Category Archives: Movies


Seriously, don’t even read this at all if you plan on seeing the flick.



Still here?

You haz been warned.

OK, I saw Spectre yesterday, and it was a lot of fun as Bond movies always are. Craig does an awesome Bond (and I was one of the original skeptics). Overall, I recommend the movie to Bond fans and action movie lovers in general.


I was disappointed in a couple things. Right at the start there was something I considered a faux pas. Bond’s in a hotel room with a beautiful girl and tells her he’ll be right back. He goes off to kill a guy, get chased, leap across rooftops, etc., as he does… and then the film cuts away to the opening song and credits. Wtf? The Bond of old would have kept the date and they should have shown that. (“Now, where were we?”)

Next, I did not like two of the main plot twists. One, Franz the villain turns out to be Bond’s brother via (Bond’s) adoption, which leads to a bunch of babble about Franz killing their father out of jealousy and always having it out for Bond cuz he stole daddy’s attention. Ugh. Yuck. Two, Franz announces that he has taken his mother’s surname and is now called Blofeld (complete with white cat). No! No no no no. This was not a REMAKE of an old 007 flick, but a progression in the life and times of James Bond, and it’s totes uncool for them to grab back a done and dusted bad guy. (Supposedly, Blofeld died at the start of For Your Eyes Only.) What next ~ Scaramanga? Goldfinger? There was no reason not to have a new bad guy with a new name “reboot” Spectre. No reason at all.

I think writers should be a lot more careful with reboots/remakes and the like. Either you stick to the original and update it with cellphones and shit, or just move the hell on and write something new. Certainly don’t take a franchise and grab stale fries from fifty years ago to scatter about a film in the here and now. That’s kind of a cheat, and we know what happens to writers who use cheats a la Stephen King’s Misery.

My last criticism of Spectre is more basic. I object to this kind of SOS writing we’re seeing in action movies lately of having the hero always be a dude who is bravely going against his own government because of one flimsy piece of info, and then it turns out his boss is in cahoots with the villains, or is the biggest villain of all, blah blah blah. Usually Alex Baldwin plays a belligerent general at some point. Then, there are always one or two other peeps in the gov’t who believe in the hero and help him save the world, thereby putting their own careers in jeopardy. Yawn.

I am sick of this storyline altogether. Write something else, dammit.

Other than these minor nits, I enjoyed the movie. If it’s true that Craig is tired of playing 007 and tossing out his tux, I look forward to the next actor (rumored to be Idris Elba).


PS: Here are some other reviews I found interesting.

Silverado Country Fair

Rob and I went to a fair yesterday in Silverado Canyon, about 25 miles inland. It was so hot out! My car temp was 106F when we headed back. Despite that, the fair was really fun. We saw a bunch of cool art, met some of the artists, and did a craft ourselves. I was really pleased to find some dangly kitty earrings made of real silver, just like some I lost years ago, for only $10. I polished them at home and they look adorable.

Here are some fair pix…


Donkey looks sad all cooped up. There were cute goats too and their owner said they’d been “debutted,” which made me feel too bad to take their pic.


Rob is weaving by crisscrossing various blue yarn strands in a grooved cardboard disc. I did one too in browns and called the result a monkey’s tail.


We decide to take a cookie break…


Zomg! There’s a cookie in my cookie! It’s like a turducken… or would be if there was a PB cup on top of the Oreo. (Bakers, take note.)


Rob won a yellow monkey in the beanbag toss! Lookit his long fluffy tail! The monkey’s, not Rob’s.


Rob gave the monkey to me (aww, thanks!) and we decided to name it Donovan ~ Donny for short. Can you figure out why?


I wuvs him. 🙂


I bought a toy for Gatsby, and as you can see… he’s utterly thrilled.

After the fair, Rob and I went to see Mission Impossible ~ Rogue Nation at the $3 theater to get some A/C. Fun movie! And the freezing cold Coke Icee hit the spot.

What a great day. I love fairs.

Coinkydinks in Fiction


Not a fan of ’em. Which is why I’ve had a love/hate relationship with romance novels all along, I guess. The “plots” normally hinge on a series of ridiculous coinkydinks. In my view, the fact that the protags meet at all for the first time (cute or otterwise) is ENOUGH. Just the one. One per story. But that’s not what we get, of course, or there’d be no story. And I’ve done the same in mine too. Really you have to have a meet and meet-again (at the least). Or else what? And that doesn’t even begin to address the myriad other against-the-odds stuffs embedded throughout.

I was up early today (like crazy early) and watched a movie. I have found that if I wake in the middle of the night with a headache and go back to sleep, I will be guaranteed a migraine at 6AM, but if I get up, take aspirin, drink water or cola, I can sometimes get rid of it. Naturally I’ll be exhausted mid-afternoon, oh well. The movie I watched was In Lieu of Flowers, sort of a rom-com, but mostly about the grief process after a romantic partner has died or whatever.

