you are my alligator

Sunday night & I’m crawling through my sadness alongside a cup of yogi tea and finding reasons to make myself cry because I miss him and I need to. I should be used to this now. Safety in his arms and then back to myself; I’m unmoored.

So there’s this, favorite part of one of my favorite movies, and such a lovely and simple song.

It’s a fear, it is near.
the shape becomes ever clear.
It bares teeth, extra sharp, that’ll cut you in the heart.
It attacks really quick, try and fight it with a stick.
It’s no use, give it up, this is life and this is love.

You are my alligator
You are my alligator

worth watching: Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

It’s pretty much expected that a film in which a socially awkward grown man orders a sex doll from the internet and pretends she’s his girlfriend would be a bit on the weird side. But  what’s unexpected, is how much of a gem that film has the potential to be – and is realized in Lars and the Real Girl. Lars is 27, and lives in the garage of his older brother Guy (Paul Schneider) and his pregnant wife, Karin (Emily Mortimer). He’s hopelessly reclusive. The backdrop is a small conservative town in northern Minnesota, which is portrayed so well in the film. (There’s no hustle and bustle, but plenty of ugly sweaters.)

I will admit, I was skeptical at first, especially when Lars first brought the Bianca in to meet his brother and Karin. It was uncomfortable and weird. There are hardly any sexual references in this film – and those that are made, aren’t made by Lars towards Bianca – his “real” girl. It isn’t about that. The film at first centers around Lars’ brother and sister in-law getting him “help” to treat his delusion. He begins visiting the family doctor/psychologist on a weekly basis, who is the first to “humor” Lars in his relationship and acknowledging Bianca as real. With a few raised eyebrows, Bianca begins to settle into life in Minnesota. She makes friends, volunteers at the hospital, and begins to “assert her independence,” all the while, unwittingly helping Lars into the world as well, helping him to feel things and to connect in ways that he never was able to without her. It’s just a movie you have to see to really get; explaining it doesn’t do it any justice.

It’s a film about kindness, love, acceptance, and what can happen when we choose those things over fear and judgment. No cheap shots, here. It has an understated tone and quiet humor. It was touching and incredibly subtle, and in the end, heartbreaking…then hopeful. So worth watching.

critics hate, I adore: Remember Me

So I’ve never (yet…) seen a Twilight movie, but now I can sort of understand the hype about Robert Pattinson. Dreamy, dreamy, dreamboat! He stars as Tyler Hawkins, a 21 year old- NYU student still a bit lost after his brother’s suicide years earlier. Ally (Emilie de Ravin) is a working-class girl from Queens who witnessed her mother’s murder as a child. With pre-9/11 New York City as the backdrop for this film, they begin to slowly unfurl an untraditional and pleasantly non-cliche love story. Supporting characters make the film – most notably, Ally’s father, played by Chris Cooper, and Tyler’s father, played by Pierce Brosnan. I also adored the scene-stealing cuteness of Ruby Jerins, who plays Tyler’s gifted little sister. Seriously amazing, authentic casting. And chemistry! Pattinson and de Ravin have plenty.

This is a film that plays off tragedy but doesn’t dwell on it. There’s a gray mood to certain parts, and raw and real moments, but the movie doesn’t have an overly dark feel. It’s playful, and at times sensual. I tend to enjoy movies that can be more than one thing at once. Like, a movie can have sad parts without necessarily being a “sad movie.” (I totally cried at the end. But that’s me, I’m a movie-crier.) Honestly, I had no intention of especially liking this movie. I hadn’t read many reviews prior and like many movies, by the time they arrive in my mailbox from Netflix, I’d forgotten why I’d put it in my queue in the first place (those recommendations)!

What struck me about this film is the complexity of the main characters, particularly of Rob’s character. He’s young and a little reckless and self-assured in that way that so many men that age are. Ally has a certain rough around the edges sweetness that I just adore. I will give a little spoiler, this movie does touch upon the 9/11 tragedy. I was worried they may somehow cheapen the event and exploit it for the sake of the film. I was pleasantly struck at the subtlety that was used in bringing such a controversial, and in a lot of ways, still fresh, event to light on film. There aren’t a lot of special effects, and you don’t see much. You don’t need to see it to know that it happened. I think I can speak for most people who were old enough to remember – exactly where they were, and every detail about what happened that clear beautiful September day.

