Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wandering Wednesday

Saw two movies recently, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Fame. Both, of course--following today's trends--based on old materials.

When we first found out Cloudy was being made into a movie, my kids were all excited.

Number One: I love that book!

Number Two: Me, too!

Mom/Dad: What's it about?

Number One: I forget.

Number Two: Me, too.

So we got the book from the library and all read it, and then a few weeks later we saw the movie, which had lots of funny parts (including Neil Patrick Harris voicing STEEEEVE!) and good casting but a pretty mediocre storyline. It just strayed too far sometimes, I thought, and instead of a hero who had good intentions but screwed things up through no fault of his own, we got a hero who was really an idiot. The "be yourself, even if you're a dork" subplot was incredibly sexist and kind of missed its own point.

Overall, fun movie, glad I paid matinee fees.

Fame was a little disappointing. Well casted, well acted, some tremendous production numbers, but no plot, no really strong character development/growth, too many things left hanging. It was a bunch of scenes just thrown together, albeit in chronological order. At one point I thought, "this would work great as a series." Heh. (For those of you too young to know, Fame was a movie that became a series, so I won't be surprised if they do that again.)

All of that makes it sound like it was terrible. It wasn't. There were some small messages that worked, even if they lacked substance because there wasn't anything supporting them. I did buy the soundtrack immediately, as well as the original theme song, and parts of the movie have stayed with me over the week.

Unfortunately, the part that has stuck hardest isn't a good one. MILD SPOILER ALERT. There's one character, a dancer, who for some reason is accepted into the school even though they don't meet the instructor's standards in the audition, and she even says to expect to go home sooner than expected. But this person does get a slot, and the only bits we see of them is demonstration that they aren't very good at what they do. Near the end, the dancer is told the instructor can't write a letter of recommendation for them, that they never met the potential they originally demonstrated, and maybe they can teach instead of perform.

That's been resonating a lot with me. Any creative performance-based industry has a tiny percentage who succeed. The vast majority don't. There's no formula, no way to tell who will make it and who won't, who will overcome a talent deficit through hard work or who will get the lucky break because circumstances align. So we all just keep plowing away, working hard, never giving up even though the obstacles are inches apart so you barely get over one before the next one is in your face.

You can't succeed if you don't assume that you won't be one of the ones who doesn't live up to their potential. But how long do you maintain that assumption? When do you realize that you can't learn enough, practice enough, produce enough to run out of obstacles? When you hit rock bottom, when you start to think that might be true of yourself, do you quit? Or do you stick a cushion on that rock to make yourself comfortable and just keep plugging away because that's what you do? Because you don't know any other way?

What's perseverance, and what's delusion?

Just some light thoughts for this wandering Wednesday.

Verdict's in already for my fall TV Schedule:

The old standbys, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory, while not superb so far, do put a nice cap on the hardest day of the week. Castle, on the other hand, has been great. Much, much better writing this season--last week's episode was their best one yet.

I have nothing. The Forgotten is...god, I don't want to say it, but it's true!...unmemorable. It was okay. Not horrible by any means. But I have no interest in watching it again.

Talk about waffling. I decided to try Eastwick but didn't have high hopes. Almost deleted the premiere unwatched, but turned it on, saw hot and sweet Matt Dallas, and settled in. But I'm not going to watch any more. I hate Darryl Van Horn, and I think it's both the actor and the character (I'd like the actor in another role, probably). I don't like a character who really grabs my sympathies turning into an immoral, selfish thief in less than an hour. I love the actress who plays the put-upon, married-to-an-ass doormat, but I hate that storyline. So I'm deleting that show from my season pass.

Modern Family and Glee I'll keep, but I ended up not watching them last night even though I could have. I'm sad that I feel that way. I prefer to be driven excitedly to the TV. Which brings me to:

I've been catching up on Fringe on DVD, and I don't feel any differently about it than I did when I stopped watching last season. I'll continue watching because I love the characters, but if I had to stop, I wouldn't miss it. The Mentalist didn't leave me happily satisfied like it usually does, but I'll keep watching because it's better than The Forgotten. Bones I still love, and I'm hopeful the things I want to happen, will. Funny thing: Number Two's teacher is fresh from college and very tall and thin with a long neck. Every time she tells me about her day and I picture him, I'm picturing Sweets. :)

FlashForward was all it was hyped to be and I'll probably stick that one out for the duration. Even Number Two is dead curious about the answers, and made me promise to tell her every week what happened, since she's too young to watch it.

