The challenge song today is “Up Where We Belong,” which was featured in one of my favorite movies An Officer and a Gentleman. Richard Gere played the lead role and Debra Winger rocked as his love interest. That was the first time I saw Debra, and I instantly adored her. She’s been in many enjoyable movies (though I didn’t really care for her last one, The Lovers).
Probably my favorite after AOAAG is Black Widow. In this 1987 film, Debra plays an FBI agent, Alexandra, who becomes obsessed with the idea of a connection among a group of dead men. She doesn’t believe they perished from accidents but were, in fact, murdered by the same woman. Alexandra basically devotes her life to solving this puzzle and ends up romantically involved with a man she perceives is the next target.
Theresa Russell plays the wife of each of these wealthy men and is so great with her multiple disguises. Highly recommend if you haven’t seen it!
I had to research this post by checking in WP admin because everything in my mind is one gigantic blur. This probably has more to do with my age and general spaciness than the plague though…
Anyway, Dr Tanya, here are 5 movies/shows I enjoyed this year. Mostly I am copypasta-ing from prior posts. 🤩
1. The Duchess. This British drama starring Kiera Knightly and Ralph Fiennes is directed by Saul Dibb. It’s based on the married life of a real person, Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire. Amanda Foreman wrote the biography upon which the movie is based. Michael O’Connor won the Academy Award for Best Costume ~ and the costumes are stunning. This is not a romance novel come to life, though it appears to begin as one. As time goes on, I keep hoping for happily ever after for the Duchess, but happiness seems to elude her at every turn. She has a wealthy and protected life, with every whim indulged, and we don’t dive into the problems of ordinary Englishmen in this film… one ought to be aware. But it is also true, and this is brought home to us a few times, that Georgiana’s life of luxury could be taken away at any point because her husband holds the key to everything. He gets to have a lover (as many as he pleases) when bored with marriage; she does not. Etc. There is criticism that the film is slow-moving, which I suppose it is, but I enjoyed it very much.
But if I want a story about a duke who is not only handsome and powerful but also a good lover/husband, I will have to read a Regency…
2. Curb Your Enthusiasm. Completely forgot that S10 had come on, yayyy! Oh, this is a treat. Larry is back in top neurotic, cranky form, and each episode is hilarious in and of itself, yet they’re all loosely connected too. What I love about Curb is they aren’t afraid to be absolutely outrageous to the extreme. You simply can’t predict the ridiculousness that will saturate the writing and dialogue. My favorite may have been Adolph the dog, but it’s really hard to choose. I highly recommend this to anyone with a sense of the absurd (and if you don’t mind liberal use of the F-word).
3. Life Itself. This movie killed me. I cried all the way through ~ I don’t mean a single elegant tear rolled down my cheek… no, I literally sobbed. Maybe I should have saved it for a less fragile time when my nerves weren’t so jangled up already. But too late! What’s weird is that some days, for hours and hours, I feel almost numb from this isolation. I just freaking persevere. Hey, it’s mid-April. We’re doing it. We’re getting through it. Maybe things, for most of us, will be all right. I don’t know. Yet, I started watching this film and… blammo!
It’s hard to begin talking about Life Itself without giving anything away. The whole thing is about plot twists. It’s a writer’s movie, which explains why critics hated it. They always scorn writers’ movies. They despised Alex & Emma, which was clever and charming. Life Itself is primarily about unreliable narration. How do you know what really happened? The story is as only as true as the memory of the storyteller. When Will is telling Abby’s story to Cait, we aren’t sure what to believe. Can we trust Will when we know he’s mentally ill? Even if he is relaying the story accurately, what about Abby? How do we know she told the truth to Will? I find these sorts of dilemmas fascinating.
Life Itself is about stories layered within stories and on top of stories ~ it is a tragic yet beautiful layer cake of stories. It’s full of despair, yet love shines through too. You think you can’t bear any more and then… it’s good again. I loved this movie so much I wanted to stay up forever and write my own stories. That’s how I feel when I watch or read something that resonates with me on a deep emotional level.
Mmm, I love layers…
4. Of course I watched Chicago again this year! It’s one of my all-time faves. I adore Catherine Zeta Jones in anything, and this whole movie is just so freaking excellent. Who knew Richard Gere could sing? Right? What’s interesting is I can’t stand Renee Zellweger in anything else. Nothing. She’s so annoying. But this I love. And Queen Latifah knocks it out of the park. Stellar casting! 🤩
5. Mamma Mia (1 and 2… cheating lol). Love these two musicals! So much fun. The fact that they made two movies out of ABBA songs is amazing. They should do this with other bands I like, such as Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles. Anyway, the first one is about 20 year old Sophie trying to figure out which one of 3 men is her bio-dad. She feels the need to do this before she gets married. Her mom Donna (Meryl Streep!) is not a fan of the plan, especially when Sophie invites all three possibilities to Donna’s hotel right before the wedding. Hijinks ensue!
The second movie is Donna’s backstory of how she, an English girl, ended up owning a hotel on this obscure little Greek island. Young Donna is played by Lily James who is so great. We meet everyone else’s younger selves too and it’s all totally hilarious. If you like pure silliness, I highly recommend both.
And that’s a wrap!
PS: I also enjoyed Vivarium, My Big Fat Greek Wedding (have seen it multiple times), Dear Viola, Last Christmas, That Thing You Do, etc.
I never cared much for Neil Young’s voice (kinda whiny), but I do like his lyrics. And I always enjoyed “Cinnamon Girl,” though I wondered if it was vaguely racist. Not to worry! I discovered today it was about heroin. I guess everyone else already knew? Whatever. “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” is a good song (and today’s MLM theme), but again… that voice. Eesh. 😝
Guess Neil took the advice from his friend Stephen Stills and loved the one he was with when he separated from his wife and began dating Daryl Hannah. Daryl had an LTR with Jackson Browne (whose voice I love), which makes Jackson and Neil Eskimo buddies. I found out today that we can’t say “Eskimo buddies” any longer because it is racist and sexist. Some Native Alaskans prefer that we use Inuit and/or Aleutian to describe them. Also, using any form of the term reduces a woman to an object who is only defined by her relationships with men. Yikes! 😱
Likewise, I suppose we shouldn’t use the term “pogo sisters” to describe women who have slept with the same guy, since that reduces men to… 🍆 🍆🍆
Back to music. It seems that offensive stuff is more acceptable when you accompany it with some doop doops and la la las. 🎶🎶 Then it’s more like fiction than a statement and you can plausibly deny you meant anything by it. Just trying to write some cool tunes to entertain the peeps, man… get off my case! Though sometimes songwriters do make a statement, such as when Neil wrote “Ohio.” It seems like a lot of young peeps don’t care about our wars these days, or politics in general, now that there’s no draft. Perhaps we should bring it back… or some form of required community service that no one gets to escape. That’ll get ‘em caring about what’s going on.
Speaking of news, I’d like to bury the lede here and say that I’ve recently and quietly unfollowed some bloggers whose politics make me barf. No arguing, just a click. I struggled with this because I have a few long-term friends whose politics also make me barf, but ultimately I decided so the fuck what. Foolish consistency and hobgoblins, etc. What the hell does this have to do with love being the only thing that breaks your heart? 💔
Rory has some great questions for us today as he continues his Friday Four prompt…
**What is more important to you – to be ‘Liked’ or to be Respected?’** What do you believe to be the difference between admiration and respect or do you find them to be the same?** Likability and friendship are two different things. Being likable to many is great, but being a great friend to a few (or one) is rare – what do you think to that statement – true or false, agree or disagree? How uniquely YOU are you in a world filled with variations of you anyway – what seperates YOU from the rest of the world and makes you Youniquely You??
