Showing posts with label Television. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Television. Show all posts

Friday, February 24, 2017

"Fifty Shades Darker" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "Fifty Shades Darker" as well as DVDs "American Pastoral" and "Birth of a Nation."  The Book of the Week is "Everything I Need to Know I Learned in The Twilight Zone."  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with Rene Clair's "A Nous A Liberte."]

Fifty Shades Darker

Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey are back but instead of "darker," I would say this is "Fifty Shades Lighter."

Of course I was going to review this one.  I reviewed the first one, and yes, I called it, boring, a snooze fest (here is the full review) and a "Lifetime Movie with boobs and butts," but I was hoping that perhaps the producers of this sequel would have read my review, decided to listen to me and provide something a little spicier than last time.

Well...they didn't!

For all of the hype around S & M and bondage, again this is pretty tame stuff.  Even more tame than the first one.  I mean, who hasn't had some sex play with handcuffs, right?  Oh, OK...never mind.  

But I will say, I enjoyed the story more this time. 

As for the sex, at my age when the long sex scenes come on, I get kind of bored and wish I was at home so I could fast forward.  But that's just me.  I guess I am just too old for slathering on warm oil and the old Ben Wa balls.  And speaking of Ben Wa balls, what's the deal?  This is the second time in the last few months when they have played a major role in a movie (see my review for "The Handmaiden").  But I am getting ahead of myself here.

Anyway, as for this second installment directed by James Foley, which I know is not the last one in the series, we find our heroine, Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) on her own with a new job.  As you may recall from the first film (and I am assuming you saw the first film or you wouldn't be interested in this one), Christian (Jamie Dornan) was a bit, shall we say "excessive" with Ana and she left him.  But as this second film begins, Ana receives a bouquet of white roses from Christian wishing her well on her new job. She almost tosses them but decides against it. Then Christian seeks her out at a gallery showing and begs her to have dinner with him where he says he wants to try again.  After a bit of about two seconds...Ana is convinced and once again they are a couple, though this time Christian promises he will act more like a boyfriend and less like her master.  In fact, they laugh about how "vanilla" their relationship has become, something Christian used to say he never wanted.

There are the usual sex scenes, because this is a story about sex, but like I said, they don't involve much in the way of S & M or even bondage as Christian is trying to learn how to have "vanilla" sex.  But what this movie DOES have, which the first one didn't, is an actual plot.  Anastasia is stalked by one of Christian's ex-submissives, which is a tiny bit interesting, and then Christian does a bit of stalking too, which is a creepy bit interesting.  Ana's new boss, Jack, played by Eric Johnson, makes an aggressive play for her too.  So our Ana is a busy girl trying to dodge all of this activity. 

And how do I know there is going to be yet another installment? 

Well, there were more than two books in the series for one thing, but even if you didn't know that, it's a giveaway when the film ends with a character, who played a small role earlier, looks menacingly at the camera with an "I'll be back" look on his face.

So if you like love stories, this one is OK, though I am irritated by passive women and controlling men. I laughed when Christian and others said that Ana wasn't likely to go along with something just because she is told to.  Really?  I guess she must pick her battles, though I'm not sure what they are, since she lets Christian order her meal; she doesn't go to NYC for a work thing just because Christian says no; and when Christian admits to something that I would definitely call a red flag, she sticks with him. 

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson do what they can with a script by Niall Leonard (based on the E.L. James novels) that at times has some cheesy lines.  If I were to judge Johnson by these films, I would think she doesn't have much range, but I have seen Johnson in other films since, and she is a talented actress who can do comedy and drama.  I especially enjoyed her in "How To Be Single."  Likewise, Dornan is much better than he appears in these films. Yes, he is a handsome, sexy guy, but his Christian is still awfully creepy. But if you want to see what he can really do, see him in "Anthropoid," a film I reviewed recently.  He is wonderful.  And did I mention that he is one handsome dude?

