RIP Patty Duke

Patty Duke passed away yesterday. She was 69.

Born in Elmhurst Queens, on December 14th, 1946, Ms. Duke was known to audiences first as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker  (1962) opposite Anne Bancroft. Televisions fans of a certain age remember her as twin cousins in The Patty Duke Show (1963-1966).

In addition to her career, Ms. Duke was also an outspoken advocate in the arena of mental health and mental illness, topics that hit very close to home.




Granchester Series 2/ Mr. Selfridge Series 4 Review

When Downton Abbey left our television screens for the final time earlier this month, there seemed to be a vacuum on Sunday nights. Where there is plenty of programs to choose from, there is nothing like Masterpiece.

Thankfully, Sunday night, the vacuum was filled.

Masterpiece returned with a one-two punch of Granchester and Mr. Selfridge.

Grantchester picks up from where we left Sydney (James Norton) and Geordie (Robson Green) at the end of series one. Finally healed from the gun shot wound, Sydney, Geordie and company are enjoying a day outdoors.

Then Sydney is arrested for allegedly having sexual relations with a teenage girl. Youch. Quite the way to start the second series.

Well, that’s not quite, the way. This is. You’re welcome.

If one looked up the definition of a Greek drama in the dictionary, one would find a picture of Harry Selfridge (Jeremy Piven).  In this final series, viewers will see the downfall of the titular character. Harry is still the same charismatic, charming, intelligent business man that we met in the first season. He also has the same weaknesses for women, gambling and booze.

But Harry realizes in the first episode that he is not the young man he was once was. Now a grandfather several times over, Harry is warned by his family and his faithful employees to slow down. But Harry, being Harry, is still a mile a minute.

Do I recommend them? If you know me and this blog, then you know the answer.

I’m Tired Of Crying

I’m tired of crying. I’m tired of crying over lives lost for no good reason.

I had hoped that I was done crying after the attack in Brussels last week.

I doubt my tears will truly every cease.

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, there was a terrorist attack in Pakistan. Innocent civilians, mostly women and children, were out celebrating the holiday. Many never made it home.

The aim of the terrorists was to maim and kill the country’s Christian population celebrating one of its holiest days.

The arrow met the target.

Maybe it’s my American mindset, live and let live. As long as you let me live how I choose to live, then you can do whatever you want with your life.

But a line has to be drawn somewhere and the line is drawn when innocent lives are taken for no reason other than religion.

I’m tired of crying.




History says that women are supposed to be meek, mild, subservient and if she has a brain or ambition, she has to hide it. Women who are up front about their needs, their intelligence or openly exhibit ambition are often shamed for speaking out.

This past week was the Jewish holiday of Purim.

The heroine of Purim is Esther. Living in ancient Persia, Esther is an orphan taken in and raised by her cousin Mordechai. She expects to live the life of an ordinary Jewish girl: marry the young man chosen for her, bring children into the world and continue with a lifestyle that Jewish women have been living with for an untold  number of years.

But fate has something else entirely different in mind for this young lady.

Inside the palace, King Ahasuerus (thought to be Xerxes I by historians), is entertaining. Deep into his cups, he orders that his wife, Queen Vashti be brought to the revelers, revealing her beauty to them (meaning coming in wearing just her birthday suit). Vashti refuses and is banished. Not wanting to be alone (not that he truly was alone, the King had a harem full of women), the King orders his ministers to find a new bride from among the eligible women of Persia. Esther is chosen to be one of the potential brides, but is warned by Mordechai to hide her identity.

When King Ahasuerus finally chooses a new wife, Esther is crowned Queen. But there is a plot afoot that could endanger the lives of Esther and the Jews of Persia. One of the King’s advisers, Haman, wants to rid the kingdom of her Jews.  Esther is at a crossroads. She could say nothing and live, while watching her family and her people be massacred, or she could reveal her true identity, put herself in danger and potentially save her people.

Esther makes the bold and dangerous decision to reveal her identity, knowing that she could go to the gallows. In the end, Esther saves her people and Haman and his ilk are punished.

Among the heroines of the bible, Esther for me, stands out. She is strong, smart and true enough to herself, even to the point of knowing that her fate could be that of Vashti’s.  She is a heroine for the ages, a woman who is willing to speak out in a time when women were not supposed to speak out.

To those who celebrated, Happy Purim.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Movie Review

14 years ago, a little movie came out of nowhere that would prove that a funny, engaging narrative and human characters is the key to film success.

That movie was My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  When Greek-American Toula (Nia Vardalos) meets WASP-y Ian (John Corbett), it is a relationship that is fated to last. But not before her very Greek family gives him the rundown.

Fast forward to 2016, and we have revisited the characters in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Toula and Ian are dealing with the realities of life as the parents of a teenage daughter/soon to be college student, Paris (Elena Kampouris). Like many parents with growing children, they subconsciously neglect themselves  in favor of their daughter. Next door, Toula’s parents, Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan) are getting older.

