Friday, April 16, 2010

Away It Went: Too Quirky For its Own Good

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a stereotype. I fall into that category of movie-goers that any romantic comedy box office can prey upon. If a secret list has been drawn up, I'm almost positive that you would find my name on it.

Late twenties female: check.
Requires an awkward, nerdy-hot male lead: check.
Identifies with smart ass, tough female lead: check.
Story attempts to convey the longings and troubles she herself contemplates: check.
Will be likely to buy the soulful, meandering soundtrack: check.

While this checklist works on many levels, the equation can unbalance itself. Take for instance, last summer's release of Away We Go. When I heard Dave Eggers had made the transition from autobiographical novel to autobiographical film, I was the first girl to hit the internet to watch the trailer, read from behind the scenes and wistfully imagine Johnathan Krasinski donning a beard and glasses. Yet when it came time to purchase my movie ticket, something stopped me.

Here I sit, almost a year later and happy that I saved twelve dollars and waited until its release on Netflix. It's not that I didn't enjoy this movie, I enjoyed it a great deal. But there's something not quite right about this story. I know, I know... There's something not quite right about a far fetched plot sending an expectant couple traveling across the US to redefine their family dogma? Whhhaat?

I feel like it's an issue of the story simply being unable decide what it is. You have a mismatched couple, Burt and Verona, who find themselves pregnant. At the same time their family foundation is falling apart when his parents decide to leave the country. When wondering how they're going to recreate this idea of home life, they decide to do a little traveling to see what other families they sort of know are up to and to contemplate their own idea of family.

Two stops in, we meet Verona's sister, who provides us with not-at-all-on-purpose-exposition-back-story on some deeply routed pain over the loss of their parents. Is Verona eventually going to let this out and let Burt in? The suspense is killing me. This is the kind of not so subtle plot device that I tend to take issue with. Instead of defining exactly who you want your character to be, you only give her a problem or a trait to work with. Perhaps if they had cut out one or two story lines, it could have been easier.

I've also never been a fan of multiple story plots. (Love Actually comes to mind). They squeeze in just enough story and just enough characters, that you end up not becoming invested or care about any of them, even the main characters. Instead, I was distracted with the likes of Allison Janney and Jim Gaffigan, (both rank high in my book) and their loud, cursing antics. Then we meet Maggie Gyllenhaal, a free-spirited bare breasted mom, teaching the art of open love making and a ban on strollers. A stop later, we're in Madison, meeting, (who are they again?) a reproductively challenged couple who has taken to adoption and teaches the couple about togetherness. We end our hopscotch with a trip to visit his brother, (my beloved Paul Schneider) whose wife has just left him and his young daughter, leaving them wondering what's next.

I guess my main problem is, is all of this needed? Who are these people? Why does Burt and Verona even care? The story has a decent thing going and there was certainly enough there in principle to see it through. I enjoy a good-hearted story as much as the next person, but was it just me, or was this movie so quirky it was unbelievable? It was like my problem with Rachel Getting Married. You just can't throw in a drum circle, a Brazilian parade and a jazz band at a wedding without some people thinking you've gone too far. Life is weird enough.

By the way, I totally bought the soundtrack.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I found some forgotten files....

Ah, Mexico.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Creepy Radio Dog

It is Week 5 of Unemployment.

I should really only count it as Week 3, as one week I was in Mexico and the other, I was laying on a floor on muscle relaxers and trying to speak in a low voice to my unusable back. So, we'll say this is Week 3.

I've come to the conclusion that I am useless at gearing myself up to do projects at home. When I'm at a job, it's all I think about. "When I'm home, I'm going to this...." or "I wish it were the weekend, because of...." Now that I'm home and faced with hours and hours of free time, I'm stumped as to what to do with myself.

Explaining to your parents, or for that matter, anyone else who doesn't live in New York, as to why it's difficult to find a job is tricky. We New Yorkers know what we're faced with. Economic times, competitive positions and the race to pay your rent on time. But upon moving here, I knew this going into it.

It's kind of like this one Christmas when I was 7 years old. I used to love stuffed animals and created entire imaginary worlds where it was just me and my stuffed animals. Every holiday, I'd get a new one and that particular Christmas I was given a stuffed dog. Only this stuffed dog had a radio on its stomach. I flipped over the dog with delight and switched it on to the first station it was tuned to.

