Mad Men Recap: Season 7, Episode 7: One Small Step for Man, One Giant Step for SC&P

Mad Men Recap
Season 7, Episode 7
**SPOILER ALERT

This week’s episode, “Waterloo,” was the season finale for the year and brings us one step closer to the ending of the show. Season 7 thus far has been focused primarily on the dichotomy between what is the past and future of not only the agency, but of the world at hand. The entire episode was encapsulated the July 1969 moon landing, this pivotal moment in history was beautifully presented on the show and every character experienced it in their own way. There was a commonality to it all, with the presence of live television, at a time before people were streaming videos to their smart phones and tablets, everyone sat around their TV set waiting for it to air. People watched together and there was a communal world view or sense that the world was on the verge of changing and the future was no longer a thing to admire from far away, but something that was happening right before their eyes. The world that Don Draper inhabits is changing, the people he once loved have changed and the Draper we once knew ebbs and flows from a charming, charismatic person to a depressed, lifeless one. Somewhere in the middle is where we find him now and where he will end up in the finale of the entire show that has yet to be seen.

Let’s take a final recap back at Sunday night’s episode and discuss what occurred.

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Movie Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Directed by Wes Anderson
Written by Wes Anderson and Hugo Guiness
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As a child every time I went to Disneyland, one of my favorite traditions was to stop off at the brightly lit, old fashioned penny arcade. Armed with a pocket full of pennies, I would use them all up at the row of Mutoscopes. Invented around the turn of the century, the Mutoscope was one of the first devices to allow people to watch movies or moving pictures. The coin operated device operates with a system of cards that are shown, where by the viewer looks through the lens and sees the cards moving almost like a flip book. Some of the reels shown depicted comedic performances or heart-felt almost borderline cheesy dramas. When I saw Wes Anderson’s most recent film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, if one was to capture and pause a scene in the movie it would be reminiscent of those silent era Vaudevillian reels.

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Anderson  also reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock, who was obsessed and almost fetishized women, every detail of them; their icy blonde hair coupled with beautiful skin was meticulously perfect and his ability to kill or psychologically damage them in films was almost creepy. Some may criticize him, but he gave us infamous female characters and films that we will never forget.

The Grand Budapest Hotel once again gives us Anderson’s thematic traditions that are well known and undeniably his, a rich color palette, symmetry like no other and a whimsical child-like quality to the entire film. Call him obsessive, egomaniacal, idiosyncratic, similar to Hitchcock, or whatever you would like, but he is a genius and his work will remain indelibly strong in cinematic history.

The film is about the Grand Budapest hotel, a once luxurious retreat, set in the Republic of Zubrowka, a European alpine state, which is fictional and resembles the German Alps. In its heyday, it was a bustling hotel, filled with extravagant guests and the hotel itself has to be navigated in intricate ways, from going up one elevator to a pair of stairs, through the kitchen and leading back to the outside and getting on what resembles a snow lift, then one gets to a certain room. The exasperating nature of almost going through a maze is felt and the grandeur of the hotel is made certain.

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A young writer (Jude Law) enters the hotel in its present time period and it just feels like a really big open space that is disheveled and almost sad in comparison to what it used to be. This is where Anderson gives us the big, aerial views and wide shots he is known for, everything in the frame is meticulously placed in an order that makes me believe he has OCD. The hotel staff, such as the conceriege M. Jean (Jason Shwartzman) seems to not really care for the place or view it as important; in fact he doesn’t even have the energy to straighten up the paintings on the wall.

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When the writer is invited to have dinner with the owner, Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) he begins to find out the back story of the hotel and find out what happened to it over all these years and how Zero came to be the owner.  This is when the story now shifts and we come to find out that it really is about the relationship between M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) and the young Zero (Tony Revolori), and how Gustave came to entitle him with the hotel and the particularly the love that he lost along the way.

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War is on the heels of the world, but Gustave cannot be bothered by that fact, his utmost concern is retaining the beauty and order of the hotel, along with his own good looks and particularly remaining always smelling of the most expensive cologne available. He is a gentleman and one who favors the traditions of the past, this character particularly reminded me of the actors of the silent era. Debonair, well put together, and always gracious. Zero becomes his lobby boy and is the most faithful one anyone could ask for, considering he has no one else, so he devotes his life to the tutelage of Gustave. Throughout the film, we see him follow, even replicate the movement’s of Gustave, this only further adds to the effect of symmetry and composure.

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The trouble arises with the death of one of Gustave’s ladies, Madame D. (Tilda Swinton), as he loves rich older women and they love him back, but this one in particular was filthy rich and dies suddenly and mysteriously a few weeks after leaving his hotel. Gustave takes Zero with him to attend her funeral and the reading of her will. In attendance are her daughters and her ruthless son, Dmitri (Adrian Brody). When Deputy Kovacs (Jeff Goldblum) reads the will, we come to find out that she left him a painting, Boy with Apple by Johannes Van Hoytl The Younger. Now this drives the family insane and he and Zero figure out a way to escape and take it out and put it back in their safe.

