Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I'd Attend the Night Celebration with Someone Kissed by the Sun

Recently, several parents at a High School in Sullivan, Indiana decided that they wanted an exclusionary, “traditional” prom, and got loads of press coverage (yay! They paid attention to us) albeit overwhelmingly negative. Oh, and by “traditional” they of course mean no same-sex couples will be allowed. No doubt this traditional prom will not feature any pre-marital sex, shell fish, will ban all people with tattoos, and the women will only be allowed if a proper dowry is paid to the fathers. But I have a feeling that they just mean not allowing a certain segment of the population in.
                To the credit of the school administrators and a good number of students, they’ve pretty much said that these people can throw whatever dance they want to put on and label it how they’d like, but ultimately the Sullivan High School Prom was going to take at Sullivan High School, and no student would be excluded. The one “teacher” that made a comment on it apparently isn’t really a teacher, so once again it looks like some people wanted some publicity, got it, and are now free to do what they’d like.
                Personally, I don’t have a problem if someone is gay. However, it’s also none of my business who anyone chooses to love, except in the future if I have a daughter, at which time no person, man nor woman, will be good enough for my baby. But that’s still waaayyy off. No, today’s post isn’t really about the issue of how two people feel about each other. There is a much deeper, much more disturbing problem at play here.
                The real problem is that this is not the first time that someone has chosen to throw a “traditional” exclusionary prom. And, you see, when I say “someone” I mean, “parents” and that just makes it all the sadder. High School is hard. It’s harder if you realize you’re gay. It’s even harder when you have parents – supposedly the adults in the situation – telling their kids that it’s ok to bully and exclude some kids. Basically all the lessons they never learned from Animal Farm. I don’t understand how you can claim to be an adult and still do that to another human being.
                The other high profile case that was just a few years ago was a young woman that wanted to bring her girlfriend to the prom, she couldn’t, then the school canceled the prom. Then they were super-adult about it, and proceeded to throw a “secret prom” that excluded this young woman… and a few other students that they deemed “undesirable.” These other students weren’t gay. They just decided they didn’t want them at the prom with their kids.
                So I have to ask… what kind of adults do this to another human being? Kids in high school are at an awkward time in their lives. They’re not quite adults, but they’re expected to act like adults. They’re expected to start their journey that will affect the rest of their lives… i.e, College, not college, where will they go, can they get in, etc. They get to face all types of pressure. They get to deal with the fact that some kids are immature. Some don’t have a home life that’s great. Some do. You know what the last thing they need is? Some parent, some adult coming at them because the still want to play the “mean girl” or “cool jock” and intimidate them. The general rule is that if you have a kid in high school, you’re too old to pull any of this off.
                Seeing this story made me mad. It made me so mad, actually, that this isn’t the first post I’ve written about this. Yeah, I just sort of didn’t publish them because they contained a lot stronger language and brief nudity, and I like to think of Bad Shakespeare as a family friendly blog. (Well… family friendly-ish. I mean, I do allow those undesirables to look at my blog. WON’T ANYONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!) But it made me bad and a lot of my ranting came from a visceral place that didn’t want to let these parents off easy. Make no mistake, if you’re trying to segregate a prom and exclude people that don’t fit into your view of what will make the night “wonderful” for your kids that could probably care less and just want to hang out with their friends, then you are a horrible person. These are high school kids. You are an “adult.” Perhaps you take a minute to act like one.
                Hmm… I guess I can get a little harsh today.
                Humanity has found ways to exclude people since Oog first noticed that Ugh’s hair was blonde, and he was obviously kissed by the Sun god, and thus he was not allowed in the Celebration of the Night. I understand that we just keep finding new and different ways to do it. But I just can’t find a way to justify or think about what is going through a parent’s mind as they exclude kids because they feel that something is wrong. I really can’t. It's bullying. Plain and simple.
                Congrats to the Sullivan High School staff for coming out and basically treating this as a non-issue, and shame on the parents that wish to act like the mean kids and further bully kids that really don’t need it. I promise you, they’ve already gotten enough of it. You don’t need to help.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Gown Houses Would Be A Great Band Name

So, the Oscars are over, the fancy gowns are being put back into their fancy gown houses, the winners have finished calling all the people who rejected them in high school, and somewhere someone is clutching a losing office pool cursing the day he put his faith in Robert Dinero to win in a comedy. Also, Anne Hathaway better be clutching an Oscar right now, damnit. Not just because she has the same name as Shakespeare’s wife, and the name of this blog is Bad Shakespeare.

I’ll be pulling the curtain back for just one moment... I was awake for 24 hours watching the Oscars, so I’m going to bed well before the show starts, so this is being written before I know the winners. So I’m going to 1) really hope I don’t have to change that Robert Dinero joke in editing and 2) I would like to congratulate [INSERT NAME OF WINNER HERE] on winning the Oscar for best picture. While watching it, I totally felt that [INSERT NAME OF WINNER HERE] was going to win, despite any jokes I made about it.

However, I’m taking this post to answer a pretty good question: Why? Why did enter a movie theater at 10:00 on Saturday morning and not exit until 9:30 on Sunday, more sensitive to light and now consisting of 20%  more popcorn than when I walked in?

Why not?

I love movies. That much is evident. If I’m watching nine in a row, it’s probably pretty clear. Either that, or I hate them and I enjoy torturing myself.

The other question is why I felt a need to write about it on this blog? Why blog about movies like this?

Because great movies are like literature. They tell a story, they have their own symbols, their own unique ways of telling those stories, and they can be studied the exact same way as books. We study Shakespeare’s plays, which were essentially the movies of back in those days. (I can’t wait to see Quentin Tarintino’s Titus Andronicus. Look it up. That William Shakespeare’s version of a Tarintino movie.)

