• Culture and Entertainment,  Reading

    What I Read and What I Watched: July 2019

    I didn’t read much in July. I brought several books on vacation and barely read at all. I was not in the mood, but my younger sisters started watching Psych and got me hooked again. I’d meant to rewatch those at some point. I remember one blogger recently asking if people preferred Monk or Psych. Since at that point I’d watched Psych 7 years ago and Monk recently, I wasn’t sure. Oh, it’s Psych all the way. I was SO thrilled that this show stood the test of time for me. The first time I watched it the 7th season was still airing, and between waiting for episodes and not likening the feel anymore, I quit in the early episodes of that season. This time, I quit sooner. I actually feel the show falls in quality in season 6. But before that, yes, just my thing.

    It’s also the first real adult U.S. television show I watched. I think Castle was next, but I didn’t really watch that in order, not sure that will have the same appeal either. Any show needs to end many seasons sooner than it does. Even ones I enjoy. The other shows I’ve watched in more recent years like Parks and Rec and Friends, well, I don’t think those will stand the test of time. I didn’t enjoy them near as much as expected. Television shows are such a “commitment” to me, that I usually (now anyway) see things on Pinterest or clips on YouTube and watch, then I have to feel like starting them.

    I’d seen clips and quotes from That 70’s Show years ago, but I wasn’t ready to commit, nor I think able to handle that humor then, don’t get me wrong, Fez almost always crosses the line so far he isn’t even in sight (why couldn’t they have focused more on his naivety and sweetness?!), and there are things the other characters say that bother me too, but oh, my, now, I LOVE this show. And by this I mean the early seasons plus Jackie and Hyde, there are only 6 (5 and 6 are a joke for most characters as they are overused, flattened, or made out of character and their plot-lines are mostly soap operatic) seasons, 7 is a joke (as Jackie and Hyde join the character and plot devolution and soap opera drama) and some stupid fanfic got made into a season unwatched, unmentionable, nightmarish. I think the show should’ve stopped at 4 or 5 after putting Jackie and Hyde together in 3. I don’t like everything in Jackie and Hyde’s relationship (all the drama which is such lazy writing, plus so out of character for Hyde), but wow, overall one of my (if not my) favorite couples ever, I knew they were going to be together before starting the show, and I was shipping them so hard. Of course the writing fell short of this couple’s potential starting at the end of 5 and reappearing again in 6 and then ruining everything later. All this sounds like I hated the show, but I loved the beginning plus Jackie and Hyde so much that the disappointment in the later seasons hurt. So much potential wasted.

    Dad bought Avengers: Endgame the day it came out on digital and we watched it that day. I hadn’t cared for Infinity War, I was barely paying attention by the end (probably shouldn’t watch dramatic/action films on my laptop), but I greatly enjoyed this one. And Thor, oh, my. The I got up the next day and watched Spider-Man: Far from Home which was the main reason I’d wanted to watch Engame, while I enjoyed it (although I got there 10-15″ after it started), it didn’t live up to my expectations (this is why I just CAN’T be allowed to look forward to movies!!!). I didn’t care for the plot, it felt kind of “filler.” Plus a bit disappointed in Peter and M.J.’s romance, it felt rushed and not as cute as it should’ve been, perhaps it should’ve been slower and resolved in the next movie.

    Now for the books.

    Then There Were Five and The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright. #2 and #3 of the Melendy family, very charming, possibly a bit lower than middle-grade? Except something sad/scary in #3, so parents should preview first.

    The Chief’s Daughter by Rosemary Sutcliff. Another short story, probably the shortest of hers yet.

    Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie. Not my fav.

    Thornyhold by Mary Stewart. Enjoyable, a bit different than her usual.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    What I Watched: April and May 2019

    The Perfect Date. This was so awful I’m ashamed I finished it. The lines were like stereotypes of cliches of stereotypes. Just absolutely mind-numbingly stupid.

    Little Women (modern). This was adorable. I loved the switching between past and current times. I liked the professor and didn’t like Laurie, so I wasn’t near as mad about how things ended up. The portrayal of the March family and their uniqueness was just so stinking cute (also, love the homeschooling). All the individual girls portrayals were great, everyone a good age. The acting wasn’t great, I obviously think Laurie is a character worth doing well, and I wish John and Meg had more time, but since I frequently get so frustrated at how Little Women is portrayed plus the actual story, and this was quite a refreshing little movie.

    Khoobsurat. So, shallow points here, I think my sister and I were talking over attractive actors, and she told me I had to watch this. I’ve never watched a Hindi-language film, so that in itself is interesting. And then the setting, the clothing. The switching between English and Hindi and the switching between the speaking of actual thoughts and speaking was awesome (although confusing at first as I didn’t realize at first some things WERE just thoughts). The main actor is sooo handsome, also the serious type, so super attractive, and the film is just overall hilarious.

