Monthly Archives: November 2012

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia: Or Why Thanksgiving Always Gets the Short End of the Stick

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Did you ever get the feeling that as far as holidays go, Thanksgiving is sort of the awkward middle sister? Think about it. Halloween is the fun baby of the fam that maybe doesn’t pull its weight but you can help loving all the same, and Christmas is the perfect older one that does everything right and makes all the youngin’s pale in comparison no matter how hard they try. And Thanksgiving is just kinda… there. In the middle. The day you think about as an afterthought after you’ve figured out your Halloween costume and before you crack down on the Christmas shopping.

Poor Thanksgiving. It sucks being in the middle. Unless you happen to be sitting in a movie theater with Hugh Jackman on one side and Johnny Depp on the other, in which case– Win! But otherwise? You’re an afterthought. No matter what you do, you can’t compete with those flashy siblings. You get called the “smart” one, when everyone knows smart is really just code for “not the pretty one.” You get all the hand-me-down clothes, and left behind at gas-station bathrooms on family trips. Maybe your parents even mistake a picture that you post on facebook during celebrity-doppleganger week as actually being you, because they genuinely can’t tell their child from a total stranger. Just throwing out some hypothetical situations, here (*cough* Mom and Dad guilt trip *cough*).

But though I can totally relate to Thanksgiving, truth be told? Even I kinda wanna get it over with so we can get on with Christmas already. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a day that’s all about eating as much as humanly possible (only I usually just call that Tuesday), and family togetherness is great and everything (bla bla bla), but Thanksgiving really drew the short end of the stick, activities-wise. I mean, no trick or treating, no candy, no costumes, no caroling, no cheesy Lifetime movies, no presents– there’s just no buildup! Maybe that’s because it has somehow miraculously escaped from being over-commercialized, but guess what? I’m a consumer! I’m that person who buys those stupid gadgets they lay out by the check-out counter that no one actually needs or even uses, but it’s only a dollar! and for some reason I desperately need it for those two seconds that I’m standing in line, even though I usually just forget it in the car afterward!

Also, it should be noted, Christmas really plays dirty. By mid-November, 99.9 is already playing Christmas music, ABC Family has already started running its 25 Days ‘Til Christmas countdown (though if you look at the title, that’s just logistically way off), and the other day at Blockbuster I saw a sequel to Mrs. Miracle starring Kaylee from Firefly. How can I NOT watch that? How can I not???? Plus, they’re premiering a new Santa movie on ABC Family (not sure what it’s even about, but it’s already TiVOed) and Holiday in Handcuffs is just sitting in my DVD case, waiting to be viewed. What shameless bid for attention, Christmas. But… well played, Navidad. Well played.

 

However, no matter how flashy and tempting early Christmas celebration may be, as a middle child myself, I have to stand in solidarity with my fellow middle siblings. Jan, I got your back. Thanksgiving, we cool. I WILL switch 99.9 to a different station, even if they are playing “All I Want For Christmas is You” (low blow, Delilah). I WILL NOT rent Mrs. Miracle 2 until the turkey has officially been eaten. I WILL NOT start my Christmas shopping until every piece of the pumpkin pie has been consumed. And I WILL NOT force my brother to watch Holiday in Handcuffs with me until Black Friday has officially begun– but then you better believe A.C. Slater and Sabrina the Teenage Witch are gonna hook up!

And furthermore, I’m going to try to remember all of my fondest memories of Thanksgiving and not be in a rush to have it over with. Like watching a marathon of Parental Control with the sibs– ’cause nothing makes you more grateful for your own parents than watching that show (even if they can’t tell you apart from Kirsten Dunst). Or spending two wonderful Thanksgivings in England and trying to explain to Brits why it’s essential to have a day where we do nothing but eat and “fat dog it” (try saying that with a British accent. It’s awesome). Or the year that I went to the Macy’s Parade with Sarah and Jeni and got haunted by a ghost (true story. Kind of…) So I guess what I’m trying to say is– Thanksgiving? I love you. Even if you are just the smart one.

 

This picture is both hilarious and disturbing. Just how I like my Thanksgivings.

 

 

 

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In Defense Of Steve Rogers: Or Why I Love, Love, Love Captain America

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The other day a good, generally intelligent friend of mine was watching The Avengers for the first time. Via a text-message session, I asked her how she was enjoying it, and she said something to the effect that it was good and all the boys in it were really yummy, except for “grumpy old grandpa Captain America.” Granted, the rest of this text-message convo soon devolved into her writing some obviously wine-fueled, slurred, incoherent texts that I still can’t quite make out if they’re hilarious or vaguely offensive to monkeys, but the fact of the matter is, she thought Captain America was the worst. Steve Rogers. Star-Spangled Sweetie Pie. My Cap’n.

It ain’t just about the muscles. I love him like this, too…

…but this doesn’t hurt, either.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard the good name of Steve Rogers slandered. When people find out that he’s my favorite Avenger, the look I generally get is a mixture of horror and confusion—much like when I attempt to get my flirt on (just kidding, of course! That look is pure revulsion). How could I possibly love high-waisted-pants-wearing Captain America when there are three other mega-hotties well-rounded, intelligent, and interesting superheroes from which to choose?

Let me break it down for you.

