Trainwreck Not Wrecking My Day

I will admit that going in to see Amy Schumer’s movie Trainwreck I was expecting to regret spending the money.  Ticket prices are so expensive now that if I go to the movies, it has to be for something I know will be worth the cost, and I thought that while Trainwreck may have some funny bits, it, on the whole, would be rather awkward.  And I now will happily admit that I was completely wrong.  While it did have it’s awkward moments, it was a rather sweet love story that overpowered the uncomfortable bits.

The movie starts out showing Schumer in many different sexual relationships.  There’s especially one scene that leaves very little to the imagination.  If you’ve seen the movie…you know exactly what I’m talking about.  While she’s dating around, she works at a magazine where she is assigned an article to write about a sports doctor (Bill Hader).  So, she starts to follow him around and interview him, and they end up getting drunk at dinner one night and sleeping together.  The next day,  she’s shocked with herself for actually enjoying her time with him and not sure what to do, while he is at breakfast with Lebron James (who really stole the show) talking about his new “girlfriend.”  In any event, they start dating, and there’s a point where she’s walking through Central Park with her sister (played by Brie Larson) where she’s hyperventilating/crying because she “really likes him.”  Their relationship goes through ups and downs, and I don’t want to give away anything, but I will say the way the movie ended was so funny and absolutely perfect.

Trainwreck is a rare movie that will make you cry not just because you’re laughing so hard.  Yes it has it’s raunchy moments, but it’s coupled with a lot of heartwarming and endearing moments that make up for it.  It also goes beyond the scope of traditional romantic comedies of two people falling in love in a small town and kissing in the rain.  While there’s some of that in there, Schumer made it more real and different.  For instance, there’s a scene in the beginning where John Cena is telling her he loves her and wants to marry her, and they start to play this soft romantic-comedy-piano music in the background and you half expect her to lean and kiss him and say she wants the same thing.  Instead, she looks at him and goes “I want to leave right now, but I don’t want to make it a thing” (that’s not a direct quote, but it was along those lines).  Like, it’s what we’re all thinking she should do and she does it instead of following a traditional mold.  If you’re on the fence about seeing Trainwreck, I would recommend it.  I mean, keep in mind it is an adult movie and that there is some adult themes in there, but I think it was a great story to watch.


Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour

They said it was supposed to be sunny and beautiful all day on Friday (the 24th), the day I had tickets to see Taylor Swift at Gillette Stadium.  All week, sunny, no rain.  Then, it’s finally Friday, and the weather report starts to change: rain starting 5 p.m.  Considering the show started at 7 p.m., Swift probably going around 9 or 10, I wasn’t happy.  Although, still excited to see Taylor Swift.

Arriving at Gillette Stadium.

Arriving at Gillette Stadium.

I was one of those lucky individuals who attended her Speak Now World Tour at Gillette Stadium and it down-poured, and I didn’t really want to relive that experience (although Swift did use footage from that show for her “Sparks Fly” music video, so it was kind of worth it).  As we got closer to the event, the rain started to increase in probability and they started to say there would be thunder.  Fabulous.  Just what I needed, to be sitting in the nose-bleed seats of Gillette Stadium and be struck by lightning before seeing the 1989 World Tour.

Upon our arrival, we had been given these wrist bands that kind of looked like a FitBit, and I started to wonder if Swift was tracking her fans’ physical activity.  When the woman handed me my wrist band, I looked at her confused and she replied with “Taylor wants you to wear it.”  No more objections.  If Taylor wants you to wear a bracelet, you wear the friggin’ bracelet.

HAIM performing at the 1989 World Tour

HAIM performing at the 1989 World Tour

There I was, sitting in my one-size-fits-all rain poncho (which was quite a lie because the darn thing didn’t fit over my head…I had to rip it a little bit to fit) watching the HAIM girls create magic, wondering what Swift had in store for us.  I’ve been a little familiar with HAIM’s debut album Days Are Gone, but it was incredible to watch these sisters shredding it on guitar, bass, and drums.

Finally the time came.  The lights went out, the curtain dropped, and out came Taylor Swift, singing “Welcome to New York.”  The questions about the wrist bands were quickly answered when they lit up and flashed different colors to the rhythm of the songs.  Swift later explained in the show that she wanted to make sure she could see “every last person.”  The ploy was ingenious because it saved us from having to drain our phone batteries to flash a light during songs, and it made us a part of the show.

