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Month: November, 2010

The Glee Hit List: 25 Of The Best, So Far

Update: The adorable “Marry You” performance from S2E8 storms straight into no. 16 13, kicking out Vocal Adrenaline’s “Rehab” out of the  original 25!

Today finds me sitting wondering what on earth is Glee Season 2 all about. Is there a story somewhere there? Sure, Episode 8 was a refreshing rebound, but still, I think they were supposed to be focusing on seriously winning sectionals & regionals for this season, but guest stars are threatening to take over the show. Not enough with pushing aside the Glee members, they even tried to get the ever-lovely Gwyneth Paltrow to attempt to replace Mr. Schuester! You see, it’s been 8 episodes in so far for Season 2 & not a single background storyline is in sight. Heck, at this point in Season 1, they already reached the point of Quinn’s pregnancy going public dramatically among others.

Greetings earthlings, it’s that time of the month again, no not that time, but the time for me to compile pointless list of my favourite pointless something-somethings for my own pointless personal fun of pointlessness. I think you get my point.

This time it is going to be about Glee. See, what I’m going to do is to share with you’all my personal extremely-biased list of 25 of the best performances from the series to date, which means from Season 1 all the way to one third of Season 2. Drum rolls please.

25. “Loser” by Puck, Finn, Sandy, Howard, Terri & the Sheets-n-Things employees (S1E21 – Funk)

This was so quick but absolutely fun. Face it, Puck rapping with a guitar makes a killer move, & when the whole gang of random people just jumped in for the chorus, it was hilarious!

24. “Sing!” by Mike & Tina (S2E4 – Duets)

Only 3 entries from Season 2 made it into this list thus far, & one of it is this delightful surprise from Mike & Tina. This is what I would call a true duet – bringing out the best through each other’s strengths & weaknesses. The attempt is sweet & an absolute joy to watch. Quinn & Sam’s lovely duet may have been chosen as the winner, but it was Mike & Tina’s episode-stealer that remained most memorable. Loved how it totally caught everyone off guard.

23. “I Say A Little Prayer” by Quinn, Santana & Brittany (S1E2 – Showmance)

There was no way Mr. Schuester could have denied entry to the Glee club for the 3 Cheerios with such a seductive, tantalizing performance like that. The swaying, the oh-so-cute put-on-my-make-up choreography, & with Quinn looking like that…hmm, no way in hell.

22. “Like A Prayer” by New Directions (S1E15 – The Power of Madonna)

This was always going to be a hit episode when the Queen of Pop took center stage (especially channeled hilariously through coach Sue Sylvester), but the closing performance with the whole choir was just tremendous. What was extra special was when the solo batons were passed to Finn, Kurt & Mercedes – it reached heavenly proportions. Okay I admit, Kurt’s small part stole the show.

21. “Alone” by April Rhodes & Will Schuester (S1E5 – The Rhodes Not Taken)

If there was an award for best guest star of Season 1, it would go to Kristin Chenoweth hands-down. She’s like a small ball of boundless zany energy. Besides, if you can pull-off this legendary number by Heart, it was a sure win. Mr. Schuester’s vocals did pretty well to blend in too by the way.

20. “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” by Kurt, Tina, Brittany, & the McKinley High football team (S1E4 – Preggers)

While I almost fell off my chair when this episode started without warning with the sight of Kurt, Tina & Brittany in body-tight suits attempting to pull-off Beyonce’s ball-busting dance moves, I was laughing (in a good way) by the end when the whole football team used these moves to win the game. Hilarious & effective.

19. “Sweet Caroline” by Puck & New Directions (S1E8 – Mash-Up)

I think this was the first solo by Puck, & shit was it a surprise. Not the fact that a Neil Diamond classic is being sung by a mohawk punk, just surprised that it was that good. As previously admitted, the Puck-with-a-guitar angle is a real lady-killer.

18. “Last Name” by April & New Directions (S1E5 – The Rhodes Not Taken)

Here comes Kristin Chenoweth again to save the team after the overbearing Rachel abandoned them for greener pastures. Besides, I like the whole cowboy costume & choreography. I loved this performance more than “Somebody to Love” that followed, especially after they gave Rachel center stage again right after she came back. Bleh.

17. “Teenage Dream” by Dalton Academy (S2E6 – Never Been Kissed)

The 2nd entry from Season 2 is from the Dalton boys & Kurt’s new muse, Blaine. The moves were cute, but the a cappella  (no matter how heavily engineered) arrangement elevated Katy Perry’s dull song to almost-great levels. Loving it!

16. “Keep Holding On” by New Directions (S1E7 – Throwdown)

Who would have ever thought an Avril Lavigne song could be this emotional. With Quinn’s pregnancy blown wide-open to the school, the team rallied behind Quinn through this song. This was the most difficult to place in the list because musically this arrangement was a mess. However, Quinn’s complication that was channeled through the song & the emotions evoked made it perfectly beautiful. Ending the song with Quinn’s literally breathtaking exhales was genius.

