Tag Archives: romcom

Quickie Q’s

I wrote over 700 words on my novel this morning before work, yayyy! That’s why I didn’t do my usual massive blog read/feed, sorries. But I did grab some fun questions over at Teleporting Weena, so I can keep up my daily poasting habit.

1. How long have you been blogging?

– Since around 2004. I’ve had this blog since 2011, though I’ve been less active at times.

2. Do your friends and family support you in this?

– No one cares.

3. Which is your favorite time of the day?

– Whenever I’m not in pain.

4. What would be your dream vacation?

– Staying home with my kitty.

5. What genre of movies you like best?

– Romcoms.

6. What do you wake up to?

– Meows or just darkness.

7. Are you a morning person?

– More like an afternoon person. Why is this never an option. Remember “Afternoon Delight?” That’s my theme song!

8. What motivates you?

– Not living out of a shopping cart.

9. How do you think your friends see you?

– Moody, crabby, grumpy, cranky.

10. What would be your idea for saving the environment from pollution?

– Get rid of humans.

11. Happy or peaceful, what is more important to you?

– Peaceful, which to me means stress-free. Happiness implies transitory joy, which will disappear and then you’ll long for it again and be sad. Meh.

Eleven, my favorite. 🙄

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10 Influential Movies

The Haunted Wordsmith asks us to name 10 movies that influenced us. That’s a hard question ~ I’d be able to more easily choose books. But I’m up for the challenge!

1. When Harry Met Sally. I love this movie. There are so many fabulous quotes from it (and I’m not usually a person who goes around quoting from movies). Harry is hilarious! However I don’t feel the romance between Harry and Sally is ideal at all ~ I dislike him as a romantic hero for most of the film, plus they break up, etc. He’s a jerk, let’s be honest, even though he improves, unlike yer average dude. But the romance between their sidekicks (Marie and Jess) is the one to aim for ~ love at first sight, no turning back, boom.💥

2. Risky Business. It’s sort of a stretch, but I saw this movie alone in Chicago during a time I had a crush on a guy in my computer class. After I watched it, and received the “sometimes you have to say what the fuck” message, I acted more assertively toward the guy. Of course, the ensuing drama was to my detriment and I ended up moving to California not going to Princeton. 🙄

3. Mystery flick. Saw this with my mommy around 1970 in the theater. It was some kind of sci-fi disaster story about people who had survived an apocalyptic event and were stranded out on a rocky ledge of land. Or they might have been prehistoric peeps. Either way, they believed blond hair was evil and they had to cover it with black goo to avert more catastrophe. Then there was a giant tsunami anyway. This made me scared of water and that has informed my writing. Anyone know the name of this movie? 🌊

4. Candyman. Impossibly scary. Omg 🐝! And it turns out I am allergic to bees and wasps. Was hospitalized for shock after a sting. Gahhh!

5. Analyze This! Hilarious flick which set me up to love The Sopranos. Before AT, the only mob movie I liked was Goodfellas, but now I pretty much enjoy them all. 😀

6. Doctor Zhivago. Life sucks and then you die, even if you’re rich. So, if you have a choice, don’t live somewhere hideously cold like Siberia or Chicago. ❄️

7. The Devil Wears Prada. 👠 You’re not too good to work at a fashion mag even if you have a snooty journalism degree. That’s all.

8. Life of Pi. 🐯 It’s a great storytelling gift to narrate a tale inside a tale such that the audience forgets that’s what is happening, and the narrator could be unreliable. At the end, we are asked to do a bit of work and figure out what to believe; we are never told. This interests me greatly and I have tried to write in a similar style at times.

9. Alex & Emma. You can overcome writer’s block when there are mafia enforcers after you and your publisher refuses to pay until you produce. Good to know! 😂

10. You’ve Got Mail. 💌 I learned that in fiction you can meet your soulmate, lie about your identity, deceive your current partner… and the happily ever after will still materialize. For a long time I thought this could translate to real life, so it did influence me because it seemed perfect and romantic not cheap and creepy like it actually is, but I finally realized that all this stuff is best left on the page or screen.

There are a zillion movies I love but would not include on this list because they haven’t influenced me. Musicals, forex, and most romantic comedies. Most dramas and mysteries, however enjoyable, haven’t done anything to change my POV. I chose the above films carefully, only listing those that actually have had a lasting effect on me in some way.

What are your 10?

PS: I just realized 3 of these movies were directed by Rob Reiner! I’ve been way too influenced by the meathead! 😂😂😂

Serendipity

Smash the lies to bits:

You didn’t wake up like this.

