Showing posts with label Reality TV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reality TV. Show all posts

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

9:00 am  

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).

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.

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.

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

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? 

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

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

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.

"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.

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


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***


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.

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!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends.

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.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Guilty Pleasures: The Confessions of a Retired Baby Boomer Librarian

I am a smart, educated woman who knows her Proust from her Pinter.  I can talk literature, poetry, current affairs, music and foreign films with the best of them.  I'm a librarian, for god's sake.  I'm edicated.
But I also have my guilty pleasures.

I think I feel less guilty when I remember one of the smartest guys in my college telling me that his favorite movie was "The Love Bug." 

This was a time in the early 70's when no one would admit to anything but seeing the most sophisticated of foreign films - I mean we were COLLEGE students, for god's sake.  After registering my surprise and disgust at his choice, that HE, a philosophy major for god's sake chose a Disney film, and a silly one at that, as his favorite film, his response was, "Hey, I work hard, I use my brain 24/7 so when I want to relax I don't want to have to think.  I want to laugh, enjoy myself."

So as another smarty pants whose mind works overtime, I took that as a free pass to indulge MY guilty pleasures (I would say pleasures, but I am sort of guilty about them).

Lifetime Movies
I have already confessed to this guilty pleasure in my blog "Lifetime Movies," so I won't bore you again on that one, but, c'mon, who wouldn't want to watch a movie called "Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?"

Gossip Magazines and really juicy celebrity bios
When I fly, nothing relaxes me more than reading about Bruce Jenner's possible sex change or whether Jennifer Anniston will get married or not in the gossip rags. I would never dream of gossiping about my friends but hearing about the travails of the rich and famous?  Well, I find it relaxing.  And I feel I am doing a public service when I hand them off to the flight attendants and see how happy they are.  As for the celebrity biographies, I have to review them for "Library Journal."  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

A Latte and a scone after going to the gym
I know.  What's the point of going to the gym if I am going to negate it by eating a scone?  At least it's a "skinny" latte and it could be worse.  I could be going to McDonald's after the gym like some people I won't name...(but whose name starts with H and ends in ubby.)

It all started when I was 12 and the rich girls had these cute little matching skirts and jackets that I couldn't afford.  So now I have 75 jackets.  So there, you rich girls!

Do I really need 100's of them?  No.  But they never turn on you like your tight jeans.  When I weighed considerably more than I do now, I couldn't fit into skinny jeans but my earrings always fit.  That's comforting.  When I'm feeling fat, I buy earrings.

See "Earrings" above.  I feel very Parisian when I am sporting a perfectly tied scarf.  And they hide a multitude of sins!

Late Night Talk Shows
Not sure where I got this from, but it could hark back to my childhood. 
My Dad was against late night talk shows. I think he thought they were too risqué (for all of my Dad's stellar qualities, he was a bit of a prude). So I think that was forbidden fruit for me.  Remember Tom Snyder and Joe Pyne?  Ah, those were the days.

When I was in college and living in married housing alone while my young husband was in Vietnam, Johnny Carson helped me feel less lonely. I would go back to my house late, after play practice, and sit up, listening to Johnny while I did my homework.  What I loved about his show was you never knew when something really impromptu and funny would happen, such as when Johnny asked Frank Sinatra what records HE plays when he wants to get someone in a romantic mood and then Don Rickles comes in to surprise and insult him.  Enjoy!


Reality TV
It all started with "An American Family" that played on PBS in the early 70's.  That was classic cinema verite.  The camera followed around the Loud family of Santa Barbara and captured one of the sons coming out to his parents and the wife asking her husband for a divorce.

That was followed by my all-time favorite documentary, the Up Series where director Michael Apted followed the lives of 14 British children from the age of 7 to present, with the presumption that social class predicts one's future.  Does it?

Those two series are the epitome of excellent reality TV.  I was hooked.

However, I can't really explain "Ru Paul's Drag Race" or "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" or "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" or "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Rehab" or "Wife Swap" or..."Cheaters" or "Southern Charm" or..."Real World"...

Dining Out/Happy Hour
Here's how I feel about going out for dinner and/or drinks. It's the best way to get away from the distractions of the home and have real conversations.  You can really talk when you are around a table, no distractions and some drinks don't hurt.

Sleeping in
I have never been a morning person.  Hubby gets up at 6am even on the weekends.  Ugh.  I am amazed I was able to get to work on time all of those ears before I retired.  Now most days I don't have to be anywhere early so I can indulge myself and get up when I please.  Of course, it doesn't help that I am also a night owl.  Ever since I was a little girl, I didn't want to go to bed.  I think I thought I was going to miss something.  Now I think it's just inertia.

Dressing up my dogs
It all started with my first blog where I thought it would be fun to illustrate classic books using my dogs as models.  And it all went downhill from there.  I am now hopelessly addicted.

        "Harvey"                               Red boots, a Beatles tee and a fascinator
What more could a girl want?


Romeo, Romeo,
wherefore art thou, Romeo?


While I was working it was possible to rein some of these things in. 

Now that I am retired, I worry I will spend my time watching Lifetime movies or late night talk shows, celebrity gossip magazine in hand, eating a scone wearing a new jacket and a big pair of earrings, scarf nattily tied, with a dog dressed up like Honey Boo Boo sitting next to me.

Or not.

Life is short and sometimes pleasures few.  Enjoy yourself without guilt!

What are your guilty pleasures? 

Dare you confess?
See you Friday for the

"The Week in Reviews"
Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends.