Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hot Times, Summer in the Suburbs

I find myself singing a lot of Annie during the summer. Particularly, It's the Hard Knock Life. That song runs through my head every time I pick up or drop off my children from their various summer activities. As they are busy little beavers, I hear this song a lot. Sadly, the irony is lost on them.

You see, summer is not about sitting lazily around the house, playing happily in the yard, whiling away the time with books, board games, and bike trips around the block. Or, at least it isn't for my kids. My kids get evil when they have nothing but time on their hands. Give them an empty day, chock full of opportunity and they will give me nothing but hell on earth. I don't live in a mansion by any means, but I do happen to have both a living room and a family room, plus a downstairs playroom, and each kid has a toy bin in their own, private rooms. Even with my rudimentary math skills, that adds up to four possible play places for each child at any given moment, not counting the great outdoors. Where do I always find them? In the same room, on the same couch, fighting over the same toy, trying to sit on the same cushion. Why? It's a mystery.

To ensure that I end the summer with the same number of kids I started it with, I enrolled them in multiple summer camps. Of course, both kids can't do every camp, the number of days per week range from two to five, some are at night, some only once per week but over a month-long period, some were free, some were not, etc. (But strangely, all end by noon). An actual spreadsheet was created, color-coded, and continually updated to keep track of who was going where when (and for how much). Oh, and don't forget, we joined the town pool to keep them busy in the afternoons, so a secondary calendar was created to log just how many days we spend there to get the proper ROI at the end of summer.

The town pool has proven to be a Godsend as both kids always find someone their age to play with and can happily ignore each other. The big girl is a free-range swimmer who wanders at will between the diving well and the deep end of the regular pool. The little guy still requires my attention, but he's only allowed in the three-foot deep section and that is well within his comfort level. The pool also helps me keep the fainting goats at bay. The higher the heat index, the harder my stupid syndrome is to manage. As I don't want my kids to do nothing but watch movies in air conditioning all summer, the pool allows me to keep my body temp down while keeping their exercise and socialization up. Win/win!

In between all the various camps and time spent at the pool, there are our weekly trips to the library. My daughter is fully embracing multiple summer reading programs and is on a quest to win as much junk and as many free books as possible. My son, while too little to participate, is enjoying the ancillary benefits of being bought new books because we feel guilty whenever she gets a new one and he doesn't. As a result, our collection of superhero books in growing in leaps and bounds. Then there are of course the movies, the play dates, the BBQ's, the day trips, sporting events, and all the summer fairs. It's exhausting.

Am I complaining? Nope. I know damn well that I am incredibly lucky to spend all this time with my kids. I'm lucky that I can afford to keep them out and about. Growing up, summer consisted entirely of arguing with my father over which was one of was stuck rubbing Ban de Soleil on my mother, a dedicated sunbather who rotated every 30 minutes via egg timer and started every summer beige but ended it burnt umber. She didn't have a buffet of vacation bible schools (religious affiliation not necessary), or sports camps, or story times, or free movies to for me to attend. Cable barely existed and VCR's were still a few years away. I sat and I read indoors (in a haunted house without air conditioning) or I sat and I read outdoors (and tried to time my bathroom breaks with her egg timer).

So, in this summer of heat and drought, the sun will always come out tomorrow/You can bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun - and my kids will be out enjoying it, with or without my direct supervision.    

Friday, July 6, 2012

Where's the Beef?

