Monthly Archives: May 2017

Still Star Crossed Review

We all know the end of Romeo and Juliet. The star-crossed lovers commit suicide and their families are held responsible for the bloodshed, the destruction and the loss of life.

In the new television series, Still Star Crossed, the violence, bloodshed and murder has continued in the wake of the double suicide of Romeo and Juliet. To restore peace, Prince Escalus (Sterling Sulieman) proposes a most unlikely and unwelcome solution: Rosalind Capulet (Lashana Lynch) marry Benvolio Montague (Wade Briggs). Neither are pleased with the match, especially Escalus, who has been in love Rosalind (and she with him) for years. But it must done, for the good of the city. The question is not only will the marriage take place, but can it heal the open and bloody wounds between the Capulets and the Montagues?

I am not a huge Shonda Rhimes fan, but I am a fan of Shakespeare and I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the pilot. It has everyone one expects from a Shakespeare play (or at least a decent adaptation of a Shakespeare play): violence, danger, romance, greed etc. I also very much appreciate the diversity of the cast. To see a rainbow of skin colors and ethnic backgrounds just adds another layer of authenticity and realism that already exists in not just Romeo and Juliet, but in all of Shakespeare’s plays.

I recommend it.

Still Star Crossed airs on ABC at 10 PM on Monday.

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Filed under Television, TV Review, William Shakespeare

Donald Trump’s Mango Tour

Randy Rainbow has done it again. Using a song from the musical, Evita, he continues to point why Donald Trump is not fit for the office of the President Of The United States.

Thank you, Randy, for your genius, for your talent and for continually making us laugh.

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Filed under Music, Politics, Randy Rainbow

Why We Need Planned Parenthood

For many women, Planned Parenthood is a lifeline that is vital to their health and their future. But at the same time, there are many who would savor the day when Planned Parenthood ceases to exist.

Film and movie director Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Avengers) presents a world without Planned Parenthood. Frankly, it is scary and a little too real for me. But it is a dose of reality that we would be facing if some people had their way.

I could go on and on about the reasons that Planned Parenthood is vital and necessary, but I think the video does a pretty good job of doing that for me.

#IstandwithPP

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Filed under Feminism, Movies, Television

Memorial Day

It’s easy to forget the sacrifices of past generations. We go about our daily routines as if it has always been that way.

But the reality is that generations of Americans have fought and died for the daily routines that many of us think as commonplace.

Today is not just a day off from work and school. It is also a solemn reminder of the soldiers across the generations who have fought and died for the freedoms that we take for granted.

To the men and women fighting for not just our freedom, but for the freedom of those who don’t know what freedom feels like, thank you from the bottom of my heart. To those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, you will never be forgotten.

G-d bless the USA and those who put their lives on the line so we could live another day.

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Filed under History, Music

The Life & Legacy Of Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker is one of our culture’s most recognizable characters. One of the three lead characters in the original Star Wars series, Luke, played by Mark Hamill is every man. Unlike Han (Harrison Ford) or Leia (the late and very missed Carrie Fisher), Luke is the character we can all relate to.

I could go on, but I think the video below says it all.

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Filed under Movies, Star Wars

The Awkward Age: A Novel Book

Life, as we know it to be, is never simple. Whether we are a teenager, middle-aged or in the twilight of our lives, life will always be complicated.

In The Awkward Age: A Novel The Awkward Age: A Novel by Francesca Segal, Julia and James have found love again in the UK and are happily co-habituating in Julia’s house. Julia is a widow with a teenager daughter, Gwen. James is a divorced American ex-pat with two children. His daughter, Saskia lives in America with her mother while his son, Nathan lives with his father. Neither Gwen or Nathan are happy with the new family arrangement. When the relationship between Gwen and Nathan takes a dramatic turn that no one saw coming, the repercussions of this unforeseen shift may just be the thing that set all of them on a path that changes their lives.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I enjoyed it because the characters felt real. A good book has to make the reader believe that the character are real human beings, not fictional creations. While some writers are not able to make the characters feel real, Ms. Segal does an excellent job of humanizing the characters. I could feel the new love of James and Julia, the teenage antagonizing of their children and the change in their relationships as a pseudo family when the twist in the narrative occurs.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Life

Happy Birthday Star Wars

40 years ago today, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, hit theaters.

It was more than the average movie. It is more than just a science fiction movie set in outer space. Star Wars is revolutionary because it changed the way movies are made. Star Wars is part fairy tale, part social commentary and all around awesome. Before May 25th, 1977, no one knew who Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Darth Vader were. 40 years later these characters, the world they inhabited and the actors behind the characters have become iconic in their own right.

I could go on forever on why I love Star Wars, but I think the trailer of A New Hope says it all.

Thank you, George Lucas for creating this world and introducing us to these characters. You have made multiple generations of fans happy and I hope you will continue to do so for many years.

Happy Birthday Star Wars, here is to another 40 years.

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Filed under Fairy Tales, Movies, Star Wars

Pride And Prejudice Character Review: Charlotte Lucas

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Pride and Prejudice. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the book.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Pride and Prejudice to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Sometimes, life deals us a hand of cards that we would not choose for ourselves, if we had that choice. In cases like this, we have two choices, play the hand we are dealt or fight it bitterly and be miserable.

In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet’s best friend is Charlotte Lucas. While Charlotte’s family is rising in status, she does not have the luck of her family. She has neither beauty, a witty personality or a large fortune to use as bait for potential husbands. She is also unmarried at the age of 27, which means according to the era she lived in, she was set for life to be the maiden aunt who took care of everyone else because she had neither a husband or a child of her own to care for.

After Elizabeth turns down Mr. Collins’s proposal, he goes straight to Charlotte, who accepts him.  Elizabeth is horrified, but Charlotte knows that Mr. Collins is the best man she could get as a husband.

Through a modern lens Charlotte’s choice seems hasty and foolish. But we cannot look at her choices through 2017 lens, we must look at her choices through the lens of the Georgian era.

In Emma, Austen makes light of the hardship that single women endure.

It is poverty only which makes celibacy contemptible to a generous public! A single woman with a very narrow income must be a ridiculous, disagreeable, old maid! the proper sport of boys and girls; but a single woman of good fortune is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as anybody else. (p. 93)

Unlike Emma Woodhouse, Charlotte’s options are far more limited. She can either marry Mr. Collins for income and a comfortable home or forever be the old maid in her family. Given the options that are before her, marrying Mr. Collins, as ridiculous as he seems, makes a lot of sense.  Charlotte plays the hand that life has dealt her.  Prince Charming, Mr. Collins is not (and certainly never will be). But he is a respectable man with a solid income and home to offer Charlotte, which is certainly better than living with her parents for the rest of her days.

To sum it up: Sometimes in life, and on the page, we are dealt a certain hand of cards. How we deal with that hand defines us. In creating the character of Charlotte Lucas, Austen not only makes the most obvious feminist statement, but she also comments on the choices we make based upon our circumstances and why we make those choices. As writers,  we have to explain to the audience why our characters are making the choices they are making. If the character’s motives are fuzzy to the writer, they will also be fuzzy to the reader. Charlotte’s motives for her choices are clear and by making that clear, that is the only way to hook the reader so they will come back for more.

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Filed under Books, Character Review, Emma, Feminism, Jane Austen, Life, Pride and Prejudice, Writing

Dirty Dancing TV Movie Review

*Warning-This review contains minor spoilers. Read at your own risk if you have not seen it.

Dirty Dancing is one of those movies. It became an instant classic when it hit theaters in 1987. Everything about that movie is iconic. The music, the story, the characters, etc, are instantly recognizable.

It’s therefore no wonder that ABC rebooted the movie last night into a television movie musical with Abigail Breslin and Colt Prattes stepping into the very large shoes of Jennifer Grey and the late Patrick Swayze.

It’s still the summer of 1963. Frances “Baby” Houseman is on vacation with her doctor father, Jake (Bruce Greenwood), homemaker mother, Marjorie (Debra Messing) and elder sister Lisa (Sarah Hyland) at a resort in the Catskills. About to go to college and enter the real world, Baby is full of hopes and dreams, but also sheltered from the world by her parents.

She becomes infatuated with Johnny Castle, one of the resort’s dance teachers and steps up to become his dance partner when his regular dance partner, Penny (Nicole Scherzinger) gets pregnant and goes to a less than reputable doctor to have an abortion. While their relationship starts off as merely dance partners, they soon become more than dance partners, but their differences may tear them apart.

I very much appreciated that certain narratives and characters were expanded from the original movie. In the original movie, Lisa is a stereotype and Mrs. Houseman is a background player. In this version, Lisa is a deeper character (i.e. she is convinced by Baby to read The Feminine Mystique and see her herself as more than a girl who just wants to get married). Like many women of her generation, Mrs. Houseman was told that they should get married and have families. While they have done this, there is an aching need for something more. I also appreciated that Abigail Breslin is not a size 2.

For the most part, the creative team stuck to the story and characters that the audience anticipated. But there was something missing, something that the movie has that the television version does not.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, History, Movie Review, Music, Television, TV Review

Throwback Thursday-The Courage To Love (2000)

Our strongest sense is sometimes not our sense of smell or taste, but our gut. When we have nothing else to guide us, our gut will.

In the 2000 television movie, The Courage To Love, Henriette Delille (Vanessa Williams) is a biracial woman living in 19th century New Orleans. While her parents are in love, they cannot marry due to the fact that her father is white and her mother is black. Dr. Gerard Gaultier (Gil Bellows), a Caucasian doctor from France proposes to Henriette and take her back to France, where there would be no opposition to their marriage. But Henriette is devoted to the Church and must choose between saying I do and joining the Church.

As interesting as this television movie is, it is a little heavy-handed. It comes out more preachy than entertaining while teaching.

Do I recommend it? I have to lean toward no.

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Filed under History, Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review