Monthly Archives: January 2016

Labels

I saw this video on my Facebook feed earlier today. I have not seen a video this profound in a long time.

Underneath our skin, we are all human. We have the same bones, the same blood, the same flesh. We start wars over labels. We kill and murder and destroy over labels.

It’s time to see each other as human beings and not labels.

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January 31, 2016 · 9:37 pm

Jane Austen Is NOT A Victorian

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will be hitting theaters next weekend. A number of reviews, I predict will refer to Austen or Pride and Prejudice as Victorian.

I’d like to set the record straight.

Jane Austen lived in the Regency era, which took place from 1795 to 1837. Jane Austen died in 1817. The Victoria era lasted during the reign of Queen Victoria, from 1837 to 1901.

Please, I beg of you. If you are writing a review, do your research. Do not refer to Jane Austen as a Victorian.

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Filed under Books, History, Jane Austen, Movies, Pride and Prejudice

Fat Barbie?

Since the 1950’s, childhood, especially for girls, has been defined by one toy: the Barbie doll.

She was anything that we could imagine her to be. Her resume is endless. Her adventures are never-ending.

But there was also a fair amount of criticism. Barbie was and still  is blonde, Caucasian and thin. Her measurements, if she were a real woman would render her immobile. She teaches young girls that to be successful and happy in life, one must be thin, Caucasian and blonde.

Earlier this week, Mattel announced a new line of Barbie dolls, with a variety of sizes, skin colors and hair colors to reflect the reality and the diversity of women in America and around the world.

Some of the articles have referred to her as “Fat Barbie”.

I personally take offense to the term.

There are two problems associated with this definition of “fat”. The first is that it reflects a very narrow-minded vision of what is to be a woman and an attractive woman. The second is that our children are more perceptive that we give them credit for. If all our daughters see is that the only attractive woman is a woman whose clothes are no bigger than a size 6, then they will be forever comparing themselves to an image that is false. That leads to self-esteem issues, depression and eating disorders. We should be raising our daughters to be confident, capable women, not insecure and forever dieting to remake themselves into an image that will never be attainable.

Only time will tell if this new line of Barbie dolls are a success. While I admire Mattel for recognizing the reality of our world and wanting to make a difference, in reality it is only a drop in the bucket that contains many more issues and many more battles for true equality.

But I will say that as a redhead, it’s nice to see a Barbie doll with my hair color.

 

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Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice

Yesterday, January 28th, was the 203 anniversary of the initial publishing of Pride and Prejudice.

For the uninitiated, Pride and Prejudice is the story of rocky courtship between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.

To celebrate the book’s 203 birthday, I think it’s time for a poll. Pride and Prejudice has so many incredible lines to choose from. Courtesy of Flavorwire, I ask you, my fellow Janeites and bibliophiles, to vote on their favorite lines. And if you know what character or characters are speaking, then you get major brownie points.

Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice.

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Flashback Friday- Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past (2009)

No one is immune from the past, no matter how much we think we are. Especially when it comes to dating.

In Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past (2009), Connor Meade (Matthew McConaughey) is a player with  a capitol P.  The list of his  former dates and girlfriends is quite extensive.  The night before his brother Paul’s (Breckin Meyer) wedding to  Sandra (Lacey Chabert), Connor goes to his brother to convince to remain single. While in the men’s room, the spirit of Connor’s deceased Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas) visits him. Connor will be visited by three spirits, each represents a part of his dating life: his dating past, his dating present and his dating future. Will Connor remain a bachelor for the rest of his days or will he actually learn from his Uncle? And how does his former flame/the one that got away Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner) play a role in this scenario?

I admire the screenwriters for trying to inject a bit of A Christmas Carol in what is essentially a typical romantic comedy. Romantic comedies are a dime a dozen, it takes something special for one to stand out. Unfortunately, this film is a typical romantic comedy.

Do I recommend it? I’m leaning toward no, but someone else may like it.

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Filed under Books, Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies

Throwback Thursday-Full House (1987-1995)

The 1980’s were a bridge in America and on television. The world was changing and the characters and plots were reflecting that change.

