| by Bel | 9.32am NZ time |


This catchphrase has increasingly come into usage (between me and Lou exclusively, sure, still counts) in the last few years, as we realised that, um, everybody is pregnant.

It's not some kind of metaphor for creative potential or spiritual fulfillment. I actually mean that it seems that each and every uterus around me has slid the sign from 'vacant' to 'occupied'.

My bestest, oldest friend is pregnant. Along with two other friends from back in our high school days. And then I was told a fourth was up the duff too. Did I miss the memo? Are we coordinating a tiny sized sequel to the group of girls who hung out back then?

This week I sat with glazed eyes as two parents bonded over their varying experiences with... um, something to do with having babies. Which they found immensely interesting and useful to share knowledge about. Meanwhile:

Yeah, that's me. Thinking about the ballet.
Is it selfish of me to not engage? Or is it just indicative of my personal immediate priorities?

I am of course happy for all these expanding families and the exciting new path they are heading along.

But with me not on that path right now, I am fretting a little too.

Because the kicker is that EVERYBODY IS PREGNANT doesn't take long to turn into EVERYBODY IS BUSY WITH THEIR BABIES.

My mind is already jumping ahead to a year from now, two years, five. When these friends whom I have shared so much with will be occupied with something that I can't relate to. Being out of step with your friends' lives can have a real impact. Choosing to not have children (in the short term, long term, whatever) shapes a life which has different considerations to those who are in the midst of parenting.

The obvious solution is that I jump on the bandwagon and get knocked up like all the rest of them. But after having spent years hacking through the jungle that is building a career, I'm just don't feel like the time is right. Even if everybody else is doing it.

Birth control

30 Days of Film: Bel's day 15

| Posted by Bel | The time is 8.12am here Wellington NZ |

A character who you can relate to the most

Age approximately 11 years:

Strictly Ballroom

Mum took me to see this at the movies and, as a glasses-wearing dance enthusiast, I was transfixed.

Age approximately 14 years:

I don't know if this so much counts as a 'relate to' as it was an 'aspire to'.

Age approximately 20 years:

Reality Bites
To the extent that I actually considered reading her speech verbatim when I was valedictorian at my graduation a few years later.

Age approximately 24 years:

Garden State
This film hasn't aged well, but it timed itself perfectly with my quarter life crisis and thus served its purpose perfectly.

Age last week:

The Other Woman AKA Love and Other Impossible Pursuits
A frank portrayal of step-parenting that made me want to hide behind a cushion more than once.

30 Days of Film: Lou's Day 15

| Posted by Lou | The time is 9.30pm here in London UK |

A character who you can relate to the most

The first film character to really connect with me (as an adult - obviously My Girl had already achieved it in my youth) was our beloved Amelie.

The moment that cements it is when Amelie's crush has come into her brasserie to meet his enigmatic soul-mate. Unable to handle her emotions face-to-face with him she denies that it is her and let's him leave. Ashamed of herself she physically melts:


This is one of those moments of cinema where I felt a pang of fundamental recognition right in my gut, and knew that nothing would ever so ably capture this emotion.

(I'm yet to be whisked away on a moped to ride laughing through beautiful cobbled streets.)

30 Days of Film: Lou's Day 14

| Posted by Lou | The time is 9.15pm here in London UK |

A film that no one would expect you to love

Err, with my tastes I kind of feel like not much would surprise my friends when it comes to films I love... but one that might is:


I've seen the first two multiple times, including going to see the second one in the cinema by myself.

Hmm this reminds me that I never did get round to seeing the 3D one... I wonder if it's still on somewhere?

30 Days of Film: Bel's day 13

| Posted by Bel | The time is 11.15am here in Wellington NZ |

A film that is a guilty pleasure

The Transporter and Transporter 2. Okay and Transporter 3 too, you got me.

These movies are fun to watch. The stunt driving is amazing, there's lots of cool martial arts fighting, things blow up very regularly and Jason Stratham prefers to beat up baddies whilst topless.

But the funnest part? When you know that the transporter is gay.

This puts a delightfully subversive edge on the testosterone-fuelled action as the director says, "You see these tough guys who say, ‘The Transporter, that’s such a great movie!’ If they only knew they’re really cheering for a new kind of action hero."

Sweet car, exciting fighting and a woman that he has no interest in
The third film has a different director, the wonderously named Olivier Megaton, and it features Frank's first ever liaison with a woman, landing him safely back in mainstream (and cliched) territory.

But I still think our 21st century action hero has a place in his heart for Inspector Tarconi AKA obviously his lover.

30 Days of Film: Lou's Day 13

| Posted by Lou | The time is 10.00pm here in London UK |

A film that is a guilty pleasure

Every night in my dreams
I see you, I feel you
That is how I know you go on...

Far across the distance
And spaces between us
You have come to show you go on...

Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on...

Once more you open the door
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on.

"I'll never let go!" "How about giving me a leg up onto the door?"

30 Days of Film: Bel's day 12

| Posted by Bel | The time is 9.40am here in Wellington NZ |

A film that you hate

The Killer Inside Me

I only watched 20 minutes or less of this movie before leaving the room and putting on headphones in my bedroom. I felt physically ill. I was upset still the next day and tried to appease some of it by making a donation to Women's Refuge.

The violence and the sexualisation of violence is abhorrent. I feel the film is sadly accurate in its evocation of family violence in that women are most likely to be killed by their partner. Having to see a young woman's face get repeatedly smashed by the fist of her boyfriend as she cries out that she loves him was too chilling.

(Because in case you were wondering and possibly thinking the hype means it's worth watching, when a commentator says "he beats her to a pulp" that is meant literally. You have been warned.)

Don't try and tell me some bullshit about how the film having an emotional impact shows its power of storytelling. I don't wanna hear about the book it was based on and how that somehow justifies the content. You can fuck right off with your explanations of how there is a moral underpinning to balance out other connotations.

There are enough women being murdered and raped in their homes without Hollywood adding a 'sexy' fictional version.

30 Days of Film: Bel's day 11

| Posted by Bel | The time is 9.09am here in Wellington NZ |

A film that changed your opinion about something

The Notebook has already been mentioned and debated on this blog - more than once. For many, this film sealed Ryan Gosling in their hearts, if he wasn't there perpetually thanks to his youthful performances on The Mickey Mouse Club.

But not me. I didn't really get it about him. His eyes are a bit close together. He's on the pasty side. His big romantic gesture is taking a lifetime to build a house that no one lives in, or something.

But Half Nelson changed all that.

Here he plays a charming and engaging primary school teacher who has a drug problem. Or, if you like, he plays a waster junkie who works as a teacher.

The duplicity of the character and the way the film also delves into issues of race, education and ambition is captivating. I was unsure why a rom-com star had been cast in a film which dared to present such complex issues - and then I discovered that Ryan Gosling was an actor who will take on a role and truly sink his teeth into it.

Half Nelson is a highly recommended watch. You can also see Ryan Gosling acting his chops off in Blue Valentine if you want further proof, but that film is fairly torturous if you have ever been in a relationship of any kind ever, so it does not come with the Bel-says-check-it-out-now seal of approval.

30 Days of Film: Lou's Day 12

| Posted by Lou | The time is 8.35am here in London UK |

A film that you hate

There is one film I hate above and beyond all others. It isn't the worst film ever made, but it is the worst film ever to win a Best Picture Oscar. I am of course talking about none other than Paul Haggis' Crash.

I fucking hate Crash.

I fucking hate it for winning the Oscar ahead of one of the truly great films of recent years (Brokeback Mountain), I fucking hate it for winning in some sort of weird anti-PC PC vote ("Hey! Let's hide our homophobia by voting for a bleeding-heart faux-PC film!"), and - to give a reason that actually belongs in the film itself - I fucking hate it for being the most pretentious, empty and chokingly manipulative film I have ever seen.

I hate it so much that I don't even want to bother writing why.

I will concede that Matt Dillon managed to make this scene genuinely spine-crawling. That is all.

So I googled "I fucking hate the film Crash" and this this was the top result (but one of only many, I must specify). I believe he/she sums it all up in saying:

I’m generally a forgiving filmgoer, but Crash’s gross tone of self-importance really bugged the shit out of me. The movie casts itself as a gritty and in-your-face exposé on race in contemporary America, but it isn’t exposing jack. And it’s certainly not gritty. It’s pandering in knowingly fabricated, cheesy moments to elicit easy emotions.

Yup. A rich white guy wrote a script full of coincidence and forced sentiment with which to pontificate to the masses from behind his big fence (did I mention he was an active high-ranking Scientologist at the time?), and people lapped it up. I fucking hated it.

(Fun facts! My second-most hated film (the subsequent winner of the Best Picture Oscar Million Dollar Baby) was also written by Paul Haggis. And! My third-most hated film (The Last Kiss) - guess who that was written by? Ding-ding-ding, we have a winner: Paul Haggis.)

30 Days of Film: Lou's Day 11

| Posted by Lou | The time is 4.15pm here in London UK |

A film that changed your opinion about something

Um, well, I just watched Lost in Translation again last night and it turns out it really is an excellent film and so I am changing my opinion that Sofia Coppola is not all that great.

You see, the other time I saw it I had never been to a far-off destination, never had a hotel room to myself, never stared at an alarm clock at 4.20am willing myself to be able to sleep, never clicked with a total stranger I wouldn't ever see again, and never had a random disconnected night in a foreign country. To me the film was meaningless and completely lacking in a story.

Put all those elements in place - and repeat, time and time again - and suddenly it all makes sense.

My apologies, Ms Coppola.

30 days of film: Bel's day 10

| Posted by Bel | The time is 6.18pm here in Wellington NZ |

Favourite classic film

Yay! I have been waiting for this one.

1941's The Philadelphia Story, based on the Broadway play, starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Ruth Hussey.

In many ways, this is just a straight up rom-com. But it's funny and sexy and has its tongue firmly in cheek. Sonal named this one of her happy place films, praising female characters' firey attitudes, saying that it's "one hell of a film to lift a girl out of the dumps". AGREED.

This film is worth watching solely for Katharine Hepburn's drunk scene. She does the best plastered you have ever seen. Until you see Jimmy Stewart acting pissed a few scenes later.

Another bonus of this film for me is Dinah, the younger sister. 1) She is the perfect mix of pesky and cute, and 2) she bears an uncanny resemblence to my younger stepdaughter when she was a pipsqueak!

Take a look at this original trailer, with all its hilarious olde tyme language:

(Watching clips on YouTube made me yearn to see this again - I have foolishly leant my DVD copy out to a former workmate! Fooool!)

30 Days of Film: Lou's Day 10

| Posted by Lou | The time is 7.00am here in London UK |

Favourite classic film

I fucking love Chinatown.

If you have never seen it, stop reading this post (spoiler!), and go and rent it immediately.

Watching the film the title seems random, until in the last scene it is like a punch in the gut. Jack Nicholson's delivery of the elusive and wonderful line - "as little as possible" - is sheer perfection.

30 Days of Film: Lou's day 9

| Posted by Lou | The time is 5.40pm here in London UK |

A film with the best soundtrack

Argh, I don't know!! A whole bunch of obvious faves come to mind (Reservoir Dogs, Dirty Dancing, Trainspotting), then the musicals elbow in (Grease, The Sound of Music, The Rocky Horror Picture Show), and then I get more confused thinking of the ones with lovely instrumental music (The Piano, Amelie, even Shutter Island), and do The Beatles' films count? (A Hard Day's Night!!), and I just don't know!

But here are three that might not be the best soundtracks, but they're worthy of note:

High Society

Take a bit of Frank Sinatra, add Bing Crosby, slip in a dash of Louis Armstrong, sprinkle with Grace Kelly, and you've got a winner on your hands.

This song makes me happy:

How did I get to my late-20s before discovering the full wonderousness of Mr Sinatra?

Pump Up The Volume

(Have you guessed who my teen idol was?)

This was the first film soundtrack I remember capturing my affection. I actually taped the songs onto cassette straight from the TV.

Because Bel and I just love YouTube fan videos, here is Everybody Knows:

Now excuse me while I go add this to my LoveFilm list. (Drats - they don't have it.)


I've spoken at length before about how much I love (LOVE) the most known song from this film, Falling Slowly. But this teensy tiny budgeted Irish film also boasts a whole host of other fantastic songs, though unfortunately ones that are difficult to find on YouTube...

Here is If You Want Me, but hey why not give some fringe filmmakers and musicians some money by hiring the whole film?

30 days of film: Bel's day 9

| Posted by Bel | The time is 12.50pm here in Wellington NZ |

A film with the best soundtrack

Dave Chappelle's Block Party.

Kanye West (pre-jackass blowout phase) with a full marching brass band bussed in from a high school in Dave Chappelle's hometown.

Jill Scott, killing it. (This isn't the Block Party clip, but you should do yourself a favour and listen to this.)

The Fugees, reunited. A sight we never thought we'd see. (You've heard what happened between Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean, right? Lordy me.)

And The Roots as house band, Questlove in perfect control no matter who rolls up. Even my beloved, Mos Def.

Oh and Michel Gondry directed it to boot. Don't tell me you're not into rap music, this film is a delight and will make you laugh and want to party.

30 Days of Film: Bel's day 8

| Posted by Bel | The time is 8.05am here in Wellington NZ |

A film that you’ve seen countless times

Last year, this film was Star Trek.

Photo: the extremely good looking cast of the latest Star Trek movie.

I'm not a Trekkie by any means. I only have vague memories of watching re-runs of the original show when I was a kid, and have never seen any of the remakes with Jean Luc Picard and who have you. When I first saw the trailer at the movies, I had no idea which movie it was for, even after the supposedly big reveal of the main character stating his name was James T Kirk. (I actually said "who?". And yes I got the punnies.)

But this movie ticks all the boxes. Fun to watch! Things blow up! Cool technology! Bad guy is bad! Good guy realises he is good! Girl shoots down advances of arrogant boy!

It became our default viewing. I even put it on when Mum came to stay for a weekend - she loved it, what a nerd.

30 Days of Film: Lou's Day 8

| Posted by Lou | The time is 7.20pm here in London UK |

A film that you've seen countless times

There was a rich man from Nottingham
Who tried to cross a river
What a dope! He tripped on a rope!
Now look at him shiver.
Beg for mercy rich man!

I may have watched Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves once or twice in the '90s.

What was with Christian Slater's trousers, btw? Are they domed? Is it a pattern?
Seriously?! This has been troubling me for 20 years!

But of course the real repeat-viewing hero of my life is none other than The Greatest Film Of All Time Dirty Dancing.

Rest in peace Patrick, rest in peace.

Back in ye olde days I discovered that my flatmates had never seen it, so we popped to the video store (do they still make those?) and got it out on an 8 day hire and ended up watching it every day. Not too long ago Cara and I had it on while boozing and let it run through 3 times. I feel like going and watching it right now just from talking about it.

30 Days of Film: Bel's day 7

| Posted by Bel | The time is 7.43am here in Wellington NZ |

The most surprising plot twist or ending

As someone who HATES spoilers, I am upset by the existence of this topic. Telling someone that a film has a surprise ending takes away from the surprise!

That said, SPOILERS ahoy.

You can actually buy that shirt from Threadless. IF YOU ARE A HORRIBLE PERSON.

I'm only going to name titles here. If you've seem them, you'll know why and let's talk in the comments - if you haven't, LOOK AWAY:
  • Old Boy
  • The Truman Show
  • La Haine
Huh, two outta three are "foreign" films. I guess The Sixth Sense reps it for Hollywood's contribution to the twist ending, but sadly its impact has been dulled by exposure.

A movie whose twist ending I hated? Wild Things. Yeah, ok, sure, that's not really the point of that movie - but still, it's not actually clever when all the information about the twist has been completely left out of the rest of the plotline. (But for some interesting writing on Wild Things, check out This Recording.)

I need 11 more things!

| Posted by Bel | The time is 7.15 here in Wellington NZ |

Have you heard of the Day Zero Project? You make yourself a list of 101 things to do in 1001 days and the website helps you keep track.

If you are a dork like me who loves making lists, and realised recently that turning 30 is only eighteen months away, this kind of thing is a goldmine.

My 1001 days takes me to 15th December 2013 and so far I have ticked off one thing on my list (visiting Bridal Veil Falls/Waireinga) and made progress on a few others.

Photo: A beautiful long waterfall being gazed upon by
a young girl in a cap and a woman wearing polka dots.

But I haven't actually got the full roster of 101 tasks yet!