I didn't go into a stripper movie expecting much. In fact, I was pretty clear that I wasn't interested in the "talky bits." I wanted hot, naked men dancing for my amusement without the hassle of a two-drink minimum and a handful of dollar bills that I am supposed to stick into dirty, sweaty, spangled thongs. I wanted a movie made for women - sweet romance with a hot lead, swoon-worthy secondary characters for comic relief, and at least one really good sex scene.
Sadly, I got nuttin'.
What I got instead was a movie made by men, who, as usual, proved they have no idea what women really want.
I was in a theater full of women ready and waiting for a good time. The initial buzz was happy, giggly, and silly. The first ass shot got a round of applause. The first dance number got some woo-hoos, and there was one "Hey-yah" from the crowd that was not only well-timed, but well-earned. But slowly, as the movie went on, all the life got sucked out of the crowd. The woman two seats to my right spent the first 20 minutes on the edge of her chair, head in her hands, staring at the screen as if she were trying to figure out a way to climb into it. Inch by inch the end of the movie found her slumped into her seat, unable to even muster a smile.
SPOILERS. You want to lose your cherry? Then proceed. But if you want a virgin movie experience, stop reading now.
Yes, it was a stripper movie, but couldn't it have been good as well? Would a full-frontal would have been so hard? (Snerk) There were tits aplenty (as usual), but not one dick shot. I love Joe Manganiello and Matt Bomer. When one has a character is named Big Dick Richie and the other is named Ken, well, I want to see the big dick and I want to know if Ken is anatomically correct. I don't want to see a prosthetic dangling in shadow. I want a full on, Boogie Nights shot and I want it now! Plus, they barely had any lines! I am usually the first to point out that hot men need not speak, but in this case, a little dialogue would have gone a long way. Or, a plot, really. A plot would have been nice. Romance? Romance would have been lovely. Instead, we got a lousy actress (who I am sure was not hired because her father is a studio head), terrible chemistry between her and the lead actor, uncomfortable sexual chemistry between her and the guy who plays her brother, and, of course, she had to be bitchy, condescending, and belittling. She wasn't charming, or intelligent, or funny. She also must have been absolutely hated by the hair and makeup team because while the men all sported flowing locks and perfect tans, I don't even think she wore lipstick.
So, why do I think the movie was made by men who had no idea what women actually like? Let me give you an example. A pretty young thing spends her 21st birthday at the stripper bar, partying with two of the hottest men she has probably ever seen, but she ends the night with a blow job. Men, let me let you in on a little secret. I can count, on one hand, the number of women I know who enjoy giving head. When women are drunk and horny, they want to get laid. LAID. Not swallow.
Here's another example: while the movie starts off auspiciously with a shot of Channing Tatum's ass, we are immediately treated to a scene where he puts his clothes on but the woman keeps hers off. Why does a theater full of women need to see tits? We all have a pair. We can see them every day. We are not impressed. Show me a schlong.
However, the last scene of the movie was by far the most egregious example of men being from Mars and women being from Venus. Finally, our hero and heroine are getting together. While I am not Channing Tatum's biggest fan (a) because judging by his inability to speak clearly, he probably has cow tongue and would be the worst kisser ever and (b) because he has a stupid name - even I will admit that he oozes charm. He's moving in for the kill and finally, we are going to get the honest-to-God sex scene we've been waiting for this entire movie. The crowd is rustling, anxious, waiting for this final release. What do we get? End credits. Are you fucking kidding me? The entire audience let out its breath in one unhappy whoosh. It was like a kid knocking on the bedroom door when it is locked. Reading 50 Shades supposedly gave women blue balls? Well, that last scene in Magic Mike kicked them in the balls.
They couldn't even get the casting right. The secondary character, the Kid, was so soulless, so dead-eyed that he practically had the word "skeevy" tattooed on his forehead. No one was rooting for him. While most of the strippers were easy on the eyes, one of them mysteriously looked like Mickey Rourke. Who wants to see him naked? Matthew McConaughey, a man who spent a considerable time on my list, is now such ancient history that I must have written his name with a quill. You could have used his skin for one of his infamous bongos, it looked so leathery. The plot, such as it was, managed to biff even minor points. One character is thrilled to have earned $230 in one night. My cousin earns FOUR TIMES that much in a single shift bartending. After six years of stripping (and working three day jobs), the hero of the tale has only managed to save $13 grand. Apparently, stripping really doesn't pay that well. Though, perhaps the rent on his beachfront, two-floor house, filled with real wood and lots of light, is setting him back a bit.
So, to the friend who was unable to attend because the movie was sold out -I promise that I will go see a movie with you, but it won't be this one. I'll buy the tickets and the popcorn, but I will not sit through this movie again. I should have just stuck with the trailer - a little flesh, a little music, and a lot left to the imagination.