Tuesday, 20 February 2018

5 Things Wrong with 'Fifty Shades Freed' (Aside from the Subject Matter)

Hello readers and welcome back! While I am aware that I have taken quite the extended leave of absence from posting on this blog, I urge you all to put your recollection of my neglect aside, and join with me in celebrating one of the most wonderful months of the year. February 2018 has had a lot to offer so far. There was Valentine's Day, Groundhog Day, and perhaps most importantly, the release of the final installment of the Fifty Shades franchise charmingly entitled 'Fifty Shades Freed'. If you've ventured in to the depths of 'Teenage Fanatic' in the past, you may recall the love/hate (but predominantly hate) relationship I have with this trilogy, which I demonstrated in my review of both the first and second films. But no scathing critique of a film franchise is complete until all of the movies have been ceremoniously ripped apart, and now that I have officially had the horror of watching the final film (without paying, because I still refuse to contribute to the franchise's economic success), I am qualified to do just that. So without further ado, may I introduce to you a mere five of the colossal flaws abundant throughout 'Fifty Shades Freed'.

1. The Concept


While 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is far from being even a remotely tolerable movie, the only accolade I will begrudgingly award it is that it is the only film in the trilogy that makes any kind of remote conceptual sense. I understand, as problematic as it is, that people wanting an escape from the mundanity of everyday life would be able to live vicariously through the sexual exploits of a young, no strings attached couple with a penchant for sadomasochism. Is it overwhelmingly sexist and devoid of any quality? Of course. But is it marketable as a guilty pleasure to bored house wives and house husbands? Unfortunately so. The same however cannot be said for 'Fifty Shades Freed'. I mentioned in my review of 'Fifty Shades Darker' that the movie was basically tracking the fizzling out of the sex life of a boring, domestic, vanilla couple in a committed relationship, however this third installment takes uninteresting, awkward sex scenes that no one enjoys watching to a whole new level (or should I say shade) of beige. The film opens with a montage of everyone's least favourite undynamic duo Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele getting hitched and going on their honeymoon, their entrapment in the patriarchal construct of marriage ensuring that everything that was taboo and risque about the original concept can never be resurrected. How anyone at Universal could think that this would be marketable is beyond me. No one wants to watch porn that mirrors their daily goings on, and similarly no one wants to watch an installment of a notorious BDSM franchise where an unexciting married couple tie each other up for a few minutes and then go shopping for groceries. All I can say is I hope the title 'Fifty Shades Freed' is intentionally ironic.

2. The Genre


There's a big difference between the director of a movie experimenting and appropriating elements of a number of different genres, and creating a confused, unpalatable mash up of clashing tones and themes. 'Fifty Shades Freed' is very much the latter. On the surface, it is a BDSM filled epic romance salacious enough to pique interest but PC enough to feel at home within the MA15+ rating category. In actuality, it's a literal mess. This final installment, like its predecessor 'Fifty Shades Darker', becomes a quasi thriller when Anastasia's ex low key rapey boss (who is apparently also Christian's ex orphanage buddy) decides to orchestrate a Fast and Furious style car chase, attempts to hold Ana hostage, and then kidnaps Rita Ora (all for no apparent reason). All of this is juxtaposed however with scenes that almost veer into rom com territory, with such classic moments as Ana tending to a drunk Christian in one of the most poorly acted scenes in the movie, as well as Ana and Christian having a 'sexy' ice cream fight that made everyone in my cinema let out audible groans of disgust. So ultimately, the film ends up being a wannabe pornographic psychological crime romantic comedy that is neither funny nor romantic, and falls short of remotely slotting in to any single one of these genres. In fact the only category it is able to fit into fully is being practically unwatchable.

3. Scenes that were Random, Unnecessary Time Wasters


While arguably every single scene in all three of these films is a complete and utter waste of time, money and patience for both audience members and the cast and crew themselves, there are some in particular in this third installment that will surpass even your lowest expectations. Towards the beginning of the movie, we are introduced to a rather brazen and high key unprofessional architect who is clearly keen to get with Christian, which causes Ana to get incredibly defensive, and leads the audience to speculate about possible infidelity. Will Christian and this absolute random have an affair in order to make the plot even vaguely interesting? The answer is no, rendering the architect's presence irrelevant and forcing us to sit through perhaps one of Ana's most cringey lines, 'You may call me Mrs Grey'.

But wait, the triviality has only just begun. At one point, Ana, Christian, and a few other side characters whose relationship with one another is ambiguous at best, decide to camp out in a cabin in the woods. However, unfortunately unlike the Joss Whedon film, all of the characters survive, and worst of all, decide to find a creative outlet. There is a scene that has to be seen to be believed in which we are introduced to the musical stylings of Christian Grey as he performs a lack lustre cover of Paul McCartney's 'Maybe I'm Amazed', which genuinely made me question whether I was watching 'Fifty Shades Freed' or 'Fifty Shades Glee-d'. Just when you think this franchise can't get anymore painful, there's a musical number. A musical number that is overwhelmingly awful and once again, you guessed it, completely and utterly unnecessary.

Then, to top it all off, the film ends with yet another montage set to 'Love Me Like You Do' (because no one's heard that song enough), which spliced together moments from the first two films, as well as moments that we'd seen literally less than an hour earlier that were taken from the seven montages at the beginning of the film. An appropriatly irrelevant ending for a film that was a thorough waste of time.

4. The Implausibility


It would be foolish of me to expect the plot of this film to be remotely rooted in reality, but for 'Fifty Shades Freed' to defy the laws of logic and science altogether was truly something else (for lack of a more punishing phrase). As I've constantly mentioned throughout this post, the film starts off with Ana and Christian tying the knot, however it is only after this 20 minute wedding montage that the two finally take the time to sit down and discuss important compatibility factors such as whether or not she's going to take his last name or whether or not they want to have kids. I don't know about you, but logically I feel like these are some relatively important make or break topics of conversation that probably should've been addressed before now. The first film literally contains a half hour, wholly unnecessary scene in which Christian and Ana negotiate the intricacies of their BDSM contract before they even dive in to their relationship, but apparently when it comes to getting married (something Christian was originally adamantly against), not even a simple Q&A session is needed. But really, this is only the beginning.

As the film's psychological thriller-esque subplot reaches its climax (pun intended), part time business man and full time rapey villain Jack Hyde kidnaps Christian's sister and demands that Ana bring him 5 million dollars ransom, which the bank quite happily gives her because apparently the application of the law is optional. Once she arrives at his secret lair which I'm pretty sure is just a car park, Jack grabs a hold of Ana and, I kid you not, slaps her in the face twice. Admittedly that's not the nicest way to greet someone, but as far as deranged psychos go I'd say that she got off pretty lightly, right? Wrong. In the next scene, Ana is seen in hospital covered with scrapes and bruises and suffering from a concussion. Yes, that's right. Ana has the injuries of someone who has just been brutally beaten in some sort of underground fight club after literally being slapped in the face twice, when in 'Fifty Shades Darker', Christian can get into a helicopter crash and walk home 30 minutes later completely unharmed without so much as a single scratch. I don't know if this is some sort of reaffirmation of the gender binary or if E.L. James' perception of medical science is just incredibly flawed, but either way, logic is nowhere to be found.

5. Everything


This entire franchise is an inconsistent mess, which is perhaps the only consistent thing about it.

And that is the extent of the critique I have to offer. To say that 'Fifty Shades Freed' is merely flawed would be a massive understatement, however if you are intent on receiving closure, then I suggest you save your money and illegally stream this final installment, taking solace in the fact that after this film, the Fifty Shades franchise is officially no more. Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

My New Youtube Channel

Members of the blogosphere, hello and welcome back! Before you even think it, I'm just going to come out and own the fact that I am a legitimately horrible person. I actually can't believe that my last post was in mid February and that it is now mid August. What is my incredibly elaborate, mind-blowing excuse to compensate for my overwhelming laziness? Absolutely nothing. But I am back, and am going to try and post like a regular human.

During the past 5 months where I haven't been blogging because I'm a terrible person, I've jumped on board the Youtube train and attempted to give that a burl.

 How exactly has that panned out for me so far? Well I mean I have 182 subscribers at the moment, so like it could be worse. If you've read the title of this post, you probably have some idea of where this is going. Yes, this is a totally shameless plug of my new social media platform (so please be a bae and subscribe, thank you so much). My channel's called annabeloftheball, and on it, I basically just film myself talking about an array of TV shows, movies and anything else nerdy and irrelevant. So that you can have an idea of what it's like, I'm pretty much dedicating this post to the different kinds of random videos I post on my channel, so that hopefully you'll be lured and be nice enough to subscribe to me (and yes, I'm going to be using the word 'subscribe' as many times as humanely possible throughout this post).

Rants about TV shows and Movies

Everybody loves to have a good rant, and if you're anything like me, then it's generally about fictional events and characters. I literally complain about everything from '13 Reasons Why' . . .


to the similarities between 'Riverdale' and 'Twin Peaks'.

Most recently, I've started reviewing films from a feminist perspective, which shouldn't surprise those of you who've glanced at my post about the struggles of being an intersectional feminist.


Make-Up Tutorials and Beauty Product Reviews

Anyone familiar with the land of Youtube would not be a stranger to the concept of a beauty guru. Before you get the wrong idea, I am 100% not one of them (no matter how hard I may have tried to be). I've basically just got videos of me being a failure of a human (which seems to be a theme throughout this entire post), where I (terribly) attempt to copy a Zoella make up tutorial . . .

and (terribly) review a bunch of 'Bath and Body Works' products.