60,000 wrist bands lit up

60,000 wrist bands lit up

It’s hard to say what the best performance or song was because the whole show was mind-blowingly amazing.  I’ve seen Swift four times now, and I have to say I think this concert was perhaps her best (although, her others were amazing as well).  With the lights synchronized perfectly to the music, Swift’s talks between songs inspiring and heartwarming, and each song being performed perfectly, the night was one to be remembered.  She ended up performing all the songs from 1989 in addition to her previous hits “Love Story,” “You Belong With Me,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.”  Naturally, the live performances did not perfectly match the album cuts as she did different versions.  For example, she said that she wanted to incorporate “Love Story” into the show, but knew it would not fit with the theme of 1989, so she create a whole new version with ’80s inspired synths and beats, and it was amazing to hear (she needs to release it…soon).  “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” felt like an ode to Joan Jett or Pat Benatar with heavy guitars, grunts, and sharp yells (at the point in the second verse where she sings “indie records much cooler than mine,” she actually screamed that, which reminded me of a heavy metal/scream band.  It was epic).

There was also a point where I felt Swift was borrowing from her friend Ed Sheeran.  Sheeran, in concert, performs by himself without a band.  He’ll make different sounds either vocally or on his guitar and loop it, so he creates the whole arrangement by himself live.  During her performance of “Blank Space,” Swift said she wanted to try an “experiment,” and she shouted “Boston” and looped it.  Then she sang the bridge of “Blank Space,” looping that with “Boston!”  She then sang the bridge about two more times, each one a different pitch and looped it all together.  It was cool to see and experience.

Whether it had rained or not (and it didn’t), I probably would’ve had one of the best nights of my life.  And that says something from a guy who really hates weather that is not sunny and 70 degrees.  It’s not just seeing Taylor Swift in concert, it’s experiencing the excitement and watching these hit songs come to life.

Where Are My Veeple People?

I took a Buzzfeed quiz that was like “Which TV show should you watch next?”  And funnily enough, the response was the show that I’ve currently been watching: Veep.  When I watch a show, I really get into it.  I tend to watch episodes multiple times, especially if the show is really well crafted, like Veep, where you pick up extra jokes and lines the second or third time watching.

Anyway, there’s an episode in the second season where she goes to Helsinki to make some trade deal, and she has major miscommunications with the Prime Minister of Finland throughout the episode (I wanted to provide an example, but the only clip I could find on YouTube wouldn’t embed, but you can view by clicking here).

The first time I saw the episode, I didn’t find it particularly funny, mostly because the miscommunications between the Veep and the Prime Minister went over my head.  In particular, the Prime Minister made a joke to one of the Veep’s staffers (Dan, for those of you who know the show) where she kept saying “Danteeksi,” and I had no idea what the joke was, and they didn’t explain it.

So I did some googling, and I found a Finnish fan on Reddit who literally translated all the jokes that went over my head.  I took a screen grab of it to share:


This elevated my intrigue of the show because it highlights how much depth and attention to detail the writers put in.  Like, they could’ve literally made up nonsense and called it Finnish and most of us would’ve probably believed it.  I mean, I know I would, I don’t speak Finnish nor have I been to Finland.  But they went through the time to research the Finnish language to make jokes that kind of work.  It’s kind of crazy that if you leave one letter out of a sentence in Finnish, it translates from “Finland is a lovely country” to “Finland is a heavy country.”

Anyway, I just wanted to share if any of you are watching Veep and/or have seen this episode and missed some of the jokes like I did.


THE TRAILER I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR IS FINALLY HERE!  They finally released the trailer for the new biopic Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Bradley Cooper, directed by David O. Russell.  Literally, add Amy Adams and we’ve got the cast from American Hustle.  Watch it:

The reason I’m so excited is not just because I’m a fan of Jennifer Lawrence, especially her work with David O. Russell, but this movie was actually filmed right in my neighborhood last winter.  In fact, the weather was so awful at that time (we had three blizzards in one week…tons of snow and no place to put it), they actually had to stop shooting Joy.  There’s actually a picture of Jennifer Lawrence walking around Boston during a blizzard in a huge winter jacket giving the finger, which I’m assuming was towards the paparazzi following her, but somehow my local news station took it as her giving the finger to the snow…Anyway, being in the atmosphere where this film was made on top of being a fan of Jennifer Lawrence has made me really excited to see this movie.  Plus, I heard Lawrence talk previously in interviews for the second Hunger Games movie about how David O. Russell had texted her the night before asking if she wanted to do a movie about the woman who made the miracle mop, and it’s just kind of funny that it has finally happened.

