Posted in Good Things, Pop Culture

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Dark and Twisted

It’s October and the news is a continual loop of shit with the government trying to oppress freedom of speech and the marginalized. Sometimes it is just too hard to pull out of the darkness. This week I chose to revel in the anger and sadness. So here’s a list if you are like Lydia Deetz:

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell: One part Food Network, one part Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, a third of the absurd and you have the most original baking show I have ever seen. It’s hand clappingly good.

Destroyer: This latest performance from Nicole Kidman looks like her performance is going to decimate the audience with her portrayal of a LA cop who goes undercover with tragic results.

WTF with Marc Maron: Marc Maron is a comedian who also plays Sam Sylvia on Netflix’s GLOW. His podcast is him navigating through the Hollywood scene and interviewing celebrities. His brutal honesty about his neuroses is relatable and almost made me feel bad about laughing.

http://www.wtfpod.com/

Mandy: I honestly don’t even know how to describe the experience that is this Nicolas Cage led 80s horror style movie. Outrageous fun? Not for the squeamish? A work of art? Every year I find a new horror movie that floors me. Hereditary definitely left a lasting impression. But Mandy will be at the very least an annual viewing in the month of October while spreading the word to horror movie aficianados.

I hope you find passion and happiness this weekend!

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorites

I stopped doing Friday Favorites a while back because the posts didn’t get much love and it is basically me being that annoying person at a party telling you what Netflix show you should watch (Santa Clarita Diet if you were wondering). But since it’s my birthday week I am going to tell you what movie I just saw in the theater and can’t stop gushing about it, what new album I am listening to so much I am annoying the hell out of my kids (an added bonus), and what television show still blows my mind.

Last weekend the family and I went to see Ready Player One and Isle of Dogs. I was excited but weary of Ready Player One as I loved the book and didn’t think they could do all the things I wanted them to. I was right and didn’t love the film. Then there is Isle of Dogs. I have been wanting to buy my ticket for this Wes Anderson flick since I saw the poster last July. Anderson has a formula to his movies but they always feel fresh. After seeing Isle of Dogs I can say that it and Moonrise Kingdom are my two favorites. They both have an innocence and magic to them but are still based in reality. Five days later and I am listening to the soundtrack which is all instrumental just so I can be taken back to the story. And if I could request that they start making merchandise based on his films I would like a collection of stuffed animals based on all the dogs from Isle of Dogs and the books in Moonrise Kingdom.

A lot of Busy Phillips’ Instagram consist of the music she is currently listening to. It is a lot of indy music and for the most part not my taste. But last week she started raving about Kacey Musgraves’ new album, Golden Hour. I listened to a lot of music. Our neighbors must think we are nuts because on any given day we could be playing Broadway show tunes, alternative music, rap, Bob Marley, or The Beatles. But country is not on heavy rotation. I love the Dixie Chicks and old school country like Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash. But I decided to give Kacey a shot. And I am infatuated. I have listened to it so much in the past 10 days that I am afraid I will get tired of it too quickly. My favorite single is even “Velvet Elvis”, the most country song on the whole record. She has an amazing voice and each tune is catchy.

I talked about Legion last year. It is the FX show about David Haller (Dan Stevens), the most powerful mutant in the Marvel X-Men world. He and his fellow mutants are on a mission to take down the Shadow King (if I try to explain more I might get confused). The first season was a work of art and a story that wasn’t meant to be understood but experienced. The new season has given us two episodes so far and the plot is a little more streamlined. But this is not a show where you watch it with one eye on your phone and one eye on the television. Clues are in the most miniscule of details, like David’s love Syd glitching while he speaks to her in the future. To fully enjoy Legion I put my phone away, make sure the kids are in bed, and only get up from the couch during commercial breaks. Ana Lily Amirpour directed the second episode and I fangirled so hard when I found out. She directed one of my all time favorite horror films, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. I am fully invested in all the characters and Aubrey Plaza continues to kill it as Lenny.

Now go watch the movie, listen to the music, and watch the show and report back!

I hope you find passion and happiness this weekend!

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorites

This week I have a longer list than normal of things that make me happy. Nothing to complain about here:

Alex Inc.: A dramedy starring Zach Braff as a man coming upon his 40s who decides to start his own podcast company, putting his family and their stability at risk. Braff is all charisma, the glimpses into his new office are laugh out loud funny, his kids are adorable, and Michael Imperioli as Braff’s boss is the extra credit we didn’t know we needed. Premieres on NBC at the end of March and I can’t wait.

Call Me By Your Name: I leaned back in my comfortable reclining chair in a dark theater on a rainy day. It was the kids’ first day back at school after almost three weeks of Christmas break. This beautiful and sensual film is about the relationship between 17 year old Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and his dad’s research assistant for the summer Oliver (Armie Hammer) over the summer of 1983. They are in Northern Italy, making for beautiful fruit trees, stone houses, lots of outdoor dining, and swimming at the lake. It sweeps you up in the romance and will leave you wanting more of their love.

The Shape of Water score: The Shape of Water was one of my favorites of 2017. And when certain movies stay with me, I want to relive the moments. Golden Globe winner Alexandre Desplat has created a score that takes right you back to the blue green soaked scenes, the haunting eyes of Sally Hawkins, and even the terror that Michael Shannon inflicts whenever he is on screen. To my children’s horror I have to get up and dance whenever “Chica Chica Boom Chic” by Carmen Miranda plays. It brings me such joy that I ended up finding this gem:

The colors, the costumes, her lipstick, and the dancing, how can you not love it?

Will and Grace: It had been 11 years since Will & Graced ended before NBC brought it back for the fall 2017 season. And its like they never left. They haven’t missed a beat with the jokes, Jack and Karen are even funnier if that is possible, and nobody looks like they have aged. I feel that it is the new Three’s Company with its sexual innuendo and mishaps. There aren’t many shows that I will make sure I am sitting down when it is on but Will & Grace is definitely one of them.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child starts rehearsals on Broadway: My daughter and I are flying to New York at the end of March to catch Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway and I am beyond excited. This video was released last week to show that rehearsals have begun and I shook with anticipation watching it. Can I get a WOOHOO?!

Michael Stuhlbarg: You probably haven’t heard of Michael Stuhlbarg. He is what you would call a “character” actor. He is meant to blend into a story and support the leads. You maybe astounded by his performance in FX’s Fargo (as the bumbling Sy Feltz with the bushiest of mustaches) but don’t realize he is also the sympathetic Dr. Robert Hoffstetler in The Shape of Water. Then you see Call Me By Your Name and want to be adopted by the loving and supportive father to Timothee Chalamet’s Elio (and cry your heart out with his finale speech). And then you see his name pop up during the trailer for Hulu’s upcoming Mini-Series The Looming Tower. Sure, Jeff Daniels, Peter Sarsgaard, and Alec Baldwin are in the cast. But now you can’t wait to see what character Stuhlbarg will create next. And with that you have a new favorite actor.

And last but not least…..

85 Degrees Celsius Milk Tea: Coffee in my 40s is not happening. Whether it’s my stomach staging a ban or the headache that comes once I have some, my body has told me in no uncertain terms my ties with it have been severed. And then I found milk tea (minus boba). What a glorious combination of sweet milk to balance out the bitterness of tea. Add extra ice to 85 Degrees version, a chocolate chip cookie, and a book, and my afternoon is set.

I hope you find passion, something you can nerd out over, and happiness this weekend!

Posted in Pop Culture, Word Therapy

Friday Favorites: We Survived 2017

The older I get, the more the cliché rings true: Time flies. For once, I am glad 2017 flew by. There is the government and its unending mission to destroy those who need help, numerous personal life changes, and my kids refuse to stop growing no matter what I say. I am grateful, lucky, and happy for many reasons. Below are my favorite movies, tv shows, and books of 2017. Are they are on your list? What were your favorites?

Favorite Movies:

Get Out-Get Out is on the short list to be an Oscar nominee for good reason. Jordan Peele directing, outstanding cast, and a story that will be burned into my brain forever. It scared the hot tea out of me with its brilliance.

It-I watched the miniseries of Stephen King’s It as a kid. I can still see Richard Masur’s severed head in the refrigerator. So when I saw the trailer for the movie version of King’s novel you would think (incorrectly) that I would run the other direction. I was all in for the delightful cast of kids (Finn Wolfhard as potty mouthed Richie made me giggle every time he talked), handsome-underneath-all-that-makeup Bill Skarsgard as insane clown Pennywise, and the dread I knew I would feel watching the film. It didn’t let me down or the full crowd that showed up for the 10 am showing on opening day.

Lady Bird-Greta Gerwig’s story of teen Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson made me want to run home and hug my daughter so tightly. I lost count of all the moments where I said to myself, “That is so going to be Scarlet and I.” Christine’s relationship with her mom Marion (Laurie Metcalf) is complicated, heartbreaking, and most of all, loving. Both actresses Sairose Ronan and Metcalf deserve Oscars.

The Shape of Water-On my short list of directors where I don’t need to see the trailer to want to see their new movie is Guillermo del Toro. Pan’s Labyrinth and The Orphanage are two of my go tos when I am asked to recommend a superb story with a dark twist. The Shape of Water is an adult fairy tale where every scene I felt like I was floating. Each shot is dreamy, Sally Hawkins is our princess, and del Toro’s long time collaborator Doug Jones is the fish man she falls in love with.

The Big Sick-Even when a movie makes my favorite list, that doesn’t mean I will be able to watch it over and over again. But with The Big Sick I know it will be added to the rotation of movies that I will find on a Saturday/Sunday afternoon, stop whatever I am doing, and watch the evolution of the love between Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) and Emily (Zoe Kazan). It is based on the real life story between his wife and him. Its honesty will make you laugh and cry.

Favorite TV Shows:

Jane the Virgin-Still a (mostly) light, funny, and sweet show about writer Jane and her family, Telenovela style. Everybody is a standout but Jaime Camil as Jane’s father Rogelio steals every scene he’s in.

Gilmore Girls-I started bingeing this show about mother Loreli (Lauren Graham) and daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) over the summer. I needed a show that I can have on with the kids around and something to balance all the dark stuff I watched. It’s portrayal of family is the most genuine one I have seen on television. Writers never try to make Lorelai’s relationship with her parents better to give its viewers all the feels. They also don’t take hard situations in the story lines and provide happy endings. My daughter has gotten hooked with me and I love that she gets to see a young girl who reads everything (just like her) and works hard become a Ivy League college student.

Favorite Books:

Little Fires Everywhere-This story of two very different families who are on opposite sides of a custody battle made me question my privilege and how it influences my decisions. Celeste Ng’s story was touted all over social media by all authors and is a Good Reads choice for 2017.

The Hate You Give-I continue to read, listen, and learn.

The Glass Castle-When I first tried to read this true story of Jeannette Walls I put it down because of how sad it was. But once I read that it was being made into a movie with Brie Larson, I gave it another shot. I finished it within a week, not allowing myself the patience of wanting to find out what happened to her family and their unconventional way of life.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Good Things, Pop Culture

Friday Favorites: A tv show, a song, and a movie walk into a bar

Christmas is just around the corner, my kids will be out of school for 19 DAYS for the break, and the country is still going to hell in a hand basket.  So I need some happy things.  Next week I will be posting about one of my favorite concerts ever and my top movies, books, and tv shows for the year.  Here is what has gotten me through the past few weeks:

Future Man on Hulu: Josh Hutcherson plays a janitor for a medical lab that is working towards curing herpes.  He is a gamer at night.  When he beats the video game he is obsessed with, two of the characters recruit him to save the world.  In order to do so he has to stop his boss Dr. Elias Kronish (Keith David) from curing herpes.  That is a simplistic summary of the story.  But it is also a clever, crude, and hilarious take on the good guy versus bad guy trope and blurs the lines of right and wrong (and there is so much wrong here that makes you giggle while being embarrassed).  Josh Hutcherson as Josh Futturman is adorable, Eliza Coupe as Tiger is a clueless badass, and Derek Wilson as Wolf is what a wild animal would be like if it were human.  Ed Begley Jr. and Glenne Headly (RIP Tess Trueheart) as Josh’s well meaning parents are the sweetest.  The show is executive produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.  It is off the wall and not for those that are squeamish but it might be my new favorite show of the year.

Bastille “World Gone Mad ”: Thank you to Dan and the guys of Bastille for putting all the sorrow of this year into a song with sincerity.  It is my anthem for 2017.

Star Wars The Last Jedi: You didn’t think I would end the year without talking about Star Wars, did you?  You know when you are so excited for something that you are terrified it’s not going to live up to the hype?  That’s not me and The Last Jedi.  This post will be published the day after the family and I see the film and I can safely say it will be AWESOME/RAD/TUBULAR and any other surfer dude lingo you can think of.  Brave it this weekend to enjoy with enthusiastic and excited Star Wars fans.

Update: Spoiler alert-it’s everything I wanted it to be and more.

 

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend.  Thanks for reading!

 

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Film: Mudbound

Experiencing other people’s lives and seeing what they go through is essential to growing as a person and having empathy.  Watching movies is one way to do this.  Film is a reflection of our society, whether you are watching a documentary about the The White Helmets or watching a film based on historical events.  So when I told my husband I wanted to watch Mudbound on Netflix and he agreed, I was thrilled.  I had only read good things across the board.  But I was not prepared for the feelings of devastation and conflict I had by the time the end credits rolled.  It has been two weeks since the viewing and I am still torn up.

Mudbound is directed by Dee Rees and stars Jason Clarke, Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, and Jason Mitchell.  It tells the story of two families in the early forties in Mississippi.  The McAllans, Laura and Henry, are forced to take up residency in a home not of their choosing after being swindled out of their dream home.  Henry’s father Pappy (Jonathan Banks) lives with them.  The Jacksons are Hap (Rob Morgan) and Florence (Mary J. Blige) and their children.  The Jacksons work for the McAllans.  The relationship between the two families is amiable at best, with Pappy always showing them who is boss with his racist remarks and orders.  Henry is a weak man who doesn’t stand up to his father and appears to be following in his footsteps.

Henry’s brother Jamie (Garrett Hedlund) returns from WWII a drunk with PTSD.  The Jacksons’ son Ronsel (Jason Mitchell) also returns a soldier of war but has gained confidence and strength after being regarded as a hero overseas.  When the two men meet and form a friendship, it presents trouble in the obvious ways you would think in the south in the forties.

From the first disgusting and awful word that Pappy uses to address the Jacksons, I hated him like I have never hated a character before.  As the story progresses I could feel myself dreading what was going to happen next.

I suspect it will be a long time before I can think about Mudbound and not want to cry.  Just like with Ta-Nahesi Coates’ Between the World and Me and The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas, Mudbound opened my eyes that much more to an awful reality that is part of American history.  I feel anger, sadness, hopelessness, and shame.  A film that can have such a dramatic effect on its audience should be shown in history classes, not just theaters or Netflix.

Posted in Pop Culture

Woman Crush Wednesday: Pamela Adlon

In 1982 the sequel to the hit musical Grease came out.  It starred Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield.  It was panned by critics and was a bust at the box office.  When I saw it as a preteen, I fell in love.  I knew the songs by heart (Cool Rider FTW), had a crush on Maxwell Caulfield, and was thrilled that Pfeiffer’s character’s name was Stephanie.  And there was one character who I identified with: Dolores Rebchuck.  She was the little sister to Pink Lady Paulette and full of spunk:

Pamela Adlon Grease 2

The actress playing Dolores Rebchuck is Pamela Adlon.  She has been acting since she was a child, often voicing animated characters.  She has starred on shows like Californication, Lucky Louie,  and most recently the show she is also directing and writing, Better Things.     Her characters are always strong, smart, and full of attitude.  In a recent episode of Better Things her character Sam is teaching acting students that an audience wants to see your weaknesses.  Adlon’s characters always show their weaknesses, making them even more relatable.

On the Showtime show Californication, Pamela Adlon played Marcy Runkle, wife to Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler).  Marcy is also known as “Cokey Smurf” due to her tiny stature and uncontrollable cocaine habit.  She is manic and has little to no time for bullshit.  She calls out both her husband Charlie and his best friend Hank (David Duchovny) when they get out of hand, showing tiny doesn’t mean weak.

HBO’s Lucky Louie was the studio recorded precursor to FX’s Louie.  Pamela played Louie’s wife Kim and also wrote one episode.  Louis C.K. created the show and has encouraged Adlon’s writing on Better Things.  They have great chemistry together.  In one memorable episode C.K. goes full frontal and his on stage wife doesn’t even flinch.

Better Things is one of my favorite shows on tv.  Sam is an actress mom to three girls.  Pamela wrote the show that is based on her life.  The honesty in each episode makes me jump up at least once and yell, “YES!”  A recent episode titled Eulogy is a requirement for any parent who is tired of feeling underappreciated.   As somebody who wears her heart on her sleeve but always polices her feelings, I love how direct, unflinchingly truthful, and even a little bitchy Sam is.  She is who she is and anybody who has a problem with that can exit stage right.

If you like comedies that keep it real and don’t hold back, watch Better Things.  If that isn’t your thing Pamela Adlon also voices characters on Bob’s Burgers, Uncle Grandpa, and even voices Halley Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory.  She is a talent in Hollywood that isn’t going anywhere.

Posted in Pop Culture, Wellness

Friday Favorites

I am knee deep in purging, packing, and panic over here and haven’t been able to properly sit down and write a decent blog post. I’ve written down some topics: Ode to Tacos, Woman Crush Wednesday (Stephanie Beatriz, aka Rosa from Brooklyn Nine-Nine), even just pictures of furniture that I am eyeing for the new house. But then I dismissed them all under stupid or no one cares (I have a long list of those that my brain likes to remind me of). So here’s a list of what is making me happy right now. I hope you have a list of your own (maybe one of these is on there!) and are able to take the time to enjoy them.

Music: Miley Cyrus’s “Younger Now”

Miley is an old soul. This video is rockabilly adorable and her smokey voice has only gotten stronger as you see her becoming the person she is meant to be.

Movie: The Big Sick

If you have read about The Big Sick, you know that it is touted as being a sweet and funny romantic comedy that you will love. And that is all true. The plot is based on the real life love story between star Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, who is played by Zoe Kazan. Along with It, The Big Sick is one of my favorite movies of 2017.

Hulu Binge: Top of the Lake China Girl

This second season of the Elisabeth Moss crime drama manages to improve on the first. Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) and Nicole Kidman as flawed but strong women join the cast as Moss’s Robin tries to find the killer of a young sex worker who washes up on the shore of Sydney, Australia. Jane Campion (The Piano) doesn’t shy away from dark subject matter but it is always compelling.

Book: Stephen King’s The Stand

This is my first Uncle Stevie novel and I have read over and over again that this is his best one. I am about a quarter of the way in and all I can think is:

Yes, I knew before that Stephen King was awesome. The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile are two of my all time favorite movies that are based on stories by him. But as a writer/reader, his level of description is mind blowing. I feel like Captain Obvious typing this but seriously, why did I wait so long?!

Movie Trailer: Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs

Dogs, Japan, animation, and Wes Anderson. And no matter how weird it looks, it will be AWESOME.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorite: Goodies from Comic-Con

While others were out enjoying their Saturday on 7/22, I was sitting in my solar powered air conditioned house refreshing my phone throughout the morning. Why, you ask? Because down in San Diego, CA on this past Saturday was the holy grail day of panels in Hall H. The Warner Bros. Panel was scheduled for 1130 am. And even though I didn’t get to enjoy the crowds of 150,000+, the overnight lines to get into Hall H, and celebrities hidden behind masks, the family and I did get to enjoy trailers that were released throughout the day.

First up is Ready Player One. This Spielberg directed flick that comes out next March is based on the book by Ernest Cline. It was one of my favorite books of 2016. As an 80s movies nerd, it fulfilled all my dreams in one story. It is the tale of Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a teenager living in the future. Society is so bleak that he prefers to be in the OASIS, a virtual reality world. When the creator of the OASIS dies, he sets up the players to chase clues that will lead them to win the game and his fortune. The game is stuffed with movies, television shows, and video game references (Joust, anyone?). I have been waiting for this movie to come out since I finished the book and the trailer had me whooping and hollering throughout.

We did take a break from waiting for more trailers and dragged the kids to see War for the Planet of the Apes (which was awesome, btw). As soon as we stepped out of the theater Scarlet’s first question was, “Is there a Stranger Things trailer? Is there?!” And OH MY WORD, there was. The trailer is set to the tune of Thriller by Michael Jackson, Vincent Price narrating while Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarrazo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Will (Noah Schnapp), Hopper (David Harbour), and the others are dealing with the aftermath of Season One and hoping for a reappearance of Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown). There is new student Max (Sadie Sink), problems between Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Steve (Joe Keery), and more scary monsters that are slightly bigger than the Demogorgon. Is it October 27th yet?!

Thor: Ragnarok comes in November, four months after Marvel’s release of Spiderman’s Homecoming. It is directed by Taika Waititi and it is the third installment. This time around Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is captured and forced to fight for his life, where he comes face to face with his Avenger mate the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Together they try to battle Hela (Cate Blanchett), who is hell bent on destroying Thor’s world. I always enjoy the Thor movies but please don’t ask me to explain what each one is about other than Thor saves the day. But with this new one, the visuals (they look like a seventies rock band cartoon and Cate Blanchett looks like a total bad ass), music (70s rock), and humor (“I know him! He’s a friend from work!”) have my expectations higher than usual. Add Jeff Goldblum in blue makeup and Tessa Thompson (Westworld), and Thor Ragnarok will stand out from the rest.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend!

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorite: GLOW (Netflix and Run)

Glow is my latest Netflix and Run binge that I am sad to be done with. It is a re-imagination of the 80s show that I also loved. My favorite characters back then were Dementia and the Farmer’s Daughter. This new show stars Alison Brie and Marc Maron as star and director trying to get the matches on television. It took me back to my childhood bedroom with the teal and peach comforter adorned bed, my side ponytail and florescent pink Garfield sweatshirt with matching leggings, while I listened to “Two of Hearts” by Stacey Q on my boombox. And even though there is plenty of wrestling (no monkey tosses, sadly), it is a story about friendships that are worth fighting for.

Ruth (Alison Brie) and Debbie (Betty Gilpin) are close friends. Ruth is a struggling actress and Debbie is a new mom and former soap star. Ruth is sleeping with Debbie’s husband. When Ruth goes to an audition for a women’s wrestling show, Debbie crashes it with the knowledge of the affair. They end up being cast as each other foes, Debbie as the All American to Ruth’s Russian. They join the rest of the women who all portray a stereotype that befits their appearance.

In the ring each woman plays their part but out of the ring they are shown as not good or bad, but real. They all make mistakes, some with the best of intentions and some not. You want to hate Ruth not just because of what she did to her friend but because she can be annoying. But Alison Brie’s performance makes you love her anyways and you want her to win Debbie’s friendship back.

Just like Stranger Things‘ opening credits recall films like E.T., Glow brings back graphics that we saw on 80s shows like Solid Gold. Songs like “The Warrior” by Patty Smyth, “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie, and “Invincible” by Pat Benatar just enhance the emotional content of each scene. And if you remember Duran Duran’s Rio album cover, you have a good idea of what hair and makeup looks like.

Bad ass women, hair, makeup, and songs that bring the 80s, and an excellent Marc Maron, Glow is another hit for Netflix that you should check out. Season 2 should be a given.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!