'Story time'-s

I've only got one story on my Youtube channel so far, but you can bet your life that more are coming (because I am an incredibly disgruntled, inherently dramatic person). The one I've got is all about the time I was charged $175 by a school piano teacher for one recital. Enjoy.


My soap opera series, 'IKEA Heights - The Next Generation'

I started doing this before I even treated Youtube as a real thing, but basically my friend and I have created a soap opera series set in IKEA, in which two people who have lived inside IKEA their whole lives have no idea why none of their appliances work and why there are constantly people roaming around.

Everything else

There are some things that just can't be categorised. Like the time I graduated from high school and decided to replicate a bunch of iconic teen movie moments before I left.

Or the other time I decided to string together a bunch of random snapchats that I've taken and make them into one whole video.

And that's pretty much all I have for you! If you've been lured by literally any of the videos you've seen or read about (or even if you haven't), please subscribe and I will be eternally grateful! Does the fact that I have a Youtube channel now mean that I am going to stop posting on here? ABSOLUTELY 100% NOT. But if I do ever get lazy and go MIA for a while on one of these two platforms, at least you'll always know where else you can find me. Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx

Sunday, 19 February 2017

5 Things Wrong with 'Fifty Shades Darker' (Aside from the Subject Matter)

Hello again readers, and welcome back! If you've been reading this blog for a while now, you may recall way back in 2015 I wrote a post not dissimilar to this one, where I managed to narrow it down to only five things wrong with the movie adaptation of E.L. James' 'Fifty Shades of Grey' after I was forced to watch it at a sleepover (much to my dismay). Now, a year and a half later, I am back to write pretty much an identical post about the second installment, 'Fifty Shades Darker'. You may be wondering, why would I subject myself to watching the sequel if I hated the first film so much? And why would I actually give money to a franchise like this? Honestly, I went to see the second one for a laugh, because while I absolutely hated the first movie, I can't deny that I did thoroughly enjoy ripping it to shreds. And as for giving the franchise money? Let's just say that 'Resident Evil' has an extra $16 of revenue. Having thoroughly attempted to justify myself and my choices in this long-winded introduction, let's jump straight in . . .

1. The Title

I don't know about you, but to me, a movie sequel about BDSM entitled 'Fifty Shades Darker' implies that it's more intense and risque than the first one. Well, if you and I are in the same boat, then I'm sorry to disillusion you, but this is most certainly not the case. Avert your eyes if you desperately want to avoid spoilers, but I kid you not, the movie revolves around the beginning of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele's boring, vanilla relationship, with exciting moments such as Christian asking Ana to move in with him, the two shopping for groceries together, and finally ending with an underwhelming declaration of love and inevitable engagement. I'm low key tempted to start a petition to rename the movie to 'Fifty Shades of Domestic', but then I'd have to live with the fact that I was invested enough in this film series to headline a petition about it, and in all good conscience I don't think I can do that. Yes, as I covered in my post from 2015, the first film is unbelievably flawed, but to its credit, it at least had some sort of taboo factor that clearly drew people to it, but this excuse for a follow up didn't even deliver in that respect. I mean, who wants to sit in a cinema and watch an uninteresting couple do domestic chores and occasionally do the do? Literally no one.

2. The Story Arc

Okay, don't get me wrong, I didn't walk in to 'Fifty Shades Darker' expecting a cinematic masterpiece with an exquisite story arc, but for its plot to be even more implausible and structurally problematic than the first one is quite an achievement. Even with all of its seemingly never-ending flaws, I cannot deny that 'Fifty Shades of Grey' had an orientation, a climax (no pun intended) and a cliff-hangery ending, all of which of course were horrible and totally unrealistic, but hey, at least they were there. In the follow up however, literally none of these basic structural elements were present, and not in a 'ooh I'm so artsy I'm going to deliberately break all the rules' kind of way, but more in a 'I've never made a film before in my life and have no idea how to create a simple story arc' one. Again, if you don't want any spoiler alerts, look away now, because oh boy do I have a lot to say.

