December 29, 2014

Disney songs you probably don't know (Or remember)


Just think about it and I’m pretty sure your mind went to the movies you enjoy and a few catchy songs popped up in your mind. Am I right?

There’s no problem to admit it, we are in a world surrounded by Disney products and even if you never watched any of the movies, if a certain song is playing you would know for sure where it is from.

However, I’m not here to talk about Disney songs that are well known, but to talk about the ones you probably don’t remember (or know).

1. He Mele No (Lilo & Stich)
You don’t need to know anything about the movie, but as soon as you listen to it you know where it’s set. Its Hawaiian style is so beautiful and full of energy you just can’t take it out of your mind during the movie. At least until Winonna starts her ‘Burning Love’ cover.

2. Always know where you are (Treasure Planet)
Jim is a free-spirited young man and this song tells a lot about it. Unfortunately the commercial failure of the movie (I just can’t understand why) made its soundtrack one of the least known. The Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik did an excellent job with the songs he wrote for the movie. People should really give them a listen.

3. I won’t say I’m in love (Hercules)
Meg failed to become an official Disney Princess but at least her signature song is beautiful, showing the girl fighting to hide her feelings for Hercules. The guy was supposed to be just a job, but he was so pure Meg couldn’t help but falling.

4. Proud of your boy (Aladdin)
Let me say something: Disney producers, you were amazingly stupid for cutting this song from the movie. Alan Menken and late Howard Ashman made an incredible job with ‘Proud of Your Boy’, one of the only songs that have ever made me cry. It was shown on the DVD special edition and added to the Broadway production, where people could appreciate this masterpiece.

5. I’ll make a man out of you (Mulan)
While ‘Reflection’ is the most remembered song in Mulan, Li Shang’s act was left out of favorite lists. However, it's during this number that Mulan, disguised as Ping, becomes a real warrior, respected by everyone.

6. Just around the river bend (Pocahontas)
Pocahontas is really confused about her feelings when she performs this number, about a woman that doesn’t feel comfortable about being the same for her whole life.

7. Why should I worry? (Oliver & Company)
Billy Joel has a memorable performance as a wise street dog that’s got ‘street savoir-fare’.

8. He lives in you (The Lion King II)
The producers stupidity again! They cut this song from the original Lion King. This was supposed to be a number when Simba goes back home to have his kingdom back, after talking to Rafiki. They used the song in the sequel, however. The song was incorporated in the Broadway Production to correct the mistake. I just love Disney on Broadway!

9. God help the outcasts (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
This Esmeralda's number hurts inside your heart. She’s is stuck inside the cathedral and even though she’s not catholic she feels moved by the image of Saint Mary as she asks God to help the ones in need, such Quasimodo and her people.

10. Trashing the camp (Tarzan)
There are no lyrics for this song but the very melodic collaboration between Phil Collins and N’Sync makes this number impossible to resist.

11. Will the sun ever shine again? (Home on the range)
Another box-office flop that made its soundtrack almost unknown. This beautiful song about losing hope is fantastic.

12. Almost there (The Princess and the Frog)
I don’t know what’s the problem with Disney fans! They seem to ignore the existence of one of the best Disney Soundtracks ever! Tiana’s number about a girl who works hard to have her dreams come true is fantastic and Anika Noni Rose’s performance is flawless. Even though nominated for an Academy Award for best original song, most people don’t know it.

13. On my way (Brother Bear)
Everything about this movie is very beautiful. The drawings are amazing and Disney’s second collaboration with Phil Collins is another success. The cub Koda sings this song when he established himself as Kenai’s sidekick.

These are some of the Disney songs that I love and, if you didn’t know them, I hope you enjoyed the ride.

December 26, 2014

The sexualization of James Franco

The sexualization of James Franco


An ordinary guy named James

“You should never meet your heroes” is a common saying in America. When I first moved to New York I told myself I wouldn’t be that kind of person who makes a big deal just because a celebrity crossed my path. I have this friend who looks as if he worked as paparazzo: Every time he sees a celebrity he runs after the person, asks for a picture and posts it on social media with subtitles that lead his family to believe he has some relationship with those famous people. Fans are, in general, like that.

