Tuesday, February 22, 2011

DRACULA by Bram Stoker

Jordan Bradt: I found a copy of DRACULA by Bram Stoker at a garage sale for twenty-five cents. The cover says: Wal*Mart 2 for $1. Sad I missed that sale. I love classics, but I’m never sure what to expect from them. Good, bad, or dry? I must give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

It wasn’t dry. Some parts were a little slow…like do I care what the guy has to eat? The rest was dark and flowed smoothly. Part of the appeal might be that I’ve heard so much about it, I couldn’t wait to judge for myself. Although it was written in 1897, I didn’t find any jarring, arcane references to the past. It sounded like something modern.

For the fact I don’t hate this book, I really can’t rant about it. Read it. If you like the darkness, if you enjoy classics, and if vampires are your thing, pick this up.

Also, make sure to let me know if Wal-Mart ever has this kind of sale again!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

MEAN GIRLS 2

Jordan Bradt: I loved the movie Mean Girls. In the teen genre, I found the film unique. Teenage girl moves from Africa to America, has trouble fitting in, and falls in with the popular crowd. In the end, she found the true meaning of friendship amongst twists, famous faces, drama, romance, and some amazing quotes. Some of those have even ended up as Facebook pages, and I “liked” them. So, I was thrilled to see an ad for Mean Girl 2 on ABC Family. Of course I DVR’d it, watched it, and wondered why I’d just spent over an hour wasting my time.

What made Mean Girls unique was replicated. One good thing done over makes two good things? No, doesn’t work like that. The story takes place at North Shore High School, which might be in Ohio. I had difficulty understanding the location. The principal is the same, which I found refreshing, since his character is upbeat, perky, and comedic. While Mean Girls included famous actors and actresses like Tina Fey and Lindsey Lohan, to name only two of many, Mean Girls 2 contained…okay, I give up, I don’t even know their names. I recognized the principal, Abby (who is the actress who plays on Wizards of Waverly Place), and the quiet girl who comes out of nowhere to say she regrets losing her virginity (the actress who played on Suite Life of Zack and Cody). I’m guessing for this “edgy” teen drama, they chose from Disney channel? Um, okay, great way to demean role models for children. There’s also a lot of random swearing. Words seemed to be included just to have cussing. They added nothing substantial to the dialogue.

Mean Girls: teenage girl moves from Africa to North Shore. She has trouble fitting in because she’s clueless.
Mean Girls 2: Teenage girl moves from somewhere else in America to North Shore. She has trouble fitting in because she’s “tough” and wants to be alone to avoid…getting hurt, I guess. It never really stressed why she had rules for being a loner. She wants to get into Carnegie Melon, because that’s where her mother who passed away before she was one went.

MG: The main character, Kady, makes friends with two outcasts. One of the outcasts is an artist.
MG2: The main character, whose name I don’t even remember other than people called her New Girl, is paid to become friends with an outcast named Abby. Abby is an artist.

MG: The mean girls are called the “Plastics.” The leader is a manipulative slut. Who has a guy she falls all over, but also wants to get with Kady’s crush. The leader has two followers, a ditzy, brainless whore and a snob.
MG2: The mean girls are also called the “Plastics.” The leader is a manipulative slut with a boyfriend who falls all over her (I remember his name! Nick!). The main character, New Girl, likes this other guy, but the Leader is dating him. Actually, they are siblings. Leader also has two followers: a ditzy, brainless whore and a snob. These followers look just like the followers from Mean Girls, in regards to hair color.

MG: The Plastics play mean tricks on people. Kady joins them, and becomes another Plastic. She is horrified when her crush calls her out on it. She also loses her friends.
MG2: The Plastics are still playing mean tricks on people, but New Girl doesn’t join them. She makes her own “gang” and eventually becomes just like the Plastics. Her boyfriend calls her out on it. She loses him and her friends, although her friends only leave her after they find out she’s getting paid to be nice to Abby.

