Jurassic Park: Asexual Reproduction

The following are two experiences watching Jurassic Park as a child:

One is a cherished memory of watching the thriller with your brothers and dad. Your dad would set up the event by dragging a table into the living room and draping a blanket over it to create a movie watching cave. Whenever the scary parts would come on the screen he would throw the blanket over the front of the table, protecting you from the child hunting dinosaurs.

The other is a vague memory of being terrified. Children were screaming. Dinosaurs were roaring. Little raptors spewed poisonous venom in a man’s face and proceeded to eat him alive. The movie was followed by nightmares of dinosaurs taking over the world and you running from a T-rex, just like Lex and Tim in the movie.

Both experiences were present for our double date night watching Jurassic Park.

The movie came out in 1993, directed by Steven Spielberg and based on a novel by Michael Crichton. I didn’t know that BD Wong (the amazing Dr. Huang from Law and Order SVU) was in this movie. I was happy to see him in the breeding lab (and he looks EXACTLY the same! I want to know his anti-aging regimen). Sam Neill and Laura Dern are two of the stars and Samuel L. Jackson plays a small role in the movie (no snakes or planes in this movie unfortunately). This popular thriller won three oscars and has been rebooted in a new franchise of movies starring Chris Pratt (swoon!).

So Boyfriend and I arranged a double date with two of our friends to watch this movie. My friend was the one who enjoyed watching the movie with her dad. I was terrified by the movie and hadn’t seen it since the childhood nightmares. However, friend’s girlfriend was joining us on this movie date (a woman who refuses to watch scary movies), so I had no excuse. We pop popcorn, sit down, and get the movie started.

Jurassic Park is well liked. The plot is exciting and intriguing; the dinosaurs are cool. Even seeing the movie in 2018, I felt like they were not fake and cheesy looking (the sick triceratops definitely looked animatronic, but I quickly forgot about that when Ellie went elbow deep into dinosaur poop). My favorite piece of the movie, though, is the score. I remember playing it in middle school band. It’s catchy and (excuse my cheesiness) really does seem to embody the forward thinking mindset behind Hammond’s dream for the park.

Throughout this viewing, I enjoyed Malcolm’s monologues of wisdom. He was like the audience watching a scary movie, but instead of shouting, “Why are you investigating the strange noise in the basement!” (shout out to the Geico horror movie commercial), Malcolm was foreshadowing the disaster this park would become. Hammond should have thought about the repercussions of wielding the power of his genetic discover (or even just realized how much power he actually had). The all female dinosaurs did evolve to reproduce. Jeff Goldblum’s character was so skeezy and obnoxious, though, I get why nobody listened to him. I haven’t seen the new Jurassic World 2, yet, but Malcolm continues his anti-dinosaur sentiment. I’m sure I would enjoy his monologues in the new movie as well.

Nobody listened to Malcolm, so they were all really lucky that Hammond’s grandchildren were joining this tour gone wrong. Neither Tim nor Lex were just helpless children. At first they were forced to take care of themselves after the useless Gennaro left them in the car (he got what came to him!). They continued to stick together all the way through the kitchen scene (Tim sliding on the icy floor of the freezer while the raptor was RIGHT behind him had me freaking out!) and finally to the control room where Lex saves the day with her amazing computer skills while Tim plays a panicky cheerleader. I am a crier in movies (and life, if I’m being completely honest here), so when Tim was electrocuted by the fence and Lex was beyond distraught after Grant announced Tim wasn’t breathing, I was a mess. The movie wouldn’t have made it if they had killed one of the kids off, though. They’re too awesome! Tim’s line after falling from the tree won me over. I’m team Lex and Tim.

Overall, after seeing the movie as an adult, I completely understand why child me was terrified by the movie. I was tense, waiting for the t-rex or the raptors to jump out. Lex was screaming the entire time (also keeping me on edge) and I remembered that Wayne Knight’s character (the guy even more driven by money than Hammond’s lawyer) was killed by the poison spitting dinosaurs. Every time he was wandering around the park, I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for it to happen. The movie was great. The company was great. I enjoyed this viewing of Jurassic Park so much more than the last time.

And I am happy to report…. no nightmares!

What were your thoughts on Jurassic Park. Has anyone read the book? How do you think it compares? Anyone not on Team Lex and Tim? Do you also think Malcolm is a pretentious jerk? With science and technology advancing as fast as it is, I think we really should discuss whether dinosaurs should be brought back from extinction or not. Let me know what you think. I want to hear from you!

