Friday, November 8, 2019

"Dolemite is My Name" and The Week in Reviews

[I review Eddie Murphy's new movie "Dolemite is My Name" as well as DVDs "The Hustle" and "Maria by Callas."  The Book of the Week is "Half Baked Harvest: Super Simple" by Tieghan Gerard.  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "The Baker's Wife."]

Dolemite is My Name

The Story of Rudy Ray Moore.

Never heard of him?  Well, Eddie Murphy wants you to know who he was and this is a tribute to Moore.  And speaking of Eddie Murphy, he is a big way!  Back in the 80's, Eddie was on fire with his stint on SNL, his stand-up comedy act and starring in such hits as "Trading Places," "Beverly Hills Cop," "48 Hours" and "Coming to America," but then he hit a snag with clunkers like "The Adventures of Pluto Nash" and "Norbit" and then was virtually off the screen for the last ten years.  But despite some missteps, I have always been a big Eddie fan and glad to see he is back playing the comedy legend Rudy Ray Moore.

Back in the 70's, Moore couldn't get arrested.  He was a wannabe singer, a wannabe comic, and a wannabe actor, working in a record store by day and acting as an MC in a club by night. Rudy had come to California hoping to become the next Sammy Davis Jr. but as the film begins he laments his life saying "I ain't got nothin.'" Despite promoting himself to the club owner, Rudy could never get a gig until he ran across a homeless guy named Ricco (Ron Cephas Jones) who often wandered into the record store telling "hobo jokes" in a sort of rapping rhyme.  

One of Ricco's "jokes" was about a character named Dolemite, "the baddest mother-f***er who ever lived."  A light bulb goes off in Rudy and he seeks out Ricco and his homeless cohorts and tapes them, eventually building an act around Dolemite.  In fact, he becomes Dolemite, a colorfully dressed, swaggering pimp who brags about his sexual prowess and tells stories using rhyming poetry and lots of expletives.  Dolemite is a hit and Moore's career takes off, leading to cross-country tours with his very "blue" comedy act. Then comedy albums followed (remember those)? 

But Rudy wanted more. When he and his friends attend the film "The Front Page," which was a hot film in the 80's starring Jack Lemmon, Rudy had another awakening.  Sitting there with his friends, he realized this very popular film was not about them.  It was about a bunch of white middle class guys working at a newspaper.  Where was the "bone-crushing, skull-splitting, brain-blasting action" he and his pals enjoyed? 

“This movie had no titties, no funny and no kung-fu,” Moore says, “the stuff people like us wanna see.” 

So Rudy realized that if he really wanted to be a star, he had to make movies.  How hard could it be? So Rudy decided to make his own films starring Dolemite and his film "Dolemite" became legend in the world of Blaxploitation cinema, where Moore was actually parodying the genre. Five more Dolemite films followed. So this film is not just about Moore, but also a film within a film as we get to watch Moore undertaking his first film. It was harder than he thought!

Though the film is about Rudy Ray Moore, who has been dubbed "the godfather of rap," one could extrapolate that it's also a celebration of black comedy and culture.

The film, written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (who also wrote "Ed Wood" and "The People vs. Larry Flynt) and directed by Craig Brewer ("Hustle and Flow"), is a smart and stylish film that brings together a potpourri of black comics and actors: Keegan-Michael Key, Craig Robinson, Mike Epps, Tituss Burgess, T.I...even Snoop Dogg, Chris Rock and Wesley Snipes make appearances.  Poor Wesley.  He was so hot in action films and then got himself into some tax trouble that landed him in jail for three years, but here he shows what he can do by playing an outrageous and funny character in some of the best moments in the film.

But the film is really all about Eddie, who not only stars but produced the film. We've missed you Eddie.  So glad you are back!

Rosy the Reviewer says...Eddie's still got it!
(This film was released simultaneously into theatres and on Netflix so there is no excuse for you not to see it)! 

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


The Hustle (2019)

The female version of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."

"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" was funny and memorable. This one wasn't. I loved "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."  Didn't like this one.

