Beware of the Crimson Peak… (or not really)

Last night several friends and I went to check out the new Guillermo Del Toro film, Crimson Peak. After months of trailers and teasers, I was really looking forward to this movie. It was billed to be a beautiful gothic romance with a good chunk of thrills and chills thrown in for good measure. And also, we were promised some decent eye candy in the form of a partially naked Hiddleston. On all accounts, except that last one, this movie was a huge disappointment.

Though it was filmed beautifully, the costume designers did an absofuckinglutely amazing job on the wardrobe (Can we talk about how stunning Jessica Chastain’s red dress was?), the landscapes and scenery were so well done, and the house was beautifully rendered – all that was lovely, but everything else about the film just fell flat. There was so much build up to so little pay off and I have to say, the performances were a bit lackluster as well – with the exception, again, of Jessica Chastain, who really brought the crazy.








Still with me? Okay, cool.

Our heroine, young Edith Cushing spends the 1st half of the film as a very strong, independent woman who is ahead of her time. She is a writer. She has opinions. She has no problem cutting other women who were clearly the Mean Girls of their day down to size with a few well placed quips. However, when Edith is publicly humiliated by Hiddleston’s Tom Sharpe (during which, the Loki loving geek in me was silently praying he would call her a “mewling quim”), all he has to do is pass her an little note the next day and she goes running back to him? NOPE. Edith, you are better than that. You are not THAT GIRL.

Then her Dad dies. She hastily marries the Hiddle and he takes her home to his crumbling family estate.  And I mean, CRUMBLING. As in, falling down around them. As in, there is NO ROOF ON THE HOUSE.  Being a strong woman of some pretty substantial means, I’m pretty sure her next step would be “NOPE. I’m going to go live in a hotel until you put a roof on the house.”

Considering this was supposed to be a gothic romance, the lead actors have NO CHEMISTRY. Apparently, Mia Wasikoska said her sex scene with Hiddleston was incredibly uncomfortable because he is a like a brother to her – and that uncomfortable feeling was in fact the only thing about their interactions that I honestly believed.

The best thing in this film was Doug Jones as the ghosts. (Edith’s Mom’s ghost was indeed beautiful and creepy.)

And okay, I mentioned earlier, I gotta give some credit to Jessica Chastain. She played her bit as Hiddleston’s a bit too close for comfort sister (yes, we’re talking Lannisters close) with a well balanced combination of repressed jealous spinster and bat shit crazy ex-girlfriend so incredibly well. Of course, it was a bit over the top, but for this role to be played the way it should be, it had to be a bit over the top. She brought the crazy in all the right places.

There is so much wrong with this film that I can’t (and won’t) list it all – but I can say that I’ve never been so viscerally disappointed by a film I was so looking forward.

Walking out of this film, myself and my friends all had the same thoughts – so much potential, so much that didn’t work. Whether it was the meandering useless plot, the buildup that took way too long, the attempt at some thoughtful metaphors (the insects, the red clay) that never went anywhere, that almost all of the actors seemed stiff and flat and there was not one atom of smoldering passion anywhere.

My disappointment is doubled when I think about the fact this film was made by the same man who created Pan’s Labyrinth, which remains, to my mind, one of the most nearly perfect films ever made.

But you know, I guess it wasn’t all bad – at least we got to see Tom Hiddleston’s ass, right?


Need a Signal Boost…

I have a problem knee. It started years ago after a car accident, and ended (or so I thought) about 3 years ago after the gradual wearing away of the cartilage in my right knee started to become painful. I had it treated, I went to Physical Therapy… and it was fixed. Or so I thought.

A little more than 3 years later and I start having knee pain again. Another round of treatments, more physical therapy, and it was starting to get better again. And then…

One evening earlier this month, during an otherwise uneventful hike through Griffith Park, I took a step up an incline and felt a sharp pain and a large crunch. But because I was at the top of a mountain, I walked it off and got back to my car. And after the initial crunching, honestly, it seemed okay. The next day it was sore. I chalked it up to the normal soreness from overexertion, put some ice on it and went on with my day. The day after that I woke up to my knee the size of a grapefruit and the inability to bend it at all. It was stiff, sore and HURT. Again, walked as much as I could, got it loosened up, iced it and gave myself the next 3 days off working out and generally sat on my ass as much as possible.