Kim Basinger is also in this, but I am still wondering why.  Her character seemed unnecessary.  Marcia Gay Harden plays Christian's mother and as an actress she is always fine. I have no complaints, but again, she doesn't have much to do as a mother in a sex film. But it's Eric Johnson as Ana's boss, Jack, who got my attention.  He is a Canadian actor who so far is best known for the TV shows "The Knick" and "Flash Gordon," but I say, watch for him.  He will go far.  He has that special combination of looks, talent, sophistication and charm, even though here he plays a heavy.

And speaking of Canada...the film supposedly takes place in Seattle and being a Seattleite, I like that and look for familiar sights. Look!  There is the Space Needle!  We must be in Seattle! I also really love Vancouver, B.C. so it's rather disconcerting to see the opening establishing shot showing Seattle, but then the next frame?  Our characters are definitely in Gastown in Vancouver B.C. and every other frame is clearly NOT Seattle.  Why?  BECAUSE THE MOVIE IS FILMED ENTIRELY IN VANCOUVER!!!  All I can say, is "C'mon!!!"  Why even bother to pretend we are in Seattle? 

Rosy the Reviewer says...the title is very misleading.  If you are expecting this to be "darker" you will be disappointed, but if you want a soft porn love story, it works.

***Some Movies You Might Have Missed***
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)!


American Pastoral (2016)

An ex-college football star and his beauty queen wife who seem to have everything must come to grips with their daughter's involvement in the protest movement of the 1960's.

I wanted to love this movie.  I like movies about the protest generation of the 60's and 70's because I was there.  I was one of them.  My parents were part of the so-called "Greatest Generation." The "Greatest Generation" revered security and serenity after the war years, and then we Baby Boomers came along, eschewing all of that and we became their greatest nightmare.  The Baby Boomers embraced sex, drugs, rock and roll and protest.

Ewan McGregor stars as Seymour Levov, also known as "The Swede," because, though he was Jewish, he eschewed traditional Jewish values, married a shiksa beauty queen, moved to the suburbs and became "whitewashed," a theme that writer Philip Roth liked to explore in his books, and "American Pastoral," on which this film is based, is no exception.  Seymour was a football hero who got to marry a beauty queen (Jennifer Connolly). His life looked perfect except for one thing.  His daughter, Merry (Dakota Fanning) developed a terrible stutter, and as she grew older, rejected his life and was swallowed up by the turmoil of the 60's.

Merry is a sensitive but confident kid, her stutter notwithstanding, and as she matures, she actually becomes a pain in the neck to her parents.  She sees a monk immolate himself on TV - a fairly common occurrence during the Vietnam War era - and she is deeply disturbed by it.  Over time she becomes more and more obsessed about the War and starts blaming her father and mother for their middle class lives. 

Merry has a contentious relationship with her mother and the shrink trying to help them with Merry's stuttering says she is trying to compete with her beautiful mother, a premise that goes nowhere in this film.  Seymour dotes on Merry and when she argues with her father about his life and the war, he tells her that if she cares so much to "bring the war home." So much for parental advice.  Not sure if he meant it literally but that's how she took it, so she blows up the local post office.  Unfortunately, the post master was inside.  Mary disappears and the rest of the film involves Semour's efforts to find his daughter and to try to understand what happened.

The film begins at a high school reunion for the Class of '51.  Seymour's brother, Jerry (Rupert Evans), is there and classmate Nathan Zuckerman (David Strathairn), now a famous author, asks about "The Swede," which gives Jerry the opportunity to tell him about Seymour and for Nathan to provide the narration for what transpires as an American tragedy.

Ewan McGregor not only stars in this film, but directed it as well. It bombed at the box office, and I am not sure why.  It has wonderful actors and a compelling story with a screenplay by John Romano based on Philip Roth's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, but I guess in this time where animated and horror films rule, it didn't get the hype it deserved.  Also, the critics were not kind.  But it is not an easy thing to bring a multi-layered novel like this one to the screen, so though I will say the film fell down a bit in the second half, I liked it. I didn't love it like I wanted to, but I liked it. 