So why can’t we study movies the same way. Ang Lee’s The Hulk is chalk full of symbolism, subtle moments, and Jekyll and Hyde themes that should be studied and examined, not mocked because it wasn’t superheroy enough. (Although Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk ruled in it’s own way.) It should be studied not just for their film merits, but for their literary merits as well. A good character is a good character, whether written or seen on the screen.

Let’s take one of my favorites of the day, Django Unchained. We find out everything we need to know about King Shultz in the first five minutes of the movie: He hates slavery, he is a businessman, he has a code of honor... all without it being spelled out. There are flashbacks to important moments. Quentin Tarintino did what a good movie should be, he constructed a novel on the screen with many interlocking parts. Of course, because it’s violent and people use naughty language we’re supposed to ignore that. Literature wise, this was probably one of the most well constructed movie-as-a-novel that I’ve seen in a while. 

There was another movie like that called Cashback. This was about a young artist who’s girlfriend breaks up with him and finds that he can stop time. (Which is a metaphor. Or something.) But the construction of the movie is more that of a novel: meeting characters, flashbacks to previous events, narration. (Django uses music to narrate parts of it. And it is fantastic.)

But I do enjoy seeing how different filmmakers want to tell a story. Two movies this year dealt with CIA operations... one more recent, one in the past, both with their own sense of doing what was right in the face of different Odds. Where Zero Dark Thirty took on some of the idea of torture, we also had Argo, also fact based, where one of the characters disobeys direct orders to help people. (Although some of it was added to make it more historically exciting.) Also, I’m not equating the two... I’m comparing two themes. 

Love is was a popular theme as well. Although I didn’t enjoy Amour, I have to acknowledge that both Amour and Silver Linings Playbook deal with love, and what we are willing to do for it. (Again, themes. One dealt with horrible end of life decisions vs. a dance competition and letting go of the past. Themes. Not direct equating.)

But why wouldn’t we acknowledge these themes the same way we would a book? Why wouldn’t we examine the other symbols, the other ideas presented in these movies, like we would any other book? These are just examples. Literature is literature, whether presented by William Shakespeare in a play, or Bradley Cooper dancing.

Just a little something that we need to think about during our post-Oscar’s glow.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bad Shakespeare's Oscar Picks!

Ok, ladies and gents... Bad Shakespeare and Company have watched all nine Oscar Nominated movies, and I’m ready to make some picks, so you don’t have to. Also, I’m saying who I think should win, which may be different than the experts. I’m cool like that.

Best Picture: The toughest thing about picking Best Picture is the fact that I saw all the pictures at once, so they’re blurring together. I have them mostly sorted out, but someone is going to have to explain to me why Lincoln stole Jamie Foxx’s wife and he enlisted Ben Affleck to save him.

Honestly, I would like to see Django Unchained win. Quite frankly, it was just different than any of the other nominees and it was simply an amazing film with everything combined, acting, directing, writing, music, the profanity...... even the laughs and the drama were incredible. This was everything I wanted in a movie. Yes, some parts were uncomfortable. But anyone who says that this was uncomfortable, but the diaper changing and shower scenes in Amour weren’t, is messed up. But there’s no way it will win.

What should win is Argo. Hands down, one of the best movies of the year. I’ve told about a million Lincoln spoiler jokes, but Argo was a story I was familiar with. I knew those hostages made it out of there safely. But I was still biting my fingernails towards the end, and I was still wondering if they are going to make it. That’s how you make a movie.

Lead Actor: I’m going to have to go with Hugh Jackman. He basically did what every last person on this list did, but he did it while singing. Plus, this is something that’s missed out on people: He’s Wolverine. No, I’m not saying that because halfway through I expected the claws to pop out. I’m saying go watch one of the X-Men movies, then come back to that. Tell me that’s not a spectacular actor.

Lead Actress: Jennifer Lawrence. Look, I don’t think Silver Linings Playbook was a fantastic end all be all movie. It was great. But I can’t deny the fact that she was amazing in it as a severely damaged woman, sort of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl from Hell. I wasn’t sure if she was going to fall in love with Bradley Cooper or rip him to shreds. Even after they’re in their happily ever after, I’m still not sure.

Actor in a Supporting Role: Yeah, if that’s not Christoph Waltz, I don’t know who is. He commanded every scene he was in, he took over the role, and I was rooting for him about five seconds after he was on the screen. I’m going to be disappointed if I ever meet him and he’s not in character as Dr. King Shultz. 

Actress in a Supporting Role: If it’s not Anne Hathway, the winner should just play a Youtube Clip of her singing “I Dreamed a Dream” and try to pretend their role was better. It wasn’t. Plus, she was Agent 99 in the film version of Get Smart, so don’t tell me she didn’t pay her dues.

Since I haven’t seen all the movies in creation, I won’t worry about the minor technical awards like “Hair Styling” or “Writing.” But I hope you enjoy the Oscars! Personally, I’m going back to bed.

Also: a very special thanks for the “and Company” part of this. This is usually a solo effort, and attempting to write nine reviews in 24 hours wasn’t easy. So I wanted to say...

Thank you to Marissa for convincing me to do it and going to get extra popcorn and soda while I was typing away on my ipad, and jumping every time the tiger appeared out on Life of Pi and keeping me awake.

Thank you to Kim for coming up with the first few titles and a few of the better jokes, and for bringing yummy treats that helped avoid a few extra trips to the candy bar.

Thank you to Kati for not spoiling the ending of Lincoln despite the fact that I kept begging her to tell me what happened. 

Thank you to Jerome for going to get the dinner, which was crucial at that juncture as I was busy catching up on these posts, and I was tired of popcorn. 

        Thank you to everyone who came with me for understanding when I rushed off to type a review after each of the shows. I wasn't being anti-social, and I love you all.

        And a special thank you to all of you for following my adventures!