Flash forward to 3 weeks later and though it’s gotten generally better and it’s manageable, I am noticing that it’s always stiff, it’s always sore and remains a bit swollen. I can’t bend it. My range of motion is limited and I’m in constant pain. So back to the doctor again. Another MRI, and this time, it’s not just the same old thing. The crunch I felt during that hike was apparently a pretty big tear in the already weakened cartilage. On the MRI I could see the spot where it was missing plainly. No need for doctor translation on this one – look there’s a chunk of my knee missing – easy to see.

And this time, I will need surgery to repair the damage.

And herein lies the problem.

I am a freelance photographer. And I don’t get paid sick days. I have been told by my doctor that recovery from this surgery will require me to be on crutches for up to 6 weeks. Which means, I will not be able to work for at least that long. I have health insurance, but I am going to be responsible for paying part of it and even with insurance, I’m looking at a couple thousand dollars.

I hate asking for help.

But there it is.

I need help.

What I am asking for is this – simply a signal boost.

I have an Etsy store filled with prints of my photography work – I need to sell them. A good number of them are already framed from having shown in local galleries over the last few years. I have a few things I’m selling on eBay (and I’m sure once I’ve taken a moment to go through my closet, I will have more).

Here are the links:

Lauren Elisabeth Photography on Etsy (

and my seller ID on eBay is TheTankGyrl, my auctions are here:

Friends and readers! I would appreciate it greatly if you could pass these links along to your followers.

Also, for the next few weeks before the surgery, I’m going to need to work as much as possible. If you need headshots, portraits, have a party or event that needs coverage – my work is at

Thanks for taking a moment to read this.

Let’s Talk About Aquaman

You know, when I first heard that they had confirmed my favorite beautiful barbarian, Jason Momoa, as Aquaman, I had mixed feelings. I grew up with the old school Aquaman. You know, the blonde one. The one that looked like he spent a little too much time hanging out with the surfers in Malibu. And he wasn’t super tough looking either. This is the Aquaman I was used to.

A more traditional take on Aquaman.

A more traditional take on Aquaman.

So given the thought of a tall, darker prince of the oceans – one of mixed ethnicity, I wasn’t entirely convinced. But that feeling was of course, based on my pre-conception and looks alone. And I am the first to admit that when given a good script and good direction, Jason Momoa is capable of great acting. Let’s not forget that his portrayal of a character who raped his wife on their wedding night won our collective hearts and made us feel like that Attila-the-Hun personality might be okay – if only he would look at you longingly and call you “Moon of my life.” Though his time on Game of Thrones was short, Momoa’s portrayal of Khal Drogo made him a household name in only those few weeks.

Conversely, he had the misfortune of portraying the title character in the sad, stupid reboot of Conan the Barbarian. And while he looked the part, for sure, nothing could save that movie from such a truly horrible script. (Rose McGowan’s ridiculous performance didn’t help either.) But everyone knows that even good actors can do bad jobs sometimes; usually when at the mercy of a less than competent or inexperienced director. Which brings us to the subject at hand:

Momoa’s portrayal of Aquaman in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Batman vs Superman; Dawn of Justice.

In case you haven’t seen it yet – here it is; the first look at Momoa as Aquaman.

Jason Momoa as Aquaman

Jason Momoa as Aquaman

Looks pretty awesome, doesn’t it? Of course it does. And based on this photo – I’m in.


My concern with this image isn’t the look of it. I have set aside my preconceptions of what Aquaman should look like because this version of the character looks FREAKING AWESOME. I like the idea of Aquaman being more of a badass (and super freaking hot).

My concern is, or rather I should say, continues to be with director Zack Snyder. We all know that Snyder is capable of making movies LOOK AMAZING. Everything he’s given us so far: 300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch, and Man of Steel, have been visually stunning – beautiful to watch and truly inspiring stylized worlds that exist in high contrast and low color saturation. And from the press and teaser photos that have been released so far, Batman vs. Superman looks to be within that same apocalyptic palette. Unfortunately, Snyder’s movies, while beautifully rendered, just aren’t good.