15. “Lean On Me” by New Directions (S1E10 – Ballad)

This was a perfect example of exactly what we loved about Glee – when it was still all about heart, the storyline drove & expressed the songs that were performed; not the other way round like in Season 2. After the emotional heart-wrenching scene between Quinn & her parents, fellow Glee members gathered to perform Bill Wither’s uplifting classic to let Quinn & Finn know they always have Glee club to depend on. While musically it was really good, what made it extraordinary was seeing everyone coming together with such passion. Plus, a smiling teary-eyed Quinn never looked more lovely & radiant. Teehee~this list is seriously looking more & more biased!

14. “Gold Digger” by Mr. Schuester & New Directions (S1E2 – Showmance)

Sometimes the best performances are during rehearsals, especially performed with such natural fun. The moment Mercedes kick-started it diva-style, I already had my head bopping to it. Whatever Mr. Schue slightly lacks in rap, he makes it up with his smooth dance moves. Miles better than Kanye’s, not even the awkward gamboling of Finn could distract us from this gem.

13. “Marry You” by New Directions (S2E8 – Furt)

Yes, this is the last-minute addition in this list which forced itself straight into no. 13. This episode was a back-to-form rebound of sorts for Season 2 with some drama substance (Kurt’s bullying, Sue’s mom). Not all was gloomy as the wedding offered the chance for New Directions to remind us they know how to show us a good time. Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” was a refreshing choice as the uplifting walk-down-the-aisle performance, & the whole routine was adorable & zesty! Plus, the girls were alluring in their red dresses – Santana looked dangerously sexy, Quinn’s sweetness was demure, & Rachel for the first time in some time was not annoying & actually looked rather pretty! Overall, this is by far the best performance & the best episode of Season 2 as of now.

12. “Papa Don’t Preach” by Quinn & Puck (S1E11 – Hairography)

Rarely given the chance to shine on her own, the acoustic move pairing Quinn’s rather peculiar-sweet vocals with Puck’s guitar was surprisingly awesome in the most subtle way, but Puck & the 3 horny kids weren’t the only ones who couldn’t take their eyeballs off Quinn’s sexy moves. & to think she can achieve such feverish level of hotness while she was already pregnant & in one of those loose pregnant-women tops. No I’m not as biased as you think I am, this was actually superb. Sing it again!

11. “Poker Face” by Rachel & her mom, Shelby (S1E20 – Theatricality)

The acoustic version done by Gaga on one of her best tracks is covered almost perfectly by Lea Michelle & another good guest star choice, Idina Menzel. The whole Gaga episode was fantastic & this track, done accompanied only by Brad on the piano was a luminous breather. The diva pairing of mom & daughter had just the right amount of sentimentality balanced with vocal prowess.

10. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Vocal Adrenaline (S1E22 – Journey)

We finally arrive at the top 10, & again it kicks off with a competitor. First of all, I utterly can’t stand Jesse’s screeching vocals & his asking-to-be-punched expression. Casting that aside, Vocal Adrenaline performed this was such gusto & elaborate arrangements you could hardly blink. Interlacing the god-like Queen anthem melody & lyrics perfectly with Quinn’s painful baby delivery experience was intense, climatic & exhilarating stuff. Top-notch.

9. “Bad Romance” by New Directions females…& Kurt (S1E20 – Theatricality)

This was easy. The Glee females, all dressed up in Gaga attire, & Kurt team up to cover the definitive Gaga number. Enough said. Nice to see Santana being given the chance to kick some vocal ass too – especially when she totally nailed it.

8. “Take A Bow” by Rachel, Mercedes & Tina (S1E2 – Showmance)

Remember back when Rachel was still not that annoying & we haven’t had the chance to get tired of her? Well, this performance would be the perfect reminder. Lea channeled teenage love & anguish through this number flawlessly, setting this miles above Rihanna’s effort, both emotionally & vocally. You could almost feel the pain Rachel felt after seeing Finn getting back together with Quinn just after he kissed Rachel. Aww, the sweet painful teenage crush.

7.  “Imagine” by New Directions (S1E11 – Hairography)

After the mad “hairography” performance by the “hairy” New Directions members, the deaf glee club members performed John Lennon’s “Imagine” with sign languages & “talking” by the lead. Feeling foolish, Mercedes & New Directions joins in mid-way & together they finish off the song with both singing & sign language. Damn this almost felt like a cheap shot, & you could also view it from another angle where New Directions blatantly butted-in & stole the show, which I’m sure wasn’t the intention of the Glee camp. Anyway, I felt it was poignant & it almost could have left me with a little tingle of tears in me eyes.

6. “Don’t Rain On My Parade” by Rachel (S1E13 – Sectionals)

Just when all hopes were lost, we finally realize how important Rachel is when she steps up to steal the show. Say what you like, her solo performance was more than a kick-off, it was vocally mind-blowing. So much so it totally overwhelmed the whole team’s performance of  “You Can’t Always Get  What You Want” after that. Too bad, it was really like The Rachel Berry Sectionals Show rather than New Directions winning it. Rachel’s star never shined so bright.

5. “The Journey Medley” by New Directions (S1E22 – Journey)

I’m referring to the whole Regionals performance of course, that first had Finn & Rachel doing “Faithfully”, before the whole gang knocked up a couple of gears with the energetic mash-up of “Any Way You Want It” & “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'” before ending most appropriately with “Don’t Stop Believin'”, the one that started it all. I loved the fact that they gave Puck & Santana a section of the solos. What sets this apart from Vocal Adrenaline’s more elaborate & choreographed-to-every-detail winning performance was the heart & passion pouring through New Directions as they performed, especially relatable since we have been with them throughout their entire journey till Regionals. Not as great as the the mid-season finale, but still, this was classic Glee stuff.

4. “My Life Would Suck Without You” by New Directions (S1E13 – Sectionals)

What made the mid-season finale the better “finale” was not their Sectionals performance, but this dedication to Mr. Schue from the Glee club members. Performed with amazing exuberance & enthusiasm, the Glee members showed selected sequences of previously performed moves from the first half of the season songs, making this a wonderful half-season recap as much as a show of their love for Mr. Schue. It also reminded us of what a terrific season Glee has been, & a promise of more to come.

3. “True Colours” by New Directions (S1E11 – Hairography)

Episode 11 was a fairly weak episode, but it had 3 outstanding songs, & this was the best of the lot. I loved the sweet simplicity of it, having the members sitting down in plain casual multi-coloured tees, singing about honesty & togetherness in diversity. Especially with so much drama going behind in the story at that point. Besides, Tina gets the solo, which is an extra sweet bonus. Yes, simple is sometimes better.

2. “Defying Gravity” by Kurt & Rachel (S1E9 – Wheels)

The ultimate Glee diva showdown between the unbelievable vocals of Kurt vs the impressive range of Rachel, the song choice could not have been more spot-on. On an emotional level we were definitely rooting for Kurt, but you can’t deny the prowess Rachel had shown. Having Kurt ending by going intentionally off-tune was a real dramatic kick, which left it with a more resonating affecting end.

1. “Don’t Stop Believin'” by New Directions (S1E1 – Pilot)

Well, was there any doubt of which track would reign supreme? It was always going to be very first performance by the  6 original core members of New Directions (don’t forget Artie who was on guitars!) singing in front of an empty auditorium before Mr. Schue came in. It was the perfect song choice about hope & not giving up, just when Glee Club looked doomed from the start & Mr. Schue was on his way out. I don’t care how overplayed it is by now, this is the song started everything, inspired all, & pretty much defined everything Glee was all about.

Pa pa pa pa pa pa pa pa…

Let ‘Let Me In’ In

“Just so you know, we can’t be friends.”

Ladies & gentlemen, we finally have a true vampire romance movie.

It’s slow. Real slow. So slow it eases you into the beautiful story, feeling every single tingle & twitch that goes with the eerie atmosphere & accompanying music, shifting your view everytime the camera turns whether when Owen spins around to see Abby in the face for the first time, or when the car the “father” was maneuvering crashes & flips, or when the characters’ view gets blurred. You experience every second of its suspense, every snowdrop, & every blood spilled. & that’s the beauty of Let Me In.

“I’m a lot stronger than you think I am.”

“I told you we couldn’t be friends.”

It offers nothing new in the vampire romance storyline. The odd pairing. The lonely figure. The blood. But it’s the way the story gets to its destination that sets Let Me In miles apart. The journey is so compelling & moving, ending with a complete breathtaking (& gory) finale.

The cast is strong, & director Mat Reeves knows it – the mom never gets her face shown, & the neighbours get little screen time. Chloe Moretze continues her hot streak from Hit Girl as a…well, kick-ass vampire, playing the role with a strange demure endearment you can’t help but sympathize & fall for her. Richard Jenkins as the father/guardian probably deserves special mention for his rather extraordinary contribution.

“I just know that this is what happens when you don’t invite me in.”

A beautiful, haunting, classy masterpiece, this is. It’s a rare piece of film achievement when a movie can leave us with creepy sadness simultaneously with such innocent sweetness. Was it really a happy ending, or a looming, dark, almost-unimaginable future?

Intrigued? Go watch it.

Now time to get my hands on the Swedish original, & even the book perhaps.

“Dear Owen, I am in the bathroom. Please do not come in. Do you want to hang out with me again tonight? I really like you. Love, Abby.”

Sucker Punch: You Will Be Unprepared

“Close your eyes.

Open your mind.

You will be unprepared.”

Holy Molly Awesome Possum. Now this looks like a whole load of fun.

Emily Browning (since when did she grow up?!). Abbie Cornish. Jamie Chung. Jena Malone. Vanessa Hudgens (huh?). & the ever-scorching hotness of Carla Cugino.

Check out the trailer here. For the moment it looks like a video-game movie about an asylum for the criminally hot filled with mayhem of tight leather, thighs, guns & explosions. Like Alice in Wonderland with Guns. Lots of it.

Anyway, just seeing Jamie Chung in that Bunny Robot is enough justification to watch this romp.

March 2011 is so gonna be fuuuunnn. Hopefully this shit from Zack Snyder will make more sense by then.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to “OPEN my eyes”. Big big.

P/S: Evan Rachel Wood should have replaced Hudgens.

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