Monday, November 8, 2021

The Journey to My New Bionic Shoulder - Part 3: What Got Me Through - TV Series I Watched During Recovery

(Squid Game, Maid, The Morning Show, Ted Lasso, Only Murders in the Building, What We Do in the Shadows, Jeopardy)

It's amazing how time and place can etch things in your memory.  At the beginning of quarantine for the Coronavirus back in 2020, as I sat at home wondering when I would be free to go out again, I turned to two of my favorite pasttimes, TV and movies, and was enthralled with "The Queen's Gambit."  That wonderful series helped me get through that time.  

Now I have been in another kind of quarantine sitting at home for the last six weeks, working on becoming the next incarnation of The Bionic Woman as I recovered from shoulder replacement surgery, unable to drive, not being able to do much (Hubby had to set my hair - take a picture of that in your mind), and when I did try to do something, I had to do it with my left hand while wondering when this fresh hell would be over and I would be free to get my life back. 

So once again, my TV helped me through (you know I am a TV addict, right?), and this time, it was "Squid Game," Netflix's now most popular series ever, that helped me get through the pain and boredom of recovery.  

So let me wax poetic about that and some other highly bingeable shows that have helped me get through these last six weeks. (And you don't need to be in pain or quarantine to enjoy them)!


Squid Game (Netflix)



A group of people hopelessly in debt play children's games to win a big prize.  The downside?  You lose, you die.

Nothing like seeing a bunch of people massacred after losing at Red Light/Green Light to take your mind off your own troubles.  Yes, it's bloody but it's also bloody engrossing and fun. Schadenfreude at its best.

Now if you haven't heard of this series, I don't want to be mean, but you have probably been under a rock, because this show is the most watched Netflix series ever. And there is a reason for that.  It's, pardon the pun, bloody good! 

This South Korean series has been called a sort of "Hunger Games" for adults.  That is true to some extent, but I think that comparison doesn't give credit to just how original this series is and the message it delivers.  Just from an entertainment standpoint, it's great, but it also serves as a metaphor for the disparity between the classes as poor people and people hopelessly in debt play children's games for a big cash prize and the amusement of the very rich. And then there's that whole thing about what happens if they lose. If they lose, they die. Mmm. Which is worse? Being poor or being dead?

Our hero, if you can call him that, is Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), a divorced ex-chauffeur and indebted loser due to his penchant for gambling. He has disappointed his young daughter and also lives with his mother and we all know what that means.  He is invited to play a series of children's games for a chance at a huge cash prize as in 45.6 billion South Korean won (that's over 38 million dollars). Since he is being chased by some very bad guys to whom he owes money, he decides he has nothing to lose, so he buys in and is taken to an unknown location where he finds himself among 455 other players who are in his similar situation.  Gi-hun allies with other players including a childhood friend, Cho Sang-woo (Park Hae-soo), who just happens to also be in a difficult situation and they all try to survive. 

The players are all overseen by guards dressed in red jumpsuits and masks and everything is manipulated by the Front Man, who is dressed all in black and also masked and who looks like a low-rent version of Darth Vader. The players soon learn that losing a game results in death with each death adding 100 million South Korean won to the prize.  Yes, death is on the table but the prize is just too big to let get away.  And yes, Gi-hun is a big loser but he grows on you and you don't want him to die. Likewise, the other players are unique individuals and well-drawn, including a young detective who infiltrates the compound looking for his brother.  All of these characters will grow on you too and you will be kept on the edge of your seat as you wonder what the outcome for each of them will be. Who will survive?

There is a Korean Wave taking place with the increase in popularity of South Korean culture.  The movie "Parasite" was a surprise hit and won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2020, the boy band BTS has sold over 20 million albums and now this series has taken over TV. South Korean film-making is huge these days. And the reason?  They are putting out great movies and TV shows. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...it's a bit cartoonish and bloody, but get yourself through the first episode, and I guarantee that you will be hooked.  And, yes, subtitles, but you can do it. If you like dark but original and engrossing, this is for you!


Maid (Netflix)



Young mother, Alex, takes her daughter and leaves an abusive relationship and works as a house cleaner to try to make a better life for them both.

Margaret Qualley stars as Alex, a young woman living with her husband, Sean (Nick Robinson), and young daughter, Maddy (Rylea Nevaeh Whittet), in a trailer in the Pacific Northwest. It's not a happy arrangement as her husband is a drunk and abusive so she leaves.  But what does a young woman with no education or job experience do? Her mother, Paula (Andie MacDowell), is an aging hippie living in an RV with her much younger husband and Alex doesn't want anything to do with her Dad.  So with no safe place to land, she finds a job as a maid and struggles to find daycare for her daughter and a place to live.  It's not a happy life with one stumbling block presenting itself in every episode. She just can't seem to catch a break.  But she is determined to have her own life and to make her way as a writer.