We are all familiar with the radicals of the 60's and 70's and the bombings but what about their mothers and fathers?  How did they feel about the activities of their kids?  What did they go through as a result?  This film attempts to explore that - parental despair when their children reject everything they stand for and their inability to believe their own children could turn out to be something they don't want them to be - and it gets the message across.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Sorry, haters, I liked this film and found it very compelling.  I think my fellow Baby Boomers will too.

Birth of a Nation (2016)

A dramatization of the famous slave uprising led by Nat Turner.

Here is another film that did not live up to its promise, but not because it wasn't a good film. Soon after the film was released, it came to light that star/director/writer/producer Nate Parker had been accused of rape while in college and that hurt the film.

Not to be confused with the 1915 D.W. Griffith film of the same name that glorified the KKK as defenders of southern women against the newly freed slaves, this film tells the story of "the birth" of Nat Turner (Parker), a slave who was allowed to learn to read and write (something that was forbidden for slaves to do) and who became a preacher.  He was used by the slave owners to preach to other slaves the importance of doing what their masters told them.

Set in in Virginia, this is a biopic that shows Turner's rise as a preacher, his rise as a leader of the slaves and their eventual rebellion in 1831.  At first Nat was used as a pawn by the slave owners to keep the slaves in line, using religion to passify the slaves and validate their control over them, but as time went by Nat couldn't stand what he saw, and when his wife (Aja Naomi King) was brutally raped, he wanted revenge.  He began to understand that his preaching had real power and he started to use it to galvanize the slaves and to orchestrate an uprising.

The first two-thirds of the film chronicles Nat's life and the last third of the film shows how the slave revolt, known as Nat Turner's Rebellion, played out where over 50 whites were killed and hundreds of slaves hanged.

As Turner, Parker is a compelling film presence, who sensitively shows Turner's conversion from quiet, obedient preacher of the gospel to loud, radical preacher of rebellion.

I always affirm the need to see films like this - holocaust films fall into that category too - because we must never forget the horrors of slavery and the holocaust, but it never gets any easier to see the incredibly cruel and inhuman treatment inflicted on humans by their fellow humans.  This is a difficult film to watch.  There is one scene that shows a slave owner's little white daughter playing with a slave child, except the little white girl is dragging the slave child around by a noose.  That one image says it all and shows the power of film.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a difficult film to watch, and despite the controversy surrounding its star and director, an important one that deserves to be seen.


***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

213 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

A Nous A Liberte (1931)

Two convicts escape from prison.  One prospers, the other doesn't.

Louis (Raymond Cordy) and Emile (Henri Marchand) plan an escape from prison.  Louis makes it out but Emile is recaptured.  Louis goes on to build a factory empire but when Emile gets out of the prison and recognizes Louis, Louis's new life is threatened.

Rene Clair was a French film director whose early silent films were reknowned for their innovations. However, he is probably best known by American audiences for his later films, "I Married a Witch" and "And Then There Were None."

This is an early film that, though not really a silent film, has little dialogue, instead substituting music and song where dialogue might have been.  It is a sort of whimsical film - half comedy, half musical - that pokes fun at the pomposity of the upper classes. There is also a scene with an assembly line getting out of control.  Sound familiar?  It all has a very Chaplinesque feel to it, so much so that after Chaplin's "Modern Times" was released in 1936, Chaplin was sued for plagiarism over it.

Even a film enthusiast like myself has a hard time with these really old films. I think it didn't take much in the early days of cinema to delight audiences, because they were just happy to see moving images and hear the characters in the film talk.  I guess we expect more these days.

Why it's a Must See:  "Interestingly, much of the humor in [this film] stems from carefully manipulated screen space and sequence...It's a formula freed from dialogue and adopted directly from the silent cinema as a transitional vehicle into the talkies."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

As I make my way through this project (to watch the 1001 movies I must see before I die) and encounter films I might not have necessarily wanted to see, I have found some unlikely treasures but also suffered through some that were just not my thing.

Rosy the Reviewer says... sadly, early film comedies with slapstick and over the top plots are just not my thing.
(b & w)

***Book of the Week***

Everything I Need To Know I Learned in The Twilight Zone by Mark Dawidziak (2017)

Remember that book, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum that was all the rage in the 80's? Well this book thinks that all we really need for a good life is the lessons from "The Twilight Zone."

Rod Serling may no longer be a household name, but in the early 1960's his anthology television program, "The Twilight Zone," was de rigeur viewing and everyone could hum the iconic theme music. 

With famous actors like Burgess Meredith and even Robert Redford starring, the show was part scifi, part horror and, according to author and veteran TV critic Mark Dawidziak, the show was also really a series of morality plays that could serve as guides to life.

"Lurking in almost every at least one guiding rule, one life lesson, one stirring reminder of a basic right or wrong taught to us as children.  There are lessons for individuals.  There are lessons for our society.  There are lessons for our planet."

Dawidziak has divided the book into chapters, each with a moral lesson, followed by synopses of episodes that illustrated those lessons, e.g. "Nobody said life was fair," "That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and "Never cry wolf."

Though Dawidziak includes descriptions of most episodes, this is not really an episode guide or a history of the show per se, though he does a short bio of Serling that highlights Serling's moral code, and Serling's daughter weighs in on her Dad, but rather it's a light-hearted self-help book courtesy of "The Twilight Zone," where he links each episode to an old saying, e.g.  Walter Bedeker (David Wayne) sells his soul to the devil in "Escape Clause." Hence the lesson: "Read every contract...carefully."

When speaking about Serling, his daughter says:

 "The seeds of his strongly felt convictions, understanding of human nature, and ability to see beyond the obvious were nourished at Antioch [college] and would become the trademarks of his work...It has often been said that the episodes of The Twilight Zone are parables -- short allegorical stories designed to illustrate or teach some truth or moral lesson.  My father always said, though, 'Whenever you write, whatever you write, never make the mistake of assuming the audience is any less intelligent than you are.' Keeping that in mind, he used television as a vehicle to bring awareness of the hypocrisy and disingenuous nature of many of the ills wrought on society by selfishness, apathy, and a lack of a moral compass. Throughout his career my father's deepest concern was for the well-being of humanity."

There are also "Guest Lessons" after most chapter/episodes, and then Dawidziak might weigh in also.  We hear from Jack Klugman, Dick Van Dyke, Harlan Ellison and others about what the episode meant to them.

Serling wrote 92 of the 156 episodes that ran from 1959-1964 but he introduced them all, and starting in Season II, said the famous intro line that many of us Baby Boomers could recite then and now:

"You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the Twilight Zone!" 

Doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo!

Though, as I mentioned, Dawidziak's title pays homage to Fulghum's 1988 bestseller, Dawidziak considers his book a step up from kindergarten, calling it "postgraduate work." 

"Not to diminish or dismiss anyone else's dose of self-help inspiration, but kindergarten just didn't provide enough basic intel for me.  I definitely required a good deal of postgraduate work after moving on from the land of finger-painting and A-B-C blocks.  Some of us are just slow learners, I suppose.  Some of us need more.  Some of us need extended stays in the Twilight Zone."

Rosy the Reviewer says...those of us who grew up with this show can cite our favorites so it's fun reading the background on those episodes.  Mine was "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet."

What was your favorite episode?

Thanks for reading!

I am back on Tuesday 

for my Oscar recap,


"Let's Dish About the Oscars!"

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to copy and paste or 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

Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

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, find the movie you are interested in.  Once there, click on the link that says "Explore More" on the right side of the screen.  Scroll down to External Reviews and when you get to that page, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.

NOTE:  On some entries, this has changed.  If you don't see "Explore More" on the right side of the screen, scroll down just below the description of the film in the middle of the page. Click where it says "Critics." Look for "Rosy the Reviewer" on the list.

Or if you are using a mobile device, look for "Critics Reviews." Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."