Next up is another thriller made about a decade earlier. I think this movie was an inspiration to Zombieland’s “double tap” rule. Like Rasputin, these undead just refuse to die!


Memento: Ten Minute Leonard

Your wife has been brutally murdered and you can only remember ten minutes at a time. The premise reminds me of 50 First Dates, but apart from the memory loss twist, Drew Barrymore’s movie is nothing like Memento.

Memento came out in 2000, starring Guy Pearce as the tragic widower, Leonard. I didn’t recognize the star of the movie, but I did recognize the director: Christopher Nolan. He directed other movies, like Inception (another movie that you watch to be confused), The Dark Knight (cue husky voice: “I am Batman”), and Man of Steel (I still prefer Dean Cain as Superman, but that could be that I crushed hard on him as a teenager. On a completely different note, has anyone seen him in the Criminal Minds episode. That was a good one! But I digress).

One interesting note about Memento, the movie is based on a short story by Christopher Nolan’s brother, Jonathan Nolan. It’s called “Memento Mori” and is an eleven page tale of Earl. I liked the part where the narrator refers to Earl’s condition as “backwards amnesia”. Get it? Backwards! Like the movie!

I enjoyed the story. It’s the same basic premise as the movie, but like with all movies that are based on literature, it’s different. It switches between Earl writing a letter to his future self (who won’t remember anything that happened earlier) and present day Earl going through the motions to get his revenge. If you’re looking to read the story, I provided a link at the end of this post. 

I think I’ve rambled on enough. I am giving you an official spoiler warning. If you haven’t watched Memento pause, go watch it, and then come on back!

Now that the warning has been issued … Wow!

Before watching this movie, all I knew was that it was told out of order. Boyfriend picked this one as our first movie because he wanted to challenge me. I’ll explain. I tend to figure out the end of movies and it pisses Boyfriend off (his words). When watching new movies with him, I’m not allowed to make any predictions so there is no way for me to possibly spoil the ending. Boyfriend thought I wouldn’t be able to figure out Memento.

And I didn’t.

This was a tough one!

As far as I understand, there are three different stories being told throughout the movie: Leonard, Teddy, and Natalie.

I’ll begin with Leonard. The hero is looking for revenge. Two druggies broke into his house and raped and murdered his wife. Leonard had managed to kill one of the murderers, but the other got away after causing Leonard’s brain damage. The police don’t believe that there is a second killer, so Leonard takes it upon himself to revenge his wife’s death. He can only remember shorts period of time because of the brain damage, so he creates a system of notes, pictures, and tattoos to remind himself what clues he has found. We watch him decipher these notes while also seeing these black and white scenes of Leonard telling us the story of Sammy, another man with anterograde amnesia.

I liked the scene where he discovers the tattoos for the first time, but I wish they had given us his internal dialogue (the internal dialogue was a nice comic relief. My favorite being when he suddenly regains memory mid chase:

Leonard: Enter OK, so what am I doing?

Leonard: Oh, I’m chasing this guy.

Leonard: No, he’s chasing me.

He’s so calm and collected. I liked the deadpan humor).

ANNNYWAAY.

Next is Teddy. Teddy is an undercover cop who does believe there is a second killer. He befriends Leonard under the false name of Teddy (it’s unfortunate his real name does give him the initials JG) and does help him get his revenge. Then the cop gets sneaky and greedy. Since John G can apply to a lot of people, he hides the evidence of Leonard’s successful revenge, and uses him to get rid of other criminals with the same JG. Jimmy Grantz is the target during the movie.

A guy that is going to such lengths to get revenge for his wife would make he hesitate using him shamelessly like Teddy did.  But we all know how that turned out for the cop.

So Jimmy is where Natalie comes in. She gets pulled into this mess after Leonard kills her husband and shows up at her bar driving Jimmy’s car and dressed in Jimmy’s clothes (just a little suspicious!) Natalie also uses Leonard (poor Leonard) to get protection from Dodd who is now coming after Natalie because he thought she stole the money after Jimmy was killed (and it was actually Teddy who took the money). I’ll be honest here, this was the part of the movie that confused me the most. I might be getting something wrong here. Feel free to correct me in the comments.

I thought Natalie must have been involved in the wife’s murder. She was acting suspicious and then she got all vulgar after finding out she was in danger. I mean, I shouldn’t have been surprised that she could be so nasty. She was married to a criminal, so she wasn’t going to be a saint. I didn’t like Natalie much after that, so I was okay with her being the bad guy.

Boyfriend asked me to make a prediction before the movie was over and that was my prediction.

I was wrong.

Boyfriend was happy.

