la la la

it don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing

currently watching: stardust September 27, 2007

Filed under: movies,sappiness=happiness — sp @ 11:02 pm

stardust Josh and I saw Stardust a couple weeks ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed this self-aware and yet completely cheesy fairy tale.  Probably even more so as a wonderful escape from my call-every-fourth-night, one-day-off-a-week NICU schedule.  Until a friend recommended it, I’d heard nothing about this latest entry into the fantasy genre made popular again by the Harry Potter and LOTR movies. 

Stardust is based on a novel by Neil Gaiman, better known for his dark Sandman comics.  I have not read of any Gaiman myself, having only heard of him from my geek friends (not to say that I am any less of a geek).  After my friend recommended it, and I figured out that it was not in any way related to Las Vegas (is that hotel still around?), I went to my trusty movie guide – the all-knowing “Rotten Tomatoes“, which I use to screen out movies that will waste my precious free time.  A fairy tale and a fresh rating?  Sure, why not. 

captain shakespeare

 

 With its playfully self-aware humor, Stardust has drawn many comparisons (some unfavorable) to The Princess Bride.  I’m not one of those who has adoringly memorized Princess Bride, and admittedly have only a vague memory of the movie (I was only 6 when it came out!), so I can’t make those comparisons.  All I know is that I enjoyed Stardust‘s well-paced and charming story of princes, witches, pirates, and above all, love.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Charlie Cox is easy on the eyes, though it’s Robert De Niro who steals the scenes. 

Per the LA Times review, “with its heart worn proudly on its sleeve, it’s one of the best date movies of the year, a compatibility litmus test for starry-eyed romantics.”   So if you’re looking for a fun movie with a story that’s captivating but simple enough to be kind to your brain, I highly recommend you catch Stardust before it’s out of the theaters.  I’m already looking forward to having time to read the book.

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a whirlwind weekend November 13, 2006

Filed under: adventure,movies,restaurants — sp @ 1:19 am

rehearsal dinner, wedding, disneyland, and now a 3 hr flight delay.  more later when i’ve recovered.

*****

early Friday morning we arrived in sunny sunny SoCal and promptly began removing coats and socks and exchanging shoes for flip flops.  we had lunch at West LA fave California Chicken Cafe, or CCC as josh calls it.

when we got to the hotel, we plopped into bed for a much needed power nap (i’d only slept 3 hrs Thurs night and josh none) before josh had to meet with a friend to go over the ceremony.  did i mention he was officiating?

after dinner with the wedding party, we all headed over to the church for the rehearsal.  the last wedding rehearsal i’d been to was many years ago and i have vague memories of concentrating on the correct pace down the aisle and the appropriate frequency with which to toss flower petals.  watching our friends’ rehearsal was a bit surreal.  these were friends we had known for so long and they were finally getting married!  seeing them go through the motions and practicing the lines, it felt like an actual wedding in front of a small group of friends and family rather than a rehearsal for the big day. 

stranger than fictionafter the rehearsal, josh and i went to see Stranger than Fiction, which i LOVED.  i loved the uniqueness of the movie’s premise, the cleverness of the dialogue, and the literary feel of the movie.  will ferrell was great and i thought dustin hoffman and emma thompson gave especially good performances in the movie.  and of course, being the sap that i am, there was a particular scene that i thought was sooo cute.

the next morning, we started out with The Best Belgian Waffle Ever (in my humble and limited opinion) at an unassuming yuppie diner called Russell’s Hamburgers in Old Town Pasadena.  then we headed to Westwood for a visit to the UCLA store where i bought a sweater to replace my worn out and faded 7-year-old (has it been that long since i was a freshman?) collegiate sweater.

then it was back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding.  the ceremony was beautiful, and i nearly cried at several points.  josh became quite the mini-celebrity as random guests came up to him through the night congratulating him on his performance as an officiant.

the next day was d-day, as in Disneyland.  when we first planned this trip, i couldn’t even remember having been to Disneyland with josh (either i’m a horrible gf or we’ve been together way too long), but eventually i recalled taking pictures once with winnie-the-pooh and josh.  he still claims that we’ve been there twice, but whatever.  i definitely haven’t been to disneyland since moving up to norcal, so that’s at least 2+ years (a long time for a socal native).

by the time we drove from pasadena to anaheim, parked, got onto the tram (after missing a tram because i was pushed out of the way by some ‘tween girls), bought tickets ($63!), and got through the line at the park’s entrance, it was 11 am.  luckily, the lines inside the park weren’t too bad, especially for a holiday weekend.  highlights of the day included riding the new Space Mountain twice, losing miserably in the Buzz Lightyear game/ride, meeting up with an old whs friend and finally meeting his gf, and catching a few minutes of a Daniel Powter performance being taped for a Disney World tv special.  unfortunately we had to leave The Happiest Place on Earth at the early hour of 6:30 pm in order to make it to the car rental place by 7:30 pm in order to make it to LAX by 8 pm to be 1.75 hrs early for our return flight because i’m paranoid like that.

along the way, we made a detour to fill up with gas and pick up some guacamole fries (which deserve a post all their own) from Albertaco’s.  we were running 10 minutes behind, but i figured we were ok, because i was being generous in allotting 30 minutes for dropping off the car and riding the shuttle to LAX.  or so i thought.  apparently it can take 30 minutes to drop off a car if you’re totally ignored by the Alamo car check-in people.  we watched as rental car after rental car was dropped off and driven away, while we stood on the curb by our car waiting for someone, anyone, to check in our car.  we asked one employee who waved us off and told us to wait for our check-in person.  after another 10 minutes of this josh talked to another employee who took our key, but did nothing with the car.  finally, someone else came by for the check-in and when he finished, asked us where the key was [rolling my eyes].

we got to the airport around 8 pm and discovered that sunday evenings is one of the few times that LAX does not have an insane crowd.  we checked in with our e-tickets and were surprised to see the computer warning us that we were late checking in.  since when was 1.5 hrs prior to departure considered late?  after making our way through security, which included josh being pulled for a bag check because i’d forgotten to throw out my terrorist weapon aka water bottle, we realized that our boarding passes did not indicate the gate for our plane.

i checked the tv monitors for our flight info, and didn’t find a gate number, but a departure time of 12:50 am.  wtf?  that must be a mistake, i thought.  i found the nearest Southwest desk and asked the attendant about the incongruity on the monitors, and she confirmed that yes, our 9:45 pm flight had been delayed 3 hrs.  nice of the girl checking in our bags to warn us, i remarked.  there was another flight to SMF departing in an hr, but half our plane was already on that standby list.

so not only were we already exhausted from our non-stop weekend, we both had work/school the next morning and now we wouldn’t be getting home until 2 am, we would have to take a shuttle or taxi home (i couldn’t make my friend pick us up that late), and we had 3 hours to kill at an airport.  fabulous.  and even worse?  this meant we definitely could have stayed at disneyland longer.

in the end, the flight delay was more like 3.5-4 hrs and it was 3:30 am by the time we got home, brushed our teeth, and fell into bed.  getting up the next morning was sooo painful.