We know you know we know,

And we’re keeping your secret

As you scamper through the meadow,

Singing you’re hap-hap-happy

To be alone and might book a cruise

To Greece, while your gaze

Slips to the trees.

You slyly search for a knight on a steed,

But alas there’s only a wounded buck–

Don’t take him home!

You run and stumble,

Twist an ankle in a rabbit hole…

No cake here, girlfriend,

No grinning cats, no mad queens;

Just a bag of ice and crushed dreams.

Leave the cute meets and serendipity

For starry-eyed writers, hey?

You have bills to pay.

~*~

Via the RDP: Serendipity

Peanut Butter

I stole these 26 questions from Fandango, who snagged them from Barbara, at Teleportingweena. But I have an issue with 26 (yes, including our alphabet, annoying). Twenty-five is a great number, and oddly enough (hehe) so is 27. But 26? Meh! I guess I can think of it as 13×2 and be okay that way. That’s what I’ll do then: renumber the questions halfway through.

1. Share your profile picture.

– Which profile? Here’s one from last year, taken at the happiest place on earth.

2. Who are you named after?

– Paula Abdul.

3. Do you like your handwriting?

– Like Fandango, I used to have great handwriting, but now that I’ve gotten older, it sucks.

4. What’s your favorite lunchmeat?

– Peanut butter.

5. Longest relationship?

– I had a good relationship with my dad from the day I was born until he died in 2013 just before I turned 52.

6. Do you still have your tonsils?

– Nope.

7. Would you bungee jump?

– NFW!

8. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

– Sometimes.

9. Favorite ice-cream?

– Coconut chocolate chip.

10. What’s the first thing you notice about people?

– That they’re too close to me.

11. Football or baseball?

– Neither.

12. What color pants are you wearing?

– White lounge pants with grey and pink flowers.

13. Last thing you ate?

– Peanut butter on a banana.

1. If you were a crayon what color would you be?

– Ultraviolet, baby.

2. Favorite smell?

– Cinnanommmm.

3. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

– One of the partners at work.

4. Hair color?

– Light brown plus some silver.

5. Eye color?

– Hazel (this feels like filling out a dating profile now).

6. Favorite food to eat?

– Seafood pasta.

7. Scary movies or happy endings?

– Romantic comedies with happy endings.

8. Last movie you watched?

– I rewatched American Gigolo a few days back because it came up on Prime. Saw it over 30 years ago and liked it a lot. Didn’t like it that much this time. I didn’t sense any chemistry between the leads; it was just trashy and sad.

9. Favorite holiday?

– Loved Fandango’s answer, but I’ll go with New Year’s Day.

10. Beer or wine?

– Neither. Alcohol triggers migraines.

11. Favorite day of the week?

– Sunday.

12. Three or (four) favorite bloggers you want to learn more about?

– Anyone who plays along.

13. Added info you didn’t know you wanted.

Buy my books!

MP14: Crazy Rich Asians [FOWC]

Today’s prompt euphemism reminded me that I didn’t poast about the last movie I saw, yikes. So many prompts. So many topics to jabber on about. You know how it is. Anyway, I saw Crazy Rich Asians several days ago and loved it. Fab romcom, just fab.

I guess there might be some slight spoilers. Consider yourself warned.

A few points. Generally, to get the full flavor of a romance, we need to be present at the couple’s first meeting. This isn’t a diehard rule, like the happy ending, but it’s nice to have. I grok that opening with the poker game foreshadowed a later game, and metaphored (can verb if I wanna, pffft) a lot of gamesmanship throughout the film, but still. We could have had a flashback to Rachel and Nick’s cute-meet at some point.

One of the critiques of this movie mentioned that we didn’t get treated to the way “regular” people live in Singapore, only these crazy rich ones. Well, true, but it’s not about crazy average-income Asians. And I wasn’t expecting that. Wasn’t expecting a documentary on Singapore. Why hold the film to this standard? I think that’s really unfair. No one complained that Sleepless in Seattle neglected to show homeless peeps living on the streets. No one said Notting Hill should have shown the poor people in London. These are fairy tales, for cryin’ out loud!

So, I bet you’re wondering when I’ll get to euphemism. As they’re flying extra mega deluxe first class to Singapore, Rachel suspects that Nick’s family may be kinda… wealthy. He cops to “comfortable,” which she declares is exactly what a wealthy person would say. Is it? Since I’m not wealthy, nor do I pal around with the super rich, I wouldn’t know. But I do know it’s a euphemism for loaded!