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While they are figuring out how to keep the painting safe and retain their legal authority to it, her family, specifically her son Dmitri are figuring out how to get it back. The hijinks that ensue take the viewer through a whirlwind, nostalgic look back into time coupled with slapstick-like humor, very Buster Keaton-esque, all which make for a fun, good time.

Each scene in this movie resembles a diorama, with every person and thing meticulously ordered, each outfit precisely colored and every movement choreographed with symmetry and juxtaposition. Anderson has been criticized for overtly favoring theme over substance, but in this film I believe he is able to capture both without leaving the other devoid.

The narrative not only is comprised of the story of Gustave and Zero, but also the romance of Zero and Agatha (Saoirse Ronan). Their relationship once again brings us back to the underlying theme of love and the ability of the characters to make their own improvised families. The two are tender and sweet together and they prove that everyone deserves to be loved.

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This movie retains the qualities of an era gone by, like those from silent films with madcap adventures in full tow, think motorcycle chase scenes with silly over-dramatized faces and a sense of melancholy that oozes from so many characters. Specifically the scenes with Jopling (Willem Dafoe), Dmitri’s underling, we see the acting style of the silent era, for example when he is on the motorcycle and the ski lift, his face alone speaks volumes and conveys emotion.

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With all the components put together Anderson has created a beautiful, bittersweet film, filled with purples and pinks to delight the senses and an unimaginable array of antics to keep the humor up and a sense of love reigning over all.

Fiennes takes the cake for his performance, one of my favorites from him and will remain as one of Anderson’s best casting choices. Of course his usual cast of actors are in the film, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton and the like, but Fiennes exceeds with his portrayal of Gustave. At times we think he is vain and an egotist, but he is also compassionate and tender and both sides meld to form one distinct and almost regal character.

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Newbie, Tony Revolori did a fantastic job as well, having to perform against such dignified actors he held his own and was captivating on screen. I look forward to seeing him in more movies and hope that this film can serve as his calling card for great work. I also hope that Ronan will be part of Anderson’s future ensembles, in a sea of crappy; over hyped young actresses she is quietly perfect and magnetic on screen.

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I believe Fienne’s performance could be Oscar worthy, yup I said it. If you enjoy Anderson’s movies, then you should definitely go out and see it if you still can. Finally, this is the type of movie that I wish I had a slice of strawberry cake with a glass of wine to enjoy it with; this would pair well with the deliciousness of this movie. Enjoy!

640  (The real Boy with Apple)

}}Melissa

 

Mad Men Recap: Season 7, Episode 6: Burgers and Chicks

Mad Men Recap
Season 7, Episode 6
**SPOILER ALERT

In this week’s episode, “The Strategy,” we are very near to the culmination of the season leaving us only with one more episode, we are now at the point where the future has come alive and the characters are beginning to be less scared of it than in past episodes. The future in this episode really highlighted women overall and their role as working women. With Peggy, we see that women are at the point where they can take the reins and the men are becoming more comfortable with this new tactic. In Joan, we are able to understand that women are starting to feel much more independent and less self-reliant on men to take care of them; they can now make their own future with or without a man. For the men of this time period, in Don we see an unabashed ability to see women as his equals and in Pete we see how some men are still stuck in the past. They see women as having the role of mom, keeper of the house and as frivolous things who can easily be swayed with the promise of a shopping spree. Although, we also see the duality of him, he does have faith in his co-workers who are women like Peggy, but only to an extent and that extent does not exceed to far yet.

Let’s sit down and talk, maybe at our nearby old school Burger Chef-like restaurant and talk about what went down.

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Game of Thrones Recap: Season 4, Episode 7: Who is Your Champion?

Game of Thrones Recap
Season 4, Episode 7
**SPOILER ALERT

This week’s episode, “Mockingbird,” focused on showing us pairs of characters whose bonds either grew stronger or weaker. What once was, has now changed or is in the process of changing, the way people have been living like those in Daenerys’ world are shifting, the masters of the various cities  will no longer rule over the slaves and in Dragonstone we see a shift that may soon be coming. Castle Black’s world may soon be rocked and King’s Landing is also on the verge of becoming a different landscape, considering everything that has occurred over the season thus far. New bonds were formed, such as with Tyrion and Oberyn and with the bonds we have come to love, like Arya and the Hound, a stronger, deeper one was shown. We only have 3 episodes left and yes, GOT fans we have to wait two more weeks until the next hew episode airs on June 1st.

Hold tight, stay strong, we can weather this storm together. Let’s have a quick chat about what happened this week, shall we?

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Top 10 Things Clueless Taught Us

I know what you are thinking, “Is this like a Noxzema commercial or what?” No, silly it’s my tribute to one of my favorite movies ever. Clueless was released in 1995 and it was a movie that defined a generation. One that was filled with knee-high socks, baby backpacks, grungy flannels, the internet was just booming and cell phones were those things for rich kids. This movie encapsulated all that and much more and every time I watch it I get nostalgic for my teenage years.