    The Proud Rebel. Hamlette mentions Alan Ladd all the time, so I decided to watch some Alan Ladd movies. This was not a hit, I was so bored, not sure why I made myself finish it. I’m still going to watch more of his movies, I’m particularly interested in This Gun for Hire.

    The Matchbreaker. An indie film from my list, I think I skipped a lot, I was mostly into the film for the friend (who was hilarious) and sister romance.

    Avengers: Infinity War. Eh. Mostly explosions and boring fight scenes. I was watching this online and was definitely on other browsers and tabs for much of it.

    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer. Cary Grant, Myrna Loy (two of my favorite classics actors but didn’t love them together), and Shirley Temple (what little I saw as a child of her child-acting annoyed me, and she’s still annoying as a teenager, her facial expressions heighten the annoyance, especially as she’s too old for that here). An uncomfortable premise to modern audiences, not any chemistry between leads, not hilarious enough for me.

    The Amazing Adventure. Cute glimpse of a young Cary Grant. His romantic counterpart was boring, but overall the plot was interesting, could be seriously improved upon though.

    Operation Petticoat. Tony Curtis and older Cary Grant (this is the Cary Grant* I saw too much of when I said I didn’t “get” his appeal; he’s good here as like a foil or something to Curtis). Hilarious screwball. Screwball is quite my cup of tea right now.

    When You’re In Love. I need to not watch blah movies just because Cary Grant is in them.

    Talk of the Town. I’m more for Cary Grant screwball comedies, but another person might enjoy this better. I think it’s worth watching for the last scene which I rewatched at least twice more.

    Holiday. I think Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn have great chemistry. This wasn’t my favorite movie, not quite hysterical enough for me, but I liked it. I’d also have liked it better if I wasn’t fighting with the absolutely awful itunes. Seriously, it was awful. I’m not buying anything on itunes again. The lag is so bad its unwatchable, and they have such stupid protections, so I can’t move the files easily.

    Royal Wedding. I just don’t care for Fred Astaire nor dancing movies too much really, I do admire the talent, but I get bored. I also didn’t find it overall that funny.

    Aladdin. I’m just going to copy paste my comment from Hamlette’s blog. “I didn’t love the animated Aladdin. I know I saw it a couple times growing up, but I’m not sure we owned it, so I didn’t watch it as much. It doesn’t have quite the nostalgia, I guess? Anyway, I didn’t care for it much rewatching it as an adult; the story overall, Jasmine’s brattiness, the Genie’s jarring modernity, Jafar was too much. I love the music though, and I think I’d forgotten about all the songs except “A Whole New World.”

    So, I didn’t thinking I’d see it in theaters. Some of my siblings went (they like the original). Then I heard a clip of Jasmine’s song, and was like,”No, I really need to see this in theaters.” So I did. And I greatly enjoyed it. A lot of what I didn’t like in the original was changed enough plus the overall costuming, setting, etc. is just gorgeous in live-action. Jasmine is SO much better. I loved Will Smith’s Genie and how they blended him into the story both in terms of his actual story and the lessening of the weirdly modern aspect that threw me off in the original. I liked that there was enough change to make the story richer (similar to the ever-perfect similar Cinderella) but not to distract from the story (like in Beauty and the Beast, also, that one was spoiled with star-struckness, too many stars)

    Because I’m me, and because this isn’t Cinderella 2015 (which is the most perfect movie ever made, I kid, maybe) I did have some quibbles, Aladdin’s jarringly modern North American accent. I guess I didn’t realize he grew up in Canada, I feel like his accent stood out more than anyone else’s?

    I think the music and vocals could’ve been better. Except for Jasmine’s song, that blew everything else away.

    …And then there is Jafar’s pipsqueak voice.”

    From Friend to Fiancé. A Hallmark, fun, but not a fav. I feel like a watched or rewatched another Hallmark with Mom, but maybe that was just when we attempted to find one, and I just didn’t care to see any we had. I have one more I want to watch from the Spring, but I’m doing pretty good and not relying on them. However, now I need to nip my mediocre oldies and regular moderns in the bud.

    *I’ve decided there are three Cary Grant “types.” His younger roles are the aware, slightly sarcastic, sweet-idealist types. His middle roles are the more cynical, sometimes oblivious, highly sarcastic types (the more screwball roles, my absolute favorite), and his older roles are the often humorless/not very funny, grouchy types (seriously, he seems like he’s always frowning in many of his older roles).

