Author Archives: nrmurph

RIP Nora Ephron: Writer, Filmmaker, New Yorker, Inspiration

I always felt an odd connection to Nora Ephron. It was odd in the sense that we were complete strangers that never met and had nothing in common other than a love for writing, film, New York, and a shared name. When I saw the breaking news headline last evening that she was “gravely ill” and not expected to make it through the night, I was immediately gutted. I didn’t know if I should pop in You’ve Got Mail or Sleepless in Seattle or read some of her witty articles in the New Yorker. I just wanted to feel that connection and smile like I had a few months ago when I read her book “I Feel Bad About My Neck.” Mere minutes later, it was reported that Nora had passed away at the tender age of 71 and one thing is for certain: she was taken too soon.

By penning classic films such as When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail, in addition to published essays, novels, cookbooks, and plays, her talent was immense and such a rare joy to see in Hollywood. How often do women shine in the business as writers or directors? Not often enough.

From paper to the silver screen to the theater, Nora’s voice always shined in her work and had that quintessential New York attitude to it. As a native herself who was a staple on the Upper East Side, especially at Elaine’s before its close last year, all of her work had an authentic feel. She made you feel like you were a part of the action, and that’s a testament to good writing.

I don’t know how she managed to be so good at everything she did but I will spend my life trying to imitate her by saying, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

RIP Nora Ephron

May 19, 1941 – June 26, 2012

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Jubilation Over Glee Graduation

General fan consensus on the Internet is that Tuesday’s Glee Graduation was a terrible episode. I feel like I am in the minority of those who loved it. Why, you ask? Because

FINCHEL IS OVER!!!!!

The entire episode could have been of babies crying, sad puppies, and a world without chocolate but if it ended with a Finchel breakup I would still love it! The first thing that Finn Hudson has ever done right in his entire existence is breakup with Rachel so she could go to New York and follow her dreams at NYADA. All the other drama and trauma of their relationship is now irrelevant all summer long, until September when I’m sure the writers will return my strife in the form of Finn magically appearing in New York with her. Yet until then, I will rejoice because Rachel Berry is in New York, without Finn Hudson!

Also possibly coming to New York? Santana! Do you know what I would do if they actually filmed here in New York? I would quit my job, start taking singing/dancing lessons, and offer to pick up the poop of Naya Rivera’s dog. If she even has a dog, I’m not sure. In order to get on the show, I’d pretty much do anything, except engage in fake Monchele support. I draw the line there.

While I’m plotting ways to have a new career change, the rest of the cast is moving on as well. Mercedes is off to UCLA while also being a backup singer in an indie band. Mike Chang will continue to be a dancing machine. Quinn is off to Yale but still plans on seeing Rachel with that pricey buss pass she bought her. Hello, Faberry. It feels like we’ve seen the last of Amber Riley, Harry Shum Jr. and Dianna Agron, yet according to Ryan Murphy, everyone is returning next year. But it’s hard to see how these characters, aside from Quinn, will really fit in between the New York/Ohio storylines.

Puck will be a Lima Loser. Kurt now has no plans, except to be with Blaine. Finn is off to the Army. Brittany got left back, and Santana is contemplating staying in Lima to be with her, but the allure of New York is calling her name. And can we just acknowledge that Gloria Estefan is adorable and should have been brought on as Mama Lopez many episodes ago instead of the season finale?

A finale that had many tears shed by the characters but none by me (Shocking). It just wasn’t emotionally compelling. Aside from the flashbacks to previous seasons, most notably Burt doing the “Single Ladies” dance, nothing tugged at the heart. Graduation was distracting more than anything because I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of school doesn’t announce graduates in alphabetical order. It was all more like a “see you later” than an actual “Goodbye.” At the end of the day, that’s okay. I’m just happy to have a few months off from this show because it’s far too consuming.

Just like kids say before summer break: Hey Glee, see you in September! Sadly

 

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Dark Disco Days

Take a minute to think back to every school dance, sweet sixteen, prom, block party, or wedding you have ever been to. Are you there yet? Do you see some out of style fashion and friends you don’t speak to anymore? Okay, good, you’re almost there. Now think of the end of the night, when the DJ announces that they’re playing one more song before the evening wraps up. You’re sad because the night is technically winding down, but then the first notes of that song play and no matter what, you are suddenly energized and ready to sing and dance with those friends you once had.

This classic Donna Summer song will forever be unanimous with parties to me and now that the Queen of Disco has left us far too soon, I wonder if parties will ever be the same.

