Indecent Proposal (1993)

Indecent Proposal is one of those movies that came out in my younger years, became a part of the pop culture lexicon, and I managed to have no idea what it was about besides rolling around in money.

So yeah, there is rolling around in money involved, but I ended up being far more charmed by the film than I expected.
I never realized how much Woody Harrelson looks like Matthew McConaughey. Maybe it's the glasses?
Diana and David Murphy (Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson) are high school sweethearts who share a supportive and passionate relationship that includes fighting about dirty clothes all over the house and having sex on the kitchen floor.* Anyway, Diana is a real estate agent and David is an architect with dreams of building his own dream house someday. Unfortunately the economic recession hits,** and they fall behind on payments toward the dream house, even with Oliver Platt as an accountant. So they do what any fiscally responsible adults do and gamble in Vegas.

Nice shades.
The first night they win $25,000 that is used for rolling in/sexy times. They decide to press their luck and try the next night. Of course they lose. And of course a handsome millionaire (Robert Redford) takes notice of Diana. This millionaire, John Gage, starts treating the couple to a nice hotel suite and a party--even giving Diana a dress she was admiring earlier.

Demi Moore in 1993 or modern-day hipster? You decide.
Then things get strange over a game of pool, and John hypothetically tests the couple's love by asking, what if he gave them a million dollars for one night with Diana. This turns into a serious question that the couple flatly refuses. Except they keep thinking about it that night in bed and in the morning the deal is made. The rest of the movie follows the fall out resulting in this transaction, including suspicion and more meddling from John Gage.

Absolutely charmed by shirtless Harrelson.
While this movie was never going to be a particularly intelligent film, the handling of the last half of the movie fails to interestingly grapple with the results of a pretty good set-up.From the start of the film, the chemistry between Diana and David is palpable and fun. They're both warm and attractive***, and they have an ease with each other that I found successful in creating a couple to root for. I mean, yeah, the voiceovers and the John Barry soundtrack**** are cheesy as hell, but I bought it.

Blah blah blah, I'm really boring, but I've got a great smile, and I wear suits.
The downfall, ultimately, goes to the casting of Robert Redford as John Gage. Yes, he's an empirically attractive man, but he doesn't have any extra charisma that convinces me that he would be able to seduce a woman so happily married (see also: The Horse Whisperer, although at least that woman was unhappily married). I found him an easy obstacle from the get-go, so David's anger and Diana's wavering ultimately seem trifling. For a movie that offers such a juicy "what if" scenario, it fails to deliver in delicious results. Instead, we're left with a good first act, a middling second act, and an inevitable and boring third act.

Before everything goes wrong.
However, Woody Harrelsonson's open demeanor and Demi Moore's natural charisma save the film from becoming a complete failure, proving that if you're going to make an erotic drama, you might as well cast sexy and capable actors to make the film worth the watch.

*Side bar: they have the cutest house ever, and I kind of want it:
Awesome garden.
Americana and daylight in the living room.
Comfortable and quaint bedroom.
Cool windows and shades in the well lit kitchen. (Also, great look, Woody, with the rolled-up sleeves and a henley underneath: I cannot resist that combination.)
**How is this movie not being remade RIGHT NOW? Quick: who would you cast?
***We need to talk about how stunning Demi Moore looks in this movie. She barely looks like she has a stitch of make-up on the whole film beyond lipstick, and she still looks like perfection.
****Did I mention that Seal and Sade also make aural appearances during opportune moments?


Live commentarying The Voice: 3/25/2012

Final Battles Round!

Least creepy Adam Levine picture?

1. Team Cee Lo: James and Wade are singing "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper. Nice song choice that makes Cee Lo cry during rehearsals. They're both fairly off-pitch at different points, especially during harmonies. I think Wade has better control of his voice, but James has a purer tone.

Adam: Would go with James. His voice captured him.
Blake: Likes James' "merch."
Christina: Complimented Wade, but ultimately goes with James.
Cee Lo: James upped his confidence. Wade has inherent talent. Cee Lo goes with James! I'll take it if he keeps using Good Will Hunting quotes about "how you like them apples?" BOSTON.