The protags, Eric and Rachel, meet at a grief-support group. OK. But then it turns out Eric’s doctor is Rachel’s father. This is totally unnecessary. But even worse is when E&R encounter each other in the waiting room. Think about that. How many doctors there are and how many patients each doctor has. The odds, IN NEW YORK CITY, of you and your romantic interest having the same doc. Then the odds of you both having appts on the same day about the same time. Boggle.

Of course there’s the usual stupid thing of having people with ordinary jobs in NYC somehow managing to live in fabulous places. I suppose Rachel, a second grade teacher, has doctor-dad subsidizing her BEACH HOUSE, but we never get the scoop on Eric’s financial sitch. Whatever. It was just a fluff movie. For a supposedly broken person, Rachel always manages to look continually gorgeous and smile at every strange man, even a drunk on the subway.

I understand that everything can’t be a masterpiece. It’s fine. I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately. Or should I say starting them. I don’t finish most. I did get to the end of In Lieu because I had nothing else to do.

Writing fiction? Seems unfathomable to me these days, like chasing a blow-up raft that’s floated out to sea. I sort of still see it bobbing out there, but it’s so far away, and I’m tired. I write some poetry though because that’s all language and emotion. I don’t have to grind out sentences and dialog and worry about where it’s going and the point of it all.

No point.

Quickie Movie Reviews

These are old, so don’t get excited.

1. Hitch. Wow, what a fun movie! My friend brought it over for us to watch after Passover seder. It’s a typical rom-com, but almost all from the hero’s POV, which was different. Lotsa chemistry between the protags and a great supporting cast too.

2. Finding Neverland. Interesting story of how J.M. Barrie was inspired to write Peter Pan. I really enjoy Johnny Depp, in whatever role. Highly recommend.

3. Pillow Talk. One of my all-time faves and it holds up decades after my first viewing. Love the witty dialog and the chemistry between Rock Hudson and Doris Day. Tony Randall is adorb and Dr. Bellows plays a phone company employee, tee hee.

4. Identity. Weird, scary, violent, exciting, suspenseful, interesting plot twists, and John Cusack. Love this movie ~ and I bought it so I can watch again because I’m still not exactly sure wtf happened there.

5. Stuck in Love. OK, this movie both intrigued me and annoyed me. I found the protag Dad oddly interesting in his obsession with his ex-wife. Annoying how he didn’t appear to be working anymore but had a big beautiful house on the beach regardless. Because having one famous book means you’re set for life, right. I loved his daughter and thought her romance was very well-done. Loved her dude. But it was super-annoying that she wrote a book while in college, tossed it, wrote another one and boom got published at a top house. Ridiculous. Younger brother is still in high school and wants to be a writer, too, natch. Sis sends his story to Stephen King who calls him personally to say he liked it, because THAT CAN HAPPEN. I found the girl’s estrangement from her mother and her boyfriend’s loss of his mom super-moving and believable. A mix of yay and rawr throughout.

More to come. 🙂

How to Suffer Beautifully

Perfect review of the new Cinderella here in the NY Post.

Ella is an orphaned woman who fully expects she is losing her chance to marry the man she loves because of her wicked stepmother. Yet instead of cursing or sulking or weeping, she sings the song her mother sang to her as she fell asleep, all those years ago.

Cinderella never bitches or blames, but continues to be kind, especially to animals. This is not “anti-feminist” as Vox asserts, but in fact Cinderella uses the lessons her mother taught her to find her own inner strengths. She would have been fine with or without the Prince.

The Brass Bottle

Brass Bottle

It came to my attention around a month ago whilst poking around on Amazon that this movie, The Brass Bottle, existed and was the inspiration for I Dream of Jeannie. I had to buy it obviously.

If you don’t know, I absolutely adore IDOJ.




Anyway, TBB completely and utterly sucked. I mean, it was just so terribly bad, but not in a funny, cultish terribly bad way, just boringly, stupidly, terribly bad. Tony Randall was absolutely HORRIBLE as Harold the architect. He was dull and dweeby, not in any way bumblingly smart and kinda hot like Larry Hagman’s Major Nelson, but just an utter blah dork. He was funny in The Odd Couple, but not here.

The genie was Burl Ives, an old fat guy, not beautiful Barbara Eden. This changed the entire dynamic between master and genie to the point where it was just two unfunny men squabbling over shit and having misunderstandings.

Barbara played Harold’s fiancee Sylvia and though she was gorgeous, of course, she was also really boring.

Instead of the hysterical Dr. Bellows sniffing around and causing trouble for Harold and genie, it was Sylvia’s annoying father and a couple of unfunny cops.

We didn’t see cute Air Force hijinks, nor was there a goofy fun friend like Roger Healy, only a couple of stupid artists sharing a house with Harold.

The denouement was totes unsatisfying, consisting of real estate fraud, jail time, and a do-over in the “this was all a dream” sense. Blargh.