There was no way I would have guessed the ending. It was a good twist! Like I said before, we find out that Teddy had been using Leonard’s illness. And Leonard’s illness is exactly what gets Teddy killed. Leonard finds out the truth about Teddy after killing Jimmy. We find out that Leonard had killed the second druggie over a year ago and we also find out about the part Sammy plays in the plot. Sammy was faking his amnesia and it was actually Leonard’s wife who died of an insulin overdose given by Leonard because he couldn’t remember he had already given her the insulin. Leonard combined his story and Sammy’s story together to protect himself from the guilt.

He created a fake memory.

Now, Teddy counts on Leonard forgetting and the problem going away, but Leonard leaves himself a note saying not to trust Teddy’s lies and tattooing Teddy’s license plate on himself to create another fake memory: the plate belonging to the killer. Natalie continues to lead Leonard down that path by giving him Teddy’s driver’s license with his real name: John Gammel. So Leonard used his mental illness, just as Teddy did, to lead himself to believe that Teddy was the second killer. Poetic Justice.

Overall, Boyfriend and I both enjoyed Memento. It was an exciting thriller that kept us guessing until the end!

What did you guys think? Let me know in the comments below! Were you just as lost? Did my post confuse you? Was Leonard really the hero of this movie?

Stay tuned for the next movie on our list. This movie scared me when I was a kid. Gave me nightmares! I haven’t rewatched it until now, so we’ll see if the nightmares start up again.

“Memento Mori” https://www.londonscreenwritersfestival.com/assets/Memento-Short-Story-by-Jonathan-Nolan.pdf


First Things First

After the great unveiling of the poster, I was eager to put it up and begin our movie adventure!

Boyfriend dug up a coin while I pinned the poster up behind our bedroom door (I didn’t think our roommate would appreaciate the poster being the center piece in the living room). And then we got to scratching. 

We scratched off any movies we had already seen together or movies we had both seen separately, but didn’t feel the need to watch again. That came out to 27 out of the 100 movies. I’ll just make a few honorable mentions:

The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Usual Suspects, The Truman Show, Back to the Future: All these movies had been watched when Boyfriend and I first started dating. We would alternate choosing the movies, picking any favorites that the other had not seen before. Out of the movies listed on the posters, I’m sad to say that most were Boyfriends’ picks. I did introduce him to Back to the Future, though! He liked it enough to want to watch the second one, however, that has not happened yet. You can come to your own conclusions there. Looking back at this list, I think there is one movie missing: The Princess Bride. Maybe this should have been the 101 Movie Bucketlist. The fact William Goldman’s classic is not there is “inconceivable!” 

Se7en, The Pianist: I really didn’t care to see these movies again. Though, both great movies, the graphic nature makes me cringe!

Mean Girls: I would have been all for watching this one again. I think Boyfriend just didn’t want to sit through me quoting the whole movie….

So, 27 down, 73 to go! (I double checked my math there. That would have been embarrasing). First up will be Boyfriend’s pick: Memento. Get your popcorn, and (from what I have heard about this movie) be ready to be confused!

Movies, movies, movies

Gift buying can be a double edged sword, especially when it comes to buying for a significant other. In my relationship the competition is always there: Who can buy the best and most meaningful gift? Who can delve into the short span of our lives together and find that perfect nugget that is both affordable and wonderful? Boyfriend and I do this for Christmas, our anniversary, and (yes!) our birthday. 

It was on our first date when we discovered that our birthdays fall on the same day. He even asked me to pull my ID out to prove it. He decided to stick around after seeing my embarrassing teenage driver’s license photo, so win for me there!

And so for this past birthday I searched for that oh so perfect gift. I wanted something unique and perfect for him. Luckily the internet provides an unlimited supply of lists titled: “Ten Perfect Gifts for Him” and “Twenty-one Most Awesome Gifts for Men Most Wished for on Amazon.” Shout out to Pinterest! 

And so I found the movie bucketlist: a list of 100 movies you just have to see from cult classics to horror to rom coms. Movies were a favorite pasttime of his. I had found that competition winning gift!

Hello world!

School? Check!

Career? Check!

So what do you do with my spare time after work? Not studying or writing papers (Thank God!). The time is yours to experience and explore.

I try to keep myself busy in the evening I might read a book, paint, or garden (A nice ideal. Not always done in reality). I might cook a five course meal (Ya right!). I might plop down on the couch and binge watch The Office for the fifth time (There is the reality). The options are endless. I hope to share and hear all about what you are doing with your after work hours.

So make yourself a cup of coffee. It may be after five, but the day is just getting started!

-Reina