In Full House (1987-1995), Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) has just lost his wife. With three young daughters to raise, Danny enlists his brother-in-law, Jesse Katsoplis (John Stamos) and his best friend, Joey (Dave Coulier) to help with the parenting. Preteen DJ (Candace Cameron Bure) is a normal preteen girl. Elementary schooler Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) is not shy about sharing her opinions. Baby Michelle (played by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen) is an adorable baby who will become an iconic part of the television landscape of the 1980’s. Add in the nosy and annoying girl next door, Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) and you have one hec of a television show.

Looking back, the show is pretty formulaic in terms of family sitcoms. But in having men in a role that is traditionally assigned to women was revolutionary in 1987. Two generations think it’s normal to see a father involved in their children’s lives and not just someone who comes home for dinner and pays the bills.

Two decades after the show’s ending, a sequel of sorts,  Fuller House is set to debut a generation after Full House ended. DJ is now a widow with small children and enlists her younger sister and best friend to help with her own children as Jesse and Joey did a generation ago.

Do I recommend Full House? As someone who grew up watching it, I would say yes, for nostalgia’s sake. But my tastes in television are a little more sophisticated these days, so in that case I would say no.

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Throwback Thursday- W. (2008)

It takes a certain type of person whose goal is to be President Of The United States.

In W. (2008), director Oliver Stone and screen writer Stanley Weiser told the story of George W. Bush, the 43rd President Of The United States.

Stepping into the real life shoes of the President and former First Lady Laura Bush were James Brolin and Elizabeth Banks. The movie starts with George’s wild college days and ends with his 2004 re-election to the Presidency.

The thing about this movie is that as free of politics as it tries to be it, it’s impossible. George W. Bush was one of the most controversial Presidents of recent memory. Either you loved him or you hated him. The movie confirmed which side of the fence you were on at the time.

Do I recommend it? Yes, if the audience is looking at it as a study in characters and politics in a satirical film. Otherwise, no because it’s too intertwined with reality.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, Politics, Throwback Thursday

Deaths-Head Revisited

Today is International Holocaust Memorial Day and the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

I’d like to put a new spin on the topic.

In November of 1961, The Twilight Zone aired an episode called Deaths-Head Revisited.

It was the story of former concentration camp commandant who revisits the camp 17 years after the war ended. He thinks it will bring about pleasant memories. What he actually experiences is completely different.

Unlike other episodes of The Twilight Zone, this episode spoke of the real life consequences of prejudice and hatred.

To borrow a quote from the end of the episode:

There is an answer to the doctor’s question. All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes – all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the Earth into a graveyard. Into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all, their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance, then we become the gravediggers. Something to dwell on and to remember, not only in the Twilight Zone but wherever men walk God’s Earth.

We must remember. No matter what our skin color is, where our families have come from, what g-d we choose to pray to or not pray to, or any other labels we may use to define ourselves, we are ALL human beings. Period.

Never again.

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Downton Abbey Series 6 Episode 4: Tom Needs A Job, Gwen’s Back & Daisy Has Not Learned Her Lesson

As usual, this recap contains spoilers. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the episode.

