks you for your time.

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#ThrowbackThursday – The One With All The Thanksgivings

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Hope y’all are having a wonderful day surrounded by friends and family and all the food your stomachs can handle! One of my favorite traditions on this day is to go back and watch all the Friends Thanksgiving episodes, because, America. While each of them have their own merits, I decided to rank them in order of import, so if you feel like watching one or two of these today, I’d say go with the the top spot and work your way back. Thanks for reading and enjoy your turkey!!

Good television fans know that certain series have the market on lock when it comes to holiday-themed episodes. For example, The Office had superb Christmas episodes every year. Community goes above and beyond with its Halloween shows. And of course, you could always count on Friends for a solid Thanksgiving episode.

friends t gives

Over the past few years, I’ve started my own tradition (like the Geller Cup, if you will) of watching every Thanksgiving episode from all 10 seasons, just to get me in the mood for the holiday.

So in honor of today, here’s a definitive list (read: based solely on my own personal opinion, my mind will probably change tomorrow) of the episodes from worst to best.

Oh and Happy Thanksgiving!

Number Ten

Season 2: The One with the List

Ross must choose between Rachel and Julie and enlists Joey and Chandler’s help in making a list of the pros and cons of each. He chooses Rachel, but she finds the list and gets angry with Ross. Meanwhile, Monica gets a job making food with a synthetic chocolate substitute called Mockolate.

This was the only episode in the show’s 10 year run that was not an official “Thanksgiving episode”. It served as such when it aired in 1995, but there was not real T-Giving banter until the following season. That being said, I still think this is a great episode, not only because everyone’s still on a high from Ross and Rachel’s first kiss, but because Chandler’s laptop is like a life-changing instrument where you can both type semi-offensive documents about your friends but also play Doom. Could it BE anymore 90s?

Number Nine

Season 7: The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs

Phoebe sneaks a puppy into the apartment; Chandler reveals why he hates dogs. Ross becomes obsessed with naming all 50 states in order to earn his Thanksgiving dinner. Phoebe names celery.

Because of Ross, millions of people were left dumbfounded and extremely annoyed that they couldn’t list all 50 states. Unless you’re one of those people who learned the States song when you were younger. In which case you can’t participate in the game or Thanksgiving.

Number Eight

Season 10: The One with the Late Thanksgiving

Monica and Chandler grudgingly agree to host Thanksgiving. They get angry when their friends show up late, when Ross and Joey having gone to a game and Rachel and Phoebe having taken Emma to a baby beauty pageant, because why not. But their mood changes when they get good news from the adoption agency.

The best scenes in this mediocre episode are with the four latecomers who are brainstorming to come up with a way to get on the Bings’ good graces and come to dinner. Not to mention the creepiest door scene in all of Friends history.

Number Seven

Season 9: The One with Rachel’s Other Sister

Amy, Rachel’s spoiled sister played by Christina Applegate, shows up for Thanksgiving. The gang argues over who gets custody of Emma if Ross and Rachel die. 

Props to the person who cast both Christina Applegate and Reese Witherspoon as Rachel’s sisters. Christina was even nominated twice for her role and won in 2003 for this very episode! And it was totally well deserved because her spaciness and inability to understand that Phoebe’s name is, in fact, Phoebe and not Emma, makes her the sole reason why this episode needs more credit than it deserves.

Number Six

Season 1: The One Where Underdog Gets Away

The gang gets locked out of the apartment in order to see the Underdog balloon fly away from the Macy’s Day Parade. Monica’s first Thanksgiving dinner gets burned, Rachel misses a ski trip with her family, and Joey becomes a poster boy for VD.

The first season is a magical season for many reasons, but most importantly because if you’re watching it in current day, you can tell there’s still an innocence among the cast members and within the actual show – these people have no idea how big the show’s going to be or how much of an impact it will have on television history in general. The first ever Thanksgiving episode is no different. It set a precedent for future T-giving episodes, and the rest of the series in general.

Number Five

Season 3: The One with the Football

The gang plays a game of touch football on Thanksgiving as Ross and Monica argue over winning in a case of sibling rivalry over the coveted Geller Cup. Meanwhile, Joey and Chandler argue over who gets to date a model from Holland and Rachel is still clueless on the game. 

Family, Friends, Food and Football. Pretty much Thanksgiving summed up in alliteration. The Friends writers knew they had to incorporate one of America’s most beloved past times, and this was the perfect way to do it.

Number Four

Season 4: The One with Chandler in a Box

After Joey finds out that Chandler kissed his girlfriend Kathy, he forces Chan to spend Thanksgiving in a huge wooden box so he can think about what he did. What’s even weirder than Chandler in a box? Monica inviting her ex-boyfriend’s son over for Thanksgiving and she hits on him.

The reason for this episode being one of the greatest is threefold: 1) Monica with an eye patch. 2) Chandler/Matthew Perry being in a box the entire episode. 3) One of the greatest and unforgettable lines ever in Friends, as seen in the clip above. Judge all you want.

Number Three

Season 5: The One with All the Thanksgivings

The gang’s past Thanksgivings are revealed flashback style. We get to see when Chandler and Monica first meet, how he changed her life, Joey’s head up a turkey’s butt, and Pheebs in the 1600s. 

I appreciate that Friends has done only a few clip shows in its 10 year run, since it can feel like the writers haven’t come up with any new ideas and are just being lazy. But one thing that Friends did, that I think How I Met Your Mother really perfected, is having flashback scenes that are brand new to both the cast and the viewers. This episode takes the cake, as we get to see the Friends in different eras, different stages of their life and how they all came together as one unit. Plus who doesn’t love a good turkey head?

