I am sure you know that I write this blog as a public service to you, so I feel it is my civic duty to warn you of just what is happening on TV these days.
It's called "Naked TV."
Did you know that people are dating naked, shopping for homes naked, trying to survive naked (and afraid) and getting their naked bodies painted, all in the comfort of YOUR living room?
Well, they are, and as much as I love reality TV, this must stop, I tell you!
With such titles as "Brave Nude World," "The Big Bust," and "Nude to the Neighborhood," each episode features real estate agent Jackie Youngblood showing homes to house-hunting nudists in clothing optional communities - in the nude, of course (the house hunters, not Jackie).
Rosy the Reviewer says...I wouldn't touch this with a ten foot pole, pardon the expression.
The point of this show (if it really has one) is that when "stripped" of artiface people can find a true connection.
Two contestants, a man and a woman, date each other and then they both go off on two other dates, nude on all fronts, and then at the end, they each choose a person they want to see after the show, presumably WITH clothes as well as without. There are lots of activities, such as nude zip-lining and nude boating, lots of alcohol and lots of butt. Breasts and genitalia are pixilated, but bare butts must have passed the good taste test. My favorite episode was the first one - Joe and Wee Wee. I will leave it at that.
Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like butts, this is for you.
This is a body painting competition hosted by Rebecca Romijn and judges declare a winner after ten episodes. The people being painted are referred to as "canvases.'
Rosy the Reviewer says...kind of like "Project Runway," except without clothes.
Naked and Afraid
In this program, it's not enough to be naked, you have to be afraid too. A man and woman contestant are brought to wild locations such as the Louisiana swamp or the sand dunes of Brazil where they strip off and then must survive for 21 days - no food or water that they don't find themselves. They only get to bring one personal item - machete or fire starter, pot, etc.
Rosy the Reviewer says...this one I like, because it's not really about the nudity. It's like "Survivor," but here you really, really do suffer to survive and they don't even win any money if they make it for the 21 days. But best of all, and, mercifully for the viewers, we don't have to listen to Jeff Probst's long winded sermons at tribal council.
Now, I feel better. I have done my duty and warned you.
You are welcome.
Now on to The Week in Reviews
***In Theatres Now***
This is Where I Leave You
The death of their father forces three grown brothers and a sister to return home to sit shiva for seven days with their mother, spouses and assorted other friends and foes from their past.
Judd Altman (Jason Bateman) returns home to find his wife in bed with his friend and employer, radio shock jock Wade (Dax Shepherd). Speaking of shocks, his sister, Wendy, (Tina Fey) then calls to tell him that his father has passed away so he heads home to join her and his brothers, Phillip (Adam Driver) and Paul (Corey Stoll) to sit shiva with their mother. Paul is there with his wife, Alice (Kathryn Hahn). The two of them are desperately trying to have a baby. Phillip arrives with his much older girlfriend, his ex-shrink (Connie Britton). And then we have the matriarch played by Jane Fonda. You now have all of the ingredients for dysfunction and comedy. Unfortunately, there is more dysfunction than comedy.
When everyone comes together they overshare their disappointments. Judd has his unfaithful wife; Wendy has a husband who is always on the phone; Phillip is a playboy ne're-do-well and Paul and Alice can't seem to get pregnant.
Based on a best selling novel by Jonathan Tropper (2009) and directed by Shawn Levy of the "Night at the Museum" franchise, this could have been fertile ground to explore these issues of infidelity, infertility, loss and family dysfunction, but these issues are glossed over and replaced with supposed witty repartee and the easy laugh.
It's not a bad movie and in fact, the cast is what saves it. The ensemble works, and there are some genuinely funny moments, such as a baby monitor broadcasting Phillip and Alice trying for that baby. I just wished that there could have been more depth to some of the touching moments, rather than going for the cheap laugh.
Bateman has come into his own from his teen TV years and as in "Bad Words," another near miss I reviewed recently, he is the king of comic timing and the slow burn. Rose Byrne, who seems to be everywhere these days, provides romance for him as an old childhood flame.