I must say, I don’t have that kind of affection in general for celebrities. My kind of “celebrities” are comic book creators and writers. However, I admired two actors that are incredible at their crafts and also very attractive. I use to sexualize (I think that’s the perfect choice of word) Joseph Gordon Levitt and James Franco. I used to think both are ingenious, funny, witty and extremely sexy. 

Until I met James Franco.

James Franco caught my attention when playing James Dean in a TV movie. I loved JD and to see an actor playing him with such a talent and charisma made me “fall for him”. Understand, the guy is all over the media! He’s an actor, a poet, a writer, a director… He’s even a college teacher! And a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram character with thousands and thousands of followers, who get delighted with the sassy, funny and smart kind of persona he plays in the social media. I say he plays the persona, because it’s hard to believe James Franco is that person on a daily basis.

People who never watched any of his movies or read any of his works, follow James in the social medias and think he is incredible and extremely freaking sexy. I mean, they don’t care about the actor or the writer, they like the social media persona. Karina, a James Franco fan, went to his Broadway debut ‘Of mice and men’ twice. Both times she waited after the show to get autographs on her Playbills and pictures with the cast. The first time she said James was sweet, funny, took as many pictures as he could and enjoyed himself in the crowd. He even posted those moments on his social media. The second time, though, well, not that much of a fun person. “What was different?” I asked. “I think there were no press cameras around”, she said, kind of disappointed.

I decided not to jump into conclusions. I liked James a lot. ‘Actors anonymous’ is a very good novel and I had no reasons to believe he was other than the person I followed on Facebook. I knew he was going to be in the city around the time ‘The Interview’ was released and maybe I could go to the event. However, walking in Union Square, I saw he was signing copies of his new book, ‘Hollywood Dreaming’, at The Strand, my favorite bookstore. I decided to stay there, talk to him, take a picture, and, who knows, maybe a short interview for my blog.

Once in line, after purchasing the book, I was told I couldn’t speak to him too much and pictures wouldn’t be allowed. They gave me a piece of paper named FRANCO RULES in which people should follow specific rules for the “meet and greet”. On the piece of paper, James poses obnoxiously, holding a glass of whiskey in one hand while the other uses the index finger to say no. Had I known that before I would never spend my coins on that book, nor wait in very cold weather outside the store. I did it anyways.

The James Franco I saw was the one Karina told me about when there are no press cameras, or even his publicity cameras around. He was there, signing the books, rarely looking up at the people who went there. He smiled and said “Thank you”, I give him that. But was pretty much that. A girl in front of me in the line asked for a picture, he didn’t even answer. A Strand attendant pulled her away from the table, thanked her for going and nobody even looked at her again. I felt sorry. He signed my book, didn’t say anything when I said I really enjoyed ‘Palo Alto’, his other book turned into a movie recently, and smiled at me as I left. It was too late: James Franco's magic was gone!

However, I must say, that was not his problem. That was my problem. I was the one who sexualized and idolized him, he didn’t ask for that. He is just a guy, a regular guy, named James who happens to be an actor and writer. We, in general, idolize people who couldn’t care less about us. They have their lives, they work, they pay their bills… Celebrities have no obligation to be in a good mood 24/7. YOU are not in a good mood 24/7. I am not in a good mood 24/7. But WE have to go to work, school, to talk to people… For more difficult it can be sometimes. And there are days we all think, “Gee, why did I leave bed at all? I want to come back and stay there for a while, without worrying about work and life and whatsoever!”. Well, celebrities feel the same.

“Oh, but he sells an image on social medias of a person he’s not!”. Well, my dear, I’m sorry to delivery the bad news, but so do we. We are not the people we show on social media. We are also narcissistic people who want attention, like he does. Social media is just smoke and mirrors, a reflection of what could be true at some moments but not at all moments. I’m a different person from what people see on my online profile. A Brazilian friend told me my life was very exciting because I lived in NYC, going to Broadway shows all the time, seeing amazing spots in the city every single day and having a lot of fun. Well, I said those things happen, but not all the time. Actually, most of the time I’m working or at home, but I don’t post those things. Social media is an inscape from the boredom that our lives can be sometimes. It’s a way to tell people we are better than they are or to cause envy or to be attractive to people you are interested in or to show people from your past you’re no longer that ugly duck. As I said before, smoke and mirrors. Nobody knows what lies beneath.