Tusk, the Movie

Probably spoilers. So don’t read if that bothers you.






I saw Tusk last night. It is as bizarre, gory, and disturbing as you would expect… and yet… and yet it felt oddly compelling. I definitely did not root for the “hero,” Wallace, who is a total asshole, not that he deserves his hideous fate. (Or does he, given that he indirectly encouraged/supported the maiming and death of a young boy?)

The film shines a light on our incredibly stupid, shallow culture, which is never a bad thing to skewer, and it also mocks Canadians, but gently and hilariously.

“You don’t say Hitler in an airport.”

Michael Parks as Howard, the storyteller and surgeon macabre, presented a fascinating bad guy. His voice was hypnotic, his story at once incredible and yet believable. The two lovers who search for Wallace don’t have any romantic chemistry, though perhaps that is the point. People do often pair up out of mutual need and upfuckedness, rather than pursuing positive connection.

I was shocked at the actual reason for Howard’s complicated dance of horror with his destroyed partners, but then enjoyed the fact that it all made a sort of terrible sense. The fact that Kevin Smith could write this mangled monstrosity and end up leading us to a path in a field of logic is truly admirable.

Johnny Depp was over the top wackadoo, but would you expect anything less? (I think his “Guy LaPointe” character is an inside joke I don’t get.)

I never care what the reviewers or Rotten Tomatoes have to say. Only my opine matters. 😉

Orange County

And every good writer has a conflicted relationship with the place he grew up. ~ Marcus Skinner in Orange County

I saw this movie yesterday and enjoyed it. There were a lot of funny moments with Jack Black and the superstar cameos (Lily Tomlin, Chevy Chase). It also had some things to say about Orange County ~ the wealth, the drugs, the surf “culture,” etc. Any sensitive, aware person, writer or no, is going to be conflicted about growing up here, which is why my daughters skedaddled out first chance they got.

But overall, the movie focuses on a young man’s passionate dream of becoming a writer and getting accepted to Stanford. (A famous author, Marcus Skinner, who inspired the protagonist to begin writing, is a Stanford professor.) The protag used his own family as characters in his first story because they’re interesting kooks, and this made his story a standout. But in the classic twist, these same people seem to be preventing him from achieving the rest of his dream: getting out of the OC and going away to college.


I’ve been thinking about the quote at top and if it applies to me, not that I’m necessarily a good writer. I don’t have a conflict with the East Coast, but let’s say I grew up in Illinois (age 13-22). A case could be made for conflict there. I don’t write about that though. My stories (romance or otherwise) always take place in California.

Texas Lurve


The sexy cowboy concept is not a new thing, as evidenced by this movie poster from 1941. But right now there’s a ranchload of them for sale on the romance market, supplanting (THANK GOD) the vampires. At least for the moment. I kinda suspect that the vampires will always come back. There’s just something about those dark, mysterious creatures that has everlasting appeal.

Anyway, I took one for the team (so to speak) and picked up One Hot Cowboy Wedding by Carolyn Brown. The premise sounded fun ~ café owner heroine offers to marry her cowboy BFF to save his ranch from his meanie cousin after they discover a weird provision in the will saying cowboy has to be married by the end of the week to keep his inheritance. I assumed (always a mistake) that the novel would be filled with nasty shenanigans from meanie cousin designed to break up the newlyweds and/or expose their fakery.




No shenanigans. No plot whatsoever. The only “tension” consisted of the heroine thinking she shouldn’t succumb to the sudden and inexplicable attraction she felt for Mr. Cowboy as soon as she slipped on her wedding dress, and failing immediately. The rest of the book consisted of: oh drat, we had sex again, now it will be hard to break up at the end of the agreed-upon year.

I’m ready for a vampire!

Just kidding. I am going to review a monster type romance for y’all though. It’s the least I can do. 🙂


I saw Her last night. (Who’s on first?)

Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this movie as much as I thought I would. Joaquin did a nice job and there were some interesting moments, a few laffs, but overall? I had a major problem with the film (besides it being a big batch of romantic downersauce).

And my problem was not with the premise. I can totally understand falling in love with an operating system as opposed to a real person. People are annoying. My problem was as follows. We are to buy a time in the nearish future when an OS has advanced to the point of being like a real person in there, only better. This is not that hard to accept. However!

My problem was with Theodore’s job. In this time of the conscious/empathetic OS that anyone can haz, we are to simultaneously believe there is a need for a company full of apparently well-paid people writing thank-you and other letters for peeps who need help with such things. Are you fucking kidding me? Why can’t a software program do this? But no… we have a whole company full of these writers. And Theo lives in some fancy-schmancy apartment in Los Angeles with an incredible view of the city. I’m so sure.

I’ll buy a time when Scarlett Johansson lives inside your puter and wakes you up in the middle of the night just to say hai, but I can’t buy a time when a writer makes enough money churning out Hallmark schmaltz to live in a posh condo off Wilshire Boulevard.

Give me a break.