Anyone Want to See a Giant Pig?

On 30 Rock, there was a recurring gag where Tracy Jordan won an Oscar for a movie called Hard to Watch, which was a parody of Precious, but could also apply to Beasts of The Southern Wild. It was tough to watch, but every part was tough.

Poverty? Check. Abusive father? Check. Absent mother? Check. Abusive father dies? Yep. Natural disaster? You t it. Child in danger? Yup. Maybe it's because I am tired and cranky, buy I couldn't get into this movie. It's just so sad, but still tries to be fairytaleish, from the giant pigs to the VoiceOver of the young girl who doesn't understand what is going on.

It just tries so hard to be a triumph and tragedy.

Bah. I just didn't enjoy it. I've been up for 24 hours. I'm always hardest on the the last movie. I always want hem to go out with a bang. This was more if a "meh." It was made to be nominated.

That's that. That's the marathon!! I hope you enjoyed Bad Shakespeare's live blog of the event.

Next up: bed.

Manic Depressive Pixie Dream Girl

Eight down; one to go.

We just finished the Academy's token comedy, Silver Linings Playbook, which shows us that real healing comes from dancing with someone who may or may not be crazier than you, but is plenty hot. Also, Chris Tucker, who is surprisingly in a role where he's not shouting opposite Jackie Chan.

While there is probably more chance of Jennifer Lawrence hopping off the screen and dancing with me rather than this actually winning the Oscar for best picture, this really was a great movie. It was very different. Oh, it jumps toward the predictable ending... Will the two damaged people find and heal each other? (Yes. If you think no, you aren't paying attention.) But this has the same thing Django had. It was different. I wouldn't expect it to be nominated. It was like a less dark version of as Good As It Gets with a more attractive cast.

The thing was, even as you watch it knowing that they were probably going to get together, the movie is a fun journey. It's cool watching these characters on screen. You wouldn't want to go get raisin bran with any of them, but they're fun to watch. And that's what makes a great movie, at the end of the marathon, fun to watch.

And Bradley Cooper is easy on they eyes.

Next up: Beasts of the Southern Wild. I know nothing about this movie than it is sad. Really? End with sad, too?

Hope Floats... With a Bengal Tiger

We are in the home stretch. Just two more movies to go! We've been through seven in a row! Good morning, everyone.

Life of Pi is about a kid named Pi who survives a shipwreck and finds God with a CGI tiger. Not a bad movie, but does suffer with a lot of unnecessary 3D (it's like the God metaphors are jumping right out at you!).

It's no surprise this was nominated, but falls short of the other nominees so far. It does have a good message about just living your life, faith, and whether bananas float. It's 5 a.m. I don't feel like looking it up.

I'm kind of surprised that Ang Lee did go so heavy on the CGI, because the story could be told a lt simpler, and may have been a bit better for it. But I guess it would have been harder to wrangle a real tiger. I'm not sure I haven't tried it... Yet.

Regardless, I am counting this as Church.


Next up: Katniss and Face from the A Team remake dance their troubles away.

Where's Bin Laden?

We have reached the first milestone of the night! The first movie where large swaths of people have fallen asleep! And it's a shame, Zero Dark Thirty was pretty good.

I won't lie, it's a brutal depiction of violence, and the raid that eventually killed Bin Laden. Not the feelyest good movie, but an awesome one. It's tough to be funny with this one, especially since its so late. But I'm a trooper.

On of the more fun surprises is Chris Pratt from Parks and Rec as one if the soldiers who took down Bin Laden. He's a funny dude, but this funny dude can act. And it's splendid.

And like I said, this does not hold back. Not the companion piece to singing Frenchmen that you might think. But the brutality adds to the movie. It reminds you that war is hell. That fighting for what you think is right will always have a cost.

Whoa. Got deep there for a moment. It's three a.m. And we've been here for almost 17 hours at this point. And awake for that long, too. This s when the movies get really good, or really bad. Wooo!!

Next up: someone decided a spiritual 3-D move would be great for 3 a.m.

The French Are Revolting!

I know. They're disgusting!

Just a little Mel Brooks humor for midnight. We are past the halfway point with only four movies left, and we just finished Les Miserables. The timeless classic of redemption, singing, and French Revolution. Also, Russell Crowe, who's really not that bad. I say this because I'm physically afraid of him.

Great movie. We all enjoyed it, had a great time, and only sang along to half the songs, and a good time was had by all. The movie is spectacular, and if Anne Hathaway doesn't win all the awards, there's no justice. I say this because I'm afraid of her, also she has terrible taste in men so I'm right up her alley.

The movie does justice to all the characters, songs, and sets, especially my favorites the Master of the House and his Wife, who is played by Helena Bonhman Carter playing Helena Bonham Carter.

All enjoyable. Next we head to Zero Dark Thirty, the third movie where the ending is spoiled by historical events. Fourth if you pretend Django was real.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The D is Silent

We just finished with the most excellent, most violent, most one liners of the day, Django Unchained. The consensus: we were surprised it was nominated, but we all loved it. Nice little wild card in the middle of the day. Night. What time is it?

Django Unchained is about Quentin Tarantino writing a revenge movie about a slave who vows to get his wife back and kill Leonardo Dicaprio, possibly for inspiring Celine Dion to write that horrible song. Also, there's this German guy played by professional German Guy, Chris Waltz. I think that's how you spell it. We've reached the point where spelling doesn't count.

Despite the extreme violence, this was a great movie. Action, adventure, Tarintino's trademark dialogue.... Just too much fun. While this one probably won't win, let's face it... It's awesome. And funny. And it's Tarintinoy.

They just moved us to a new theater. Mostly to help with the heat, but t helps with the smell. To also dinner time! In a little bit, we start with Russell Crowe's Sing Along! Join us by playing the soundtrack at home, and building your own barricade with furniture.