Now I am all for movies about female empowerment, even if the empowerment is conning men, but the film just wasn't funny. 

And then there is Rebel Wilson.

Here's a quiz:

  • Is Rebel Wilson really funny?
  • Do we want to see Rebel Wilson falling down and sliding across the floor yet again?
  • Are we sick of her schtick yet?

Penny (Wilson) is an American con-woman who preys on guys on dating sites using another, hotter woman's picture.  When she shows up to meet the guy in a bar and sees the disappintment on the guy's face, she says she is the friend of the girl on the Internet and then hits the guy up for money for the girl to get a boob job. Well, what guy wouldn't want to spend money to get a boob job for a girl he has never met?  Are you laughing yet?

After running that scheme too many times in bars, Penny decides she needs to get out of Dodge - Well, actually New York City - so she decides to head to the French Riviera.  What she doesn't realize is that the French Riviera is Janet's territory.  Janet (Anne Hathaway) is also a hustler, but unlike Penny, her hustle is a high class, sophisticated hustle.  When the two meet, Janet is not happy to share her territory with Penny, and so Janet decides she needs to get rid of her. She strikes a deal with Penny: whomever can con Thomas (Alex Sharp), a rich tech guy who is staying at the hotel, out of $500,000 first, gets to stay.  The other must leave. So they set up an elaborate scheme...and if you don't see how this is going to end, you don't go to the movies much.

Rebel does her usual slapstick stuff because I guess we are supposed to think that fat girls falling down is funny.  She seems to do that in every one of her films.  And that is sad because Rebel can actually act and has a poignant side, but we don't see that much.

And then there is Alex Sharp.  Either I am just getting older and older or actors are getting younger and younger but this guy looks like he is about 12.  Not sure if that was the point since he plays a rather naive young guy, but sheesh, he looks young, too young to play a tech tycoon.

Directed by Chris Addison, this is almost a complete replica of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," except with women, so much so that writers Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning share writing credits with the original writers of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," but sadly this version is neither funny nor memorable. One could make the case that the film tries to make a statement about women who are getting back at men for being treated so poorly by them, but it doesn't really work nor did I care enough to give this film that much thought.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are in the mood for a funny movie about con artists, watch the original "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."

Maria by Callas (2017)

A documentary about opera star, Maria Callas, in her own words.

Callas was one of the most famous and renowned opera singers of the twentieth century.  Where acting in opera had been overdramatic or nonexistant, she brought opera into the 20th century through her realistic portrayals of classic characters.  She also had a rather operatic personal relationship with Aristotle Onassis, her one true love, who broke her heart when he married Jacqueline Kennedy.

All of that and more is here in this absorbing documentary told through interviews and performances as well as private letters and unpublished memoirs, brought to life through the voice of singer Joyce DiDonata.  This is Callas's real story told in her own words.

Callas was thrust into the spotlight because of her talent but also because of her overbearing mother, but despite her fame it seems that all she really wanted was a normal life.  Many people thought Callas was Greek.  She was of Greek descent but was born and raised in New York City until her parents did eventually move to Greece.  Maria was a dedicated student but was seemingly forced into her career by her mother and then later kept in the yoke by her manager/husband.  

Though her performances and the "home movies" of her personal life were fascinating, the Super-8 footage was shown with its sprocket holes visible which I found very distracting.  In this day and age where film can do just about anything, not sure why director Tom Volf didn't splice that footage into the film a bit more elegantly.

Callas was often described as a difficult diva, but this film captures her vulnerability and the loneliness she suffered before her untimely death at only 53.

I am a huge opera fan and get goose bumps listening to Callas sing this:


Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are an opera lover, you will love this film.

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

55 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

(La Femme du Boulanger)

When the new baker's wife runs off with another man, the baker stops baking and the village is in turmoil!

