Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Taylor Swift Song "Shake It Off"

Now I do consider myself a Taylor Swift fan (see this earlier blog post I wrote about her songs). I love her country music, and even some of her pop songs like "I Knew You Were Trouble." But I have to say: I do NOT like her newest single, "Shake It Off." I have my reasons (in no particular order):

1. The lyrics are so repetitive and boring. She uses the word "shake" more than 70 times in this one song! The imagery in the lyrics of some of her other songs are so vivid and emotive, while this song is just full of simple rhymes. There's not much a story here: it's just a rant about shaking "it" off ("it" refers to many things, all of which are superficial like haters hating and players playing. Ugh, cliché, gag).

2. In the video she makes herself to look like other singers. In a way I can see why she would do this, because she's trying to change her image into a pop singer rather than a country music star. But why doesn't she create her own pop identity rather than mimicking other singer divas?

Taylor looks oddly like Lady Gaga right here, don't you think? 
This cheerleader routine is so reminiscent of Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl"
Only Gwen looks way hotter.
With these booty-shaking ladies behind her, Taylor could be any R&B/Rap singer. Ew.
 3. And while she doesn't look like Avril Lavigne, this song certainly has parts that sound like they were taken right from Avril's Best Damn Thing album. 

4. She makes fun of dancers the whole time in this music video. I don't know if she's just trying to make herself look cute, but it comes off as rude and uncultured. How can you make ballet into something silly? The same goes for the rythmic gymnastics shown, which is an Olympic sport! And I don't even like modern dance, but she mocks that art form in this video, too. Music is Taylor Swift's art, not dance, so she should stick with what she knows.

This is Swan Lake, Taylor, not the bunny hop.
Pretty pathetic jeté.
Maybe Taylor's hinting that she's going to dress up as a ghost for Halloween this year?
And she knows country music. Check out her early songs on YouTube. Those show her talent, not this rubbish.

*All the photos of Taylor are screen grabs from the music video.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Movie Review: "Thanks for Sharing"  

Last night after my yoga class I didn't have anything to do. So of course I turned to Netflix. I had already put Thanks for Sharing on my "Watch Instantly" queue (I like Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow), so I got snuggled up in bed and watched.

A movie about addiction doesn't really resonate with me, mainly because I don't have an addictive personality because I like to be in control of every facet of my life (and addiction seems to make you lose all control). So it was hard for me to relate to many of the characters in the movie. I probably am most like Gwyneth's character who doesn't understand her boyfriend's addiction and doesn't really want to deal with it. The film goes into some dark places, especially when Ruffalo's character completely loses it and gives into his addiction after five years of sobriety. But I certainly like the theme of self-improvement, with the addicts supporting each other in their AA meetings, so I can appreciate that. All in all the film has a happy ending, which I always like!

I was most impressed by Pink/Alecia Moore's performance. I love her music, and I didn't even know she was in movies. She did an excellent job! I completely believed her character, and if I didn't know who she was, I would have thought she was a renowned actress rather than a Grammy-winning singer. I will say that it was hard to see Tim Robbins as an old man. I picture him as Nuke in Bull Durham! But Joely Richardson, who plays his wife, looks absolutely amazing. I might argue she's even prettier than Gwyneth Paltrow!  So if nothing else, watch this movie just for the beautiful women in it.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Play review: "Marie Antoinette"

Photo from:
Last night I went to see a performance of "Marie Antoinette" at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in DC. I've always enjoyed the story of Marie Antoinette (well...what little I actually know about her: the luxury and glamour of royalty, particularly the fashion and the hairdos!), so of course I bought tickets to see the play. My first (and perhaps only) real taste of Marie Antoinette was the Kirsten Dunst film, which I thought was absolutely beautiful.

And I thought the play was quite good! The play opens to show the queen (played by Kimberly Gilbert) with two courtiers/friends, lounging by the hot tub/pool and discussing fashion and the petty way the peasants are acting toward the royals. The scene is very funny and light, with the women walking around like runway models and posing every once and a while for the paparazzi. Then it goes on to show the (sexual) issues between Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI and the problem that no heir exists to take over the throne. Throughout the first act the audience gets to know Marie Antoinette as a confused woman-child: she was taken from her pastoral childhood home in Austria to wed the French king as a teenager, and now has serious insecurity issues due to the fact that she is always in the public eye and cannot please the French people. Although we know Marie Antoinette as a frivolous woman who cared more about her clothes and hair than the starving people of France, this play allows you to feel sympathy for her, seeing the story from her point of view.

The second act is much more dark, now that the revolution/rebellion has begun and the royal family has had to leave Versailles. They run away and are staying with some farmers they come across during their travel, and it is all downhill from there. Throughout the story Maria Antoinette is visited by a talking sheep, the symbolism of which is over my head but still is very moving (the actress who plays the sheep, Sarah Marshall, is very good!). This dark ending is the part of her history that I don't know much about, but we are shown that she was kept as a prisoner for some time before finally being beheaded. A sad ending, but at least we all already knew about that.

With the modern twist on this story, I was afraid that I might be offended or turned off by the performance (see my blog post about the Synetic Theater's take on "The Picture of Dorian Gray"). But even with the warning that the performance would include "nudity [and] simulated illicit drug use," I thought everything was done quite tastefully. The nudity was minor, the "simulated" drug use actually smelled pretty real, and the foul language was only used when appropriate. My prudish side was satisfied.

I definitely recommend this show! I will be returning to Woolly Mammoth for two more shows this season. Click here for a list of their 2014-2015 season shows.