Film Review: The Bling Ring dir. Sofia Coppola

Hey Guys. I guess I'm doing film reviews now.

I just got back from Sofia Coppola's new movie, The Bling Ring*. If you don't know the plot, it is inspired by true events - a group of L.A. teens who rob famous celebrities' homes while they are away.  Mind you, this was in they heyday of reality shows like "The Hills", although I'm sure L.A. hasn't changed much since then. As you can see, this plot isn't like Coppola's previous films.

I sometimes think about that. Sofia always has these really great dainty yet powerful films, dealing with emotions and transitions of (typically) younger people. We've all seen it, her shots are beautifully soft and muted with feminine touches. Yet I wonder if she gets tired of doing that, because this film is completely different. Yes, her iconic perspective of suburbia still remains in many of her setting-the-scene shots and key color palettes.

But to be honest, I don't think I liked the film.

The Bad Stuff: 
I don't want to put Sofia's work down, at all. Mainly because I have a massive girl crush on her and I know she puts way more into her films than we can ever know, but the film seemed off. Number one, the actual fluidity of the cinematography seemed a bit amateurish in some shots (mainly the opening scene). You could see the camera shaking on the rig, which I know only a handful of people would actually notice but it just started the film off on the wrong tone.  Also, the film was shot in modern day, with pockets of TMZ style paparazzi footage, but for such a sleazy plot line, some of the shots looked too soft, too pretty, and too expensive (court scenes especially). Not even glamorous, like the film wants to be, just soft. It's probably something to do with the deep focus they used.

    The music placement was also a bit strange (although she did feature some Azealia Banks which I mentally jammed out to). Again, the opening scene used the same Sleigh Bells song as the trailer, which made it lose impact in my opinion. Some of the actors/extras were also pretty amateur, you could tell they didn't quite know how a party went down in this day an age (like watching someone taking a hit from a joint and acting like its a miraculous 3 foot bong). I suppose you could argue that that is how the "elite" party, like assholes, but hey - that's up for debate. This next bit isn't though. The "extras" who bully Broussard (male Bling Ring member) in the first few scenes are hilariously bad. I'm sorry, but that kid is so attractive! Why would anyone bully him? I don't care if he just transferred in! Nope. It's like that jean jacket girl in Perks of Being a Wallflower who calls Charlie a "faggot" every other scene. It's just so left field that it makes absolutely NO sense.

So now that I've ripped all of your hearts' out, lets go to the character breakdown.

Character Breakdown:
Emma Watson: Interesting character, you see only 1/5th of what you'd expect to see of her, funny one liners, her accent is a bit off but endearing, and her body language is really spot on for her character. 

Taissa Farmiga: I love this girl, but I think she was gravely miscasted. Her character is obsessed with zebra prints/cheetah spots and makes out with random dudes. Perhaps I'm just used to seeing her as Violet from American Horror Story, but really - I think she didn't fit the role. They needed someone who was more of a "Lisa" from Girl Interrupted.  But nonetheless, I can't wait to see Taissa in future roles to come. 

Israel Broussard: Maybe one of the best actors, plays the sympathetic character. Gay- but not overly "Hollywood Gay". You never really dislike his character, and if I could compare him to anyone - he's the Lux of the film.  I think he did a great job to be honest and I hope this kid goes far.

Katie Chang: Head of the Bling Ring, a few awkward lines, but she really pulls it together in the end. She embodies this cool and calm confidence, even when she is about to be prosecuted. I really dig her character.

Claire Julien: Almost a little too laid back for her counterparts (to the point where it was a bit embarrassing). I'd like to see her in more of a Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine) type of film. 

Leslie Mann: PERFECT Adderall giving mother. Her performance was probably the best out of everyone. 

The Good Stuff:
I think it's a really interesting commentary on "celeb" culture and social media. Yes, the amount of "selfies" taken in the film was a bit ridiculous - but the characters are ridiculous. I think this is the type of film that I'll appreciate when I'm older, looking back at the boom of the Internet and social media age and how it corrupted the youth. At least, I hope it won't be like this in the future.

I truly wonder if I didn't like the film because I couldn't relate to the teens, or perhaps it was because I didn't want to relate to them. Is this what the youth is like today? Do we have an identity anymore or are we all just trying to create our own image- like celebrities? It's unsettling. Even if you aren't as extreme as the characters, at some level you can relate to them. I hope people see this about the film. I hope they just don't walk away laughing at crazy materialistic teens - because we as a society allow those type of people to dominate our perceptions of pop culture in some way or another.

(edited photos from durre.tumblr.com )

Final Thoughts:
I personally think Sofia connects more with film critics when she creates films that deliberately make you feel a certain way (nostalgic mystery in The Virgin Suicides, sympathy in Marie Antoinette, etc). In this film, she tried to remain as non-biased as possible in an effort to make the audience reflect on their own morals. I mean, I dig it, but if she would have dug a bit further into the problematic lives of the Bling Ring members in a non humorous way, perhaps I would have gotten something more out if it. She gave us one sympathetic character (Broussard), who I really connected with, but left everyone else out of the picture. 

It's interesting. If you are a film lover, you will probably will be torn. Like I mentioned earlier, I'm going to predict that this film will get better over time, once we clearly see our old society through a new lens. Unfortunately, even the physical look, sound, and flow of the film didn't meet my expectations.  If you are a regular movie-goer, you will probably think it's either lack luster, or completely fun. I really do commend her directing though. It's a hard film to make, a film that is set in our present era of capitalism and narcissism. How are you supposed to make that feel good? 

I'd recommend shelling out $10 to see it, but go in with an open mind. Listen carefully and see what your response is. It can say a lot about you.

Anyways that's it. I'm not a film critic, but I hope you guys enjoyed this either way.

Keep it cool, 
*= This was written the night of the wide release premiere, Friday June 21st 2013.


Film Muse: Almost Famous (2002)

This post goes out to all of my rock 'n' roll lovers out there. 

May I introduce to you one of my most favorite films of all time - Almost Famous (2002)  dir. Cameron Crowe! 

Almost Famous is a coming of age story about a teenager who happens to get the opportunity to write a music review for the Rolling Stone magazine. He goes on a journey road tripping with the band "Stillwater" and meets their groupies, or "Band-Aids" as they like to call themselves. The movie unravels the pressure of musicians vs. the publicity, but most importantly, the strain of relationships of everyone on board.

 Love and rock 'n' roll, what more could you ask for? 

There are many things to love about this film. To start off, its pretty much a true story. Well, almost. Director Cameron Crowe actually toured with many rock bands of the seventies, including Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, and Led Zeppelin. Apparently, Crowe shared many of the same experiences that William, the main character, does in the film (those of which I will not spoil!). There is nothing better than having a director put his or her's heart, soul, and true experiences into a film. 

For me, the cast is what really makes this film. First of all, Kate Hudson - the perfectly fragile (yet head strong) groupie who acts as the band's muse, shines strongly. While we are talking about the "Band-Aids", I have to give it up to our girls Fairuza Balk (The Craft) and Anna Paquin (X-Men) as well. They played the most perfect blend of flirty and likeable characters, almost like "mama bears" to young William. Then we have Zooey Deschanel, who acts as the "cool older sister" type with impeccable music taste. But the real star of the film is Patrick Fugit who plays William. I think this was one of his first big acting debuts and this kid rocked it. Oh, and Jimmy Fallon is in this movie too. Basically no other film can be topped in terms of having an awesome cast. 

What I liked most about this film was the emotions that it embodied. You have the fragility of love- not just in us humans, but for the music as well. This ambience of the rock 'n' roll spirit blankets the film in a pure and nostalgic way. The viewer follows the heart break, the sense of longing, and uneasiness of the future in ALL of the characters. It's like you're going on this amazing ride for the whole film, but you know its going to end at some point - just like their tour. 

(Last words: I dig music!) 

Alright, I had to add this scene in really quick if you've seen the film (if not you might want to skip ahead). Can we just sit down and appreciate this part? The fact that a rock 'n' star could casually go to a party, jump off a roof and into a pool, and not be mobbed by fans is brilliant. I think this scene is perfect because it amplifies the RESPECT OF MUSIC. Not even the respect, but the love. I know it was common then as well, but our celebrity culture today really pushes the listener and the creator far apart. In this scene, they come together - even if the party goers still see him as "godlike", the amount of chillness is incomprehensible.  I just thought this scene was really humbling. 
Moving on. 

Overall, if you want to feel good - watch this film. Its heart wrenching and hilarious. The fact that a movie set in the '70s could be created like this past the year 2000 and still retain the original vibe is hard to achieve. To put it simply - this movie has soul. There is nothing more to say. 

Keep it cool, 
Lauren Rose
Curbside Fashion


My End to Making Weight Loss Videos

Sup Curbside readers!
     I haven't done a post like this in a long time. The last one I did was about the need for feminism in the Youtube Beauty Community, which you can check out HERE.  I also did a "Lauren Gets Deep" video about the topic on my Youtube channel which you can view HERE.

Moving on.
 Today I'm going to be explaining why I will NO LONGER be putting up "how-to" videos for weight loss on my Youtube channel. That doesn't mean I won't make a "fitness tips" video in the future, but I will no longer be instructing people on how to lose weight (I will get to this later). 

**** If anyone has questions about my weight loss, I will refer them to this post. Thank you!****

---The Intro---
As many of you may know, I have shared my weight loss journey on Youtube with you all for over 2 years now. Overall, I've lost around 50 lbs and I'm in the process now of still getting toned. 50 lbs may  be nothing compared to what you might want to lose, but it was a big deal for me so I'm not going to belittle my accomplishment. There have been highs and lows, but overall I'm pretty satisfied. I posted a few videos on Youtube explaining my journey/how to lose weight, but now I am taking most- if not all of them down.

1. There are numerous amounts of spam being attracted to them and I can no longer filter them out.
2. I feel as if it's problematic for some (not all) viewers to sensationalize my journey and think that it's less/more than it is. I also don't want to promote eating disorders.
3. I have struggled with an eating disorder in the past, and still struggle sometimes. 

So let me explain.

(May this picture of a 12 year old me forever remain on the internet. Best $20 on the block. )

---Binge Eating---
Ever since I was about eight years old, I had been overweight. It wasn't really until puberty (the glory days show above) that it really started to affect me emotionally. To top it off, I went to a very small school and was automatically singled out for being different, which sucked. Like what most overweight kids experience, girls gossiped about me and guys would poke fun at me and/or ignore me. During that same time, I had some family issues that led me into my depression, literally feeding a new binge eating disorder. It has taken me a long time to accept that I did (and still do) struggle with an eating disorder.  I only recently discovered that I had/have this disorder, so that is another reason why I'm taking down my weight loss videos. I don't talk about my disorder (because when I filmed them I didn't recognize it), therefore the videos are more simple in context than they should be. Losing weight while having an eating disorder is a very delicate and risky process.

Back to the story. During the summer of sophomore year, I decided to make an effort to get out of my depression and help my self confidence by deciding to lose weight. 

(***Watch E4's My Mad Fat Diary, pretty much explains all the feelings you have with binge eating disorders - plus it's hilarious***)

(The summer before my major weight gain, 2009) 

---Psychology Behind Losing Weight---
Here is another thing: I often get questions online about how I did it. Those questions usually come with appraisal, telling me how much "better" I look, etc. Now I know these questions and compliments are innocent with good intent but to be honest, after a while some of them started to make me upset. Was I really that detestable before? Is the only way to be desirable by losing weight?  I'll come back to this stuff later in The Aftermath, but for now I'm going to give you the secret.

(Me almost at my peak, sophomore year 2010) 

---The Secret is that there is no Secret---
(How to lose weight)
Diet and excercise. Your gym teacher told you it, now I'm going to tell you it. When I was at the peak of my weightloss, I worked out probably 5 days a week, doing HIT (High Intensity Training), and running at least 2 miles. If you need some structure, try workout DVDs (Jillian Micheals 10/10).  But it all comes down to running/cardio. 

***Talk to your doctor, especially if you are obese, have joint pains, or other health issues  before losing weight***
(They are SUPER helpful. You will get loads of pamphlets that are actually useful. Just do it. )

For your diet, eat clean. Stick to fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains, etc.  Now I know not everyone has a Whole Foods store in their refrigerator, so get a job and spend some of your money on your own groceries if you are living at home with an unhealthy family. Or simply just make use with what you have. Splurging is okay, just make sure you really savor it. It changes the way you think about food. If you want unhealthy food, try making it yourself. That way, you put in the effort and know exactly what you are eating. Please, don't hate food. Food is wonderful.

(Me during my weight loss, junior year a.k.a. when I started Youtube, looking like I'm over it)

---The Aftermath + Dating---
The last year of high school and onwards (after a majority of my weight loss), I started to get more attention from guys (and interestingly enough, shade from the girls as well). Let me be clear: this was all new to me. By the time college came around, I'd have to sit around listening to guys joke about big chicks and bite my tongue (regret going that) . My former roommate actually got mad at me for not pursuing those same guys because they were apparently interested in me (another issue).

Here's the deal: dating after weightloss can be easy, or hard. For me, it's hard to trust anyone who I meet because I know a majority of them wouldn't have even talked to me if I was still in the state that I was in. I know that if I ever date, I will have to tell them all of what I've gone through, and how I struggle to find true and honest people today because I know what it's like to be on both ends of the spectrum: overweight (non desirable) and not overweight (desirable). That feeling SUCKS. So yes, I wait for the ones who are genuine (a rare breed, no doubt).  Some people jump into the dating scene after losing weight and have no problems. I just wanted to include my experience.

(Didn't think about the pizza/orange drink when I uploaded this full body picture. You get the point nonetheless.)

---Society's Standards vs. My Own---
The biggest reason why I'm not talking about weight loss anymore is because there is so much shame involving the issue. I enjoy the fact that we are going through a health/green revolution, but this does not mean that we should shame those who are overweight and obese. If they want to lose weight, they can. If they don't, they wont. I am still a proponent for working out and eating well for the body and mind, but not for society's standards. Theres a difference between getting healthy, and getting skinny. 

I also didn't quite realize the severity of my disorder like I mentioned earlier, especially when I'd make videos about how to lose weight on Youtube. I now feel that the matter is too deep for me to even touch on fully. You see, Youtube acts as this illusion. Like you can become the person you are watching as long as you follow everything they say - but that isn't true. My body is different than yours, my motivation is different than yours, my past is different than yours, and my weight loss is different than yours. It doesn't mean that I won't support you, it just means that I cannot give you all of the answers. Its a personal journey, so get personal with it.

(Me and my main B, Courtney!)

I'm still in the process of getting a healthier body and mind, but that process is my own. Your compliments about my body are appreciated, but not needed  (:D) .  Thank you so much to everyone out there who has supported me, and to those who understand where I'm coming from with this post.

Much love, and stay healthy!
-Lauren Rose
Curbside Fashion 


Film Muse: Adventureland (2009)

 Hello! Welcome back to another Film Muse.
To put it quite frankly, Adventureland (dir. Greg Mottola) is sort of what Empire Records should have been (I'll get back to that later). The movie takes place in the summer of '87 at a local amusement park where a spoiled college grad (Jesse Eisenberg) takes on a meaningless "games" job. Throughout the movie, you get to see the characters' relationships and tensions unfold, accompanied by Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig's hilarious banters as the amusement park's head employees.

Now back to my Empire Records reference. I think we all like the idea of Empire Records, but the execution wasn't quite there. Instead of the film really focusing on the nostalgic relationships of record store employees, you just see Liv Tyler try to lose her V- Card to a creepy washed up singer. Now I'm not completely hating on the movie, I quite like it. But Adventureland really ties it all together. You see the awkwardness of a college grad's superiority complex, the hilarity behind losing a giant stuffed panda at knife point, and the romance between the employees. All of that, plus the backdrop of illuminated carnival lights puts anyone in the nostalgic mood that is SUMMER. 

So I know everyone hates Kristen Stewart because she chose the most horrible movie for her to deal with in real life (erm..Twilight), but I have to admit, I love her. From Joan Jett in The Runaways to Tracy in Into The Wild, Kristen Stewart will always have my heart. In fact, she plays this role heart wrenchingly well. The only thing that didn't make sense about this movie was casting Ryan Reynolds as a badass guitarist/mechanic for the park. IT DIDN'T MAKE SENSE. It was a bit cringe worthy. 

JOEL! Can't forget about Joel. Freaks and Geeks fans will rejoice when they see Martin Starr in this movie. I'm not sure if its the contrasted physique of him from then to now, but for a "loser" role, Starr's character seems pretty fucking cool. Being lanky and smoking a pipe never looked so awesome. Joel is the voice of reason in the film, the best friend, the underdog, and the stand out role to be quite honest. Maybe I'm a bit partial because I love me some Freaks and Geeks but Marin Starr blew this role out of the water. It's sort of like seeing Bill in an alternate universe.  

Overall, this is one of my favorite underrated summer films. Its perfectly cliche and hilarious with awesome cinematography and acting. It's definitely worth renting from your local video store (do those still exist?) and watching it with your friends on a hot summer night.

Keep it cool, as usual.
Lauren Rose
Curbside Fashion


OOTD: Bardot

(AA long sleeve spandex/cotton black top, thrifted skirt, bag, and shoes)

It's begun to wind down into a Friday night, much to my surprise. Here's my outfit of the day. 

I call it "a little Bowie, a little Bardot, and a look on your face that says I could kick the shit out of a truck driver" 

(name that movie!)

A majority of the look is thrifted, including the monstrous Steve Madden platform boots I got for $1 at Goodwill. They are these amazing chelsea boots with a rubber platform. Surprisingly, they are the most comfortable shoes I own...even more comfortable than my Docs. You see, that shouldn't make any sense since they make me literally a teetering 5 inches taller, but I digress. Purple socks for a '90s pop and the usual Bardot inspired hair. I can't seem to do anything else with my hair without it looking weird these days. 

Have a cool weekend, expect a Film Muse in my next post! 
-Lauren Rose
Curbside Fashion


Late Nights: Punk Lizzie

Today I once again ventured into the part of Youtube that makes you extremely nostalgic. It also makes you feel total regret for donating all of your millennia clothing to Goodwill. 

Can we just admire all of Lizzie's outfits (pre and during punk phase)? Mesh, tie dye, platforms, and denim, lots of denim.  I also forgot about how crazy everyone's hair was on this show. Not going to lie, it sort of makes me want to break out the crimper. 

Anyways, hope this short post brought some good vibes.
-Lauren Rose
Curbside Fashion