Personal

Finishing posts

I am not one for New Year’s resolutions. I am one for setting concrete objectives and not sticking to them (much like the aforementioned New Year’s resolutions), but New Year’s resolutions themselves connote empty goals and promises, a resolution made with the expectation of being broken within the first few weeks of January. I don’t want this to happen to the most recent set of goals I have set for myself, one of which is directly related to this blog: post at least one full and thoughtful entry a week. And finish what you start.

I was just reading through my drafts accumulated over the past couple of years (if you read through this blog’s short history, you’ll notice that I post very sporadically–maybe a couple posts at a time, then radio silence for the next six months or so), and I’m kicking myself right now because there are some great entries in there that I cannot share on the blog because they’re unfinished. They stop abruptly, and at this point in time, I’ve forgotten too much to go back and complete them. I wrote thoughtful entries about Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze, 2009),  American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000), and Obvious Child (Gillian Robespierre, 2013), and The Escape Artist (Masterpiece Theatre, 2013), among others, and it’s a shame that I can’t yet add them to my meagre collection of posts. (I did, however, add my unfinished post about the Up! series because while my second point is completely unfleshed out, at least it ends with semi-complete thoughts. Okay, okay, to tell the truth, I was probably grasping at straws to save something, anything from the dreaded Drafts folder.) While there’s no use mourning the past, I can learn from these mistakes by always finishing what I start, no matter how hard it becomes. Finishing things and writing a lot is the only way I’m going to get any better.

Reflections and Moving Forward

To reflect on my summer: In June I was frustrated and depressed. In July I had my perspectives shaken up by family changes and my first visit to the motherland (aka Korea). In August, I started making active efforts to move forward in my life.

I didn’t do much reading or watching of films. I did, however, watch an enormous amount of television, I’m ashamed to say.

 

MOVIES

Zootopia (Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush; 2016; USA)

Finding Dory (Andrew Stanton, 2016, USA)

The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2016, UK)

Captain America: Civil War (Joe Russo & Anthony Russo, 2016, USA)

Sing Street (John Carney, 2016, Ireland)

Sausage Party (Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan, 2016, USA)

 

TELEVISION

Silicon Valley: Season 3 (HBO)

The Good Wife: Seasons 1-7 (CBS via Amazon Prime)

Seinfeld: Seasons 1- (NBC via Hulu)

Stranger Things: Season 1 (Netflix)

…Bachelor in Paradise: Season 2 (ABC)

 

BOOKS

I’m halfway through The Two Koreas by Don Oberdorfer

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

 

A few reflections on all this:

My favorite movies of the summer were Finding Dory and Sing Street. Finding Dory had great heart, beautiful animation, and excellent storytelling and character development. Sing Street had spunky characters, amazing soundtrack and wardrobe, and nostalgia for the 80s on it’s side. That being said, the most creative movies I watched this summer were undoubtedly Zootopia and Sausage Party. Zootopia bravely took on the hot button issue of racism and turned it into a sweet yet complex animated movie teaching children and adults alike the dangers of racism; Sausage Party took a simple yet creative premise and kept the fun going with button-pushing raunchy jokes and political humor. Both were bold risks that paid off.

I watched way too much TV this summer. The Good Wife was a mediocre show–at times, excellent (Season 5: Episodes 5 and 15) , but mostly procedural and full of frustrating recurring characters. More often than not, I found protagonist Alicia Florrick  to be an unsympathetic character–perhaps part of the character’s complexity, commentary on the corrupting influence of the law, but nevertheless rendering the show irritating to watch. It’s hard to root for a stone cold bitch denying responsibility left and right. Few of the other characters are much better. I started watching Seinfeld to replace the gaping hole the end of Curb Your Enthusiasm left on my life. I love these shows about nothing in part because I can relate to what they’re doing–blowing tiny situations out of proportion and playing with the possibilities. In terms of shows actually on air now: Silicon Valley was slightly less brilliant than seasons past, but still funny and I love how each season tackles a new stage in the progression of a start up–this season, the expansion of a great idea into a company. Stranger Things is excellent–scary, 80s-nostalgic, a little bizarre and all over the place, but it works. I’m ashamed to say I watched Bachelor in Paradise. It’s just so damn addicting to see this unnatural dating simulation, where people have limited options, feel pressure to cling to someone in order to get a rose and remain in paradise even if they’re not actually into them, and expect to feel instant connections and be engaged by the end of it all. It’s so fake. I’m going to stop there, lest I launch into judgmental critiques of real people who I don’t actually know. Let me just say this though–the only guys that I would be remotely interested in on that island would be Wells and Vinny.

