Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Well, I didn't screw up the dish, but I definitely slept in TWO hours too late, thereby ruining the super special timeline I had created in my head:
8:00 - Wake up, shower, dress
9:00 - Make recipe
11:00 - Leave for Mike's
The most annoying thing? I didn't even stay up that late. On the biggest bar night of the year, I was... cuddled in blankets on the couch. I had made a nice little dinner for myself, and I wasn't budging. Also, I easily fell into the "I am a complete retard" routine by watching an episode of House (which I have never watched before) that had me bawling great, big elephant tears and then rounded out the night with West Side Story on TCM. What the hell is wrong with me?
So I woke up at 10, barely leaving time to shower, let alone make the damn dish. I sheepishly called Mike and explained my (completely expected on his part) lateness, and that I would be there by noon, instead of 11:30...
...knowing full well that I probably wouldn't get there until after noon, because I had all manner of things to chop up, but I was hopeful.
But right, the one dish I agreed to make for Thanksgiving dinner. My dad requested broccoli salad. Fine. I had never tried it, but I had a vague idea of the recipe. I started my search for recipe inspiration on the Food Network's site, and the first dish on the list (and the highest-rated, sweet God) was this one by Paula Deen.
Now. If you watch the Food Network, you know that Paula Deen is not one for counting calories. The woman has simply never met a stick of butter she didn't like. Her broccoli salad recipe called for tubs of mayonnaise and God knows what else (the preliminary ingredients listing read, "vegetables, sugar, broccoli." So... huh?), and there was just no way I was cooking up that bowl of heart disease. My dad was already going to be eating thousands of calories that evening, so I figured I would try to make something a little more healthy and less artery-clogging.
I don't know why I didn't check 101 Cookbooks first, as the recipes I've made from that site have all been amazing. Sure enough, there was a broccoli salad recipe, and it looked fantastic.
Plus, I was taking half of the dish to Mike's parents' house, and while I didn't want to mess with tradition, the recipe looked too good to skip.
I went shopping for food on Tuesday night, anxious to avoid the insanity of Wednesday. I am really glad that I did, and Kroger almost pulled out the win. If it hadn't been for the lack of shallots and almond butter and the three Jonas Brothers wannabe boys following me around the store (seriously, skinny jeans? STOP IT), it would have been a perfect shopping experience.
(I think they wanted to ask me to buy them beer. Look nerds, if I wouldn't buy for my underage brother, what are your chances? Yeah, I was not a cool sister.)
Thursday morning, in a panic, I scrambled to finish each part of the recipe. I'm not a huge broccoli eater in my dad-to-day world, so preparing it is just something I guessed at. I'm sure that I ended up wasting a ton of it, but I got over it pretty quickly at the time.
Check out the recipe at 101 Cookbooks.
Finally, to my friends in DC, I hope that you all had wonderful Thanksgivings! I know that we had an amazing tradition going, and I hope that you all took as much from it as I did. I loved cooking for you guys each year, and I really missed you yesterday. I love my family and Mike's, and while I was over the moon happy that I got to spend the holiday with them, I missed my DC family. From the upside-down turkey to the shots of fat, I will never forget how much fun we had together. Love Actually forever!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I know that I am going to be one in a large group of people writing about this ridiculous movie, but I feel that I must. I must because I have been held captive by these STUPID books since September. I must because I have to somehow defend the hold they've had on me. And I must because I made Mike go see this film on Saturday at 11:00 EST, meaning that he missed the only part of the Michigan-Ohio State game in which Michigan actually looked like they knew what a football actually was.
(In my honest defense, I swear - I SWEAR - that I thought the game was at 3:30. The UM-OSU game is almost always at 3:30, but since we've fallen so very far from grace, the network was probably like, "Well, I suppose we have to televise this, given the history of the rivalry, even though it's going to be a clusterfuck of horrible. And also because we kinda have a contract with them. Whatever, where's my scotch? Scotchy scotch scotch.")