My favorite part of the trailer was at the end how she shot the gun and said “My name is Joy by the way.”

Songs Written by Sia

Sia has become one of my favorite songwriters and I greatly admire her bold style.  I read an article a while back that stated that she only released her latest album 1000 Forms of Fear to release her from her publishing contract so that she focus on writing songs for other artists (I’m not sure how accurate that article is, so take it with a  grain of salt), probably because she has become really in demand.  Indeed, I saw an ad for Kelly Clarkson’s album Piece By Piece state “Songs written by Sia!” which is the first time I ever saw a songwriter be advertised for an album.

Anyway, the magical thing about Sia’s songs is that even if she’s not performing the song, it sounds like she wrote it, she just has that powerful style.  I found this long list of her songwriting credits (you can peruse here) and was not surprised that some of the songs were on there.  For instance, “Diamonds” by Rihanna, “Cannonball” by Lea Michele, and “Invincible” by Kelly Clarkson, are among the many songs that just sounded like Sia wrote them.  I must admit I have two Sia-related wishes: 1. She releases an album of the demos she recorded of these songs (I’m dying to hear her sing “Diamonds”) and 2. She write a song with Taylor Swift.

I’ve included a Spotify playlist of songs Sia wrote but others performed.

I also just want to clarify when I refer to her "writing a song," I'm referring to her being part of the writing process, which includes writing songs by herself or co-writing them with a talented team of people.  After I wrote this, I realized that I hadn't given credit to the other songwriters and producers she worked with, so the above are a list of songs she either wrote or co-wrote.

Senator For a Day

Today I went to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, which is basically a museum in Boston in honor of the late Senator Ted Kennedy to educate the public about the Senate and how it runs, and I got to say I rather enjoyed it.  The museum itself stands next to Kennedy’s brother’s Presidential Library, the JFK Library, and it has it’s own replica of the Senate chamber (which is so cool).

buttonWhen you walk in, they give you a button that reads “Senator-For-A-Day” and a tablet and send you to an “orientation,” which I thought was a little strange, but rather necessary.  In your “orientation,” they give you a little background on the Senate (i.e. how it was formed) and they give you a tutorial on how to use your tablet within the exhibits.  They always refer to you as “Senator,” which is kind of funny, and tell you to create a profile on your tablet.  So you choose your political party and state you want to represent (I was Senator Spencer from Massachusetts, and thusly referred to myself as such for the rest of the day).  As you go through the exhibits, you can use the tablet to vote in debates and act like a senator.  While I learned a lot of this stuff in high school, I still found it enlightening and great for kids.

There was one exhibit where you have to vote on your tablet with the people around you to pass a made-up law, the Ice Cream Sundae Act (which I was in full support of).  The issue of debate was which two topping should be required in the amendments (I’m not making this up).  I lobbied hard for peanut butter cups, which made it through along with gummy bears to be voted on by Congress.  Congress came back with raisins and orange slices to be the toppings (I know, ew.  Who put’s raisins on ice cream?)  So we, the Senate, had to vote again.  Gummy bears seemed to take the majority, so I voted against the bill because it left out my precious peanut butter cups (I love peanut butter and chocolate), and I like to think it was my vote that made the bill fail.

My view from the Senate Chamber replica.  It was so beautiful.

My view from the Senate Chamber replica. It was so beautiful.

The best part of this whole trip was the replica of the Senate.  It was amazingly beautiful.  You get to sit in the chairs and pretend you’re a senator, and they hire actors to play real senators from history.  Then they have an issue that the Senate is currently debating (ours was whether the police should wear body cameras), and they open it up to all the “senators” in the room, so you can stand up and pretend you’re an elected official.  Some people really got into it, and were like “Thank you Mr. Speaker” and went into these really formal speeches.  I mean, one guy was actually quoting Roosevelt and had statistics ready, and I was just sitting there taking selfies for my new Facebook profile.