Everything of his that I have seen (with the possible exception of 300, which I thought was actually a pretty entertaining flick but I may have been severely influenced by both Gerard Butler’s and Michael Fassbender’s abs) has been terrible. I mean, not just bad, but really and truly awful.

Let’s look at the evidence: Sucker Punch was nothing more than the misogynist wet dream of a very immature teenage boy. (And I’m not even going to get into the way he portrays women in general.) Watchmen just had too much crammed in – the story rambled, it had a significant lack of focus, and most of the characters were boring versions of their comic book counterparts. And Man of Steel… well, it was just bad. I talked about it a bit here once before, but to recap – essentially we had two fantastic actors, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams, reduced to cardboard cut-outs of themselves. Man of Steel was nothing more than destruction porn under the guise of a Superman movie.

And this, my friends, is what concerns me most about Aquaman. So far, in press releases for this movie, we’ve been given Khal Drogo underwater and a Wonder Woman who looks more like Xena the Warrior Princess than the Amazon goddess, so we’re sure to get another visually epic film from Dawn of Justice.

But the question is, will Snyder stick to his usual formula of focusing more on the visuals than the story?

I love the ideas for Batman vs. Superman that I’ve heard, and what we have been told is the direction this movie is taking. But I simply can’t get excited to see a movie from a director who has proven to be no more than a mediocre storyteller and who seems to have no actual ability to direct his actors to good performances, no matter how badass the characters look in production stills.

Why Yesterday I Didn’t Wear Pants

I’ll be honest. Last year wasn’t a great one. 2014, while it didn’t kick my ass across the room like 2013 did, did have more lows than highs, and in general it just wasn’t great.

There were of course, moments of greatness – like getting to spend some time in Paris with a very dear friend who I hadn’t seen in FAR too long. Also, getting to know my newest niece. Cause even at just over a year old, she’s pretty frakking amazing. And a couple of people came into my life or became bigger parts of it, who I now can’t imagine my world without.

But then again, there was the severe lack of employment, leading to a severe lack of funds, leading to a questioning of myself, what I do and my talents for doing it, and just generally putting me in a head space that wasn’t only unhealthy but downright destructive at times. I had a few medical problems, some rather serious, that had to be dealt with. Those weren’t fun. And paying for them isn’t going to be fun for quite some time I imagine.

But that’s all behind me now – at least as much as it can be for the time being. And as the new year started recently, I started looking at the things I wanted to change in my life, my work and my relationships. The news year’s resolutions started to form, though I really hate the term “resolutions.” Resolutions, for me aren’t a thing that you should measure. They are just things you do. And they shouldn’t be started under the pretense of New Year’s or for any other reason that begins with social pressure to “make yourself better.”

Instead, I set myself GOALS at the onset of a new year. Goals are tangible. Goals have a definitive success level that can be measured. When you reach a goal, you can see the result and say “Hey, I did that. That’s good.”

I have five this year. The first four are indeed personal and rather normal. They are the boring ones – paying off of credit cards, going on a specific vacation I’ve been wanting to take for ages, lose the weight I put on due to my medical problems last year… you know, the usual bullshit sorts of things that people talk about. But then there is the last one. And this specific goal is the one that made me take off my pants in public yesterday.


(Honestly, I hope I do these things more than once a month, but I figure once a month is a good starting point.)

So I did it. One down, eleven more to go. Yesterday, along with over 100 other people, I took off my pants and rode around all day on the Los Angeles metro. And I liked it.

I participated for the first time in an annual event simply called the “No Pants Subway Ride.” It is organized one day a year spanning 59 cities in 29 countries and I can tell you, it’s a blast.

I arrived at our meeting point, where there were a varied group of people of all styles and subcultures standing around sort of aimlessly, until we all started asking each other “Are you here for the no pants ride?” At some point, about 15 minutes before we all headed into the actual metro station, someone announced that it was time to de-pants. And we did. Some straight off with no issues, and some of us (I assuming the other newbies like myself) taking an extra beat before pulling off our outerwear.

But then, there it was. A group of mostly total strangers all standing around in our underwear. Some wore costumes, some made outfits out of their underthings, some had themes, and some, like myself, just didn’t have on any pants. Which is sort of the point. The idea of the mission is to act like there is nothing off or wrong or different about not wearing pants. We were instructed to get on the train in small groups. To act as if this was just a normal day on the train.