On Saturday morning, I woke up excited - like a little girl on Christmas morning (well, Mike likens me to a terrier in the mornings, but I hold that I am extremely pleasant, shut UP), except instead of Mall Madness and Play Doh to look forward to, I had a glittery, fwoopy-haired vampire to see.
I really lowered my expectations for this one. The source material was far from stellar, so why on earth should I expect fireworks from the movie? And Mike was marginally excited, mostly because I was excited, but also because once I started reading the damn series, he did his own search of the internets for information about why I was so obsessed and found this:
So, yeah, he was excited.
I realize that besides this gem, I've never written an actual review of the book, and as the movie is one of the most faithful book-to-screen adaptations I've experienced, I will do that now, lumping them together. So for the uninitiated - and therefore still sane - ready.... GO.
Bella Swan (I KNOW), lives in Phoenix with her hair-brained mother, Renee, and Renee's new husband, Phil. He plays minor league ball, and as Renee wants to travel with him, Bella decides to send herself to teensy eensy, rainy, boring Forks, Washington to live with her dad, Charlie, for a while.
Get it? Bella is SELFLESS. She's also super-clumsy and it gets really tiresome in the book, but those mannerisms are downplayed in the film - THANK GOD.
So Bella arrives in the rainiest, overcast-iest place in the continental United States and immediately begins attracting attention by being bitchy, bad at sports, and falling down a lot. The boys like her and the girls tolerate her. Some are genuinely friendly, while some are... well, teenage girls. (Read: bitchy and fake). Bella soon notices a group of teens that hang out on their own. They don't seem to interact with other people and they are all drop dead gorgeous. Especially the one she discovers to be called... EDWARD. Her classmates/frenemies explain that the Cullen family is packed to the brim with adoptees and they are all super weird.
When Bella arrives in her biology class, the only available seat is next to EDWARD. And he immediately gets this ridiculous look of rage/constipation on his face. Bella can't figure out why he seems to be so disgusted. Every other boy in the damn school has fallen over themselves to flirt with her - why not EDWARD?
Oh EDWARD, thee of the perfect fwoopy hair, why do you hate Bella so?
Turns out, Edward and the Cullens are vampires. But they drink animal blood instead of that of humans. Yes. But they still crave it, don't get me wrong. And Bella's scent? Is the best, most fragrant, most freesia-smelling lovely blood that EDWARD has smelled in his hundred-odd years. Well isn't that an inconvenience?
Oh, right. Also, he's like 107 years old or something.
So who does Bella fall for? Mr. EDWARD Cullen, of course. She's upset when he's not in school and mad when he never gives her straight answers. Thing is? He falls for her, too. It's pretty awesome.
The book, it rambles on and on (and on and on and on) about their love! It is so pure! And so true! Bella wants action, but EDWARD cannot give her the business, as even though they are both delicate virgins and want each other so very much, he is walking a very fine line between wanting her body in the carnal sense and wanting her body in the dinnertime sense. So, no relations as yet.
Right, so about three-quarters of the way through the book/movie, a plot emerges. Welcome, plot! Do you like the smell of freesia? Because Bella apparently reeks of it.
(Really, though, there is a plot for the first part of the book/movie - a plot of forbidden love and the discovery of many secrets. But nothing that really gets the ball rolling. Or the blood flowing, YOU MIGHT SAY.)
The novels are written, um... Well, they're not fine literature, that's for sure. They're written exactly the way a tween would want to read them. Easy, not too many long sentences, and there's absolutely nothing to read into. Everything is spelled out in black and white. You don't have to use your imagination too much, except to picture EDWARD'S perfection. And there are over one hundred allusions to EDWARD'S beauty and perfection and loveliness. It gets to be a bit much, yes, but didn't we all feel that way when we were teenagers and we were in LOVE after two weeks of "dating" which really meant maybe seeing your boyfriend at the mall and maybe holding his hand and maybe kissing, but not frenching because in your mind that would mean that the next step was sex and you were only thirteen and just starting shaving your legs a year ago. I mean, I don't know.
