Walt Disney Co via Everett Collection
Finding out that you've spent that last 70 years frozen in a giant block of ice would be traumatizing for anybody, even without the added stress of trying to adjust to modern technology and culture. Steve's still getting over the shock of the whole ordeal, but he figured the least he could do was attempt to figure out what has changed in the decades since World War II. Of course, since everything now is bigger, louder and more crowded, the culture shock is taking some getting used to. And man, New York City has gotten expensive!
Thinking it would be easiest to start with entertainment, he decided to spend an afternoon at the movie theater, like he did when he and Bucky were kids. A ticket cost him $15, popcorn and soda cost another 10, and before he could even enjoy the movie (something mindless with a lot of explosions and terrible dialogue), he had to sit through 20 minutes of commercials. At least the newsreels of his neighborhood movie house were educational! Although he did love the new 3D technology. It's kind of cool to watch the actors reach through the screen towards the audience.
But it's not just the movies that have seen their prices skyrocket. Everything in New York is far more expensive than it was when he left. Good ol' Tony makes fun of him for the amount of times that he declares things were better or cheaper or more entertaining "back in his day," but Steve's not just doing it to complain. He's concerned about the ordinary, hard-working people that live in New York. How can they afford to stay in this city? He watched his parents struggle to make ends meet when he was growing up, and they weren't even paying $2.50 a Subway ride! And don't even get him started on what rent in this city costs. It's practically highway robbery, as far as Steve is concerned. He turned down the apartment S.H.I.E.L.D. has picked out for him, deciding to head back to his neighborhood in the Lower East Side instead. He wanted to be near familiar streets, even if nothing else on them remained the same, and in the interest of fairness, he bought up his old building and dramatically lowered the rent. Somebody should be looking out for the people that need help.
In fact, he's thinking of moving to one of the outer boroughs himself. Everything in his old neighborhood has changed so dramatically that he's not sure if he still feels at home there. His uncle's deli isn't even around anymore, having been replaced by the third Starbucks within two blocks. Steve stopped in for a coffee once. Only once, though. Between paying a fiver for some sort of elaborate, overly-sweet concoction and being yelled at by some fellow with giant glasses for sitting too long at a table with an outlet, he's not sure he liked the experience enough to head back. (And seriously, $5 for coffee? Who even heard of such a thing?!) The rest of the team seems to love Starbucks, though, so Steve lets them pick him up a coffee whenever they insist. He is polite, after all.
There are a lot of things that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the rest of the Avengers seem to love that he doesn't understand. Reality television, for one. Why would anyone want to watch people living their everyday lives? How interesting could it possibly be? Who are these Kardashians that everyone keeps talking about, and why should he be keeping up with them? He attempted to watch an episode of their show once, and while they're very pretty young women, he doesn't get why anyone could be entertained by them screaming at each other and going to lunch after lunch.
Steve's having a hard time understanding the point of a lot of celebrities these days. He gets why actresses and musicians are famous, even if he doesn't understand why they're always dressed so ridiculously, but there's a whole group of people who seem to be famous for no reason. If someone could kindly explain to him what exactly a "lifestyle guru" or "media mogul" does, and why it's worth following their every move, he'd be eternally grateful. Another aspect of modern celebrity that he really doesn't understand is the paparazzi. Sure, there were celebrity photographers back in his day, but they mostly stuck to taking pictures at fancy events. Just the other day, Steve watched a crowd of people with cameras follow this poor actress down the street, screaming obscene things at her the whole time, and when he intervened to get them to leave her alone, they started screaming at him instead. The next day, Natasha kept teasing him about his "Hollywood romance" until he finally got so confused that she showed him an article online that claimed he and this actress had been having an affair. He's still not sure how these "journalists" can get away with printing blatant lies, but Fury assured him that someone would call the publication and take care of things. The day after that, the whole team had to sit through a lecture on dealing with the press and managing their image.
That's part of the reason that S.H.I.E.L.D. set him up with a Twitter account. They say it's a way for him to connect with his fans, but Steve's not sure how that would be possible, considering he doesn't quite understand how to use social media. Nobody ever uses English to speak anymore, which means he has to spend far too much time decoding all of the symbols and tiny, animated pictures that people are using to communicate with him. He's been trying to answer all of their messages, but they keep coming in so quickly, and he's still getting used to the keyboard on his phone, so he ends up losing whole days on the site. Fury offered to have someone run his account for him — he says all the big celebrities do that now — but it's important to Steve to connect with the people he serves. Besides, they would make him stop replying to the people who send him insults, and he enjoys teaching people to be polite. He's getting the hang of it, and once he manages to stop accidentally Tweeting out his Internet searches, he should be set.