Created by Molly Smith Metzler and based on Stephanie Land's memoir, "Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother's Will to Survive," this is an interesting, though often dark and difficult story of how hard it is to survive in this world, especially for women without resources trying to escape abusive situations, but, though it's not an easy road to get it, there is help out there.  And there is hope.

Qualley made a big splash with a small role as one of Manson's girls in "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood." But now she carries an entire series, and her performance here is wonderful and real, and I predict it will be her big break out. Expect awards.  

And did you know that Qualley is Andie MacDowell's real life daughter? Qualley and McDowell make an intriguing mother and daughter acting duo with MacDowell playing against type so much that in her appearances on several talk shows she has wanted to make sure that people don't think this character is anything like her real self.  Let's hope not.  Paula is not only a flibbertigibbet, she is selfish, mean and probably bi-polar and MacDowell sells it (even though she assures us none of that is really her).  

The rest of the cast are first-rate, and though at times you might say "Sheesh," as yet another catastrophe hits Alex, you will stay-tuned to see how she fares, because you are rooting for her. Oh, and by the way. You know how I usually dislike overly precocious child actors?  Little Rylea as little Maddy not only didn't bother me, I thought she was adorable (I must be getting soft)!

Rosy the Reviewer says...I predict a long and exciting career for Qualley.  Here is your chance to say you knew her when. If you like shows with well-drawn, strong characters and an engrossing story, this is for you.



The Morning Show - Season Two (Apple +)


A dramatization of the emotional and political life backstage at a TV morning show where the male anchor has been fired for sexual harassment - sound familiar?

Season One (which I reviewed back in February) was a juicy hit that won many awards.  Now we are in Season two --- and it's even better and juicier.

Created by Jay Carson and Kerry Ehrin, Season Two picks up where we left off in Season One, after Morning Show anchor Alex Levy's (Jennifer Aniston) on-air meltdown that exposed the toxic culture at the UBA Network still stinging.  She has left the network and is working on a memoir and wondering what her future holds. Alex's on-air partner, Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) is settling in as the main anchor on The Morning Show with help from Laura Peters (Julianna Margulies) and Daniel Henderson (Desean Terry), who as the only black anchor is unhappy about the lack of diversity.  Meanwhile, Network executives Stella Bak (Greta Lee) and Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) are still trying to get past Mitch Kessler's (Steve Carell) sexual transgressions and the unfortunate aftermath. Meanwhile, Mitch is hiding out in Italy and meets a local documentarian and they embark on a relationship of sorts with tragic consequences.  

And all the while some strange virus is creeping up on the world.

There is lots going on, but it's great fun and Jennifer Anniston and Billy Crudup are outstanding, she running the gamut from caring friend to her colleagues to bitter rival, he a smarmy, winking schemer who you don't want to turn your back on. The entire ensemble is first rate, and you won't be able to wait for the next installment.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you enjoy behind the scene exposes of television productions anchored by great performances, you will enjoy this (new episodes every Friday).



Ted Lasso (Apple +)


An American college football coach with no experience with soccer is recruited to run AFC Richmond, a London soccer team.  Huh?  Well, you will just have to trust me and run with that. It's good!

Created by Jason Sudeikas, Brendan Hunt, Joe Kelly and Bill Lawrence, even though the premise of this didn't appeal to me, when I saw it cleaned up at this year's Emmys, I had to check it out.  I must admit, it took me a couple of episodes to get into, because Ted Lasso (Sudeikas, who also stars) is just so, irritating, er, well, nice. He's one of those guys who tries to put a positive spin on everything. But I got hooked partly because it's in England, my favorite country, and also because the characters are all well-drawn and interesting.  It also turns out that Ted isn't everything he appears to be.  He has some demons and there is drama. I will get to that.

In Season One, Ted is recruited by owner, Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddington), to run her soccer team, AFC Richmond, despite the fact that he has absolutely no experience running a soccer team. But that's the point.  She hires him because she wants the team to lose.  You see, the team is her husband's pride and joy, because he's a cheating cad and she knows how much it would hurt him to have a losing team. So that's the plan. So Ted shows up with his sidekick, the deadpan Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), both fish out of water in Jolly Old England, and, of course, things don't go as planned for any of them.

The team is made up of an assortment of interesting characters, most notably: 

  • Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster), an egotistical striker, who is dating top model Keeley Jones (Juno Temple). Jamie doesn't think much of Ted.
  • Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), the aging and irritable captain of the team who is now on the downside of his career and who also doesn't think much of Ted.
  • Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh), a young Nigerian who is fighting homesickness and very much wants to make his Dad proud. 
  • Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernandez), a young, talented and enthusiastic forward from Mexico who comes on board later in the season and makes Jamie feel threatened that he will be replaced as the team's star. 

But in Season Two, things change.  Rebecca has come around and is no longer the villain and has an unlikely romance.  Likewise, other characters who started out as villains turn good and there is even a psychologist to help everyone with their game and personal lives. And that's what I found to be a bit of a problem with Season Two.  Everyone was just too nice and good and there was no real drama until well into it, but I still enjoyed hanging out with these characters and was rewarded with a final episode which caught me by surprise and made me wanting more.

