Tag Archives: commentary

Too close for comfort

Did you read The Handmaid’s Tale in high school as I did?

The dystopian work of fiction was horrifying to my teenage self but far-removed — nothing I could realistically see occurring in my lifetime.

handmaidstale

Then Trump happened.

Now every event portrayed in the television adaptation that dropped yesterday on Hulu — only three episodes, quite frustrating for binge watchers like me — seems like a warning of things to come if we are not vigilant.

Women universally stripped of their rights to work and own property, then treated as property and debased. The LGBTQ community hanged for simply being. It is terrifying and dressed up as a return to traditional values.

I signed up for a free trial to Hulu just to watch this series. I think everyone should.

It’s that important.

And so this is Christmas

If you’ve seen a trailer for Manchester by the Sea or read any reviews, you may be hesitant to see it.

Now. During the holidays.  A time of good cheer.

Because this not a feel-good classic or a comedy about a drunken holiday party gone awry. It’s a family tragedy and how one family struggles to survive.

But I would argue that this is the perfect time to see it. 

Not only will you appreciate a nuanced, Oscar-worthy performance by Casey Affleck and his supporting cast, but you will walk away feeling lucky…grateful for each day and every friend and family member in your life. Because they are a gift. 

And this movie, while tragic, is a beautiful reminder of that.

No debate

I love a Craig Ferguson show, and his new series on History Channel, Join or Die, is no exception.

  • join or die

Craig along with three celebrities from various walks of life debate different topics and, with the studio audience’s assistance, crown a champion. Recent topics have included greatest unexplained phenomena, greatest gangster, history’s dumbest mistake, you get the idea.

This week they tackled history’s best founding father. The panelists were actor Fred Willard, comedian Jo Koy, and journalist Joel Stein. The founding father choices? George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.

Now, I don’t expect the panelists to do excessive research in preparation for the show, but the dismissive comments they made about John Adams’ contribution to the founding of this country made me realize…

They hadn’t even watched the movie or stage version of 1776.

Take away their citizenship. Right. Now.

George Washington won, by the way. Shocker.

A bird in the hand

I can accept the fact that The Angry Birds Movie won this weekend’s box office.

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Animated films have broader appeal and a wider audience. Plus, last week’s number one film and very close runner-up Captain America has been out for three weeks.

My beef with the Birds?

What took them so long?  This app used to be all the rage,  but Candy Crush and other games occupy the top spots now.  This movie is so late to the party,  there is no party anymore.

Obviously kids will still watch it,  but they — and their long-suffering parents — shouldn’t have to.

I am not an animal

The Lobster is the quintessential independent film.

Original. Absurd. Other-worldly.

the lobster

This world does not allow adults to be single. In fact, newly single people have 45 days to find a mate with similar characteristics as themselves, or they will be turned into animals and released into the forest.

Hey – they get to choose which animal, so that’s nice.

The people of this world appear unemotional, and speak with a deadpan delivery that would make any PBS station proud. Of course, there are always one or two folks who attempt to break the rules.

Their bad behavior is what drives this film, and you’ll be cheering for them, even as you shake your head in confused fascination.

It delivers

More than a few critics included the thriller It Follows on their year’s best list…some saying it was one of the great scary films of all time.

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Even with that ringing endorsement,  I waited to watch the film until it was free on cable, and on early enough that I could shake off any creepiness long before bedtime.

Hey,  I live alone.

I like the fact that it began in the middle – –  no long exposition,  so you are spooked from the start.  There are plenty of reasons to jump and scream,  but no gore which I personally appreciate. And the movie doesn’t tie everything up with a bow at the end, which increases the spook factor.

Is it the scariest movie I have ever seen?  No.  But it’s a good ‘un.

So filling

I saw the new musical Waitress on Wednesday.

waitressA lot has already been written about that particular performance, since they had to stop the show twice to deal with scenery malfunction…but no one was complaining.

Sara Bareilles was the entertainment during the break.

It’s not the first time I have experienced stoppages like this on Broadway.  When I saw Harvey starring Jim Parsons from “The Big Bang Theory,” they too had pesky set pieces that simply would not move.

That’s what you get when you go to early previews.

And with Waitress, you get a wonderful, heart-felt, truly hilarious take on one of my favorite films.  Kudos to the casting director, because every role was spot-on — especially the male supporting characters, who stole the show every time they stepped out on stage.

Drew Gehling as Dr. Pomatter — a role originated by my man Nathan Fillion in the movie — has big shoes to fill and does it with unique comedic timing and fantastic chemistry with star Jessie Mueller.  But the biggest ovation at curtain call — rightly so — went to Christopher Fitzgerald, who chews up the scenery (or should I say pie?) as the quirky Ogie the Elf.

The music is wonderful, and ya gotta love any set that features a cherry pie curtain, even if the darn thing doesn’t work all that well.  Because the show?

Sweet!