And that's not even his fault, you see. It's that stupid smart phone that S.H.I.E.L.D. gave him. He's still having a hard time navigating it, especially since every time he touches it wrong, about 10 new windows open up, whatever he was doing disappears, and he's making an accidental phone call. Some members of the team are better about accidentally calling them than others. Bruce was probably the most understanding, and politely sat through his lengthy apology for an inadvertent ring in the middle of the night. Tony, on the other hand, spends a few days teasing him every time he "butt dials" Stark Tower.
But the smart phone isn't all bad. It's got all of his music on it, for one, which he really appreciates. He used to listen to the radio. But now, instead of playing the dramas and big band music he enjoyed growing up, it's all talk radio personalities screaming their heads off, or music that gives him a headache with all of its banging and overuse of bass. And what's with song lyrics these days?! He had no idea you were allowed to say such filth on the radio. Still, he's getting better about broadening his music tastes. Some of this modern music isn't half bad: he's a big fan of Coldplay, for one. Plus, his phone holds so much more music than he ever thought possible, which is especially nice since his record collection doesn't seem to have made it into storage. He decided to try and replace it at one point, but the only record stores that have any are filled with obnoxious kids with strange facial hair, who tried to talk him out of replacing his old jazz records with something they call "soft grunge."
And it's got all kinds of fun games on it. On someone's recommendation, he downloaded something called Candy Crush, and then proceeded to spend the next two days doing nothing but playing it. He made it to level 78 before Fury confiscated his phone out of annoyance.
The other big modern advancement that's okay in Steve's book is television. Apparently, it came out not long after he was frozen, but the TV of today is amazing. There are more channels that he ever though were possible, and they make televisions as big as a movie screen now. He found a whole channel devoted to nothing but baseball, which is his favorite, even though the Yankees have gone downhill since they lost Joe DiMaggio. Apparently this Jeter guy was something, though. it's a shame Steve only thawed out for his retirement, especially since he doesn't like the guy everyone calls A-Rod. He went off of baseball for a few days when someone explained the whole steroid scandal to him — Steve's never been able to abide cheating. But then Sam pointed out that he couldn't really talk, what with the super serum currently coursing through his veins. And besides, he likes baseball much more than any of the other sports they have nowadays. (The ones he understands, anyway. He's still struggling to get the hang of skateboarding. Is it a race, do they do tricks, is it both? He doesn't get it.)
All in all, though, adjusting to modern day hasn't been too bad. The music takes some getting used to, but there's a Shake Shack not too far from his apartment. It's hard not ot enjoy a world with burgers and milkshakes on demand like that.
S3E13: Glee may purport to be all roses and heart-shaped glitter, but things aren’t so shiny when you look up close. Some of those pieces of heart-shaped glitter are really cute and festive and – dare I say it – entertaining, but when the fun is over and the confetti settles, there’s just this big pile of crumpled, shiny paper that no one has the energy to clean up. Despite Brian Stokes Mitchell’s and Jeff Goldblum’s best and valiant attempts, the return of a newly healthy Blaine, and the tendency I have to love everything that comes draped in pink and read hearts, this episode helped a once great show continue its downward spiral.
“And now, commence the teenage love-making.” –Hiram Berry
Rachel's dads surprise Rachel and her betrothed in the auditorium with a piano – now we know where Rachel gets it from. Both dads feign happiness for Rachel and Finn’s impending marriage – but guess what? They’re not happy, because they're good parents even though they've been completely absent for two years.
First, Finn and Rachel make their happy announcement to the glee club and everyone quickly chooses sides – of course Quinn is on the anti-marriage side because she’s gone all independent woman since she came back from the dark side. Somehow, Rachel has gone from that terror shot when she realized she’d committed to Finn before she got her NYADA letter to blushing bride-to-be without so much as a hop, skip and a jump. Finn’s parents and Rachel’s parents have a little plan to make them realize their mistake: a big ol’ family Valentine’s dinner.