Friday, December 9, 2016

Some of Rosy the Reviewer's Favorite TV Shows: 2016 Edition

It's ironic that this is the greatest time of year for someone like me - Rosy the Reviewer - who loves movies and loves reviewing them, because Oscar season is upon us and all of the great films that will be up for Academy Award consideration are in the theatres now or soon will be.  The irony is that this is also the holiday season and Rosy the Reviewer is not immune to all of the busyness the holidays entail, so because of that I have not been able to see as many films as I would like to so, alas, and I hope I am not letting you down, I don't have a new movie review for you this Friday.

But as you know, Rosy the Reviewer also loves TV and no amount of holiday hassle keeps her from her favorite programs, so as an early holiday gift to you, I thought I would give you a handy list of, not just my current favorite TV shows, but just some damn good TV!

Enjoy - and Happy Holidays!

You are very welcome.

The Crown

Elizabeth II is the longest ruling British monarch and this riveting dramatic series shows us how it all happened.  Watch the awards "reign" down on this show (I know, but I can't help it)!

Rosy the Reviewer says...a real life "Game of Thrones" but without the dragons.
(Streaming on Netflix)

This is Us

Don't say I didn't give you a heads up on this one when it wins all of the Emmys.

All of the actors are first rate but Crissy Metz is a stand out and one to watch.  She is amazing. 

Rosy the Reviewer family drama to come along in years.  Trust me.
(Tuesdays, 10pm, ABC - Catch up on Hulu or On Demand)

The Affair

Affairs can be messy and we see just how messy from the points of views of all of the characters involved, Roshomon style.

Rosy the Reviewer says...really good adult TV - wonderful award-winning acting and all kinds of twists and turns that will keep you engrossed and guessing.
(Sundays, 10pm, Showtime - catch up on Hulu or On Demand)


Love true crime, love Lester Holt, but SPOILER ALERT - it's always the husband!

Rosy the Reviewer says...the best in true crime TV.
(Fridays, 9pm, NBC - but it seems like it's on every night)

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

Samantha Bee started out on John Stewart's show and now has her own platform for political commentary.

Rosy the Reviewer says...If you miss John Stewart this is for you. Hang on to your hats.  She tells it like it is...and if you lean to the right, she might scare you even more.
(TBS, Mondays, 10:30pm)

The Big Interview with Dan Rather

Ex-newscaster Dan Rather, schooled in the broadcast world of Walter Cronkite when we trusted the news, spends an hour with different celebrities and interviews them in a very thoughtful way.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Rather has a wonderful interviewing technique but, Dan, in the chaos that is now network news and the fake news rife on the Internet, why did you leave the news?  WE NEED YOU AND WALTER!
(AXS TV, various times, click on link above to watch online)

The Late Late Show with James Corden

Following on the heels of Craig Ferguson, British actor James Corden lends his unique brand of humor and his British sensibility to late night.

Rosy the Reviewer says...and his Carpool Karaoke is not to be missed. One of the funniest and most entertaining things you will see on TV!
(CBS, Weeknights, 12:30am)

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Tony blew the lid off of the pressure cooker, so to speak, with his first book "Kitchen Confidential (because of him, we don't order fish in a restaurant on a Monday, right? ), and since then, he has had several TV shows where he traveled the world and ate a ton of food (how do you stay so skinny, Tony?). 

However, this show is his favorite -- and he told me himself!

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you love food and travel and an always interesting point of view about both, you will love this show.
(various times on CNN - check listings)

X Factor UK

This is a British singing competition that is part singing, part over-the-top production numbers and lots and lots of Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne. Some of the biggest names in music show up to perform on this show, too.  I'm talkin' Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, that kind of big name.  Much more fun than our song competitions.

Rosy the Reviewer says...the best song competition show on TV.
(AXS, Sundays and Mondays, 5pm PT)

Now back to reality (mine anyway):

Ladies of London

Part of the "Real Housewives" franchise, except this one has British socialites and American expats thrown together, and since deep down, I don't think the Brits really approve of us, it's a bloody mess but with really classy accents and you know how I feel about England. Heaven.

