Curiosity Killed the Cate

Not yet, of course, but I’m sure someday it will…

movies I saw on planes or Must Hate Dogs November 28, 2005

Filed under: Movies — catherineeliza @ 5:55 pm

Here is a mini review of the movies I saw on the way to and from Rio. I’m writing it mostly so I can be snarky about one movie in particular, but I’ll save that for a little later.

First, I saw Mr. & Mrs. Smith. I didn’t see this movie in the theatre, and now I’m sorry that I didn’t because I really enjoyed it. In fact I enjoyed it so much, I watched it twice (that and I can’t really sleep on planes). It’s just what you would expect, fantastical and silly, but the banter is really quite enjoyable, and I don’t know where else you could find such a good looking couple.

Next I watched Batman Begins which I was excited to see after hearing good things about it all summer. Unfortunately, it didn’t agree with me. I thought it was a bit boring, and I can’t fathom why Gary Oldman took the part of earnest policeman. I actually fell asleep during this movie, so maybe I should be grateful to it.

Okay, that was the trip to Rio. On the way back I had been hoping for Bewitched which we had seen offered in the on-flight magazine earlier, but I was disappointed. Instead we had A Lot Like Love, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Must Love Dogs (guess which one I want to be snarky about? Just guess.)

First I watched A Lot Like Love because I knew Ty Giordano in it. I expected to hate it (I don’t like Amanda Peet), but I didn’t. It had it’s moments (especially the scenes with Ty). Then I watched the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and wished I had watched more of it. Then I watched Must Love Dogs. Big mistake.

I thought, “well, I like Diane Lane and John Cusack, so how bad can it be, really?” Well, they showed me. Here’s a list of reasons to hate this movie:

  1. Diane Lane would NEVER have to resort to internet dating to meet guys in any universe. I’m sorry, but some things are to absurd to be believed, even for a couple of hours.
  2. John Cusack plays a boat builder who never sells any boats, and pays alimony, yet he has a huge, nicely furnished house, and no side job. Do you see an income source, because I don’t.
  3. The entire premise of this movie is that the worst possible situation that one can find themselves in is being single. It never occurs to anyone in the movie that Diane and John could just, I don’t know, be single for a while? Instead Diane registers with every online dating service known to man, and goes out with seemingly anyone who responds in desperate attempts to avoid being SINGLE. Not only do I find this very offensive as a single person, I also find it disheartening. If Diane Lane can’t find a date, what hope have I? And this movie is marketed as a comedy!!
  4. I don’t really like dogs that much.

The only highlight of this movie that I can think of is seeing the cast sing the theme song to the Partridge Family. That was funny.


Pride and Prejudice movie review November 25, 2005

Filed under: Movies — catherineeliza @ 5:06 pm

Before I begin my movie review I have two warnings:

This post may contain spoilers.


This post with express MY opinions. It is very possible that you will agree with some or all that I say, and that’s perfectly fine with me. I don’t wish to get into any arguments or heated debates. I intend to nitpick because I enjoy it.

I intend to start off with the negative, and end with the positive. This movie was obviously meant to be very romantic, and I sometimes enjoyed that. Sometimes I did not. I believe the cardinal rule of adaptation of a novel to the silver screen is to be true to the spirit of the book. Sometimes you can do this without being true to the very letter of the written word, sometimes you can’t. When adapting a comedy of manners, such as, I don’t know Pride and Prejudice let’s say, the details matter. The time period matters. The words matter.

This being said, here are some things that I did not like in this particular adaptation:

  • The costumes. This wasn’t a huge problem for me overall, but I did feel like they tried to make Elizabeth too much of a tom-boy by dressing her in neutrals (a LOT of brown). Also, we see Miss Bingley at a ball in what looked to me like underwear-appalling! And lastly (spoiler!) the ending climax between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy occurs while she is wandering outside in her nightgown! I was truly mortified at the thought of her wearing no underclothes.

  • The times went the romance went too far. Instance one, during the 2nd ball, everyone disappears except Elizabeth and Darcy. Way too heavy handed; are we really too stupid to pick up on their connection without the West Side Story moment? Not only that, but if you MUST show them alone, it should last a few moments, not a few minutes (okay minutes is an exaggeration, but I bet it was 30 seconds).

  • There was too much of us watching Lizzie think. Guess what; that’s boring. There is actually one scene where we watch her stare into a mirror while the sun goes down. It looks like she was staring at herself for at least three hours! Absurd.

  • The scene where we look at Lizzie standing on a cliff. Very romantic, very much cheating, if you ask me. This is not Wuthering Heights.