The thing is...
Reading this book and seeing the film were both somehow powerful experiences. Take away the drivel, the high school antics, and the whole vampire thing, and it's a simple love story. And as you read the book or view the film, it takes you back. Remembering the beginnings of that one relationship. The only one that matters. Finally, the person you've been waiting for. This was made all the more powerful for me, now that I have found that person.
(I'll give you all a moment to vomit, of course.)
The film, though? It was good. It really was. Even Mike liked it. He'll never read the books, but as soon as we left the theater, he wanted to know the plots of the remaining novels. I had to pause before getting into the "plot" of the fourth book, because... well, you know. If you've read it, you'll recognize the reason for my hesitation. Explaining the plot of Breaking Dawn probably made me look like an escaped mental patient. I half expected him to counter with, "And you liked this book?" Well, no, not liked, per se. Couldn't put it down because of the utter ridiculousness of the story, but also because I cared about these characters. Not reading them reminded me of each and every time I gave up pop for Lent. Withdrawal.
So now that I've seen this film twice in less than thirty-six hours, all I can say is that I want to see it again. And I can't really explain why. I loved the changes that the director and screenwriter made, especially the amazing long shots of the Pacific Northwest as Edward and Bella hung out in trees, just chatting. I think that the film made good use of the material and upped the ante, so to say. Of course, there were many things that the film was unable to fully stress - their love for one another, mainly. The film was too rushed and didn't take the time to show how they got to know each other.
Of course, none of this matters. Work on the second film has been greenlit, and while I think that it has the potential to be even more depressing than Atonement, it will definitely be exciting with all of the angst, rampant fursploding, and daring suicide attempts!
(Mike just sent me the following text, "Hi love... Edward is Cedric Diggory... I didn't realize that right away." I responded something like, "Yeah, that's why I was so excited to see the movie!" His response? "Too bad he wasn't impossibly fast when faced with Voldemort."
And that, my friends, is just one of the many reasons that I love my boyfriend.)
Friday, November 21, 2008
Upon dragging my unwilling ass out of bed this morning, I checked the weather. It is a testament to my will-power that I didn't crawl back into bed immediately. 16 degrees, but "feels like" 6. Six. SIX. Boo-urns!
As it is, I ran the space heater in the bathroom while I showered. I didn't care if it was hazardous. If I died somehow, at least I'd be warm.
Getting dressed also presented a problem. My heat is programmed to seventy degrees at 6:00, but an hour was not long enough to warm anything. The floors were icy and I got dressed in the bathroom after my shower. With the space heater.
Friday is slightly casual, in my head at least, and I found heavier jeans that I deemed appropriate. (Hell, the exhibits department guys wear twenty year-old jeans and ripped tee shirts every day - I'm sure my jeans aren't all that scandalous.) Two pair of socks, a tank top, a long sleeved tee, and a thick sweater were only the beginning. I pulled on my Thinsulate-lined knee high boots, my wool hat, and a scarf before topping it all with my wool coat.
And then? I was Randy.
I mean, I could put my arms down, but when it came time to cross the street, I had to turn my entire body to make sure there were no cars hurtling at me.
I don't know why it's so cold now, though I suppose it's always been this cold in Michigan in mid-November and maybe it's because I haven't been here for Thanksgiving in six years, but I am a massive loser wuss. Why is it sunny and snowing at the same time? Why is there snow on my deck that just. won't. melt? Why do I have to scrape my windshield every time I want to go somewhere?
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
For example, while waiting for her at the airport, the traffic was abysmal and I couldn't find her, even once I drove to the very end of the terminal. We couldn't figure out why we couldn't find each other. That was because she was waiting up at the departures level, not the arrivals. Which, honestly, I should have guessed when I didn't see her immediately. Because that is SO Merrick.