But don't let any of that deter you. This series is not just endearing, but also engrossing, and Jason Sudekis has created an interesting, though sometimes obnoxious character in Ted, a guy so talkative and positive you can't seem to get him to shut up long enough to really get to know him. But as time goes by, we learn he is more complex than he first appeared to be and there is a reason for all of that yacking that he does.

This series is original, it's fun and, though the series falters a bit in Season Two, it leaves you with a cliff hanger that will have you anxious to see what will happen in Season Three. And yes, there is sure to be a Season Three.

Rosy the Reviewer says... If you like soccer, fish out of water stories and some positivity in this time of so much negativity, this is for you!



Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)


When Tim Kono is found dead in his New York City apartment, three neighbors team up to solve the murder and what better way to solve a murder than to start a podcast?

Charles Haden-Savage (Steven Martin) is an aging actor who had success with a TV detective show; Oliver Putnam (Martin Short) is an aging Broadway director with money problems; and Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) is a young woman renovating her aunt's apartment.  All three live in the Anconia apartment building but are strangers until they discover a mutual love of true crime after the murder of their neighbor, Tim Kono.  The three also love true crime podcasts and decide to start their own (with Oliver directing, of course) in order to solve the murder.  

Created by Steve Martin and John Hoffman, the series makes use of the usual murder mystery tropes and red herrings but what's not to like about Martin Short and Steve Martin teaming up?  You know it will be funny and this is. Yes, Marty mugs like mad, that's expected, and Steve does his usual delivery of straight-faced zingers, but it's all tempered by the presence of young Selena Gomez, with her deadpan expression and delivery and her oddly deep voice.  She gives the threesome an odd couple vibe that is very appealing.

The rest of the cast is also first-rate: Amy Ryan as Jan, a bassoonist living in the bulding who becomes a love interest for Charles; Tina Fey as a competing podcaster; Jane Lynch as Sazz Pataki, Charles' former stunt double; and Nathan Lane as Teddy Dimas, an old friend of Oliver's who owns a deli chain and offers to sponsor the podcast.  There are many character actors coming and going - you know, those actors you recognize but don't know their names - and even Sting and Jimmy Fallon make appearances.  It's all very evocative of old New York and old-timey murder mysteries.  Oh, and did I say it's funny? With Short and Martin and Lane, would you expect anything less? And might I also add: the opening credits and music over them just sets the stage for the charm and humor that will ensue.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a charming and funny murder mystery series reminiscent of classic movies from the 1930's. If you like old-fashioned whodunnits, this is for you.



What We Do in the Shadows


Centuries-old vampires living in modern day Staten Island.  That alone is funny.  

This comedy series, now in it's third season, follows three centuries-old vampires of the blood-sucking variety who are all living together in a mansion on Staten Island - Nandor the Relentless (Kayvan Novak), an Iranian warrior who was once a part of the Ottoman Empire; Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), a Greek Romani vampire; and Laszlo (Matt Berry), an English nobleman vampire who was turned by Nadja and who is now married to her.  Oh, and he was once a porn actor so sex is on his mind a lot.  There is also Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), an energy vampire.  He doesn't suck blood, he sucks the energy out of people.  You know the type.  The geeky mansplainer who thinks he is an expert on everything and comes by your cubicle at the office and bends your ear endlessly on every innocuous topic under the sun.  And then there is Guillermo (Harvey Guillen), Nandor's familiar, who keeps the household running but ironically discovers he is a descendant of Abraham Van Helsing, the famous vampire killer, which puts him in some decidedly awkward situations. 

This is your classic "fish out of water" story except our "fishes" are vampires and they know nothing of the modern world.  Remember?  They are from centuries ago.  So, many laughs ensue. Oh, and there is a film crew filming them for a documentary about what? Vampires living in Staten Island. Anyway, think "Big Brother" for vampires.

Every short episode (less than 30 minutes) stands on its own, but I encourage you to binge and then binge some more.  It's not a good night if Hubby and I don't end it with an episode. 

Based on the 2014 mocumentary comedy horror film of the same name that was written and directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi (they are behind this series too and Waititi went on to win an Oscar for his screenplay for "Jojo Rabbit"), the humor is reminiscent of "This is Spinal Tap," a similarly very dry humor character-driven mockumentary. And you don't need to be a horror or vampire fan to enjoy the exploits of our vampires (There are currently three seasons of short episodes to binge to your hearts content).

Rosy the Reviewer says...perhaps this is an acquired taste, but I know it's mine! Loved and laughed every minute of it! If you loved "This is Spinal Tap," you will enjoy this (and it helps if you love vampires)!


And finally, if you will forgive me, I am compelled to add this semi-unrelated show but because it really was a high point for me while stuck at home I hope you will bear with me.


Jeopardy


I know you know all about "Jeopardy," but I have to say that the Matt Amodio winning-streak was just what I needed during my recovery.