The French love their bread!  So when Aimable Castanier (Raimu), the new baker, arrives in the small Provencal village, it's the talk of the town.  Will his bread be good?  Yes, the bread is good, so all is well.  Aimable is married to Aurelie (Ginette Leclerc), a beautiful and much younger woman. She is also the talk of the town, which is something, because most of the people in the town aren't really talking to each other.  There is the Catholic priest (Robert Vattier) and the non-believing teacher (Robert Bassac), who argue about whether or not Joan of Arc heard voices or THOUGHT she heard voices; there is disapproval about the Marquis (Fernand Charpin) and his "nieces" who live with him; and there are two farmers fighting over what to do about a tree  hanging over one of their properties. But when Aurelie runs off with another man, Aimable is so distraught, he stops baking bread and the villagers must forget their differences and band together to go find the baker's wife and bring her back! They need their bread!

Orson Welles called Raimu one of the greatest actors of all time and director Marcel Pagnol was a celebrated playwright turned movie director and the two created a masterpiece of classic French cinema that captures French village life.
When Aurelie returns, Aimable forgives her and acts like nothing has happened, instead, taking his rage out on his female cat who had run off.  A classic bit of acting that is both masterful and poignant.

Why it's a Must See: "Pagnol [has] fashioned a comic gem and a humanist masterpiece."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Rosy the Reviewer this is a classic film!

***The Book of the Week***

Half Baked Harvest Super Simple:  More than 125 Recipes for Instant, Overnight, Meal-Prepped and Easy Comfort Foods: A Cookbook by Tieghan Gerard (2019)

Gerard takes on easy comfort food recipes in her second cookbook.

At this point, it's probably no surprise that I love cookbooks.  I do.  I also love cooking, but reading a cookbook is just as much fun. This is the second cookbook by Gerard that I have reviewed (I reviewed her first cookbook last month), and she is my current favorite cook because of her original take on classic recipes, using unusual ingredients such as baby spinach and marinated artichokes in mac and cheese or adding balsamic vinegar to marinara sauce.  Her "Egg-in-a-Hole" recipe is a combination egg sandwich and grilled cheese sandwich, and why not use cauliflower florets instead of chicken for some buffalo bites? Her innovated mix of ingredients not only work, they are delicious.

Gerard is a blogger (Half Baked Harvest) and grew up, one of nine children, in the Colorado mountains.  At thirteen, she started cooking, helping her Dad prepare meals and within only a few months took over making dinner.  She loved dreaming up her own recipes, putting her own spin on classics and that led to her blog and her full-time job as a food writer and cookbook author.

Most recipes have several ways to prepare them - pressure cooker, stovetop, oven, so you can use your Instant Pot for most or do it the old-fashioned way. And best of all, many recipes use just one pot e.g. that mac and cheese dish is whipped up in one pot and transferred to a baking dish, macaroni and all! All of the recipes are quick and easy, "all designed to make your life just a bit easier."

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Everything Bagel Salad
  • Crispy Chicken Khao Soi Noodle Soup
  • Chicken Tinga Tacos
  • Coconut Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Sundried Tomato Turkey Meatball Bake
  • Extra Saucy Coconut Fish Curry

And yes, there is a whole chapter for you vegetarians out there, too, with those yummy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites, Spaghetti Squash Alfredo and Garlic Butter Ramen, to name only a few vegetarian recipes included.

Rosy the Reviewer new favorite cookbook!

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday


"Last Christmas"


The Week in Reviews
(What To See and What To Avoid)

as well as

the latest 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 

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.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.

Friday, November 1, 2019

"Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" and The Week in Reviews

[I review "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" as well as DVDs "The Dead Don't Die" and "Shaft."  The Book of the Week is Patti Smith's memoir "The Year of the Monkey."  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "Avengers: Infinity War"]

Maleficent" Mistress of Evil

Aurora (Elle Fanning) is about to marry Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson) and Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is not happy about it.

As you may recall from the first film five years ago (yes, this is one of those sequel thingies I hate), Maleficent was really, really pissed off because she was done wrong by her man, Stefan, King of the Moors, so when he married someone else, Maleficent cursed his baby girl, Aurora - the curse being that when she turned 16, she would prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into a permanent sleep only to awaken by a true love's kiss. To protect her from the curse, Stefan sent Aurora into the forest under the care of some incompetent pixies and Maleficent ended up watching over Aurora and becoming her fairy godmother.  It's basically the Sleeping Beauty story with a bit of a twist, and I liked it.