Rosy the Reviewer says...all of the things I love - England, beautiful clothes and skinny bitches.  My favorite housewives.
(Bravo, Tuesdays, 10pm)

Little Women: L.A.

A sort of "Real Housewives," but these are little people and the point here is, they may be little people but they have the same big problems as everyone else.  If you are a "Dancing With the Stars" fan, you will recognize Terre, whose big personality lit up the show and proved that little people can do everything us larger folks can and sometimes with more personality.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a chance to learn about your fellow humans who may not be just like you but they have the same dreams, desires and problems.
(It's currently on hiatus - find it On Demand or Hulu)

Great British Baking Show/Great American Baking Show

Yet another show we have stolen from the Brits ("Great British Baking Show"), but thank goodness we haven't messed with it too much and it is a very close version to the original, even starring the wonderful Mary Berry, who is a very youthful 81. I love us women of a certain age to be stars!

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you love cooking competitions, this is one of the best (but watch the British version too).
Thursdays, 9pm, ABC

And now from the sublime to the...well, you know...

Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars

This show is perfect when you have had a rough day, you don't want to think too much and your spouse is being impossible. After watching this, your spouse will look like a saint.  And if not, there is actually some good marriage advice if you do want to think.

Rosy the Reviewer says...when you are in the mood for a train wreck!
(WeTV, Fridays, 9pm)

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday 

for my review of

"Office Christmas Party"


The Week in Reviews

(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before 

 I Die Project." 

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to copy and paste or 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

Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

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, find the movie you are interested in.  Once there, click on the link that says "Explore More" on the right side of the screen.  Scroll down to External Reviews and when you get to that page, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.

NOTE:  On some entries, this has changed.  If you don't see "Explore More" on the right side of the screen, scroll down just below the description of the film in the middle of the page. Click where it says "Critics." Look for "Rosy the Reviewer" on the list.

Or if you are using a mobile device, look for "Critics Reviews." Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What I Have Learned from "Game of Thrones"

I am feeling kind of depressed today, and I think it's because Season Six of "Game of Thrones" just ended.

If you read this blog, you know I am a hopeless TV addict, so you will be surprised that I have not watched or binge-watched the many long-running dramas such as "Mad Men," "Orange is the New Black," "Breaking Bad," "The Good Wife" and other shows that have been so popular.  I guess I've been too busy with "Naked and Afraid" and "Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars."

However, there is one drama that Hubby and I have become hooked on and that is "Game of Thrones."

It wasn't that long ago that I didn't know my Cersei from my Jon Snow.  "Game of Thrones" had already been on for five seasons when I decided to give it a try.  My daughter was an avid fan and had been talking about it so much that I was intrigued.  So when Season Five began last year, I started TIVO'ing it and then ran to the library to get the earlier seasons to binge watch and get caught up. I figured that if we watched a couple shows per week of Seasons 1-4, we would be caught up by the time I had all of the Season Five episodes taped (I have since been disabused by a friend that watching a show two times a week is NOT binge-watching so I guess I'm still learning). 

We had a trip to Rome and the Amalfi Coast planned during that catch-up time, so we even took some of the discs with us.  I have fond memories of sitting on the bed in our room in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome after a long day of sightseeing and watching The Night's Watch prepare for the attack of the Wildings (Season 4) on Hubby's laptop.

So when we arrived home from our trip, we were well and truly ensconced in "Game of Thrones."

Warning:  If you haven't been watching "Game of Thrones" and plan to, proceed with caution.  Possible spoiler alerts.

As I said, Season Six ended the day before yesterday (Sunday), and I am not happy that I have to wait another year to find out whether Daenarys will take control of the Seven Kingdoms, get a boyfriend (or girlfriend) and live happily ever after, who Jon Snow's father is and what will happen to Sansa and Arya, though I have to say there is some deep satisfaction that the icky High Sparrow has finally been dispatched. What a pain he was!

What is it about these TV shows that draw us in to the point that we will spend entire weekends watching episode after episode because we can't get enough? 