It isn’t often I’m compelled to write my thoughts on a film, but this movie was great. It’s funny to read the scathing reviews about it (“rug-pulling, emotionally pornographic climax of tragedy-kitsch” from movies.com) but I’m pretty sure most of my favorite movies ever were ravaged by critics. Maybe I’m not highbrow enough? Oh well. And even if your only reason for watching Remember Me is the sexy/brooding Robert Pattinson? You won’t have wasted a minute.

critics hate, I adore: The Romantics

The Romantics is a film based on the book by Galt Niederhoffer (note to self – read!), who also directs. It boasts an awesome cast led by Josh Duhamel, Katie Holmes and Anna Paquin, who are the center characters immeshed in an ongoing love/lust triangle. The film takes place over the course of one night at the seaside wedding of Tom (Duhamel) and Lila (Paquin). The ensemble cast are all tightly-knit Yale grads, WASP-y, privileged, and beautiful. Also perhaps noteworthy are the supporting characters played by the adorable Elijah Wood and boyishly handsome Adam Brody.

I think what’s important to “get over” with this film is that it’s not a nice, neat, romantic comedy tied up in a little bow. (Although for some odd reason it’s listed as such on Netflix.) You’re maybe not supposed to especially “like” the characters or root for someone, or see the perfect ending. That’s what makes The Romantics special. It’s finely nuanced, yet I couldn’t look away. The misty oceanside setting, tight dialogue and sensitive moments make the film all worth watching. While the film is of course called “The Romantics,” there isn’t much romance going on, really – even though the central storyline is a wedding. “The Romantics” was what this bunch of friends dubbed themselves in college, and so it sticks.

It’s clearly set up from the start that Laura (Holmes) has had an ongoing thing for Tom. Yet he chose Lila to marry. And Laura’s also the maid of honor, causing even more tension. Throughout the film we see him struggle with his choice – he yearns for a wild heart like Laura’s, yet Lila’s buttoned-up, restrained, almost catatonic persona seems to be a safer decision for the long haul. Poetry bubbles up inside Tom as he succumbs to his desires on the eve of his wedding, and Laura wakes up alone. Katie Holmes is effortless in this role. You can’t hate her or blame her for her actions, however wrong they may be morally. You feel kind of bad for her but not, because clearly she’s the character with the most depth and intellectual expanse.

Plenty can go wrong with ensemble casts, but The Romantics seems to pull it off. You don’t have to know every detail, you just sort of follow along as if you were witnessing stylish night from the sidelines. You feel privileged and beautiful just watching, but you still wouldn’t want to trade places with any of them.

The Romantics is also rife with themes that resonate for me, a girl who is moving slowly into her late twenties. Regret, perhaps. Pining. Ambivalence. Omnipresent pressure to settle. Lust, naturally. The juxtaposition of being carefree and careworn all at once. These are the subtle notions that are woven throughout the movie. If you’re not keen to see the movie for what it is, much of it could easily be lost. Before finishing the film, I read on various reviews that the ending was a “rip off,” etcetera – but when the end came, I was overjoyed. No cheese, no “this is exactly what happens to these people,” you’re left to surmise and speculate, but in a pleasant way that doesn’t leave you feeling cheated.

worth watching: Evening (2007)

“After she was gone, there would be no one who would know the whole of her life.” – From Evening, written by Susan Minot.

This book to movie adaptation is cinematic and bittersweet. Sisters Constance (Natasha Richardson) and Nina (Toni Collette) gather at their mother’s (Ann, played by Vanessa Redgrave) deathbed. The story is richly told in flashbacks, where Ann is played by Claire Danes. The 1950s flashbacks are based on Ann’s friend Lila’s wedding and the weekend in Newport when it all took place. There’s a handsome and wonderful man named Harris (Patrick Wilson), who Ann loved but never wound up with, and hopeless drunk Buddy (Lila’s sister, played by Hugh Dancy) Life carried on nonetheless, as it always does. The scenery is spectacular, the characters authentic and the story is poignant.

