Wednesday Movie Night this week was Notes On A Scandal. And it was creepy. Actually icky, in a get under your skin and make you squirm kind of way. The acting is brilliant, of course, with a cast like this. Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, and Bill Nighy are all amazing. And with a different score, this would very likely be a boring film. Phillip Glass tends to write really intrusive music for movies. This is no exception. It's too loud, taking over a lot of the scenes. But, somehow, in this movie it needs to be that way. The music is it's own character, and it drives the story along, making us really tense and freaked out in all the right places. I think in a couple of days I'll be able to say I really liked this movie, but right now, I'm still in the creepy crawly place, so I can't say that quite yet.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Posted by Melanie Hess at 10:38 PM
Last night we went to see the BYU production of Oklahoma! Our friend Kevin was playing Curly, and though none of us were huge fans of the show itself, we wanted to be supportive. Turns out, the show was actually really good, all be it ridiculously long. In the theatre community one often goes to see one's friends in shows not expecting much. Kevin is an incredibly talented guy, and he's always fun to watch and listen to, but the rest of the show doesn't always match up. This one was really fun. I liked most of the cast. They had good voices, were good dancers, and not awful actors. It was one of the better musicals I've seen at BYU in a long time. Yay for Kevin!
Posted by Melanie Hess at 11:12 AM
Posted by Melanie Hess at 10:52 AM
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
When Whitney and Jen were here for Sundance, we talked about music a lot on our drives up and down Provo Canyon. We decided that we needed to do a CD swap, and I have since been pouring over my music of the moment to decide what to send to them. I want to basically highlight what I'm listening to right now, but not give them stuff they are sure to already have. They have slightly different tastes, and I'm not sure they'll like anything I've put together, but I'm going to give this a shot. The following is the playlist of the innagural Winter 2007 CD swap disc. Enjoy, or ignore, if it's just too much babbling for your taste.
You Know I'm No Good
This song was a free download from itunes last week. I don't usually love the songs you can download for free, but this one just grabbed me.
I got this song from a guy I sort of dated a couple of years ago. At the time I wasn't all that ammused. But since then I've come to have a sincere fondness for this song. It cracks me up.
Love, Love, Love
This was a song from My Super Ex-girlfriend that seriously hooked me from the first time I heard it. I was putting together wedding music at the time, so this was a perfect addition to that mix. Upbeat and energizing.
I had never heard M. Ward before Jen sent us a flyer about a concert that was coming to Sundance. Whitney mentioned how much she liked him, so I did some reasearch. Low & Behold, I really liked him too. This is different while still being my style. His voice is all gravelly and sexy. . . Can't quite get over it.
A Grey's Anatomy song that I recently found and adore. A sexy voice in a totally different way, this guy is the definition of smooth. Beautiful.
Love Will Come Through
Another harvest from the Grey's Anatomy song list. I have always loved Travis, but I haven't been following them very well in recent years. I particularly like this song.
I was a little bit taken aback when I found out that this album had explicit lyrics. I don't love it the way I did O, but I have grown attached to a couple of the songs. They're the kind that stick in your head for days. Damien Rice is generally the definition of "haunting and beatiful", and this song proves that point.
Oh, how I love this man's music. I'm not even sure why it sucks me in the way it does. It's pretty run of the mill accoustic stuff, but he switches up the instruments enough to make it interesting, and his voice is to die for.
Melt Your Heart
This is the first Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins song I ever heard, when Dainon played it on the radio, and I immediately had to email him and find out what it was. The lyrics are fantastic and the sound is equally quirky. I've had this CD forever and I can't help but keep listening to it.
Counting to 100
Got this one from Jeremy on a CD he made for my birthday. I find myself singing it long after it was on. Beautiful guy & guitar combo.
Stronger Than Dirt
Another of the artists playing at Sundance, I just looked him up in itunes and really liked his sound. This is one of my favorites I downloaded.
Faust, Midas, and Myself
I have always liked Switchfoot a lot, but I haven't been following them very closely. Everything they released sounded the same for a while. And so does a lot of this album. This song, though, I love for the focus on lyrics, if nothing else. I'm a sucker for someone who pays attention to what the song is saying as well as the music behind it.
Put Your Records On
I know, this isn't a new album. It's especially not a new song. And while I had heard it before, I just barely managed to download it and soak it in. I love it. It helps me out of the inevitable winter blues that come along with January.
