I once went almost two years without seeing a movie in the theaters after paying $12 to see “Elizabethtown.” I should point out that I had just moved back to New York and was unfamiliar with paying more than $6 for a movie (with my roughly five year expired student ID), but it truly says something about a movie when it inspires you to stop going to see them, altogether. I eventually started going back to see movies, but I’m not what one calls an avid moviegoer. I tend to see previews for movies and then add them to my Netflix queue – eventually the movies will make their way to my mailbox. For this reason alone, it was surprising that I saw two “current” movies this past week – “Marley & Me” and “The Reader.”

A friend had proposed seeing “Marley & Me” as a New Year’s afternoon outing – while it wasn’t a movie that I was dying to see, getting out of my apartment and spending the day with friends seemed like a good idea. Now I won’t ruin it for you (in case you are planning to see it) but my other friend revealed a KEY DETAIL regarding the movie, the night before we saw it. It then became known as “the movie where (fill in the blank with spoiler).” All in all, a cute movie – nothing cinematically spectacular, but a fun afternoon distraction.

On Friday, my mom and I planned to see “Australia” – although I heard less than spectacular things about it, my love for Baz Luhrmann was enough inspiration to go (“Moulin Rouge” is one of my all-time favorite films). Sad but true, it was already out of the theaters. Determined to still see a movie together, we looked through the listings and chose “The Reader.” “The Reader” could also be known as “the movie where Kate Winslet is topless for 80% of it.” I swear, every other scene showed Kate without a top. It was a strange movie – at times I liked it, at times it dragged. It was also a little more depressing than what I really needed to be watching.

My Netflix rental this week was a movie that I was very excited about, ever since it premiered at Sundance – “American Teen.” While I was quite a fan of “Laguna Beach” (and should subsequently be ashamed to admit that), this documentary probably hits home for more people as to what high school is really like in most of the country. Parts of it must have appealed to the side of me that loved “Freaks and Geeks” – while it is fun to sometimes delve into escapism, a little dose of reality is good every once and again. If you watch it, let me know if you were as disgusted by Megan as I was.

I read a book this past week that I don’t recommend and I am partway into a book that I actually like quite a bit. “Hurry Down Sunshine” by Michael Greenberg gets a big thumbs-down. I first read a review of this book in New York and added it to my “to-read” queue – upon reading it, I was nothing except disappointed. I think the book focused too much on the dysfunction of all the adults and their relationships. I also am sort-of intolerant of people who use New Age philosophy as a cover/cure for mental illness.

On the other hand, I just started “The Book of Mychal” by Michael Daly and I am truly enjoying it. This biography is about Father Mychal Judge, the iconic priest who served as the chaplain of the FDNY and died in the Twin Towers collapse. I am only about five chapters deep but it is refreshing to read about someone who pursued the Catholic priesthood knowing that he wanted to be a different kind of priest. Where so much of religion is centered on judgment and “not listening”, Father Mychal was determined to bring the exact opposite to Catholicism. The more I read of this book and his life, the more I realize what Catholicism (and religion as a whole) is supposed to stand for.

Firing up the DVR … “Gossip Girl” is back this week and we’ve got another episode of “Intervention” tonight (hopefully significantly less disgusting than last week’s feeding tube gem). We’ve got “The City” tonight, which reinforces everything I dislike about New York and could be even worse than “The Hills.” Last but not least, “Real World: Brooklyn” starts on Wednesday. I haven’t watched the “Real World” since Seattle (1997? maybe?) but I’m curious about this one.

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