At the end of this awkward love fest, saved only by Jeff Goldblum’s always classic delivery of even the worst lines, both sets of parents drop the bomb: the blissful cohabitation starts now. Finn’s mom even brought him his jammies. But the parents’ brilliant plan backfires when Finn and Rachel recover from their first fight over her ridiculous bedtime regimen with even more determination to stay together. In fact, they’ve moved the wedding date up to the week after Nationals – you know, just in time for the season finale. Thankfully, we’re left there, but it seems this is the ridiculous plot that just won’t die. It’s so obvious that they’re nuts, but it’s almost like the writers believe their audience is torn. Hey guys, we’re not.
”When it comes to love, I don’t know who I am.” -Mercedes
Next, we have the most engaging couple on the whole show: Sam and Mercedes. Unfortunately, they suffered a contrived fate this week. Though there’s absolutely no reason they two of them would stop making googly eyes at each other, Mercedes finds an illogical loophole. Mercedes finally told Shane that she kissed Sam, and they promptly broke up. This should mean the course is clear for Samcedes, right? Wrong. Mercedes decides that she can’t be trusted to be in any relationship. Yes, because an adorable boy who’s been ardently pursuing you sang you a romantic song and then kissed you and you’re supposed to just smack him? Well, yes, of course, you’re not supposed to give in, but this is high school and let’s be honest: most high school girls would be hard pressed to make a better decision.
And this is where that awkwardly-timed rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” By no fault of the writers, Amber Riley, or the show itself, this performance was just a little hard to watch. Glee’s style is inherently goofy and garish, and normally using such a classic, emotional song would be just another example of the show’s hyperbolic use of music. But in light of Whitney Houston’s passing, it seems just a bit disrespectful. Of course, I reiterate: there’s no way the show could have prevented this because they filmed it long before the real-life tragedy struck.
But, it does the trick for Sam and Mercedes. Sam is furious; he obviously agrees Mercedes' reasoning is seriously flawed. They’re officially on the outs, which is conveniently awkward because they just happen to be in the four-member Christian club together. For some reason, this club also sings (oh wait, Glee Project winner Samuel Larson needed a place to sing at McKinley; that’s why), which leads to Quinn, Mercedes, Sam, and Larson’s uber-Christian hippie Joseph into singing songs about love together while Sam and Mercedes look miserable next to each other. We did not earn this form of television torture, writers. Just let them have at least some sort of romantic progress. PLEASE.
"All I want to do is be able to kiss my girlfriend, but no one can see that because there’s such an insane double standard at this school.” -Santana
And Joseph the religious zealot and hippie (is that even a thing?) intertwines his unnecessary plot into another storyline: that of prejudice against Santana and Brittany for their Lesbianism. Figgins gets a complaint because the two of them share a peck in the hallway – even though this is a school that once hosted a kissing booth for profit in the middle of the hallway – and Figgins decides he can’t allow the couple to display their affection in the halls.
This issue of inequality is handled fairly well, except that we never find out who issued the complaint. Instead, we simply see Santana take her anger out on the new guy: super Christian Joseph. Obviously, he was the one who complained, right? To test the theory, Santana orders a Valentine’s song gram from the Christian club and we watch Joseph sit motionless without agreeing to sing the song for a lesbian couple. In the end, he agrees to do it and we’re left to assume that he’s probably the guy who complained to the principal. It’s a little obtuse to let the new very religious guy take the blame for such a prejudice claim – sure he sang the song at the end and said he accepted Santana, but this show is all about how making assumptions is detrimental. Shouldn’t they have shown us that to assume the Christian kid did it is wrong? Or, if he did do it, have him admit it. This isn’t a series that thrives on subtlety and open-ended storylines; it can’t make that shift just once and expect it to fit within in the story.
"You think you love me?” –Kurt
All this week and last week, Kurt has been missing his sweetheart, Blaine, who is still laid up after the impossible rock salt slushie incident. Yet, somehow, Blaine is sending Valentines signed “secret admirer” from his state of bed rest. At least that’s what Kurt assumes. Well, there were two ways this could go. (Okay, there’s a third and it involves a new character, but I have faith that the writers wouldn’t add two unnecessary characters in one episode.) Option one is that the secret admirer is Sebastian, trying another hair-brained scheme to come between the happy duo. Option two is better, but still a little over the top: it’s Karovsky. It turns out to be option two, and Karovsky takes off his gorilla mask – because if there’s anything that whips Kurt into a frenzy, it’s linebackers dresses as gorillas – and admits that he thinks he’s in love with Kurt. He rattles off the list of reasons tracing back to the night at Scandals, the bullying, and the hate kiss. There’s just one issue: he hasn’t come out at his new school. And even though Sugar Shack nee Breadstix is hosting a private event, one of the football players from Karovsky’s new school over hears and this point of contention will likely come back into play at an arbitrary moment during the remainder of the season.