Out of its invisible speakers came the tune Jingle Bells. My parents looked at each other in shock. It wasn't that it was unreasonable to hear this, it was Christmas morning after all. But this particular Jingle Bells was being sung by a group of barking dogs. I didn't think much of it at first. I mean, it seemed natural was a dog with a radio shoved inside, clearly anything was possible. The fact that it was singing a Christmas song performed by a group of barking dogs did not seem to phase me.

My parents continued to appear shocked and eventually they uncomfortably laughed it off. What were the odds that they would give their daughter a radio-stuffed dog and out of its belly would come a symphony of other barking dogs? The irony over the randomness of its tuning and the exact moment in time that I'd flip it on was too much for them. But me, I thought nothing of it. It was a radio-stuffed dog after all.

This is what explaining to anyone else who doesn't live in New York is like. "How can you pay that much rent?" or "Do you walk places by yourself?" And I'm at a loss when trying to talk to them about it.'s New York. It's just what you do. And from the day I decided to move here, I knew that this would be a part of it.

My creepy radio-stuffed dog eventually died, as we couldn't figure out where to put in new batteries. It now lives in the attic with a stack of baby dolls all named Michelle.

I've continued with my job search and have had a few promising interviews. I'd tell you more about them, but All My Children is about to come on.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lost Vlogging

Greg and I have been busy compiling our sought after opinions on the last season of Lost. It's been a long road leading here... We've put up with five seasons of questions, been there through the up's and down's and talked ourselves out of hating our commitment to seeing it through.

Below, please enjoy the last vlog we've created. Be one of the first to comment on our equisite lighting techniques.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Favorite Grey T-Shirt

Want to hear an interesting story?

Over Christmas, my favorite grey t-shirt finally kicked the bucket. It was just one one washing over the line. But this was after I owned a second grey t-shirt, just in case my favorite met its demise too soon. Only this new grey t-shirt just wasn't my favorite. So then I found a great grey t-shirt and it was my favorite. But then I lost it the last time I did laundry. Now I'm back to only one grey t-shirt that isn't my favorite.

Wasn't that amazing? Annnndd....that, folks is why I'm going to Mexico tomorrow. It's time for a vacation. My lovely friends are getting married on the beach in Akumal and we are spending the week beforehand enjoying the spoils of not-cold-New-York.

When I come back, I will no longer regale you with tales as amazing as grey t-shirts.
Ole, Bitches.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ooga Chukka

I have so many questions.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Flame Grilled Tacos

So... I almost burned down my apartment last night.

While attempting to reheat taco shells in the toaster oven, technology rebelled against me. I walked out of the room for one minute, one full minute, and smelled smoke. When I came back in there were flames a foot high.

I was able to reach behind the toaster oven to unplug it before I began throwing cups of tap water across the room. As I was quelling the flames of this beast, I couldn't help but picture what would happen if I couldn't put it out. In a flash, I saw myself standing outside of my burning building, shivering in my bathrobe as I explained to my irate shoeless neighbors and their scared pets that all I wanted was tacos.

Perhaps I should get on that new Taco Bell diet. Or just not touch appliances for awhile...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bad Days

When I'm feeling down and out and at the end of my rope, I try and channel strength from the usual sources. Food, music and movies. And from time to time, I gain insight and inspiration from a slew of fictional characters.

When I'm suffering workforce blues and feeling like the only girl in the boy's club, I like to channel Peggy Olsen, (Mad Men). She started at zero and fought her way, ever so politely to the corner office. She survived on sheer determination and subtle brute force.

Yet today I'm feeling the need to channel someone with a bit more strength and a layer of more class. Today, I'd really like to feel like I was walking as tall as Joan Holloway.

Whatever compromises she has made, it has always been done with herself in mind. She knows exactly who she is and has used all of the assets at her disposal. She's strong, sassy and unapologetic while somehow managing to stay the woman she is in the midst of the ultimate boy's club. Had I only the curves to match, I would enjoy ending this day feeling like I had done everything correctly without so much as a hint of regret.

I tip my bra to you, Joan. Wait, err....

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cuss, That Was Good

With Christmas, a mere week behind me and my outrageous snacking habit still very much present, I sat down with a bag of Pepperidge Farm Cookies and proceeded to watch the highly anticipated film, Fantastic Mr. Fox.

It was if I dipped my heart into a bucket of happy and left it there to stew for 90 minutes. Sadly, I have no basis of comparison to the original story as I have not read the Roald Dahl novel. But if it was anything like Roald Dahl's imagination, Wes Anderson has sufficiently tapped into it.

Like many of Wes Anderson's films, animation only added to the overall look and feel that you usually get from them. He's ever consistent with his pans across the frame, revealing more and more scenery and stage-like space. It was like unfolding a pop-up story book. His characters were well rounded and reacted much like humans would. The artistry was absurdly astounding.

What you usually get from a children's story is a small lesson to be learned. Yet with the combination of Dahl's storytelling and Anderson's twists made this seem more of a modern day fable with lessons and themes that I would apply to my own life. Children should see this. Adults should see this. If I had a pet cat, I would make he/she see it.

At the end of the film I exclaimed, "I'm going to own this!" Future children and pets, be warned. You're getting a dose of furry animated creations that you wish you could live under your floor boards. (Because they're foxes...not because they're dead.)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back From the Dead

Is it possible that I haven't blogged in two months? Oh, it's possible. This is simply unacceptable. What have my 5+ readers been doing with themselves? I'm sure you've all been sitting on your hands since my last post. You've been wondering what I've been doing with my time, how I've been spending my holidays, what sincere observations I've been making about the world.

It's really quite simple and I'd love to share with you what I've been doing with my time.

I've just been eating. I went home for a few weeks and decided, "Why not eat every two hours?" It's quite simple. All you do is wake up, put off showering, let your drawstring pants a little, sit down at the table and have another slab of fried food. Then wait two hours, (or less) and keep going.

I recommend this for anyone who's simply tired of holiday conversations. Tired of answering that age old question: "How's work going?" Shove a cheesecake in your mouth. Don't know what to say in response to: "When are you going to get married and make babies?" See how many bacon wrapped figs you can ingest. Try it, it's fun!

For now, dear bloggers, I will commence regaling you with tales of the city, fierce opinions about worthless cinema and a few new snapshots taken with my camera from the future.

Welcome back. I've missed you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Six Degrees of Burritos

As many of you may or may not be aware, I hold a bizarre and morbid fascination with the show 'The Hills' on MTV. It goes without saying that this is the most ridiculous social phenomenon that's flourishing in our culture today.

It's not that I enjoy the show, per se. It's a level beyond enjoyment. I simply marvel at this new faux reality that's taking over television. People's lives are being lived, then re-enacted. Hot friends are hired to steal boyfriends. Models are hired to entice jealousy and stage fights. I'm simply baffled by these situations and more so that these reality stars continue to live their lives in somewhat faux reality after the cameras are off.

So, I'm on Twitter. That's right, I update people on hilarious things that happen on a somewhat daily basis. You want to know about a weird penguin dream I had last night? You want me to describe a strange color I found in my deli sandwich? I'm your girl. But not only do I get to bestow my hilarity to my 50 plus followers, (look out) I'm also on Twitter to follow celebrities.

I'm absolutely hooked on what celebrities actually decide to share with the world when given license to do so. My favorite, by far...are Heidi and Spencer. Their tweets range from bible verses to the ever popular Heidi tweet, "I love chicken burritos!" From pushing their own pop songs to warning the nation that Spencer Pratt may run for President; I'm in. Tell me what you want me to know.

The other night, I get an email... "Heidi Montag is now following you on Twitter." The next night, I get another... "Spencer Pratt is now following you on Twitter." I check into this... They're the real people. The Spencer and The Heidi are following The Katie Dulin on Twitter.

What do I do with these powers now? Probably nothing. But I'm dying to get myself re-tweeted one of these days. I'd up my chances if I only enjoyed chicken burritos as much as they did. Or Jesus.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Dulins Weren't Built For Speed

For the first time in my three years as a New Yorker, I'd never seen the NYC Marathon in person. This year, we managed to lift our Halloween-Hungover Heads off of the pillow and wander down to Bedford Avenue to cheer on my dear friend Gwen in her first ever marathon.

