Tag Archives: celebs

MP9: Mamma Mia 2

Here we go again! I loved the original Mamma Mia and I adored this sequel/prequel just as much if not more. What a fun flick!

[tiny bit spoilery]

It also made me cry a few times because at heart it was about the relationship between Donna and her daughter Sophie, and there were several very poignant moments.

But let’s be honest: this was a campy, crazy, cheesy, over-the-top, wild spree! Most of the scenes were completely wackadoo, waaay out of control, with spangles, bell-bottoms, impulsive romantic encounters, etc. The scenery was beyond beautiful and the choreography was super-creative. It was fantastic!

I loved the cast. Lily James was terrific as young Donna. The three dads were as funny as last time, if not more, and their younger selves were spot-on. Passport guy was hilarious. The best-known ABBA songs were used in MM1, so we were treated to some I wasn’t familiar with in MM2, but that was fine with me. We still had several old faithfuls throughout the film.

Cher and Andy Garcia doing Fernando… omg, what a crack-up! Waterloo with young Donna and young Harry would be my fave overall, except the grand finale of Super Trooper with all hands was so spectacular that nothing can come close to touching that number.

It was so great to see an upbeat movie ~ I really needed that. Puzzle opens this week, which I’d like to see if it’s playing nearby. If not, dunno which movie I’ll see next.

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Addicted to News [mini-rant]

What is it about other people’s drama that’s so enticing to read about? While I’ll always click on a cute kitty story, I find myself drawn even more to the negative news loops like a gawker at a traffic accident. Even when I already know the gist, I’ll click to see yet another POV ~ and then be disgusted with myself for wasting my own time. Stop!

Whether it’s politics or entertainment (not that there’s much diff), I am a glutton for punishment, stuffing myself at the 24-hour buffet of stupid “news.” And then I have the nerve to whine right here on my own blarg that wah wah I can’t find the time to write fiction any longer.

I told myself that quitting Facebook would free up loads of extra time, and it has, but I’ve been spending it reading about the Karjenners. Gahhh.

But seriously, Kylie is cuter sans the fillers.

MP3: Ocean’s 8

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Fantabulous! No, not the movie; we’ll get to that later. I’m talking about the voodle salad at Whole Foods.

Yesterday, Thursday, I arrived at Bella Terra in Huntington Beach early enough to grab a late lunch, meander around B&N, and see O8. My plan was to have a low-carb salad at Daphne’s Greek Café, but you know what they say about plans. BT was undergoing some remodeling, so I wandered around for a bit, trying to find Daphne’s. Finally, I spied a directory and OMG there was no Daphne’s! Yikes. Sadness. Now what? None of the other casual restaurants looked like they’d have something tasty and low-carb friendly (I don’t eat sushi anymore). So, I figured I’d walk over to Whole Foods, where there would have to be something acceptable among the trendy offerings. Right?

Usually at WF I get a slice of pizza or a dish of pasta or a cookie ~ you know the drill. Heavy on carbs, light on veggies/nutritional value. All that has now been nixed from my slate of choices. I poked around a bit. Not fond of salad bars where peeps are breathing and sneezing all day. The packaged stuffs were too carby ~ sandwiches, wraps, etc. I peeked at the deli counters. Lotta pasta and… ooh, what’s this? Mediterranean salad. I love! Why are they calling it Zucchini Voodles?

OIC. The curly things aren’t noodles ~ they’re zucchini curls. Cute! There must be some machine that voodlizes your foodles. And the rest of the ingredients were totally legit: tomatoes, artichokes, feta cheese, spinach, olives, dressing. I bought a cup of that and sparkling water and sat down. I assumed the salad would be good, but it was wonderful! I’d never have ordered this in my “past life.” I’d have passed it up for something yummy like pizza. But it was so delicious! The flavors worked so well together. I savored that for a while until realizing I hardly had any time left for B&N. Whoops.

Did a quick book browse, then checked into the movie. It was crowded for a weekday, but O8 has been pretty hyped up. There were some good previews I can’t remember and then the main feature began. First, let me say one thing. It’s really difficult to watch Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett now without remembering that article about their penis facials. I mean, obviously the facials work because their skin is super-glowing and beautiful. But still. This knowledge is distracting.

Second, the problem for a movie with 8 (or 11, etc.) main characters is that… it has 8 main characters. These Ocean movies are overcrowded with protagonists, or anti-heroes, to be precise, since we are (may I remind everyone) talking about criminals. I don’t know about you, but I can’t really root for characters committing crimes unless they’re setting to rights a miscarriage of justice, and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying that’s not what these Ocean movies are about, mainly. They’re about very good-looking people committing crimes, is what.

Third, putting that aside for a moment, I can still have fun with a movie like this if I can let go and jump into it, but that’s difficult when the set-up drags on and on and on. For gawd’s sake ladies just steal something already! Since I’m not a scriptwriter, I don’t know how you make it super-fun for an audience to sit through the minute details of hacking into a computer system or copying a diamond necklace or whatever, but geez they need to spice that stuff up! So boring. Yeah, there were a few funnies, but not enough. And I had the same criticisms about the male Oceans ~ in fact, I dozed off during each one (bought the set at the beginning of the year to prep for O8). Yawners, even with Clooney. I know!

Finally, the action happens and it’s good. Nicely paced (finally). I enjoyed the last third of the movie. James Corden was hilarious as the insurance detective. The ending was fun as well. But overall Ocean’s 8 was a disappointment after all the hype. Certainly not as bad as Life of the Party, but nowhere as good as Book Club.

I’m going to give Hotel Artemis a swerve after the terrible review in the Observer, and while the stellar reviews of Hereditary tempt me, I’m afraid it’ll give me nightmares for the rest of my life, if not heart failure on the spot. Definitely The Year of Spectacular Men next week and then The King! Elvis, baby.

*

Whoa. One thing before you go. While looking up the O8 cast to make sure I got Corden’s name right (I didn’t, lol, and fixed it), I noticed that there was a busboy named Michael Gandolfini. Yes, his son. BE STILL MY HEART.

 

The Story Is Everything

H&M

One of my friends asked about The Wedding on Twitter. She was developing a slight interest but was still perplexed at the intense fascination it held for some people, mostly women a little older than herself. I fall into that group. Now, I’ve not been obsessed with The Wedding itself; in fact, I found the relentless coverage as irritating as anything else the “news” media decides I must have shoved in my face 24/7, whether it’s the KarJenner baby mama drama BS or that horrible man’s lawyers’ lawyers’ lawyers’ lawyers.

However. I loved the story of Diana (and cried at the tragedy). Her story kept me vaguely interested in her children all these years. William and Kate’s story was sweet, but the Meghan Markle story is fascinating. Everything I learn about Meghan is fabulous. She’s a proud and accomplished feminist! She went to Northwestern! She has a rescue beagle! I think she is utterly gorgeous and her mother is gorgeous too. I adored seeing the dresses and silly hats on the royals and celebs at the wedding and after-party. (I didn’t watch the actual ceremony ~ I’m not big on vids.) And the children were adorable! Meghan’s little doggie rode with the Queen, omgawd!

And I clicked on bunches of pics that “proved” Meghan and Harry were in super duper lurve because of all their PDA, which is generally Not Done by royals but they don’t care. They’re so cute and wonderful, proving that soul mates exist in this scary terrible world. It’s the perfect time to be reminded of that. Yes, I have examples of soul mates in my own life, but this is different because it’s a story for the world to witness as one.

This is why people love a fantasy. This is why romance novels outsell every other genre. We want to believe in the love story. We want to believe in magic and romance. We want the fairy tale, the prince and the princess, the horses, the gowns, the flowers, the kiss that lasts a lifetime, all of it.

We want the story.

The Persistence of Me

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I confess I don’t know much about Tom Wolfe (RIP), but have only begun learning about his brilliance this past week from his obits and write-ups in the news. Of course I’ve used the phrase “The Me Decade” to describe the 1970s, never even knowing that he coined it. How embarrassing! I’m adding The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and Bonfire of the Vanities to my reading list.

I think a strong argument can be made that the Me Decade hasn’t ended and shows no signs of abating anytime soon. All the selfies and oversharing, plus the endless quiz-taking, are encouraged by industries whose purpose is to make us feel insecure about ourselves, and are part of an infinite loop of superficial self-examination, wasting our time and energy as we search for enlightenment in our belly button lint, rather than expanding our horizons outward for fulfillment. I’m no stranger to these behaviors myself.

But something interesting has happened, a small thing, but interesting nevertheless: since I quit Facebook and Instagram two months ago, I haven’t taken any photos of food. My life is no worse for this; I don’t miss these pics at all. In fact, that was simply another superficial way to “connect” with people online when we really had nothing in common. In my opinion, this obsession with selfies, including food pics (unless you’re a restaurant critic or recipe blogger), is part of the narcissistic sickness of society. Notice me! Like me! Follow me! We see our favorite celebrity posting 857 photos of their face and we think we should too. It’s headshot day! Gah.

I suggest that the me-ness of the Me Decade never disappeared but instead spilled into online life, splashing over all we did, turning the entire social media experience from information-based, when it began, to communication-based, for a time, and finally now into a monstrous narcissistic ouroboros that not only controls how we behave online but offline too. We are even more self-centered now than we were in the 1970s despite allegedly “connecting” with all sorts of people different from us all over the world. We don’t actually do this in any kind of meaningful way. I doubt most of us even begin to relate to people in our own neighborhoods and what issues they might have in this primary election, if they are different from our own. All I see is people ready to bully, disparage, and dismiss anyone who thinks differently from them, more now than ever.

If you don’t conform to my reflection of myself, I push you out of the picture. Turn the camera back to selfie mode. Ah, much better. Smile. Click.

*

I know some of you probably thought I would jabber on about the narcissists I’ve dated and link to my new poetry book All She Wrote, which explores quite a bit on that theme, when you saw the prompt “narcissism”… well, surprise! I actually do have otter things to say sometimes besides look at my stupid mistakes. 😀

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Narcissism

Popularity Observation

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I’m not a popular blogger. Not sure I want to be ~ I had a tiny taste of it many years back and it was a lot of work. I constantly checked my stats and felt as if I failed when I didn’t keep outperforming the previous week’s totals. Every day I pressured myself to write at least two posts and one needed to be funny. I tried to find ways to link other bloggers in posts. I also made sure to visit many other blogs daily, old friends and new hopefuls, and leave comments to encourage them to visit me. Ughhh! Needless to say, just like my Facebook obsession, this left little to no time for Real Writing. And it was pointless as well ~ the blog was neither monetized nor promoting any writing. It was simply an exercise in ego.

Now? Some days I get less than 10 visitors here, though it’s hard to tell if more are simply reading via a reader or in email. Visits are only recorded from click-throughs. Usually a day with a new post will generate 20 or more visitors, but not always. If I link to the word of the day, I’ll get more. I haven’t SEO’d my blog, and I’m not even sure what that is, but it seems fake, like fake FB friends. Why would I want that? Are those people going to leave real comments and care about what I say? Are they ever going to be interested in buying my writing on Amazon? Hah.

I know some of my fellow bloggers must be SEO’d up the wazoo because their post will appear in my reader as an hour old and already have 200 likes. WTF? And it’s a poem or something, not exactly the most popular form of writing out there, but yet 200 people have somehow found it and liked it. Right. That happens. What does this mean? Does it translate to money? How much? I suppose I could google this properly, but why not just fling my question to the winds and wait for a wrong answer from one of y’all?

On Twitter, I’m a nobody, a nothing, a speck of dust. I heard about this thing called a shadow-ban, where you see your tweetles but no one else can since the PTB have put a block on their distribution, and like a cyber-hypochondriac I thought ooh maybe I haz that! But no. I’m not worthy enough to have any kind of ban obviously. That’s not why no one notices my twips. No one notices them because they aren’t noticeable. It doesn’t matter how witty I think I am, or even when I remember to hashtag a particularly clever thing… nothing. But occasionally a friend likes one, so I know I haven’t been shadow-banned. Then a popular twatter says something and gets 800 hearts in three minutes… the count rolls over into the thousands as I watch. It’s not even that funny, but there it goes. Whatever.

Again, I’m trying to figure out some of these popular tweepers. They seem to be on Twitter all day long. Are they getting paid? They churn out a comment after every blip in the news. Then they immediately have thousands of likes and retweets. What’s their source of income? They can’t all be stay at home moms. Some are men, but the ones I’ve observed are mostly women.

If it’s just an ego thing, pffft. The reason I’m curious is I’d like to know how to get more people to see my tweets as a way of promoting my writing. I observe so many writers there hawking their books… doesn’t seem like a fabulous strategy. If everyone is doing it, is anyone really clicking and buying? I don’t think I got any sales that way, but then again, I’m not a popular tweep to begin with. I can’t believe that if all you do is promo you’ll be more popular. That’s so boring! If you’re popular for being funny and smart, and oh incidentally every once in a while link to a product for sale, then I can see people clicking on it. But why would someone buy something you’re selling if they don’t know who you are in the first place? This is why celebs are desirable salespeeps, isn’t it? If only I could get Meg Ryan to promo my books for free. LOL

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Observe

Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Especially here. Remember back in the day when I was jabbering on about how much I lurve That Girl? Like last week? Well, I’ve changed my mind. Sunday I wrote a bunch in the morning and then took a little break, which turned into a 12-hour TG binge. At first, I still enjoyed the eps, especially the ones with guest stars, such as “Compudate,” which featured Rich Little doing impressions. I adore him and lost respect for Ann when she didn’t dump Don for Rich. Wtf? Ridiculous. Don’s a total bore. The more I watched the more convinced of this I became. What did she even see in him? He is totally dull. The British photog dude is also way more fun than Don, but nope. I guess it must be this opposites thing ~ sparkling butterfly needs a lump of mashed potatoes for a partner so she can make sure she’s always the center of attention. If she had gone with Rich, he might have grabbed some of the spotlight for himself. That’s fine for her, but what about us, the audience? After almost two full seasons, I’m really tired of Mr. Boring.

But that’s not even the main thing. There’s something about TG that’s really started to bug me. Several somethings.

1. The show takes place in NYC and everyone is white. There’s nothing but white people everywhere. White people celebrating generic white Christian holidays. No matter where Ann goes in the city, she never encounters anyone or anything but this. Amazing!

2. The city is freakishly clean.

3. Ann wants a career and left her small town to be independent, which seemed refreshing at first, but it’s not this way at all. She’s still emotionally yoked to her parents 24/7, especially to her father, and she calls him Daddy constantly, which is as irritating as her “Oh Donalds.” Daddy pops into her apartment whenever because he has “business in the city,” though he’s allegedly running a restaurant two hours away in the small town, and he has zero respect for her privacy. Ann is obsessed with his opinion regarding everything she does, whether it’s cooking a turkey or wearing dangling earrings, and it’s disgusting.

4. I’ve seen several eps now where Ann gets into dicey situations involving some creepy older man coming onto her and she wriggles out of it with her silly, spunky personality. If at any point she is actually physically touched, the scene is interrupted by Mr. Boring lumping in. Even when Don punches some otter guy in the face, he manages to be dull about it and hurt his widdle paw. The point is, nothing bad ever really happens to Ann, since she’s a “good girl.” This is the message we always have received.

5. Even worse, both Donald and Ann say “terrific” every freaking minute and it drives me up the wall. Of all the things, this started to turn me off the most Sunday night until I began dreading any positive announcement, since it would always be followed up with the inevitable. Why didn’t anyone buy these writers a thesaurus?!

Yes, I praised the writers earlier, so I’m blaming them now. Live by, die by. Goodbye, That Girl.

*

Of course I realize this was back then ~ I don’t care. I’m criticizing it now anyway, just like I did IDOJ.

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Back in the Bottle

A few years ago I blogged here and here (a two-parter!) about rewatching I Dream of Jeannie ~ I had purchased the entire series. But I didn’t finish watching every episode because it was too heartbreaking. My memory of the show from when I was a teen had it categorized as witty and adorable and this was destroyed by my mature perspective. As I noted three years ago, the writing was cliched (even for the time), the jokes unfunny, the bloopers ubiquitous, and the constant obsession with marriage ridiculous and boring.

But it turns out you can put the genie back in the bottle. Hee! Time passed. Life went on. Movies were watched. Games were played. Poetry was written. Cupcakes were nommed. And slowly but surely, IDOJ reclaimed its favored status among my childhood memories of cute and fun things. I even used a GIF of Jeannie pouring coffee on Twitter yesterday as if nothing had ever happened to tarnish my memory of her adorableness.

I made a similar mistake recently by clicking Match Game on Prime. Oooh, I used to love watching that after school! Biiig mistake. My god, those guest “stars” were a bunch of drunken idiots, which was freakin’ hilarious to 14 year old me, but now? Not so much.

Gotta resist Memory Lane strolls in so many of their tempting forms. An evening sorting through old photos the otter week caused me to spiral into a mild depression for days. Music doesn’t seem to have the same effect, or if it does, it’s small in comparison… an hour or two, certainly not a day or more.

Truth be told, I don’t care about Match Game, but I’m really glad to have IDOJ at the top of my happy childhood memory list.

In a future bloggery, we’ll discuss an old TV show that has stayed surprisingly good over time with storylines relevant today! Care to speculate which show I have in mind?

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~*~

The Daily Prompt: Genie

Sabrina, 1995

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For some odd reason, I never saw Sabrina (the 1995 version with Harrison Ford) until this weekend, even though Prime constantly recommended it. I generally like Ford, and romcoms, so it’s baffling. Well, turns out I hated it. What a horrible movie! Maybe I had some weird subconscious warning, who knows.

This bloggery will spoil the movie, so if for some inexplicable reason you want to see it, quit reading now and go watch a cute kitty video.