And now, just when you find yourself deep in musical nostalgia, another singer is taken from you. With the passing of Bee Gee Robin Gibb, disco has certainly taken a severe hit the past few days. Two incredible talents, both taken too soon from cancer.

When music legends pass away, they’re never really gone. They leave behind a musical collection which luckily can be played for generations to come. Yet it’s still a sad reminder that they can no longer bless us with their soothing voices and lyrics.

Let’s all take a moment to put on our disco shoes and twirl around in their honor.

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It’s All Coming Back To Me Now

Glee should always air for 2 hours. Correction: Glee should always air for 2 hours when it was as good and magical as it was last night. “Props” and “Nationals” were solid and well written episodes. Especially if you mute the TV every time Finchel has a scene. Then it’s phenomenal!

My only complaint in the entire 2 hours is that they didn’t let the body swap last for nearly long enough. I was just getting used to Puck as Blaine and Rachel as Tina when they pulled us back into reality. I could have certainly had some more Santana mimicking Artie and Quinn as the giddy Sugar. Spot on. Yet, it served its purpose to bring Tina Cohen-Chang front and center for an episode. Finally! How long have I been complaining that Tina is ignored? Long enough for me to receive a text message last night stating: “I think the writers read your blog.” So, on that note, thank you very much for taking my thoughts into consideration. Please hire me for season 4, I have some fresh ideas I would love to share with the world. Call me!

While Props tidied up the lingering Coach Bieste domestic abuse storyline, Puck’s angst, and Rachel’s quest for acceptance into NYADA, “Nationals” brought us back to what Glee is really about. The music. The camaraderie. The desire to make a dream come true. While Brittany lost her pillow and blanket out the window (disaster!) everyone started fighting over dance moves. So Santana unleashed her rage and gave everyone a piece of her mind before Mr. Schue was there to remind the kids that they want to win so badly; that their last Nationals meant that much to them. And to us viewers at home, who have watched these kids struggle at coming in #1 when it mattered.

On stage, they were flawless. Lea Michele gave Celine Dion a run for her money  on “All Coming Back To Me Now.” That voice could move mountains I swear. Add in the ladies going to the “Edge of Glory” and back again for “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and you have one solid performance. For the first time ever, I agreed with Lindsay Lohan. Those New Directions were great. Everybody appreciates a comeback, especially Ms. Lohan. And it’s a good thing the judges agreed because we never would have gotten to see those happy faces accepting their trophy and marching back to McKingley.

 

“Tongue Tied” is not only one of my favorite songs of the past few months, but it’s also now associated with my favorite Glee scene of all time. This montage was so beautiful and happy, that yes, I cried. It was just so perfect! The fear of rejection turned into complete praise, jubilation, confetti, sparkling cider, dip kisses in the hall, Emma going all the way, just everything that I imagine heaven to be like. Minus Finchel. I still think that’s hell.

These 2 episodes have had me thinking about my own high school graduation quite a lot. And with next week’s “Goodbye” episode, I think I’ll cry more than my own graduation because at least I knew I would see my friends again. My fictional friends, I may never see again.

Damn all these feelings, coming back to me now

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A Prehistoric Prom-Asaurus

When I went to prom 7 years ago, it certainly wasn’t as fun/dramatic as McKinley’s. First off, there were no Kings and Queens since it was a private Catholic school, and singling two people out wouldn’t be “right.” Like Rachel, I had no chance at winning Prom Queen because I wasn’t one of those popular girls. But much like Santana and Quinn, I sure as hell would have liked to win it if the crown fit.

Except they both had the chance to crown themselves. Quinn was the victor, fair and square, with Santana only one vote behind her. They had the power to ensure that one of them would win but in what is by far, the most character growth amidst the 3 seasons, they did what they considered the right thing. Santana didn’t want to be Queen if Brittany wasn’t King. That is simply beautiful compared to her desperate plea to win last year with her beard Karofsky. There is a tiara collection in the Fabray household, and last year Quinn slapped Rachel across the face because she blamed her for ruining her chances at winning. This year, they both sabotaged the votes and handed in a card that stated that Rachel Berry won on write-in votes.

Part of me didn’t like that Rachel won because it shows her complete lack of growth. She is supposed to be the girl that doesn’t care about popularity or boys; just her Broadway dreams. She completely lost that this year and by only caring about her fiancé and now getting the quintessential (no pun intended, but man, was Faberry on last night or what?) high school title, she seems to only care about what happens in her life with Finn. Barf.