Your intrepid movie crew has now watched our third movie, Argo. Now, on this blog I give Ben Affleck a hard time, but that's because I hold him to a much higher standard than everyone else. He was the bomb in Phantoms.

Argo tells the story of a CIA agent who fakes a film to save a bunch of hostages who are hiding in the Canadian Embassy, then when they are rescued they give Canada all the credit because its Canada and they can use the boost.

Generally we loved this movie. It was suspenseful, even though we all knew that they were going to get out safe because the movies this year have used up all the sad with Amour. Ben Affleck was great as an actor and director, John Goodman improves every movie he's in, and Bryan Cranston reminds me that Breaking Bad can't come back fast enough.

Next up we use profanity with abandon in Reservoir Dogs, the Western.

Fugitive 2: Tommy Lee Jones vs. John Wilkes Boothe

Lincoln. Wow.

We are all sitting here in awe of this movie, all giving it 4's and 5's. its a great feat to take a well known story and manage to actually make things interesting. Also: stovepipe hats galore.

I will not be recapping the storyline, because you should know it. Lincoln frees slaves, twist ending though. Turns out Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a true story. Tommy Lee Jones grants Lincoln the great power of the silver axe. Who knew? (Kim).

No this was a fantastic movie. The acting was amazing, especially Tommy Lee Jones playing Civil War Tommy Lee Jones and James Spader as Civil War Big Lebowski.

We have finished movie number 2. Onto Ben Affleck's Argo, about Canadians that save the day.

Old Lady Slappin', Pigeon Catchin'

The first movie is done... Amour. It was... Sad. Very, very sad. Basically it's about an old woman dying in French for two hours. We felt it was extremely slow. And sad. And French. Then her husband catches a pigeon. That's about it.

Maybe I just don't get fancy movies anymore. I'm sure there was deep symbolism, but by the time she was dead, I just wanted the movie to end. Also, too many awkward moments.

My co-bloggers feel the same. Jerome felt it was too much. Kati was blah. Kim gave me the title, and along with Marissa wanted to know the layout of the apartment. It was that fun.

In the very least, it makes the Civil War seem less depressing.

The Schedule... Of Doom!!!

Ok ladies and gents, movie lovers and lovers of watching people stay up for 24 straight hours... Welcome to the coverage of our huge movie marathon. We are seated, but most importantly... We have the schedule!

Starting out our day will be Oscar's biggest "why"... Amour. I guess they wanted to start the day with uplifting, or they just realized we could only get sadder. As this is the movie I wanted to see the least, I'm glad it's out of the way.

Next up... I'm thinkin' Lincoln. Spoiler alert, it's during lunch, so I'm hoping that I can get a hot dog around the time of the Gettysburg Address.

Then let the Phantoms and Daredevil jokes fly as we check out Argo, and experience Oscars real tale of redemption. And Canadians.

After That, we have Django Unchained, and we will use profanity with abandon.

Darkness falls as we hear the people, and large sections of the audience, sing as we check out 30 Foot Odd Grunts frontman Russell Crowe headline an all star cast with Les Miserables.

Then we hit up Zero Dark Thirty at midnight. Comedy!!!

Life of Pi is in the Morning waning hours. Because when everyone is tired is the best time for a deeply spiritual metaphor. This counts as Church.

Then it's the Hunger Games. No? Silver Linings Playbook? Jennifer Lawrence is in it, anyway.

Finally it's Beasts of the Southern Wild. I have nothing more to say on this.

Enjoy the show. I have to go watch a Frenchwoman Die.

Update numbah One

We are in line. We are a little further back than I'd like, but everyone is excited. Someone was walking their dog and they managed to find all the food. Someone has a straight up couch cushion with them... They know what they are doing.

Also, dude in front of me is debating the merits of Smart Cars.

The doors should be opening soon.

AMC Oscar Movie Showcase... Meet the Bloggers!

Ladies and gentlemen, movie lovers and non-movie lovers who stumbled on this page by searching for Breaking Bad Spoilers... welcome to Bad Shakespeare’s coverage of the AMC Oscar Move Showcase. As I’ve explained all week, Bad Shakespeare and company will be watching all nine Oscar nominated movies in an all day 24 (ish) hour marathon. 26 if we decide to see Identity Theft when the marathon is over.

At this point we’ve entered the theater, scoped out our seats, and snuck in our snacks even though we don’t really have to sneak in our snacks and they really don’t mind since we’ll be sitting in a theater all day. We’ve figured out what movies we’re going to sit through, and which ones we’ll watch with one eye on the screen, one eye on the bathroom.

Now, normally this blog is just lil’ ol’ me... with occasional posts from Erin Garland over from the Island ( catch island fever with her 100th post, posted today. Then come right back here.) But today we are going to have four other very special reviewers who are going to not only help me review these movies, but will also sing along to Les Miserables, so I’m not so the only one singing. I’m fairly certain I’ll be the only one dressed up as Javert, who is played by 30 Foot Odd Grunts frontman Russell Crowe. (Buckle up, that’s not the only time I’ll be making that joke.)

Let’s take a minute to meet my very special co-blogging guests today.

First up, there’s Bad Shakespeare... loveable Michael, who is your usual blogger. I’ve already seen two movies on this list, Les Miserables and Django Unchained, both of which are spectacular movies in their own right. At this point, you should probably know that I’m torn because I want Argo to be a great movie, but I also can never resist a good Ben Affleck joke. 

Then there’s Marissa. She’s a cat enthusiast who has prepared for this by getting a series of healthy snacks, but is also decked out in her finest Pajama Jeans, making her fashionable and comfortable at the same time. Like Bad Shakespeare, she attended this event last year, and is geared up to watch some good movies, and complain about eating too much popcorn about halfway through the fourth movie.