Sabrina begins like a typical romcom with an obscenely wealthy family, two handsome brothers, and one cute daughter of the chauffeur  ~ too young for both of them. Oh, sorry I’m being judgy already. My bad. (But this isn’t an 1890s romcom, it’s set in the 1990s, so I take my apology back.) Sabrina has a crush on the younger brother, David, but goes off to Paris as a Vogue intern (because that happens) yada. While in Paris she learns that David has become engaged to a doctor and she’s heartbroken. Immediately she morphs from a pretty young girl with a fresh face and long hair to a sophisticated vamp with short hair and impeccable style. Why? Dunno. But it seems to be a thing in movies and on TV that women chop off their hair to signal post-heartbreak fortitude.

Sabrina jets home to Long Island, where David doesn’t recognize her and starts his seductive routine until Linus (H. Ford) steps in to put a stop to it. The doctor fiance, you see, isn’t just any gorgeous doctor, but a TYSON, and Linus needs Daddy Tyson for some merger because of an indestructible TV screen. It’s all very complicated and worth a billion dollars. Sabrina and David aren’t dissuaded however, but David sits on some champagne glasses and gets a cut-up butt, so while he’s recovering Linus begins to woo Sabrina. Apparently she’s this brainless, faithless dingbat who can easily transfer her lurve from one brother to another while he’s telling her a series of idiotic lies. Oh, this is my halfway house. This homeless man here I helped when he got out of prison. And Sabrina the Paris sophisticate gobbles it all up. WTF?

Suddenly Linus grows a conscience and decides he can’t do this any longer, right after he bought plane tix for Paris, for himself and Sabrina, where he was planning to ditch her, jet back home, and finish the Tyson deal and see David married to the doc. He confesses to Sabrina that he’s a horrible person, etc. He knows she’s always loved David, and he’s going to transfer his ticket to David’s name so they can go to Paris together and be happy. Sabrina takes her ticket, says goodbye to people, and leaves. David decides that Linus must really love Sabrina to jeopardize a billion dollars, tells him to keep his original ticket, and insists he go after her. David and the doc go on as if nothing happened, and the deal with Daddy Tyson continues unharmed. Linus flies to Paris and reunites with Sabrina, who apparently would have fallen into the arms of whichever brother showed up! Not that anyone actually ever cares how Sabrina feels at any point in this whole freaking mishmash! Except maybe her father, the chauffeur, but he’s satisfied when Linus says that he needs Sabrina, and he’s never needed anything before. Okay then!

So dumb. So enraging. I assume the older version is similar, but I’d have to pay to see it, so no thank you.

Also, I want to talk about the brothers’ mother, Nancy Marchand. Yes, Livia. It’s like she was auditioning for the Sopranos’ part in advance, I swear to God. She is the exact same character and it freaked me out! I could not believe it. I was all, WTF is Livia Soprano doing at this fancy schmancy Long Island party? The same voice, the same tone, the same mannerisms. I expected Uncle Junior to pop in next. When she was lecturing Linus on going too far in wooing Sabrina and said, “I didn’t teach you this,” that was SO LIVIA. I wanted her to say, “Does your Uncle Tony know?” Eeeeeeee!!! She was a bright spot in the movie.

Nancy M. had a long and interesting career.

Hard Promises

The first time I heard Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers I was in a car with my boyfriend in 1980. We were in the back and his friend and friend’s girlfriend were in the front. It was the year of Damn the Torpedoes. (Says on Wiki that DTT was released fall of 1979, so that makes sense.) I fell in love with Refugee instantly and couldn’t wait to run right out and buy the album. So many good songs on there. I bought the prior album too and possibly the first one, not sure. Maybe later on a greatest hits I ended up with American Girl and Breakdown. Tom Petty was one artist I bought in vinyl, then again in tape, and finally on CD. Ridiculous, how we did that. But I didn’t do that for everyone!

My favorite Tom Petty album is Hard Promises. Unfortunately, I no longer have it (or any vinyl) and I see via iTunes that I don’t even have a complete list of the songs scattered about. Well! I don’t know how this disaster happened, but it will have to be remedied at once. *puts CD in Amazon cart* Every song on Hard Promises was significant to me in some way in 1981 when I listened repeatedly to the album back in Chicago. I can’t say that 1981 was such a terrible year, since 1982 was worse, and 1983 broke my heart, but maybe I had a premonition or something. I don’t know. I listened to so much music back then, just listened, absorbed. Not like now, where I’m usually doing something else, not focused on music unless I force myself to stop.

Of course I loved some of TP’s later work as well. Learning to Fly. Free Fallin’. I Won’t Back Down. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around with Stevie Nicks. I didn’t really pay much attention to the Traveling Wilburys, except of course End of the Line was fun to listen to.

RIP. ❤