The plot of the film revolves around two narratives: Toula and Ian dealing with the fact that their daughter is no longer a little girl and the unsigned marriage certificate of Maria and Gus.  Like many women in middle age, Toula is balancing raising her child, keeping her marriage afloat and taking care of her aging parents. The humor in the film comes from the subplot of the fact that the priest who married Gus and Maria never signed the wedding certificate, which means the marriage was not fully legalized.

Writing a sequel, especially a sequel to a film that no one expected to be successful, is not an easy thing to do. But screenwriter/star Nia Vardalos’s approach was smart. She waited until life gave her the experience and the spark that would become this screenplay. Fans of the original film will not be disappointed. The charm, the humor, the universality of the original film was carried over to the sequel.

I highly recommend it.

You Might Be A Fiddler On The Roof Fan If…

I had the  incredible pleasure of seeing the new revival Of Fiddler On The Roof back in January. It is one of the freshest, most entertaining Broadway shows I have seen in a very long time.

With that being said, you might be a Fiddler On The Roof fan if…

  • You don’t have to be Jewish or have familial roots in Eastern Europe to recognize the human relationships or the human stories enfolding on stage.
  • If you had any control over the Tony Awards in June, you would automatically give Danny Burnstein the award for Best Actor in a musical.
  • You recognize the contemporary nature of the narrative, especially with the current refugee crisis in Syria.
  • If you have a sister or a brother, you understand the relationship between Tevye’s daughters.
  • You have purchased the soundtrack, which has instantly wormed itself into your brain and has not left.
  • You are sad that the last episode of Motel Citizen premiered tonight.
  • If you are Jewish and your ancestors have come from Eastern Europe, you are bursting with nachas (pride) that the revival is a success.
  • You have seen this revival at least once (or twice) and would eagerly go again.
  • As a woman, looking back at the lives of Golde, her daughters and the women of Anatevka, you appreciate that what you can accomplish goes beyond the traditional roles of marriage and motherhood.
  • Even though you may know the story inside out, you are wishing that for once, the story would have ended differently.
  • Knowing the history of 20th century Europe, you wince at Tzeitel and Motel moving to Warsaw and you hope that if a sequel to Fiddler existed, that they would have left Europe before World War II.
  • And finally, you adore this musical.

Flashback Friday- Curly Sue (1991)

It can sometimes be said that charm, when used by a child is all the arsenal that is needed.

In the 1991 movie, Curly Sue, Bill Dancer (James Belushi) is a homeless man with a good heart who runs a con game with a most charming and adorable companion: Curly Sue (Alisan Porter).

Their latest target is Grey Ellison (Kelly Lynch). Bill convinces Grey that she has run over him with her car. Racked by guilt, Grey invites Bill and Curly Sue into her home for the night. Seeing the girl in a fatherly light, Bill decides to leave his young companion with Grey in hopes of securing Curly Sue’s future with a loving and supportive home. But Curly Sue is one smart little girl and has other plans in mind.

I have vague memories of this film as a child. There is a charm to this film that makes it stand out. The characters could have easily been written as one-dimensional stereotypes. But writer/director John Hughes, being one of the great writer/directors of the past forty years,  understands how to write a compelling plot and create entertaining characters.

And if writing this post was not enough to make me feel old, Alisan Porter auditioned for a spot on The Voice.  Who knew the little girl who played Curly Sue 25 years ago could sing like that?

4 Years Old

My blog is four years old today.

It’s been an experience.

It is often said that change does not happen overnight, it takes time and sometimes a few mistakes.

I read somewhere that there are around 2 million blog posts published every day.

While my blog may not have the amount of followers or as many hits as other blogs do, I appreciate the readers who have taken time out of their busy day to read what I have written.

Thank you to my readers and enjoy your weekend.

Throwback Thursday- Spice World (1997)

In the late 1990’s, the Spice Girls were everywhere.  Their songs were all over the radio, it was hard to not miss them in the media.

Then, on top of all of that media coverage, Spice World (1997) hit theaters.

Taking a page out of the playbook of the Beatles, Spice World is a revamped A Hard Days Night.

As the girls prepare for their first live concert in London, they encounter aliens, spend the night in a haunted castle and find a moment of peace in a maternity ward.

Shakespeare, it ain’t.

This film is very much a moment in time kind of film. There are some movies that can transcend their era, but this film, like  A Hard Days Night, is forever stuck in its era.

Do I recommend it? If you were a pre-teen or teenage girl in the late 1990’s, then yes, because watching this film just takes us back to that time and place. If you were not, then I say no because the plot is nearly non-existent and the film is basically a feature-length music video.


Love & Friendship And Bridget Jones’s Baby

Today, two new trailers were released that are all Jane Austen all the time (my kind of heaven).

The first is Love & Friendship. Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale, Emma Woodhouse in 1996 BBC production) is one of the most unlikable characters in the Austen cannon. She is smart, cultured, charming, but also manipulate and heartless.  She is the heroine you love to hate.

The second is the second sequel to Bridget Jones’s Diary. Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is back as the most iconic single woman of the past two decades. So is Mark Darcy (Colin Firth in  the 1995 Pride and Prejudice).  I won’t say anything else, as the trailer speaks for itself, but I will say that I am pretty excited for both movies.


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