As I covered in my last point, the film was literally about a dull relationship between two young people which had no build up whatsoever, therefore breaking the cardinal rule of romance movie formula. At the beginning, we saw a stalkery girl hanging around who turned out to be one of Christian Grey's ex subdominant slaves, and were always expecting something catastrophic to happen as the film progressed. Well, long story short, it totally didn't. She came in to Anastasia's apartment holding a gun, and within a matter of seconds Christian had defused the situation, sent her off to a mental institution, and totally killed the storyline, so there goes that idea. Then, towards the end of the film, Christian was on a business trip and randomly got into a helicopter crash. I got excited, because I thought that perhaps the film could redeem itself by killing him off, but sadly that wasn't the case. Tension didn't even get a chance to rear its ugly head, because a few hours after the plane crash (and about a minute after we saw it happen on screen), Christian waltzed in to his apartment safe and sound with absolutely no explanation as to how he survived, before the matter was dropped completely and not mentioned again. The couple's relationship then went back to normal, rendering the entire film irrelevant, before, to top it all off, Anastasia's low key rapey boss is set up to be the third film's villain. If you're confused reading this, that makes two of us. Nevertheless, to summarise, the plot arc consists of no beginning, some defused rising action, a random new major plot point thrown into the mix at the last minute that was randomly discarded, no official ending, and a pitiful excuse for a hint as to what the next movie will deal with. I'm not professing to be a professional writer of film scripts, but that's just pathetic. And I'm sorry, but there is nowhere near enough sexual content to compensate for this many plot holes.

3. The Irrelevant Filler Scenes

You know in school when you write a first draft of an essay which is basically a few pages of word vomit that aren't actually relevant to your main argument? That was pretty much this film's entire script. I found myself often uttering aloud "what does this have to do with anything?" when I was bombarded with montages of Anastasia and Christian's seemingly never-ending 'romantic' boat trip, a post credits scene of them boarding his private jet and relaxing at the beach which was just as boring as it sounds, and a super irrelevant scene in which Ana spends a solid 5 minutes watching Christian exercise in his home gym. Why were these scenes included? My best guess is to try and infuse the story with some romance as a means of compensating for the chemistry that was lacking between Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, however it 100% did not work. In fact, these purposeless time fillers just made me acutely aware of exactly how much of my life I was wasting by seeing this film.

4. The Horrendous Side Characters

Having to sit through the plights of the two lead characters in this film is bad enough, but trust me when I say that that's nothing compared to the plethora of irrelevant, excruciatingly annoying side characters with overly intricate backstories that randomly appear throughout the movie's 118 minute duration. Some of these horrendous presences include Kim Bassinger playing an overly controlling cougar and former BDSM tutor of Christian who thinks Anastasia is Satan, his irritating, syrupy mother who thinks Anastasia is Jesus incarnate, and his completely irrelevant, sassy sister played by Rita Ora who has no opinion of Anastasia either way. The fact that Kim Bassinger and Rita Ora are in this movie is baffling enough, but what is even more confusing is the amount of screen time these side characters actually get. Once again adding to the already extensive list of irrelevant filler scenes I mentioned above, whenever these characters speak or do anything, I question why they made the cut. Not to mention, absolutely none of them are likeable and just further fuel my hatred of the franchise.

5. Everything

I said it about the first film and I'll say it again, there is literally nothing good about this movie franchise, and I still have no idea why it exists.

Well folks, that's about all I have for you! Please keep in mind that all of the archaic gender stereotypes and terrible dialogue and implausibility that I talked about in my blog post from 2015 were not absent from this sequel, so if you do end up going to see it, you have all of those flaws and more to look forward to this time around. Saying that, while this movie is truly terrible (even more so than the first one) and anti-feminist and all kinds of offensive, I'm actually not recommending that you don't watch it. In fact, I suggest the complete opposite. If you're up for a laugh, sneak in to the movies or find an illegal copy and you are guaranteed to have the afternoon of your life, just whatever you do, do not add to this pathetic excuse for a franchise's revenue. Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx

Saturday, 11 February 2017

2017 Oscars Predictions

Greetings blogosphere, and welcome back! As you know, I am quite the movie buff, so February is a pretty exciting month for me. Why you may ask? Because it is completely and utterly dedicated to the countdown to Hollywood's Annual night-of-nights, the Academy Awards. Yes, I am aware that my awards show obsession is rather unhealthy, and above all else, a bit lame, but I'm a total lost cause so may as well give in unapologetically. In keeping with that, I have decided today to try my hand at being a member of the Academy and guess the outcome of this year's Oscars. So without further ado, here are my predictions (from most boring category to least) . . .

Best Original Score - Justin Hurwitz, 'La La Land'

Admittedly original movie musicals do low key have a leg up in this category, but regardless of that there is pretty much no doubt that Justin Hurwitz will win for Best Original Score. The soundtrack is actually so good, so much so that its songs have been lovingly parodied by a bunch of big names such as Jimmy Fallon and Miranda Sings - and if that legacy doesn't scream 'Oscar' I don't know what does.

Best Cinematography - Linus Sandgren, 'La La Land'

You may begin to see a pattern emerging, but my (oh so original) pick is that 'La La Land' is going to win big this year. Every single shot in the film is actually incredible, and noticeably so. I'm not really the kind of person who goes to the cinema and walks out being like 'wow, that cinematography was delightful', but in 'La La Land' it seriously is. It managed to make Los Angeles, a city I'm not particularly fond of, look like a literal oil painting. So kudos to Linus Sandgren, because congrats bro, you've already won.

