Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Letting Myself Go: Questionable Fashion Choices for a Woman of a Certain Age and Size

OK I know what you are thinking, but it looked really cute in "Elle Magazine." 

What I didn't realize at the time was that it was probably on a 7 foot model who weighed about 120 pounds and was probably air brushed to boot.  However, when I see something in a magazine or catalog, I tend to think that's what it will look like on me. It's a weakness I have.

So I bought that coat and wore it on a recent trip to California.  At the place where we park our car at the airport, the attendant said to me, "That's some coat."

Now, let me say that whenever someone starts a comment about you with "That's some...," that is NOT a compliment.  "I like your coat" is a compliment.  "You look nice" is a compliment.  "That's some coat" is not a compliment.

So I should have been ready when we were going through security and the TSA person said to me, "Is that your dog?" 

"What?!" I replied.

She immediately realized she had mistaken the fur on the bottom of my coat for a dog.  We both had a laugh (I was crying inside).

I should have asked her if my "dog" made my butt look fat.

So that little incident made me think about my current fashion choices.

It's no surprise to anyone who knows me or who reads this blog that I consider myself a bit of a fashionista.  OK, basically I am a clothes horse, a hoarder, a shopaholic, whatever you want to call me.  It's been like that practically all of my life, probably since my Dad told me he thought it was perfectly reasonable for me to have a different outfit for every day of the week. That said, it wasn't difficult for me to make the stretch to have enough outfits that I would never need to wear the same thing ever again.

And I have never been afraid to embrace the latest styles, colors and fads.

At 13, I wore this cape to a football game.

I wasn't afraid to sport green shoes (they had pink trim to match the ensemble)

Big earrings were always my thing.

I embraced the famous "Sassoon" haircut when it was first popular.

I even went shorter when I was feeling "punk" and wanted to channel Annie Lennox (Hey, it was the 80's!)

I experimented with vintage dresses, armbands and headbands

Bell bottoms

And hats.

When you are young and slim, you can get away with a lot in fashion.

When you are a woman of a certain age and let's say, no longer thin, not so much.

For example, these shoes are hard to explain.

When you have to suck it in this much, probably not a good fit.

And when someone asks you if you are trying out for a part in "Wicked," probably not a good fashion choice.

And here I look like I am about to break into a song from "Snow White."

Does this hat make my head look fat?

And please, Lord, tell me I was wearing this to a costume party or a rodeo.
(I wasn't).

So you can see I have been dragged into old age kicking and screaming.  Some habits die hard.
One thing many of us women worry about as we age is "letting ourselves go." (You men should worry about it, too, but that's a whole different blog post.)
That usually means getting fat, lazy, not wearing make-up, going gray...I think it's even worse for the Baby Boom Generation because we didn't think we would ever get old.  They should have called us "The Peter Pan Generation."
But that's not a bad thing.  We may be in our 50's and 60's, but we aren't doing "old age" like our parents.  We may be retired, but our retirement is not our parents' retirement.
Ellen Goodman, in her last column upon her retirement after 46 years of writing, wrote about "Letting ourselves go," but she was not talking about getting old and fat.  She wanted to "reclaim" the phrase to mean something quite different.
She said, "Now, we find ourselves on the cutting edge of another huge social change. This time, it's the longevity revolution. Ours is the first generation to collectively cross the demarcation line of senior citizenship with actuarial tables on our side...We don't have a label yet to describe the early, active aging. But many of us are pausing to recalculate the purpose of a longer life. We are reinventing ourselves and society's expectations, just as we have throughout our lives."
So "letting ourselves go" can be a good thing because we are letting ourselves GO FOR IT.  Just as in our youth we were the generation of great social change, so will we be as we age.
I have enjoyed experimenting with fashion all of my life, and I am not stopping now.  Yes, I could lose a few pounds, yes, I will probably make more fashion mistakes, but I don't care. 
Because, whether it's fashion or life choices, I am going to continue to let myself go for it. 
Too much?

Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday
for my review of the new movie
My Week in Reviews
and an update 

on my

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


Friday, November 7, 2014

"Nightcrawler" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "Nightcrawler," DVDs "Last Passenger," and "Fort Bliss," the book "Kitchn" and the new Seattle restaurant Trove.  I also bring you up to speed on my "1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" and share my "A-Ha Moment of the Week"]

"Night Crawler" is Creepy Crawly
Lou Bloom is looking for a career and decides to become a "nightcrawler," an independent crime videographer, one of those guys who listen to police scanners and troll for blood and gore.  The only problem is, Lou is a sociopath and is not above creating his own stories.
Jake Gyllenhaal puts in a bravura performance as Lou, who starts out as a petty thief, who is not above a little violence if it will get him what he wants.  He is also a loner, probably a sociopath, but at the very least nutty as hell.  He is self taught via the computer and spouts all kinds of pop psychology, business jargon and platitudes that he has learned there. He has developed an obsequious demeanor that belies the sociopath within. Think a cross between Gary Busey (after his brain injury) and Mr. Ripley.
Lou needs a job and when he comes upon an accident and watches the crime stringers videotaping the scene and finds out how much they make for their videos, he decides that's the career path he wants to take.  He gets a police scanner and a video camera and drives his beaten up Ford Fiesta to the scenes of accidents, fires and crimes.  At one scene, he gets right in the face of a bleeding, dying man and takes his footage to a news station where he meets Nina Romina (Renee Russo), the hard-boiled head of the news department, and she buys his footage, thus unknowingly entering into a deal with the devil.  Soon Lou is driving a new Mustang and has hired a homeless guy, Rick (Riz Ahmed) to be his navigator. It becomes apparent that Lou will do anything to get his footage, including violence and murder.  He has found his calling.

This is a jaundiced view of TV news reporting with everyone fighting for the most graphic shots.  When Lou first encounters Nina to pick her brain about what kinds of footage they are looking for, she says, "A woman running down the street screaming with her throat cut."  You get the idea. This is "Network" on steroids. And it's a testament to those of us out there in TV land who require more and more violent images to get us to watch the news. 
Jake has perfected the "strange guy" role - all  the way back to "Donnie Darko" through "Enemy" and this role is no different.  He is shivery creepy and soulless - a fantastic performance.  I also don't remember his eyes being so buggy.  Not sure if they were enhanced or if that's called "acting."
It's good to see Renee Russo again.  This is only her 4th film since 2005, thus showing how difficult it is for a woman her age in Hollywood to get film roles.  She is really good here as the news director who is a woman of a certain age, who needs to keep up with the competition and begins to think her career hinges on Lou's pictures.  She is willing to do anything to get them, including a reluctant relationship with Lou.

But Riz Ahmed is the breakout and a gem in this film.  His twitchy, sweaty Rick is vulnerable and sensitive as he gets caught up in this nightmare that is Lou's world.

Despite a hole in the script that bothered me, first time director, Dan Gilroy (he also wrote the script), gets it all right as he takes us into Lou's amoral, dark world and the cinematography and score underline it all beautifully.
Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like dark, original and thrilling, you will love this film. Gyllenhaal puts in an Oscar worthy performance, and I wouldn't be surprised if Ahmed and Russo get nods for Best Supporting Actor.

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

Last Passenger (2013)

Six passengers on a London commuter train find themselves hijacked by an unseen driver with an evil plan.

Dr. Lewis Shaler (Dougray Scott) and his son, Max, are headed home from London late at night.  Dr. Shaler falls asleep and when he awakes, he sees a man crawling across the tracks.  He tries to alert the conductor and when he gets no response, it becomes apparent that the train has been hijacked by a driver with ill-intent.  The train is passing all of the stops and speeding toward crashing at the end of the line.  Shaler alerts his fellow passengers - now just four others - and where earlier they had been devisive, now they must work together to save themselves.