Some things were super easy. Straight to the top of the list were things like going on our honeymoon (one day! finally! eventually!), visiting Lou before she retires and moves back here to spend time with her grandkids, and getting some new tattoos.

But once you get to around the #70s of the list, it gets tough. You either start scraping the barrel (#72: Buy a teapot that pours nicely) or get really honest (#76: Financially stable enough to consider pregnancy).

ETA Here are a few other examples:
  • Write my pepeha/mihimihi
  • Go on a yoga retreat
  • Write a children's book
  • Get a yukka plant
  • Restock on nice perfume
  • Buy a food processor or bench top mixer
  • Go to the Whangamata beach hop
  • Visit the zoo
But now I'm up to 90 things and I'm stuck. Less than a dozen left and my list will be complete. (And then I can get on to making my life complete. Hah!)

Do you any ideas for me? Are you doing the Day Zero Project? Do you have a five year plan?

30 Days of Film: Bel's day 6

| Posted by Bel | The time is 9.32am here in Wellington NZ |

Favourite made for TV film

Hmm. I dunno. I don't actually own a telly so this is quite tricky for me. I haven't lived in a house with a telly for, um, 5 or 6 years?? Gosh, maybe longer.

Could I go out on a limb and say it is one I haven't seen? That one James Franco made where he plays James Dean?

Or maybe the one about Big Edie and Little Edie with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore? I have heard that both of those are great.

I am also really looking forward to that new Jane Campion project "The Top of the Lake" which is going to be filmed in New Zealand. I shall specifically hunt out a television to watch that once it comes around!

30 Days of Film: Lou's Day 6

| Posted by Lou | The time is 3.00pm here in London UK |

Favourite made for TV film

I'm not a big viewer of made-for-TV-films, but one that stands out for me is My Boy Jack. Written by and starring a fantastic David Haig, it is an adaptation of his play about Rudyard Kipling's grief at losing his son in WWI.

I cried uncontrollably after seeing it and ended up having to watch Flight of the Conchords to try and console myself.

(Warning: Daniel Radcliffe plays Jack, and ... err ... well, forgive his acting.)

30 Days of Film: Lou's Day 5

| Posted by Lou | The time is 3.00pm here in London UK |

Favourite love story in a film

I've just spent some quality time in front of my DVD collection contemplating this one. Some seem too sad (where was the devastation of Brokeback Mountain when I was writing my sad list?), others too intoxicatingly heightened (Moulin Rouge). Here are the four I've come up with that are neither exagerrated or tragic, with advance apologies to the many of you disgusted by my love for the last one.

When Harry Met Sally

This is a definite contender for Greatest Romantic Comedy of All Time. Neither lead is perfect, there are no plot falsities keeping them apart, the dialogue sparkles, it's warm and funny, and utterly believable. Also: bonus points for a high level of NYC content.

For those of us long-term singletons, isn't it a dream that one day someone with whom you share an easy and comfortable friendship with will turn out to be the love of your life? (Unfortunately I have zero contenders for this!)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I love the ordinariness of this relationship - that it is two perfectly normal people with normal people's problems and insecurities, all wrapped up in a mind-fuck of a plot.

The journey of seeing their relationship intensify and recede as we spin between the bitter end and the disappearing romance of the beginning, while his subconscious battles against the loss through a surreal landscape, is a stunning achievement of cinematic writing and direction.

Sense And Sensibility

You didn't think I'd write this list without a bit of Austen did you? In this case I have to go for Emma Thompson's adaptation of Sense of Sensibility, specifically the love story between her Marianne and Hugh Grant's Edward.

I'm biased towards this one as I am a sucker for people who get together in the end in spite of sense and shyness getting in the way of taking a proactive approach. The scene where he tells her it is his brother who married and she lets out a sob is a guaranteed tear-jerker for me.

The Notebook

You knew it was coming. From falling asleep on first watch and thinking it was the most boring film of all-time, I am now a complete sobber even after a half dozen viewings. But you're wrong about what part of the film I refer to - it's not the idealised courtship of yesteryear between Our Ryan and Rachel McAdams (complete with passionate kiss in the rain) that gets me.

In The Notebook we see the tailend of a love story - the two people who have spent a life together and find the ravages of dementia stripping it all away. Heart-breaking to think how many times this is played out in the real world.

Oh, and did I mention Ryan?