I did overhear one of the people working there say that they do programs for schools where they bring the kids into the replica Senate room and have a similar debate, but they get more in depth and form subcommittees for the kids to discuss further and actually vote like senators.  I kind of wish this was around when I was in school…it would’ve been rather fun field trip…

I know I may have come off a little dorky to find this history and politics stuff fun and “cool,” but you really don’t need to be a nerd to enjoy it.  I mean, I must admit I wasn’t thrilled about the idea going to it mostly because I didn’t know what to expect.  I just figured it would be another boring museum where you’d go and stare at things in cases and read little plaques (which I slightly enjoy, but find tiring sometimes).  But the EMK Institute had my attention the whole time, and I wouldn’t mind going back.

This is My Fight Song

Fight Song” by Rachel Platten has to be one of the best songs this summer (and year).  I heard the song on the radio a couple months back and was instantly intrigued because the song had a Kelly Clarkson vibe about it.  So I quickly asked Siri what the song was, and discovered Rachel Platten.  What I love the most about the song is the defiant, war cry of someone who is not giving up on their dream.  Indeed, Platten said in an interview that she wrote the song at a point in her life where she questioned if she should give up on her music career because things weren’t panning out.  Instead, she told herself to just believe in herself.

I also think this song holds some of the best lyrics we’ve seen so far this year.  With lines like, “Like a small boat/ On the ocean/ Sending big waves/ Into motion,” “I might only have one match/ But I can make an explosion,” “And all those things I didn’t say/ Wrecking balls inside my brain/ I will scream them loud tonight,” and “And I don’t really care if nobody else believes/ ‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me” are incredibly powerful and inspiring to me and really emulate this warrior cry of independence.

The song itself is beautiful outside the lyrical content, starting with the shimmering piano and Platten’s perfect vocals sends shivers down the spine.  Then to the chorus with pounding drums and grunts (you can hear them more in the third chorus).  I especially liked how at the bridge, they pulled back to just the piano again to remind us of Platten’s vulnerability.

Platten recently performed “Fight Song” with Taylor Swift on Swift’s 1989 World Tour, and I got to say watching them is great.  Not only did this cause “Fight Song” to rocket into the number one spot on iTunes and jump to number thirteen on Billboard’s Hot 100 (we really need to get it to number one!), but to see Platten’s look of happiness and joy just to be able to sing “Fight Song” to a stadium full of people was intoxicating.  I am a bit sad that Swift didn’t have her as a guest for the date I’m going to the 1989 Tour…

I do believe that we could quite possibly see Platten at next year’s Grammys for Best Pop Solo Performance, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year.  You never know how the Grammys will work (and she would be a huge upset if she did get a Grammy nod), but I feel like how Platten perfectly captured the emotion and delivers a great performance warrants a Grammy.

I also read that Platten is working on her debut album, which will be out later this year, so keep your ears peeled!

Inside Amy Schumer

The other night I decided to watch an episode of Inside Amy Schumer.  I’ve been meaning to check it out because I like Amy Schumer; I think she has great confidence and  personality.   I find the show to be intriguing because she provides different skits, a sample of her stand up, and street interviews with strangers (which are hilarious) instead of a straight up sitcom.  Some of these skits can be more awkward than funny, but I think she’s got some real gems.  I personally like when she does skits that make fun of other shows.  Like, she had a skit of her being on a show called “Sauced” with was a spoof of Chopped where drunk chefs have to cook using specific ingredients from their basket.  In that episode, her opponent made some fancy salad and Amy made mayonnaise (yes, she found mayonnaise and spooned it on a plate, it was quite funny).  And she did a version of Say Yes to the Dress  called Say Fine to the Shirt.

Anyway, I found some skits on YouTube that I enjoyed so I decided to share them.  One of my favorites is when she stays at a pretentious hotel.  I  saw a video of her doing standup where she told a story of her  staying at a W Hotel and how she thought it was ridiculous because they gave their facilities such minimalistic names, in particular they named their gym Sweat.  So in the clip, Amy goes to a U Hotel which has a pool they call Soak and an elevator called Soar.