Number Two

Season 8: The One with the Rumor

Monica invites a high school friend, Will, played by Brad Pitt, to her Thanksgiving dinner. He and Ross were pals back in the day and had an I Hate Rachel Green club, which she finds out in the episode. Meanwhile, Joey tries to eat an entire turkey and Chandler and Phoebe attempt to avoid helping Monica with the dinner.

Oh boy. It’s like pouring salt in the wound thinking about this, but remember when Brad and Jennifer were still married and happy in love? But then they played enemies in this episode? Brad hardly makes any TV appearances, but obviously he made an exception with this, and I think he played the perfect roll. This could also be because my obsession with him started around this time, but whatever. Despite Will and Ross’ “hatred” for Rachel, it turns out to be a sweet moment at the end between the show’s iconic couple, leaving you with the warm and fuzzies. Isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

Number One

Season 6: The One Where Ross Got High

Ross and Monica’s parents come to dinner, and Ross is forced to tell Chandler why Jack and Judy don’t like him, since they still don’t know Monica and Chandler are living together. Things get more stressful for Ross as he and Joey are trying to speed up Thanksgiving to hang out with Janine, played by Elle MacPherson, and her dancer friends. Rachel *tries* to make dessert for the first time. 

The Friends’ Thanksgiving episodes are usually bottle episodes, which means the action primarily takes place in one setting, with the same characters. In this case, it’s the six Friends in Monica’s apartment, seemingly like an act of a play. In saying that, the 22 minute episode goes by so quickly because the writing, acting, and comedic timing by all is just that good. So many things are happening with all of the characters, and it converges together in one of the most hilarious scenes on TV. From Phoebe’s infatuation with a French aqualegend to Rachel’s feet-tasting trifle, this episode is the perfect mix of disaster, family time and sentimentality that Thanksgiving is all about.

Questions, Comments, and Concerns: The Pilgrims on PBS

Last night, the Pilgrims aired on American Experience, and we all learned that the Mayflower was a floating piece of garbage that carried miserable people to a land of despair and death. HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

Question: Is Ken Burns Involved?

Ken Burns is behind all of the best American Experience episodes. I also had a semi-crush on him back when I assumed he looked like Richard Attenborough, which actually doesn’t help matters and if anything makes it worse, never mind, let’s pretend I never said that.

[It’s Ken Burns’ brother, Ric, who did this one, by the way.]

Comment: Plymouth Rock is the worst.

 

 

Anyone been to Plymouth Rock? It’s a literal rock, and it’s not even that big, and there’s honestly no way they could have known that it was THE rock. A crowd of people stand on a platform above the rock and your mom just wants to get a good picture and you just want to go on the replica boat.

Comment: Governor Bradford Was The Eliza Hamilton Of Plymouth

… in terms of being the person who controlled how it was represented in history. And also the Alexander, in terms of writing like he’s running out of time.

Comment: It’s like practically the ONLY thing to do in 17th century England was go to church and the Puritans were like “oh no, this is too fun and interesting, better make CHURCH less FUN.” (No offense, church.)

I mean I’ve never been at church and been like “wow, this music is too good right now. Everyone’s breath is amazing and I am entertained by this decor.”

Concern: They Were A Straight-Up Cult

PBS even said. Ken Burns’ brother Ric said. America wasn’t founded so much on the concept of freedom of religion, so much as by a handful of religious crazies, plus other people who thought there was maybe gold here.

Question: Is a boat being ‘seasoned’ a good thing?

Because it kind of just sounds like a way to say “an old boat.” Granted, the Titanic was brand-spanking-new, but.

Comment: “Two miles an hour;” “Chamber pots everywhere;” “Voyage from hell.”

But on the plus side: two dogs.

Comment: The Pilgrims were heading for the Hudson river, but look, I think we’ve all ended up in Provincetown by accident a time or two.
Concern: PBS says it’s “necessary to ask who the savages were,” but I think we all know.

It’s the people who rode a poop-boat to go camping because church was too fun in England.

Comment: That moment when the pilgrims find a rotting skull on the beach and it has blonde hair on it:

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Question: Did Dorothy Bradford kill herself or fall off a boat?

Anyone’s guess, to be honest.

Concern: 50% of the population died by springtime and Bradford was just like, maybe if I don’t write it in my diary nobody will know?

And you know why he did that? Because they propped up the DEAD BODIES AS HUMAN SCARECROWS SO THE INDIANS WOULD THINK THEY WERE GUARDS. I really did need to use all of those caps.

 

Comment: The Mayflower was sold for scrap.
Question: What really happened at the real first Thanksgiving?

Sounds like not much. They ate dinner.

Concern: These people sure did like decorating with dead bodies.

Propping up pilgrims as human scarecrows, hanging up Indian heads in the  town square – just bury them, guys. Just be normal. I’m getting serial killer vibes from all of y’all. The ornament adorning Bradford’s wedding was a head on a pike and linen soaked in blood.

Comment: William Bradford married a 32-year-old woman.

See, all of the relatives I’ll have to see this week?

Comment: Sitting here during this discussion of the high price of beaver like:bingley-giggles.gif

 

“The beaver saved them” – Ken Burns’ brother Ric I guess.

Concern: So, Bradford gets buried in a grave.

Guess the town had all the disembodied heads they could handle.

Comment: Nope, One More Reference To A Head On A Pole Before We Go.
Question: Are we supposed to think Bradford’s journal is legit when a guy just found it in a book store right before the Civil War when there was a “battle” between New England and Southern historians?
Comment: “Somewhere, William Bradford might have smiled.”

But probably not because he’s the kind of man who got married under a rotting head on a stick right?

Sorry, Not Sorry: Your New Choreographer Obsession

I don’t know how it happened, but I’ve suddenly become a Justin Bieber fan. I’m a Belieber. Ok, let’s clarify – I’m a Belieber in the sense that I love his new music and play it on repeat (between this and M’s recent One Direction fascination, I think we’re both Benjamin Buttoning). And I’ve found myself playing the music videos from his Purpose album on my TV and jumping around my room as if I’m one of the fierce dancers. You know what pushed me over the edge? The vid for Sorry.

It’s nearly impossible for me to sit still and just listen to this song without breaking out some kind of wannabe dance hall move, and besides the catchy beat, a lot of that has to do with the ladies featured in the video. Instead of Bieber dancing, we get a group of women decked out in 90s gear grooving in a stark white room, and I can’t get enough of it.

After a while, I wanted to know more about who the genius was behind the video, especially since it’s rare to see JB not featured in a Bieber music video. Meet Parris Goebel, your new obsession.

Parris is a 24-year-old New Zealand native who choreographed and directed all the music videos for JB’s Purpose album. More on that later. To get some background info, when she was 15, Parris founded an all-girl dance crew called ReQuest, and that’s the squad she rolls with to this day. Through the years, they’ve been featured and highlighted in various dance competitions and conventions, with numerous awards under their belt. ReQuest was the first non-U.S. team to compete on America’s Best Dance Crew in season six, but were eliminated in week four.

In 2012, Jennifer Lopez found a vid of Parris that she posted on YouTube, and asked her to choreograph for her. The job wasn’t just a one-off gig – Parris choreographed JLo’s Dance Again Worl Tour, as well as the music video for Goin’ In, and most recently, Jen’s epic dance medley at the AMAs on Sunday. She’s also the choreographer for JLo’s upcoming Vegas residency, so they’re practically BFFz now.

In addition to Jennifer, Parris has created routines for K-Pop stars like Taeyang and 2NE1, Janet Jackson and Nicki Minaj’s tours, and worked with Nicki and Queen Bey for their Feeling Myself music video. I mean. Can you even.

Back to Bieber – Parris got a call from JB’s people asking if she would want to make a lyric video for his new single Sorry, but the caveat was that it had to be ready in a week. With limited time, she gathered her girls, quickly choreographed it, threw 90s inspired clothes on and shot it. She thought showing the lyrics would take away from the choreo, so decided not to – and the finished product has now been seen more than 141 million times.

Parris was then recruited to choreograph and directed music videos for all 13 of the tracks on Bieber’s Purpose album. Some of them, she handed over to her also talented choreographer friends like Keone and Mari Madrid, who are featured in Love Yourself. But for vids like Company, it was all her:

But what I’ve found out about Parris is that she’s all about empowering women through dance, which obviously makes me love her even more. She’s created a genre of dance called “Polyswagg”, which she describes as “combining sassy woman fire with aggressive inner strength.”

“I’ve dedicated my whole career, and talent, and life to bringing women especially together, to shine and to create things that inspire other women. It’s a lot easier to make a change if I’m living those standards and living confidently. It’s a lot easier to show people that you can do it. I’m definitely about being confident in myself and strong, like strong in a sense of “Yeah, it is hard work. What we all go through whether it’s in work or life, no one has it easy, but it’s always how we come out of it or always how we react to it that makes us a stronger person.” I have so much to tell through my dance so I like to portray that through my movement and tell my story, and inspire other women to tell their stories as well.” {via Elle}

Behind every Bieber, there’s a strong woman, and that one happens to be Parris in this case. Although I’m a new fan, I wish her the best in her future endeavors and can’t wait to see what she does next. For now, I’m just going to go into a spiral of her dance videos, and I invite you to join me on that journey. Sorry, not sorry.

 

Pop Culture Blind Spots: Serendipity

I knew that Serendipity was a romantic comedy that I hadn’t seen, and I was okay with that. I love the genre, but you can’t see them all, right? That was before last week, when I was saw Serendipity in a listicle of Christmas rom-coms. A Christmas rom-com that I haven’t seen is like my holy grail of Netflix-surfing. God. Anyway, it is streaming on Netflix so I decided to remedy the situation STAT, crossing another item off of our long list of pop culture blind spots in the process.

The film opens with Louis Armstrong singing about Santa. So it’s like, CHRISTMAS-CHRISTMAS, not one scene or something. I am shocked.

Molly Shannon is in this? And John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale? I feel like Cusak and Beckinsale make a weird couple, but okay.

This version of Bloomingdale’s at Christmas-time is actually almost crowded and terrible enough to be accurate.

143 online shopping AAF

 

It’s time to talk about John Cusack’s haircut. It’s very feathered for the early 2000s, isn’t it? Like a youth hockey coach in 1991.

Everyone is arguing about a pair of gloves at a store. Please, let this movie not be about people I hate. Anyway, they’re trying to have a meet cute – – also they make a transgender joke that’s not necessarily offensive but still surprising for 2001.

They don’t show the part where they wait in line for 40 minutes to get into Serendipity. Those frozen hot chocolates are legit, though.