Jerome is here as well, henceforth known as a Source High Within the Theater, mostly because of his penchant to sit as high as possible when he’s picking out the seats. Jerome has tried to remain as unspoiled by the movies as possible, purposely only seeing bad movies as to not accidentally see one of the movies here. Of the nine movies we’re watching today, he’s most looking forward to Star Trek Into Darkness which isn’t coming out until May.

Kim made cookies. KIM MADE COOKIES! Which means you should count her opinions as double from this point on. Of the five viewers today, Kim has seen the most movies in the marathon, but is excited to watch them again. She’s most excited to watch Les Miserables, and has promised to put on a bucket of popcorn on her head and build a barricade down the middle of the theater if even one person’s cell phone goes off during the show. Depending on how tired she is when this part of the show starts, she may do this anyway. Either way it will be exciting.

Kati is a reviewer wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma, with hot buttered topping and sour patch kids. She has not seen any of these movies, but is looking forward to seeing how long she can make it. She has already vowed to stay as long as she can, but can’t promise she’ll make it all night... fortunately the rest of the group is going to try to get her to stay. However, she will stay longer if perhaps we can win her a movie poster during the trivia contest.

Oh, yeah, there’s a trivia contest.

Make sure you check back for updates. I will post a schedule as soon as I have it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

AMC Oscar Movie Showcase Survival Guide

As mentioned on Wednesday, Bad Shakespeare and company will be attending AMC Theater’s Annual Oscar Movie Showcase. This is a glorious 24 hour movie marathon of every movie nominated for the Oscars. And because I enjoy shameless self promotion, I’ll be live-blogging it.

The real question I have not gone over yet is: How does one survive a 24 hour movie marathon in the theater. Yes, we’ve all had days where we’ve watched a bunch of movies or a bunch of TV shows. But we’ve done that from the comfort of our homes. Need to get something to drink? Hop up and get to the fridge. Bored? Stop the 24 hour marathon and go home. 

No, it takes a special strategy to be able last for a full 24 hours in a movie theater. So... here’s Bad Shakespeare’s 24 hour movie marathon strategy guide!

-Get there early. You are going to be sitting in this place for 24 hours, you do not need to be stuck off on the side of the theater, or behind some person is going to laugh. You want to hit your favorite spot... not too close to the screen, but far away enough from the door that you can hide your booze when you see the manager come in.

-Speaking of booze... an old writing trick I picked up was to sip whiskey during the night to help keep you from going to sleep. Use this, but with whiskey. Don’t drink too much too early. You’re staying up late, you don’t want to go right from being drunk to the hangover, especially if the last show is loud.

-If they show Les Miserables after midnight, singing is going to be fair game. That’s not for all marathons.

-Outside snacks are encouraged. Man cannot live on popcorn alone. But nachos... oh, nachos, we love you.

-Be nice. You’re going to be around a lot of people for a long time.

-Never bring an infant into a movie theater. This really doesn’t have anything to do with this marathon, just a general annoyance. Yeah, you think the baby is going to sleep, but then they’re going to wake up, and we’ll pretend it won’t bother us but then... you know, I’m off topic.

-Under no circumstances should you find yourself behind the counter, firing butter at people while wearing a popcorn helmet. It may seem like a good idea around 2 a.m. It’s not.

-Pay attention to the movie list. There will be one movie you don’t want to see. There’s your nap right there. Yes, you’re there to see all movies so you can make a proper pick for best picture when you watch the Oscars. But we know that no one wants to see L’Amour. Why was that nominated?

-Speaking of 2 a.m, around this time all the Lincoln and Theater jokes are going to be funny for you again. They aren’t really. Please don’t. Just. Don’t. Also, spoilers: he dies. Ok. He dies.

-Bring deodorant. Just. Bring deodorant.

I look forward to you joining us as we comment on these movies! See you tomorrow, starting bright and early!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Only Marathon I'll Ever Run...

Show of hands, how many people knew that AMC Theaters does an annual Oscar Movie Marathon? How many people knew that a handful does one that lasts 24 hours? Now, how many people are prepared for... BAD SHAKESPEARE’s 24 HOUR OSCAR MOVIE MARATHON LIVEBLOG!

On February 23rd and February 24th, I will be taking part in AMC’s Oscar Movie marathon 24 full hours of all the movies nominated for best picture. I’ll be watching Argo, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Les Miserables, L’Amour, Lincoln, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Zero Dark Thirty, and Silver Linings Playbook. I don’t know the order, and I won’t know until the time of the show, and I promise, a Bad Shakespeare liveblog of all the shows as they happen, right here on Bad Shakespeare. No, not DURING the movies. I’m not going to be “that guy.”

The obvious question, of course, is why? Why do I want to sit in a movie theater for 24 hours? I ask you, why not? Why climb a mountain? Why inventI did it last year and it was a blast beyond blasts. You sit in a theater, get to know some new people. And I’m going to share the experience with all of you. Of course, the ones in the middle may not be AS shared as the others. I’m staying up for 24 hours, I may get fuzzy around midnight.

I have been looking forward to this event for the past year. Last year I arrived about an hour before the first show started, not really sure what to expect. In good time I managed to meet just about everyone around me. The manager running the event was probably one of the best managers that I’ve seen, asking trivia questions, telling us how excited he was that we were there. 

Now, the important thing about a movie marathon is pacing. Yes, the best strategy is to grab that large popcorn and soda... I mean, you free refills, so you’re set for the day. But you can’t eat it all at once, or during every single movie. Remember, you’re pacing yourself. That’s where I had a problem last year: I didn’t bring any extra snacks. You need to fill up on fruit and real food at some point. Man can not live on only popcorn for 24 hours, and plus you want to save those for the later movies. It’s important that you really allow the sugar, salt, and soda carry you to the later hours.