It's a well worn cinematic device.  We've seen it before with "Speed," "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3" and "Runaway Train."  A disparate group of people are caught up in a disaster situation and must band together to save themselves.  And in so doing, their true life stories are revealed.

Here we have the doctor who is needed in the emergency room traveling with his young (and obnoxious son), the beautiful party girl (Kara Tointon), the officious, uptight businessman (David Schofield), the Polish thug (Iddo Goldberg) and the older woman with a heart condition (Lindsay Duncan). All seems fine at the outset, except for some ominous music and suddenly the train is racing through stops with no warning to oncoming traffic.  The train has become a death missile.  We know trouble is brewing.  I am always amazed in these life and death situations, that people have time to spill their life stories and even have sex.  But, hey, I've never been on a death train before, so what do I know?

It's the directorial debut for Omid Nooshin and he has done a great job creating a single claustrophobic setting.  Dougray Scott makes a handsome yet sensitive action hero and I wonder why we don't see him star in more films, and Kara Tointon (who "Eastenders" fans will recognize) is a gorgeous actress who deserves more roles. 

There is taut suspense as the passengers are killed off one by one a la Agatha Christieand we wonder who is driving the train and why.  Not much is revealed about the driver or his motives but it's not necessary to enjoy this ride.
Rosy the Reviewer says...If you like Hitchcock and Agatha Christie, you will enjoy this.

Fort Bliss (2014)

A decorated military medic and single mother returns home from Afghanistan to realize that she must repair her relationship with her young son.

Michelle Monaghan plays Maggie Swan, a single mother returning home after 15 months in Afghanistan to her ex-husband (Ron Livingston) and his soon-to-be new wife who have been caring for her son, only to discover that her young son barely remembers her and in fact has bonded with his stepmother. Likewise, she is experiencing the discrimination and sexual harassment that many women face in the military.  She finds it difficult to bridge the gap between being a hard ass sargeant and a tender mother and lover.

The film begins with Maggie in Afghanistan saving another soldier's life.  She is courageous and heroic.  She understands how things work in the military. She can't show weakness or vulnerability.  But when she returns home, things are complicated and she finds it difficult to build a new life for herself and her son and shed that hard ass role. 

This is Monaghan's film as she moves between her military responsibilities as an officer and her responsibility as a mother, trying to balance those two worlds. She is not perfect and she knows it.  She yells at her son (calls him "a little shit") and doesn't cope well with his sleepwalking and rejection of her.

Director and writer Claudia Myers is respectful of military personnel who must straddle these two worlds:  work and family, but she pulls no punches. This is no Lifetime Movie. I expected a potboiler, but it turned out to be an unflinching look at the difficult choices our military personnel have to make when they serve, especially women.  If you are a woman and you care about your career, whether it's in the military or not, the choices are hard.  It's sad that a mother has to give up her career to feel that she is a good mother. 

Swan also faces prejudice from the men who don't respect women officers.  Think a female version of "An Officer and a Gentleman."
Rosy the Reviewer says...an unsentimental film about the difficult choices our military personnel must make to serve that deserves to be seen.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***
302 to go!
The Killer (Die Xue Shuang Xiong(1989)
A weary assassin who accidentally blinds a beautiful singer during a killing, takes one last hit to raise the money to pay to restore her sight.
John Woo ("Mission Impossible: II") directs and Chow Yun Fat ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") stars in this strange buddy movie where the hit man and the cop give each other grudging respect and band together to get the really bad guys. 
Ah Jong (Chow Yun Fat) is a cold-blooded killer for hire but even cold-blooded killers get tired of killing.  During one hit, he accidently blinds a beautiful singer.  He feels remorse and seeks her out. They fall in love with her not knowing he is the one who blinded her.  He decides on one last hit to raise the money he needs to get her an operation to save her sight.  In the meantime, Inspector Li Ying (Danny Lee) is hot on his trail.
Why it's a Must See: [This film] established Hong Kong action cinema as a distinct brand.  ...filmmakers like Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino began lifting elements of their distinctive style --the popular flat-on-his-back, gun-in-each-hand slide is a favorite Chow Yun-Fat move...-to enliven their own action pictures."
--"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die."