Quinntana looked a whole lot more excited and pleased than Finn, which yet again just proves that Finchel sucks! He screamed at Quinn (completely ruining “Love You Like a Love Song”. Rude) to get up and walk when in season one, he pretended to be handicapped in order to get a job. Hypocrite much? Quinn stood on that stage and sang “Take My Breath Away” for you and your girlfriend, how about some gratitude? It’s sad that I think my Finchel hate has only escalated because of my hate of Monchele, which needs to end immediately. I never want to see or hear anything Monchele related again in my life.

I also don’t want to see double standards and prehistoric thinking. I lost track of how many times Finchel kissed last night, as well as all the random students shown making out. Why do we always get to see that, but Brittana and Klaine get nothing? All of this ironically occurring at the same time North Carolina passed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Glee is supposed to be paving the way for television and it’s not doing a very thorough job, but again, only mature viewers will be aware of these travesties because we’re in touch with reality. Although if I don’t stop singing “Love You Like A Love Song” and “Dinosaur,” I may just wind up locked up in a psychiatric hospital, rocking myself back and forth in rhyme. Maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll share a room with Brittany since everyone thought she was crazy for her prehistoric dinosaur prom theme- which was pretty awesome if you ask me.

Also awesome: Becky Jackson. I love angry Becky. I love rude Becky. I just love Becky because she tells it like it is and doesn’t care what people think about her. She had hopes of being Prom Queen too and people looking at her for the right reason (aw!) and none other than Noah Puckerman crowned her with a beer box crown. Keeping it classy Puckerman, I approve.

There are only 3 episodes left, including next week’s 2 hour 2 episode extravaganza. I don’t think we’re ready for this jelly.

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Just Can’t Shake Glee Out

Last week, I avoided processing my feelings on the Whitney Houston episode because I felt like it fell flat and didn’t do justice to the late songstress. This week, some new heavy issues were addressed and Glee yet again proved itself unable to handle sensitive issues properly. I mean, they titled the train-wreck “Choke.” Because that was a great title for an episode that features spousal abuse. Bravo.

That being said, the domestic abuse storyline with Coach Beiste was completely unexpected and saddening. The initial lecture to Santana, Brittany, Mercedes, Tina and Sugar seemed to be just another attempt of Glee hitting a hard message home, but it soon became all too real all during song. I have been anxiously awaiting the Glee ladies’ rendition of “Cell Block Tango” since 2009. It was #3 on my most needed covers (#1. Spice Girls- Wannabe, #2. Rent- Seasons of Love). So to see them finally do it was quite literally music to my ears, but the context was much less enjoyable since the tango was juxtaposed with images proving that Beiste was actually beaten by her husband.

For the duration of the episode, we had these Beiste-girl centric moments, that concluded with a beautiful acoustic version of Florence + the Machine’s “Shake It Out.”

This emotional storyline tried to teach a lesson to leave a man who abuses you, except Beiste returned to him and didn’t really move in with her sister. Heartbreaking. And also disappointing because it would have been nice to see a Glee female finally take ownership of her life and how she is treated and not to be involved with a man who doesn’t treat her right. Ahem, are you paying attention Rachel?

The Rachel Berry, who wanted Broadway more than oxygen, bombed her NYADA audition. How can you forget the words to “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” the song you have sung since you were 2 years old? Oh, that’s right. Somehow you managed to be more concerned about your ogre of a fiancé than your dreams. And now your dreams are left on the floor for Finn Hudson to toss aside by guessing “you’re upset and stuff.” He has more important things to worry about, like how will Puck graduate?

All this macho nonsense is getting old. It’s all about the guys being the ones on top. It’s all about them being the victors. Everyone was more preoccupied with Puck passing geography than Rachel Berry’s demise or that heavy issue that all the other girls were addressing. All the girls except Quinn because shocker- she wasn’t in the episode AT ALL. Not even a flash of blonde rolling down a hallway. Yet somehow she is an important enough of a character to be the catalyst of what appears to be 2 fights in next week’s episode. For a ghost, Quinn really knows how to throw a wedge between Finchel.

With Prom up next week, I’m hoping that we can finally get some answers about what is really happening on this show, aside from poor writing. Will Brittany graduate? What will happen to Brittana? Will Quinn walk her way to Yale? Will Tina finally get some lines? Will Finn run into Rachel’s knife 10 times? Sure, that may go against the lesson from “Choke” but desperate times call for desperate measures.