  • Now, here’s a biggie. The first proposal scene. It started off fine, but it ended all wrong. I feel quite strongly that the first proposal should be entirely about Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s fault coming to a head. I think the should part furious with each other; the end of the fight should part with a big, passionate bang. I felt in this movie, Darcy slunk away with his tail between his legs.

  • The second proposal scene. Again, very romantic, and very cheaty. SHE’S NOT WEARING UNDER GARMENTS! I really hated that, can you tell? Elizabeth didn’t say what she’s supposed to say. I really cannot think how they thought it was okay to ignore Austen’s dialogue in the climactic scene.

  • The ending. Hated it, hated it, hated it. It almost ruined the movie for me. They went to great efforts to make everything very urgent, and then we had to wait forever for the movie to end. Here’s how I would end it (if I felt the book ending wasn’t good enough, which of course it is! But for argument’s sake, say we NEED a kiss), Lizzie bursts out of the house after speaking to her father, jumps into Darcy’s arms, and they kiss. Viola!

Here’s my positives:

  • Loved the emphasis on the Bennett family. I felt this movie did a really good job of showing the familial relationships, and especially in giving personality to each Bennett girl. Most adaptations basically ignore Kitty and Mary, but I really enjoyed all of the girls in this one.

  • This movie had my favorite Jane ever.

  • I did enjoy the kinder gentler Mr. Darcy. I liked his awkward shyness clearly being the cause for the original rudeness. He needed a little more passion, but overall, enjoyable.

  • I liked Lydia, surprisingly enough. I don’t know how Jena Malone stays eternally young, but I thought she was a refreshingly young and foolish Lydia (compared to other actresses that have played her in film adaptations) rather than just a brat.

  • Over romantisizing aside, the landscapes in this movie are breathtaking.


The girls from Ipanema I November 22, 2005

Filed under: Manhattan Life — catherineeliza @ 11:33 am

Okay, here’s my post on our vacation to Rio. I forewarn you, it will include more photos than you’re interested in, and probably more info too. We went during the “off season” and it was cloudy most of the time that we were there. But the climate was very temperate (between 20-30 degrees Celsius) the whole time, and Erin and I had a wonderful time. The above, left-hand picture is our hotel, Caesar Park (the reddish building. We were on floor 13 which I had understood no hotel to have, but maybe Brazilians are less superstitious that I had thought).

The right-hand picture is the first afternoon we were there, we climbed up a hill at the edge of Ipanema Beach, and here’s a picture of the beach we were on. We also walked over to Copacabana Beach, but I liked Ipanema a little better. The surprising thing was that the roads were right by the beach, so there was always traffic noise even if you were down by the water. Ipanema was a little wider than Copacabana, so a little less noise.

Here I am playing on the Copacabana Beach our first day. Somehow, standing in the waves never gets old. After playing on the beach for a bit, Erin and I ventured inland a bit to find somewhere to eat dinner. We stopped at the first place that looked good, and were tickled to find out it was the restaurant wherein “The Girl From Ipanema” was written, inspired by the beauty of the local girls walking down the street. We decided that the important thing to eat while in Brazil is meat, so Erin got beef and I got some chicken with fried bananas. Good. Very good. As an added bonus, our waiter told us no less than five times that he loved us, especially after Erin tipped him $6 “Real” dollars (Brazilian money which is worth roughly half of what an American dollar is worth).

I mention our waiter specifically because he’s going to enter our little story again, so don’t forget him. Next day, Saturday. We attend a little thing called The Caesar Park (our hotel)breakfast buffet. Well first, let me tell you that Caesar Park is a very nice hotel. They have apples on their reception desk, yes, we’re talking big time. The Bell Hops bring your luggage to your room, not following you, no, they just know where you are because Caesar Park cares about their guests. In our room, which was overall just really nice (there was a telephone in the bathroom, yo) we had bathrobes and slippers waiting for us. We had a fully stocked minibar (where the juice cost more than the booze, go figure), two big beds, special beach towels, chocolates on our pillows, a local newspaper, and a beach view.


The girls from Ipanema II November 21, 2005

Filed under: Manhattan Life — catherineeliza @ 1:40 pm

So, back to the buffet, it was loverly. We chose to be sat outside on the deck beside the pool (why is there a pool when we’re right beside the beach?), and then we feasted. I justified eating two breakfasts every day because they were free, and then we just had one other meal during the day, but the real reason is because it was so good. They had all kinds of tropical fruits to choose from, as well as eggs, pancakes, waffles, cereals, doughnuts, pastries, etc. Erin ate everything exotic, and I nothing. Well that’s not true, Erin did get me to try a fruit which I’ve forgotten the name of, but looked like, and were described as big cherries. They were yucky. She also made me try something else that I forgot, but I didn’t like. I did approve of everything else, that I did recognize.
The first day we decided to go right to Corcovado, which is a must see in Rio.