”No single people allowed. They’re sad and boring…and they don’t exist in my world.” –Sugar
And this is where I draw the line. How. Why. How. WHY. Sweet, sweet Rory and sweet, sweet Artie are both lovesick for one Sugar Motta. This is prefaced by Schue announcing they’re short on the regionals budget and Sugar’s response is waving a pile of cash in his face before announcing that everyone has to come to her party at Breadstix, which she’s forced her dad to rename Sugar Shack, after her. Sure, she gets everyone Valentine’s day presents, but this is the girl who, a few weeks ago turned Artie down because he was disabled and she feared what people would think. Now, she’s letting Artie and Rory shower her with gifts – including a real, live puppy – and finally serenade her to win her over. Artie chooses “Let Me Love You,” which was pretty sweet and it seems to win the brat over. But Rory pulls out the big guns: he’s being deported back to Ireland at the end of the year (is that how deportation works? Finish your schoolwork first, young laddie?). Later, it seems that Rory made the whole thing up to win over Sugar because she asks him about it and he forgets about it for a second. Now, there’s a teenage decision: lie to make something happen for Valentine’s Day, Feb. 15 consequences be damned.
We end the episode with the glorious, welcome, luminescent return of Blaine (can you tell we need him around here?) singing “Love Shack” with a little help from Kurt and some New Directions song birds. As usual, Glee can deliver a great show, so the song is a fantastic, romantic, upbeat production that lulls us into complacency. The plot may not make sense. It may make you question whether or not you’re reading a 15 year-old girl’s dream journal at times. But man, can these kids sing and dance.
What did you think of the episode? Were you disappointed at seeing so little of Jeff Goldblum? Do you think Finn and Rachel are nuts? Do you think Joseph is a weak character? Let me know in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KelseaStahler.
Currently there are two very big movies about Abraham Lincoln being developed. The first, called Lincoln, is from Steven Spielberg and has Daniel Day Lewis playing the 16th president. That film just added David Strathairn as William Seward. The other one, in case you were wondering, has vampires.
Anyway, Strathairn will play Seward, one of the most interesting characters in Lincoln’s cabinet. Not only did he purchase Alaska from Russia (and by the transitive property we can thank or hate him for Sarah Palin), he was almost assassinated the night Lincoln was shot as well. And by an attempt, I mean the would-be assassin managed to stab Seward in the face and neck before being subdued. Then Seward recovered and brokered the deal for Alaska. If that isn’t badass, I don’t know what is. He also has a statue here in New York, but I only know that because it’s beside Shake Shack.
"I think you have the whole ass kicking thing down." -Chin
S01E16: Let’s get right down to it, shall we? This week’s episode of Hawaii Five-0 was not a good episode. (Oh, by the way, I had been writing the title incorrectly this entire time; thanks for noticing. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, our current reboot is spelled with a 0 while the original is a capital O, FYI.)
According to our handy-dandy grading scale, this episode tried but failed miserably. We had a little product placement with a shot of Danno’s phone but no painful dialogue about it. Just a quick glimpse. HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN YOUR CAPITALISM PILLS H50? We were treated to a little car advertising, courtesy of your neighborhood Chevy dealer, but it was fairly tame considering the car porn we’ve had before.
Side note: one thing I have enjoyed noticing is how all the “bad guy” cars are never Chevys. It's kinda like how all the Autobots in Transformers are GM models and Decipticons are others. (NEEEEEEEEERD!)
Anyway, there was no Grace Park in a bikini or a recognizable guest star. We did get a decent bit of stunts that made absolutely no sense, but whatever. Grace Park can totally kick a lady through a door. McGarrett can totally create a log ram from stuff he finds on the jungle floor. Riiiiight. And there was not a single riff between McGarrett and Danno, but more on that later.
"I don’t know anything about you." -Chin
Since H50 failed on all accounts by our grading system, how was the plot? Fairly straightforward actually. A girl is a witness to a murder and the dude she is testifying against puts a hit out on her. She manages to escape her would-be assassins and flees to the jungle. So, it’s up to McGarrett and Chin to track the girl down. Now, I’ll give H50 credit for actually attempting to explain how these guys are tracking the girl -- something Lost never did. Not that I’m a hunter or anything, but their techniques seemed decent enough.