James Franco has all the right to be the person he wants to be. He is several characters inside the same James Franco: the actor, the funny man, the host, the writer, the producer, the poet, the lover, the polemicist... and If we think we should deny him those privileges because he’s a public figure, we should take a good look at ourselves.

I won’t say I stopped admiring James Franco. Not at all. For me he continues to be this charismatic amazing actor, but I don’t look at him as something more than that. He’s a guy well succeeded in his line of work and as ordinary as all of us. He’s going to be as any other celebrity I run into in New York. Nothing special. Nothing as special as Joseph Gordon Levitt, for example. Crap! I did it again! Why can’t we stop being like that?! ;-)

December 13, 2014

NYC scenes: Why don’t you move to L.A.?

Why don’t you move to L.A.?

         “So, why don’t you move to L.A.?”, Shelley asked me, lighting a cigarette in front of Latitude where we went for a few drinks after work, “I mean, fucking California it’s sunny most of the time, the men are half-naked, showing their goodies everywhere… NYC is done! This city is filthy! Filthy! Take a look around!”
      I did. 8th Avenue, Hell’s Kitchen area, was not the most appealing view in Manhattan. Damn! It was past 1 a.m., almost December, and as cold as my father’s corpse and full of drunk people… How can it be a nice view?
     “When I came to New York, like, ten thousand years ago, actually eleven, this city was not like that. It’s a mess. It’s a fucking mess if you know what I mean. See the subway! Fucking MTA! The trains are always late! Always late!”
      I would say the subway system was one of the reasons I stayed here. You can go anywhere without a car. And let's face it, having a car in New York is not an easy, or cheap, task! And although it works quite well, nothing in the world is 100% trustable.
      “You’re a fucking writer! A helluva writer! You can write anywhere! Anywhere! You don’t need to stay here! I don’t know why you don’t move to L.A.!”
      It was freezing outside the bar and I don’t even smoke, but for a reason I was there listening to Shelley bitching about the city I love. Why don’t I move? Why don’t I move at all? Gee, I wouldn’t know! I’m not a sun person if you ask me. I’m more of a snow person. I don’t need to see people half-naked. I have enough porn on my cell phone! I like the well-dressed spirit that comes with wintertime.
      “You came from Brazil, like, two years ago?”, Fuck! Why couldn’t she smoke in silence?, “And I don’t believe you still think this is exciting. I mean, New York is overrated! You pay thirteen hundred to live in a walk-in closet! And you have to share it with a weird Asian girl names Fon Lin you met on Craig’s list! How can a person be happy?!!!!”
      I know rent is a nightmare in Manhattan. But just for people who are stupid enough to dare to live on the island with no rich parents to cover their backs! I live in Astoria. I have four roomies, that’s true, but I don’t need to share my bedroom with anyone. My own room, my own bed, more space than I actually need, and, best of all, very affordable.
     “And those people? And those people?!”, She said while a group of middle-easterns people were coming up the avenue in a loud chat, “Everyone here seems to speak a billion languages but English! The woman in the bodega can’t even understand when I ask for a coffee! I mean, what is so difficult about the word ‘coffee’? I asked for a coffee just the other day, she smiled, as clueless as my ass, and gave me some cough drops!”
     Well, I think that what makes NYC so enchanting. The “spice” “this people” bring! Overall, Americans here are too bland and cold. It is good to have some heat coming around every now and then.
       “Oh, I just don’t get it. I know, I know, you’re going to say we have ten thousand museums, a million Broadway shows… As if you had time to go to this shit often!”
      “So, Shelley, you tell me. Why don’t you move to L.A.? You gave me several reasons for leaving, but you’re staying, even though your company can transfer you to the west coast if you ask for it. So, why don’t you move to L.A.?”
      “Are you fucking nuts?”, She flicked the cigarette butt on the sidewalk, “I’m all messed up, I could never live anywhere else! And, after all, I love New York. It’s the only real place in the world!”

       There you go, case closed. That was the only time we agreed all night. As we went back to the heater in the bar she started talking about how lame Revenge was turning in its fourth season. She was never going to be silent anyways.

New York, 13/12/2014