The fun one here is actually Fonda as the mother without a filter and enhanced breasts. And Kathryn Hahn, who co-starred with Bateman in "Bad Words," is always wonderful, but rarely has her own vehicle. For that, check her out in "Afternoon Delight."
A funeral is a popular movie device for getting a dysfunctional family together, as in "August:Osage County," but this one is less venomous, much sweeter. It's a reminder that no matter how much dysfunction may exist in a family, in the end they are there for you.
Rosy the Reviewer says...a likable comedy but not a great one.
You Might Have Missed
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)
After the death of her mother, her father, a Royal Navy Admiral, recognizes his mixed race daughter and takes her to live with his artistocratic great-uncle in 18th century England.
The illegitimate daughter of Admiral John Lindsay (Matthew Goode, who you might recognize from the wonderful mini-series "Dancing on the Edge" and "Birdsong") and a slave, Dido Belle (Gugu Mbatha Raw) is sent to live on the palatial estate of his uncle, William Murray (Tom Wilkinson), the 1st Earl of Mansfield. who is also the Lord Chief Justice, the highest judge in the land. (The estate was Kenwood House, which still stands in Hampstead Heath in London). This is a singularly unusual act in 18th Century Britain considering it was a slave-trading nation and a Colonial Empire. There she is treated as one of the family, becoming good friends with her cousin Lady Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon), and enduring the initial discontent of Murray's wife (Emily Watson).
Though the family grows to love her, Dido is not allowed to eat with them, always reminded that she is somehow "less than." However, there is irony in the fact that when Dido's father dies at sea, he leaves her a fortune whereas Elizabeth is part of the penniless aristocracy. This is brought to the fore as Lady Ashford (played venomlously by Miranda Richardson) tries to marry off her sons Oliver and James to the one with the money, despite her racism. But another irony is the fact that despite Dido's wealth, once married she would for intents and purposes be a slave to her husband, since men basically owned their wives and their fortunes.
Based on a true story, a painting of the two young women hangs in Scone Palace in Scotland.
There is a side story about the Zong massacre, in which over 140 slaves were dumped off a ship in order to collect the insurance money on them. Dido becomes involved and tries to reason with her uncle to do the right thing. She aligns herself with a young lawyer, John Davinier (Sam Reid), who seeks mentorship from Sir William and who becomes Dido's suitor.
It's a very interesting story but sadly treated with a shallow approach. We don't see much in the way of the harsh realities of slavery in this film, just lots of talk.
The film is beautifully photographed, Gugu Mbatha Raw plays the title role effectively and it's fun to see all of these great British actors together, but the script lets them all down.
Rosy the Reviewer says...it's a worthwhile film that Jane Austen fans will enjoy but in the end, it is a serious subject simplified to melodrama.
Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore get together again for a romantic comedy about two single parents.
Sandler (Jim) and Barrymore (Lauren) meet for a blind date at Hooters. (That right there should be fair warning about what you are getting yourself into). It is not a successful date so both seem happy to never see each other again. However, through a series of events, they both end up on a joint vacation in Sun City, South Africa with their kids - he has three girls, she has two sons. The kids are out of control and Jim and Lauren hate each other - until they fall in love that is. What? You didn't see that coming?
It is amazing to me to think that Rhinos having sex and scatological humor does a comedy make, but Sandler thinks that is all he has to do. That and his constant smirking. Barrymore is sweet but not sweet enough to save this thing.
The black "Greek chorus" that follows them all around singing is borderline offensive and Sun City is an uncomfortable symbol of Apartheid. Bad taste.
I didn't get Adam Sandler when he started out as Stud Boy on the MTV show "Remote Control," and I still don't get his appeal. How he could get something like this made says much about his power, but little about his taste. And it seems like he makes these films so he can go on vacation with buddies and family (I counted no less than five family members in the credits).