Best Supporting Actor - Mahershala Ali, 'Moonlight'

Mahershala Ali has been getting rave reviews for his depiction of Miami drug dealer and mentor Barry Jenkins in the coming of age drama 'Moonlight', and while I haven't yet seen it, there is no doubt the Academy will love him (especially considering their need to make up for the lack of racial diversity in the 2016 nominations). In addition to the fact that his performance is apparently fabulous, he also recently won the Screen Actor's Guild award, so at this point it's pretty much a no brainer.

Best Supporting Actress - Viola Davis, 'Fences'

Viola Davis is incredible and an actual Queen 100% of the time, and therefore deserves all Oscars. That's all.

Best Actor - Casey Affleck, 'Manchester by the Sea'

I know, you may be thinking 'but La La Land is nominated for 14 Academy Awards, surely Ryan Gosling will win?', but no, I actually don't think that will be the case. Don't get me wrong, I thought he was super great in the film, but the Academy do typically tend to favour dramatic performances, and 'Manchester by the Sea' has been widely regarded as the most depressing movie of the year, so I think Casey Affleck's going to be taking this one home. Yes, his performance is amazing and wonderful and all kinds of great, but the reason I am being a little critical is low key due to the recent sexual harassment charges pressed against him, but hey, innocent until proven guilty right?

Best Actress - Emma Stone

You know that thing I just said about the Academy favouring dramatic performances? Well, occasionally there are exceptions. There is no doubt in my mind that Emma Stone will win Best Actress for 'La La Land' (and no, I'm not even being biased). I honestly don't know who else would win, and frankly no one else should. She was super amazing in 'La La Land', and she's always been one of those actresses you just know is going to win an Oscar eventually, so I say this year's her year.

Best Director - Damien Chazelle, 'La La Land'

Damien Chazelle has literally worked so hard for the Best Director Academy award he's about to receive it's ridiculous. Directing a film is super difficult. Directing a stage musical is also incredibly hard. But directing an original movie musical combining the golden rules of cinematic and theatrical practices? That's next level. Plus, the fact that he has done all of this to such a high standard is unbelievable. So congratulations in advance Damien, you've totally earned it (also please cast me, thanks so much).

Best Picture - 'La La Land'

It's nominated for a record breaking 14 Oscars, I mean how can 'La La Land' not win best picture? And honestly, it should. Yes the other Best Picture nominees are all amazing in different ways, but I think holistically 'La La Land' really delivers and ticks every box. Sometimes you find that really amazing acting or a super cool plot line are what stand out in Oscar winning films, but in this one, it just kind of has everything without being too obnoxious about it. We've already covered that the cinematography, the score, the acting and the direction are all kinds of awesome, but as well as that there's also the writing, the editing, the costuming, and just the overall melding together of the realism of film and heightened suspension of disbelief that comes along with the musical theatre territory. Basically what I'm saying is that 'La La Land' will most likely win this year, and I fully support that. Anyone who disagrees with me, prepare to be on the receiving end of an impassioned, overly verbose rant.

So that's about all I have for you! I know there are so many more categories that I could've included and attempted to predict, but honestly I only chose the ones I was super interested in. Hopefully you see some sense in my picks for the 2017 Academy Award winners, but at the end of the day, who really knows what's going to happen? With my luck, 100% of my predictions will be incorrect. Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Hairspray Live (2016) vs Hairspray Film (2007)

Hello readers, and welcome back post holiday season! It's now that awkward time between the end of school and beginning of university where you don't know what day it is or feel inclined to leave the house, which for some is a literal dream come true, but for others can get a bit repetitive and boring. Personally, I'm a big fan of doing nothing so I'm loving my life, but to pull whoever is bothered to read my blog out of their post holidays depression, I've decided to entertain you today with a little musical comparison between NBC's recent(ish), live televised production of 'Hairspray' that aired on December 7th 2016, and the classic 2007 film version. One half of me is totally against this, because I respect that the two of them are both pretty awesome in their own right, and that it doesn't have to be a competition, but the other, more stubborn half is super overly analytical and heavily into musical theatre, and loves nothing more than deconstructing movies, television and live theatre. You can probably guess which half ended up winning. So, basically to appease the ENFP in me, I've decided to compare the two by looking at each cast member individually, because who doesn't love hyper critical judgement? Morally dubious justification complete, let's get into it . . .


Tracy Turnblad - Nickii Blonsky v Maddie Ballio

This one goes to Nickii Blonsky from the movie, 100%. She was literally the perfect Tracy, so already that's a lot to live up to, but Maddie Ballio's lack lustre performance of 'Good Morning Baltimore' is really what solidified this for me, not to mention she totally forgot the lyrics twice. Even though she got a lot better as she went along, I really found that hard to let go of.