    Westside Story. Clearly didn’t make too much of an impression on me seeing as how I only remembered I’d watched it after I saw Studio C’s Bollyside Story. Like I said before, not overly crazy about too much dance stuff. Tony, well also Maria in theory, but Natalie Wood is annoying (also NOT Hispanic, neither was Bernard either, which made the love story drama just ridiculous, yeah, I know it was the 60’s but seriously?) were the only people I cared much about. Tony was too pure for that world, didn’t make sense that he’d be best friends with that other dude (who by the way played the precious Gideon in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, talk about opposite roles).

  • Culture and Entertainment

    What I Watched: March 2019

    I didn’t watch many movies this month, more television mysteries. We geniuses just realized (actually we had to be told), that since my dad has Amazon Prime (for how long I don’t know, probably years including ones when I paid for my own, ouch), we can watch his Prime video. Duh. I don’t love Prime, it’s not worth it to me to pay for it, but since now it’s free, I want to make more of an effort to find things to watch, so I’ve been going through my movie list. Of all the 153 movies I’ve currently checked, about 26 are on Netflix. I discovered Big Country (which I’d not heard of and which I greatly enjoyed) by searching Gregory Peck in the search bar, so I think I should try that option to find more movies/shows not on my list.

    Hallmark

    A couple movie mysteries. I’m happy to state that I’ve not watched Hallmark in weeks though.

    Classics

    Platinum Blonde. Eh, some funny lines, but overall, eh.

    Period Drama

    Middlemarch. Interesting (and awkward, I skimmed parts, intentionally awkward, British authors do know how to write some awkward situations, they just happen to be excruciating to watch). A couple of recognized actors or siblings of actors (of course, I feel like I’ve seen every not-super-famous British actor/actress multiple times, it can be interesting, it can be annoying if you know, Fudge is in everything, that actor IS Fudge in everything). I don’t feel it does the book justice AT ALL. I’m now wanting to reread it again.

    Television

    Monk. I’ve been hearing about this show/meaning to watch it for ages, and I’ve been going through it with my grandparents. It’s so funny and cute, despite being murder mysteries. Thus far, the mystery element hasn’t been great (and that’s saying a lot, I’ve watched Hallmark mysteries), but at least it hasn’t scared me too much. It’s the characters who are interesting. We started at the beginning which was made in 2002, but which if I didn’t know it, I would have said the 90’s since apparently 90’s styles extended into the early 2000’s (ugh). Apparently, 90’s is resurfacing too, but in cuter ways (scrunchies, I still cringe a little though).

  • Culture and Entertainment

    What I Watched: February 2019

    Hallmark
    The Story of Us. Adorable
    Love, Romance, and Chocolate. Adorable
    Hannah’s Law. The has to be one of the dumbest movies Hallmark has ever made. It tried to be a prequel to famous Westerns (just no). And Doc Holliday (see what I mean?) had the worst fake Southern accent I’ve ever heard (also, did such a “courtly” Southern accent, the one he was aiming for, ever exist? I suppose it could’ve, accents have changed so much even in the last 80 years, considering how different people sound in old movies).

    Modern
    The Darkest Hour. I resisted watching this because I wanted a better understanding, but then caved, and asked questions the whole time, and felt that I didn’t get the whole picture/force. I’d prefer to study WWII more in depth. Also, I CANNOT stand historical fiction in movies purporting to display historical fact, and there were a lot of things that didn’t fit in the time period or in the emphasis they gave (the secretary’s role for example and the scene on the train, which was absurdly long). I also though it was a tad melodramatic rather than the appropriate oppressively serious. I’m a bit touchy where the WW’s are concerned, I feel that they’ve been, I don’t know commercialized/glorified/generalized (?) in public consciousness, at least in America and at least the European front (no one in their right mind could glorify the Pacific, but I think it’s been sanitized).
    The King’s Speech. This seemed goofy after the above film. Colin Firth wasn’t at a good match for the prince/king (especially compared to the actor in the above), and he’s just not my favorite.

    Classics
    My Man Godfrey. William Powell is brilliant. This is hilarious.
    The Big Country. This is definitely more of my style Western, definite moral framework, tons of things to discuss. I wanted to rewatch it again right away, I wish I had.

    • Wish Peck could’ve made more of a firm character, I found Heston sexier. Although his standing up to Leech and then that brat Patricia was more of what I wanted, he was too genial about the other things or too quiet or something. The horse thing was foolish (I would say cowardly, he shouldn’t have minded that).
    • I appreciate the definite morals but above
    • I think Charleston Heston might’ve been the Matthew McConaughey of that period . . . I’ve only seen him in two movies but he’s had a shirtless scene in both.
    • Sea Captain? Don’t you filmmakers know that sea captains were as coarse and violent as cowboys, if not worse? Make him an army officer or something, the jokes and jibes and his looks and attitude would’ve made more sense; he was too gentlemanly.
    • Don’t understand what McKay and Patricia had, they had no chemistry; pretty obvious that wasn’t going to last. Patricia was a whiny, childish, shallow, vain, selfish, brat only caring for show (which is, gasp, actually cowardice). Not sure why Leech would’ve cared for her either. Patricia and Julie being friends didn’t make sense either.
    • Buck is a louse. I also dislike that Leech forced a kiss on Patricia, made him look too much like Buck, but Buck looked like he was going to rape Julie.
    • I feel like the feud is never explained, I feel like there needs to be a deeper reason, a woman, a death, or something those men were fighting over.
    • I also wasn’t satisfied with the end. What happened to Leech? The main couple just rides off into the sunset without dealing with the wreckage (which granted isn’t their fault, but seems a little callous considering that they are supposed to be the moral characters).
  • Culture and Entertainment

    What I Watched: January 2019

    Once again, Hallmark craze (or just laziness) takes over.

    Hallmarks
    Jingle Around the Clock. Cute except for a period of slanderous jumping to conclusions.
    A Midnight Kiss. He acted, she was non-human. And the writing/plot was dull.
    Winter Castle. Cute.
    One Winter Proposal. Cute. This was a sequel and actually ended up good. It won’t beat the first, but it was decent (my only Hallmark sequels previously, that I can remember, were the awful All of My Heart ones)
    A Winter Princess. Cute.
    Winter Love Story. The girl who plays in this always plays whiny, selfish, bratty, petty idiots. This was no exception.
    Snowcoming. The girl in here is an awful actress and the couple had NO chemistry which is too bad since this had the possibility to be good with better acting and writing, the concept was really sweet.

    Classics
    The Shop Around the Corner. I’d been meaning to watch this, but our library didn’t have it; I watched it on Google Play with a $0.99 deal (I watched You’ve Got Mail and now I need to watch In the Good Old Summertime). Um, I adore watching Jimmy Stuart, he is so handsome (until he aged to ancient in his 40’s!), but man, the girl is this is AWFUL. She’s shallow, petty, cruel, doesn’t look his age, she’s not pretty, yet she is absolutely cruel and snotty and bullying to him about his looks and mind and worth. And he still likes her and wants to be with her?! Definitely disappointing.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    Movies I’ve Watched: November 2018

    I’m going to leave off Hallmark so I can do a larger Christmas post of them

    Vintage

    The Philadelpia Story. My sister-in-law mentioned how funny this was, so I was rather disappointed. I didn’t find it all that funny. There were a few funny bits, but most of it was boring, and some parts made be angry (e.g. her absolutely horrid father who blames her for his immorality).

    Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This was interesting and funny in parts a bit tedious in others. Paul is basically the Ken doll in human form. Okay, not that bad, I found him attractive. But yes, Ken. I think the movies should’ve ended before it did (a bit after her brother dies if not before); Holly ends up looking rather rotten at the end. Skipped Mickey Rooney’s racist  scenes.

    Some Like it Hot. Funny, and oh, my word, uncomfortable. A couple of not-very-brave and possibly not very bright musicians (well, Joe’s not, Joe was quite clever when he wanted, the lies that boy told to get Sugar to chase him and to kiss him more . . . Jerry on the other hand, Jerry was demented) witness a mass gang machine gun murder (please, not this is NOT what I expected, I thought like one person was shot with like a pistol or something, so just FYI, and this happens twice!!). So these guys (and to heighten the ludicrousness of it, the filmmakers picked the most manly built guys ever, broad shoulders, muscular limbs) dress up like women to escape. And of course they both are interested in the same girl (Marilyn Monroe who is, another warning, dressed or rather undressed rather worse than a tramp . . . if you think modern movies are bad . . . ). . . and are rather creeps. I thought it funny, but not hysterical, not a favorite.

    Animated

    The Lego Batman Movie. Fairly funny (in a super goofy way) at first, then tedious and sanctimonious for the rest.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    Movies I’ve Watched: October 2018

    I’ve sure been hitting my vintage stride. Hallmark has bored me (which is good considering my embarrassing spree over the last years), and I’ve really been needing comfort movies and classic comedies have been hitting the spot, or rather classic movies period, I just prefer the comedies, so I’m going to try to load up on more.

    Classics

    Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Both sad and boring, but oh, my, young Gary Cooper is stunning. Also, he looks like Jason Isaacs, so so much.