So we did. Several times, the friends I was with were asked why they weren’t wearing anything below the belt – particularly because they were specifically dressed in Hogwarts uniforms sans pants. One of them just pretended she’d forgotten them. The other blamed his lack of trousers on a spell gone wrong. I just looked at the questioning parties as if I had no idea what they were talking about.

But that was just part of the fun. Now, I’m no prude by any means. I will wear the tiniest of skirts to a nightclub without batting an eyelash. In that environment, I am totally comfortable. But this was not a nightclub. This was not an expected venue for the outfits (and lack of them) that were seen and worn. Which is what I feared would take me out of my comfort zone. And it did. For a little while. But not for as long as I thought it would. The sheer absurdity of being in a group of people all walking around without their pants on in the middle of Los Angeles – at Union Station, on Hollywood Boulevard, was brilliant. And un-surprisingly freeing. To be honest, I lost all self-consciousness in minutes.

Also, not surprising, was the friendliness with which everyone greeted each other. It’s hard to throw attitude when your junk is on display, unprotected by nothing by thin cotton panties, teeny tiny briefs or form hugging shorts. If that’s all it takes to break down cultural strata, maybe we should all go pants-less more often.

I could try to wax on about the day and how life changing it was, but the truth is that it wasn’t that. It was just exactly what it was supposed to be – a brilliantly fun day, and after the subway riding portion of the day ended, my friends and I adjourned to the Pig-n-Whistle for some beers and burgers until it was time to put our pants back on and head home. And I did accomplish what I had set out to do – I did something new that took me out of my comfort zone. I highly suggest that everyone try to do that more often.

With this goal in mind, already I feel like even if this year isn’t overall better than last, at least it’s going to be a hell of a lot more fun.

Me with the No Pants representatives from Hogwarts.

Me with the No Pants representatives from Hogwarts.


Part of my favorite no pants clan – a Star Wars group. A Stormtrooper, an Ewok, Han Solo, Darth Vader and even a Wampa – all without pants.


The crowd with no pants heads up to Hollywood Boulevard.


Just a normal day on the metro… without pants.

True To *Nearly* The End

It’s well noted now, that True Blood ending has caused a bit of a shit storm of opinions and from what I’ve seen, it’s inspired a surge in people discussing the endings of their favorite shows – from the Sopranos to Battlestar Galatica to Breaking Bad and Dexter, not to mention the massive amounts of speculation being throw about regarding how Sons of Anarchy is going to finish off its run in a few short weeks. All this discussion about disappointing endings has led me to one question that I think a lot of us are asking lately:

Why do so many television writers seem to think that their audiences are idiots?

***ALERT – This blog is going to contain a LOT of spoilers about television shows. Specifically, Battlestar Galactica, Dexter, True Blood and Breaking Bad. I may even hit a note from the Sopranos, but if you’ve not seen the end of that by now, you deserve it to be spoiled.***

This past Sunday television viewers saw the end of the vampire soap opera, True Blood. And almost all of the reactions I saw were not only negative, but even more so – ANGRY. It was BAD;

Really, really, really BAD.

Many of us agree that this season of True Blood has pretty much been a train wreck anyway – so I wasn’t expecting the end to be GOOD. There was no way that they could possibly have tied up all the loose ends to the satisfaction of the viewers, but that was just how it had to be so I was willing to allow for some loose ends in service of the greater stories being finished off well. And some were. Hoyt and Jessica get their happily ever after, and Jason and the new girl are headed that way as well. Bill dies, and with his death, Sookie gets her sweet relief from the manipulation and tiresome bullshit she’s willingly put up with for the last five years. But what I’m talking about here was the last scene. THE FAMILY DINNER. In which we see Sookie, Jason, Sam and all the now “happy everything is perfect in our lives since Bill died” people sharing a big communal dinner that would be more appropriate to a show like Parenthood. Which in fact has been done on Parenthood often – and there it works – because it fits the basic premise of the show. Here, on True Blood, a soap opera (really, let’s not call it a drama any longer, because it hasn’t been that since season one) about supernatural creatures interacting with (mostly naked) humans – it so massively out-of-place and intrusive, it feels like the TV equivalent of gum on your shoe. You didn’t want it there, you didn’t need it, it’s messing up your stride and now you can’t get rid of it. I get the feeling that scene was added for the benefit of one dumbass writer after they’d submitted their final scripts and said “Can it be a HAPPY ending? Happy endings are good.” Of course, ignoring the fact that sometimes, the NOT happy ending is the best ending of all.

