Friday, April 11, 2014

A Day in the Life of a TV Addict: The Reality Show Continues (And The Week in Reviews)

[I review movies "Divergent," "Homefront," "CBGB" and foreign films "My Joy," "Silent Souls" and "Twice Born," plus get all literary with my "Book of the Week."]

But first


I have to confess. 

I am hopelessly addicted to television. 

I confessed my addiction in an earlier blog ("Confessions of a TV Addict"), and I have to admit I haven't gotten any better.  In fact, now that I am retired, it's a monkey on my back that I am having trouble getting off.

Last Tuesday's blog ("What Do Librarian's Really Do?") showed a typical day when I was working. 

Now that I am retired, my day looks more like this
 (depending what's on TV, of course):


6:00 am 
Zzzzzzzzz
(Hubby gets up; not me)
        
7:00 am 
Zzzzzzzz
(Hubby starts work; not me.  I'm retired)
             
8:00 am  
Zzzzzzzz

9:00 am  
Zzzzzzzz

10:00 am 
I arise

(Hey, I was up late watching Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show and Seth Meyers on Late Night).  Jimmy is killing it, by the way.  Reminds me of the old days when Johnny was on.  The jury is still out on Seth).


 


11:00 am 
Watch "The View"  and drink my tea.

("The View" comes on at 10am here,  but I have it on TIVO.  I don't watch any TV programs in real time.  I'm a very sophisticated TV person).

There are a lot of people who hate on "The View (mostly men)," but this show was the first talk show to have several hosts and inspire discussion. For 17 years, the "ladies," a changing cast of characters over the years, have sat around a table and talked about "hot topics." 

Today we have copy cats: "The Talk," a decided lesser version, Fox News shows, NFL pregame shows, etc.  Yes, even the current sports shows copied it.  I love Barbara Walters, even though she interrupts Whoopi too much, which I can tell irritates Whoopi (and I love Whoopi), but that's half the fun. Not a fan of Jenny, but at least she's better than Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

The show is on point with the issues of the day - and they discuss serious issues: what's in the news, books, films, social mores - but it's also fun. 

Seriously, though, Barbara Walters retires next month and again, no matter what you think of her, you have to give her credit for breaking that glass ceiling for women broadcasters.  She has been in the business for 50 years! I will miss her.

And if I hear one more man say it's a bunch of caterwauling, I will spit (I don't actually spit, but you know what I mean).  One man's idea of caterwauling is another woman's judgment of the inanity of men talking about sports.

Isolation is a big problem for the aging.  Having "The View" as part of my routine keeps me from feeling isolated (so there).





Noon
Try to act like I don't really want to watch more TV. 

Do something productive like fold laundry or work on my blog.  But hey, I can do that with the TV on.

I will just watch one.

3:00pm. 
Sigh.  Couldn't resist watching "Ru Paul's Drag Race" and The Real World Reunion and the time got away from me.  Better start thinking about what to fix for dinner.

4:00pm. 
Still thinking about what to fix for dinner while watching the latest Real Housewives of Atlanta episode. 




 
 
 
5:00pm 
Happy Hour with Hubby.  Have to think of something to talk about besides TV.  But first I will just check in with "Ellen."  She is always fun and where else do you think I find those cute cat videos that I post on Facebook? 

6:00pm 
Fixing a recipe I saw on "The Chew."  Didn't turn out very well.  I was distracted while wondering what was on TV tonight.

7:00pm
I think I will try to avoid TV for awhile and watch a DVD instead.
(see below)

9:00pm
That DVD was kind of a downer. 

I need a pick me up.  And nothing picks me up more than "Dance Moms."  It's like three glasses of wine without the wine.  It's that relaxing.  The wine-guzzling poodle enjoys it too.



10:00pm
"Dateline "has a really juicy murder story tonight.  I love true crime.  Just as long as it doesn't involve me!  Keith Morrison is my favorite.  When he narrates, it is just so intense and funny.  He makes everything sound so diabolical. Hubby even gets a kick out of him.

11:00pm
Should really go to bed, but I will just stay up for Jimmy's monologue, then I will definitely, for sure,  go to bed.

1:00am 
Yawn

Well I am actually exaggerating a bit. 

I'm not quite that bad.  But I definitely love TV, and it is my drug of choice when it comes to relaxing.  And I do watch "Downton Abbey" too so I can be highbrow with the rest of you.

I would say that perhaps one day a week might resemble that scenario.  That's my "day off."  Hubby says every day is a day off for a retiree, but I disagree.

Being retired is hard work.  It's hard work trying to be relevant, busy, happy, productive, energetic, optimistic, meaningful.  It makes me tired just typing all of that.

In my own defense, what's wrong with a little TV if I find it relaxing?  I have the wine guzzling poodle on my lap and communing with a pet is supposed to be helpful to old folks like me.  I don't think I should have to be apologetic about it - do you hear me TV snobs?  (I hope this is helpful to my other TV addict brethren).

In this hectic world, I think whatever relaxes you is fine, whether it's meditation or a sporting event, hiking or an episode of "Celebrity Wife Swap."  Who am I to judge?  Who is anyone to judge?

And speaking of meditation, where one works on living a deliberate life, it's important to try to let go of judgment. Buddhists believe that judgment is just a recipe for suffering (you can see I am learning some stuff). Sat chit ananda.
Despite my TV addiction, I still manage to volunteer, exercise, read, attend concerts and the theatre, write this blog, meditate and try to live a meaningful life.

And now that I am retired I have all of the time in the world to try to be meaningful.

Now I am going to watch just one teensy, tiny little episode of House Hunters International (ooh, they are in London!), and then I promise I will go to the gym.

I wonder what the new Lifetime movie is going to be.



Now on to
 
The Week in Reviews
 


***In Theatres Now***



Divergent


Tris (Shailene Woodley) doesn't fit neatly into one of the five factions (Abnegation, for the selfless; Amity, for the peaceful; Candor, for the honest; Dauntless, for the brave; and Erudite, for the Intelligent) by which her dystopian society has divided its people to keep order. 
 
Everyone tests into one of those groups unless you are "Divergent," meaning you have the traits of more than one group.  Divergents are feared and the Erudites set out to eliminate them. What will our heroine do?  Girl power, of course.
 
Based on the young adult novel by Veronica Roth, this is the most popular teen series since "The Hunger Games."
 
As I predicted when I reviewed "The Spectacular Now," Woodley is ready to take over Jennifer Lawrence's crown as teen movie heroine.  Speaking of "The Spectacular Now," Miles Teller, who starred with Shailene in that film is also in this one, but in a lesser role and he is not her love interest.  But I predict we will see more of him.
 
However, all in all, this film was a disappointment.  I am all for leading ladies who kick major butt, but the film is too long and too melodramatic.  I wanted to fast forward during some of the parts and then realized I wasn't at home with my TIVO.  I was in the movie theatre. However, watch for Theo James to emerge as the next big heartthrob
(Another Rosy the Reviewer prediction). 
 
The film ends with our heroine saying something along the lines of "We will have to fight again."  Do I hear a sequel calling?  Duh.
 
In closing, answer me this. Note the movie poster above?  Tattoos figure prominently, but why is the poster of a GUY when the movie is all about a GIRL?!
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...teenage girls will probably eat this up, especially if they love the book, and if you liked "The Hunger Games," you will like this, because it's practically the same movie.



***DVDS***
You Might Have Missed
And Some You Should Be Glad You Did
(I see the bad ones so you don't have to)
 





Silent Souls (2010)


 
 
Two men take a road trip to cremate the wife of one of the men.

This Russian film is a mere 78 minutes, but draws you in to this strange odyssey that explores the customs of the Merjan people.

This film is not for everyone.  It's slow moving and there is not much dialogue, but it's beautiful to watch and secrets are revealed.
 
If you watch this film, you will know why I would *not* want to be the actress playing the dead wife! (subtitles)

Rosy the Reviewer says...for the serious film enthusiast.
 






My Joy (2010)


 
 
A few days in the life of a Russian truck driver that turn into a nightmare.

There has never been a more ironic title as Georgi goes on a road trip and makes a series of "wrong turns" that lead him into some gut wrenching situations.  This bleak landscape of story is a grim commentary on Russia's social order.

This is the first "fiction" film for documentarian Sergei Loznitsa, and it is apparent in the shooting of this film.  It has a documentary feel as Georgi takes this horrendous road trip. (subtitles)


Rosy the Reviewer says...gruesome and haunting.  This one will stay with you.
 
 
 


Twice Born (2012)


 
 
A single mother (Cruz) and her teenage son travel to Sarajevo to ultimately relive the horrors of the Bosnian War.

Penelope Cruz manages to look middle aged and very young as a series of flashbacks tell the story of her falling in love with Diego (Emile Hirsch), finding out she is sterile and then arranging to have a surrogate carry Diego's child, all with the Bosnian War as a backdrop.

War is terrible in all cases, but I have always found the Bosnian conflict to be particularly gruesome with all of the raping and torturing of women that went on.

Though the story is engrossing, I found the whole thing a bit overwrought and melodramatic and the production values limited. (in English and with subtitles)

If you are interested in this period in history, a particular favorite of mine is "Shot Through the Heart (1998 TV movie)," where two friends, one a Serb, one a Muslim, find themselves on different sides of the conflict.  See that one if you can find it.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Disappointing, but see it for Cruz's performance.




Homefront (2013)
 
 
 
After his wife dies, an ex-DEA undercover agent moves to a small town with his young daughter to live a quiet life.  Guess what?  Revenge comes calling.  Doesn't it always?
 
Sylvester Stallone wrote the screenplay, but there is nothing new here.  It's all been done many times before.  I saw how this was all going to play out within the first five minutes.
 
Our hero (Jason Statham) tries to get out of the law enforcement biz, but his past finds him (he just can't seem to avoid meth labs), and he is forced to "do something."  Lots of gratuitous blood, gore and violence, and the bad are really bad and the good are really good.  No acting awards are going to be given out here despite the presence of James Franco, Kate Bosworth and Wynona Ryder. What heck were they doing in this thing?  Jason's Northern England accent is also in evidence with no explanation.   Those kinds of things bother me.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are a fan of Jason's "Transporter" films, then you might like this (there is one car chase), but I just thought it was a cartoon. 





CBGB (2013)


 
Docudrama about CBGB, the famous New York City nightclub that helped start the punk rock phenomenon.
 
Bet you didn't know what CBGB stood for:  Country, Bluegrass and Blues.  That is what owner Hilly Kristal (played by Alan Rickman, of whom I am a big fan and not just for "Harry Potter"), a heretofore failed business owner, meant to showcase in this seedy club in the Bowery when he opened it in 1973.  Instead, it became the launching pad for over 50,000 bands.  Yes, you heard me.  Blondie, Talking Heads, The Ramones, Patti Smith and The Police all got their start in Hilly Kristal's club. 
 
Kristal was honored by The Talking Heads when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  CBGB closed in 2006.
 
Fun enactments of the bands and a great score.
 
CBGB's filthy interior, especially its disgusting restroom, was legendary.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...this one is now on my list of favorite rock films.  See it! 



***Book of the Week***
 



Trip to Echo Spring: On Writer's and Drinking 
by Olivia Laing (2014)
 
 
 
 
 
Laing explores the relationship of alcohol to the lives and careers of writers F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Cheever, John Berryman and Raymond Carver.
 
Coming from an alcoholic family herself, British born Laing travels to America to explore the haunts of these writers and try to make sense of the fact that they were raging alcoholics and yet they wrote some of the greatest masterpieces of literature. 

Is there a link between creativity and alcoholism?
 
All had personal neuroses such as panic attacks, shyness, insecurities...but were those a product of the alcoholism or did the alcohol assuage those problems? 
 
The title is taken from Tennessee Williams' play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" where Big Daddy asks Brick, "Where you goin?" to which Brick replies "I'm takin' a little short trip to Echo Spring," referring to his nickname for the liquor cabinet and the brand of bourbon it contained.
 
Laing not only explores the relationship of alcohol to these writers, but to their relationships with one another.  Several were drinking buddies.  Some overcame their addiction and recovered. Some did not.

If you need an introduction to any or all of these writers, some of the greatest of American authors, then this is an excellent start.  Laing uses examples of their writings to illustrate their gifts and her points, and the fact that her examples speak to her personally give them even more depth.
.
Rosy the Reviewer says... Not sure Laing answered her own questions, but this is a fascinating analysis of the price of creativity.  Highly recommended.
 
 


That's it for this week.
 
 
See you Tuesday for
 
"The Joys of Stair Walking"

 
 
Thanks for reading!

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Check your local library for DVDs and book mentioned.


Note:  Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database).
If I reviewed a movie, you can now find my reviews there too.
When you get there, click on "Explore More" on the right side panel and then scroll down to "External Reviews."  Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under Rosy the Reviewer.
 

3 comments :

  1. Hi Rosy - I really enjoy your blog. I especially like your recurring character you call "Hubby." Seems like an awesome guy! Keep up the good work.
    Your biggest fan,
    Hubby

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a test to be sure my comments section is working properly.

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