While Evening could be easily labeled as a soppy “ladydrama,” I happened to enjoy the quiet mood it took me through. The friendship between Lila and Ann reminds me of my own best friend, the keeper of each other’s secrets…thinking of us at the end. Also inspiring was the subtle transformation of Anne’s daughter Nina, the more troubled of the two. The screenplay was richly adapted (note to self: read the novel) as well as beautifully directed. This woman’s life, like so many others, was anything but ordinary. The rich detail and secrets kept by a dying woman at the end of all things are fascinating, deep and kept only by her.

inspiring onscreen spaces

Movies and TV are often more than just characters and storylines. There’s more going on than what’s being said and done. I’m obviously really into fashion, beauty and styling, and that’s not just with costumes and makeup – it goes for the sets, too. Here are some inspiring onscreen interiors that are worth a closer look.


Above and below: In the movie Match Point, Nola (played by Scarlett Johansson) has a romantic little studio. I just love the arrangement of photos, books and knicknacks on her shelf. It’s inspiring to see so much care put into a small space when most movie sets are expansive. Images via apartment therapy.


In the romantic comedy Because I Said So, I fell in love with Milly’s (Mandy Moore) boho-chic apartment. Image via Bandelle.


Carrie’s apartment on this little HBO show called Sex and the City. My favorite scenes are ones where Carrie is writing at her computer (a Mac laptop, of course, girl after my own heart!) or just hanging out. It really grounded the show and made her seem more “real.” This is a shot of Carrie’s bedroom, which changes over the show’s six season run. I like when sets adapt, just as in real life, things aren’t stagnant. Even in the same space, subtle shifts are always happening in a living space.


Another view of Carrie’s apartment. The leather chair she bought from Aidan is in the corner. I want to curl up in it!


For Sex and the City, the movie, Carrie’s apartment got a total overhaul when Carrie’s life did, painted in a punchy blue and done up with sleek, modern touches.


I like what they did with the space, but kind of like the SATC movie itself, it didn’t really feel Carrie-like anymore. Image via Bandelle.


The Humphrey’s awesome Brooklyn loft on Gossip Girl. It may not be quite as swank as the Waldorf’s posh Park Avenue pad, but I adore exposed brick.


In Love and other Disasters, I’m in love with Jacks’ (the late Brittany Murphy) romantic whitewashed flat.

Hope you enjoyed the spaces! Keep your eyes peeled when watching your favorites…inspiration is always right in front of you! xox

worth watching: The Switch (2010)

Meet Kassie and Wally. Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) is on the other side of 40 with a loudly ticking biological clock. Wally is her best friend, long ago sidelined into the “friend zone.” In spite of his disapproval, Kassie wants to have a baby – with or without a long-term male relationship. She finds a suitably studly donor and has her friend (a tarty, annoying character played by Juliette Lewis) throw her a fertility/insemination party. Wally gets way too drunk and whoops! Switches out the donor’s “offering” with his own. Kassie moves home to Michigan and drifts from Wally. Seven years later she’s moving back to New York City with her son, Sebastian (Thomas Robinson). Uncanny personality parallels between Wally and Sebastian come to the forefront.  Sebastian is oddly precocious, keenly aware and slightly high strung, and the two bond during their time together. A romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston may be formulaic and somewhat predictable. We can see the ending at the beginning, in the case of The Switch it’s how we arrived there that matters, and the journey that our protagonist experiences.

Jason Bateman is far and away the star of this film, fitting perfectly the role of neurotic-yet-lovable Wally. Aniston is likable, genuine and doesn’t age a day in the seven-year lapse (much like real life), but this isn’t a Jennifer Aniston film. It’s more of a new angle on a father-son film and a look into life we may not have considered ten years ago. The movie is beautifully filmed, with one particularly moving time-elapsed shot of New York City. There are so many movies filmed in New York, and each one takes on its own unique flavor of the city and projects it onto the screen. This version is decidedly unglamorous but not overly gritty.

While some aspects of the story beg to be flushed out a bit more (who is Kassie, anyway?) for an hour and a half timeframe, the movie does its job wrapping up all the important pieces in the end. Those looking for a suckerpunch of sentiment won’t get it; the ending is subtle and tasteful. Critics hated it, but I’ll tell you – it’s worth watching!