And this goes without saying: layers. You have a bunch of people in the movie theater for 24 hours, it’s going to get WARM. Every once in a while you have to exit the theater, walk around for a little bit, absorb the fresh air. By “Fresh air” I mean “any air where people haven’t been marinating in popcorn butter and sour patch kids for the past  12 hours.” 

What makes this year fantastic is I’m going with some more friends. I honestly can’t wait to show them this experience, also, to get their permission before I use their real names in these posts, or if I use made-up names. Either way, it should be pretty interesting. And I look forward to sharing it with you, my readers! So this is one of my rare, “What’s coming up” posts that I use on days where I don’t really know what else to talk about, and I used up most of my outrage early in the week with that lady that wants to ban the books. So I hope to see you all here, Saturday, as we discuss movies. Lots of them.

To adventure!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Book Report: I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe

It’s difficult to talk about I am Charlotte Simmons without addressing the fact that this book is written by an almost 80 year old man (at the time) about college student. And all that entails.

Look, I understand it’s not a requirement that the person writing the book has something in common with the characters. J.K. Rowling is not a wizard. (As far as we know) Robert Kirkman has never lived through a zombie apocalypse. Stephanie Meyer has probably never loved a real sparkly vampire. And while I’m sure many a writer has put on a Batman mask after writing about him, most of them were probably terrible at it.

So why do I start out the book report of I am Charlotte Simmons by pointing out that a book written about a young girl’s experiences in the first semester and a half in college and the three men (sorta) drawn to her was written by an almost 80 year old man. Because it’s blatantly obvious while reading it. It is so obvious, that Tom Wolfe “won” an award for some of the... we’ll say dubious writing of the sex scenes (We say it like that because he can win awards for bad writing, Tom Wolfe is one of the most famous writers of the 20th century, and I have a blog), and had there been an equivalent for slang and movie references (kids to love their Simpsons), he’d probably win that, too. 

Now that this is out of the way... it’s actually a really good book, even with the silly slang and the terrible, terrible sex scenes. 

I am Charlotte Simmons is about a young sheltered but gifted girl who is starting college at a prestigious fictional university named Dupont. While there she meets up with Hoyt, a stereotypical frat boy that sets his sights on her for reasons that aren’t very clear; Adam Gellin who fancies himself the knight in shining armor/intelligent guy/opposite of Hoyt (and isn’t, but we’ll get to that in a minute); and Jojo, a basketball player who decides to turn his life around when Charlotte shows him that he’s smarter than he thinks he is. There are several sub-plots, such as Hoyt discovering a sex scandal with a future Presidential candidate; Adam wanting to publish a story about it; and Adam writing a paper for Jojo. Everything sort of comes together, pretty much as you’d expect.

The thing about the novel is that despite it’s pretty obvious views of sex, college life, and few subtle jabs at class, it also has an interesting take on superiority. Hoyt obviously thinks he’s superior in a way because not only is he in a prestigious fraternity, but because he generally gets what he wants. Adam thinks he’s superior because he believes he’s smarter than everyone else, and is thus better than everyone else. Even Charlotte thinks she’s superior because she’s not like all of these sex-obsessed teenagers that surround her. In fact the only one who’s not running around, trying to be superior is Jojo. He just wants to play basketball and just try to do his best in school. 

I almost find it difficult to explain exactly what it was I enjoyed about this book so much. Tom Wolfe has created an interesting world of Dupont. I have always enjoyed books that sort of “own” the world they create. Dupont has it’s history... you get the impression that you could visit it just on a weekend or go check out a game... go go, Jojo! (That makes a lot of sense if you read the book.) The characters themselves are fully realized. These are people, not just characters that you read about for the semester and a half. There’s even a cool little reference to one of Mr. Wolfe’s previous books, Bonfire of the Vanities. Yeah. I enjoyed spending time at Dupont, even with the painful sex scenes.

Unfortunately, Mr. Wolfe seems to take his role as writing about college students a little to seriously towards the end. It really seems like at some point he looked at his watch and said, “Oh, man... I’ve got a book to turn in!”. The ending was that abrupt. And a little happier than some of the characters deserved. I just really disliked the way the ending just sort of... ended. While he painstakingly covered almost every detail in a semester for these students, he jumps ahead and then seems to stop the story. Not really sure if any of these characters really got the point of what he was trying to say.

But as mentioned, despite it’s flaws, this is really a book you need to check out for yourself.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's the Great Easter Bunny, Bad Shakespeare

Lent. Amiright?

Today is the first day of Lent, that magical time of year when McDonald’s breaks out the deals on fish sandwiches, and no one is freaked out by a magical bunny that leaves eggs all over the place and treats him like he’s normal.

I’m sure no matter what your religion, you’ve at least heard of Lent. It’s the time of year that Christians tend to “give something up” until Easter. Some people treat it like another chance at their New Years Resolutions, which at this point have been forgotten as quickly as the first Girl Scout came to their door and they find themselves knee deep in opened Thin Mint boxes and no memory of what happened the night before. But traditionally it’s a chance to give something up, deny yourself for 40 days and 40 nights. (Like the movie. That was terrible.)

I normally do this, but the thing is, this year, I don’t really feel like giving something up. Oh, I have my vices.... plenty of them. There’s plenty I can give up if I really think about it. There’s plenty I could “give up” for 40 days, then further binge on when the Easter Bunny comes out and sees his shadow on Easter Sunday. (I’m still fuzzy on the concept of what the Easter Bunny does. Give me the Great Pumpkin. THAT guy knows how to run a holiday.) 

I still think I should do something, but this year I should do something different. Things haven’t been going well for me, that much is clear. The “just wishing it would all get better” strategy isn’t working. So, I decided to use Lent to jump start a lot of what I want to do. I’ve decided that this year, I’m going to do one thing each day of Lent to improve my life in some way.

That’s sort of a lofty goal. I’m not really sure what it’s going to mean just yet every day. But for instance tomorrow, I’m going to make sure I get up and work out. One day I’m going to submit something to be published. I’m going to take more time out to relax. I’m going to play a video game instead of stressing about something that I shouldn’t stress about. Maybe it means I’ll just work harder to achieve my goals. Maybe it means I won’t raise an army of cats to do my unholy bidding. You never can tell with me.

I really think it’s more important to do than to just “give something up” or deny myself something for a few days when I will be binging on it when Lent is over. I want to see a result in myself at the end of it. I don’t intend to stop improving myself when all of it is over, but I’m hoping that this year I’ll see the results and get a chance to really keep moving forward.

But hey, at the end of the day, at least it will be fun to write about.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Let's Ban Books. You know. For the kids.

As anyone might be able to guess, I’m pretty much against censorship. I don’t know that I can make it much clearer than any of my previous posts. I don’t know that I hate much more than censorship, except for possibly the fairweather fans of Dropkick Murphys that pretend that they only rock on St. Patrick’s Day and not all year long. If you’re not blasting “Going Out In Style” every Friday Night, then you’re not living.

So, when I find out that a Fairfax woman named Laura Murphy is attempting to ban Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel Beloved from the school that I used to attend, Lake Braddock Secondary, yeah, I get annoyed. When I find out it was because her son was having nightmares, I get sympathetic and a little less annoyed. When I find out that her son was a senior in advanced placement classes, well, then the annoyance comes back and gets replaces with slight rage, along with possibly a little bit of a headache. However, the headache is from beating my head against the desk as I try to think about what I’d do if my mommy went to the school board to ban a book that was giving me nightmares. (I’d be beating my head agains the desk, probably.)

So let’s ban the books. You know. For the kids.

Now, skipping for a moment many of the quotes in the Washington Post article I read regarding Ms. Murphy and her sincere belief that she is attempting to protect her child who’s now presumably getting nightmares at the college level, I want to discuss the fact that her child was 17/18 at the time he was reading this novel. Per the article, he was reading it before bed, and it was giving him nightmares. Of course, this is why I do not watch The Walking Dead before bedtime, nor did I read the book based on the comic book series. Of course, The Walking Dead isn’t Beloved, a classic novel who’s worst crime is telling us about a time in American history when maybe we didn’t treat people as nicely as we do now. But the kid was reading at a college level. For those of you who aren’t familiar with college level classes should probably go find a college professor, and tell him that you don’t want to read a challenging book, then wait the twenty minutes it will take him to stop laughing. 

I was very fortunate in my teacher training, I had a Professor for two semesters, Zenkov. He, like me, was very much against censorship. He was against injustice. I’d like anyone to sort of talk to him about censorship for a few minutes and not get fired up. We’d do these projects where we’d think about the impact of censorship in society, but one of the things I felt we never really talked about was who is banning the books. Not for lack of consideration. But here we have a living, breathing example of someone who is making an attempt to ban a book for what I’m sure she things is a good reason. If we ignore that her son is no longer a student at the school

Look, I’m not going to sit here and pretend Beloved is a happy go lucky book that will lift up your human spirit, or that the fact that it won a Pulitzer suddenly means that it has a magic forcefield that defends it from attack. (However, the prize itself does have that forcefield, but it only extends around the author and two of their friends.) It’s a difficult book, and it can suck to read. But how about we give kids a chance to read the book. Blah, blah, blah, blah, same point I will always make. I want to go back to being outraged about the mother and son combo, since I made the obligatory attempt to be polite.

Ms. Murphy’s kid is no longer in school. When he was, he was taking an advanced class that chose to read a book that was going to be difficult. Rather than doing the “rational thing” and discussing what issues of the book may be causing nightmares, Ms. Murphy defaults to the scorched earth policy of not allowing anyone to read it again, ever, or least not in school. And she can pretend that it’s “for the kids” but her son is no longer in school. Have I said that enough? That’s on purpose. There’s a point for everyone where you have to stop going to a high school. That’s true for parents. Your kid is no longer in school? Then maybe you don’t ask to ban a book that disturbed him. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Pay No Attention to the Person Behind the Glasses

Howdy and Happy Groundhog Day! I hope that everyone is enjoying Groundhog Day and didn’t wake up to relive the day over and over again. Because if that happened, you probably have some sort of lesson to learn and well, that’s no way to spend a Saturday. Also, none of us are Bill Murray so you know it wouldn’t work out anyway. 

So it’s that time again – The Island of Misfit Toys visiting Bad Shakespeare. We like to keep things interesting. If you’re looking for Bad Shakespeare, he’s over on the Island doing something awesome ( I’d thought we’d spend this Groundhog Day talking about something very important. 


Yes, glasses. I wear glasses and have since the 4th grade. For much of my life, I’ve had sort of a complicated relationship with my glasses. We moved to Louisiana around the same time I started wearing glasses so it was a lot of adjustment all at once. Being the new kid is something I can deal with. Being the new kid who also looks like a bug in her glasses is another thing completely. I was the only kid in my class that had to wear glasses (at least in my memory). Being a 4th grader with glasses is terrible. My glasses were those plastic ones that aren’t flattering for anyone. You know the ones I’m talking about. I wore them to school and then would immediately take them off once I got to my classroom. I would keep them off until my teacher made me put them on again. Usually because I was squinting. That’s why I needed glasses in the first place.

No one likes to be different when you’re a kid. In elementary and middle school, being different is basically social suicide. You tend to find kids who like the same things you do (unicorns, Jem & the Holograms, Lisa Frank folders, and New Kids on the Block) and that’s how you make friends. If you have the newest Lisa Frank folder someone is going to want to hang out with you. Don’t even get me started on Lisa Frank unicorn Trapper Keepers. We’ll be here forever.

Unless you wear glasses. When you wear glasses you’re the nerdy kid so it doesn’t matter if you have the greatest collection of unicorn themed Lisa Frank folders (aren’t all of them unicorn themed?) and every episode of Jem & the Holograms on tape, there’s not cool about you. I spent the majority of my preteen and teen years wearing terrible glasses and hating them all the time.

Here’s what I failed to realize: glasses are very powerful method of creating an identity. If I were a superhero, glasses would hide my superhero identity from everyone. Because obviously glasses make a person look totally different than they do without glasses so it makes sense that wearing glasses would be the front for a secret identity. There was a point in my life where I wanted to be Wonder Woman. I’m fairly certain that lots of people share this desire/fantasy and most aren’t even 10 years old. Anyway, Wonder Woman’s alter ego, Diana Prince, wears glasses (both in the comics and the tv show). I have to point out that my entire experience with Wonder Woman as a child was based on the tv show starring Lynda Carter and she rocked some amazing glasses as Diana Prince. I mean, it was the late 70s. These were the kinds of glasses that hipster girls wear now when they’re trying too hard. However, didn’t want to be Diana Prince. I wanted to be Wonder Woman and she didn’t wear glasses. 

Since I was way too focused on being Wonder Woman I failed to realize that the real power might in fact lie in the concept of secret identity not in combat skills, flying an invisible plane or mastering the Lasso of Truth. What I should have done in the 4th grade was to create a secret identity for myself. I didn’t necessarily have to be a superhero since I’m not entirely sure what my superhero power would be (maybe sarcasm or 80s movie trivia) but I’m pretty certain that I could have come up with something pretty great. I mean, aren’t all little kids wickedly creative when it comes to making up stories? Weren’t we all particularly gifted in the art of fibbing? Creating a secret identity would have just been an extended fib or a slight embellishment of the truth. I would call this “telling stories” now. I should have just told a story.

I could have incorporated the fact that my family moved every few years into the story (military family). That would have totally supported the need for a secret identity. I’m not entirely sure what the glasses would have had to do with this but I could have come up with something. Anything would have been better than being “glasses face” and “nerd girl.”

As I got older, I could have pulled from Shakespearean secret identities since this was the time that I stopped watching superhero tv shows and started reading plays, specifically Shakespeare. My favorites are As You Like It and Titus Andronicus. Exile and war are totally things that high school students could get behind. The instance of disguise in Titus Andronicus is maybe not the stuff of teenage secret identity stories unless you’re interested in directing or writing horror movies. Or wanting to make a career out of baking people into pies. I still think I could have made it work. Kids will believe anything right? And it would have been totally normal to make up a fantastical story that included super powers, lost kingdoms, exile, and cannibalism. That wouldn’t have been weird at all. Or landed me in therapy for the rest of my life.

Now I’m a grown-up and I have embraced my glasses as part of me. Not wearing my glasses seems weird and unnatural. I don’t even think I need a secret identity – I just really look good in glasses. Hipsters pay lots of money for fake versions of the glasses I wear on purpose. Somehow this makes me think I won. 

Thanks for reading. If you like what you’ve read, visit me on the Island of Misfit Toys (

Friday, February 1, 2013

Me Fail English? That's Unpossible.

So, exactly one week from the time this post has been postedly posted, I will be doing something that scared the hell out of me. No, not bear hang gliding. Not gluing acorns to myself and running through squirrel packs screaming, “Lunch time!” Nor will I be attempting to fend of the upcoming robot invasion by myself. And certainly not telling my wife what I really think of her cooking. This time next week I will be taking the Praxis 2. 

DUN DUN DUHHHHHHH!!!! (If this were a movie, the camera will pull in to my closely as I admit this. Also, the line about squirrels would probably only be on the DVD extras.)

Anyway, for those of you who are not up on the lingo and don’t want to spend time Googling “Praxis 2” that’s basically a big test that if I pass says that I’m qualified to teach High School English. If I fail, then I’m only qualified to make zany comments on the internet, but I lose my amateur status and will therefor be unable to comment on the Olympics. It’s all very complicated.

The truth is, I’m scared. It’s been a rocky road up until this point. An actual rocky road, not the delicious, delicious ice cream. I’ve been studying, but there’s so much that goes on with this particular test I feel like no matter how much I study, I’m going to miss something. There are all kinds of study guides and tests, and I’ve been looking through them all, hoping to find some secret code that will allow me to hit on the magic combo that let’s me pass this test. (So far, I’ve found a code on the back of the Constitution and another one that tells me the secret ingredient to KFC. It’s salt.)

While I’m working out my fears here, on my blog in public, I also wanted to let you all know what’s coming up. For starters, this post here is going to be my second to last post until AFTER the test, in one week. So you’ll be spending next week Bad Shakespeare-less. I know that’s like taking away your Fruity Trix like I’m some fruit obsessed white rabbit, but I have to focus on studying to ensure that I hit up my dream: Being a teacher. Plus, imagine how much better the posts will be after a whole week of things going on! 

But note that I said SECOND to last for the week. Tomorrow, I’m proud to announce a special Groundhog Day crossover between Bad Shakespeare and the Island of Misfit toys. Tomorrow, you will be reading an excellent piece by The Island’s Erin Garland, and regular Island readers will be regaled by Bad Shakespeare. Remember while I’m gone to play nice with her.

However, next week at this time, please say a special prayer/thought to whatever deity you currently believe in, whether it’s God, Zeus, or Nicolas Cage, that I pass this test, and get that much closer to being a teacher. It’s Friday, people. You’re not using any of that brain power, anyway, send it to me. Me think good.

Also, remember that there are over 119 posts (120 to be exact) on this blog. If you haven’t read them yet, they’re new to you!