2. Team Adam: Nicole Galyon and Mathai are singing "Love Song" by Sarah Bareilles. Nicole is obsessed with the piano, but has to sing without it. Ugh, Mathai does that weird forced vibrato thing that only works if you're a seasoned ska singer. Nicole's voice sounds kind of weak on the higher notes. This is like mediocre karaoke and the harmonies are gross. Tears.

Blake: Mathai had better breath support than Nicole.
Christina: Mathai outperformed Nicole.
Cee Lo: Nicole was generic, Mathai was a stronger singer.
Adam: Not happy with the performance in general. (Preach!) Mathai wins. Sure. I'll go with that.

3. Team Christina: Moses Stone vs. country duo The Line singing "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones. Weird combination of hip-hop, country, and R&B?The Line's harmonies sound dissonant or something and are weirdly robotic. Moses might not be as good of a singer as he is an MC, but he's working the stage and is entertaining. The male half of The Line is working for me. I can't decide how I feel about the overall product of the song, it's so odd. I'd choose Moses if only because I'd like to see where this goes.

Cee Lo: "My man, Moses" worked the stage, had personality. Group worked well together. Overall performance would go with Moses.
Adam: Unorthodox, but would go with The Line because they showed off their vocals more.
Blake: "That was pretty weird." Would go with The Line.
Christina: Diatribe about what "The Voice" means to her. Chooses Moses. Fun!

4. Team Adam: Karla Davis and Orlando Napier are singing "Rich Girl" by Hall and Oates. HAHAHAHA. One of my all-time favorites. Woah, reboot! They're trying a different song. "Easy" by the Commodores. Well, then. Orlando delights my blue-eyed soul. I like the chorus incorporates both their voices without forcing ugly harmonies. Karla has a sweetness to her voices from a mixed-voice rather than belting, which is pleasant to listen to. I don't know who I would choose. They were both...mellow.

Blake: Likes the sound of Karla's voice, but Orlando did a better overall performance.
Christina: Lackluster, but Karla was a little more entertaining.
Cee Lo: Liked BLUE-EYED SOUL of Orlando, would go with him.
Adam: Orlando has a very specific voice, Karla started to blossom. Winner is Karla. Cool, I'll take it.

5. Team Blake: Jordan Rager and Naia Kete are singing Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours." This could be adorable. Youngster Jordan had me at "Come on, y'all." Naia sounds nervous, but comes out stronger during her verse. Overall, this is mediocre although well matched, but Jordan is adorable.

Christina: Jordan had a solid performance, Naia had more of a natural groove, but "strayed off." Would go with Naia.
Cee Lo: Would have loved to see Jordan more confident. Naia was comfortable in this song and would choose her.
Adam: Applauds Jordan going out of his comfort zone. Would go with Naia.
Blake: Surprised that Naia was as nervous as she was and she missed notes. Jordan stepped up, but also had some pitch issues on the harmonies. Thought it was an even performance, but ends up choosing experienced Naia. I'LL MISS YOU, JORDAN.

6. Team Cee Lo: Tony Vincent and Justin Hopkins are singing Journey's "Faithfully." It's a power ballad-off. Tony has a very calculated break in his voice, and I much prefer Justin's gruff tone. However, this is an awesome performance, and it made me fall in love with this song again.

Adam: Likes the dirty/passionate voice of Justin. Felt like Tony was there the whole time and put on a great performance. Would go with Justin.
Blake: Tony may be a bit more versatile, but Justin had a more solid performance.
Christina: Responded to Justin's strong voice, but would go with Tony's versatility.
Cee Lo: Talks about the meaning of the song. Tony is more adaptable and enigmatic and he likes that. Justin really impressed him with a natural voice. Goes with Tony. I think I'll be entertained, but I'll miss Justin and his beard.

See you next week!

Random comments:
1. Jewel reads these singers so well. The Line is totally a wedding band.
2. Can Robin Thicke narrate my life?
3. Jordan has as big a crush on Miranda Lambert as I do.
4. Is Tony Powder by way of Gerard Way?
5. Ne-Yo is still my favorite assistant coach.


