They shoot Christmas Specials, don't they?

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While watching the Bulldogs lose the SEC Championship last week, I angered my brother by alienating his fiancée. Trey hasn't exactly told me that he's not talking to me, but I figured that he was mad because he wasn't answering my phone calls. I now also hear through the grapevine that I won't see him at all this Christmas, as he has chosen to avoid me and my mother this season. (From what I hear, Mom gets the blame because she did such a poor job raising me. Talk about holding a grudge!)

We all already know that I'm an asshole. Certainly, I resent that Trey won't spend any time with me now that he has a fiancée. I hadn't intended to insult her, but my resentment coupled with my natural anti-social behavior made me even less warm and fuzzy than usual. If that's even possible.

I know that I must be in the wrong. In a romantic comedy, I'm the character that starts out as a friend of the protagonist, but my reluctance to adapt to the circumstances resulting from the initial meet cute causes friction between me and the protagonist. My character becomes sidelined and eventually either A) comes to accept the new status quo, appearing cheerfully smiling as a member of the wedding party, or B) is revealed to be a sub-human wretch who gets fired from his job, falls into some dog shit, and is arrested in a comedic case of karmic mistaken identity for a child pornographer. Obviously, I'm working with my agent to land the part in script A.

So, I've been having a bad week. It's for times like these that I have a poster on my desktop. You know, that one with the cute cat and the motivational phrase? Yeah, this one:

I don't even like cats.

Thank you, Frowning Cat. You always know how to cheer me up. And Trey and Melissa, if you read this, know that I am trying.

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Twilight Saga completed. You may recall that I watched the first four back in March. Having all the other movies on my "150 in 2012" list, I knew I had to get the final one in under the wire. So I set out and paid to see the final chapter in a theater. (It's only the third movie I'd seen in a theater this year. Or the third in 5 years, depending on how big a deal you want to make out of it.)

289. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012)

Despite my compulsion, I was determined not to like it. My determination was quickly reinforced by the ridiculous "super-powered" Bella scenes and CGI baby at the start of the movie. Roger Corman used better effects than that.

My suspension of disbelief was further tested by the cozy, ivy-covered cottage in the woods that served as the lovenest of our teen-aged vampire protagonists. Who knew they had working power and running water deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest? Is that what vampires do at night when they aren't sleeping: build cottages in the woods?

And I tried hard not to actually think about the story in this, the fifth installment of the Twilight movie franchise, because there isn't much of one. The new baby gets threatened so a bunch of vampires team up to... talk about it. Hooray! It'd be like watching C-Span if the Speaker of the House wore robes and sparkled.

Of course, despite all my problems with the film and the franchise, I still enjoyed the movie. It's probably the best experience of the bunch, with better pacing and heavy emphasis on super powers (often feeling similar to X-Men: First Class). It's a Grimm fairy tale in the truest sense, with plenty of gore and dismemberment. Fun, as they say, for the whole family.

Ultimately, I enjoyed my time in the Twilight. If that makes me a 15-year-old girl at heart, so be it.

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The second half of the November movie list:

276. The Descendants (2001)
Brilliant. The second Clooney film I've seen this year and the second I've loved. Does he make bad movies?

277. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
Suggested by Grimmy, this movie picks up speed when the bodies start piling up in the second half. Grimmy has recommended several films this year, and they have all been worth watching. Thanks, Grim.

278. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Three great movies in a row? I was on a hot streak here, although I have to admit to stacking the deck with a Wes Anderson film.

Quote: "I love you but you don't know what you're talking about."

I'm sure everyone reading this knows I love Wes Anderson films. If you didn't, you do now.

279. Paper Man (2009)
Yes, I watched this film because Emma Stone is in it, but it is Ryan Reynolds who manages to steal the film as an imaginary super hero. This is a classic case of a thin script much improved by some charismatic actors.

280. Network (1976)
This movie is so cynical, it makes me look like sunshine. None of the characters in this film talks like a real human being, but that's part of it's charm. I'm sure this film must be a huge influence on the work of Aaron Sorkin. I can't believe that this film was written by the same writer behind Marty.

281. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)
And the string of enjoyable films comes to an abrupt end. I gotta give the movie credit, it's better than the book. However, that doesn't take a whole lot of work.

282. Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)
If had been made in the decade it simulates, it would be a Troma film. So much gore... are you sure this is Canadian?

283. Victor/Victoria (1982)
My friend Otto recommended this a long time ago because of my appreciation for Robert Preston. Preston is indeed great, but James Garner was so unromantic as the male romantic lead, I found it hard to pay attention to the end. Jim Rockford, you're better than this.

284. The Three Musketeers (2011)
Victor Hugo for the video game generation, this film is fantastic eye candy. In the first 15 minutes, the film rips off The Princess Bride, A Fistful of Dollars, and Hudson Hawk. Bizarre.

285. John Carter (2012)
Superb character animation in this very loose adaptation of the Edgar Rice Boroughs classic. You know something has gone horribly wrong when The Asylum is putting out movies more loyal to the source material than you are.

286. Liz & Dick (2012)
This film is the Wikipedia of biopics. The relationship between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton is defined only by its high- and lowlights. I've never liked Liz Taylor, but even I have to say that Lindsay Lohan isn't fit to portray her. To quote Liz in the movie, "I'm bored."

287. Camelot (1967)
This musical uses songs to advance its plot and characterization as all good musicals should. Too bad that Richard Harris' voice isn't up to the amount of singing required of him.

288. The Wrong Man (1956)
Hitchcock's idea of a true crime drama. Hard to believe that anyone could ever mistake Henry Fonda for a criminal.