Captain America has the best stand-alone film.  Yep, I’m saying it. Captain America: The First Avenger is the best of the stand-alone films for each Avenger (thus far), even though for some reason no one seems to have seen it. I actually think this is the root of why most people don’t like Captain America—they have no idea where he’s coming from. So before you start arguing with me, go out and rent it; even my wine-slugging friend (re: above) was converted within the first 20 minutes of watching, and now she’s Team America. Why? Because it’s a genuinely awesome back-story that sets up a genuinely awesome character.

Though I’m looking forward to seeing the Ruffalo take his shot at a Hulk movie, the Eric Bana version was horrific (haven’t seen the Edward Norton version, so I guess I can’t say this unequivocally, but I’m pretty confident that my mind would not be changed). And Iron Man is a pretty entertaining film, don’t get me wrong; but take RDJ out of the equation and you lose 90% of the magic of that franchise (this was proven during the second film, when pretty much any time Mr. Stark wasn’t onscreen proved to be a total snooze fest). The same goes for Thor, which rides 95% on the sheer muscular blonde hunkiness of Chris Hemsworth. This is not to say that Chris Evans doesn’t do an awesome job capturing the Cap’n, ‘cause he does. But even without him as the heart and soul, the film stands on its own. The cinematography is sooo pretty. It is genuinely funny and romantic and sad. The supporting cast is awesome as well, including the always-fabulous Tommy Lee Jones, my not-so-secret love Stanley Tucci (aka the “Tucc-meister”), and my girl-crush, Haley Atwell. Which brings me to my next point…

Captain America has the best love interest. Isn’t the Hulk in love with some chick named Betty? I honestly can’t remember. Jane and Thor have okay chemistry but spend barely two seconds together, and then we’re supposed to buy that he’s all torn up about being trapped in a separate universe? Umm, I’ve watched Doctor Who; you can’t trick me with a lackluster stuck-in-an-alternate-universe love conflict when I’ve already seen the ultimate tragedy that is Ten and Rose (plus, Natalie Portman is so… Natalie Portman). I actually like Pepper Pots, but it really annoys me that Iron Man is set in the 21st Century and she’s still written as his long-suffering secretary/assistant. Couldn’t she have been a business partner or a member of his board of advisors or something? It wouldn’t have changed the plot that much and then she wouldn’t have had to be pining all the time.

Then you have Agent Carter, who not only knows how to rock a red dress and shoot in heels, but has a soft and tender side that only Steve’s big-old puppy heart can access—when she isn’t too busy shooting at him for being a big dumb bag of hormones. And to top it all off, she is actually the Cap’s superior. She is part of the war effort long before Steve Rogers gets involved, and her backstory doesn’t include any kind of dead brother or dog or fiancé (going on film canon here, not comic books)—she does it because she’s awesome and it’s the right thing to do and she can. She is woman, hear her roar. So it turns out that even though Captain America is supposed to be the old-fashioned one of the Avenger bunch, he’s the one who has a thing for a smart, independent woman whose entire life doesn’t revolve around him. Hmm. Who’s the grumpy old grandpa now?

And really, the ending? You must not have a heart if you weren’t rooting for Steve and Peggy to somehow, through some miracle, get their dance. And if you didn’t tear up a little during the Avenger’s deleted scenes when Steve realizes Peggy is still alive but can’t bring himself to call her? You monster. Why are you like this??? I heart these two so much. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I’m still hoping for a miracle—thank goodness for fan fiction.

(Don’t believe me? Watch this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dehn8RqOt7U)

Captain America has the best heart. Like, seriously. Sometimes he may seem like a crotchety, do-goody old grandpa, but inside he’s a puppy. A wide-eyed, golly-geeing, adorkable puppy.

Steve Rogers is so not cool. On the outside he’s this ridiculously handsome, buff dude, but on the inside he’s still that scrawny little geek who wears his heart on his sleeve and got his trash kicked pretty much every single day of his life. He’s the guy who doesn’t know how to talk to girls and will stick up for what he believes is right, even when he has to risk his own life—or worse, look like a total tool. To paraphrase Chris Evans himself (I may or may not have accidentally stumbled across a few youtube interviews. Accidentally. By total and complete chance): “Captain America may not be the coolest or the handsomest, and he may not even have the best powers, but he’s the guy who will show up to help you move or drive you to the airport.” Yeah, he’s that guy, the one you take for granted until he’s gone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucb3Ck8YVWo

To put things in Jane Austen terms (because, who wouldn’t compare the Avengers to Jane Austen novels??), Steve Rogers may not be Darcy or Wentworth or even Bingley, but he’s Colonel Brandon. And we could all use a few more Colonel Brandons in our life. (For the record, Iron Man is Frank Churchill, the Hulk is Knightley with a twist of Wentworth, and Thor is a male Emma.  … I’ve thought a lot about this. Perhaps too much… )

So, yes, Captain America may not be super suave and charming like Iron Man, or super brilliant and green-ish like the Hulk, or super handsome and Fabio-haired like Thor, but I’ll take that star-spangled, ma’am-saying, inner-geek Steve Rogers any day. By the way, Cap, can you water my plants and get my mail while I’m out of town? You will—and you’ll even vacuum the floor and wash my sheets while I’m gone? What a guy.