All we seem to know is that Kurt Hummel must be NYADA bound after that fantastic rendition of “Not The Boy Next Door.” If he doesn’t get accepted, then there is just no hope for this show. Yet we’ll all somehow be back for Season 4 wondering why. Not to lighten the severity of the subject, but maybe we’re the ones in the abusive relationship….

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Struck By Lightning Strikes Up Feelings

As I sat in the BMCC PAC theater awaiting the start of the world premiere of Struck By Lightning, I had to remove a couple of hats. Firstly, I had to remove my Gleek hat, which was pretty hard when I’m sitting on the other side of the aisle from Amber Riley and Ashley Fink, and some kid named Chris Colfer is introducing the film on stage. Secondly, I had to remove my Tribeca hat because having worked there last year, I am incredibly biased into thinking the festival can do absolutely nothing wrong, aside from not giving me a full time job to make my dreams come true but that’s besides the point.

I watched Struck By Lightning as just a typical film viewer, eagerly anticipating what was going to happen next and even though we’re told the outcome of the film minutes into it, it doesn’t stop us from becoming emotionally engaged. Chris Colfer wrote an incredibly witty script that makes you appreciate real comedy that doesn’t rely on raunchy dirty humor to get a laugh. In fact, the theater laughed and clapped so much, that the man sitting behind me asked aloud, “What is this? A sporting event?” Yes sir, it might as well be.

Naturally Colfer, who played Carson, did his own story justice but every character embodied their role to make the high school clichés and family angst all the more believable.  From Allison Janney as Carson’s drunk pill popping mom to Christina Hendricks as the pregnant slighted fiancé of Caron’s estranged father to Polly Bergen as the Alzheimer’s ridden grandmother, these characters felt real and honest.

Most notable is Rebel Wilson. Playing the quirky yet oddly endearing Malerie that lives high school behind her video camera, we’re reminded that she’s bound to be the next breakout comedic actress. After her role in Bridesmaids, this just cements my belief that she’s hilarious no matter what kind of material she’s given.

As someone who had/has/needs to find the inspiration to follow my dreams and write because I can’t imagine doing anything but that, this film hit very close to home.  Sure, my high school life wasn’t like Carson’s. I didn’t single-handedly run the school newspaper or be a member of Student Council. I never applied to Northwestern nor did I blackmail the student body to help me write a literary magazine. Yet I can still relate and feel grateful that I was allowed the opportunity to view this film at the festival.

I would have enjoyed the film even if some of my least favorite actors and actresses were in it. George Bush and Sarah Palin could have been the leads and I would…. actually, forget that. I draw the line there.

As my ballot for the Heineken Audience Award showed, I give this film 5 stars.

PS: only at Tribeca can an audience question be asked by Emma Watson.

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Barely Staying Alive With Saturday Night Glee-ver

It would be too easy to state that the Glee writers are still stuck in the 70s with their ideas on women, but I don’t even want to go there. Instead, I just want to twirl around to the Bee Gees in my boogie shoes and have fun. In order to do that, we have to get the giant pink elephant that ate a bad stash of peanuts out of the way.

Where was Quinn?! She was on-screen for literally 5 seconds and was never seen, heard, or spoken of again. If Dianna Agron wasn’t allegedly confirmed for season 4, I would just assume they’re killing her off slowly. I mean they’re already killed Quinn’s characterization so why not take it one step further?

What kills me? Finchel. Finchel reminds me of  recently spoiled milk. It smells bad, but there’s a chance it may not taste so bad so you pour it into your Lucky Charms anyway, because they’re more magically delicious with milk, but then you start vomiting profusely all over the floor because that milk was terrible! Yeah. That’s Finchel. The writers need to stop giving us Finchel because it makes us sick! The boy has no brain and only finally agreed to go to New York with Rachel after all us mature fans wanted to stab him in every orifice. And Rachel? She is a shell of her former self. No self-proclaimed aspiring Broadway star would be willing to sacrifice her ambitions for a guy.

RIP Rachel Berry

Now onto the good… keeping the milk metaphor alive can we just acknowledge how real this statement is?

Will: Cream rises to the top.

Mercedes: But what if I’m not cream? What if I’m more like skim milk?