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Sigh. Georgia lost the SEC Championship game. Yes, the Bulldogs played hard and lost to a better team, but being so close to the National Championship Game and losing is heartbreaking. My only solace for the loss is that I've heard several of Mike Bobo's late-game play calls openly criticized on national television in post-game analysis. Any game that brings us closer to the end of Bobo's Reign of Terrible isn't a total loss.

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Verizon Wireless has been advertising their NFL Mobile app with commercials highlighting the amazing transformation of dweebs into jock-sniffers simply by staring at their cellphones. Remember that scene from Clockwork Orange where they taped his eyes open and made him watch violent videos? Apparently that's good for you now.

There are 2 of these commercials, "Andy" and "Jane." Because, like both Andy and Jane, I watch waaaay too much football, I must have seen each of these a hundred times. Unlike Andy and Jane, my incessant consumption of NFL products has yet to lure NFL quarterbacks to my backyard barbecues. Although I can intelligently discuss endgame strategy, recognize Tampa 2 coverage, and explain referee hand signals, none of those abilities has in any way improved my social standing.

These uplifting vignettes of zeros to heroes remind me of those fundamentalists who are determined to metamorphose homosexuals into heterosexuals via vigorous psychological reconditioning. Originally a lonely misfit, Andy is schmoozing with hot women by the end of his commercial. Shut-in Jane transforms from lonely cat lady to someone who yells at people on the bus. It's conversion therapy, NFL style!

Funny, too, that these commercials run almost exclusively during football games. If the NFL's product was so transformative, wouldn't I already have supermodels running their fingers through my overly gelled hair? I'm beginning to suspect that it isn't the NFL that's helping these geeks so much as it is their nifty Verizon smartphones. Mankind had expected the Rise of the Machines to involve Teutonic cyborgs, but in 2012 the end of the world has been preceded by stormtroopers of talking address books.

Think I'm kidding? Both Andy and Jane start their commercials wearing eyeglasses, and after months of staring intently at 6-inch screens held at the end of their noses, neither needs glasses any longer! "Can you see me now?" says Verizon! I gotta admit, if Telephone Jesus can restore the vision that I lost in the 3rd grade, I'll sign-up for their longest-term contract on the spot!

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How did super heroes get their super powers in the Golden Age? By drinking potions carelessly mixed by ignorant children, of course.

How Donald Trump got his super powers

Clearly, Bob here has the disposition required to make a good hero. It makes sense that this fellow would go on to name himself "The Black Terror" because it was the only costume that the costume shop had in stock that day.

Get your hand of his leg, boy!

But don't worry about little Tim. He got what was coming to him in the end.

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Last month I said "I think the only Capra film I haven't seen that I may still consider watching is Lost Horizon, which I have heard was a colossal bomb." Mission accomplished.

275. Lost Horizon (1937)

This thing has a 7.7 rating on IMDB, which only goes to show that the voters at IMDB hate movies. I can sum up its three acts thusly:

Act I: some Englishmen are kidnapped to an apparent Utopia for mysterious reasons. There's war, a plane hijacking, desert refueling, a crash landing.... And that's in just the first 45 minutes! Not that Act I doesn't have its moments, but they are really really... drawn... out. I'm sure the pacing was intentional to emphasize the mystery.

Act II: the "mysterious reason" turns out to be a forced romance between our hero and a clever, beautiful woman in an ageless land with no strife. Beautiful women? Near eternal life? Horror of horrors! Act II makes the argument that the struggle of day-to-day living in the hustle and bustle of modern society is what kills us. Capra gives us elaborate sets and brief character pieces of people learning to take joy in everyday activities like sheep-shearing and plumbing in the hopes that we won't take the time to question whether anyone ever died before the Industrial Revolution.

Act III: the people who hate the idea of living forever, all clumsily painted as monsters or crackpots in the first two acts, drag our hero out of paradise. What suspense! If only this weren't a Capra film, where we already know that our hero will be rewarded for his selfless acts. Final dialogue: "Here's my hope that we all find our Shangri-La." I found mine when the screen finally said "The End."

Here ends my investigations of the films of Frank Capra. I've seen 4 Capra films this year, the most of any director to this point. Even the action movie Dirigible, with its Fay Wray love triangle that has you rooting for the other guy to steal the woman from the hero, contained too much artificial sweetener for my taste.

I'm sure by now that I've seen the best that Mr. Capra has to offer in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Every movie he made -- even screwball comedies like Arsenic and Old Lace -- seems to be some variation on the theme which I will glibly summarize as "cynicism defeated by love." I'm sure that there is a wide audience for Capra's kind of movie, but I'm not in it. Frank Capra simply doesn't have enough love to overcome my cynicism.

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For the eleventh time in 12 years, UGA beat Georgia Tech in our annual grudge match. Tech looked as ineffective as I've seen them all season, and that's saying something. If a team this bad can end up in the ACC Championship game, the ACC needs to give up on football.

Note to self: traffic after this game was the worst I've ever seen, which is especially odd as the cold weather and runaway score caused most fans to flee the stadium long before the game was over. Keep this in mind when planning for the game in 2014.

Georgia Tech 10, UGA 48

Twice in the past decade, I've thought Georgia would be in for a terrible season. The first time was in 2005, when I had doubts about D.J. Shockley as the team's quarterback. Turns out I was completely wrong then. The Bulldogs finished with a 10-3 season and the title of SEC Champions. The second time was this year. Again, I was wrong, and another SEC title is within the team's sights. If the Bulldogs win the SEC every time I am wrong, I could learn to live with that.

The only team left standing between UGA and the SEC Championship is Alabama, which beat Auburn 49 to 0 earlier today. We beat Auburn 38 to 0 two weeks ago. Hopefully, that means that Auburn is getting worse, not that Alabama is 11 points better than we are. I guess we'll find out this Saturday.

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Poodles have no belt to loosen after dinner

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To be continued...

 

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