Once we got onto I-94 and headed toward Ann Arbor, it didn't take long for her to say, "Wow, I missed driving with you," which was a cue for me to slow down and to stop yelling at other drivers for being absolutely ridiculous. Because they were. The speed limit is SEVENTY, and that applies to all times of the day, not just when the sun is up. And that is SO me. Rage.
We got back to my house and I realized that I was completely out of both paper towels and toilet paper. Which, gross. So we headed to Kroger. And as grocery shopping is something that we used to do together every week, it was sort of fitting that we went. Kroger continues to astound me, however, by placing toilet paper in aisle 3 and paper towels in aisle 11. Explain to me how that makes sense?
Saturday, we headed to Kerrytown and the Farmer's Market. Coffee at Sweetwater's. Then we went to my museum. Because, obviously we would go to my museum. Because there are always dinosaurs (for the record, I did not drag her here - she wanted to go. No, really).
(Every one of my coworkers thinks I am clinically insane, btw.)
Then she experienced Meijer. For five years in DC, I talked about Meijer like it was some kind of heaven on earth. (Of course, it is not. We all know that Target holds that distinction.) But she needed to see it and she needed to try Vernors. And I needed to buy another bird feeder. Because one is not enough, that's why!
Mike met us for dinner at Red Hawk that night and it was very special for me to have two of my favoritest people meet. Finally.
After a nice leisurely dinner, Mike quietly escaped the craziness that was about to ensue, and we... well, we went to the mall. I know, but what do you want from me?
And then? It gets LAMER. With freezing rain drizzling down, we went home and watched Sense and Sensibility. Yes. Because we are THAT AWESOME.
Anyway, we stayed up PAST MIDNIGHT (again, what? She's an old married woman and I hate the bar) watching superbly acted dramas. And then we talked and talked.
One of the many things I love about Merrick is that while we feel the same way about lots of things, there are even more issues and topics on which we don't agree. On which we couldn't be further from each other on the spectrum. And these differences have never, ever been a problem for us. I think that it's because we actually choose to talk about those things rather than dismiss the other for being uninformed or incorrect. We listen to each other's ideas, we make comments, but we never get angry. It's very interesting, really.
On Sunday, we went to my new obsession: Biggby.
(Merrick is excited because I just told her that the Borders book store across the street is actually Borders #1. And she just bought a book there. I won't tell you which book except that it is about angsty teenage vampires. And twue wuv! And angst!)
I regret not taking more pictures, but we were too busy being awesome. And also lame. And also hopped up on caffeine. (If I had to choose a moment that should have been captured, it would be Merrick finally finding my car outside of the airport.)
It's been close to a year since I left, and seeing Merrick again reminded me of the wonderful friendships I cultivated in DC. Seeing her also reminded me that some friendships can and will last the test of time. I love her and I miss her and I can't wait to hang out again!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
My grandfathers both served - one in Europe and one in the Pacific. My dad's father has been gone for a year now, but The Lady's father is alive and well. He's in great shape and we are so very lucky.
And on November 1, my Papa flew to Washington, DC with his brother-in-law, Harry. They're both eighty-five year old WWII veterans.
They flew for free.
In fact, the entire trip was free. Honor Flight Michigan flies Michigan veterans to Washington, DC for a whirlwind day. They visit the World War II Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and other landmarks. Everything is paid for in full: the flight, ground transportation, meals, wheelchairs, and even oxygen. To be included in a trip, one only has to show his or her discharge papers.
When they arrived at Reagan National Airport, the airport staff and passengers applauded them as they disembarked from the plane.
Looking through the photos, I started crying when I saw my Papa walking into the waiting room at Reagan. I have sat in that room more times than I can remember. I've flown out of gate #5 at least ten times. And there's the gate attendant, on the loudspeaker, announcing to the entire waiting area that there are national heroes arriving at Gate 5.
Without getting into an honors thesis, war is bad. War is dirty. War should be avoided at all costs. But in 1941, it was the only choice for our country. Today, we are lucky that these men and women made the difficult decision to fight for the country they loved. Because of this selfless choice, we have freedom.
We have choices.
If I can, I will be donating to Honor Flight Michigan this year. What an amazing, wonderful organization. I am so happy that my Papa was finally able to visit the memorial dedicated to him and his comrades.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Merrick gets in around ten this evening, and it's a shame that the weather won't be lovely and sexy like it's been all week, but that will not stop us from having the most bitchingly awesome weekend ever!
The next few days are mostly centered around food, because... obviously. I just can't believe that it's been a year since I've seen her! BRING IT ON, WEEKEND.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Of course, not being able to find my bra this morning made me cry, so do with that what you will.
(I found it.)
Anyway, Sarah has the floor:
“Peace in the struggle to find peace”
(With apologies to Sarah McLachlan for stealing her lyrics for the title of this note.)
Back in November of 2004, I was too busy finishing grad school and being angsty about the sale of my childhood home to write much about the politics of the day. But I do remember one thing about that time very clearly. I remember being angry, not at the election results, but at myself and at my fellow citizens who felt unrepresented by President Bush, and who worried for the future of the country.
I was angry at myself because I cast my vote for a man I did not feel strongly about, instead of standing by my principles.
I was angry at many of my peers for wallowing in disappointment and expressing their desire to flee our country due to the results of the election, to just "move to Canada." (Newsflash - Canada doesn't want us!)
Even in the darkest days of the Bush presidency, even on the day of that disappointing election - I have never NOT been proud to be an American, and I have never considered LEAVING this place. I disagree with my fellow citizens all the time. And I disagree with my government all the time too - the highest form of patriotism. It does not change the pride I feel for my nation, even with its many, many imperfections and shortcomings.
Tuesday's election leaves me relieved and inspired, and hopeful - but I was always hopeful. It also leaves me apprehensive. 46% of this country did not vote for President-elect Obama. That's still a LOT of people. And the bitter disappointment many of us felt in 2004, the rage and sadness at feeling unrepresented - those feelings are now theirs. I have even seen some of them talking about fleeing to Canada (who still doesn't want us!) I wish with all my heart that we can be kinder and more understanding of their views and beliefs than they ever were of ours.
This culture war rages on, and there is so much work to be done. I do not want to see my country torn asunder by people who cannot learn to live peaceably, to live and let live. I implore you, all of you who are celebrating this historic moment in our nation's history, to speak kindly, to check your pride at the door and to be humble, so that we can come back together as Americans and heal this divide in our nation. We may never agree on many things, but we should all strive to agree to live without hate. It is not enough for our representatives to reach across the aisle - we as citizens need to reach across the street, move beyond red and blue, accept each other as we are, and learn to live without judgment. We who are uplifted by the hope President-elect Obama brings to us, we must help to ease the fears of those who see things differently. We cannot do that through divisiveness or prideful words. Above all, we must speak kindly. All other things will follow eventually, if we can remember to be kind.
We can disagree with our leaders and still honor them as representatives of our country. We can take Tuesday night's words of both Senator McCain and President-elect Obama to heart, and move forward together as one nation.
These are not easy things. But this is the United States of America, and anything is possible here.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
When I left my house this morning, I was excited to vote. "Yay voting! Yay democracy!" The only time I had voted at an actual polling place was sometime in college. I was still registered in my hometown and I drove the forty minutes home to vote for City Council or something. They still had the old voting machines in use, with the little levers and the big lever and it made an awesome, satisfying sound when you committed all of your choices to memory.
My polling place here in Ann Arbor is at an elementary school about a block from my house. It's on my way to work and it's very convenient. I got up in a timely matter, got ready, and left at 7:40.
I took notes. It wasn't exactly liveblogging, but it was something. It also kept me occupied.