We took the bus (the concierges (pl?) seemed surprised every day that we wanted to take the bus instead of taxis) to the area, and were walking to the train that goes up the mountain when we were waylaid by a car service rep. that said for the same price, they would drive us up the mountain and we could stop where ever we wanted for photo ops, etc. He did the schpiel in French, so Erin agreed. Here’s one of our pictures from a helicopter landing pad about halfway up the mountain. Also, here’s a lizard that I saw. Erin found it very amusing that I was always excited to see lizards where we went. Luckily for you, I didn’t take pictures of all of them.

We also saw some very cute monkeys on this mountain, but didn’t get a picture.
We got to the top of the mountain, and saw the largest Jesus statue in existence. Besides his lack of pupils, I thought he looked very nice. It was a bit disconcerting that his heart was on the
outside of his body, but overall nice. I confess, I had the instinct to pose in front of the statue with my arms outstretched, but I decided it would be sacrilegious. Other tourists disagreed.


The girls from Ipanema III November 20, 2005

Filed under: Manhattan Life — catherineeliza @ 3:19 pm

Can you find me in this picture?
Afterwards we went to a Brazilian art museum. It was very small, but also very inexpensive, so no complaints. It seems that the painting in South America evolved very differently from European painting. Realism has no value, and everything is very brightly colored. Here’s my favorite piece:

After that, we were off to the beach. We got our things at the hotel, and walked across the street to the beach, where we uttered the magic words to an attendant, “Caesar Park.” Before we knew it, we were set up with two cushioned beach chairs on the beach (we could have had an umbrella too). From there we were free to lounge to our heart’s content. The only distraction are the millions of vendors that wander the beach. I quickly learned to close my eyes when they were coming and pretended to be asleep.
On Sunday we went to the Hippie Fair, which might have been my favorite thing we did. I didn’t hear anyone haggling, and while it might have saved me a bit, I was relieved not to feel that I had to.

Also, the vendors didn’t try to pressure you at all, which was so nice. We did about two laps, and then we made our respective purchases. Very fun. After that we walked around downtown for a bit, and then went back to the beach.

Monday, our last day, we went Botanical Garden which was very fun. Oh, I’ll take this moment to also tell you why Brazilian buses are better than the mta. For one thing, there seem to be hundreds of them. It also doesn’t seem to matter what bus stop you’re standing at (or even being at a bus stop for that matter). You just wave at the bus you want, and they pick you up. Most of the fares were about the American equivalent of 90 cents, and you don’t have to have exact change, there’s a cashier on the bus. I think NYC should change to this system because it would create more jobs, and be safer because the bus driver just drives, he doesn’t have to argue with anyone. Editorial over, the gardens were fun to walk around in, and we saw some more monkeys. They had a very nice grotto that I enjoyed.

After the gardens we went to the other big tourist attraction in Rio, Sugarloaf. It’s a large peak from which you can see all of Rio (the most exciting thing to do in Rio, apparently, is to climb up high and look down on the city).

We rode cable cars to the top of Sugarloaf, where I found a new boyfriend (please disregard his wife standing behind us). At Sugar loaf we gazed down on the city of Rio, much like we had at Corcovado. And guess who else was at the top of Sugarloaf that day? You guessed it, our waiter from the first night. Erin recognized him, but did say anything,and then he recognized us! I know that people are allowed to be tourists in their own city’s, but it was quite a coincidence that he chose to be so the same day we did. He asked us when we were coming back to visit him at the restaurant, and then told us to be careful what we said in front of his wife! Weird. Sadly, we told him we’d be returning to New York later that day, so we would never see him again, but it was delightful to see him twice.

And thus ends my tale of our adventures in Rio de Janeiro. My last words on the subject are about the soda. I was told that Guarina Arctica was the best drink ever, and we had to try it. We immediately bought two bottles of it, but alas, I did not like it. Luckily, it wasn’t the worst so we drank it, and I found a drink called Soda which I liked very much; it was a lime drink. I also ended up with some Brazilian money, but maybe we can use it on our next visit; after all, our visas last for five years, and it would be a shame not to use them…
Stay tuned for film reviews of the movies we watched on out 10 hour flights to and from Brazil.


Look at my niece! November 18, 2005

Filed under: Manhattan Life — catherineeliza @ 3:26 pm

This is Kate. She’s such a cutey!


Mary Engelbreit Crockpot!! November 16, 2005

Filed under: Food,Product Placement — catherineeliza @ 10:54 am

Can I live without this? Doubtful.