True Blood’s disturbingly out-of-place ending gave me so much hate not only because it didn’t fit the characters or the themes involved throughout the show, but it seems to be a plot device that more and more writers employ when it’s entirely unnecessary and makes me feel that writers think their audience is stupid and can’t be trusted to come to their own conclusions.

It’s happened so often and to some really brilliant shows. And it seems to be happening more and more… To prove my point, here are some other examples…

First, we have DEXTER – The series finale of Dexter was largely successful at salvaging a pretty rocky season – until the last 30 seconds. Almost all of our favorite characters were acting the way we expect them too – everyone seemed to be in the right position to move on with their lives. Except our serial killer hero, who after securing the most normal life he thought he could for his son (though, why Dexter didn’t send Harrison to live with his step-siblings and their grandparents instead of giving the boy to his crazy black widow girlfriend, I’ll never understand), Dexter sets off into the eye of a hurricane on his boat, dropping Deb’s body into the ocean along the way. (Okay, that part bugged me too but the whole point was that the guy was disturbed, so I’ll allow it.) AND…. FADE TO BLACK. END. FINI. STOP RIGHT THERE. Ending it here – the viewer is allowed to think anything they want – and the open-ended finish would have been perfect. Optimists would be allowed to think that he somehow survives the storm and goes to South America to join Hannah and Harrison. Others (myself included) would believe he died, poetically joining his victims at the bottom of the ocean and ultimately showing that he really wasn’t any better than they were. See? See how that works?

BUT NO. Our dear writers seem to think that we can’t deal with that and we’re too stupid to make up our own minds – so fade back in and Dexter is a FUCKING LUMBERJACK. And in a 30 second scene, you have just ruined an entire series. The lumberjack thing makes NO sense. Even if Dexter had survived and didn’t want to join his loved ones, it would have been completely against character for him to become a FUCKING LUMBERJACK. Yes, Dexter was a psychopath. But he was a high functioning psychopath who needed society and people around him to survive. HE WOULD NOT BE A LUMBERJACK.

In another perfect example – we have BATTLESTAR GALACTICA – Okay, so yeah, it’s been years, but the ending to this show still angers me. One of the most prevalent themes throughout the show was whether or not some version of a God ruled over man AND machine. And would the machines be allowed to become a new form of man? The struggle to find meaning in their respective fights, to find their promised land… these were things that so many of us can relate to. Add to that a beautifully written and tense political drama and BOOM – awesome show. As the show starts to wrap up, we find our lost humans discovering a habitable world with a tribe of Neanderthals wandering the vast grassy plains. They make the decision to stop searching and start over. Without their vessels, and without most of the technology they’ve brought with them. It is a good ending that implies a new beginning. Flash forward a couple hundred thousand years and we see that their arrival has set up the remnants of the 12 colonies to be the progenitors of humanity on our Earth. I LOVE THIS IDEA. And most of the viewers loved it too. What a beautiful and hopeful way to bring this to a close, right?

WRONG. The last 30 seconds show us the reincarnations (or ghostly visions or whatever, who cares, it sucked) of Baltar and Six – talking about how GOD HAS PLANNED ALL OF IT. You know what? FUCK YOU FOR RUINING ONE OF MY FAVORITE SHOWS OF ALL TIME. Again, last 30 seconds of the last episode ruined it. Why could you not just leave it? Why again, did the writers feel the need to take us by the hand and drag us to a conclusion that doesn’t fit with the story we know so far?

True Blood’s shiny happy people ending had the same problems for me. With the exception of missing the hell out of Lafayette, the final episode wasn’t horrible. They just took it too far. The series should have ended with Sookie walking under the arch out of the cemetery, after just having lain to rest her true love, symbolically moving on with her life finally. (I have other issues with Bill’s narcisitic motives for making her kill him but that’s an entire other blog post.) And FADE TO BLACK. THE END. Perhaps, after the credits run, an Easter Egg of a brief New Blood advertisement featuring Eric and Pam would have been a great touch – but the dragged out infomercial and subsequent revelation of Sarah’s fate was unnecessary pandering. (And it wasn’t funny.)