1. Is it more important to me to be liked or respected? I know most people are going to say “respected” with some sort of comment about how they’re true to their values and would rather be respected for that than liked for smiling and going along. Well, I’m not most people. I would rather be liked as a helpful friend who is nice and funny and caring. I know for a fact there are people who see me this way but disrespect my values and political positions. I’m fine with that and I see no need to argue with them about issues none of us will budge on. This is why I don’t blather (much) about politics online. Not putting down those who do, but I’d rather keep my interactions positive.
2. Do I differentiate between admiration and respect? Yes, but it only works one way. What I mean is that if I respect someone, I can easily find something to admire about them, even something small. However, I can admire someone’s success without having respect for them as a person. Many celebs are in this category for me.
3. “Likability and friendship are two different things. Being likable to many is great, but being a great friend to a few (or one) is rare – what do you think to that statement – true or false, agree or disagree?” I obviously agree with this because I wrote it! Thanks, Rory, for including my thoughts. I know people who are liked by many ~ it seems important to them to collect as many “friends” as possible ~ but in my experience they are too busy spreading themselves around to have enough time and energy to focus on one true friendship. On the other hand, I know people who aren’t popular, but they will be there 100% for a few.
4. What makes me unique? Nothing! I don’t consider myself anything special, which is not meant to be a negative (see my remark about celebs). There’s nothing wrong with living a quiet, ordinary life and finding joy in small things.
1. Today I’m taking the last entry from my previous post (“Folsom Prison Blues”) and using the theme of feeling stuck (a word in FBP’s lyrics). One of my favorite songs, “Hotel California,” also has a trapped theme. It’s by the Eagles. Initially the narrator feels welcome at the HC, but eventually realizes there is no escape. The song includes the line this could be heaven or this could be hell.
2. The 2019 movie Vivarium (starring Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots) also switches from the idea of something that seems great to the realization that it’s horrible. A young couple go to look at their possible dream home with an estate agent. He disappears and the couple is left stranded in a maze of horror. They are forced to raise a baby who may be some kind of demon from hell (or an alien).
3. Speaking of hellish homes, I present We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. What’s going on here? Is this creepy family dead or alive? I enjoyed this psychological horror story very much. I also love a story told by an unreliable narrator. The novel has two sisters as main characters.
4. One of my favorite romcoms, 27 Dresses, features two sisters dealing with their romances. They are first of all in love with the same man (for a while) and second must untangle themselves from various deceptions. It’s a funny and sweet film.
5. “Alice’s Restaurant” repeats the lyric 27 glossy photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one to be used as evidence against us. Those were pictures of the heap of trash that the narrator and a friend illegally added to on Thanksgiving. This is a war protest song by Arlo Guthrie about the Vietnam draft, among other things.
6. My Trashy Romance is a fun story about a trash collector who falls for a librarian. Initially, they hit it off, but she discovers something that upsets her, so she breaks up with him. But does he win her back? This witty novel is written by my real-life friend Terry Black.
Okay, that’s it for my second six degrees / blog Carnelli post and I will continue on at some future date…
I found the 6 Degrees idea at my friend Davida’s blog, but I’m going to tweak it a bit. She links to a prompt that asks us to describe 6 books, each connected to the previous one in some way (a word in the title, the same author, a theme, etc.). That reminded me of a super fun game I’ve played called Carnelli, which uses books and movies. Since I’m pretty flexible with rules, I’m going to allow songs and poems too ~ anything written, basically.
Blog Carnelli is what this is, my friends, and I hope you will join in. Take any one of my 6 items and start your own Six Degrees post (no time limit)… or take one from another player. Can you just begin your own from scratch? Sure, why not! We can use the tag #blogcarnelli to find each other.
If you’re wondering what is the deal with Kevin Bacon, click here. Okay? I’m gonna start! 🤩
1. Hollow Man. This is a 1980 movie starring Kevin Bacon as an arrogant creep of a scientist working on an invisibility serum for the military. There’s also a love triangle involved with Elisabeth Shue. The movie is violent and somewhat predictable, but hey Bacon.
2. Leaving Las Vegas. This is a 1995 movie starring Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue. The story centers on the relationship between an alcoholic man who has lost everything that mattered to him and a prostitute. Sad, but great.
3. The Glass Castle. This is a 2005 memoir by Jeannette Walls, where she chronicles her childhood with an alcoholic father. I found it utterly engrossing. There’s a movie version, but it’s not nearly as good as the book.
4. “Heart of Glass.” This is a 1978 new wave song by Blondie. It was written by group members Debbie Harry and Chris Stein. Though the music is upbeat, the lyrics are focused on mistrust and heartbreak.
5. The Heart Goes Last. This is a 2015 novel by the wonderful Margaret Atwood. It’s a dystopian romp where you have to agree to be a part-time prisoner in order to have a modicum of security. Thought provoking!
6. “Folsom Prison Blues.” This is a 1955 song by Johnny Cash told from the point of view of a prisoner. The guy is lamenting his loss of freedom when he hears the train go rolling by. A classic! 🎶💖
So, there you have it. My first Six Degrees #blogcarnelli post. More will come along at random… looking forward to yours!
Make me go viral
How many selfies should I post? 😎
Stay in that spiral
A trending topic coast to coast! 🤩
Just don’t forget me
Tell me you think about me most 😘
It’s all the same thing
Long as I don’t become a ghost 👻
A book I “saw” someone else reading was Michelle Obama’s Becoming. My daughter had it out as a loan in our shared Kindle library. Normally, I am not interested in books by politicians or celebs, but this one was supposed to be fab, so I started reading it. I ended up giving it 4 stars out of 5 because there were some really good parts about Michelle’s early life. I totally enjoyed reading about her parents, her upbringing, and her struggles to feel “good enough” despite all her hard work and success.
Michelle was an excellent student, went to Princeton (as did her brother), and had graduated law school. She had important jobs that gave her immense satisfaction. But then she gave all that up for a man. This didn’t make me dislike the book; on the contrary, it serves as a perfect example of how often women end up doing this. Smart, accomplished women give up their career dreams to accommodate a man’s goals. Michelle wanted a family though, and she wanted a good marriage with a happy husband. So to have those things, she had to say goodbye to her career. 😢
Parts of the book were super boring and I skimmed them… they were mostly the parts about Barack, lol. Their romance was sweet (a meet cute, kinda) and I enjoyed reading that. But I didn’t really care about all the newsy stuff re campaigns and elections. Michelle kept mentioning other people who worked with them and helped them, but they didn’t interest me at all.
Not to be shallow, but I would have liked more pictures. There were some, but I would have enjoyed seeing more of her in some of the beautiful dresses she wore throughout the 2 admins.
I have one book left to finish my book bingo challenge! Anyone want to guess what I will choose? 📚😀
I did this challenge in groups of 6 and this will be my last post in the series. It was a lot of fun!
25. A book villain I actually love would be Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones. I mean, come on, the guy is a total creep, banging his sister, and throwing a little kid off a tower when he witnessed them. But except for those minor details…
26. I’m not big on “shoulds,” and I also can’t recall reading a biography–they were all autobiographies. Born Standing Up by Steve Martin was probably my favorite. I do recommend it for his fans. Papa John by John Phillips was also interesting.
27. I don’t reread books yearly, but Where I’m Calling From, a short story collection by Ray Carver, is a book I’ve read a few times.
28. Watership Down by Richard Adams is a classic on my to-be-read list.
29. I love the cover of Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things and the stories inside as well.
30. The book I’m reading right now is Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. I’m about half done and it’s fantastic. Wish I had read it sooner because I’ve already learned a lot.