Tuesday, July 24, 2012

You Find Out...

"You Find Out Who Your Friends Are"

July 11, 2012

Tracy Lawrence perhaps said it best — cheezily but truly — when he noted that in adversity,

You find out who your friends are,
Somebody’s gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas, get there fast,
Never stop and think “What’s in it for me?” or “it’s way too far”
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who your friends are.

Or, in the words of a beautiful Steve LaRocque play I worked on a few years ago, “Life is largely a matter of who shows up” — and, as a very important corollary, who doesn’t show up. When everything’s not coming up roses and life does rain on your parade, who’s going to rally to your side instantly? Some of us have many — hopefully all of us have at least a few — of those people.

I look back on the last, oh, quarter-of-a-century, and I think, like Whitman, that I no doubt deserve my enemies, but I don’t believe I deserve my friends. When I think of all the spontaneous embraces and the four a.m. phone calls and the crazy random road trips that have carried me through the worst when times have been colossally crappy, I am overcome with a sense of proper gratitude and circumspection for how fortunate I have been to have such an incredible network of friends. It has never been so abundantly manifest to me as the past year, when I saw friend after friend bolster and buoy me through some very difficult times, selflessly offering their time, money, encouragement, support, and most of all, themselves. When we’re tempted to dwell on the negatives — who in our lives has let us down, who we’re disappointed by, who we feel abandoned by, who we wish was by our side — sometimes it behooves us to remember that for every one who doesn’t stick around, there are a dozen who will. All of us are battered, broken screw-ups in some regard or another, and none of us are ultimately deserving of the love we have so freely been offered over the years, but for some reason unbeknownst to us, a few kind (or crazy) souls will go on offering it anyway. You’re never really alone, even when you most feel like it. So don’t worry about who’s going to show up; the people who are meant to will. Some people will only make a cameo appearance in your life, but the ones who count will be treading the boards with you from the opening number to the grand finale.

Walker Percy once wrote that we love those who know the worst of us and don’t turn their faces away — words, indeed, to live by. At my worst, I can be pretty damn icky. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I can be flaky and indecisive. I can be dishonest. I can be a drama queen. I can be impossible to handle. I can (and do) have the emotional lability of a manic-depressive on speed. I’m not always a good friend to myself or others. I have hurt some of the people I love most in the world — especially in recent years. But at the end of the day, the people who love me have forgiven me for my stupidest stunts, weathered through my best attempts to drive them away, and refused to leave my side in spite of my flaws, my shortcomings, my failures. That’s what real friendship looks like. And I have some damn fine friends.

The funniest thing about all of this is that in the fullness of time, we become the person our friends see. We become worthy of care by being cared for. We become worthy of trust by being trusted. We become worthy of love by being loved. Our dearest friends thus become a mirror held up to ourselves, showing us the truth amidst all the distortions. In Russian literature, there’s a concept called the “unfinalizability of the human person,” which basically upholds that the only person you can ever truly know is yourself, and that your own self-perception is the most accurate one. I would dare to challenge that in a court of law; I think our own eyes have prohibitive scales obscuring our vision, and that it’s the vision of those who love us that is the true one. Identity crises become impossible when you recognize that you are loved, that you have a unique, unrepeatable, irreplaceable spot in the cosmos and in the hearts of those who love you. And when we love and support one another, we plumb through all the bullshit and create a transtemporal symphony of our truest selves.

So, the country canard is right: when the rubber meets the road …you find out who your friends are. Disappointing, sometimes, disillusioning, absolutely. But the ones who matter will stick, no matter what. To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, be who you are and say what you feel, because the folks who mind don’t matter, and the folks who matter don’t mind.

Lest we forget.

Monday, July 23, 2012

5 Things...

... I'd tell my teen self.

1. It doesn't get better. Sorry, kid, but everyone lied to you. It doesn't get better, however, you do get stronger. You endure enough of the insults, you withstand enough of the comings and goings, you bear enough of the hardships, and pretty soon, those things will slide off of you like warm butter going down your throat. You won't really be immune to it, not really. Not completely. But it doesn't get you down as much. You don't cry as much as you used to, or hate as hard as you used to. You'll learn to let go of thoughts of revenge and vindication. You'll learn to laugh at other things and you'll be all the better for it. So, my little friend, endure.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Connie & Carla

I first saw Connie & Carla when it came out 8 years ago and I absolutely adored it! Nia Vardalos's and Toni Collette's portrayal as the titular bestfriends are a perfect blend of naive, idealistic, sweet, and sassy. However, their light shined the most when they donned their tranny personas and snapped their tiny, non-man-fingers as the act at a dinner-theater-to-be in Los Angeles. Throw in a few other woah-men plus some David Duchovny and you're sure to find yourself laughing along with the audience of Connie & Carla's ridiculous drag show.