If I were a rich girl (cue music), I think I’d keep things on the down low. No need for flashy cars or mansions that require lots of people around for upkeep. The more you own, the more you need. One of my blog buddies recently poasted about taking the bus, which I remember doing in Chicago, and that had certain stresses, but mostly people did not interact with each other; traveling by car and dealing with auto maintenance is probably on the whole more stressful. Of course, having a silent chauffeur and unlimited funds for limos could be the way to go. Hmm.

Anyway, like nearly every romcom, so much of the “plot” of CRA is built upon layers of communication failures. Nick didn’t tell Rachel the full story of his family’s empire before whisking her off to a gala event. Rachel’s mother never explained her own circumstances. Side characters are involved in other deceptions ~ to be explored in sequels, I presume. But this is what we expect from romantic comedies. And unless it’s done well, watching the protags resolve their miscommunications can be boring and irritating to sit through, but this one was excellent, IMO.

Anyway. It was fun diving headlong into a pure fantasy again. I really love this stuff, knowing I can depend on a happy ending, unlike real life. Such a great cast. I was thinking of seeing Alpha today, but then decided nah… just gonna keep watching Monk. I’m sure I’ll see something at the theater next weekend. My MoviePass is still working fine at the E-ticket place, and that’s good enough for me.

Soul Mate Noodles [FOWC]

If you believe in soul mates, you have to believe in some sort of God or supernatural meddling. Otherwise, the entire concept of soul mates makes no sense because math.

What are the odds that your other half or twin flame or however you term the soul mate concept would happen to be your next door neighbor? Infinitesimal. Not to mention the inconvenient fact that s/he would have to be born around the same time as you, give or take a decade, and all your paths geographically converge. The chances of meeting your soul mate sans angelic level interference approach zero.

So, yes… I say if you believe in soul mates, the supernatural concept is baked in. Since I’m an atheist, it follows that I must reject the idea of soul mates, sweet as it may be. This is despite the fact that I’ve loved romance novels and romcoms my whole life. Hey, I can also enjoy good science fiction. I cop to using the term “soul mates” however and not always in jest. It’s one of those expressions everyone understands.

I don’t actually believe in souls anyway. What does that even mean? Something beyond the physical self that existed prior to your conception and will go on after your death? Nah.

I can see the attraction to the idea though. And I’m happy to use it in my writing because it’s a way to convey emotional content that is universally relatable.

MP#12-13: Family Style

First, I want to talk about Movie Pass. There’s been a lot of complaining about the lack of movies, the restricted times, the new three per month rule, etc. And I get that. It’s frustrating to get used to seeing a movie a day ~ any movie ~ for ten bucks a month, and now you can’t. Wah! But seriously. You didn’t really believe this was a sustainable business model, did you? Since May, I’ve seen 13 movies for $20, and that’s fab. (My first month was a freebie.)

Even if I saw three matinees a month at the lowest price around here, which is $6, that would still cost more than Movie Pass at $10. Please forgive me for not jumping on the bashwagon, okay? I hope MP lives on; I won’t be shocked if it goes under though. It’s still bleeding a lot of cash.

I’m lucky because I live about a mile and a half from an E-ticket theater. MP prefers those and gives a wider selection of movies at the full range of showings. I saw Mission Impossible when other MP holders were having problems. Last weekend I saw Christopher Robin and this weekend I saw Dog Days. Apparently everyone else is being forced to see Slender Man or The Meg. 😛

Okay then, a bit of spoilery reviews. Click away now if you don’t want to read them.

1. Christopher Robin. Good family movie with some adult themes of death, war, etc. I was surprised at the uneven pacing, but yet I enjoyed it. Excellent cast and acting. My main criticism is that I wanted the magic to make more “sense” ~ I don’t know how I feel about Pooh & Co. being randomly alive for humans other than CR and outside of the wood. Something about it bothers me.

2. Dog Days. Cute, super predictable flick. Romantic and heart-tuggy. Lots of cute doggies and cute children. Hilarious dog therapist who was the best part of the movie imo. Liked the trailer for Alpha, another dog movie, shown before this.

I’m ready for some adult films now: The Wife, A Simple Favor, The Old Man and the Gun, etc.

Earning the Ending

HEA

I think most of us like to feel that an ending is deserved in a book or a movie and that applies across the spectrum of genres. I’m only going to discuss romances however. The other night I watched Set It Up on Netflix after reading a glowing review from Vox. Meh. While the office humor was cute, the romance aspect was basically all snark and zero chemistry. The ending basically consisted of the protags going hey we might as well get together now since we’re both free and sarcastic. But there was no real epiphany or character arc or anything interesting wrt either one of them. What’s sort of ironic is that this is how we often behave in real life, since people don’t like to work for things (work? waaah!), which utterly sucks ~ and idk about you, but I want my fiction to be better than real life!