I hardly read this summer. Even though Don Oberdorfer’s post-Korean War history of the Korean peninsula is supremely fascinating, I’ve been such a couch potato that I only am invested in such a political, fact-heavy book when I have nothing else to entertain me–namely, on the subway to and from work (that is, if I’m not tired or anxious). The only book I’ve completed this summer has been the Harry Potter fan-fic play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I cannot believe JK Rowling attached her name to such an awful piece of writing. The plot is stupid, the characterizations are terrible, and the dialogue? Truly cringeworthy. There’s so much audience pandering going on here, insultingly assuming that the audience are a bunch of idiots who need comic relief at every twist and turn. I know it’s a fictional work, but so was Harry Potter–you only put jokes where they make sense. During a tense situation in which your son might be lost forever, you don’t look around and comment on how many farmer’s markets a town has. That’s just dumb and unnecessary. Ignoring the terrible plot (the premise was great, the actual plot line the playwrights decided to go with? So stupid), the play tried way too hard to be entertaining that it’s actually hard to read.

 

I really need to sleep, but first–in terms of moving forward, my cultural goals for the September 2016-August 2017 year are these:

MOVIES: watch at least 1 movie/week

BOOKS: read at least 1 book/2 weeks

It’s week 1 of the new year, and I’ve already finished my first book: Herman Koch’s The Dinner (coming up on the blog! Probably should have devoted more time to the entry, but whatever–some of these posts will be more about speed for the sake of practice and documentation, then quality, well composed pieces).

I’m back!


It’s now July 15, 2016. I’m a little over one year out of college, currently working in tech consulting. It’s been a learning experience–there are positives, and obvious negatives. My passion for movies has slightly waned, though every so often I get excited about films again. The last movie I saw in theaters was Pixar’s Finding Dory (Andrew Stanton, 2016). It was excellent. Call me blasphemous, but I liked it better than the other animated powerhouse of this year–Disney’s Zootopia (Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush). Sure, Zootopia was more sophisticated, daring, and culturally important–it’s a children’s story preaching the dangers of racism, super relevant in a time when racial profiling is tearing the country apart. But for all of Zootopia’s cleverness, I loved how Finding Dory sought, very simply, to tell a good story and tell it well.A sweet yet nuanced tale about love, family, friendship, and never, ever, giving up. It was unpredictable, funny, heartwarming, visually striking, extraordinarily creative, chockfull of memorable characters–in short, everything that I’ve come to expect from Pixar (though truth be told, even though I expect Pixar movies to be brilliant in every aspect, they don’t always turn out that way. Hey, a 100% hit record is damn near impossible to achieve). Honestly speaking, expectations may have also biased me against Zootopia (I expected great things), and for Finding Dory (I went with friends who were visiting because it was pouring out, we had an awkward 2.5 hour gap with no planned activities to fill, and those two wanted to go see it. Otherwise, despite my love of Nemo, I wasn’t planning on every seeing Dory because frankly, I couldn’t see how a fish with short-term memory loss could carry an entire movie without becoming extremely annoying. Let’s just say Dory wasn’t my favorite in Nemo–though I did quite enjoy her whale calls. Sorry).

Anyways, this post wasn’t supposed to be about Zootopia vs. Finding Dory. It’s supposed to be my welcome back post to this blog. A post to define the purpose of this blog (for me to document and digest at least some of the movies/TV shows/books that I consume, to work on my writing, and to preserve a record of how my writing and tastes change over time) and describe the types of content I will be posting here (I’m going to say NOT reviews, but reflections. Or analyses. I will more likely than not spill the beans on the ending of a movie or TV show or book. I actually have a bad habit of doing that in real life when recommending something to someone. And sometimes I’ll post quotes or other little tidbits. Basically, I’ll post whatever I want to, thank you very much).