This long-running quiz show (since 1964) has had a difficult time finding its way since the death of longtime beloved host, Alex Trebek. A series of hosts of varying abilities have come and gone, but then Matt Amodio came along.  No, he wasn't one of the rotating hosts. But he had the second longest-running winning streak of all players behind only Ken Jennings who had an incredible 74 wins (Matt had 38). Watching Matt plough through all contenders was so much fun.  Even though in practically every show, by the end of the show, he was so far ahead that no one could catch him in Final Jeopardy, and even though I knew he would win every time, I still looked forward to the contest.  

And then...he lost and rather ignominiously. 

On his last show, he uncharacteristically faltered and left room for his challengers to catch him in Final Jeopardy and then when Final Jeopardy came around, everyone else knew the answer but Matt including ME! I still think he got bored and threw that last show.  I mean, maybe he was happy with now being second after Ken Jennings for most wins but he robbed me of seeing him compete while Ken Jennings hosted (which he began this week).  Now that would have been something - Ken officiating while Matt broke his record.  But it wasn't to be.  

Still, loved Matt and loved watching his success. Didn't like the guy who beat him - Jonathan Fisher - who went on to win more games than I thought he deserved.  Let's just say, I looked forward to seeing Matt win and watched the show after that to see Fisher lose - which he eventually did. I know, I'm bad. But Matt was a humble winner.  In my opinion, the new guy was smurking and smug. But maybe I was still mourning the loss of Matt.

Rosy the Reviewer says...still love the show but miss Alex and wish they would find a permanent replacement.  Didn't like Mayim Bialak who dressed like the stereotypical librarian caricature which I think is the look they were going for (made her look smart? Which she is by the way), but which offended my librarian self, who would have rather died than dress like that!  



Thanks for reading!

See you soon for some movies you might not know about that also helped me get through!





If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to IMDB.com, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!


Thursday, October 14, 2021

The Journey to My New Bionic Shoulder - Part 2: What I Learned

Remember how I said in Part 1 (you DID read Part 1, right?) that this was going to turn me into an old lady? 

Well, the deed has been done and it's been over three weeks now. Right after surgery, my first thought was how much the human body is able to endure (I would post a picture of my incision but I don't want to gross you out). But as for the old lady stuff, I did feel it creeping in. In addition to not being able to drive or put on my bra or set my own hair or open a bottle of wine (all old lady things), I also noticed that I was using words like pocketbook and icebox and calling people dearie, but I have come out the other side. I went from "What have I done?" to "Okay...it's done." Now let's get on with the rehab and my life and shake off that old lady.

But I am not going to sugar coat this.  This whole thing was not fun and not having been someone who was used to hospitals and medical care, it was a sort of a shock, and I definitely learned some things, some of it not so pleasant.


What I learned:


Visitors.

I learned that you are on your own at the hospital. 

Waiting rooms are no more, so no one can go in with you and wait for the outcome. That is sad, because it's comforting to know there is someone out there who cares about your interests, so it's a lonely feeling walking into a hospital all alone to face a procedure you have never had before. And in my case, once prepped for surgery, I laid on the gurney for about two hours because, wouldn't you know, it was "a late day," the day when the surgeons had a meeting.  Let me tell you, even though I was in a hospital gown and hooked up to god-knows-what, I thought about sprinting out of there.





So...explain this to me.  If the rule about no one being able to be in the waiting room during your procedure is due to COVID, why is it not okay for your loved ones to sit in a waiting room while you are being cut open but they can come in during visitors hours from 2-8 and wander down to the food court and buy ice cream?  Mmmm.  Ice cream. (see "Food" below).

Sleep. 

Forget about it.  I learned that a hospital is a very noisy place.

Even though you are trying to recover from some devastating assault on your body, a hospital is not a place for sleeping. It's not a quiet place.


It's a noisy place where you are awakened every few hours to have your vitals checked and where the changing of the guard every shift is noisy.  I was right across from the nurses' station and, if my door wasn't shut, I heard all about everyone's weekend.  Likewise, I had a saline solution machine next to my bed, that even when not administering saline solution to me, sounded like a dripping faucet, which I am sure you know is a kind of torture.  Thankfully, a kindly nurse listened to me and turned that off and another put a sign up to remind people to shut my door. 

Word to the wise: speak up.  Be your own advocate because not everyone in the hospital is looking out for your personal issues.


Food.  

Forget about it.  I learned that hospital food is a notch or two above airline food but who wants french toast at 7am after a sleepless night, not to mention having to eat with your left hand.  

Oh, didn't I tell you?  The shoulder replacement was on my dominant side (I am right-handed) which after surgery was completely numb. I wouldn't have minded some help opening the tea bag or even getting stuff into my mouth! I was kind of helpless.

My happiest time was an ice cream cone from the food kiosk (thanks, Hubby)!


Staff. 

I learned that the level of bedside manner in a hospital varies greatly. 

Surprisingly, one of the best caregivers was a student nurse!  But there were others who were friendly and comforting.  But then there were those who were brusque or cursory or basically didn't give a sh*t.  

