Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recommendations of the Week: The Ides of March, Demi Lovato: Stay Strong

(Image courtesy of Columbia Pictures)
It's time for another of my Recommendations of the Week. These recommendations can be something that happened in the past week that I read, watched, participated in, etc., or something coming up in the following week. Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments section below.

You may have noticed that I took last week off. There were no Recommendations of the Week, Quotes, Videos/Photos or anything of the sort. In terms of the recommendations, I didn't feel there was enough substance for me to provide one. But I'm back this week full-on with some great recommendations. So here they are...

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations of the Week [3/11-3/27]:

The Ides of March (available on DVD)

 If you know anything about me, you know that I'm an obsessive political news junkie. That's why you see me listing the upcoming presidential election primaries and caucuses each week, because it's a reminder for those of you in those states and territories to get out and vote. I'm not here to tell you how to vote, just that it is your civic duty to do so.

When I first heard about The Ides of March, I was intrigued: George Clooney running for President with the movie being about the behind the scenes of a political campaign? Count me in! And before I watched it, for some reason I was under the assumption that Clooney was the star. That's actually not true, though he still has a great presence throughout. The leading man here is Ryan Gosling, who I am not as familiar with. But Gosling plays the part of a campaign worker for Governor Mike Morris' (Clooney) presidential campaign to great effect.

There's drama aplenty throughout, much caused by Gosling's character himself. The film does not focus on the entire election run. Rather, it hones in on Ohio, a pivotal state for both Morris and his opponent. Whoever wins will have the momentum going forward. And to go along with that, whoever can get the endorsement of one of that state's senators will be all but guaranteed the vast majority of the delegates there.

This film may not be for everyone, but I still urge you to give it a try. I found the whole thing to be fascinating because I got to see the inner workings of a campaign, albeit a fictional one. I was riveted from start to finish, and I did not get up once during the entire 1 hour, 35 minutes. We've seen, especially in the current presidential election going on now in real life, campaign scandals, triumphs, desperations, errors, missteps and the like. All that is in The Ides of March to the full degree. It makes you wonder how many more scandals are out there that the campaigns have successfully covered up, you know? Even looking at the ones that have surfaced, like the John Edwards one from the '08 election -- thinking about what the various players involved there were doing to cover it all up and such.

For those who aren't as interested in politics, this may leave you with a bad taste in your mouth thinking about how ugly politics can get. But at the same time, it may makes you energized to find the right person to vote for. I hope it's the latter. And this may be the closest you'll see George Clooney running for President. I know a lot of you out there would love to see it happen, but we all know he's not going to. You get in politics if you want people to start hating you; that's the nature of the game, and I doubt he would allow that to happen. But at the same time, I loved the way his character wanted to run the campaign.

I can't say enough great things about this movie -- it's that fantastic. If I could sum up this film in one word, it's this: Brilliant. Besides Gosling and Clooney, The Ides of March also stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright and Evan Rachel Wood (Wood, by the way, plays her part exceptionally).

TV Special:
Demi Lovato: Stay Strong (MTV, or watch online HERE)

I've never followed Demi Lovato's career. Disney tries to make their stars out to be perfect little angels that are on TV to be perfect little role models to kids all across the country and world. That's obviously not true. Just look at Britney Spears or, more recently, Miley Cyrus. And it came as a shock to hear that Demi Lovato had taken a break from her career to seek treatment. We later found out she had an eating disorder and would also cut herself. Ever since then, I've wanted to find out how she's doing along this process. And when I heard her song, "Skyscraper," I found it to be an extremely powerful song. Demi may not be the best singer around, but that song sure is strong. And it has so much meaning to what she's been going through.

Recently, MTV aired a special, Demi Lovato: Stay Strong, a TV documentary following the after-effects of seeking treatment. It's a very honest and intimate account from the singer herself. And when I say honest, I mean it. She even admitted that post-treatment, there were days when she would slip up and cut herself and whatnot. She's not completely out of the whole, and it will be a struggle for the rest of her life, as she puts it.

Like I said, I'm not necessarily a fan of her voice all the time (though her voice was not that bad during the performances in this special), but I have a lot of respect and admiration for her after this now. I don't believe in the concept of role models, but since a lot of young girls do look up to people like her, I hope there are girls out there that will watch this special and be able to get help, or realize why they should never go down that route in the first place. To watch Demi Lovato: Stay Strong, look it up in your local listings on TV, or click HERE to watch it online.

Alabama Primary (Tuesday)
Mississippi Primary (Tuesday)
Hawaii Caucus (Tuesday)
Missouri Caucus (Saturday)

TV Watch Online (@TVWatchOnline)
Bieber Guy (@Bieber_Guy)
The BizzNiz   >>>See Below>>>

I want to single out one of the above websites today. A week and a half ago, I began recapping American Idol when the live shows began at the semifinals. Whenever I do my Recommendations, all recaps I do over there will be included in the below articles section. The fastest way to find out when one of my Idol recaps is online is to follow me on Twitter @TheJeffDodge and @TVWatchOnline. I urge you go to check out The BizzNiz because they're a fantastic website, providing the latest entertainment news.

Jeff Dodge Blog:
Recommendations of the Week [2/26-3/3]: Oscars (& Buy Hunger Games Tickets)
Quote of the Week: Gary Henderson on Putting Off Writing
Video of the Week: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

BuddyTV Articles (Articles I've Written):
Nick Jonas Talks 'Smash' Role, Covering Buble and a Possible Return
'Smash': Listen to Songs from Episode 4, 'The Cost of Art'
'Glee' Cast Becomes Eighth Bestselling Digital Artist of All Time
'Smash' Video Previews from 'Let's Be Bad'
'Smash': Listen to Songs from Episode 5, 'Let's Be Bad'
'Glee' Filming an Emotional Whitney Houston Tribute

The BizzNiz Recaps/Articles:
'American Idol' 11 Recap: Top 13 Guys
'American Idol' 11 Recap: Top 12 Girls
'American Idol' 11 Recap: Wild Card and Top 13 Announced!
'American Idol' 11 Recap: Top 13 Perform
'American Idol' 11 Recap: Top 13 Results

#1 Recommendation: The Ides of March

Follow me on Twitter @TheJeffDodge. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, either tweet me, e-mail me or leave a comment below.

PS - Did you all remember to set your clocks forward an hour?

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