Things then get a little ridiculous. McGarrett dons some mud camo out of nowhere. Chin stumbles upon a shack that happens to have a dirt bike. Whilst escaping, Chin and McGarrett happen to lock eyes and devise a plan (all while driving on a dirt bike through the jungle). Then once they deliver the girl to the court house, the other assassin is disguised as a lawyer. You know, she plans to kill two people IN A BUILDING FULL OF COPS, LAWYERS, AND JUDGES. No wonder she got kicked through the door.
"Some guys, they’re just born without a fear gene." -Chin
You may be asking yourself, "Where was Danno during all of this?" and to that I commend you for thinking with your head and having basic comprehension skills. Danno gets taken out of the group early on to deal with his ex-wife’s carjacking. Now, for a second I thought the writers were going to do something interesting by removing an integral part of the group dynamic and see how it effects the rest of the group. I guess the lesson of “we all need each other to function properly” has been done before, but it was still interesting to imagine.
The 5-0 gang is the classic case of the four temperaments (oh yeah, WE’RE GOING DEEP). McGarrett is the Earth: strong and focused -- a little too focused maybe. Danno is the Fire: he's passionate and his riffs with Danno aren’t for nothing. Chin is the Water: calm, cool, and collected. Kono is therefore the air: light, but not insignificant. Each brings their own personality to the group that allows them to work together better than by themselves. They need each other to reign each other in when they all get too crazy. It's a classic group dynamic that has been tested on film and TV for years (okay, truth be told, the four temperaments is hallmark of classic medicine so this has been around for a looooooooooong time).
Removing Danno removes the passion from the group. He’s usually the lone voice of reason to McGarrett's STORM THE BEACHES, but can also be the loudest. It would’ve been interesting to see how he would’ve been missed, but the writers split up the rest of the group anyway. If they weren’t going to explore the group dynamic when one of the pieces go missing, then why bother having him gone? My only guess is that they couldn’t figure out what to do with him in the jungle considering they kicked Grace Park back to HQ. They have a really interesting dynamic going on with H50, I think its about time the writers started exploring that and the best way to do that is by changing it up a little.
Come on, H50 writers. You can do better. Wait. Dane Cook’s guest spot is coming up. Never mind.
George (Kevin Kline) is probably having the worst day of his life. First he gets fired from the job he's had for 20 years as an architect because he can't keep up with the times. Then as he is leaving the office he collapses and winds up in a hospital where he learns he is very ill. Suddenly George's priorities change dramatically. He decides it's time to finally build the house of his dreams by tearing down the dilapidated shack he currently lives in an eyesore that irks his swanky neighbors. But here comes the tricky part--George wants his 16-year-old son Sam (Hayden Christensen) a troubled teen addicted to drugs to spend the summer with him and help him. George's ex-wife (Kristin Scott Thomas) thinks it might be a good idea but Sam rebels against the notion of spending even one second with his father. Regardless George puts his foot down and thus begins a long journey in reconnecting with his son his ex-wife--and himself.
House is chock-full of great performances which certainly saves the film from wallowing in sentimentality starting with Kline who may be recognized for this role come Oscar time. He has a knack for giving heartfelt speeches with hardly any effort whatsoever. It's nice to see him doing something meaningful after a short absence from the movies. Thomas also puts in an understated performance as the ex-wife who really hasn't gotten over George and who also desperately wants to reconnect with her son. Christensen holds his own against his stellar co-stars and has some very nice--and refreshing--moments with actress Jena Malone who plays the 16-year-old hottie living next door. Malone continues to be an interesting young actress; she's one to keep your eye on. Even Mary Steenburgen (yes she's in it too) who plays Malone's single mom gives a nice supporting turn.
In House we are faced with a motion picture that might be better suited for the smaller screen especially in the way it deals with death and dying. Simple personal stories can work on the big screen if there are elements of greatness in them (i.e. American Beauty). But director Irwin Winkler is more known for his producing credits such as Goodfellas than for his directing and the sap factor just gets too elevated at times especially in the scenes between father and son. Sam is pretty messed up at the beginning of the film but manages to get turned around pretty quickly. You want it to happen because that's what the whole movie hinges on but the action comes across a tad forced. But despite your better judgement this film gets to you. It even has moments when you aren't expecting the reaction you get--a true testament to the acting and the screenplay.