Live Commentarying The Voice: 3/19/2012

It's been a busy last couple days, but I'm back. Let's check out week 3 of the the Battles.

Billy Ocean is clearly the winner from this episode.

1. Team Adam: Pip and Nathan Parrett are singing Amy Winehouse's "You Know I'm No Good." I can't believe there's a dude named Pip. In high school I knew a Pip who was smart, off-putting, wore dragon shirts, and loved Ayn Rand. This Pip seems personable and wears suspenders. I kind of want to box both of these guys up because they're adorable. I don't know who I want to win. Pip is a little more solid.

Blake: Nathan has a big strong voice, but Pip can do anything.
Christina: Pip comes across of having done Broadway (Blake says it's his plaid pants), Nathan came across as nervous but commanded attnetion.
Cee Lo: Nathan came across as effortless cool and did Amy Winehouse proud. Nathan stole it for him.
Adam: Pip can do everything, Nathan was a refreshing surprise. Pip is the winner of the battle. I'll take it.

2. Team Cee Lo: Erin Martin vs. the Shields Brothers singing Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It." This might be brilliant, but I'm guessing disaster because I didn't like either of them that much in the auditions. Erin is obnoxious during rehearsals and doesn't understand how to do something other than be pretty. Ugh, Erin's weird pronunciation of words is the worst ("react" "reaaaaiiiiiickkkktt," "love" = "loheiirrrve") and takes her off pitch. There's also some squealing, and she's trying way too hard. The boys are totally pulling focus by being awesome, on pitch, and power ballad emotive.

Adam: That was so weird (agreed). Erin's crap takes her too far. The boys were having fun and he chooses them.
Blake: Glad Erin is wearing her leotard/garter thing and would choose her.
Christina: Bleeping loved it. Liked Erin's squeals and the boys' harmonies. Would go with Shields brothers.
Cee Lo: Afraid the Shields brothers could become gimmicky, and this song wasn't good for Erin. Goes with Erin. My soul dies. THE WORST.

3. Team Christina: Ashley De La Rosa and Jonathas will be singing "No Air" by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown. Puke at the song choice. This is a pretty solid duet. Their voices fit the song and they play off each other well. I could go either way.

Cee Lo: Very nice on stage and they worked well together. Ashley showed off more of her range.
Adam: Both comfortable on stage and had chemistry. Might pick Ashley.
Blake: Jonathas stayed at the same level the whole song, but Ashley tried more things.
Christina: Seen Ashley grow a lot, Jonathas is a solid performer. Goes with Ashley. It'll be fun to see how she grows.

4. Team Blake: ALyX and Jermaine Paul are singing Billy Ocean's "Get Outta My Dreams and Into My Car." What the hell? Great choice, Blake. Love me some adult contemporary, and I love that Blake wants them to have fun. Hahahahahahaha this performance delights me. Jermaine is really selling the song to the audience. ALyX is keeping up, although she's a little flat and doesn't seem to realize how hilarious this song is.

Christina: Jermaine made the song his own. ALyX gets a "great effort."
Cee Lo: Enjoyed his performance and confidence.
Adam: Jermaine took this song and kicked it's ass.
Blake: Compliments ALyX's confidence as well as Jermaine's. Jermaine wins!!! Yay! His voice is like butter.

5. Team Adam: Angel Taylor and Katrina Parker are singing "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis. Again, bored face. Katrina comes in very strong and stays on pitch. Angel sounds, but isn't selling the song as well. Mostly, I'm very impressed by Katrina.

Blake: Likes the break in Angel's voice, Katrina won this round. (Agree).
Christina: Liked the interesting rasp in Angel's voice. Liked that Katrina was a more multi-dimensional singer.
Cee Lo: Came alive in the second verse of the song. Katrina came in confident and stayed throughout.
Adam: (Adorable hiding in his cardigan.) Katrina had a lot power and command. Angle had uniqueness that was potent. Has to go with Katrina. Yay!