So now in this sequel we pick up the story and I'm not liking it so much.

It's been five years since King Stefan's death and Aurora (Fanning) is now Queen of the Moors. Prince Philip (Dickinson) lives in the neighboring kingdom of Ulsted with his parents King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer).  Philip has asked Aurora to marry him and she has accepted, hoping that their marriage will unite the two kingdoms which have been unhappily coexisting. The King and Queen don't really approve of Maleficent, but the King wants to unite the two kingdoms.  Queen Ingrith acts happy but has an evil plot in mind to not only get rid of Maleficent but of all of the fairies.

Oh, and did you know that Maleficent is actually a fairy, one of the last known Dark Faes (a fae is just a fancy word for a fairy) and the last descendant from the Phoenix, a powerful Dark Fae ancestor?  Well, she is, and she joins forces with an underground of Dark Faes who have been driven into hiding because of oppression by humans.

It all ends in a big showdown between Maleficent, the evil Queen and the Dark Faes.

So that's the gist of the film, but you know what?  I learned something about myself while watching this film.

No, it's not that I actually do like sequels.  I don't and this film just confirms that.  No, I learned that I have become too old to watch Disney fantasy films anymore, one, because I couldn't figure out what was going on most of the time and, two, the reason I was confused was that the plot WAS A MESS!!!

Not to mention the title.  Explain to me why the subtitle of this film is "Mistress of Evil," when it's the QUEEN who is evil, not Maleficent.

Anyway, the story, written by Linda Woolverton with the help of Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, is a mess of unlikely coincidences and happenings that are required for it all to turn out okay - the kinds of plot twists that make you shake your head and utter out loud, "What? How did that happen?"  or "What? How did she figure that out?" -  and though the film, directed by Joachim Ronning, is beautiful to look at, it's just a bore.  The best thing about the film is Angelina Jolie's cheek bones!

And speaking of Angelina, she does the best she can and Michelle Pfeiffer wears beautiful clothes and chews the scenery like mad as the evil queen, but poor Elle Fanning doesn't have much to do except look cute and react to everyone else.  Zzzzz

Rosy the Reviewer says...a disappointing snoozefest. Didnt like this one. 

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


The Dead Don't Die (2019)

The small town of Centerville must battle zombies who suddenly rise from their graves because of some sort of environmental disaster.

So, I guess director Jim Jarmusch wanted to make a zombie movie.  And I guess a bunch of actors wanted to help him because this film is star-studded, but sadly it's not one of my favorite Jarmusch films.

Bill Murray, the king of underplaying actors, plays police chief Cliff Robertson, who with his deputy, Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) and officer Mindy Morrison (Chloe Sevigny), keep the peace in a very small and seemingly safe town. But something has gone wrong with the earth's rotation caused by an environmental issue called "polar fracking," and that has caused the dead to rise up. The dead have come back and it seems that what they loved in life is what they seek now. 

"They gravitate toward things they did when they were alive."

So the wine drinking Mallory O'Brien (Carol Kane) needs her chardonnay and the coffee zombie (Iggie Pop) needs his coffee.  Zombie children hang around candy stores mumbling the names of their favorite candy and an ex-guitar player drags his guitar behind his shuffling feet.

Our victims include some kids in detention, some teens in a motel (one of whom is Selena Gomez), a crabby, racist farmer who wears a hat that says "Make America White Again (Steve Buscemi)," and who is fittingly devoured by a black zombie, waitresses and customers in a diner and the owner of a hardward store (Danny Glover).  And then there is Tilda Swinton.  Does she ever play a character that isn't strange? Here she plays a sword-wielding Samurai of an undertaker who comes to town to cut off some heads (you need to go for the head when trying to kill a zombie) and all of this is observed by Hermit Bob (Tom Waits).

Now I have been a huge Jim Jarmusch fan ever since his first major film "Stranger Than Paradise."  So I know his films are strange, strangely funny, and always slow to start and leisurely in execution.  You need to ease into them to get them so I gave this one a chance, but it just never went anywhere.  Yes, I got the point that we humans are addicted to commercialism, even in death, and that's kind of funny.  There are some allusions to our current Trumpian world, and the film was gory enough for even the most devoted horror fan, but this one was just a bit too out there for me.  I know that Jarmusch has his own vision and he puts things in his movies that are meaningful, funny and cool to him, and he probably doesn't really care if we get it or not, but this one had too many of those, though I will say Iggie Pop as a zombie is really cool and the whole idea about what to do when one of the zombies is a family member is enough to make you go "Mmmm?".

You may or may not know who Bertolt Brecht is, but I noted some Brechtian elements in the film. I know all about Brecht, because in my acting days, I was in two Bertolt Brecht plays.  Bertolt Brecht invented "Epic Theatre," plays that reminded the audience that they were watching a play. He didn't want the audience to get too involved or to identify emotionally with the characters thinking that too much emotion left the audience complacent.  He thought the theatre should provoke self-reflection and a critical response which in turn would engage the audience to get off their butts and leave the theatre to create change in the world. 

Jarmusch appears to use that technique a bit in the film when Murray and Driver actually start talking about Jarmusch and how, since they read the script, they know how the film is going to end, which is kind of funny because Ronnie keeps saying "This is definitely going to end badly."  But is this film a call to action?  And if so, what did he want us to go out and do?  Did he want to spur the audience to go out zombie hunting? Or are we the zombies, too tied to our superficial pursuits to really care about what is happening in the world now? Or does he want us to be sure to vote out Trump, otherwise it's going to end badly? Or are we all doomed no matter what we do?

But despite some interesting and yes, kind of cool elements, this film didn't really work for me.

Rosy the Reviewer says...I think Jarmusch had fun with this.  Sadly, I didn't.  But even when Jarmusch is not at his best, his films are better than most.


Three generations of Shafts come together to solve a murder.

When the film begins it's 1989 and John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson), his wife, Maya (Regina Hall), and their baby son, JJ, survive an assassination attempt by Pierro "Gordito" Carrera (Isaach De Bankole).  Maya says "No way," and takes the baby out of harm's way to raise him without Shaft.  

Fast forward 25 years and now JJ (Jessie T. Usher) is an FBI agent with a degree from MIT in cybersecurity.  When JJ's friend Karim (Avan Jogia) dies of a heroin overdose, JJ is suspicious, feeling he was murdered, so he goes to Harlem to talk to the local drug dealer who sold Karim the heroin.  When he is unceremoniously ejected from the premises, young JJ enlists his father's help and the two cultures collide - older Shaft's streetwise methods vs. young JJ's more white collar approach.  One is old school, the other PC.

"Men don't apologize." (Old Shaft)
"Real men admit when they are wrong." (Young Shaft)

Lots of that kind of banter but, of course, each learn from the other - old Shaft has a soft side, young JJ finds his darker side. Sam Jackson gets to be macho and swagger around using "F-M" in every other sentence and Usher gets to look bewildered and surprised until he finally gets sucked into his Dad's methods. But it's when "Grandpa" shows up - the original Shaft, Richard Roundtree - that we realize Sam was working really hard to channel Roundtree and he didn't quite make it.  And neither did the original soundtrack.  The film alluded to it, but never really embraced it.  I missed that the most.

Written by by Alex Barnow and Kenya Barris and directed by Tim Story, the film could have been done a bit more stylishly, but it has some fun moments and is often funny despite some cringeworthy non-PC moments. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...kind of silly but entertaining if you can get over the sexist, macho stuff.

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

56 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

The Avengers must stop the evil Thanos (Josh Brolin) before he destroys the Universe.

Nine, count 'em, nine different Marvel franchises come together to beat Thanos, a mad genocidal maniac, as he seeks to collect the six infinity stones that will give him ultimate power.