As I was going through past entries, changing the visibility of my freshman summer-postings from private to public, the list-lover in me ached to go back through AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies list and mark all the movies I have seen, to date.

AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies (2007 updated list):

1)      Citizen Kane

2)      The Godfather

3)      Casablanca

4)      Raging Bull

5)      Singin’ in the Rain

6)      Gone with the Wind

7)      Lawrence of Arabia

8)      Schindler’s List

9)      Vertigo

10)   The Wizard of Oz

11)   City Lights

12)   The Searchers

13)   Star Wars

14)   Psycho

15)   2001: A Space Odyssey

16)   Sunset Boulevard

17)   The Graduate

18)   The General

19)   On the Waterfront

20)   It’s a Wonderful Life

21)   Chinatown

22)   Some Like it Hot

23)   The Grapes of Wrath

24)   ET The Extraterrestrial

25)   To Kill a Mockingbird

26)   Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

27)   High Noon

28)   All About Eve

29)   Double Indemnity

30)   Apocalypse Now

31)   The Maltese Falcon

32)   The Godfather Part II

33)   One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

34)   Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

35)   Annie Hall

36)   The Bridge on the River Kwai

37)   The Best Years of Our Lives

38)   The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

39)   Dr. Strangelove

40)   The Sound of Music

41)   King Kong

42)   Bonnie and Clyde

43)   Midnight Cowboy

44)   The Philadelphia Story

45)   Shane

46)   It Happened One Night

47)   A Streetcar Named Desire

48)   Rear Window

49)   Intolerance

50)   The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

51)   West Side Story

52)   Taxi Driver

53)   The Deer Hunter

54)   MASH

55)   North by Northwest

56)   Jaws

57)   Rocky

58)   The Gold Rush

59)   Nashville

60)   Duck Soup

61)   Sullivan’s Travels

62)   American Graffiti

63)   Cabaret

64)   Network

65)   The African Queen

66)   Raiders of the Lost Ark

67)   Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

68)   Unforgiven

69)   Tootsie

70)   A Clockwork Orange

71)   Saving Private Ryan

72)   The Shawshank Redemption

73)   Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

74)   The Silence of the Lambs

75)   In the Heat of the Night

76)   Forrest Gump

77)   All the President’s Men

78)   Modern Times

79)   The Wild Bunch

80)   The Apartment

81)   Spartacus

82)   Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

83)   Titanic

84)   Easy Rider

85)   A Night at the Opera

86)   Platoon

87)   12 Angry Men

88)   Bringing Up Baby

89)   The Sixth Sense

90)   Swing Time

91)   Sophie’s Choice

92)   Goodfellas

93)   The French Connection

94)   Pulp Fiction

95)   The Last Picture Show

96)   Do the Right Thing

97)   Blade Runner

98)   Yankee Doodle-Dandy

99)   Toy Story

100)           Ben-Hur

Hello, world!

NOTE (7/15/16): I started this blog in the summer of 2012, fresh out of my first year of college. But junior year me was embarrassed of freshman me’s writing and wanted to start afresh, so I hid all my previous entries and pretended like this new one was my first. Well now one-year-out-of-college me wants to use this blog as a record of my musings on movies and books and other things over time, and, more importantly, of my writing, so I’ve made my former entries public again. Just wanted to explain why there are two Hello, world’s in here, if only for my own memories. Also wanted to note for my own records that I will most likely be pasting in entries written on my private journal into this blog, to plump up the number of entries I have on here. Toodles.