6. Team Blake: Gwen Sebastian and Erin Willett are singing "We Belong" by Pat Benatar. Great song choice, Blake. Already have goosebummps with Gwen's first verse. I love this song so much! They sound great on the chorus harmonies and perform well together. I don't know who I liked better since they were both good, just different styles.

Christina: Liked Gwen's rasp and Erin's power. Gravitated more toward Erin.
Cee Lo: Again points out vocal differences. Would go with Gwen.
Adam: Liked the richness and warmth of Erin's voice, but thought both were fantastic.
Blake: Wished the performances weren't so good. He has a hard time choosing, but ends up going with Erin. I'll accept that.

Random comments:
1. Alanis Morisette and Adam Levine are proponents of staying faithful to a melody. LOVE.
2. I'm pretty sure Cee Lo just referenced Steve Winwood's "Valerie" in rehearsals.
3. Babyface calling the Shields Brothers Wayan's World makes my life.
4. Can Miranda Lambert be my best friend? She's so common sense.


Live-commentarying the Voice: 3/12/2012

Hey folks, in an effort to make this shorter and more readable, I'm just going to comment on the performances. Week 2 of the Battle Rounds!


1. Team Christina: Geoff McBride and Sera Hill are singing Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools." Christina isn't too original about song choices. This sounds like a wedding band cover of this song. They're both pretty solid, I'm not sure who's going to stay in the competition. The breakdown at the end was hideous.

Cee Lo: Pleasantly surprised. Picks Geoff because he had more control vocally.
Blake: Indecisive, but going with Sera.
Adam: Leans toward Geoff because of his taking-off-the-glasses move.
Christina: Liked both of them, but she goes with Sera because of her runs and ad libs. Whatever.

2. Team Blake: Charlotte Sometimes and Lex Land will be singing "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People. CAN MARK FOSTER BE THERE? But seriously, that's random. The song works so well because of the strange, nasal vocals and echo effects. We'll see if it works in pure vocal performance. Charlotte has that obnoxious Lana-Del-Rey-scoop-voice-to-forced-vibrato thing that's weirdly popular these days. Lex works a breathy verse and brings it on the chorus. I would go with Lex.

Christina: Liked Lex's sexy verse. Charlotte was sassy.
Cee Lo: Liked Charlotte's sexy, liked Lex's airy sexy. Would have gone with Charlotte.
Adam: Lex opened up as the song went on and would go with her.
Blake: Lex is surprising. Charlotte has what it takes to be a star. Charlotte wins. So bored by her style.

3. Team Cee Lo: Sarah Golden and Juliet Simms are up singing "Stay With Me" by Rod Stewart. Cee Lo remains my favorite song chooser. Their styles surprisingly blend well; there's only a fine line between rocker and folk singer. I feel like Sarah has the harder part with the lower harmonies--she's got a nice ear.

Adam: Would definitely go with Juliet.
Blake: Complimented Sarah's harmonies and versatility.
Christina: Wasn't sure that the song did Sarah justice and would go with Juliet.
Cee Lo: Sarah got to show off her range. He goes with Juliet. (It was a tough call, and I appreciate anyone bringing Black Crowes realness.)

4. Team Adam: Whitney Myer and Kim Yarbrough are singing Mary J. Blige's "No More Drama." Can I just say how much I love Kim's wisdom? Kim has more of a command of her voice, but Whitney's got a lot of fight.

Blake: Felt like he was watching Diva's Live. "Song of a bitch, man." Picks Carson.
Christina: Could not deny Kim's voice.
Cee Lo: Felt like the song fit Kim's more mature voice better.
Adam: Conflicted, but ultimately goes with Kim! I'm excited for her.

5. Team Christina: Lee Koch and Lindsey Pavao are going to sing "Heart Shaped Box" by Nirvana. This could be a disaster pairing. They both have that breathy, close-mouthed, permanently pronouncing "r" style that's a close cousin to the Lana Del Rey scoop. Think Feist. Lindsey is incapable of finding the melody, she's always in riff mode. Lee is staying closer to basics and is coming off better, although Lindsey sometimes happens upon some good moments.