The influence on Tarantino is evident, because there is plenty of blood and gore but in a cartoonish way.  However, in spite of its standing as the best example of a Hong Kong action film, I found it cheesy and melodramatic.  But, hey, I like cheese and I like melodrama.  It's beautifully photographed in a bloody sort of way.
Rosy the Reviewer says...The contract killer with a heart of gold.  It's soap opera with lots of blood and gore, but it's high opera and I can't get over Chow Yun Fat's baby face. (subtitles)
Halloween (1978)

Little Michael Myers kills his sister when he is six.  Fifteen years later he escapes from the mental hospital and goes on a killing spree.

Dr. Sam Loomis is on his way to the mental hospital where Michael Myers has been incarcerated since killing his sister.  He is determined that Michael Myers should not be let out.  Unfortunately, just as he arrives, Myers escapes and heads back to his home town. Dr. Loomis is in hot pursuit.  Jamie Lee Curtis stars as Laurie, a bookish goody goody who is babysitting on Halloween night, unaware there is a psychotic killer on the loose.

John Carpenter wrote and directed this very much "B" picture, probably unaware that it would turn into such a cult classic. It's a very low budget film that Carpenter probably didn't expect to have the impact it had, but Carpenter was expert at using the camera to show people creeping up on each other and creating a creepy atmosphere in general. He also takes advantage of the contrast between small Midwestern towns and the evil lurking underneath, much as Hitchcock did in "Shadow of a Doubt," which I reviewed last week. 

Speaking of Hitchcock, Carpenter is full of Hitchcock homages (see "Why It's a Must See" below). This film was also the beginning of the teen slasher films and I can't believe I hadn't seen it.  I was always afraid to, but seeing it now, it is very tame by current horror film standards.  It also seems to be the beginning of product placement, too.  Jolly Time Popcorn, Tide and Quaker Oats had prominent roles.  Probably had to do that for the budget because, as I said, this film screams of low budget, pardon the pun.

There are some blatant "huh?" moments such as Myers driving around the car he stole from the doctor emblazoned with the mental hospital logo.  Why don't the cops just pick him up?  There are continuity issues, too, as when Laurie walks home the streets and sidewalks are dry.  As she reaches home, it looks like it just rained.  Likewise, when Laurie and her friend are driving to their babysitting jobs, it's light and then, next frame, suddenly it's dark.  And this is supposed to be in Illinois,  but I don't remember seeing mountains in the distance growing up in the Midwest.  It's so clearly California.  Pasadena, to be exact.

I think Carpenter stole the ringing of the phone, a horror film staple now, from Hitchcock, too.  "Housewives" fans will recognize Kyle Richards name in the credits (she plays the little girl).

Why it's a Must See: "No director since Alfred Hitchcock has captured the delicious voyeurism of horror as well as John Carpenter in Halloween, a film so entrenched with our primordial anxieties that it continues to define the genre several decades later...the comparison between Hitchcock and Carpenter is no stretch; Halloween is saturated with Carpenter's tribute to Hitchcock, from character names --Sam Loomis and Tom Doyle, from Psycho (1950) and Rear Window (1954), respectively -- to the casting of Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of Janet Leigh, the ill-fated shower victim in Psycho."
--"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die."

To enjoy the older films, we need to look past things like mom jeans and bell bottoms and other anachronisms to appreciate the film in the context of the times. You must ask yourself, has this been done before? Was it new then? Is it experimental and avante garde for its time?

And for it's time, this was the scariest.
Rosy the Reviewer says...Even if you don't like horror films, if you consider yourself a movie lover, you have to be able to say you've seen it.
***Book of the Week***

The Kitchn Cookbook: Recipes, Kitchens and Tips to Inspire Your Cooking by Sara Kate Gillingham and Kate Durand (2014)
From the blog Kitchn which began in 2005 comes this wonderful kitchen resource that foodies and novices alike will enjoy.

