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End of summer: relief or nostalgia?
by Denise DuVernay

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The MAM by Calatrava

The MAM by Calatrava
What a summer of the unexpected. Actually, it kind of sucked and I might be glad it's over, which is odd because, for as much as I enjoy watching the Vikings, I hate fall because fall means winter and winter is hell.

Can you believe I still haven't seen the movie I was looking forward to most for 2010, TOY STORY 3? In fact, if you look at my column from January 3, 2010, What 2010 has in store for film fans, you will see that I was ridiculously stoked to see the film. And it's not that I lost interest or heard bad things. I still care, and I've only heard amazing things. And in fact, a local dollar theater is playing it and I plan to see it on the big screen this Labor Day weekend at some point. It's just that my personal life has taken a drastic change to, well, Illinois. I was happy in Milwaukee. I never thought I'd leave unless it was to move to California.

Milwaukee does rock. Who wouldn't love a city that has a festival every weekend from spring to fall, has air that smells like warm corn tortillas much of the time, depending on the direction of the wind from the Miller factory, and calls their drinking fountains "bubblers"? A city where you can stroll the open riverfront with an open container, stop to take a picture with the Bronze Fonz, and then carry on your merry way? A city whose lakefront is all parks except for the amazing and beautiful art museum designed by Santiago Calatrava? A city whose downtown offers you Cuban, sushi, and steak all on the same block?

I must be crazy to leave. But, alas, it's what I've done. The boyfriend (you've read his guest columns about DVDs that SHOULD exist but don't and comic book adaptations ) has started a job in Frankfort, Illinois (which is a southwest Chicago suburb), and since it's in journalism, his beloved but dying field, he had to take it. And I chose to come along and leave it all behind: my favorite restaurants, the Oriental Theater, the Palomino and the Landmark (bars that I avoided because of smoking, but can now visit with glee as Wisconsin went smoke-free in July), the Calatrava, my teaching gig at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and terrific friends like Carrie, the Cigelskes, the Harrisons, and my Lil Sis. It's been a couple weeks, and I like my post office (one employee recognizes me already), we've found good Mexican, and we can still get to Milwaukee in two hours so visits are totally doable. Now I just need a driver's license and a library card.

Yes, dear readers, I'm on my way to becoming a FIB.

Between moving, writing projects, my awesome 101-year-old grandma dying, job searching and then syllabus writing, my pop culture obsessions have taken a backseat. But I'm ready to recommit to watching many films, reading Entertainment Weekly, and watching lots and lots of television.

In fact, now that I'm settling in, I will get to TOY STORY 3. And to other films as well. Also on the to-see list: GOING THE DISTANCE, with, of course, real-life on and off couple Justin Long and Drew Barrymore. Back in March of 2008, I wrote her a very heartfelt open letter.

I also can't wait for EASY A, which looks smart, sassy, and pretty damn feminist. And I like that plucky Emma Stone, especially after seeing her give her top five movies on The Rotten Tomatoes Show (yes, one of them is my favorite film of all time, HAROLD AND MAUDE. Who doesn't love a 21-year-old who gets HAROLD AND MAUDE?)

I know that MACHETE is getting very good reviews, including an endorsement from Ellen Fox from The Rotten Tomatoes Show (which you should be watching if you're not already. Why? See here), and I value her opinion more than any other single critic I can think of, but I'm going to admit this: I have a hard time with violence. And those ads that say it's rated R because of "bloody violence throughout" which probably get most teenaged boys' hearts racing to go see it have the opposite effect on me. I just can't do it.

I haven't quite made up my mind about THE AMERICAN yet. It seems subtle, but will there be adequate payoff? A Twitter friend of mine said no way.

I'm sure I'll let you know-- I'll probably see it because the boyfriend has a strong man crush on George Clooney, and I'll owe him one because he'll see GOING THE DISTANCE with me but I will not see MACHETE with him.

What I hadn't known when I wrote my preview of 2010 movies was how amazing SCOTT PILGRIM Vs THE WORLD would be. I saw some grumblings in the blogosphere, some hints on the Twitterspere that some people weren't pleased with the movie, that it was anti-feminist because Ramona just sits around and watches all of this go on around her, that she's a passive little prize. And, okay, I see that interpretation—IF that interpretation is done by a 7th grader. Look, the film (and, of course, the brilliant series of books by Bryan Lee O'Malley) is not about winning a princess or saving a damsel. It's about this stupid boy, Scott Pilgrim, who needs to see, understand, and literally fight the havoc she's wreaked upon these seven evil exes for him to get that he's also left heartbreak in his wake, that his actions have also had consequences. It also raises issues about security that everyone can relate to: how well do any of us react when confronted (in Scott's case, literally) by our lover's past? Who among us isn't threatened by the romantic and sexual experiences our partners have had with people who aren't us?

Think about that when you finally see SCOTT PILGRIM Vs THE WORLD. Or when you see it again.

Thanks to my friends for helping me through these adjustments, and to any potential friends who have suggestions for me as I transform into a FIB, I can be reached all over the place, such as:

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Take Your Queue From Du
Every other Sunday

Semi-wholesome Midwestern girl and certified Geek Magnet offers her suggestions - often new, sometimes classic - for DVDs that are definitely queue-worthy.

Other Columns
Other columns by Denise DuVernay:

Goodbye, Du

Du Chats Movies With Comics Author Lonnie Millsap

Du Reviews ALPOCALYPSE by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Another Piece Praising BRIDESMAIDS

Friendship Films and DVD Picks for May 17

All Columns

Denise DuVernay
9 out of 10 librarians think Denise is a hoot. The 10th one couldn't corroborate because she was dead.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Denise DuVernay by clicking here.

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