Actress and writer Nia Vardalos, who became an overnight sensation with My Big Fat Greek Wedding, returns to the big screen with this gender-bending comedy. Connie (Vardalos) and Carla (Toni Collette) are best friends who've shared the same dream ever since they were teenagers -- making a name for themselves in the musical theater. However, after years of treading water on Chicago's dinner theater circuit and playing bottom-of-the-barrel nightclubs, the two are facing middle age with minimal career success. One evening after a performance, Connie and Carla have the misfortune of witnessing the murder of nightclub owner Frank (Michael Roberds) by low-level Mafiosi; the gals are seen by the shooters, and they hit the road in fear for their lives. Connie and Carla end up in Los Angeles, where they struggle to create new identities for themselves. After witnessing a drag review at a nightclub, they realize that even they have more talent than most of the men performing that evening, and they decide to pose as female impersonators in hopes of landing a gig. Connie and Carla's new act is an immediate hit, and soon they're the toast of L.A.'s gay community. But the women discover it's difficult to keep on fooling people into believing they're men, and things become even more complicated when the Mobsters discover that Connie and Carla are in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Connie finds herself falling for Jeff (David Duchovny), a regular guy looking for his cross-dressing brother who can't understand why he's developing a crush on a drag queen.


Disney's Prom. Where to begin? Disney's Prom gives you exactly what you expect it to: a flat story, some cheesy lines, but for a few minutes, some cotton candy enjoyment. It is something to watch when you have nothing to watch at all. Without the charm of Disney's earlier stuff, plus the lackluster cast, the only true reason to watch it is boredom. And even then, you'll still get a little bored. But oh, this one has a surprisingly good soundtrack!

At "Prom," every couple has a story and no two are exactly alike. Several intersecting stories unfold at one high school as the big dance approaches; "Prom" portrays the precarious passage from high school to independence as some relationships unravel and others ignite. For Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden), it's a battle of wills as she finds herself drawn to the guy (Thomas McDonell) who gets in the way of her perfect prom. Fellow seniors Mei (Yin Chang) and Tyler (De'Vaughn Nixon) harbor secrets, while others face all the insecurity and anticipation that surrounds one of high school's most seminal events. There are hundreds of nights in high school, but there's only one "Prom."

The Dark Knight Rises

There is little to say about Christopher Nolan's final installment in his Dark Knight Trilogy that hasn't already been said. Combined with Nolan's visual genius is a stunning cast and a heart-stopping screenplay that will resonate in the hearts of Batman and DC fans the world over. It will create a new army of comic book geeks that'll keep the spirit of the Dark Knight alive, and carry it with them for a long time. The epic conclusion indeed.

It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane..

Magic Mike

Let me begin by saying that by no stretch of the imagination did I go in to watch Magic Mike expecting a bevy of emotions to paralyze and transfix me. Lo and behold, I was correct. While not horrible, I found that this film just about balances the objectifying female gaze (meaning yes, we do enjoy watching these men) and comedy. So, to me, it is just like any other chick-flick that Hollywood has thrown at us. No one's performance was exemplary, but I did find some rather useless characters -- Olivia Munn's character Cody Horn's character.

Set in the world of male strippers, Magic Mike is directed by Steven Soderbergh and stars Channing Tatum in a story inspired by his real life. The film follows Mike (Tatum) as he takes a young dancer called The Kid (Pettyfer) under his wing and schools him in the fine arts of partying, picking up women, and making easy money.

The Amazing Spider-Man

Getting a little behind on my movies list, so please do forgive me for this sudden onslaught of posts...

Marc Webb's take on the unbelievably limber comic hero Spider-man is a far more thrilling adventure than any reboot has a right to be. Led by Andrew Garfield's angsty, sarcastic, and (forgive the term, but for lack of a better word) swaggerific Peter Parker, this web-slinging, building-swinging roller coaster ride delivers where the original trilogy failed to go. His combination of youthful (in)exuberance and wry humor creates this illusion of teenage rebellion that puts the cherry on top of this delicious action-packed sundae. And as lady luck would have it, Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy makes for a far better female lead than Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane. The awkward yet charming chemistry between the two makes for a surprisingly sweet addition to the otherwise darker remake.

The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents' disappearance - leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), his father's former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors' alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Cynics

A year later and I still have nothing good to say about the Romantics. The entire film was a disappointment, save for this one bright light: the most honest cinematic conversation of the year.


Remnants of a beautiful birthday. [=

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Harry Potter Fun Facts

Since it is awesome/ always relevant and my life obviously lacks any interesting content.

Friday, July 6, 2012


"Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it in tact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."

-- C.S. Lewis

Sunday, July 1, 2012


It's officially July 2. Guess the one day a year I get of accepted self-important pretenses is over!

Still, thank you for all the greetings, visits, and presents. It was much appreciated.