Food writers Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand share their expertise about cooking with advice on setting up the kitchen, tools to have on hand, stocking the pantry, planning meals, cooking technique and recipes.  My favorite, though, believe it or not, is the section on "Caring for Your Kitchen."  In addition to recipes for making homemade cleaning products, there is a handy 30-day calendar for maintaining a "constantly clean kitchen."  They list one duty per day.  We can manage that, right?

The "Cooking School" includes 50 essential techniques from how to read a recipe to measuring dry ingredients vs. liquids to deglazing sauces to roasting vegetables.

The book concludes with some yummy recipes with this introduction:  "With thousands of recipes in our archive, we decided to give you some perennial favorites of our readers...If you've never cooked before, here are more than 100 recipes that you can follow step-by-step and find success."

But seasoned cooks will also find much to learn here.

"The Perfect Kale Chip," "Roasted Chicken Thighs and Squash over Polenta" and "Vietnamese Beef Pho" are some examples.

Rosy the Reviewer says...A beautiful cooking resource book that you will want to have on hand.
***Seattle Restaurant of the Week***
From the folks who brought us Joule and Revel (Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi), some personal favorites of mine, I might add, we now have Trove, their new four-plex, featuring noodles, Korean BBQ and parfaits.  As you enter the space at 500 E. Pike, you see a food truck as part of the entrance that sells frozen custard parfaits with a variety of toppings.  The first space you enter inside is the noodle bar, where a few different delicious noodle combinations are available along with a few drinks. This is the casual first space.  Next is the Trove Bar, where many more beers and other drinks are available along with those noodles. The fourth and last space is the fine dining element where you can grill your own BBQ at your table and enjoy a fine wine list.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if Korean-inspired street food is your thing, this is for you.  Try the wide rice noodles with beef ragout.  Yum.  Next time, I am going to hit the food truck and order the Old School Banana Split parfait featuring caramelized pineapple and cherry whipped cream and sit on the curb, street food style (if it's not raining).

***My A-HA Moment of the Week***

When you watch TV during the day, the advertisers assume you are either old, retired and in poor health (so they hawk all sorts of pharmaceuticals) or that you are unemployed and a criminal, hence the adverts for jobs you can do at home, Phoenix University and bail bonds. 
Here's the A-Ha Moment: I shouldn't be watching TV during the day.

Thanks for Reading!

That's it for this week.

See you Tuesday for
"Letting Myself Go:
Questionable Fashion Choices for a Woman of a Certain Age and Size"
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.

Check your local library for DVDs and books 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). 


Here is a quick link to get to all of them.  Choose the film you are interested in and then scroll down the list of reviewers to find "Rosy the Reviewer."

Or you can go directly to IMDB.  

Find the page for the movie, click on "Explore More" on the right side panel and then scroll down to "External Reviews."  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, November 4, 2014

My Un-Bucket List


It seems that everyone has a bucket list these days. 

I wrote about my bucket list awhile back, but lately I have been wondering if it was very realistic, if I will ever get around to doing anything on that list.

For example, one of my goals was to live out my reality TV dream and go on "Survivor" and "Amazing Race."  What was I thinking?  "Survivor?"  Do I really want to sit around all day with a bunch of people who are plotting against me, especially when I continually lose the competitions for them?  Not to mention parading around in all manner of undress alongside young women who actually look good in bikinis?  And even if I didn't get voted out right away, the boredom would get to me first.

Or "The Amazing Race?" I don't think my marriage could withstand the tension.  I yell at Hubby as it is.  Just imagine what I would be like in a race, catching trains and planes, driving in unfamiliar countries (I am a terrible backseat driver as it is), not to mention our having to do tasks together, tasks that include repelling off of 50 story buildings, eating disgusting food, herding sheep and jumping out of planes. I can just hear myself shouting, "HUBBY, DAMMIT,

Speaking of jumping out of planes, I don't understand some of the common things you find on other people's bucket lists. 