Compare this to one of the best romcoms of all time When Harry Met Sally. The protags change during the film and make the audience feel an anxious longing for them to work through the obstacles preventing them from being together. When Harry runs through the streets of New York City on New Year’s Eve to find Sally, we’re right there with him, feeling his desperation. Harry and Sally both grow as characters during the film (which takes place over a decade) and do more than just snark at each other to create sparks. Think about your favorite romcom ~ you’ll likely agree that the protags have to change and overcome character traits or fears in order to be with their soul mate. This doesn’t just happen via lazy banter and geographical convenience. Love should be earned and fought for, not handed out in the last scene like a party favor.

The same goes for romance novels, which are heavier on the romance and lighter on the comedy (though the best ones are witty too). I recently read two that seemed similar cuz they both were about fictional dukes in England around the same time period, but one had an earned happily ever after ending and one did not. They were both enjoyable, for different reasons, but I gave one 3 stars and the other 4, because of the earned aspect.

In How to Forget a Duke, neither protag changes significantly during the novel other than falling in love. The main issue that keeps them apart is resolved by someone else fixing it, not by either the hero or heroine figuring out a way around the issue or deciding it is not as important as their lurve. That gave me the sads. But in From Duke Till Dawn, both protags change during the novel (and more than once) and have various epiphanies about each other, themselves, and life in general. It’s a really good book and the ending is earned. I didn’t give it 5 stars because I simply can’t bear ridiculous coinkydinks, and if a duke with his massive resources can find people anywhere, why couldn’t he have found Cassandra when she disappeared the first time? Anyway…

I’m glad I stumbled across that Vox article I linked in the first para because it referenced The Daily Beast’s 2014 essay declaring that the romcom is dead, which I hadn’t heard before. Is that true? TDB makes a good argument for it ~ and I haven’t seen many (any?) decent new romcoms in the last 5 years or so. I loved The Big Sick, if that counts as one, but even if… that’s just one. Can you think of any other recent big-screen romcoms?

Oh well, there are still are romantic books to read. Remember books? 🙂

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.

Creature Features & Jigsaw Puzzles

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I have a clear memory of watching Creature Features with my mom in the basement of our townhouse in Illinois, which she had turned into a rec room with a ping-pong table, TV, stereo, etc. It was Illinois, if you missed that in the preceding sentence, 40 miles north of Lake Michigan, where it got so cold that if you dropped a record on the floor it would shatter like a dinner plate. (This actually happened.)

I’ve always said I remember putting giant jigsaw puzzles together with my mom while we watched scary movies, and generally, but I was trying to call up a specific memory of this and it’s not working. It actually doesn’t even make sense. The only table we had in the basement large enough for a 1000-2000 piece puzzle was on the side of the room that didn’t have the TV. The stairs were in the middle. Right in front of the stairs was a little storage type room my dad used as a darkroom for photography. On the right side was a TV, sofa, coffee table, etc. On the left side was an old dining room table, another sofa, and the stereo system. We would have had to use the old dining table for the puzzles. So how would we have been watching Creature Features at the same time? Memory fail.

Even though I enjoyed these campy horror movies at the time (because mommy was there), I’ve disliked horror since. Pretty much the entire horror film genre falls into the dislike pile, but I do reserve some exceptions for books, Stephen King in particular. It’s not because the movies themselves are all terrible; it’s because I don’t enjoy having my emotions manipulated to that extent. Now you’ll say I don’t mind the same thing when it happens in the romcoms. And I’ll just shrug. Because people are inconsistent, and I’m a people too. Shockeroo!

The two Creature Features that stayed with me all these years I dub “Coconut Sea Monster” and “Alpine Beheader.” The first was about guys on a military submarine who kept getting murdered brutally cuz one of them had morphed into a monster due to radiation exposure. We didn’t see the murderer until the end and he looked like he was covered in coconut. It was really freaky! The otter one was about peeps trapped in a ski resort during a blizzard and some snow vampire kept grabbing one at a time and ripping off their head. Icky!

You know, this could very well be why I dislike both sailing and skiing. A-ha!

Still love coconut though. Nothing comes between me and a coconut donut.

As far as jigsaw puzzles, still love doing those, but don’t have room for them in my current place, can’t isolate one from the kitty anyway, and they seem sort of time-wastey when I have so many otter projects I want to finish as far as writing and needlework and staring at the walls. Someday though… when I retire maybe, bring on the jigsaw puzzles again! Hey, I wonder if they have Creature Feature puzzles? That could be a thing.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Creature