Directed by Amy Heckerling, she did it once with Fast Times in the 80’s and struck gold with this little gem. Looking back at this movie, it really taught us so much about how to deal with and look at life. It’s like way existential! Here is my top 10 list of what Clueless taught us.

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1. If a guy doesn’t like you, he is most likely gay… Like DUH!
Cher invites Tristan over to watch movies and he doesn’t even make a move on her. When a guy just ignores you like that and won’t even kiss you, yeah he is totes gay.

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2. Follow your heart, not what other people want you to do.
For the majority of the movie Tai thinks she likes Elton, but really the whole time she loved Travis, the stoner who sat on the grassy knoll with all the other burn outs. Despite that fact, he was a really sweet guy and her ultimate match.

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3. Sometimes your perfect match is the person right under your nose.
Cher’s ex-stepbrother (Yes this is so freakin weird!) Josh is annoying because as an older guy, he is super prolific and smart, the total opposite of her and she couldn’t ever even imagine herself with him. In the end, they turn out to be the love of their lives and the whole time she never realized it.

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4. When in doubt always rock fur.
Sometimes when you wake up in the morning you have no idea what to wear, but you know what always looks good? Fur. Whether on a cardigan or a hat, it is always appropriate. Second choice is boa feathers of course.

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5. If you are feeling stressed out just go to the mall.
When life is getting you down and you feel like crap, just go to the mall, remember in the movie Cher always went to Contempo Casuals when she felt sad. The mall can regenerate you and make you feel better and look hotter, who doesn’t want to feel like that?

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6. Be picky when it comes to choosing your sexual partners.
Cher was so picky about losing her virginity, hello she was picky about shoes and they only went on her feet, so you have to be extra choosy when it comes to hooking up with people. Don’t just do it with someone because they like your Marvin the Martian drawings either.

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7. When a person doesn’t like you, always remember it is not because of you, it is them.
Lots of times guys will act like they are into you, but sometimes this is because they have ulterior motives like they want to date your best friend. Elton only helped Tai when she banged her head and sang “Rollin’ with the homies,” to her because he was really into Cher, so in the end don’t be sad when you find out he doesn’t like you. It’s definitely them, not you!

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8. Always make time for exercise.
Cher and Tai did Buns of Steel at least once a week and sort of hit tennis balls at school. Remember exercise is important in maintaining your physique and staying healthy.

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9. Pick friends who are nice and just as hot as you.
Cher was friends with Dionne because she was just as hot and this really does raise your stock when you hang out with other pretty people. She also gave Tai one of the best makeovers in movie history, so if you have a friend that is kinda fugly just give them a makeover.

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10. Don’t let jealousy and stupid fights get in the way of friendship.
When Cher didn’t pass her driving test, Tai was like way harsh and told her “you’re a virgin who can’t drive,” but eventually she apologized and they hugged it out. They didn’t let that petty fight get in the way of their relationship. Remember it’s always good to pick friends who are nice and can own up to their mistakes.

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Ok kids I forgot my Cranberries CD in the quad gotta go! With that I leave you with Iggy Azalea’s Fancy video, check it out.

}}Melissa

 

 

 

Mad Men Recap: Season 7, Episode 5: Those Crazy Free Lovin’ Hippies

Mad Men Recap
Season 7, Episode 5
**SPOILER ALERT

This week’s episode, “The Runaways,” brings us to the point where Don is now working back in the office and dealing with all the issues that are going on and trying to fit back into the SC&P world. One that is changing and moving forward, yet at the same time very stuck in its old ways and patterns. A lot of small, nuanced points were made during this episode, for one the computer is an evident way forward with the company yet many people are afraid of this change see Ginsberg, women are still seen as trophys not as having a brain see Betty, free love in the sixties is alive see Megan, and some are just plain old school and they ride the wave of change on their terms see Don. Together this was a wonderfully odd, yet intriguing episode that painted the picture of the time period so well and gave us a deeper look yet again into the world that Don Draper inhabits.

What shall we drink during this recap? I suggest a cup of coffee because it was a heck of a long night for Don and pals.

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Game of Thrones Recap: Season 4, Episode 6: Sex, Lies and Loyalties

Game of Thrones Recap
Season 4, Episode 6
**SPOILER ALERT

This week’s episode, “The Laws of Gods and Men,” gave us a little more of characters who haven’t had as much screen time like Stannis and Davos and showed us that Daenerys role as Queen is much harder than she perhaps realized. The majority of the show and the suspense went to Tyrion Lannister’s trial, what a stupendous performance by Peter Dinklage, he never ceases to amaze me. We also did not get much from the Stark children this episode, despite my love for them this was a good choice because we really needed to get caught up with some of the other key players.

Ok let’s enjoy a nice have a cup of ale like the Hound would and sit back and talk about what happened.

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