    Monkey Business. Absolutely hysterical. Cary Grant is a comedy genius (definitely like him better now that I’ve seen and understood him in his best role type instead of comparing him to the dreamy  Gregory Peck or handsome sweetheart Jimmy Stuart or the appealing Peter O’Toole who are my romantic favorites). I definitely want to own this one.

    How to Marry a Millionaire. Not as nearly as hilarious, but still fun.

    To Have and Have Not. A sort of different version of Casablanca. I liked it slightly better, but rather boring still. Bacall and Bogart together, yes, definitely iconic.

    The Big Sleep. This and Dark Passage were my favorites of the Bogart/Bacall pairing. I think that this was the better movie, but I actually think I liked the other better or at the least romance was better in Dark Passage. Bogart is better in this murder mystery stories. He’ll never be a crush or a favorite, but I understand better his iconic status

    Key Largo. Boring and too many horrible death of innocents.

    Dark Passage. See notes above.

    Hallmark

    Pearl in Paradise. Eh.

    Falling for You. Cute.

    Under the Autumn Moon. Eh.

     

  • Culture and Entertainment

    Movies I’ve Watched: September 2018

    Hallmark

    Love in Design. Not one of the better Hallmarks.

    Modern

    To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I like some of it better than the book. Peter, for example, he seemed like a nice kid. In the book he seemed like a two-faced player who’d never really change). Laura Jean came across sweeter in the book; she seemed more selfish and mean in the movie. Of course, I’m not crazy about somewhat realistic high-school relationships. Super uncomfortable about some of the stuff that goes on there. And overall, the message/plot/movie is silly.

    10 Things I Hate About You. Hilarious and yet so, so sweet in parts.

    She’s the Man. We were screaming with laughter, and I was cringing and hiding my eyes at the unbelievable awkwardness. And young Channing Tatum playing soccer. Oh. my. stars.

    You Again. This was so funny in parts. But I didn’t like the sappy ending (maybe sour grapes because I don’t like the people who seem to get everything their way, but seriously, it wasn’t satisfactory plot-wise).

    Classics

    Gaslight. Too scary and yet too boring for me.

    Designing Woman. This was quite funny. I hadn’t seen Lauren Bacall before, and she looks way different than any pictures I’d seen. She and Gregory Peck don’t match at all in looks. He is fine featured, she is huge featured, and her deep voice takes away from him. Also, I think I prefer him, in shall we say, more gentlemanly roles. I’d still watch again though.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    What I’ve Watched Recently

    YouTube Highlights

    The Bucket List Family on YouTube. Super cute family traveling the world. I also love their collaboration on the Home Love channel for their Hawaii house.

    I was trying to find some goal and planning resources and happened across Lavendaire. I love her aesthetic, it is so feminine and soothing; sometimes planning resources can be more hardcore and masculine seeming with bold fonts and colors. I’m absolutely buying her Artist of Life book for next year.

    Television

    Clips from Friends. I’m not a television person, but since I have a huge diatribe below, I keep this short. I just wanted to watch the highlights after I started looking up Chandler who is definitely my soulmate. I remembered I’d got him when I took a Friends quiz ages back, and I think one my siblings said I was Monica. So I’m like him and should marry him?

    Movies

    The Greatest Showman. Fun for one watch, but the music and some scenes (belong to certain songs) are worth re-watching. But the sound seemed weird, reminiscent of La La Land; to me it sounded like some of the voices were suppressed in comparison to the music. I also didn’t feel that most of the singers were the best chosen (especially Hugh Jackman, ugh, although he wasn’t as bad as in Les Mis because Les Mis weirdly has everything sung/chanted), I want super strong voices, although with what seemed to me the technical suppression, it was hard to tell what full intensity could be. Also, I felt that when I listened to “Rewrite the Stars” Zendaya’s voice was more suppressed than Zach’s. I’ve only heard her in in Disney’s Shake It Up, but for some reason I had the impression her voice was stronger than that. I felt that the actress who played Jenny Lind had the best voice or at least wasn’t suppressed/auto-tuned to the same degree the others were. The inconsistency in voice quality, auto-tuning, and sound balance irritates me in modern musical film (e.g. the ludicrous difference between the soaring voices of Raoul and Christine in Phantom and Gerard Butler’s pitiful “singing” which I was totally judging against Ramin Karimloo, no one could win against him I know, but Butler’s singing was excruciating). I don’t like when huge stars are chosen for essential who cannot sing (Emma Watson, Gerard Butler), but the film-makers will. not. use voice-overs. You will shorten songs (in a iconic musical?!) and auto-tune (again, in an iconic musical?!), but using a real singer’s voice is just too, what? Good of an idea? End of musicals rant.

    Black Panther. Rather boring.

    27 Dresses. This was fun for one watch but quite shallow.

    To Kill a Mockingbird. I missed a bit and as with many older or more serious movies, I need to watch again to soak in everything. I want to re-read the book too.

    My sisters found a set of the first four Thin Man movies at Barnes and Noble, so we have been re-watching those and introduced my married sister and her husband to them. Nick and Nora are just a scream sometimes.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    What I’ve Watched Recently

    I have fallen off watching Hallmark mostly because Mom stopped, thank goodness. I would come home from work with no motivation and will-power and just agree every time she asked. I hope this lasts.

    For my third free streaming trial recently, I tried Netflix again. When I had Amazon Prime and Netflix ages ago (maybe at the same time for a short period, I’m not sure), I always thought Netflix had more choices, but I don’t think they do anymore, maybe because they are focusing on their own films and shows. Anyway, definitely not for me either, most of what I would watch was stuff I’d already seen, and I didn’t try to look up old movies (my list is intimidatingly long). I did luck out on Thor.

    New Watches

    How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. Rather like a dirtier Hallmark movie.

    13 Going on 30. This was cute although I wish Mark Ruffalo’s (he was so adorkable) character was in it more and there were more romantic scenes.

    Part of Doctor Srange. Cumberbatch drew me in, but then I got bored.

    Part of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I wasn’t super inspired to finish and Netflix shut down or shut down on me on my last day. I do want to finish, but I doubt it will be a favorite. Ken, I mean Paul while handsome, isn’t Peter O’Toole or Gregory Peck, and I prefer Hepburn’s more innocent characters.

    Thor Ragnarok. I hated the preview. While by this time, I wasn’t expecting to hate it, I didn’t think I’d like it. These low expectations probably made way for me really enjoying it. I rewatched it in the same week.

    Re-Watches

    Leap Year. I love this movie, but I need to stop watching it for awhile. I’ve watched it three times in the last two years.

    I re-watched Sherlock and then rage quite before the fourth season (which I’ve never seen). I’m not besotted with Benedict Cumberbatch like I was when I first watched the first two seasons. I don’t think they are near as clever nor as subtle and understated (yes, I thought they were subtle and understated and refined and all that jazz; I was early twenties and so very un-subtle and awkward myself, I think I can be excused). However, they ARE clever (the first two seasons) in such a quotable way.

    Before the third season, I had fun re-watching them and looking at them through cooler adult eyes. I can also understand more (the first two seasons clearly weren’t marketed toward U.S. audiences and although I’d seen many period dramas, I had trouble understanding modern British speech as I suppose they weren’t making an effort to be understood). I understanding why I fell so hard for Sherlock/Cumberbatch (in Doctor Strange, he could draw me, the old magic was still there, but it didn’t last; partially probably because his horrible American accent (not his job at it, just the accent he had)

    The third season is as bad as a remember although not quite the shock to my senses it was when I first watched it. Because I’m thoroughly over the lure of the series, and I’m not sure I was quite then or I hadn’t re-watched the first two seasons to awake a bit more to the reality of the drama, meaning the contrast between the first two and the third is not as great, unfortunately, as I thought then. The first and last episode of the third series are truly dreadful in the mediocre, melodramatic, abysmal ludicrousness. I remember reading a blogger describe how in the fourth Pirates Jack is a caricature of himself (how much more so in the fifth then?!), well that describes Sherlock in this season. The second episode has a good bit of a mystery, but not enough.

    Despicable Me 2. We did a family pool night Saturday and watched a movie/by in the pool. We were going to watch Captain America: Civil War, but because we were impatient we wanted to start a movie before it was truly dark enough to see the screen properly and choose the animated movie to see better. This was a really fun experience. Then my youngest sisters and Dad almost immediately watched Thor: Ragnarok, inside though.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    Movies I’ve Watched Recently

    Since I must have sickened myself on Hallmark, I haven’t watched many since Christmas (thankfully). The last year or two had an embarrassingly large percentage of these movies. I have too big a TBW list to waste time like that. On to the new-to-me movies of recent months:

    Star Wars. On a whim Dad took Flowerchild and I to see this the day after our last family Christmas celebration. I’m still not a Star Wars fan-girl (I’m not sure I really am a fan-girl on much period, I usually get sick of things that I over-watch/over-read and hear too much about) although I left rather infatuated with Kylo Ren for a time (and no, it wasn’t solely on account of the shirtless scene; he was the only whole MAN in the film: complex, confident, intriguing). The Kylo-Rey parts were the only good parts to the movie. The rest was decidedly dull, manufactured, and absurd. Mom asked Dad and I if we liked it and when we said we thought it was “okay,” she asked why we went, and we decided we’d fallen for the Star Wars hype (Dad was a Star Wars nerd in his day, and I think he’s embarrassed about that, lol).