Rosy the Reviewer says...horrible. I just don't get what other people get about Adam Sandler.
"My 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Project."
I talked about this project in my blog post last month, where I shared how many of the 1001 films I had seen (685), which meant I had to watch 316 more before I die.
So I have included this project in my Friday blog post and will let you know how I am doing and point out some of the films YOU need to see (or maybe not) before YOU die. There could definitely be debate on some of the films included.
I am now down to 312 to go.
Two young Czech girls run around town pulling pranks, taking advantage of old men and acting silly.
These girls see to be so annoying at first, but when you realize this was made in Communist Czechoslovakia before the Czech Spring of 1968, then you realize just how subversive and feminist it was for its day and for its location. These girls were doing whatever the hell they wanted despite the repression. The exuberance of these two girls was a call against the repressive Communist rule. There are many references to being hungry and cold followed by orgies of eating. In fact, this movie was banned and the director, Vera Chytilova, was not allowed to work in her country again until 1975. It's all very psychedelic and slapstick.
Rosy the Reviewer says...These girls grow on you. (subtitles)
In 1990's Hanoi, a young rickshaw driver (called a Cyclo) is robbed of his rickshaw. To pay off his employer, he is forced to work for a local pimp and, unbeknownst to him, his sister is forced into prostitution.
One can't help but think of Vittorio De Sica's "The Bicycle Thief (another classic film)," but here the director focuses on the brutal landscape lurking behind the rhythms of the city and finds beauty in the violence.
Tony Leung plays the pimp, a brooding, chain-smoking character named Poet. Tony would go on to make the impossibly beautiful "In the Mood for Love" (also one of the 1001 films).
Rosy the Reviewer says...an uncomfortable film to watch. I think "Cyclo" rhymes with "Psycho" for a reason. Whether this is a masterpiece of film-making would be up for debate. (subtitles).
***Book of the Week***
I Said Yes To Everything: A Memoir (2014)
Actress Lee Grant tells a story of success, devastation and then success.
Actress Lee Grant was celebrated on Broadway and nominated for an Academy Award all by the age of 24 and then lost it all. She was named to the Hollywood blacklist by the House Un-American Activities Committee and her life fell apart. After 12 years of fighting the blacklist, she was exonerated and her career took off again: "Peyton Place," "Valley of the Dolls," "In the Heat of the Night" and "Shampoo," for which she won her first Oscar.
Grant is not that well-known to the younger generation, but she is an acclaimed actress who worked with all of the greats: Brando, Poitier, Beatty. She had to say yes to everything to survive those bitter black list years but she rose from the ashes to great heights.
She talks about her growing up years as "the perfect child" whose mother wanted her to excel in the arts - any of them - and her failed marriage and the bitter insecurity brought out in her by the withholding personality of her first husband. But eventually she was to find happiness. Rosy the Reviewer says...an important actress you should know about, writing about an important, but sad part of our history.
***And finally, if you have been keeping track of my other project, where I am attempting to get myself out of a rut and change my life by adding a new habit every month, well, don't. ***
I am not doing so well. I did OK in July where I promised to break the habit of ordering a Skinny Vanilla Latte, but now I am back to that again. In August, I vowed to moisturize. I managed only a couple of those days. And for September, I was supposed to ride my bike every day that the sun shone. I could try to trick you and say the sun didn't shine much because, hey, this is Seattle, right? Well, wouldn't you know, we have had a fantastic summer and in September, too, the sun was shining almost every day. And (hanging my head), I only rode my bike on two of those days. So now I am scared to remind you and myself of what I said I would do in October.
***Walk 10,000 steps every day***
If you read last Tuesday's post, "Fitbit on My Shoulder," you will know that I am already struggling with that. I doubt that I will do it every day, but it's my new goal to get there at least five times a week.
One thing I am learning is that it's damn hard to change!
One thing I am learning is that it's damn hard to change!
Check back at the end of the month to see how I do with this one!
Thanks for Reading!
See you Tuesday
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