Gwen's decision to run the marathon began last year when she was met with hilarious opposition from our friend Raf. Gwen took her chance to prove Raf wrong and put all of her effort into training and raising money for the Michael J. Fox foundation. This was made even more personal by the effects that Parkinson's Disease has effected her own family. Just last year, Gwen's dad was diagnosed with a form of it. This marathon was more than getting up early to jog the neighborhood and staying on a healthy diet. Gwen has worked hard to meet this goal and she f*cking did it.I've never been so proud of any of my friends. And no, it's not just because I get breathless at the top of stairs. It's not that the thought of running makes my stomach turn or that I can't even touch my toes. Gwen pushed herself to complete a very big personal goal and I couldn't be more proud of her!

Go Sports! Go Gwen!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How to Be a Legend in Your Own Lunchtime

I just scored a copy of this book, "Dee Snider's Teenage Survival Guide: How to Be a Legend in Your Own Lunchtime." Complete with a library card insert from Carnegie Free Library in Beaver Falls, PA. Take a peek at the introduction, by Twisted Sister.

The Time has come for you to make a stand.
You've got to do things your own way.
Forget about the style, forget the brand.
'Cause every dog has his own day.
It doesn't matter what the others think,
What counts is, do you like you?
You think you're drownin',
But you'll never sink.
Just do what you wanna do.

Believe me, you'll be hearing more about this book.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


During a recent attempt at the supreme art of being brain dead, I found myself choosing the most coma-inducing movie on my shelf. Someone Like You starring Ashley Judd, Marisa Tomei, Greg Kinnear and Hugh Jackman is the ultimate fuel for a long night of thoughtlessness. Or is it?

Instead of tuning out a thoughtless jaunt through an otherwise unremarkable tale of unrequited romance, I found myself bizarrely perplexed.

Somehow I missed the fact that Someone Like You is actually a tale of conspiracy involving the heads of underground New York City's television and magazine conglomerates. Apparently it's incredibly easy to pitch ideas while secretly/carelessly posing as a recently deceased local elder.

Touche, brain. Perhaps the same effect will happen the next time I decide to watch A Walk to Remember.

The Creepiest Math Equation Ever

The results are in. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is officially the creepiest movie I've ever seen. But let's not give it the respect that a board of critics probably consider due. Let's instead devise a clever math equation so that we may better understand the physics, metaphors and general creepiness that you should actually walk away with after viewing this film.

A=The Metaphorical Clock

The Clock is introduced early on in the movie to serve as a metaphor for the issue of time in reverse. We'll need a constant reminder that time is in reverse, so why not repeatedly show us a clock that literally ticks backwards? Good.

B=Benjamin + Daisy (90yrs - life's experiences + child - life's experiences + clock in reverse)

A man plays a boy who is actually an old man who is growing in reverse. Juxtapose this with a child his age who is growing forward.

C=Experiences (Lack of life experiences x 3.14 x clock in reverse)

Benjamin (age 16 + clock in reverse = 80 yrs) loses his virginity in a brothel only to discover he's a sexual aficionado. Wherein he meets his biological father who'd given him away who as luck would have it, is also a perv, who then gets him drunk for the first time. Take this logic and apply it to the rest of the film and the experiences that would follow.

D=Old Man/Young Man Sex (90yrs - 40 years = Get It While The Gettin's Good)

Aren't we just waiting until Daisy and Benjamin are both the same age so they can finally do it? Good thing we've waited out this math equation, because good news! They do!

E=The Passing of Time (clock in reverse - time + digital age)

Shouldn't there not only be a metaphorical clock but a physical one to help us keep track? Perhaps in the director's cut, they'll have one at the bottom of the screen. Until then, refer to the math equation we've begun. Oddly enough, as the movie ticks on and Benjamin draws closer and younger to death, the reverse clock finally dies. They replace it...with a digital clock.

(Clock in reverse - logic + technology = inevitable rolling of credits)

If this movie didn't come right out and say it was about the decaying and reversal of time, it would just be two beautiful people plus or minus make up who are constantly remarking on how they look next to each other. Kind of like if Brokeback Mountain weren't about repressed homosexuality, it would be an extremely boring film about how two people just couldn't work it out.

Take away from this math what you will. In the end, the values and lessons we attempt to learn were lost on me. Thus proving yet again, that no matter how many metaphors, make up or explosions take place, it's still a ticking clock until Brad Pitt stops talking and starts removing layers of clothing.

A + B / D + (C x E)D = Nothing Amazing