VERDICT: Movie Version

Edna Turnblad - John Travolta v Harvey Fierstein

This one's pretty difficult because I feel like they both gave us two very different, but very fab Edna Turnblads. I know that Harvey Fierstein is like, THE Edna, but honestly, I think I'm giving this one to John Travolta, not only for his lol of a fat suit, but because of his more earnest portrayal and gutsy stab at a Baltimore accent. But Harvey Fierstein, you are still Hollywood goals (also please hire me, I'll literally pay you).

VERDICT: Movie Version

Link Larkin - Zac Efron v Garrett Clayton

I really feel like this is the showdown of Disney Alumni. Troy Bolton against that guy from 'Teen Beach Movie' whose character name escapes me. When I heard that Garrett Clayton was playing Link, to be honest I was really excited. I thought he was good in 'Teen Beach Movie' and the character he played in that film isn't dissimilar to Link, so to be honest I thought he would slay. Unfortunately, this wasn't quite the case. Don't get me wrong, he wasn't bad or anything, he just wasn't particularly memorable or exciting, and to be completely honest, whenever the camera was on him, I was overwhelmingly distracted by the 12 tons of make-up he had on. Zac Efron however pretty much nailed it in the movie version, which I didn't even realise until I saw other people's attempts, so kudos to Troy.

VERDICT: Movie Version

Wilbur Turnblad - Christopher Walken v Martin Short

Once again, I seem to be faced with a very difficult decision between two Hollywood legends, go figure. While I think they both did a pretty fabulous job as Wilbur, I'm giving this one to Martin Short, pretty much because he's clearly the better singer. Also, he actually made me pay attention to 'You're Timeless to Me', which, not gonna lie, I fast forward through every time I've ever watched the film. However, I repeat, they're both hella great.

VERDICT: Live Version

Motormouth Maybelle - Queen Latifah v Jennifer Hudson

Again, it seems I've got myself a pretty mammoth decision. In terms of acting, I'd say these two powerhouses are about even, but when it comes to singing, even though Queen Latifah is amazing and gives me so much life, is it even possible to beat Jennifer Hudson? I know it was quite controversial having her sing 'Big Blonde and Beautiful' despite the fact that she's not even close to being fat, which, you know, is kinda awkward and low key offensive, but in literally every other way Jennifer was perfect for this role, so just this once I think I can overlook it. Plus, her 'I Know Where I've Been' completely brought the house down and was a major highlight of the whole thing.

VERDICT: Live Version

Velma Von Tussell - Michelle Pfeiffer v Kristin Chennoweth

Honestly, this is my favourite role in the whole musical, and has been ever since I was like 8. When I heard that Queen Kristin was playing Velma in the live version, I was beyond excited, and had no doubt that she would slay hard out. Call me clairvoyant, because I was totally correct. She was absolutely flawless and amazing, and while Michelle Pfeiffer was super incredible, there's just no beating the Broadway perfection that is Kristin Chennoweth (well, at least in my books).

VERDICT: Live Version

Seaweed - Elijah Kelley v Ephraim Sykes

To be honest, because they approached the role in a similar way, it's kinda hard to differentiate between the two Seaweed portrayals, which makes this decision extra difficult to make. Which is why I'm going to be a total cop out and not make it at all. It's official, we have our first tie. I mean, come on, they both killed it, what choice do I have?


Penny Lou Pingleton - Amanda Bynes v Ariana Grande


If you're not familiar with the movie version, you'd think that this would be an obvious choice, but surprisingly, Amanda Bynes doesn't play a bad Penny Lou Pingleton. I mean sure, she really can't sing at all and they use a ton of auto tune, but her acting is pretty damn good. However, I'm going to give this one to Ariana because despite that, she was still a way better all-rounder.

VERDICT: Live Version

Amber Von Tussell - Brittany Snow v Dove Cameron

When I heard that Dove Cameron was playing Amber in 'Hairspray Live', I was once again super excited. I've seen 'Liv and Maddie' and 'Descendants' and low key stalked her relationship with Ryan McCartan (which I'm super sad is over), so I was pretty up on her capabilities, so it's really no surprise that she killed it. I mean, Brittany Snow is fabulous and I love her, but Dove just upped the sass and crushed the vocals and really gave me no choice but to crown her as the ultimate Amber.

VERDICT: Live Version

Corny Collins - James Marsden v Derek Hough

To be honest, until I saw the live version, I didn't really realise how good James Marsden was at playing Corny Collins. I'm not saying Derek Hough was bad, because he certainly wasn't, it's just that Corny literally wasn't even on my radar while watching Hairspray Live, whereas in the movie, his one liners and allegiance with Tracy were some of my favourite parts. I mean Derek Hough danced and acted well enough, and while, try as he might, he's not exactly much of a singer, that wasn't really the reason I didn't pay him much attention. James Marsden just brought a certain charisma that wasn't too outrageously over the top that made Corny Collins awesome, so I really have to go with him on this one.

VERDICT: Movie Version

Prudence Pingleton - Allison Janney v Andrea Martin

To be honest, I was low key disappointed with Mrs Pingleton in Hairspray Live, however this has absolutely nothing to do with Andrea Martin's portrayal. Allison Janney in the film plays her totally hard-line and dictator-y, while Andrea Martin in the live version is super over the top, both interpretations being ones with merit. However, the real problem for me in Hairspray Live was her severe lack of screen time. In the movie, I feel like Penny's mum is always popping up and trying to ruin her life which brings with it absolute hilarity, while in the live version, she was barely even a minor role. Therefore, this one goes to the queen of supporting characters Allison Janney (seriously, she's in everything).

VERDICT: Movie Version

Little Inez - Taylor Parks v Shahadi Wright Joseph

Again, this one is a pretty tough call. I remember back in the day being super blown away by Taylor Parks in the movie, and after rewatching it several times at the ripe old age of 18, I am still incredibly impressed. While watching Hairspray Live, I also thought Shahadi's Little Inez was great, however perhaps didn't have the same vocal and acting maturity as Taylor did in the film, which is understandable considering she's 3 years younger. So taking age in to account, I'm going to once again opt out of this one and just say it's a tie.


And that's basically everyone involved who's worth mentioning! According to my probably inaccurate maths, I'm pretty that's 7 all, which means that both casts tied, however I'm not that annoying, and am going to just come out and say that personally I prefer the movie version over 'Hairspray Live'. It's not everyday that a really good movie musical comes along, so when it does, you have to cherish it. Saying that, I am in no way insinuating that 'Hairspray Live' is bad, because I honestly really enjoyed it, but for some reason it just felt slightly more abridged than the film.  However, interestingly enough, I often find live productions of 'Hairspray' to be a little bit lack luste (probably because I've been spoiled with a super amazing film version), and Hairspray Live certainly didn't fit into that category, so is still definitely worth checking out. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that Hairspray is awesome in every capacity, and that the 2007 film and 2016 live event should both be appreciated in their own right. Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Golden Globes 2017: Best and Worst Dressed

Hello again readers, and WELCOME TO 2017! Yes, I am super delayed in welcoming in the new year, but I plan to nip that in the bud, and take advantage of the fact that I'm no longer a high school student completing the HSC by posting a lot more frequently. To be honest, my plan was to kick off the new year with a round up of some of the best memes of 2016 (a la Dan Howell), but I was literally so over everything that happened last year that I couldn't bring myself to write it (also I'm incredibly lazy, so there's that). Instead, I thought, why not immerse myself in the 2017 awards season right off the bat and critique some of the best and worst of the red carpet fashion at this year's Golden Globes? If you missed it, the show started off with literally one of the most epic openings ever, chock full of movie and TV show references courtesy of host Jimmy Fallon (which you can watch here), a contained a whole lot of heartfelt and crazy amazing celebrity speeches. However, I'm not talking about anything of substance today, because who wants to discuss what actors said or did when we can just judge them based on what they wore? My feminist self is compelled to include a disclaimer that I am obviously actually kidding. No, the real reason I'm talking about the fashion is because I'm trash and can't be bothered to do a full length round up, so you'll have to settle for this. Anyway, intro complete, here are my fashion picks . . .

Best Dressed

Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell slayed so hard on the carpet at the Golden Globes this year that I can't even deal. Her dress kind of fuses 80's outerwear with funky modern evening wear, and while it's slightly unconventional, I have to say, it totally works. This black sparkly number is honestly goals, and despite the fact that she wasn't even nominated, Kristen really went above and beyond to steal the show. Massive kudos to her!

Reese Witherspoon

Can we all just take a moment to come to terms with the fact that Reese Witherspoon is 40? 40?!? I'm 18 years old and she literally looks younger than me! Honestly, how is that even possible? Anyway, I digress. She looked amazing at the Golden Globes, and not just because she looks 20 years younger than she actually is, but because she totally brought her A game to the carpet this year. Yellow is a hard colour to wear well, but she 100% nailed it by picking a sorbet-y shade and a dress that's cut is all kinds of cute. Plus, did I mention the woman doesn't age? All in all, a definite winner.

Naomie Harris

I would be lying if I said I knew who this woman is (even after a brief Google search), but what I do know is that Naomie was literal goals on this year's Golden Globes carpet. She obviously felt the need to dress thematically and look as much like an actual Golden Globe award as possible to compensate for the fact that she wasn't nominated for one, and that certainly paid off. She looks like an elegant, fiery mermaid and I absolutely love it. Hats off to Naomie!