MG: Kady makes everything better by apologizing.
MG2: New Girl apologizes and gets back at the Plastics. The Leader and Nick are arrested. Everyone likes New Girl again.

MG: The movie ends with a romantic dance, which includes the crowning of Prom King and Queen. The main characters are friends again with happily ever afters.
MG2: The movie also ends with a romantic dance and the same crowning. The main friends connect in happily ever after mode.

Mean Girls 2, I am sorely disappointed in your lack of originality. Even the main plots seem overused, such as going to the same college as a lost parent and being paid to be someone’s friend. The tough girl. The romance issues. Struggling to make ends meet at home (although that plot wasn’t really touched upon, other than mentioning her tuition money).

ABC Family, you also disappoint me, in your lack of wholesome material. Not only was the cussing uncalled for, but on a family channel, it should’ve been bleeped out. New Girl is upset about being a virgin, and after the dance, it’s hinted she gave her virginity to her boyfriend. There’s nothing wrong with being a virgin in high school. Girls already feel enough pressure to “lose it” without having that feeling endorsed through a movie. The movie also showed wild parties with drinking (one girl was shown drunk) without repercussions and poisoning food with a (maybe bulimic) girl’s medicine to induce vomiting. Gangs are okay for school, so long as the members don’t find out you’re getting paid to be someone’s friend. You can get out of jail time if your family is rich.

Watch the movie for your own opinions, but don’t expect intellectual stimulation. What you will get is the feeling you’ve heard “Carnegie Mellon University” so many time, you have to go.

Stephanie Bradt: Mean Girls 2. The stereotypically bad made-for-tv sequel. Honestly, this is too easy. I mean, the odds were already stacked against this having any chance of being considered anything BUT a really bad movie. Actually, I do not even know where to start. I did not understand this movie. I do not remember any of it after two days. That should speak volumes. Bad Movie Elements:

Predictability: Come on. I know this is a sequel, but really? I called the entire movie within the first ten minutes. That is largely thanks to all the clich├ęs. For example:

Overused Plot Point #283—Person A initially becomes “friends” with Person B for an ulterior motive. Persons A and B actually become friends. It gets out to Person B that Person A had motives. Person B sad. Person A says “It’s not like that! It’s different now!” Person B still sad. Person A does something to redeem himself or herself. Persons A and B are friends again. Real friends this time.

Overused Plot Point #197—Parent dies. Well meaning surviving child wants nothing more than to attend deceased parent’s alma mater. More on the alma mater later.

Then there is the fact that they basically recycled the plot of Mean Girls. But not effectively. At all. I did like that they used Tim Meadows again as the principal. He was one of my favorite parts of Mean Girls, but here he isn’t given much to work with.

Also, I think that Carnegie Mellon must have paid for this film to brainwash people into going to their school. They said “Carnegie Mellon University” every two seconds. Just like that. Just in case you forget. And look what happened: I do not remember the main character’s name, but I certainly remember what school her dead mother went to!

One more stupid scene that bothered me: A video of the girl telling a guy she hasn’t had a relationship or something like that leaks out and is played on the giant television set in the main foyer for the entire school to see. All the students who happened to be there, 100-200 ish, drop what they’re doing and watch. One student says, “You are a virgin!” Then all the aforementioned students point and laugh hysterically. Chaos ensues….Okay, 1) She never said she was a virgin. 2) Is it really SO unusual for someone in high school to be a virgin? So much so that the rest of the school finds the whole thing mind-bogglingly hilarious? 3) How the hell did that video make it to the school’s giant television screen? 4) Keep in mind this originally premiered on ABC Family. 5) Is this really the earth-shattering climax of this entire good-for-nothing movie? Really?

I know there is more I wanted to say about this film, but it is not coming to me. This was a half-baked and non-academic review but the bottom line is I can’t help it. All I remember about this movie is the poor acting, overused plot points, and Carnegie Mellon University.