Monday, December 15, 2014

Camp Takota (2014)


“I just want to be me. But like a happy version.”

            I never went to a summer camp when I was younger. I think I went to day camps that last for like two weeks and I think I hated them. Me and the outdoors never got along I never would have done well in a three month long summer camp. Ugh, just thinking of staying out in the wilderness for more than a day creeps me out! (If this information surprises you, then you obviously have not looked at how many posts I have on this blog. Do I seem like an outdoor girl to you?) Naturally (no pun intended… or maybe it was), I am not a fan of summer camp movies. They are usually sentimental and sappy, all about growing up, becoming someone, first loves, jokes, and cracks on the food in the mess hall. I wind up running when I see a movie based around a summer camp, unless it is Wet Hot American Summer which is one of the greatest comedy movies ever made. So, why if I steer clear of summer camp movies would I even bother watching Camp Takota? For the three fabulous ladies who star in it, of course.
            Elise Miller (Grace Helbig) was content with her life. She just moved in with her fiancé to whom she was going to marry in two weeks. She had a good job at a publishing firm. And she had just finished writing a Young Adult novel she had been working on for a few years. On her way to work that morning Elise runs into an old camp director she knew as a kid when she went to Camp Takota. The director invites her to come back and work at the camp but Elise just sees it as a joke and says no thanks.
            At work her day goes down the dumps. Her boss is a bitch on wheels who has nothing but negative things to say to Elise as soon as she walks in the door. Elise overhears that there is an opening for a book release in the company in a few months and tells her boss about her book. The boss is not amused by the thought of even looking at Elise’s book but agrees to just because there is an opening. The boss then tells Elise she wants her to take pictures of a meeting between a very popular Young Adult author and his fans on top of doing two other things at the same time.
            Sometime after the meeting, Elise and one of her coworkers are walking down a hallway. They see the author and the boss furiously making out in the stair well. The coworker takes pictures. Unfortunately, Elise is the one who gets the backlash when she somehow mistakenly puts the photos on the company’s Facebook page. Fired and distraught, Elise heads back to her apartment. Her fiancé is home and walking around in just his underwear. He tries to get her to go down to the local bar so they can talk but Elise notices that he had two glasses in his hand. Before she can even turn around the other woman comes walking in from the bedroom. Elise grabs a bottle of vodka and heads to her old apartment.
            In a drunken stupor, Elise calls the camp director several times leaving messages that she has decided to work at the camp over the summer. She eventually passes out on the couch and wakes up to a horn blasting. She listens to her messages and one of them is from the director saying a family who lives in town is willing to pick her up and drive her to the camp. Elise gathers up whatever clothes are in her reach and throws them into shopping and garbage bags. When Elise gets outside the mother looks like she is from one of the Real Housewives shows, the father is a pushover, and the daughter is small and quiet.
            Once at the camp, Elise is greeted by two of her old camp buddies, Maxine (Mamrie Hart) and Allison (Hannah Hart). The three of them have not seen each other in eight years since they were last in camp but they talk to each other as if it had only been a few days.
            For the first few weeks, Elise is miserable and depressed. She has no cell phone service, some of the girls get on her nerves to no end, she is woken up every day by a blaring horn, and to make matters extremely worse she winds up getting poison ivy in the worst place imaginable. Elise eventually comes out of her mood the more she hangs out with Maxine and Allison. While drinking one night, a local farmer, Eli, who supplies food to the camp comes by the cabin. Elise almost stabs him with a broken beer bottle in her drunken stupor. The next morning he comes to get her up to get ready for the day. They talk with some flirting thrown in.
            Elise gets a call one day from her former boss. The photos have been a huge hit on the internet and the book sales for the author have skyrocketed. The boss wants the former employee back with the added bonus that she will publish Elise’s book. This stirs things up for Elise and she decides to go back. This news and decision could not come at a worse time for the camp. Maxine is desperate to be the camp director the following year but in order for that to happen the camp needs more campers or it will have to be sold. Maxine gets pissed and to get back at her Elise says that Allison wants to leave but is afraid since she (Maxine) scares people.
            To round up this story, Elise comes back, the camp is saved, she winds up with Eli, and her book about a girl at a summer camp becomes a success.
            I had never heard of Hannah Hart, Grace Helbig, or Mamrie Hart until two weeks ago. A few people I follow on Tumblr had been posting all sorts of things about the three of them. I got curious because some of the things in the posts looked hilarious. All three ladies are internet famous for their videos on Youtube so I watched a few and all three of them are beyond entertaining and hilarious. I went on Netflix the other day and found out all three made a movie together so I saved it. Finally got to watch it tonight (as part of a celebration marathon of me completing my grad school thesis and thus finally ending my school career) and I loved them and the movie. I was expecting all three of them to be extremely silly and out of control and not that great at acting. They were all surprisingly really, really good I was totally not expecting their acting to be so good. Helbig was incredible with all the drama she had to bring. Their drunk dancing scene was so damn funny. I gotta say, Helbig and the two Harts are some of the funniest, coolest women around today. Just from this movie and some of their videos you can see there is no bullshit with them. They do what they do because they have fun doing it and do not care what people think of them. All of that comes out in so many of their scenes in the movie. I am looking forward to watching more of Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, Mamrie Hart’s videos, especially after watching them here.
            Camp Takota, even though it is predictable and not very original story wise, is very entertaining. So many scenes and lines had me laughing. Let me just say that I will now laugh whenever I see fiber cereal and will want a bottle of wine. Camp Takota is now available to watch on Netflix and I highly suggest watching it. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014)