The piano in this song just sticks in my head. It's so simple, and yet so beautiful. Without it, I don't know if I'd like the rest of the song, but with it, it's a gorgeous song. Makes me think of Cheers!
This song is featured in the trailer to the movie The Dead Girl. The first time I heard it, I liked it a lot, but forgot about it. Then Nick pointed it out to me again, and I had to find it and download it. Luckily, itunes had it. It reminds me of Aimee Mann ala Magnolia, all airy and sad. So pretty.
Every Time It Rains
I know I've mentioned this song here before. I've had it a long time and it will never go away. It's just a great song. I'm still listening to it 2 years later.
A list of what I'm listening to right now wouldn't be complete without a song from Dreamgirls. I am an unabashed lover of the musical, so I don't feel too badly about including it. I think Beyonce got a bad wrap when it comes to this movie, and although Jennifer Hudson has some brilliant moments on this soundtrack, this is the one that sticks with me.
It's a serious tragedy that this woman died so young. Her voice is nothing less than ethereal. Chris introduced me to her a couple of years ago and since then I have scooped up everything I can find of hers. I am mesmorized by her covers of songs I already loved. No offense to Cyndi Lauper intended, but this is a GREAT version of this song.
Posted by Melanie Hess at 11:14 AM
Monday, January 29, 2007
Today I am a weird kind of sick that's about half way to being really sick. It started Friday night. I'm sure I got it from Ben, but he seemed to be in more of a head cold kind of place. I just feel achy. I'm acutely aware of every move I make in a way I never am. Everything hurts, head to toe. But that weird achiness and tiredness are my only symptoms. I think I have lupus. . .
Or maybe that's just the hypochondriac in me.
Instead, I'd like to officially blame my weird illness on the ridiculous smog layer that has held us hostage for the past 2 weeks. Every day the weather man says "the air is VERY unhealthy. Don't spend more time outside than you have to". As if being in our houses or offices is going to make it that much better? We have a filter on our furnace, but nothing that will clean out the GUNK that is hanging in the air all the time. It's dowright gross. And every morning the same weather man says "and it's not going anywhere any time soon. The 7 day forcast looks just like today." Cold. Smoggy. Unhealthy. (the above picture doesn't remotely do it justice, but it's the best one I could find online)
I never thought I'd wish for snow again, but I sort of do, a little bit.
Posted by Melanie Hess at 3:18 PM
The SAG awards were on TNT last night, and aside from being insanely fast paced, to the point of annoying, it was a good night. I was thrilled by a few of the winners (here is a complete list). My favorites:
1-- Little Miss Sunshine won best ensemble! I love that movie. It is so refreshing. And while I really liked a lot of the movies up for the award, I was really thrilled that this one took home an award. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I THINK if it wins the Oscar it may be the first Sundance film to do so. Fingers crossed.
2-- America Ferrera won. Again!! I was so excited. It was a little bit disappointing that The Office won best comedy, but I know how much people love that show, so I'm OK with it. I'm just glad America got the recognition again.
3-- Chandra Wilson!!! We were cheering like we were at a sporting event when that happened. We were just excited that she had been nominated. We love her character on Grey's Anatomy and she does some amazing acting work.
This just proves a point we've been observing through all of the award shows this year. This is the year of the chubby girl. I don't say that in a mocking-Tyra-Banks-for-gaining-a-little-healthy-weight way. I am giddy that this is the case. Look at the winners of best actress awards across the board. With the exception of Helen Mirren, who is decidedly un-chubby, there are non-stick bugs winning all over the place! Jennifer Hudson, America Ferrera, Chandra Wilson. . . It's amazing. I am starting to feel a shift in our culture, and I love it. From the runways in Milan to Hollywood, people are starting to realize it's OK to be curvy. It's a miracle! May we continue in this direction and embrace healthy body image. . . Our daughters will be far better adjusted people for it.
Posted by Melanie Hess at 10:24 AM
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Today I had my final Sundance experience of 2007. I know what you're thinking. You thought I said I was done already. I totally wasn't. But this time the experiencen was a little different. I was there on official business. XanGo had a lounge there in the VIP building that was used for interviews and parties and general exposure of the product. And I'm sure it was very successful in that way the first few days of the festival. I had agreed to go up today thinking it would be fun to schmooze and such. Instead, we didn't do much of anything. Almost everyone is gone. So it was several hours of thumb twiddling rather than the crazy scene I expected. A lot can change on main street in a few short days.
