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Archive for September, 2008

Lars and the Real Girl is about a 27 year old man, Lars, who falls in love with a sex doll. Sure, it sounds kinky, but as the director of the film points out,

The premise of the movie just doesn’t do justice to the journey that you go on.
                       -Craig Gillespie, director of Lars and the Real Girl

Lars is a guy who lives in the garage of his childhood home. His older brother Gus lives in the house with Karin, his pregnant wife. Lars is painfully shy, literally.  He lives in a small town and works in an office and wears plaid shirts. Everyone knows him and is really friendly but while he’s polite he really prefers to just be by himself. One day at work the guy who shares his cubicle shows him a website selling “Real Girls”, customizable, life sized, anatomically-correct sex dolls. While Lars mutters something about it being too early in the morning for porn, six weeks later a large wooden crate arrives at his garage.

The doll itself isn’t really the shock in this movie, chances are you’ve heard aboutit, read the back of the DVD cover, whatever. So you’re ready for the doll, the surprising part is the position it takes within the film. How its presence is first revealed to Gus and Karin, for example. Lars pays them a visit and explains that he has a visitor. They met on the internet and she doesn’t know much English. Of course they say he should bring her over for dinner. So Lars introduces them to Bianca. She’s a missionary. She’s half Brazilian and half Danish and loves helping people. Lars believes in Bianca. He has conversations with her, she has her own place at the table, and he considers her feelings in everything.

It’s interesting the way that with everything you know at this point, the premise, the situation with Lars in love with an artificial person, the rest of the film – peoples’ reactions, their attitudes towards Lars etc, are still really surprising. The local doctor explains to Gus and Karin that Bianca is a delusion of Lar’s, a delusion created to help him cope with something he is missing. What should they do about it? Go along with it. How long will it continue? As long as he needs it. So they start playing along. This movie is about people and relationships and connections – if you’re waiting to see a man have wild crazy sex with a doll, sorry, this isn’t that kind of movie. From the beginning Lars asks that Bianca can stay with Gus and Karin in their spare room. He respects her, and loves her. 

The film is as much about the people closest to Lars as about him himself. What would you do if you found out your brother was in love with a doll, and believed that she was a real person? There’s a great scene where Gus and Karin are bathing Bianca together

Gus: What are we doing? Why are we doing this for him?
Karin: Oh, come on. It’s funny!
Gus: Is it?
Karin: I don’t know… I don’t know, maybe not.

This is a recurring issue in the film. You aren’t asked to just accept the fact that Lars is in love with a doll and move on to “enjoy the ensuing hilarity”, you’re constantly laughing, because everything seems to be going great, everyone’s having fun, Lars is really happy, then stopping yourself and thinking “wait, is this ok? That’s not healthy. He’s really unwell…”. It’s that kind of swinging between heartwarming and tragic.

Lars was played by Ryan Gosling, who some of us remember from the days of Young Hercules and who all of us fell in love with in The Notebook. He does another crazy awesome job in this film, mastering the warm, blank smiles and awkward silences that make Lars unique. I always find it really interesting when an actor can use the smallest habit or tic to create an entire character. Obviously it’s not that easy, but it just seems so natural. Lars has this habit of blinking frequently and harder than normal. But again it’s not just about Lars. Other really great characters include Karin, the pregnant sister-in-law. She is obsessively caring. I love watching her stalk Lars, hunting him down to force him to accept an invitation to dinner. And how excited she is when she heres that Lars has met someone, then watching her emotions just turn to shock when she meets Bianca. She and Gus have their own arc throughout the film, and other special characters include church member Mrs. Gruner and the doctor Dagmar.

One thing I like about about the film so much is that it really has a lot of affection for its characters and for people in general. It really believes that people want to do the right thing.
                                                 -Ryan Gosling

This film isn’t a freakshow, and it’s not about conflict. It brings up questions of communication, understanding, relationships and love.

Bianca. She is a “Real Doll” doll, made by a company that produces “love dolls”. I was actually surprised by how unreal she looked, but in some scenes she was pretty life-like, like when she sits cross-legged on her bed listening to Lars reading to her, or in the shot from behind them as they sit beside the lake looking like a real couple. The dolls and the company that makes them are real, you can find them through a Google search, but a warning that the dolls and the site are R18.

Lars and the Real Girl isn’t action-packed, but it is really involving and emotional. A quiet winner. You can check out the trailer on YouTube.

 

Director: Craig Gillespie
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer,
Paul Schneider

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I would like to record one of the first Chinese character riddles I’ve ever guessed correctly!

 

四四方方一座城,
没有春夏没有秋

 

If you don’t read Chinese then you’re probably not very interested, but if you are, I think the lines basically mean

 

A four-walled castle
Has no spring, summer, has no autumn

 

Ok, so it’s not very hard (if you know Chinese), but I’m still proud!! 😛 If you would like to know the answer, scroll down!

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*answer*

*answer*

图, “tú”, means ‘diagram’ or ‘picture’, and is comprised of the character for winter, 冬, inside four walls.

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I had a pretty good day today. Got some stuff done… my friend and I decided on our Chinese thing (our final oral of the year for Chinese class is a performance, i.e, drama, song, dance, etc, meant to be funny. Problem: I’m not funny!!!). Emma came up with the idea of doing the Three Little Pigs. It’s cute, it’s recognisable to the audience (even if our Chinese isn’t! :P) and we can maybe change the story a bit and spice it up. And we get to wear pig noses! I’ll keep you updated. If all goes pear-shaped I’ve at least found the story in Chinese to work from on this website. Apparently 老师 wants all the performances to be taped… I do not feel good about this.

In other news, I just realised that Justin Chambers, a.k.a Dr. Alex Karev from Grey’s, was Massimo from The Wedding Planner. Crazy. Nice accent. Not sure where he’s supposed to be from but it fooled me!

And thanks to Pete from Rove here’s a pretty amusing clip of Sal and Richard (no I don’t know who they are), doing funny things behind a CNN reporter talking about the economic crisis on Wall Street.

Oh and I almost forgot, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was on Rove tonight – props to him for going on the show, but I have to say he was boring! But he did demonstrate his Mandarin skillz. You can see it on YouTube here (about 23secs in), as well as lots of other clips of him speaking 普通话.

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Song of the week: Bruises

Song: Bruises
Artist/Group: Chairlift

I tried to do handstands for you
But everytime I fell for you
I’m permanently black and blue, permanently blue for
you

That’s right, it’s the song everyone’s talking about – the song from the ipod nano “chromatic” ads! It is fun and happy and cute. But it’s also “indy”, which means that you’re allowed to like its cuteness.

The music in other parts is really different to the ad, nice and synthy, and there’s a boy singing too! Mmm, boy singing.

I grabbed some frozen strawberries so I could ice your bruisy knees
But frozen things they all unfreeze and now I taste like
All those frozen strawberries I used to chill your bruisy knees,
Hot July ain’t good to me
I’m pink and black and blue

This song makes me think of sunny afternoons that aren’t perfect and frozen strawberries that melt at inopportune moments, and things that are more important than getting holes in your new jeans.

Got bruises on my knees for you
And grass stains on my knees for you
Got holes in my new jeans for you
Got pink and black and blue for you-ooo

I know it’s from an apple ad, but I can’t help loving this song. So there. You can listen to it on YouTube, and sing along with lyrics from here.

 

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Some fun links

I forgot to post that Todd over at The Daily Bubble Tea is now posting a ‘daily photo’ on his blog. Every day! 😛 I think this is a crazy great idea because Todd takes crazy great photos. Of everyday awesome things in Taiwan! I was relieved to see that he still does do his normal posts as well, since I love reading his commentaries along with the pics sometimes.

Also, came across this great poem at pviel’s weblog about old marbles, it’s called Marbles Are Free. I love marbles.

Goodnight!

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Homemade Pizza

 

Homemade pizza is great – it’s easy, not too expensive, you can use bits and pieces from the pantry/fridge, and it feels so darn fresh and delicious!

 

 

 

1) Preheat oven to 180°

 

 

 

 

 

2) In a bowl mix together 200g flour, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt.

 

 

 

3) Slowly add water as you mix, until it all joins together into a dough, but it’s not wet or too sticky. If it does become too wet add more flour.
You’ll have to use your hands near the end to make sure it feels right. When it does, roll/pound it into a ball

 

 

 

4) Put the ball down onto a floured surface. Roll into a flat layer, not too thick (I think anything under a cm is great).

 

 

 

It doesn’t need to be perfectly round, but it should be as even in thickness as possible.
If you don’t have a rolling pin any cylindrical thing’ll work, like a milkbottle – I used a glass 😀
  

 

  

       

5) Pop the base on an oven tray before you start to do the toppings, otherwise it’ll be harder to move! (I sprayed mine with olive oil first, but I’m not sure it was necessary. Might use a sprinkle of flour next time.

 

 

6) Spread tomato paste evenly over the whole base. I try and go right to the very edges ^^

 

 

7) Sprinkle over your toppings! I used grated cheese (edam), sliced mushroom, green capsicum, pineapple pieces and ham with bbq sauce over all.

Other topping ideas: onion, coloured capsicum, dried tomato, salami, olives, zuchini, fish, chicken, fresh herbs, different sauces

 

 

8 ) Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Take out when cooked, cut with pizza cutter and serve! Mmm, watch the melted cheese, it’s hot! ^ ~

 

Although my pizza turned out pretty awesome, I think I might try a different recipe for the base in future. I was trying to use a recipe without yeast but I’m not sure if this was the best, it was a bit soft. Could’ve been the oil I sprayed the tray with, I guess.

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toejam and bleating

Aaah, I’m tired. The day always seems too short, doesn’t it? Slowly getting some stuff done, though. Something really bad that’s started happening recently is that when I’m tired and someone says something funny, I do this really gross Kendra laugh. You know the one. Like a loud, monotonal bleat without moving your facial muscles. It’s really bad. But I’m so tired it amuses me. I noticed tonight that one of the keyword searches that led people to this blog in the last couple of days was “softporn toejam”. Classy. Also, I got shown the video below, and it amuses me. I know all Americans aren’t dumb and blah blah blah… I think Miss Teen South Carolina would approve.

 

 

U.S.A, U.K, U.A.E, Uganda, Uruguay, Ukraine…. oh, and Utah! o.0

Yeah, I get that they only asked a few people, and if you asked a few New Zealanders who Tony Blair is they wouldn’t know…. but it’s still funny!

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