Brie Larson

I guess in some ways the pressure was on this year for Brie Larson, because in 2016 she not only slayed the awards season by winning a Golden Globe and an Oscar like it was no big deal, but her red carpet fashion game was equally as strong. However, I am pleased to say that in 2017, Brie has not let us down. She looked absolutely amazing, with a killer dress, 20's bombshell inspired hair and perfect make-up, I mean, what else could you ask for? Plus, I love that she literally didn't pose at all but just stood there and smiled, because she knew that she looked fabulous enough to drop the gimmick and stand and slay. Honestly, red carpet goals.

Emma Stone

Emma Stone's fashion game is often on point, and the Golden Globes was absolutely no different. She looked so pretty and elegant and amazing that I once again cannot handle it, and I love that she low key dressed in keeping with her film 'La La Land''s title track 'City of Stars' (whether it was intentional or not). Her absolute slayage on the red carpet is totally complemented by the fact that she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Film, so I'd pretty much say she stole the entire night. Overall, literal perfection.

Worst Dressed

Sarah Jessica Parker

I seriously don't even know where to begin. Sarah Jessica Parker, what the hell? Why are you wearing a wedding dress from an op-shop, and more importantly, why didn't you repair the fabric on the shoulders, which has obviously been ripped off? This look is a literal mess, and I'm sorry, but what is going on with your hair? At first I thought the only possible explanation was that it was some sort of Princess Leia reference to honour Carrie Fisher's memory, but apparently, it was an ode to the hairstyle her mother had on her wedding day. That makes absolutely no sense to me. Here's the thing Sarah Jessica Parker, 1) Your mother probably got married a super long time ago, which means you were always bound to look outdated and weird, and 2) What would posses you to recreate how your mother looked on her wedding day? That's kinda odd, and the Golden Globes is definitely not the setting, especially if you're a nominee and are therefore guaranteed screen time. I'm sorry, but I literally like nothing about this.

Natalie Portman

Remember how I said it's hard to pull off yellow? Well folks, here's a prime example of how not to wear it. I'm super sorry Natalie Portman because I know that you're hella talented, but this dress really just doesn't work. I read somewhere that it was apparently an ode to Jackie Kennedy, but if we've learned anything from the fashion disaster that was Sarah Jessica Parker's 2017 Golden Globes look, it's that paying homage to anything and anyone on the red carpet is usually not a good idea, even if you portrayed her in your most recent film. I understand that she's pregnant, and that finding fashionable maternity wear is a difficult feat, but this is not how to do it. An unflatteringly oversized, mustard yellow sack of a caftan is never a good idea, let alone a good choice to wear to an awards show. On the plus side, her hair and make up look super nice, but unfortunately that's not enough to save this look. Sorry Natalie, I'm sure you'll slay next time!

Felicity Jones

I am all for embracing inner youth and frivolity through fashion, but I'm sorry Felicity Jones, this is just a step too far. It's one thing to give off a youthful aura in what you choose to wear, however if you look like a 6 year old whose lost a fight against a cotton candy machine, then something's very wrong. That is unfortunately the case here. The dress is a strange mix between super young and sickeningly sweet due to the overwhelming pink tulle, and homely 16th century matron because of the relatively high neck and black detailing. Her hair and make-up are okay I guess, but to be honest I haven't really been given the opportunity to notice. Pretty much nothing goes, and it's all just too much. Better luck next time Felicity.

Anna Chlumsky

I honestly don't even know. Why Anna? Why? Why would you wear a terribly unflattering green sack to the Golden Globes? She literally looks like a poorly dressed swamp monster. The whole one shoulder thing kinda made it look like she was going for an Ancient Greek inspired look like those funky women in Hercules, but if that was her aim, I'm sad to say that she certainly did not reach it. The super harsh slicked back hair really doesn't help matters either, and overall, this look is very much a failure. Hopefully next awards show things turn out better for her.

Claire Foy

'The Crown' might've been a Golden Globes top contender this year, but Claire Foy's outfit choice certainly was not. This dress just makes me feel really sad and uncomfortable. She low key looks like she dresses up as a Disney princess for a living, but not a legit professional one, one of the dodgy copyright free rip offs you see in Times Square who've clearly purchased their costume from the closest $2 store. I have to say, kitting yourself from head to toe in sequins above the age of 8 is certainly a fashion risk, however not one that has paid off for her. The fact that it's that weird gross shade between pale pink and hot pink and has pirate-esque puffy sleeves really just makes things worse, and is really what tops off this cringe-worthy outfit. On the plus side, at least in this picture her horrible dress seems be making her strangely happy, so I guess to each their own.

And that's about all I have for you! Do you agree with my best and worst dressed candidates or think that I have no taste whatsoever? Whatever the answer, just try and overlook the fact that I've posted this literally over three weeks since the original awards show took place. Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx