June 11, 2017

How many actors have a shot at being a part of something that became a part of pop culture? It’s been very rewarding. I’m not getting the 20 million bucks for the new movies, but at least I’m getting warmth and recognition from people wherever I go.

-Adam West

And another bites the dust…RIP Adam West…

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I admit it: I am a Disney movie nerd. So it’s no surprise that I saw Beauty and the Beast yesterday. You know, that live action film with Emma Watson that came out about a month ago.

I must say I am happy they didn’t follow the 1991 version exactly. For example, the library scene. In the live action it was presented to Belle by the beast as a half joke/half serious offer, which made it all the more adorable. In the cartoon version, it was presented after the snowball fight scene as a “I’ve been preparing this for you so here you go!”. Keeping the songs from the original movie like “Be My Guest” is a nice nostalgic touch.

Another plus: The live action closed loops that the cartoon left out. Was the Beast always a douchebag? I am not saying. Where did Belle’s mother go? Spoiler: she was not a French Revolutionary fighting for her country, unfortunately. What was the time period? Considering Gaston was “in the war” and the Eiffel Tower was not built yet and the mention of Champs Elysées being “too touristy” placed the time period  post-1815. These little details provided more depth for each character, making much more sense on how they fall in love or dislike each other.

The one minor issue I hold with the live action is the passage of time. Is it me or did all this happen in three days? I’m pretty sure the 90s version expanded the timeframe. I know it’s supposed to be classic love story but come on. It’s rare to acquire a “fear then witty banter then pure romance” relationship in three days. 

I love the chemistry the actors have with each other. Le Fou, played by Josh Gad of Frozen (Olaf!) was hilarious (and closet gay? Spoiler!). I would see it again and recommend the film. And if you a nostalgic cinema person, watch the movie at a classic theater without the dine and fancy seats. I saw it at Gateway Regal 16, which is an old school cinema with a classic concession stand that sells overpriced popcorn and candy, surprisingly good arcade games according to my friend John who ventured with me to see this film, and good ol non-reclining non-leather seats. It adds a whole ‘nother level of magic.

Gateway Regal 16 in North Austin

13 Reasons Why

It’s the current Netflix craze. And for good reason. Please note there are some spoilers.

13 Reasons Why, based on the book of the same name by Jay Asher, is a dual timeline, riveting mystery that tells the story of Hannah Baker-a high school girl who commits suicide but leaves 13 tapes to the 13 people that helped her reach her point of suicide, each tape a worse reason than the former. But she isn’t the whole story. There are various subplots that intertwine between these 13 people, an extra step beyond the book if one of those people who compare. One could argu Clay Jensen, the person who gets possession of the tapes during the show, is the second protagonist since we are on this journey with him.

13 Reasons Why is a powerful piece on the impacts of bullying, social media and more serious issues such as mental issues, rape and suicide. The characters are relate-able. You can see yourself as both the victim and those who hurt the victim. It helps you realize and further understand that even the smallest action could create the greatest negative impact on the other person, whether it be positive or negative, living or passed.

The plots, though a tad exaggerated at times, is a true depiction/no BS conjecture of high school life in the 21st century. Social media, lack of help from the officials and bullying are major things that play important roles in today’s high school scene. What’s interesting is the fact that Hannah’s truth is not necessarily the whole truth. Throughout the show, you are feeling bad for Hannah and wish revenge on those who hurt her, but the back of your mind is left in doubt. These events are told through the eyes of one person. Clay authenticates some of the memories as he was also a witness to some of the events, but there are many that leave you wondering “did that really happen?”. It does not (or does, if you are thinking of the quality of suspense the show instills) help that the other 12 people are either trying to hide their actions, indifferent, or too scared to come out.

Finally, the music is amazingly awesome. The creators use British punk music to add to the psychological aspect, especially with Clay as he embarks on the road to mental insanity. You get flashback bands like Joy Division. You get indie bands like Lord Huron, whose “The Night We Met Met” is hands down the best song in the whole show as it is during Clay and Hannah’s slow dance scene. And you know my love for The Cure.

With this show, you are not getting Disney pixie dust with this show. The last three episodes are graphic. The production team did not sugar coat rape and suicide. They emphasized it to the point your heart is wrenching itself while you cannot stop yourself from experiencing the emotion of sadness. There’s a reason Netflix rates it TV-MA. Parents, if you have young teens, I would recommend watching the show with them. It could be a great moment to teach a few valuable life lessons.

Cross your fingers that there is a season 2.