“Fire is catching. If you burn, you burn with us!”

            Mockingjay sees the world of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) completely torn apart. She was part a rebellion she did not even know was happening and even became its face. She has been brought to the world of District 13, the very district that had risen up against the Capital 75 years before and created the Hunger Games. The president of District 13 Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and former Games master Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) want Katniss to be the face of the rebellion because she is fierce, loyal, has a strong will, and determination. Coin, Plutarch, and even people Katniss is close to push her to be the Mockingjay and lead the rebellion. They make her go to District 12 to see how is was destroyed and how so many people were killed. They even bring her to District 8 to visit the wounded to give them strength and a reason to keep fighting. It seems no matter what move Katniss makes though President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is right behind her with a counterattack.
            All Katniss wants is to bring Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) back. When they were taken away after the Quarter Quell Peeta was taken by the Capital while Katniss was taken by Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and District 13. The Capital is using Peeta to taunt Katniss and District 13. The more interviews that are released with Peeta the frailer and frightened he looks which breaks Katniss’s heart and makes her more determined to get him back. But the more Katniss, District 13 and the Capital play cat and mouse the deadlier the attacks are against the lesser districts.
            Eventually Peeta, Johanna (Jena Malone) who had also been taken, and Finnick’s girlfriend Annie are rescued and brought back to District 13. Annie and Johanna are alright. Peeta has been brainwashed so terribly that he attacks Katniss almost killing her. The Capital injected him with Tracker Jacker venom to make him hallucinate and then made him fear Katniss to the point where he would kill her if he saw her.
            Mockingjay was a good movie. I will not say it was great because it is a set up movie for part two so it was a little slow with not as much action. Also Catching Fire was by far the best book and the best movie. I did like its message of fighting for freedom to not be oppressed anymore. It is amazing how much this movie is reflecting what is happening in America and several places around the world at the time of this writing. I can only hope that Mockingjay will have a cultural significance some day when we look back on the year 2014. Katniss is inspiring for so many young people. She inspires young people to believe they can make a difference in the world. And I believe we all can especially in this day and age with social media and mass communication being what it is today. Katniss and her story in this movie are definitely an inspiration for me. Even though the story is not my favorite Mockingjay was absolutely worth seeing. The cast is fantastic, the direction was exciting, and there were plenty of scenes that were intense. I am so looking forward to the second part of Mockingjay next year.