My favorite bad memory was in the middle of the night.  

Had to go to the toilet so hit my buzzer (I wasn't supposed to get up on my own).  It always seemed like when I hit the buzzer in the middle of the night, the female nurses were on break and a male orderly had to come help me.  Not my favorite, considering I had only one hand to hold the back of my hospital gown closed.  One night, an older gentlemen came to help, and as he was putting these pulsing "leg warmers" back on me, contraptions that are supposed to help keep you from getting a blood clot, he said, "These are important so you don't get a blood clot.  Because if you get a blood clot, YOU DIE!!!" Just what somebody needs to hear at 3am, somebody who has just come out of surgery and is on pain meds that make her feel like she is on LSD.


But I also learned that we humans are resiliant. I learned that I can change my habits e.g. I can now do quite a few things with my left hand.  I also learned I have a great husband and wonderful friends and family members.

I wish I had a picture of Hubby setting my hair with the hot rollers.  Though he won't be opening a Hair by Mr. Charles Salon anytime soon, he overcame his anxiety and the burning of his fingers with the hot rollers to make my hair look presentable.  

And so many friends and family members stepped up with well wishes, flowers, gifts, visits and making sure I was able to get out and about (and you know who you are)!.  So thank you Hubby and thank you friends and thank you family! Your caring has helped with my recovery. I am stronger because of you.



So almost a month into recovery, I am reflecting on my decision to do this.

There is one thing to be said for taking advantage of a fix for a problem.  I had a sore arm due to osteoarthritis, and there was a fix for that, so why not take advantage of that fix?  However, my one caveat would be - make sure your arm REALLY hurts and the pain is upsetting your quality of life, because this surgery is not to be taken lightly.  It's painful and recovery will disrupt your life for a long time. I am into physical therapy twice a week for the next who knows how long? I am told it will be a year before I will have my strength back and get the full benefit of the procedure and because I had a reverse procedure, my range of motion will probably never be that great.  So there is a period of "What have I done?" before you get to "Glad I did it (not there yet)." 

Sometimes it's difficult to see the good in the final outcome when you have to sleep sitting up, you can't drive, you can't use your dominant arm (when I was able to use the computer, I had to type with one finger and learn to mouse with my left hand), you can't fix your hair, you can't put your contacts in, you are in pain and you can only wear clothes that button in front, which means there are all of those cute clothes of yours that have to be pulled on over your head that you can't wear.  And  forget wearing a bra (good thing I did those exercises with my Mark Eden Breast Developer back in the day, no one was the wiser - didn't all of us 60's girls have one of those)?




Lol.

Seriously, here is the bottom line for me: I had a talk with my left shoulder.  "Lefty," I said, "Stay strong cuz we ain't doin this again."  

Now if my knee would just stop hurting!


Thanks for reading!

See you soon for Part 3 -

What Got Me Through - TV Series I Watched During Recovery 




If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to IMDB.com, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Journey to My New Bionic Shoulder - Part 1



So, my arm hurt.  

But I was raised by a Swedish mother and a Christian Science father, so I was used to sucking things up. I basically accepted it and went on with life.  It hurt, but not that much. I am a healthy (mumble) year-old.  Never broken a bone, never been in the hospital except to give birth, nary a scar.  I go to the doctor once a year to get my prescriptions filled because I do have a slight blood pressure and cholesterol issue, but that's it. 

But the last time I went to the doctor, I must have felt that I wasn't participating fully in my medical care and wanted to be interesting to my doctor, so when my doctor asked me if everything was okay, I foolishly mentioned that my arm hurt sometimes, so she ordered some physical therapy for me.

And thus my journey to my new bionic shoulder commenced.  

So...physical therapy.  

I am wondering if physical therapy makes things worse.  Because after a few sessions, my arm hurt so much more that the physical therapist thought I needed to go back to my doctor for some pain meds.  It wasn't until I went back that x-rays were ordered and it was discovered I had advanced arthritis of my shoulder. 


Ew. Not a pretty sight!

No wonder my arm and shoulder hurt.  The ball and socket of my shoulder had no cartilage to work with.  So it wasn't a rotator cuff issue, which was what the physical therapist assumed.  I wondered, why were things assumed? Why weren't x-rays called for in the beginning? You know what they say about assuming.

So now my arm not only really hurt, my shoulder really hurt too.

I was sent to an orthopedic surgeon for a cortisone shot.  After reviewing my x-rays, she shared information with me about shoulder surgery.  Oh, just a little 2-3 hour reverse total shoulder replacement surgery where she puts in a metal and plastic device to act as my new ball and socket with a two night stay in the hospital, arm in a sling for three weeks and six months of physical therapy.





Ew.

I thought, er, no way.  For one thing, with a metal prothesis in my shoulder, I would set off the alarm when going through security at the airport, something I don't want to happen, so bring on the shot.  

"Can I just keep getting the shot forever?" I asked, thinking that was going to do the trick.