    Penelope. This is quite funny. And baby James McAvoy is SO cute. However, part of the end freaks me out (kind of like when I look too closely at the Beauty and Beast story). Comparing perhaps ugly (unusual I think, unless a person makes themselves ugly, most people are plain, rather than ugly) people to animals with this inside/outside beauty plot, um, NO. A PIG okay!!!!!

    I am Dragon. This blogger reviewed this movie and mentioned that it was on Amazon Prime (I also had a free Prime trial recently). Because I was having trouble finding much on Prime to watch and because I thought the movie sounded intriguing, I watched it. It started out scarier (I’m a baby) than I anticipated but then didn’t end up being as scary as the beginning led me to expect. The plot and feel is like an old folktale or fairytale which is really fascinating. All the elements are so foreign (it’s a Russian film) and it all works together to evoke that aforementioned feel (except for some jarringly modern music in one part, and I thought that some of the scenery looked tropical, which didn’t fit at all although it was beautiful), to a Westerner anyway. These elements include: the archaic, guttural sounding Russian language; the old, un-Western clothing, fabric, and music; the look of the landscape and colors; the look of the people, especially Arman. The film is hauntingly lovely and mysteriously foreign (also, Russia is just so . . . strange . . . and rather disturbing, even the very few less disturbing periods; I’m reading Brothers Karamazov as of this typing, btw).

    Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. I keep forgetting that I watched this . . . and I think the film deserves that. Whoever has written and directed these latter two of the PotC series has been severely lacking in the genius of the writer/directors of the first three films. The fourth I thought far too dark and not as interesting as the former three, and Jack is not himself, he isn’t in this one either. I anticipated this one being terribly frightening, but it was ludicrously not so. The bad guy was played and talked about as being terrifying, but he clearly wasn’t. And the British were knocked off like a joke. The girl seemed more of a main character and Will’s son (WILL’S son) nothing, and she was stereotyped, one-dimensional, and obnoxious. Actually, so many characters were trivial, as were the various plot threads, and yet the first three movies had multiple characters and plots lines and all of them were well-developed and none developed at the expense of others. A disappointing film.

    This Beautiful Fantastic. I’d read about this on two blogs which got me interested. I found this movie on Hulu during my trial, so I watched it then. Both reviewers mentioned shipping Vernon and Bella (so I was prepared to do this as well especially since I didn’t care for the looks of the actor who played Billy), so I expected a love triangle. The movie didn’t have one (which is good, these are almost never done well); Bella and Vernon (who was almost old enough to be Bella’s father) didn’t flirt, had no chemistry, and no displayed no interest (expect I thought I saw a flicker of what I thought was hurt, possibly only because I was looking for it, on Vernon’s face after he learns of Billy, and this look could be interpreted many ways), and Vernon was fatherly, older brotherly in manner. I didn’t ship them, you can’t when there is nothing to ship. However, I didn’t care for the love story. The way the filmmakers handled it, I felt took away from the movie, from Bella’s journey. And it didn’t fit. The relationship between the main three characters, the setting, Bella, etc. were all complex and intertwined and quirky. The library life didn’t seem as “real” or as solid a part of Bella’s life. Billy didn’t fit in the inner circle, didn’t come into it; that would’ve needed a sequel to feel finished and right. He was not a full participant, so that either should have been developed in another movie or the filmmakers should have lengthened this movie to include it. That was my loquacious explanation of issue #1 with the love story. #2 is the absolutely absurd stock drama of seeing Billy with another woman. Come on, come up with something that that is 1) Fitting to Bella personally (the rest of the story is unique, Bella is different, why such a stock storyline that would be terrible for a movie with a more average character?), 2) More fitting to the timeline and situation (she barely knows him), and 3) More believable and believably forgivable (“I’m a triplet” Are you serious? Don’t be absurd, don’t come up with ludicrous, cheap, tricky twists). This is terrible, cheap plot manipulation. I just felt that this was so out of sync with the rest of the movie. I’m not even sure that romance fit at all with the time frame of the film. I loved the development, plot, resolution, and depth of the rest of the film and characters. I definitely think it is worth watching.