Okay, maybe it’s a bit corny but YES! Thank you for using dairy products as a way to explain how so many people at turning points of their lives actually feel. Most of us feel like skim milk and even though we want to have all our dreams come true, sometimes we feel like we just won’t get there. Like the amazing appearance of Unique, who definitely represented everything that Glee is about. It doesn’t matter what you look like; it’s about how you feel. If you feel like a fabulous woman, you get on that stage and work it! Sometimes we need to reevaluate what will actually get us toward our dreams and that was made quite clear by Brittana.

Santana wants to be famous. She wants fame because duh, Brittany will always be her girlfriend (score!), so naturally she wants to have her cake and eat it too. So dearest Britt Britt posts a video. Not just any video. A sex tape ala Kim Kardashian style. Except this was spliced with Lord Tubbington ransacking a kitchen. 2 Girls 1 Kitten was an internet sensation, giving Lady Lopez the fame she wanted except “getting her boob in the door” wasn’t exactly what she wanted after all.

When Sue calls the Cheerios to her office, she reminds Santana of what is important- like the FULL cheerleading scholarship she got because of Brittany. Let me hear you say, “AWWWWWW.”

“You say the dream, and I help build your dream. And that’s what a partnership is about, right?”

Yes Brittany, that is what it’s all about. Not this selfish back and forth between Finchel. We’re all supposed to follow our dreams rationally. One can’t achieve fame over night but with an education, Santana Lopez may just be the one getting her dreams and her girl in the end. And maybe finally, viewers will get satisfaction too.

What else do viewers want? (Besides Samcedes) Amazing songs! I love disco so maybe I’m biased but there is no denying just how amazing the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack is. Mercedes’ rendition of “Disco Inferno” was hands down the best song Amber Riley has ever been given. But I leave you with Wade/Unique and that cutie Jonathan Groff.

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Brangelina Wedding Bells

This is not a fake headline from Star Magazine:

BRANGELINA ENGAGED!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to start stalking my mailbox looking for my invitation!

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So What if You’re Wheelchair Bound? Blaine Has Brother Problems!

So let me get this straight…

If you get into a car accident that leaves you with a compressed spine and an uncertain prognosis, you will be the happiest ray of sunshine ever. You’ll go around saying things like, “Today is the best day of my life,” with an adorable smile and roll around in that wheelchair like you just met God and he/she told you that you are the perfect specimen he/she envisioned during creation.

And if you have a brother that stars in cheesy credit score commercials, you will be miserable and angsty because he is always putting you down and stealing your thunder. Your life will be so hard that you go around boxing to blow off steam and sulking before singing songs like “Fighter” because  duh, that’s what you are.

Wow.

It’s pretty ironic actually; that Blaine was so mad about his brother, Cooper, stealing the show when that’s all that Blaine does in the world of Glee. For the first episode back after that horrific car crash involving QUINN, this is what we get? Brotherly drama?  And can anyone explain to me why the brothers sang a break-up love song to each other?

Last night’s episode was a disgrace not only to Quinn, but to fans who long for something tangible, not just fleeting emotions that are toyed with week after week. Sure, many (myself included) were happy that Finchel didn’t get married, but why didn’t they show that? Why couldn’t we see Quinn in the hospital rather than rolling around all happy and best friends with Artie? Why was Rachel the only one who cared about the ramifications of Quinn’s accident? Ahem, Faberry.

Why can’t this show ever do something 100% rather than a steady 50%, especially a heartfelt plot-line? ESPECIALLY with the females! *see accurate texts I received* For every intense and raw female centric storyline, there’s a male wrench thrown in to downplay the severity of it all- example: Finn outing Santana and acting like a hero, Kurt telling Quinn she hasn’t had a hard life, Artie’s misogynist ways with Tina and Brittany, Finn wanting to rip Rachel’s dreams away from her so he can clean pools.

Now with the addition of Sue’s potential Down Syndrome baby, this show is just tail spinning for those who have feelings and want serious story lines done with justice. If they’re going to go there, go there right! There is SO much potential at their fingertips and yet we’re focusing on acting lessons by Cooper Anderson. Give me a break! As usual this season, I ask myself why I still watch. Honestly, it’s because I love the cast and there’s always one song that I absolutely adore (this week it was “Up Up Up” by The Givers) that pops up and has me swaying and smiling before I go back to sulking, like Blaine.

Seems like I really am stuck with this show forever. Unless Quinn and Artie get together. Or Quinn and Teen Jesus. Then not even the power of Dianna Agron can keep me on board.

Until next week….

PS- Matt Bomer was great and I would have enjoyed his performance if it was in another episode.

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