The surgeon said, "Sure, the damage has been done.  It won't get better, it won't get worse."  I told her the tale of the Swedish mother and Christian Science father, that I was used to sucking it up, and she nodded sympathetically while pressing the shoulder surgery brochure into my hand and saying "But you are in pain, right?" Well, yeah. She had a point.

And, yes, she was right. The cortisone shot didn't work, and now my arm really, really hurt.  I was in pain and surgery was looking like an option.

But you just can't decide to have surgery.  Oh, no.  You have to prove that you are worthy. Now I'm not just doing something I don't want to do but now I have to do something I need to prove I am worthy of doing.

First, I had to go to the dentist and have her sign off on my mouth, that it's fit for surgery. What does my mouth have to do with my shoulder?  Well, if your gums are infected, could cause an infection after surgery. Well, here's the story with that.  My dentist has wanted to get my old fillings redone forever. Now my view of that is that my fillings have been just fine for all of these years.  Why get that old drill out now?  But, here we are.  Gee, now that she has to sign off on my mouth to be ready for surgery, guess what has to be done before she will say I am fit for surgery?

Then it's back to my GP to have her sign off, once I have had a chest x-ray, an electrocardiogram and blood work. Then CT scan and an MRI and then if all goes to plan I might be deemed worthy of this surgery, which will put my arm in a sling (my dominant arm, mind you) for three weeks or more, I won't be able to drive, won't be able to dress myself, will have to sleep sitting up (they recommend buying a Lazy Boy!), followed by at least six months of physical therapy while we get that little metal and plastic ball and socket working. And this is a woman who has never spent one night in the hospital except when giving birth. 

Can I just say "Ew" one more time?! 

And for me the worst part is the Lazy Boy. Just the idea of a Lazy Boy in my house throws my sense of aesthetics into a tailspin, not to mention having to sleep in the damn thing. So that ain't gonna happen.

But anyway, I have done my due diligence.

Dentist - Check! 

CT scan - Check!

MRI - Check!

(that MRI thing - what a strange experience.  Felt like I was being reprogrammed on an alien space ship)!

Blood work, EKG and chest x-ray - Check!

Covid test - Check!

Now after all of that I am good to go - FOR SOMETHING I DON'T REALLY WANT TO DO!

So now I'm asking Hubby if he thinks he will be able to help me get dressed, set my hair with the hot rollers, put on my mascara and handle other unmentionables he may have to help me with. 

I am thinking this is the beginning of my becoming an old woman.

But you know what?  As one wise person said to me, well more than one actually, if there is a fix for a problem, why not do it?  So I'm doing it! 

And then I will give the Bionic Woman a run for her money with my very own BIONIC SHOULDER! 



Well, that's what I'm hoping, anyway. See you on the other side.  Gulp.

(And if there is anyone out there who has had this done, I would love to hear from you)!

Thanks for reading!

See you soon!
(I hope)!

And you know there will be a Part 2 - a review!



If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to IMDB.com, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

What I Watched (and Liked) While on My 2021 Summer Stay-cation: Part 2 - Some Good Movies You Might Not Know About

[I review "Summer of Soul," "Georgetown," "The Last Letter From Your Lover," "Honest Thief," and "Supernova."]


"Summer of Soul...or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised"


A documentary of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival that celebrated African-American music and culture and black pride.

The what?

Who knew that, musically, 1969 wasn't just the year of Woodstock but the year of the Harlem Cultural Festival that also drew hundreds of thousands. Except Woodstock became famous with all kinds of coverage and a feature film and the footage from the "Black Woodstock" languished in a basement for 50 years...until now. Questlove (Ahmir Khalib Thompson) has rescued it and makes his directorial debut with this feature film streaming on Hulu.

After the losses of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and police violence, The Harlem Cultural Festival was a chance to heal and celebrate black music and culture by bringing together some of the most famous black artists to perform in Mount Morris Park. Black Panthers were hired to provide security so that there wasn't a huge police presence.

Forty hours of footage was shot by producer Hal Tulchin but unlike Woodstock, nobody wanted to turn it into a film or show it on TV, so the footage sat dormant in a basement for decades until rescued and made into this wonderful and inspirational film. And after seeing it, one has to wonder why this got no coverage at the time or since. Mmmm, one does.

See a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder come into his own: Sly and the Family Stone kicking the usual proverbial ass; along with Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Fifth Dimension, Hugh Masekela, the stars of gospel and more. A particular moving and controversial segment shows Nina Simone reading a poem by David Nelson that is clearly not flattering to white folks.

She asks the crowd:

“Are you ready, black people? Are you ready to do what is necessary? Are you ready to smash white things, to burn buildings, are you ready? Are you ready to build black things? Black people, are you ready?"

Fred Hampton was killed later that year, and still today, continuing police brutality and deaths of young black men...At the end of the film, I cried, because so little has changed.

But thankfully, the music hasn't changed and is a positive that endures...and this film is a musical extravaganza!