    Spider Man: Homecoming. When I first heard that The Amazing Spider Man series was ending, I was disappointed because I enjoyed those movies, and I wasn’t happy with the new actor or his portrayal in Civil War. Eventually, I got over my pique, but I didn’t know what to expect/didn’t have expectations except that it was good because it had been so long since most bloggers mentioned it (and I don’t like reading reviews of movies I intend to watch until after watching them). Musicalmiss, Flowerchild, and I watched it one day in February. I LOVED it. Later that week Flowerchild, Babysister, and I watched it again. I want to own it, and I can’t wait for the next one to come out. Whispers, I think I might like it better than The Amazing Spider ManThis movie is SO well-written and well acted. So much cuteness and hilarity. I can like both this story line and The Amazing Spider Man; actually, I think that the Spider Man/Peter Parker story line is simply my favorite superhero story line. I loved that Peter always did the right thing despite all his temptation to cheaply try to win attention; I hope that never changes. Peter is so precious and adorkable, and his friend is hilarious, and I love the hints of M.J.’s interest (won’t they make an awesome couple?!). I didn’t like Peter with Liz, and I didn’t know the other girl WAS M.J. until the very end, and I couldn’t really tell that she liked him the first viewing, but I definitely saw it the second time around; I like that she isn’t puppy-dog pining for him, and that he isn’t being an insensitive jerk, he just doesn’t really know her plus he is such a baby, plus his little fan-boy crush on Liz. Oh, and that prom pick-up scene, what ACTING!!!! Oh, I could watch that movie again.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    What I Watched Recently

    I don’t think I watched many new movies. I can only remember one new movie, a Hallmark, A Country Wedding which was super cute. We rewatched a lot of movies including North and South, That Darn Cat, and Parent Trap (I got all these for my birthday).

    However, I have watched a lot of travel shows over the last couple months

    Rick Steves Europe
    This my least favorite. A bit more touristy/watered down history. Not enough culture or interesting details.

    Little Europe (this featured five micro countries which can all fit into the sixth smallest, Luxembourg)
    Israel (not Europe, clearly, but still under this show)

    The Curious Traveler
    I like the focus on architecture and historical details.

    Kotor, Montenegro
    Oslo, Norway
    Bordeaux, France
    Venice, Italy

    Born to Explore
    This is my favorite. He focuses on food, nature, handicrafts, culture, animals, etc. The Namibia show focused entirely on cheetah conservation. I think the shows on Turkey and Namibia may have been my favorites.

    Turkey
    India
    Shetland Islands, Scotland
    Namibia

    Wild Alaska Live Special
    Anyone else grow up with the Kratt brothers’ shows? Pretty sure I had a crush on Chris. When I was little I watched Kratt’s Creatures every so often. When my youngest sisters were little they watched Zoboomafoo. Us older siblings watched them too, but I apparently wasn’t as devoted; the little girls can remember so many episodes and details.

    Well, they’ve aged considerably, but still apparently talk the same way as they did in their kids’ shows. A bit jarring. But these three 2+ hour long specials on Alaska were magnificent. They filmed these during the Alaskan salmon runs at a couple locations including Tongass Natural Forest and Katmai National Park. The show focused on how salmon is the keystone to the entire Alaskan ecosystem and feature all sorts of Alaskan wildlife: brown (called Grizzlies in the lower 48 and black bears, beavers, otters, orcas, humpback whales, bald eagles, gray wolves, an absolutely adorable porcupine, salmon (of course), and some of the ugliest animals I’ve ever seen, walruses. I had forgotten they existed, and I must have only ever seen photos and drawings of the supermodels of this animal. They appallingly ugly. Anyway, the whole show showcases the absolute gorgeousness of this area of our country. Glaciers, lakes, forests, fjords, etc. Well worth a watch or two. (I watched a considerable amount again with my sister who hadn’t seen it the first time).

    Ireland’s Wild Coast Special
    A two-hour show featuring man making his way around the Atlantic coast of Ireland in an old-style boat. A rather softer part of nature, compared to Alaska. Even the salmon look different because of the milder environment; they didn’t go throught the bizarrely dramatic changes the Alaskan salmon did. Birds (including the ludicrous, adorable puffins) comprised a huge proportion of the wildlife, but we also saw humpback whales again, a blue shark, a basking shark, red deer (they are huge, my sister thought they looked like cows; the mule deer out West were huge too, not like our over super abundant white-tailed deer), red squirrel (much prettier than our aggressive gray squirrel which has apparently invaded and harmed red squirrel populations in Ireland and the UK), and pine martin.

    I was looking up the name of the last animal and discovered the last wolf was killed in Ireland in the 18th century. I guess that is rather more recent than I would have thought although I usually think of England in terms of that (and they became extinct there two centuries earlier; that is a big difference though). Wolves are “extinct” if you can call it that in my state and region which is JUST fine with me. They are one of the most dangerous predators to humans and their animals. By wolf, I mean gray wolf. I think the coyotes around here may have red wolf blended in them.