Says the computer science major in me. Hi, my name is Meena. I am a junior in college double majoring in economics and computer science. My surprise interest in computer science, spawned after I took a few courses during my sophomore year just for my own general knowledge, has left me with an unfortunately small amount of time to pursue my other interests in English, film, creative writing, history, and chemistry, but I manage either by taking one non-major and non-requirement class per semester, or else by developing these interests during my own free time. Like through this blog. ticketstubsanddvds will consist largely of my reflections on movies, and occasionally top five lists (my friends only know how much I love making those. They don’t have to exclusively pertain to film, television, plays, music, books, and publications – I’ve been known to demand friends and family to name their top five favorite fruits, vegetables, international cuisines, presidents as well, though annoyingly oftentimes they answer and never ask me what mine are), though I won’t promise not to go off on long, awful tangents. In case you haven’t noticed already, I am wont to do that when I write non-academic and non-journalistic opinionated pieces for my own pleasure. Anyways, ticketstubsnanddvds will provide me a space to voice my opinions on movies I’ve recently watched, document the many movies I’ve seen, and develop my writing style. First up? Spike Jonze’s Her.

Update

I watched a boatload of good movies this summer and have blogged about…three of them. So in this last precious week of summer vacation before I head back to school and begrudgingly pry open a dusty yellowed copy of Plato’s Republic, I will make my best attempt to write at least a short blurb about each of the films I watched this summer. I still have to watch three more to go, but here’s an updated list of all the movies I saw.

  1. Thor
  2. Captain America: The First Avenger
  3. The Avengers
  4. ET: The Extraterrestrial
  5. Tootsie
  6. Borat
  7. Casablanca
  8. Dead Poets Society
  9. Pretty Woman
  10. The Philadelphia Story
  11. Drive
  12. Kings of Pastry
  13. Schindler’s List
  14. Annie Hall
  15. Lars and the Real Girl
  16. Vertigo
  17. Pan’s Labyrinth
  18. Despicable Me
  19. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  20. Jaws
  21. Midnight in Paris
  22. The Ides of March
  23. Unstoppable
  24. The Amazing Spiderman
  25. The Best Years of Our Lives
  26. Rebel Without a Cause
  27. Moonrise Kingdom
  28. Take the Money and Run
  29. The Dark Knight Rises
  30. Like Crazy
  31. Breaking Away
  32. The Kids Are All Right
  33. Memento
  34. The Man in the Moon
  35. Inception
  36. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  37. Taxi Driver
  38. The Descendants
  39. 21 Jump Street

And now for the books I read this summer:

  1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky
  2. The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins
  3. Catching Fire Suzanne Collins
  4. Mockingjay Suzanne Collins
  5. Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen
  6. Mansfield Park Jane Austen
  7. Northanger Abbey Jane Austen
  8. Persuasion Jane Austen
  9. A Tale of Two Cities (re-read) Charles Dickens
  10. Great Expectations Charles Dickens
  11. 1984 George Orwell
  12. Animal Farm (re-read) George Orwell
  13. Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh
  14. A Handful of Dust Evelyn Waugh
  15. Scoop (re-read) Evelyn Waugh

I still have to read Plato’s The Republic for school :/

And finally, here are my updated top fives lists:

MOVIES (way too challenging to make this list, but here’s an attempt)

  1. The Pianist Roman Polanski
  2. Singin’ in the Rain Gene Kelley
  3. Schindler’s List Steven Spielberg
  4. The Departed Martin Scorsese
  5. The Dark Knight Rises Christopher Nolan

TV SHOWS

  1. The Newsroom (HBO)
  2. Friends (NBC)
  3. Downton Abbey (PBS)
  4. Top Chef (Bravo)
  5. How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

BOOKS (also extremely difficult)

  1. Angela’s Ashes Frank McCourt
  2. A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  3. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
  4. Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh
  5. The Decameron Boccaccio

MUSIC ARTISTS/BANDS

  1. Coldplay
  2. Hillsong United
  3. Radiohead
  4. Queen
  5. Foster the People

My first ever blog post!

This is pathetic. I’ve literally been sitting here for 15 minutes now, tapping away at my computer trying to think of something clever to say for my first ever blog post. And after 15 minutes of typing and deleting a whole lot of “Hello there’s” (lame, I know), I’m now too tired and too impatient to care anymore. Plus, at this point, it’s not like my posts have to be sharp or witty anyways…I’m my only reader as of right now. Even if I continue to talk to myself over the course of the next couple of months through this blog – meaning I don’t gain any readers 😦 – at least I’ll have a record for myself of all the great movies I’ve watched this summer! Oh…have I mentioned that this is going to be a film blog?