Rosy the Reviewer says...you missed it in 1969 but now you get to be there!

(Now streaming on Hulu)



Georgetown


An ambitious social climber marries a much older but well-connected woman in order to be somebody.

What is it with old ladies who think a handsome, much younger man wants anything to do with them except money?  Don't they know that once they hit 50 they are invisible?  I know, I'm being cynical, but if you have ever seen some of those TV shows about older women being catfished by young men on the Internet, you would be cynical too.

So anyway, that's what this is about and, of course, it's based on a true story, an article "The Worst Marriage in Georgetown."  It's a pretty bad marriage - well, the worst, really - when the husband kills his wife, right?

Ulrich Mott (Christoph Waltz) has arrived in Washington, D.C. from...not sure where.  He has a very mysterious past but so far he has landed a job as an unpaid intern, though at the age of 50, an intern is not how Ulrich sees himself.  The congressman he works for also doesn't see it so he lets him go ("Not a good fit"), but that doesn't stop Ulrich from getting himself invites to "in" parties and attaching himself to the rich and powerful D.C. society.  And it's at just such a party that Ulrich meets Elsa Breht (Vanessa Redgrave), a rich and famous journalist who knows everybody. When they first meet, Elsa is married but Ulrich so charms her, that when her husband dies, they connect again and ultimately get married, he 50 something, she 40 years older.

When the film begins, Ulrich is hosting a dinner party and Elsa's daughter, Amanda (Annette Bening) shows up.  It is clear that Amanda dislikes Ulrich but her mother dismisses her.  After the dinner, Elsa also dismisses Ulrich telling him not to smoke in the house so he goes out for a walk to have a smoke.  When he gets back home, 91-year-old Elsa is dead.  As Keith Morrison says on "Dateline," "Could it be murrrr-der?"

Well, duh.

So in flashback we see how Elsa and Ulrich meet, how he courts her and how she helps open doors for him in D.C. society. She enjoys helping him make a name for himself in D.C.  However, realizing her mother is being woo'd by a gigolo, Amanda tries to intervene but Elsa is one of those old ladies I mentioned earlier.  She thinks she still has it.  She doesn't.  Ah, vanity. But Elsa eventually catches Ulrich in his lies. Turns out our Ulrich not only doesn't like old ladies, he doesn't like girls! 

But for a time, he manages to cast himself as a player, starting The Eminent Persons Group (I mean, who doesn't want to be an "eminent person?) and parlaying his life into that of a kind of diplomat, getting credit for a peace-making mission when in fact he just took credit for what others did.  Ulrich had a knack for being at the right place at the right time and playing whatever cards he could get. Georgetown is a metaphor for social climbing and hanging out in the corridors of power and that is what Ulrich was all about.  He was a genius at sucking up and giving the rich and powerful what they wanted and needed to hear.  

Written by David Auburn (based on Franklin Foer's aforementioned New York Times article) and directed by Waltz, the film captures the wheeling and dealing that goes on behind the scenes in our Capitol, the jockeying for position, the posing, the posers.  It's great to see Waltz, Vanessa Redgrave (who at 84 still looks great, by the way) and Annette Benning chewing that proverbial scenery. I just wish there had been a bit more background on Ulrich. What was his life like before he came to Washington?  What motivated him? Who was he really?

Rosy the Reviewer says...but all-in-all, a satisfying, old-style melodrama brought to life by wonderful performances.

(On DVD and for rent at Amazon Prime)



The Letter from Your Lover



Two parallel love stories 56 years apart.

Ellie Haworth (Felicity Jones) is a journalist who has broken up with her long-time boyfriend. She is tasked to write an article about the recently-deceased editor of her newspaper and while searching the newspaper archives runs across a love letter to someone identified as "J" from "Boot." Intrigued, Ellie is determined to learn who "J" and "Boot" were and what happened to them.

So begins this romantic film starring Felicity Jones and Shailene Woodley.

Flashback to the 1960's, we learn that "J" is married socialite Jennifer Stirling (Woodley) who meets foreign correspondent Anthony O'Hare (Callum Turner) who has arrived on the French Riviera to interview her husband, Laurence (Joe Alwyn). Laurence is called away and Jennifer and Anthony end up spending the summer together. They write little letters to each other signing them "J" and "Boot" but it's all platonic until Jennifer tries to kiss Anthony. He pulls away and rejected, she returns to London. But Anthony contacts her, asking to meet, and thus begins a clandestine love affair and the two decide to run off together. But wouldn't you know, as Jennifer rushes to meet Anthony at the train station she gets in a car crash resulting in amnesia. Yes, it's one of those where the lovers almost get away but one of them doesn't quite make it. I think that storyline started with "An Affair to Remember."

In the meantime, Laurence has found the last letter Anthony wrote Jennifer, the one where he asks her to meet him and he hides the letter. Jennifer desperately tries to regain her memory and finds several letter from "Boot" hidden around the house which in turn leads her to a post office box that Laurence has closed. When Jennifer confronts Laurence, he reveals that he knew about Anthony but that Anthony has died. And that's that. Or is it?