Upstairs

  • The issue with the hospital is becoming rather tiresome. Cora (Elizabeth McGovern)/Isobel (Penelope Wilton) vs Violet (Dame Maggie Smith) is become too intense. Please Julian Fellows, tell me that this story line will be put to bed soon.
  • Not that Tom Branson (Allen Leech) is back, he needs a job. With Mary (Michelle Dockery) running the estate, Tom has to once more find his footing in the world that is Downton Abbey.
  • Speaking of Mary, the Dowager and Lady Shackleton (Harriet Walter) are playing matchmaker. This time it’s Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode), who Mary met at the end of season 5 at the rented country estate of Rose’s (Lily James) in-laws. While I have not been completely spoiled, I do know that Henry is more than a match for Mary.
  • With the drama with her former editor in the past, Edith (Laura Carmichael) is looking to hire an editor, while her father, Robert (Hugh Bonneville) continues to deny that his health may not be what it once was. But Cora is beginning to suspect that a trip to the doctor is needed. Rosamund (Samantha Bond) returns to her childhood home to convince Edith become a trustee of woman’s college. Rosamund thinks she is playing matchmaker for Edith with the college’s treasurer, but something entirely different and wonderful occurs.
  • In a mid-season surprise that made this fan very happy, the former Gwen Dawson (Rose Leslie) returned to Downton. Not as a housemaid, but as Mrs. Harding. Her husband, John  (Philip Battley) is the treasurer of the women’s college. Of course the first one to recognizes Gwen out of her uniform is Thomas (Rob James-Collier), who got too big for his britches this episode. But let’s stay upstairs for a little while longer before we venture downstairs. As soon as the light bulb goes off for the Crawley’s, Gwen starts talking about Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay). Bring on the waterworks. As a result of this lunch, Mary begins to question what she is doing with her life.   In case you need a reminder of Gwen’s time as housemaid, here it is.

Downstairs

  • Back to Thomas. Now that Mr. and Mrs. Carson (Jim Carter and Phyllis Logan) are on their honeymoon, Thomas is in charge downstairs. He likes to be at the head of the table a little too much. Of course, it takes Robert to remind Thomas about the true nature of leadership.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Carson return from their honeymoon at the end of the episode. The question is, what shall they be referred to as. For comfort’s sake, Carson and Mrs. Hughes. It’s nice to see that some things never change.
  • I am thoroughly convinced that Julian Fellow’s sadistic streak has gone too far. Now that Anna (Joanne Froggatt) is pregnant, he decides to scare her, Mary and the audience by giving her what appears to be another miscarriage. Thankfully, Mary and Anna are able to get to London and confirm that Anna has not lost this pregnancy. The joy on Mr. Bates’s (Brendan Coyle) face that he is to be a father is contagious. I truly hope that we will see Baby Bates by the end of the series.
  • The merry war at the Dowager house has quieted down, at least for this week.
  • Miss Baxter (Raquel Cassidy) is approached by the police. Her former colleague who convinced her to steal the jewels years ago has been implicated in a similar crime. If Miss Baxter were to testify for the police, she might help them to put him away for good. Molesley (Kevin Doyle) tries to convince her to testify.
  •  Now that Yew Tree Farm is empty, Daisy (Sophie McShera) is convinced that Cora has gone against her word to give to Mr. Mason (Paul Copley). Against the recommendation of her co-workers, she nearly knocks Cora down, thinking that Yew Tree Farm is going to someone else, but just at the last second, Robert tells her that it is going Mr. Mason.  That that was too close for comfort for me.

Overall 

We are about halfway through this final series. That means that the loose ends will slowly start to be tied up. I like the potential of Henry Talbot and Mary. It takes a certain kind of man to keep Lady Mary Crawley happy. As for the rest of the plot this episode, the pacing is good, I hope I will be pleasantly surprised and happy with the final episode.

Dowager quote of the week: On the subject of Henry Talbot as a possible match for Mary, “She needs more than a handsome smile,” Violet says upon seeing Mary with Henry, “and a hand on the gear shift.” Who knew the Dowager was that dirty?

See you next week.

 

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Late Flashback Friday- Charlie’s Angels TV Series (1976-1981)

If an indication of how iconic a television show is that generations later, those who were not yet born or those who were very young at the time know it by a single phrase or image, then Charlie’s Angels (1976-1981) is an iconic television show.

A mysterious man with too much money and time on his hands hires three female detectives, Jill Munroe (the late Farrah Fawcett), Kelly Garrett (Jaclyn Smith) and Sabrina Duncan (Kate Jackson) to investigate and solve crimes. Led by Bosley (David Boyle), the women get into some fairly hairy situations in the process of solving the crimes.

Part of the jiggle television era, Charlie’s Angels had a feminist subtext. In an era where television and America were loosening moral purse strings of the 1950’s and early 1960’s, Charlie’s Angels represented the future of the industry and the cultural landscape.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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