I thought I could avoid these Avenger movies, but wouldn't you know? This one turned up in the new edition of "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," so here I am.  And can I say that because I hadn't seen most of the EIGHTEEN films that came before, I didn't have the slightest idea what was going on in this one, the penultimate edition to the series.  I saw "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Black Panther," but as far as the "Avengers" films, that's about it. I am more of a DC girl, myself.

As far as I can tell, this film starts where the one before it left off. Evil Thanos (Brolin) has acquired the Power Stone and when this film begins he has overpowered Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Bruce Banner AKA The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and kills Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to extract the Space Stone.  The Hulk crash lands into New York City to warn Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wong (Benedict Wong) about Thanos' plan to take over the Universe and kill half of all life. Then Tony Stark AKA Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Peter Parker/Spider Man (Tom Holland) get involved as well as Thor (Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Vision (Paul Bettany), Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and Star Lord (Chris Pratt) and his Guardians of the Galaxy gang.
 There are a bunch of other side-kicks, too. Whew! Hope I didn't leave anybody out. The whole bloody bunch of the Marvel Universe seems to be in this thing and that's a lot for the uninitiated to take in. Oh, and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) gets a storyline that we didn't know about. 

The film, directed by the Russo brothers, Anthony and Joe, and written by Christopher Marcus and Stephen McFeely, is full of bad dialogue, comic banter, CGI and other special effects and lots and lots of action.  It's a formula: high intensity action followed by comic relief followed by high intensity action, followed by comic relief, etc. etc. etc.  However, this film also has surprises, because a LOT of the superheroes and their sidekicks die at the end. But there is no real resolution, because this film is a set up for the final installment in the series, "Avengers: Endgame," which came out this year and wrapped everything up. (No doubt, that last film will also be in the next edition of the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," but hopefully, I will be done with this project by then.  But even if I'm not, I don't plan to buy the next edition anyway).

It's kind of fun to see all of these superhero stars together in one film and, for those who have been following these characters since the beginning, I can see how that is part of the excitement, but if, like me, you haven't seen many or any of the earlier films, you will probably be as confused as I was.

Why it's a Must See: "If the average Marvel movie offers a rollercoaster experience -- a bombastic, big-budget thrill-ride that leaves little time for the audience to catch its breath -- the nineteenth trip into the Marvel Cinematic Universe decides to throw a whole theme park at the audience...[and] the biggest success really lies in shoehorning so many lead characters into one narrative without every actually losing a grip on the story or its forward momentum."

---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Rosy the Reviewer says...this is probably heresy, but all I can say is I find these movies to be silly.

***The Book of the Week***

Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith (2019)

A year in the life of writer, artist and Punk rocker Patti Smith.

It's 2016, The Year of the Monkey, and Smith has just finished some New Year's Eve concerts in San Francisco at the Fillmore.  She embarks on a year of wandering, first heading down to Santa Cruz, where she starts the New Year on the beach at The Dream Inn.  She is 69 and we follow her through the year as she mourns the illness of a friend and mentor, travels to San Diego and Seattle, to the Arizona desert, to her home in Rockaway beach and to a Kentucky farm to help a friend - writer Sam Shepherd who could no longer write - and then farther afield to Lisbon, all the while musing on everything from aging to politics to the environment and lamenting the state of the world. 

The whole book is very much like a dream because it is difficult to tell truth from fiction.  Does Smith really try to get rides with strangers?  Does she really strike up conversations with old guys in cafes? Does she really pick up candy wrappers on the beach and save them to contemplate later?

It's all very poetic and surreal, which is not surprising because Smith has always been more of a poet than rock star.  Part travelogue, part memoir, but this is mostly the stream of consciousness musings of a woman moving into her seventieth year and wondering what it has all meant. She populates her book with her photographs documenting her year of wandering.

The book is like one long dream but as she says at the end of the book, "...the trouble with dreaming is that we eventually wake up."

Rosy the Reviewer says...not like Smith's award-winning book "Just Kids," but a mesmerizing foray into the mind of an artist.

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday


"Dolomite is My Name"


The Week in Reviews
(What To See and What To Avoid)

as well as

the latest 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 

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.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.