In the present day, Ellie has a sort of relationship with Rory, the newspaper archivist, as they get to know each other while looking for more love letters but she is down on romance because of her recent break-up.

So...will Jennifer and Anthony ever see each other again?  Will Ellie and Rory hook up?

Again, duh.

This is one of those big production, old-fashioned, romantic feature film soap operas that we came to expect from producter Ross Hunter and director Douglas Sirk during the 50's and 60's. Great sets, lavish costumes, exotic locales. Think Lana Turner in "Imitation of Life" or "Portrait in Black." It's all here: lovers thwarted, amnesia, love letters, the lovers trying to reunite but just missing each other - you know, one walks into an elevator while the other walks out, making you go "Noooo!" 

Yes, well-known potboiler tropes but I loved those movies so I loved this film too.  

I have to say that I was rather put off at first by the casting of Shailene Woodley for this, because I think of her as more of a teen action character, not a sophisticated London socialite. She is certainly no Lana Turner.  But she grew on me.  And I always like Felicity Jones. Her charm is her fidgety sweetness.

Written by Nick Payne and Esta Spalding, based on the book by JoJo Moyes and directed by Augustine Frizzell, the film beautifully recreates the mid-60's where we were still wearing hats and gloves.  A side note: Everyone thinks the 60's was all about hippies but that's not true.  I graduated from high school in 1966 and we were still dressing up with hats and gloves to go to church.


Yours truly with her mother, circa 1966.  

It wasn't until the end of the 60's and the early 70's that the hippie ethos really kicked in. 


Yours truly with a friend circa 1971.  I rest my case!


Rosy the Reviewer says.. it doesn't matter that this is predictable and that you know how it will end.  It's an old-fashioned romance and we need a satisfying ending, preferably with some tears attached - mine - and that's what I got. I enjoyed it and if you like romantic dramas, you will too.

(Now streaming on Netflix)

 



Honest Thief




A bank robber (Liam Neeson) falls in love and tries to go straight -- but it ain't workin' out.

I can't resist Liam Neeson movies. His ability to remain stoic in the face of adversity is a thing to behold. I mean who can forget these lines from the first "Taken" movie:

"...what I do have are a very particular set of skills...skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it...But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you."

Liam has made an entire career out of movies and lines like that, and this one is no exception, though I hate to say it's not as good. But if you like to see Liam work his way out of a sticky situation in his usual deadpan way, you will enjoy this.

Liam plays Tom Dolan AKA "The In-and-Out-Bandit," so-called because he has been robbing banks for six years. He gets in, he gets out. But now he is in love with Annie (Kate Walsh) and wants to get his past behind him. He wants to turn himself in, do his time and then get on with this life. But not as easy as it sounds. He calls the FBI to make a deal. He will turn himself in and hand over the money for a minimum sentence. However, here's the problem. THEY DON'T BELIEVE HIM! They have heard too many false confessions before. But when two of the cops finally decide to check his story out, they find the money and decide to keep it! So now poor Liam has to STEAL THE MONEY BACK!

Okay, I know. Implausible? Yes. But entertaining. Yes! It's Liam bloody Neeson. He always delivers.

So we have bent cops, car chases and over-the-top dialogue.

"I will never see you again."

"I promise you will."

"Because I am Liam bloody Neeson!"

I made that last line up but you get the drift.

Written by Steve Allrich and Mark Williams and directed by Williams, it's all very B-movie with lots of "Huh?" moments, e.g. I couldn't figure out how a guy could be stabbed in the scrotum with a pair of scissors and just keep going. But, you know, if you can suspend disbelief and all of that, this is fun.

Rosy the Reviewer says...it's kind of a cartoon but, hey, we love cartoons, right? And it's Liam Bloody Neeson!

(Available on Amazon Prime)



Supernova


Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth play a married couple dealing with dementia.

Sam and Tusker are a married couple who have been together for years, but two years before, Tusker was diagnosed with dementia and now he is declining quickly. The two decide to go on a road trip, one last one, to say goodbye to friends and family but more importantly to spend time together.  Just like a supernova - a star running out of fuel and exploding - so is Tusker's life.

So Sam and Tusker rent an RV and head out to travel around England's Lake District to see friends and family but when Sam discovers that Tusker has a suicide drug, that changes everything.

Written and directed by Harry Macqueen, this is a tender, quiet film that explores how dementia affects not just the person dealing with it, but that person's loved ones as well.

There is a quote highlighted in the film: 

"We will not starve from lack of wonders, but lack of wonder."

 And this film does not lack wonder. Tucci and Firth are wonderful in this, creating a completely believable, loving relationship between these two characters, often without saying a word.  This is probably their best work to date.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you enjoy seeing two consummate actors at the top of their games at work, then this is for you.

(On DVD and available to rent on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple+ and Vudu)

Thanks for reading!

See you soon!



If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to IMDB.com, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!