We DID, however, get to help John Digles with a podcast. This consisted of a little recruiting of extras off the street and a little bit of slightly embarrasing on camera time. It will be posted on the web site soon, I'll post the link so you can laugh at me later.
Also, we had 2 celebrity sitings out on the street, just to cap off the week. Jared Leto and Crispin Glover. Woo Hoo!
RIP Sundance 2007.
Posted by Melanie Hess at 9:39 PM
Yes, that's right. I hung the bookshelves in our office. They came in the mail over the past 2 days, and while Ben was at class last night I decided I wanted to surprise him. He had a rough day and I figured it would cheer him up to have the book shelf project over and done with. . . Plus I was kind of excited to see if I could do it.
As it turns out, it was totally easy. If anyone out there needs book shelves, and doesn't want the crappy $40 kind you can buy at Walmart, I would whole heartedly recommend Elfa shelving. It was easy as pie to put up (though it totally helps if you have a laser level if you plan on doing it yourself), and as you can see, it worked out beautifully.
I'm pretty proud of myself, I must say.
Posted by Melanie Hess at 9:25 PM
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
You thought we were done going to movies for a while after Sundance? Boy, were you wrong!
Last night we got to see the Metropolitan Opera's production of The Magic Flute. They broadcast it to movie theaters a couple of weeks ago, and we weren't able to go. But we found out there was a repeat performance, so we got tickets. It was really cool. Julie Taymore produced and designed it, so the costumes and puppets were incredible. It was in English, so I though it would bug me, but it really didn't.
If you ever have a chance to see one of these productions (and I think they are showing several more in the next few months) Do it!
Posted by Melanie Hess at 11:45 AM
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
The Oscar nominations were announced this morning. Rather than make a LOOOONG post of all of them, go to this link for a list.
I am really surprised over a few things.
#1-- Dreamgirls was not nominated for Best Picture. Whether or not it is the best picture, it won at the Golden Globes. I can't believe it wasn't nominated. Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy got nominations, and a ridiculous THREE songs from the film were nominated (while the best original song from the globes wasn't nominated at all), but no best picture.
#2-- Volver wasn't nominated for best foreign language film.
#3-- Abigail Breslin was nominated for best supporting actress. I'm thrilled! She was amazing in Little Miss Sunshine, and now ties with Tatum O'Neil for the youngest actor/actress to get a nomination at 10 years old.
I have at least 3, but preferably 5, movies to see before Feb. 25th. Notes on a Scandal, Little Children, Letters From Iwo Jima, Pan's Labyrinth, and Blood Diamond.
That's all for now.
Posted by Melanie Hess at 10:26 AM
Day 4 was the send off of Jen & Whitney. Before going to the airport, we had to go get lunch at Big City Soup. It's one of my favorite places in Salt Lake to eat, and it's got such weird hours that I seldom get a chance to eat there. We had to take advantage of the time of day and get some soup.
Also, one thing I forgot to add to Saturday's summation. . .
I got my first speeding ticket on the way home. I had made it 29.5 years of my life without ever having been pulled over. And my first time, I got a ticket. The man was a speed trap, pure and simple. I was speeding, though, so I didn't fight with him. Stupid speeding ticket.
Posted by Melanie Hess at 10:15 AM
Monday, January 22, 2007
Day 3 began with brunch up at sundance village at the Foundry. This is our favorite place for brunch and this morning was no exception. Wonderful food. Beautiful atmosphere. All around relaxing way to start our last day.
Our first movie was at the Eccles again. Waitress. It was a more independent film, starring Keri Russel and Nathan Fillion, who I must admit to having a little crush on. It was a very stylized movie, but I liked it very much. It was written and directed by Adrienne Shelley, the woman who was murdered in her own home in LA a few months ago. A very tragic story. The whole cast as well as many other stars were there for the screening. A big part of our list of star sitings for the day came from this screening.
After a little bit of shopping on main street, and a few more star sitings, we headed back to Salt Lake for our last movie.
Our second movie was The Great World of Sound. It was the definition of an independent film as they have always had at Sundance. It was personally my least favorite of the films we saw, and I think everyone else agreed with me, but it was stil entertaining. It was about scammers in the music business that take people's money and promise things they never deliver.