Cee Lo: Liked Lindsey's voice, Lee looks like Jesus. Thought it was a great performance overall.
Adam: Liked the creepiness. Picks Lee.
Blake: Doesn't know "Heart Shaped Box." ??? Would have picked Lindsey.
Christina: Put himself into the song. Loves Lindsey's tone. Goes with Lindsey and her inability to find a melody.

6. Team Cee Lo: Jamie Lono and Jamar Rogers are singing Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is." Cee Lo continues to win the song choice competition. Jamie is more entertaining, although Jamar's voice is smoother and overall stronger. Probably my favorite performance of the night, if only for the song choice.

Adam: Jamie was in his zone, but lost it once it turned into a power ballad. Jamar owned the stage.
Blake: Loves Jamie's vibe.
Christina: Likes Jamie's tone, but song didn't fit him vocally. Jamar has a singer vein in his neck...so she chooses him.
Cee Lo: Ultimately goes with Jamar. Well chosen, Cee Lo. I'll miss Jamie's glasses.

Random comments:
1. Where can I get Cee Lo's silky sweat suit collection?
2. Can Ne-yo be everyone's coach? He's got great advice.
3. Robin Thicke's presence delights me to no end.


Live-blogging The Voice: March 5, 2012

The Battle Rounds, y'all! The singers are competing against their own teammates. Half the teams (6 out of 12) will be eliminated after these rounds.

Team Adam:
Tony Lucca and Chris Cauley will be singing U2's "Beautiful Day." That's boring. Also, it reminds me of my sister and I yelling "DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY" in the chorus of that song because Bono is straight up singing out of his range that entire chorus.

The harmonies already making this song better.

Alanis Morisette is the adviser helping out Tony. Blah blah blah, integrity in being famous I guess. Hmmmm, Tony's yell of "DAAAAAY" is more musical than Bono even if he's not super comfortable in that range.

Yay! Robin Thicke is advising Chris. They talk about performing and body language.

Even the opening notes remind me that I hate this song. Once Tony gets out of the lower range of the first verse, he becomes my favorite in this battle, even if the higher notes sound like they take more effort. Chris is doing well, too, I just prefer Tony. I just love an ex-Mousekateer. The dynamics of two voices really saved this song.

Blake: Chris has more consistent pitch.

Christina: Pulling for former ex-mousekateer, but compliments Chris's vocals.

Cee Lo: Tony articulated the song better, although Chris was also good.

Adam: (He's wearing a nice cardigan.) Chris more theatrical. He had no idea it would be this close. (Why is carson holding their wrists). Adam picks Tony! Good choice. This is why Adam is my imaginary The Voice best friend.

Chris is a classy loser.

Team Blake
They're at some ranch. Adley Stump and Raelynn are up first, singing "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty. Blake likes the differences in their voices.

Raelynn is trying to put a lot of extra notes in there. Blake pulls her back. Adley sounds good.

Blake's wife Miranda Lambert is advising Raelynn. Miranda Lambert is flawless. Blake and Miranda are giving a lot of good advice about working with the voice she's got.

Kelly Clarkson is advising Adley. Adley is kind of charming. Kelly is a good cheerleader and talks about using a soft voice when harmonizing with Raelynn and still show off her big voice.

Product placement for Kia? With Miranda lambert's voice on the car's phone setting? Whatever, Adley's got great huge hair and Raelynn is keeping her soft curls. (In case you're wondering).

RaeLynn is a bit off key at the beginning and is giving way too much styling. Adley comes in nice with the harmonies. RaeLynn has much more power on high notes and her style is very classy. She seems like the clear winner in this battle. RaeLynn just sounds as young as she is (17), although she's giving it her all.

Christina: Compliments RaeLynn's guts, and Adley's lungs.

Cee Lo: Raelynn is adorable/youthful, has time to grow. Adley is present and more experienced. Adley is his choice.

Adam: Long notes difficult. Would go with RaeLynn because she's more unique. (False, that's a terrible critique).

Blake: Figuring out who was telling a good story. RaeLynn wins. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I guess she has more room to grow? Adley was a professional is classy on her way out.

Team Christina:
Chris Mann and Monique Benabou are matched up singing "The Power of Love" by Celine Dion. Chris is well-trained and operatic, Monique is pop-y and her speaking voice sounds thrashed.

Chris is keeping his classical voice. Monique has a hard time with reading music and harmonies. Luckily, Monique has some power behind her voice.

Lionel Richie is the adviser for Chris. He's a perfectionist and in his head. Cheerleading. Also, what the trash is Christina wearing?

Jewel is helping prepare Monique. They're trying to get her to relax and use her emotion to get an advantage over Chris.

Monique is all breathy, Chris is all Vibrato City. The pronoun switching in the chorus in weird. My brother just stated that the TV sounds broken. Monique's voice fits the song better. The high note harmony has not gone well. They're close body language creep me out.

Cee Lo: Monique sounded good, thinks Chris is one of the best.

Adam: Liked Chris initially.

Blake: Defends Monique's performance.

Christina: Chooses Chris. At least he was on-pitch!

Team CeeLo
Chessa and Angie Johnson are up first singing "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Lol.

Chessa makes them transpose up a half key. Then Angie was all, let's bring it up another half step.

Babyface (remember him?) is advising Chessa. Cee Lo wore his silk jammies today. This song is getting out of her range.

Angie is working with Ne-yo. I wish Ne-yo was singing with Angie; their harmonizing is delicious. He compliments her range of dynamics and vocal range. Can Ne-yo be on this show every week?

I'm in love with this performance. They seem well matched. Their voices are almost too similar to differeniate, although Chessa is a little more gritty while Angie is more polished and capable of reaching the high notes. I might have to side with Angie.

Adam: Both were powerful and great at different times. Maybe would go with Chessa.

Blake: Both ranged from average-great moments. Sides with Angie.

Christina: Good match. Chessa at the beginning, Angie toward the end. Sides with Angie.

Cee Lo: Proud of the gals. Chessa had articulation, Angie had emotion. Cee Lo goes with Chessa. I'm okay with that, although I'm bummed that Angie's out.

Team Blake
Blake chooses Brian Fuente and Jordis Unga to sing Alanis Morisette's "Ironic." Huh. Blake tries to do the "rock on" sign.

I really like the piano player. Jordis is going to have to "become" this song. Whatever that means.

Brian meets with Blake and Kelly Clarkson. Kelly makes him "commit" to the song. My brother is making me sing. He's nervous about singing with a girl and singing solo rather than in a band.

Jordis meets Miranda. She's super emotional, I guess.

Jordis goes for the grit pretty early in the song. Brian sounds nice in the lower harmony. I really wish Brian was on pitch because I like his voice. He sounds better on the chorus. This was kind of a "meh" performance overall.

Christina: Talks about "teaching moments" throughout the song. Goes with Jordis.

Cee Lo: Likes Brian's aggression, I guess.

Adam: Going with Jordis.

Blake: Didn't like either performance. (Truth). Goes with Jordis, which I guess makes sense.

Team Christina
He's pairing Anthony Evans and Jesse Campbell to sing "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys. It's a soul-off.

Lionel Richie is telling Jesse to "not outdo."

Anthony is working with Jewel. Jewel wants trills for emotion, not for vanity.

Have we discussed the sparkly plate on Christina's head? Incredible. Anyway, this is a silky performance. I think I prefer Jesse's voice. It's a little more effortless. I'm loving this end-of-song breakdown. Tough choice.

Cee Lo: Thoroughly impressed.

Adam: Mind blown. Would pick Jesse.

Blake: Loved the performance, might go with Jesse.

Christina: She ultimately picks Jesse. Well done.

See you next week!


"Funeral Canticle"

I rewatched The Tree of Life tonight. While it was still a beautiful and thoughtful film on my tiny television, nothing beats the big screen and full volume of a movie theater to focus my attention.

However, I was still able to enjoy the images set to John Tavener's "Funeral Canticle" which are some of my favorite moments in the film. Something about the song makes me look heavenward, imagining some kind of divine feminine*. I've embedded the whole song below, which combines old world solos with the gorgeous and rich refrain used in the film. Enjoy.

*She looks an awful lot like Jessica Chastain.