Clearly the open-ended series end isn’t for everyone or every show. And there are shows for which tying up all the loose ends in a neat little package is necessary. But usually it’s not. I know it was met with mixed emotions, but I LOVED the way the Sopranos ended. Because it left the end up to audience interpretation.

Is it possible that the writers are so afraid to piss people off that they won’t consider letting us come to our own conclusions? Or do the writers just truly think we’re dumb? I personally was actually INSULTED by that last 30 seconds of Battlestar Galactica. It felt that the writers were forcing their opinion of what life should be on me – and that’s what it feels like now with the end to True Blood.

I think the television powers that be have forgotten that audiences aren’t entirely made up of unthinking morons. We are allowed and should be encouraged to come up with our own ideas and honestly, when something is left a little less fitted up nicely and more open-ended, we’re actually more likely to re-watch, discuss, and recommend the show to others later, as it gives the thinking viewer opportunities for fun, friendly and enjoyably argumentative discussions with other fans. I have actually said to people “When you’re watching the last episode of BSG, when you get to the flash forward bit at the end, STOP THERE.”

So I make a plea to television writers everywhere – please, stop trying to lead us by the hand to the conclusion you think we want. Just lead us to a point where everything makes sense and we’ll take it from there. If you do, we’ll be happier. Really.

Oh, and as a PS to this – I recently – to my horror – heard rumors that Vince Gilligan is bringing back Breaking Bad for a 6th season. Which would be like a full series of those last 30 seconds that we don’t need, or want, and very possibly will ruin the whole thing. Breaking Bad was a near perfect show. It ended the way it needed to. It was amazing and remains amazing just as it is – SO…










Body Confidence. Also, Please Stop It.

This morning, while sipping my coffee and perusing the internet, I came across this headline on an MSN article:

“How To Get Cameron Diaz’s Arms”

It was next to the accompanying article “How To Get Abs Like Beyonce.”

This bugs me. But why should it? After all, these are articles that are meant to be inspiring to women everywhere to get in shape and be fitter, healthier and (in theory) generally happier with themselves. It’s not the reason behind the articles that bothers me so much, its the method.

Why can’t those “aspirational” headlines be more actualized and less sensationalized. I’m never going to have Cameron Diaz’s arms, Beyonce’s abs, or Jennifer Lopez’s butt. Why must we be beaten over the head with these bullshit aspirations to look like women who, let’s be honest, WE WILL NEVER LOOK LIKE. It does us, as women, a huge disservice to encourage us to reach unrealistic goals. We should be encouraged to be ourselves, be beautiful as we are and own our flaws. It’s not the perfect bits that make us beautiful. Its our flaws that make us unique and therein lies each and every woman’s own beauty. Let’s stop clicking on those links, stop buying those magazines, just STOP supporting the ridiculousness of all this until the magazine and website publishers who perpetuate these articles start offering us articles that inspire us to be the best of ourselves, not the impossibility of being “just like” someone else.

***Silly thought that popped into my head when I read that headline: Cameron Diaz’s arms would look really funny on me. I have a bigger frame than she does. If my arms were as thin as hers, I’d look like I had twigs stuck out of my shoulders and except for Madonna – no one wants that.***

But seriously, for once, I would like to see an article with a more realistic approach and headline “How to Be the BEST YOU THAT YOU CAN BE” would be nice. Or maybe “How to Be Fit and Healthy, Taking Into Consideration Your Own Body Frame.” I suppose those headlines just aren’t attention grabbing. Though for the ladies that I know who are learning to be comfortable in their own skins, I think they would be.

Every woman’s magazine, fashion magazine and online beauty site constantly tells us we have to look like someone else. And it’s infuriating.

I work out just about every day. I do. I’m proud of the body I have achieved and I work hard at making it the best it can be. But I also have problem areas that genetically speaking are never going to be perfect. And that’s okay. Yeah, sometimes it bugs me that no matter how many dumbbell curls or tricep extensions I do, my upper arms always look flabbier than I’d like. But I’ve come to accept this. That acceptance came last year, when I discovered that even with that unwanted jiggle on my arms I was able to lift and carry a full 50 quart cooler from my job site to my car. Those bicep curls made it not only possible, but not really that hard. My PA saw me do it. She was impressed. And honestly, so was I. It felt good to know that even though I wasn’t achieving the visible results I was striving for, I was actually a lot stronger than I’d thought. Suddenly having “ripped” arms just didn’t matter so much.

We shouldn’t be aspiring to be something we can never achieve. We should be aspiring to be the versions of ourselves that make us happiest. We should aspire to be healthy, fit and strong. We should eat salad one day and cake the next. We should be enjoying ourselves and know that the secret to real happiness isn’t directly proportional to how close to the same dress size as Keira Knightly we are, it’s in being confident and happy with ourselves. I know women who are happy and confident at every size and shape imaginable – and that’s exactly how it should be for everyone.

It makes me sad when I see a girl who is beautiful, talented and extremely stylish post a photo of herself that says “I hate my butt and thighs.” Because what I saw in that photo was a girl with a great ass and nice legs. But we’re so heavily bombarded with these unattainable goals, she doesn’t see it. So – in case you read this – you’re gorgeous. Own it.

Apparently this is Body Confidence Week 2014.

Well, screw that.

I say we own our imperfections and share our struggles and make 2014 Body Confidence Year.

The Desolation of Smaug. Also, I have to pee.

Sunday afternoon, I went to see The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug.

So, um…. well, it was long. And parts of it made me dizzy. And Thranduil’s eyebrows are stunning. They jump right off the screen at you in 3D. 

But I had some issues.





Okay, I think I have warned you as best as I can. So here we go.

1) Too much CG. The CG was beautiful at times, but the pace of the movie actually made it easier to spot the sloppy bits and lose the feel of it. Also, there was just too damn much. Some of the practical effects were gorgeous. Peter Jackson really needs to leave out some of the CG in the future and let the creature builders, make up artists and effects specialists do their jobs. Because it’s so much better when it’s real.

2) Tauriel. While I applaud Jackson for adding not only a female character to the film, but a strong powerful female character, (which The Hobbit was sorely lacking) the whole Kili/Tauriel thing bugs me. Okay, let’s see how this plays out. Legolas likes Tauriel, but his overly eyebrowed father won’t let him pursue her. Thranduil tells her this. Her feelings towards Legolas are confused until the moment when she meets the Hottie Dwarf. And gets all moony-eyed over him. Was that actually necessary? No. Could we PLEASE have a strong, capable, awesome female character who isn’t automatically someone’s love interest? Please stop adding extraneous love stories to otherwise awesome action movies. (And yes, I am a girl who is writing this.) The Hobbit is no place for love stories. Except of course mine. Towards Richard Armitage (Thorin, if you’re not aware), but the non-dwarf version.

3) IT WAS TOO DAMN LONG. I get that Jackson seems to think that the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit movies are a sweet sweet love letter to his homeland of New Zealand. And no one is denying that New Zealand is beautiful, but the outdoor sweeping scenery sequences are unnecessary. New Zealand is beautiful. We Know. We Know. We all want to visit. Can you get back to the story? Cause I have to pee.

4) Stupid Over the Top Action. Some of the action sequences were so damned ridiculous you just had to cringe. The charm of the original story of The Hobbit was that it was mostly about a character who was totally inept. Bilbo Baggins was not a superhero. He didn’t do amazing things. He stumbled through his journey and most of the action in that book happened by accident. When you take the fact that Bilbo is an accidental hero out of the story and create these elaborate choreographed action sequences that show like The Nutcracker Ballet of CG, it just feels forced. And inauthentic. And um, when did Legolas become the Elven Superman? Because seriously, that guy apparently is incapable of missing anything. And I’m pretty sure Jackson almost made him fly.

When a group of people go to a movie on a Sunday afternoon, the result you want as a filmmaker is them walking out of the theatre chattering excitedly about “and when that happened? And then when that happened?” You want them reliving all the best moments of a film. But after The Desolation of Smaug my friends and I stood outside discussing nothing more than how Lee Pace did most of his acting with his thick and lush eyebrows.

*PS – Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed The Hobbit, part deux. And I still think it’s worth seeing this movie…