Hours Spent Waiting in Line
Posted by Melanie Hess at 5:47 PM
Day 2 began bright and early with Rocket Science. Although we were up early, it wasn't so bad as Day 1, as we had gotten plenty of sleep. Also, the movie was at the Eccles, which is a very comfortable place to watch a movie. Also, the movie was really good. It's about a high school boy with a serious stuttering problem that gets recruited for the debate team. I can't tell you much without giving it away, but let us just say that it was a very good film. I highly suggest you all see it. You won't know the actors, because, for once, they used actors that were actually high school age kids. And it worked. The following shot is of the Q&A. It's pretty awful and grainy, but I like it anyway.
Following Rocket Science we went back to wander Main Street for a while and get some lunch. We went in to the Airborne lounge and had some pink grapefruit airborne in raspberry soda, which was surprisingly tasty. I think I need to mix my airborne in something other than water more often. We saw some famous people. Jen went outside for a bit while we were waiting for our pizza and saw Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney, but as I didn't see them, they aren't on my list at the bottom of the page. After lunch we went to The Racquet club to begin our quest for tickets to Grace Is Gone, starring John Cusack. After the previous day's wait list experience, we weren't taking any chances. We showed up at 1:30 to wait 2 hours for our wait list numbers.
We killed time taking a TON of pictures while we waited in the cold. This is just a mere sampling:
In the end, we were numbers 10-13. We were pretty pleased with ourselves, and pretty darn certain we were getting in. . . we were so naive.
While we waited out the hour between numbers and line again, we went up to the restaurant at the racquet Club for some warmth and some food. While there, Parker Posey joined us (in a really loose sense of the word). Really, she came in with some guy, they sat at the bar and had a beer while we stared at her back. And took a picture of her back:
We went back to the line and after an hour of waiting again, they only left 8 people in. When we had the option of only one of us going in, we let Whitney go. It was her first time at Sundance, and wouldn't have extra chances to see something else. So she went to that, and the rest of us headed back to Main Street to try to get in to a concert. We wandered a bit, visited the XanGo lounge, and then got in line again. But after 45 minutes in line, and no opening of the concert door in site, we were done. We walked up to the bus station and waited for Whitney to get back so we could go home. We were a little sad.
We went home a little defeated and drowned our sorrows in home made house dressing and some Nintendo with Ben.
1 (2 if your name is Whitney)
Hours Spent Waiting In Line
Posted by Melanie Hess at 3:00 PM
After a speedy trip to the airport to grab Jen, and a grateful sigh of relief that she hadn't checked any bags, we hauled ourselves up Parley's Canyon to Park City. We were blissfully on time for our first film, and excited to be there, despite our short 4.5 hours of sleep the previous night.
Our first film was a documentary called War/Dance. It was about the children in a refugee camp in Northern Uganda and a music competition they were a part of. It was also a peek into the awful things they had experienced in their short lives and a beautiful picture of how optimistic they are despite those experiences. It was gorgeous. It was a brilliant example of how a documentary can move you, when it is done right. We didn't pity these children. We loved them and believed in them.
After the film, the director asked us all if he could take a picture of all of us applauding the film so that he could send it back to the children. We were the first people to see the film, and he wanted to record our reaction to it for them. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house as we all stood up and clapped for these kids. In the end, I think this was our favorite film. To compare the films we saw isn't totally fair, but we were all really moved by this one.
After the film we went up to Main Street for some lunch at the Wasatch Brew Pub. It was very tasty.
We then did some back and forth on the shuttle. first to the eccles to get numbers for the wait list line for The Savages. Unfortunately, we didn't get there early enough. We were #s 161-165. The odds were not in our favor, but it was a big venue, so we decided to try.
We went back to Main Street and went to the Festival Store for some swag. I got an official poster that looks like this, to balance the 2005 poster hanging in our office.
We took a few more pictures along the way. Luckily nick was kind enough to be our photographer. We had to take a picture with the bear, and the other one we thought looked like a puzzle behind us. Whitney is in the red jacket, Jen is in the pink scarf, and I'm the other one.
In the end, we didn't get in to see the Savages. About 120 wait list people got in, but we were still too far back. It was our own fault, and we were determined to do better on Saturday. As it was, we were exhausted and decided that there was nothing to be done but to go home, get some dinner, and then go to sleep. We had a 9 am movie the next morning, so we needed to get to bed early.
Mandy Moore (I have a picture of the guy behind her because we didn't get cameras out fast enough, but you don't care about that guy)
Hours Spent Waiting in Line
Posted by Melanie Hess at 2:15 PM