I think that telling and listening to a good story is in our DNA. 

A good story speaks to who we are and some themes transcend time and place. Where once we sat around the fire eating our mastodon steak and recounting our adventures fighting dinosaurs, now we stand around the water cooler at work with our Starbucks and retell our favorite moments in our favorite TV shows. Some things never change. We can all come together and bond over a good story and "Game of Thrones" is a damn good story with elements we can relate to, despite the fact it takes place hundreds of years ago and features dragons.  

In the end, it doesn't matter if you are a "Game of Thrones" fan or an "Outlander" fan or a "Mad Men" fan.  If it's a good story with family problems, mother and daughter relationships, royal intrigue, romance, danger, war, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, sex, all of which are part of the human condition, it speaks to us as humans. We can relate in some fashion to all of those.  Well, maybe not the royal part, but all of the other stuff.

All of those things draw us together in common experience.  For example, we realize that mothers throughout time have had to deal with children who didn't do what they wanted them to do.  Friends have betrayed friends and fathers have been disappointed in their sons then and now.  Dragons have come to our rescue.  Well, maybe not that, but the gamut of human emotions and frailties are played out. There is usually a sense of catharsis at the end of a particularly intense or satisfying episode, and we can also feel grateful when we realize that their lives are way worse than ours. For example, unlike in the "Game of Thrones" world, I don't particularly need to worry that when I am feasting on a big leg of lamb at a banquet, that I could very well get my throat slit. There is comfort in that.

Watching "Game of Thrones" also gives us an escape from our sometimes mundane lives and allows us to be a part of something epic without having to leave home and actually participate in bloody battles or live in drafty castles.

It's also educational.

We can learn some things when we watch stories like "Game of Thrones." 

Here are some things I learned:

  • I learned that I wasn't such a bad Mom.  My kids would have been mortified and probably never forgiven me, if, like Cersei, I had pissed off the local clergy and had to do a naked "Walk of Shame" down the streets of our town with the soccer moms shouting "Shame! Shame!" and me wishing I hadn't eaten that extra piece of chocolate cake. Cersei probably would also have caused scenes at ball games or blown up the hot dog stand if her kids didn't get to play. I also didn't kill my kids. I managed to avoid all of that.

  • I learned I have a vengeful side.  I couldn't wait to see Lord Ramsay Bolton, one of the most insidious and sadistic characters of all time, get his, and, boy, did he.  I HATED him!  During the penultimate episode, I sweated so much that I think I lost about 30 pounds or maybe it was all that jumping up and down in glee I did.

  • Lord Bolton's demise also taught me that it's a good idea to keep your dogs fed, especially if you are an abusive husband and your wife plans for you to go to the dogs, literally.

  • I learned that family feuds don't end well nor does running off and joining a cult.

  • Women can be badass warriors.

  • It's not just me.  Wine has always been with us.  They drank a lot of it back then.

  • We should have some dragons at our beck and call or at least a dire wolf or two.

  • I learned that if you are a hunky, handsome leading man, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that you will be brought back from the dead, especially if we pray really hard.

  • And in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, "It ain't over till it's over." In a really good series like "Game of Thrones," the story and characters are unpredictable and continually surprising. Just like Jon Snow coming back to life, you can't predict what will happen. I can't wait to see what is in store.

I have a question though.  With all of that velvet, brocade, leather and lace everyone wore back then, where did they get their clothes dry-cleaned?

Watching "Game of Thrones" has helped to wean me off of my diet of "Housewives," home tours, food competitions and other reality shows and to broaden my TV watching horizons. 

So "Game of Thrones" may be done for this season, which makes me sad, but I plan to drown my sorrows by immersing myself in one of these series. 

"Breaking Bad"
"Orange is the New Black"
"House of Cards"
"The Fall"

Along with some wine and my very own little dire poodle, that ought to do the trick until "Game of Thrones" comes back!

See you next year "Game of Thrones!"

Until then...

Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday

for my review of

"Now You See Me 2"



The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)


and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
 I Die Project."


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