My friend who went to high school in Long Island knew girls who had “Serendipity days” where they’d go to the city and do stuff that was in the movie, presumably forcing their boyfriends to play along. It was that popular, apparently. I did wait in line to get into Serendipity 3 during its peak popularity, but as I said, the frozen hot chocolate was legit and I have no regrets.

Best part of this movie so far TBH.

I can’t lie, serendipity actually also is one of my favorite words. It’s a long list, admittedly.

Wow. Cusack (Jonathan), a man with a girlfriend, just went straight for announcing to Kate Beckinsale, a woman with a boyfriend, that he has a crush on her. I think this is about people I hate.

They proceed decide to go on a date even though they’re both dating other people, and Kate Beckinsale is wearing a chunky, short sweater like people wore in the early 2000s, along with tights and shorts even though they’re ice skating. In the snow.

Has the costume designer even been to New York? Or, like, outdoors?

Raise your hand if you’d have to beg off from this date because you’re garbage at ice skating.

Ah, yes. Yep. Jonathan begins freckle-flirting. I know that trick.

I think I’m going to end up loving this movie, as I do most rom-coms, but so far (by the end of the day they meet) I’m not sold yet because we’ve been given no information about these people, and no reason to care about them or whether they end up together.

Instead of just “losing his number,” Kate Beckinsale has Jonathan write his name and number on a $5 bill, spends it, then says if it comes back to her it will be meant to be. That is really some high order Manic Pixie Dream Girling.

For the record, we still don’t know Kate Beckinsale’s name.

It’s Sara.

I can’t help but be annoyed that both of these people already have significant others who they’ve been ditching all night.

There are a lot of Christmas sweaters! Non-ironic ones. Were those more popular 15 years ago?

Cool, now Jonathan is making a whole elevator full of people stop at every floor to find the one that Sara whimsically chose so that she could see if there was *fate* or something.

Awesome. NOW Jonathan is grabbing random brunette women on the street from behind while looking for Sara. Bro. Go home to your girlfriend.

A few years later, Jonathan is engaged to not-Sara. Sara is a therapist or something in San Francisco living in a picturesque cottage that’s got to have an insane market value. She also gets engaged in a fire hazard candle death trap with a ring inside of a Russian nesting-box scenario. Can nobody in this movie just do things the easy way?

Now playing: Burn from Hamilton.

Jonathan goes through life imagining Sara everywhere, like that one episode of Full House where the Tanners go to Disney and D.J. keeps seeing Steve.

Sara’s fiance plays sitar (?) and is inconsiderate, so you instantly dislike him and want her to find Jonathan’s manic pixie five-spot.

Molly Shannon is here! Why isn’t she in everything? She is delightful.

OK, but Sitar Fiance is hilarious. I mean you hate him, but he’s so dopey that it’s funny.

Sara and Molly Shannon are in NY to hunt for the guy she could have just given her phone number to years ago.

Know what I don’t miss? Super low-rise jeans.

Molly Shannon, the sassy strait-talking best friend who is all of us, tells Sara that if everything in life were determined by fate there would be no reason to do anything, ever.

It’s so hard to remember which one is Kate Beckinsale and which is Kate Bosworth. Kate Beckinsale, British, has a 16-year-old which I always find surprising. Kate Bosworth, American, was in Blue Crush and 21, a movie I went to on a first date with a guy who turned out to be a mistake.

Jonathan and fiancee Halley are at their wedding rehearsal, which means I may have to hate him for inevitably – but serendipitously! – falling in love with Sara, unless she’s cheating.

But he will fall in love with her, because Molly Shannon turns out to be friends with Halley. Plot twist! SERENDIPITY.

As a groom’s gift, Halley gives Jonathan a book. Not just any book, though! Sara’s Manic Pixie Dream Book with her phone number in the cover.

Either there is a ticking clock sound effect to show that time’s a-tickin’, or there’s a clock somewhere in my house living room that I didn’t know about.

Remember how big cell phones used to be? Remember how they had those little antennae?

There’s some convoluted stuff with Jonathan and Sara both flying places.

Remember when you had to pay for headsets on airplanes?

Anyway, Sara gets the manic pixie fiver on the plane.

The wedding is called off. Jonathan SITS DOWN on an ICE RINK like he doesn’t care that his BUTT IS COLD. People skate around him but you can’t just do that. You can’t just expect people to skate around you. Yet isn’t that what this whole movie is about? Being as impossible as you know how to be and making everyone else skate around you?

Just a generally bad approach to life.

Oh okay cool. Now he’s laying down, just waiting to get run over by skate blades. Like I know your wedding was just cancelled, but you seemed not that into your fiancee anyway, so.

Sara comes to take Jonathan off the ice and they fall in love, then they do that annoying thing with the gloves again.

Is the lesson supposed to be that true love is always fate? Because I think the lesson is really that if you leave things up to fate, you end up having to do 20 times more work to get what you want than if you had just gone after it in the first place.

Bye Forever, Hunger Games Press Tour

The final installment of The Hunger Games comes to an end today with the release of Mockingjay – Part 2. Will Peeta overcome his hijack by the Capitol? Will Katniss kill President Snow? Will Gale find a happy ending? All these questions are answered in the movie – and if you’re like me, you’ll forget what happened in the book and most of the movie will be a surprise. A good surprise, though. I’m just saying I forgot how stressful it gets, especially in the tunnel scene.

And as the franchise comes to a close, so does the epic press tours that our lovely cast has been going on for the past four years. We’ve gotten to see a number of enviable gowns from Ms. Lawrence and co. but by far what I’ll miss most is these idiots together answering dumb questions and playing stupid games to promote the movies.

For example, here’s one (that’s not as dumb) from this press tour that involves pranking YouTube prankers Smosh all in the name of charity.

So here’s the thing. I’ve read all the books. I’ve seen all the movies on opening weekend. I’m a fan. But for some reason, I become a teen fangirl when it comes to watching videos of interviews of this cast. I’ve seen an embarrassing amount of Josh, Jen and Liam answering similar questions over and over again, but it always comes down to their chemistry. Friendship, real or not real? TOTALLY REAL. And that’s why I love these videos. As we say goodbye to the Hunger Games one last time, here are some parting clips of our beloved cast through the years that will make you wish there was another franchise for them to all star in once again.

The Hunger Games

This was in 2012, but Josh and Jen look like different humans.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

SAM CLAFLIN IS SUCH A DREAM BOAT. THE WINKS. I CANNOT.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Possibly my fave “Joshifer” interview/game? Jen is very excited about winning these Fandango movie tickets, but is she actually more excited about winning? Also they’re cute.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

If you have a chance/want to keep avoiding work, just go through and watch any and all interviews Josh Horowitz from MTV has with the cast. He’s been interviewing them since the beginning and it’s kinda sad seeing it come to an end. Luckily he got to go out with a bang and take shots of bourbon with the cast at their final premiere.

 

Things I’m Willing To Believe About One Direction

Here’s what I knew about One Direction last week:

  • They are a British boy band, except one of them is Irish.
  • They sing that song I hate (What Makes You Beautiful. Still don’t like it.)
  • Also, I knew Drag Me Down but thought it was by Maroon 5? I don’t know, you guys.
  • I thought it was beautifully shady how the chorus of Perfect sounded a lot like Style.
  • And I knew who the two cute ones are.
  • Don’t play. You know exactly who I’m talking about.

What with their new album and a new press-generated controversy every day, One Direction was the perfect candidate for the Things I’m Willing To Believe About series – except, with my scant background knowledge,  I had to hit the books. Yeah. I took that hit for you, internet. My research included:

  • Watching like 4-5 interviews on YouTube.
  • Googling photos of the members both now and in 2010.
  • Listening to the new album. It’s a really good, solid pop album to be honest.
  • Tumblr. Enough said.

The result? I either just became a Directioner – and a Larry? Is that how you do it? – or went through puberty again. Anyway, based on admittedly not that much info, here are some totally not-true “facts” I’m willing to believe about my new favorite British-except-one-Irish-guy boy band:

Liam

 

 

  • The Irish One?
  • Once hand wrote his favorite poem for a girl he is into.
  • The poem was by Shel Silverstein.
  • Most likely to be subject of a Paul Is Dead-style rumor that he died in 2011 and was replaced by a sort-of lookalike.
  • Because  you don’t just grow a kidney like that. Or change faces like this:

  • Decided to try out online dating. Didn’t believe the other boys when they told him that a fake mustache wasn’t an awesome, foolproof disguise.
  • Favorite literary character: Gallant of the Goofus and Gallant series:

  • After a show, he makes the boys watch tape to improve next time.
  • His favorite t.v. show is the Tim Allen classic Home Improvement.
  • Instituted a chore wheel on tour. Said it would be fun. Believed it.
  • But the chore Liam doesn’t know about? Taking away his twitter after he’s said something dumb. The others trade whose turn it is to change his password.
  • They also hid his hair straightener a few years ago. It was for his own good.
  • Liam has invested in gold bars.
  • He loves knock knock jokes.
  • And “why did the chicken cross the road” jokes.
  • An old lady once hit Liam in the face with her purse. He had been chasing her for half a block to give her back a single coin that she dropped.
  • Liam snips apart those six-pack rings so they don’t get caught around birds’ heads.
  • His MSN name: NotLiamPayne
  • Has flown a kite for fun.
  • Owns one of those sticks to pick up litter on the street. Uses it frequently.
  • Liam once sealed the windows on a tour jet with shrink wrap when he read about the high costs of heating. Oh, bless.
  • Has a binder full of handwritten translations and phonetic pronunciations of foreign words to use when traveling. Includes a British English to American English section.
  • Flosses twice a day.
  • Loves team-building exercises.
  • Called Niall “Neil” for the first two weeks.
  • Has a Homer Simpson-style collage, with the letters covered up by photos of Simon Cowell and 1D fans:

 

Niall

 

  • No, the Irish one.
  • Style inspiration: a my buddy doll.

 

  • Is a cross between a dad and a beagle.
  • Has clear braces.
  • Is the kind of guy who would do pranks that involve shaving cream.
  • Is contractually obligated to be “the blonde one.” Can’t wait to change management and finally be free of bleach burns.
  • Was always the star of the feis with his 3-hand reel.
  • But his hornpipe is CRAP.
  • Has kind of a lot of tin whistles.
  • Owns one of those sweaters your grandma would always buy you when she went to the Aran islands.

Irish-Americans, you know what I’m talking about.

 

  • But he kind of, sort of really does believe that legend that if he wears his family’s pattern they’ll be able to identify him in a shipwreck.
  • Has repurposed Irish oatmeal cans in his home.

You know what? Handy, frugal, and functional.

  • Is named after Niall of the Nine Hostages.
  • He lifts because he wants to be “built like Flatley.”
  • Says his first crush was: the girls in the Corrs.
  • Actual first crush was: that skanky Molly Malone statue in Dublin.

 

 

  • Suggested the band name because it sounded like it was about frisky Hogwarts students.
  • Life goal was to be “bigger than Jedward.”
  • His first paid gig was modeling those gloves that are also sharks in a department store ad as a child.

Louis

  • Acts chill if you pronounce it “Lewis,” but seethes for hours after.
  • Hogwarts affiliation: Hot Slytherin.
  • He says his personal style is “sophisticated rocker-casual.”
  • But really, it is: small French girl with a secret.

  • Has definitely been hunting with foxhounds.
  • But just played with the dogs the whole time.
  • On a yearly basis, his management has had to turn down offers for him to play a smarmy Edwardian man on Downton Abbey.
  • His great-grandfather was the artist’s model for the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens.

  • No, that was a joke. Actually he is the Peter Pan statue from Kensington Gardens, cursed by an old witch to assume human form.
  • Falls on the “cake” side of the Jaffa Cake debate.

Even though they are biscuits.

  • Has a Youtube playlist of cheek and jawline toning exercises. They work.
  • One time, a makeup artist applied light highlighter and contouring to his cheekbones. They literally could cut a man. It was proclaimed “too much.”
  • Like Phoebe Buffay, insists that he receives 23 points instead of 3 in basketball “because I’m dainty.”
  • When he calls Harry, the image that pops up representing Louis is a Google image result for “haughty cat”:

 

  • Was forced to play Baby Jesus in four successive nativity plays because everyone agreed that you just sort of want to wrap him in a blanket and keep him safe from harm.

Harry

  • When he has children, it’s because he will find a baby in a Moses basket in a woodland
  • Was found in a Moses basket in a woodland himself, maybe?
  • All I’m saying is that I’m willing to believe that he is a changeling:

File under: people who should be wrapped in swaddling clothes and lulled to sleep.

  • Is a cross between a glam rocker, the most charismatic student at a 1920s boys’ boarding school, and an English Springer Spaniel.

 

  • Hogwarts affiliation: Gryffindor, but “culturally Hufflepuff.”
  • Has a climate-controlled room in his house for his nice blouses.
  • Smells how you would expect Irish Spring soap to smell based on those commercials where wholesome yet sprightly men gallivant near a waterfall (not how the soap actually smells, which is like “clean uncle” if anything).

Oh. The spring is THERE, thanks.

 

  • Whenever they’re in a new city, everyone ends up looking around asking “where’s Harry?” Inevitably, he has gone off to befriend an old lady or a small child.

  • Has tree fort.
  • Has secret password to get into tree fort.
  • There is an elaborate secret handshakes as well.
  • Harry is working with a publishing company to create an adult coloring book based on his tattoos.
  • His house is scented with specially formulated candles that smell like exactly like autumn leaves and sunsets.
  • Can knit.
  • Over the course of a single ride to a venue, knit a pair of fingerless gloves for a tour driver whose handshake seemed a little cold.
  • When his boots need repair, he just leaves them outside his door and it is taken care of:

 

  • Has been described as a “little scamp” before, albeit less frequently than Louis.
  • Opposes the term “man bun” because “nobody should tell it what kind of bun it should be.”
  • Yeah, he has long hair, but you know what? Harry Styles cleans it out of the drain. Every time.
  • Has a dog-eared copy of Indian In The Cupboard next to his bed.
  • According to legend, a blind man and a deaf man used to walk together and help each other understand the world. They passed Harry Styles in the park. The blind man turned to the deaf, and solemnly said and signed “he prances.” “I know, I heard,” the deaf man replied.

 Zayn

  • No. We are not doing this.

Adele Fangirls Over People

Our Patron Saint of Sobbing returns with a much-anticipated album on Friday with 25 and as details slowly leak, the more we long for it to be release day. Yesterday, Adele gave us a lil’ crumb from 25 with the music video for When We Were Young, and with this and Hello, I think everyone needs to take a personal day on Friday. Or like a world holiday, because Adele is revered by many. She’s one of those artists that more people love than hate, but who does one of the most revered celebs love the most? Here are just some of the people Adele had gone crazy for, the way we would go crazy over her.

Beyonce

Going outside and falling on your knees and crying is EXACTLY how you should respond when meeting the King and Queen. And “Adele, one minute” – are you kidding me? That phrase should go on her tombstone.

Rihanna

“I guess I have my own squad. It’s not as interesting as some of the other squads that are around right now. But maybe Rihanna can be in my squad! That would be really cool. Oh, God. She’s life itself, isn’t she? I love her.” Adele to Rolling Stone {x}

Petition to have a Rihanna/Adele reality TV show of them hanging out at home watching a movie or out a club. This would never happen, but can you imagine?

Spice Girls

First of all, Adele looks like such a baby in this video. Second, it makes total sense she’s a Spice Girls fan. She was an impressionable girl growing up in England who had the most popular girl group in the world to look up to. Like Adele says, their voices weren’t the best, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a rightful place in music history.

Amy Winehouse

“If it wasn’t for Amy and Frank, 100% I wouldn’t have picked up a guitar, I wouldn’t have written Daydreamer or Hometown and I wrote Someone Like You on the guitar too… I got super emotional with the funeral footage. But I wasn’t really that into the saved voicemails and stuff like that. I felt like I was intruding so I actually felt a little bit uncomfortable and that ruined it for me. I love watching her, but I kind of wish I hadn’t seen it. But you know, I love Amy. I always have, I always will. Do you know what makes me super sad? That I’m never going to hear her voice again, other than how I’ve heard it.”

Adele and Amy actually attended the same school for a brief period of time, but weren’t friends. They even performed at the BRIT Awards (UK’s version of the Grammys) together but alas, they ran in different circles.

Frank Ocean

“I’m just f–king waiting for Frank f–king Ocean to come out with his album. It’s taking so f–king long. That sounds so stupid, coming from me, doesn’t it?” Adele to Rolling Stone {x}

But honestly, WTF Frank Ocean.

Lana Del Rey

Adele accidentally got the same exact tattoo as Lana Del Rey at the same time. Oops. In Adele’s defense, she got it in honor of her son Angelo, not because LDR got it. But she didn’t have a problem with people thinking that. “She probably thinks I’m, like, some mad fangirl. I mean, I am a Lana fangirl, but not a crazy one.” BRB getting a Paradise tattoo inspired by Adele inspired by LDR.

Bette Midler

Well. Here this is.

 

The Art of Shia LaBeouf

So Shia LaBeouf did another thing. No, he didn’t have another run-in with the law (this time around, at least). No, he didn’t put another paper bag on his head (this time around, at least). No, he didn’t let strangers sit across from him at a table (this time around he let strangers sit next to him, at least). America’s favorite actor named Shia kicked off his latest stunt last week, called #AllMyMovies, a three-day experimental performance art installation in which he sat and watched all his films in reverse chronological order for 72 hours straight – more or less – and invited fans to watch them with him. Basically Shia binge-watched himself nonstop for three days.

But the best part about this was the livestream available on the project’s website, which had a camera directly on Shia the entire time. The caveat was that there was no sound, so you couldn’t hear if he said anything outloud, or know which point in the movie they were in. There was a schedule available online as to the start time and list of movies playing (as I found out from a number of #AllMyMovies followers after rhetorically inquiring on Twitter), so plenty of folks at home, with no time on their hands apparently, could sync up with Shia.

I decided to see what all the fuss was all about and logged in to the site, partly because I was curious, and partly because I have a severe case of pop culture FOMO. This is what I saw:

Legit. This is what one would see if they went to the live stream. After I realized nothing was wrong with my computer and there really wasn’t any sound, I started losing interest. Maybe it was because he was in New York and it was like 3am his time and he was catatonic anyways, or maybe he didn’t care for the movie. I didn’t even know what movie he was watching at that point, so like, who cared? But then I searched the hashtag on Twitter, and that led to a whole other world, and it all started making sense.

The dedicated fans who had stayed up into the wee hours of the morning had been following Shia since the beginning. Since Shia was the only static person in frame, they started to pick up the minutia of everything else around him, i.e. the fans in the visible background.

At one point during my viewing, there was a dude behind Shia that looked like Josh Peck. A blurry Josh Peck, which led to me researching if it was actually Josh Peck – it wasn’t. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t a fair share of “celebrities” in the audience. By celebrities, I mean the folks around Shia who got nicknamed by the Internet. There was Glasses Girls 1 & 2 during Constantine and The Greatest Game Ever Played, Kurt Fauxbain and Jack Sparrow in front of him at Surf’s Up and Hat Girl, who even scored a parody Twitter account. And her Hat got an account too. The Internet, man.

According to multiple #AllMyMovies-goers, video and photography was strictly prohibited inside the theater, and if fans had gifts, they had to give it to someone else who would relay the items to Shia. There were some people that decided to act like a true fan and ask for a pic with him:

Or act like a normal human and congratulate him on his excellent scene:

or casually offer candy:

*a staff member at the Angelika said Shia went through 15 bags of Sour Patch Kids during his 3-day stay!*

Then you have that one person who fucks it up and legit causes you second-hand embarrassment even though you know it’s inevitable:

Aside from the fans, watching Shia’s reaction to watching himself was hard to take your eyes off of. Here are just a few choice reactions from his marathon:

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Transformers: Dark Side of The Moon

*He basically hated all the Transformers films. At one point he even goes into the aisle and lays down to take a nap.

Holes

The Even Stevens Movie

It’s worth noting that this FREE performance art piece has apparently been in the works for a year, so it’s not some paper bag type gimmick that he decided to do on a whim. In fact, a Twitter user noted that after Shia got arrested in Texas last month, he had tweeted his first line to every one of his movies sequentially, a move that obviously shows he had at least some thought into it. He even wrote on the wall of the Angelika thanking them for hosting the “crazy” marathon, proving he’s aware that the concept of watching all his films and capturing his response is insane.

But like any type of art, it’s totally objective. I don’t necessarily *get* performance art, but I understand it enough to consider it art. In this particular case, a number of reasons could make the case for Shia’s binge-watch as “real art”. Through the literal lens of the camera directly facing Shia, we see a number of reactions from the actor and the people around him. It shows the psychology of human interaction in an unlikely setting, their response to celebrity, the mere fact staying awake for lengthy periods of time can change your mental state. The same goes for Shia. I’m assuming he intended to view his movies in reverse knowing full well he’d be loopy by the time he reached the point where he was a child actor. As seen above, he seemed to be the most content and happy while watching Surf’s Up and The Even Stevens Movie (watch him watch it synced with the actual film. Cinnamon roll.) – albeit both are classified as kids’ films – one has to wonder if the reason he’s emitting so much joy is to show that he’s just like us – he sometimes longs for the days of innocence and finds comfort in a show like Evens Stevens, which helped him become a star and occurred during some of the most important developmental years of his life. Then there’s the whole fascination of watching Shia watch a screen for hours on end. Like I said, I fell victim to the FOMO, but it’s interesting to see how involved and passionate they get with something as simple as a livestream of a dude in a dark theater.

So, it goes back to this – what’s the point of this charade? Are we supposed to look inward and reflect on what it would be like for us to relive moments of our lives on the big screen with strangers for three days? Or does this put another notch on Shia’s “egotistical” nature? That here he is, doing a performance art piece, seeing his career as an actor in reverse, and perhaps he’s searching for what made him fall in love with acting in the first place? To watch his bizarre rise and fall in the industry? To show just how odd the idea of fame is in general? We might never know unless Shia explains it point blank to us, but to be honest, we don’t need that. We need to respect his desire to keep creating art that fulfills him. As long as he’s not hurting anyone in the process,  who cares? We’re talking about it now, aren’t we? And maybe that’s what he wanted all along.

shia

Playlist of the Month: Sadie Hawkins Day

Sadie Hawkins Day is one of those outmoded holidays that you only hear about on Happy Days reruns or when your grandma is talking about things she misses from the 1940s — and now, I suppose, on our blog**. Sadie Hawkins Dances were held in November, and were the one dance a year when girls were allowed, and even expected, to ask boys out. Oh, how the world has changed. Does anyone even ask anyone to dances anymore, other than promposals?

Sadie Hawkins Day doesn’t have as big a place in today’s world, but we still think it’s a cute historical footnote from the era when we got our holidays from Li’l Abner comics (a true thing). We thought a Sadie Hawkins Day playlist would be fitting: songs originally performed by male artists, covered by female artists. See, it’s just like they always told us when we were kids in the 90s: girls really can do anything.

** Okay, I googled it, and some schools do this. Sounds fun – just remember, you can be the asker-outer ANY day of the year. Or not. Sounds scary.

Traci’s Picks

Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran, Covered by Demi Lovato

Ever since their Disney days, I’ve always said Selena is the better actress and Demi is the better singer. And years later, that still rings true – Demi is a freaking powerhouse and I feel like the world’s finally recognizing that. Here, she takes Ed’s softer version of Give Me Love, and turns it into a song pleading for acceptance, and you can hear the pain in her voice. Gives me chills every time I listen to it.

Riptide by Vance Joy, Covered by Taylor Swift

While Vance Joy’s version is great and obviously suited for his voice, I feel like when I listen to Taylor’s version, it was always meant for her voice. It feels so settled and comfortable there, like a warm, cozy riptide.

Don’t Tell ‘Em by Jeremih, Covered by Lorde

Another gem from the BBC 1 Live Lounge, Lorde delivers yet another haunting performance, but this time with a rap cover. Who knew? Lorde did.

Thinkin’ Bout You by Frank Ocean, Covered by Fifth Harmony

Long before Fifth Harmony was telling you they’re Worth It, they started out as finalists on The X Factor, and after the show ended, they kinda needed to start from the bottom and work their way to the top. To do this, they released a bunch of acoustic covers with the hopes they’d go viral, or at least help build a strong fan base. And it worked. Three years later and they’re platinum selling artists with a VMA to their name. Here’s a reason why. Their voices blend so beautifully and – get ready for it – in harmony.

I Can’t Go For That by Hall & Oates, Covered by The Bird and the Bee

I had a really difficult time deciding which song from this Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates album I’d list here, because every single one is good. Let that be a testament to both Hall & Oates and The Bird and the Bee (which is a duo that includes one male, so I kinda cheated, sorry). But singer Inara George’s soft and relaxing vocals are the perfect match for the synth techno beats that make their version their own, while still respecting the OG.

Molly’s Picks

Skinny Love by Bon Iver, Covered By Birdy

I’ve finally gotten over my 2011-era annoyance at people calling this “Skinny Love by Birdy.”  I just felt like Bon Iver was pretty well-known by that point? But with a few years’ space, I can say that this is a beautiful cover, and Birdy’s arrangement is gorgeous. Can you believe she was only, like, 14 here? I can understand why people who didn’t know the song thought Birdy was the original artist, because this sounds like it was written for her voice.

Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana, Covered by Lana Del Rey

Remember Nirvana’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction? It included performances of several of Nirvana’s songs fronted by different female singers. The line up was crazy: Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, St. Vincent, and Lorde. And I could not choose between any of them, although I do have a soft spot for Kim Gordon because she’s just so cool. So instead, here’s a totally different female cover of Heart Shaped Box.

Where Is My Mind by the Pixies, Covered by Sunday Girl

Where Is My Mind is one of those songs where I can never decide if it makes me feel happy or sad, like the musical version of Sunday nights. This slowed-down, orchestral arrangement definitely brings out the more melancholy side of it.

Come On Up To The House by Tom Waits, Covered by Sarah Jarosz

I don’t know what it is about Tom Waits, but a lot of his songs sound great covered by female artists despite his signature not-so-feminine voice. Come On Up To The House is one of Waits’ great bluesy, rootsy songs, and Sarah Jarosz is just the artist to cover it – she’s great at both traditional bluegrass and more modern stuff. She always has a great band, too.

PYT by Michael Jackson, Covered by Tori Kelly

At first I thought it would be hard to come up with five songs, but I could keep at this forever. Just think of all the great Beatles, Paul Simon, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan covers there are! [I might be a dad. Like, there is a very real chance that I am your dad. But it’s true.] I figured I’d leave us off with Michael Jackson, an artist most male artists can’t cover without going into key change territory. But when you Sadie Hawkins classic MJ numbers, it really works.