7:46 - Okay, I'm in line. I'm only around the corner from the entrance to the school. This won't take that long. The air is crisp and nice and what a lovely day!
7:58 - It's been twelve minutes. I'm already regretting my apparel choices today - short sleeve shirt, trousers, and a light trench? I know that the high is supposed to be close to 70 degrees today, but it's only in the low fifties right now. Where is the GD sun?
8:02 - Yay! The line just moved! Of course, we all had to wait patiently for the woman two spots ahead of me to collect her various bags, stand up, fold up her chair, and move along. The guy between us almost got his head chewed off when he put a single step ahead of her. I sort of wish that she had killed him. He's been on his phone since I queued behind him and I don't care about his new website, I just don't. I'm about to lose it.
8:03 - I am freezing and I think my toes have gone numb.
8:04 - Holy shit! We just moved ten whole sidewalk squares!
8:05 - I just noticed that the annoying guy in front of me never removed the price tag from his messenger bag. I don't know why, but this angers me greatly.
8:16 - A man just directed the latter half of the alphabet to a different, shorter line. Someone shouted, "By last name?" No, genius, by your first name.
8:20 - WE ARE INSIDE THE SCHOOL. Oh man, we're close! We have to be close! And it's warm. Ahhhhh...
8:22 - People are critiquing the elementary children's artwork. Seriously. Shut up.
8:27 - There are chairs lining the walls in here, and yet crazy chair lady is one hundred percent committed to her chair. We move - just a little - every few minutes or so, and every. single. time, we have to watch her collect her things, pick herself up, fold up the fucking chair, and move three steps. And then she unfolds the chair, plops down, and deposits her belongings around her.
8:29 - The L-Z line rules! We are practically lapping A-K, and we have more of the alphabet. Get WORKED, A-K!
8:39 - You know, I am excited about this election and all, it's historic and blah blahderdy blah, but I am sort of looking forward to the day when we can just send our thoughts to a polling place and vote that way. Not having to smell our fellow citizens would be a very positive step for democracy.
9:00 - HOW AM I STILL HERE?
9:03 - I officially hate democracy. And I really, really hate the bag tag guy in front of me. He has not stopped talking, oh my God.
9:05 - Crazy Chair Lady has just picked a fight with Annoying Bag Tag Guy. She just said that she doesn't trust these voting machines and doesn't think that they will accurately count her vote. ABTG just mentioned that voting online will soon become the norm.
"I can't believe you just said that! I will NEVER vote online! I know what would happen - someone would pretend to be me! My vote won't matter!"
ABGT just asked her if she buys things online.
"Of course I do."
ABGT: "And you trust that system?"
CCL: "THAT'S DIFFERENT."
The girl in front of CCL just butted in to say, "Hey! Did you guys know that Starbucks is giving away free coffee to voters today?" ABTG responded that he'll head there from the polling site.
CCL: "You would go to that horrible chain and not go to the local coffeehouse right across the street?"
ABTG: "Well, are they giving away free coffee?"
CCL: "No, but it's a local business!"
ABTG: "I like free stuff. I'm a starving grad student."
CCL: "WELL YOU DON'T LOOK LIKE YOU'RE STARVING! I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT YOU REFUSE TO SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BUSINESSES! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY, AND YOU'RE MAKING IT WORSE."
Everyone in earshot: "Sigh."
9:09 - We have entered the gym and I am this close to getting my ballot. The end is near!
9:15 - Waiting, waiting, waiting...
9:27 - I've voted (!) and am waiting to put the giant scantron ballot into the giant scantron ballot recording machine. There's... a delay. One woman had two ballots stuck together and thus voted on the front of one ballot and the back of another. For some reason, everyone thinks that arguing about it in front of the fucking scantron machine is the solution. My God, MOVE.
9:35 - I have escaped! I have voted and I am free!
I am free, though, and I suppose that's the point here. There are many people in this world who are not this lucky. They aren't able to vote because of an autocracy or because they are women or because they are of the wrong class.
I have a vote. I have a voice.
And now I have a sticker.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
"30 Rock" is the best comedy on television right now, and if you're still not watching it, even after my repeated pleas, I'd like to club you with a champagne bottle or something. You really need to watch this show! My favorite line from last Thursday's episode:
Liz (Tina Fey) is telling Jack (Alec Baldwin) about her preparations for an audit from the adoption agency, as her biological clock is about to explode:
Liz: "I got rid of all my Colin Firth movies in case they could be considered erotica."
Jack: "That man can wear a sweater."
Baldwin's delivery is priceless. WATCH THIS SHOW.
Hmmm... what else?
Well, now that my Wolverines are a horrible, horrible bed-wetting joke, I think that it's important to rally behind a Big Ten team actually worth its salt: Penn State. They're undefeated, they have one of the best coaches in history at the helm: Joe Paterno, and they have heart. I'm excited for them. I really hope that they don't get screwed in the BCS because the Big Ten is a total joke. (A joke in that they are mediocre at best, not that they play good, clean football, which I think we all do - with the exception of a team to the south. I like that our conference is at least respected for that, as it's no longer seen as a powerhouse, conference-to-beat kind of group.
But that would sure be nice.)
We play Minnesota next week, old roommate Jenny's alma mater, and while I'd love to watch the Wolverines lose the Little Brown Jug, Merrick will be in town and we will be having lots of non-football related fun very far, far away from evil televisions.
Also, I heard that there's an election coming up. Have you heard anything about this? Apparently it's a big deal. Not that I would know as both candidates have pulled out of Michigan like a senior guy on prom night.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
The Ring was awesome, though, that much I'd admit. I do wish that I hadn't been spoiled by bad movie spoofs so far ahead of my viewing, but it's hard to avoid commercials.
Here is where I'd write a review, but I don't want to spoil the plot for anyone who actually hasn't seen it (Shane learned this the hard way when he blurted out the ending of Fight Club to me. I still kind of hate him for that. Then again, in his defense, it had been out on video for like, seven years when I finally got around to watching it, so I suppose there is some sort of statute of limitations for not talking about a movie. Heh. The first rule of... shut up, Heather.)
Well, okay, the plot was fairly intricate and I really liked that most of the clues weren't thrown in the viewer's face from the beginning. As Rachel (Naomi Watts), a reporter, slowly uncovered more and more about her fate, the plot seemed to suck the viewer in closer and closer. I liked that the viewer wasn't treated like a moron. I mean, that's always nice, right?
The plot revolves around a cursed videotape - if you watch it, you'll die in seven days. You'll die horrifically, but it's not clear how. When Rachel's niece dies unexpectedly, Rachel promises the girl's mother that she'll look into it. What she finds is horrifying and as it starts to take its toll on her and her family, she's determined to end the curse.
The acting was fantastic - Watts was perfect, as was her ex-boyfriend (Martin Henderson), and those she encounters during her investigation (Brian Cox as Richard Morgan was especially noteworthy). The child actor playing her son, Aidan, was okay. I mean, not everyone can be Haley Joel Osment, can they (side note - did you ever hear that when Steven Spielberg was originally on board to direct Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, he wanted that little turd for the role of Harry? Ugh!)? Anyway, the kid was fine, but I thought that his acting was a little flat - until the end. His delivery was spot-on making the ending just fantastic.
And I'm sure that most people don't care much, but I thought that the cinematography was brilliant and absolutely breath-taking. Everything was muted, and very little color actually made it to the screen - except for, of course, the tree. And while it was almost always raining, the dull, dreary colors were still very sharp and defined. It only added to the overall creepy feel. I loved the sets, especially the Morgan farm, as well as any scene involving the lighthouse. Lastly, the musical score was as much background information as it was a scene-stealer. Wonderful.
If you haven't seen it already, I recommend it.