There are some standard inclusions that make me wonder, do these people really understand what they are getting into?  Do they really want to do these things?  Would I want to do those things?

As a retired person, I am committed to not doing anything I don't want to do. It's my job.

So I have decided to compile an "Un-Bucket List," things that are common on other people's bucket lists that I do NOT want to do before I die.

1.  Climb Mount Everest.

People, did you not read "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer? 

It's dangerous up there.  And it's cold and you have to carry heavy packs and sleep in tents and use god knows what kinds of outdoor toilets. And it's crowded.  It's almost like Walmart on Black Friday.  Nooooo, no, no, no.

2.  Sky-dive
What the hell?  I don't get this at all.  Jumping out of a plane 13,000 feet above the ground with nothing between you and certain death except a little thing on your back that is supposed to open when you pull the cord and save your life?  Websites advertise over a minute of freefall.  Yippee.  NOT!  I can't imagine anything scarier. Bungee jumping also falls into this category.  Doing something like this is when you have too much time on your hands.

3.  Go into space on Virgin Galactic

Let's just say that since this happened, Princess Beatrice, who was supposed to be the most famous first passenger, has given up her seat on one of the first flights. I rest my case.

4.  Participate in an Iron Man Triathlon

First of all, a marathon is bad enough.  I can't imagine running 5 miles let alone 26.  Add to that biking 100 miles and swimming.  Sounds like torture to me.  Besides, I can't swim.

5.  Learn a new language
Though this is a noble goal - I think it's terrible that Americans rarely speak a language other than English and then travel and expect people in other countries to speak English - this is something that has passed me by.  I can barely remember why I went into the kitchen let alone remember the vocabulary of another language.

6.  Join the Mile High Club
That might have been a goal in my younger years, but all I am going to say here is that airplane toilets are getting smaller and smaller.

7.  Live Abroad.
I always wanted to move to the U.K., but then life got in the way and I acquired too much crap.  Plus we had kids who had their lives and interests and would have had a fit if we had dragged them to Europe.  But even now that the kids are grown, we still have so much crap, it's difficult to conceive of moving overseas.  And we have dogs.  They don't like you to bring dogs from America to the U.K.  Our little darlings could never withstand the six months of quarantine that is required nor could I.
These pampered pets wouldn't last a week in quarantine.

8.  Swim with sharks
Are you kidding me?  Didn't you see "Jaws?"

I could go on and on.  There are people who have bucket lists with 10,000 items on them. 

I have been fortunate.  I have done many of the things that appear on people's bucket lists and that I personally wanted to do. 

I have ridden a gondola in Venice, kissed Hubby on a bridge in Paris, traveled to 20 countries, and I have lived on a canal boat in Oxford. I can play an instrument, I meditate, I volunteer, I started this blog, IMDB publishes my reviews and I have walked all 25 stair walks in Seattle.

But here is something to think about. 

Is having a bucket list a good idea? 

Doesn't having a list that includes things like staying in a hut in the Maldives, meeting Oprah Winfrey and being an extra in a movie set ourselves up for failure and possibly keep us from building a good life for ourselves with what we have now?  Does having such a list fill a void in our lives that should be filled with the here and now?  Are we all in competition?

Yes, it is good to have goals, but these lists also encourage us to live in the future and in so doing perhaps we will miss out on today.

What do you think? 

Here is further discussion on this from "The Guardian," "Bucket Lists:  Are They a Good Idea?"

Right now, I am retired and for me, retirement is all about finally doing what I want to do, not what I don't really realistically want to do, just so I can have a cool bucket list.

At this stage in my life, I have realized that I don't need adrenaline and adventure to feel alive, to feel I have lived a full life.  Now it's all about living consciously, loving my family, watching my grandchildren grow, and finding the meaning in my life. 

Oh, and watching those 1001 movies!

Do you have a bucket list?

And if so, how are you doing?

Thanks for Reading!

See you Friday
for my review of the new movie
as well as some interesting DVDs,

and an update on how I am doing

on my

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