Vampire Diaries? Gone.

I don't think anything needs to be said about Supernatural. :)

Nothing new here. Numb3rs and Dollhouse, providing the same things they provided last year, giving me enjoyable TV. Actually, it's interesting to juxtapose these two. Numb3rs offers the same thing every week. I know exactly what to expect and always get it. (I often disdain that about TV shows I don't watch, but this one gives me stuff *I* like, so it's okay. LOL) Dollhouse, on the other hand, is the opposite. It makes me think, sets up surprises and excitement--I never know what I'm going to get, and I love it.

There. I just spent an amazing amount of time I don't have on stuff that probably is of no interest to anyone. But then, I suppose that's what this blog is all about. :)


Victoria said...

Your post is titled: Wandering Wednesday, but today is Thursday!! LOL

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Well, yeah, today is Thursday, but check the post date! *whistles*

MJFredrick said...

I'm done with Eastwich, Vampire Diaries and The Mentalist. I like The Good Wife a lot, FlashForward and I'm finally getting into Dollhouse after seeing Epitaph One on the 4th disc of the DVD set. Fringe we watch online, since I can only record one thing at a time, and that's SPN. I watch Grey's. We also catch up on The Office online, though that may be different next week--Jim and Pam's wedding.

Steffi said...

Your blog came up in one of my NPH google alert, and wow, first of all, your banner is stunning. Second of all, I just posted my Fall tv schedule myself. I follow so many shows, then again my life revolves around tv (surprisingly, the last bit wasn't self-pity :) ).

As for Vampire Diaries, I wish Ian Somerhalder gets a much better role next time.

Victoria said...

Sneaky. Very sneaky! LOL

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Mary, I loved Epitaph One, but I'm getting a little overwhelmed with all the destiny stuff--I'd prefer NOT to know what they're leading to. :(

Hi, Mizz Snape! Thanks for clicking over! I can't take credit for the banner, it's a template I snagged at one of the free sites. But I shall thank you for your praise of my taste. LOL Ian Somerhalder was much better on LOST. His material sucks, poor guy. I take it you're also a Harry Potter fan? Me, too! BIG fan!

Vicki, *snicker*

Shannon Stacey said...

The Forgotten: Watched the first one, then I went to bed while my husband watched the second. Not only did I not find it compelling, but the amount of "cop work" going on irritated me.

One the body had a name, they were done. But no...they're in on the takedown of the suspect? Not. Cops.

Modern Family: The premiere made my only family almost die laughing. Second's on the DVR.

How I Met Your Mother: Did they Moonlight it with Barney & Robin? I loved the Barney mooning over her story, it's a little meh.

Haven't watched Numbers yet. It's on the DVR. Umm...NCIS is oh so yummy still, NCIS: LA sucks.

Smallville was meh (and has been since Lex left, but OMG, Oliver so does it for me), but the 2nd one's still on the DVR.

I've never seen Supernatural. Even though it came on after Smallville, it didn't seem like something we'd watch and we skipped it. Sadly, I can't jump into a series. Anything (like Mercy or Trauma or Grey's Anatomy or Desperate Housewives) I haven't seen from the beginning, I don't watch.

Shannon Stacey said...

Umm...once, not one.

And whole family, not only family.

I'm not even going to reread the rest. Let's just say I've been drinking.

(Not really, because it's 11:29 am, but I'd rather you think me a drunk than illiterate. *g*)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Shannon, I hate to admit it, but I didn't even notice the errors! LOL

I kind of felt the same way about The Forgotten. There's a tiny bit of leeway for Slater's character because he's former cop, but even that's really pushing it.

So far, I'm not feeling a lack because of the Barney/Robin hook-up. I don't watch the show for that, it's a small part of my enjoyment, so I think it will be okay. I don't think they're going to change Barney's character much, so...

I've always loved Oliver, but he's not enough to make me go back to Smallville. :)

I totally understand about not being able to jump in to the middle of a series. And it's definitely not recommended for Supernatural. But that's what DVDs/Netflix are for! :)