Monthly Archives: September 2017

Will And Grace Reboot Review

Last night, Will And Grace returned to our television sets after an 11 year absence.

Will Truman (Eric McCormack) is still a gay lawyer. Grace Adler (Debra Messing) is still his neurotic, straight interior designer best friend/roommate. Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) is as rich and boozed up as she ever was. Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) is still the Jerry Lewis to Will’s Dean Martin. It’s as if the 2006 series finale never happened.

I have been a fan of Will And Grace for a very long time. Needless to say, the hype and the pressure to re-create the success of the original series was palpable. The cast, creative team and the crew succeeded with flying colors. Last night’s episode was pure Will and Grace, it was everything I hoped it would be and much more.

I absolutely recommend it. Welcome back Will And Grace, you’ve been sorely missed.

Will and Grace is on NBC at 9PM on Thursdays.

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Filed under Television, TV Review

Flashback Friday-My Week With Marilyn (2011)

There is an old saying: all that glitters is not gold. The same could be said about Hollywood and the movie stars that fill up our screens. Behind the performer is the real human being who is dealing with the same sh*t that we all deal with.

In the 2011 movie, My Week With Marilyn, Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) is in London in the mid 1950’s to film The Prince And The Showgirl. Being directed by and starring opposite Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), Marilyn is not the easiest performer to work with. Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) is a young film student who gets a job as a part of the film crew. As time goes on, Marilyn reveals that there is much more to her that the on-screen sex goddess and Colin begins understand some truths about people and life that only time, experience and maturity bring.

What I really appreciated about this movie was that it revealed some truths that many of us, regardless of whether we are a Hollywood star or a John or Jane Doe, deal with on a day-to-day basis. I also appreciated that the film humanized one of Hollywood’s best known icons and brought her down to a level that makes us appreciate and respect her as a person, not as a performer.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Life, Movie Review, Movies

Wuthering Heights Character Review: Hareton Earnshaw

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Emily Bronte’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the either book or the various adaptations.

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 Wuthering Heights to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When we are children, the only environment we know is our family and our small world. The problem is that sometimes, when we grow up, we don’t grow out of the scars that we receive either consciously or unconsciously from our families and the world of our childhoods.

Hareton Earnshaw is the only child and heir to the Earnshaw name and estate. The problem is his father, Hindley Earnshaw drank and gambled away the family fortune after the death of his wife. After his father passes, Hareton is taken in (if you want to call it that) by Heathcliff to be used as a means of revenge.

As an adult, Hareton is treated as a servant in his ancestral home and treated poorly by Heathcliff. His only solace is his cousin, Catherine Linton, who is as imprisoned by Heathcliff as Hareton is.

To sum it up: The thing that always strikes me about Hareton is that despite the fact that is being degraded day after day by Heathcliff, he has a sense of pride. He takes pride in being an Earnshaw, and is not willing to completely bow to his captor. He is also sees an opportunity when Catherine also imprisoned in Wuthering Heights. She teaches him to read and they eventually get together, healing the wounds of the previous generation. When a character has enough pride and enough sense of self, despite a crappy childhood, to find peace within themselves, readers remember that. If a reader can finish a book, feel satisfied and feel like they have learned something about themselves because of a particular character’s journey, then the writer has done his or her job.

 

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Filed under Books, Character Review, Emily Bronte, Writing, Wuthering Heights

Thoughts On the Passing of Hugh Hefner

Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner passed away yesterday. He was 91.

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about the man.

There is no doubt that he is one of the reasons that we are no longer living within the same social and moral constrictions that existed in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He was a progressive who believed in free speech and civil rights. Depending one’s position, one could also argue that Mr. Hefner helped to empower women to move beyond the traditional confines of marriage and children. His organization employed many women, including his own daughter, who ran Playboy for a number of years.

But….he also published a magazine that was known for pinups of nude or nearly nude women. He dated multiple women at the same time, some of whom were young enough to be his daughters or granddaughters. I’ve heard that the magazine also features articles by some of the best writers, but honestly, when we think of Playboy, most people conjure up the image of women being photographed in their birthday suit. The main goal of feminism is for women to be seen and respected as full-fledged human beings, not as individual body parts and not as a convenient sex partner when one has the urge.

To be honest, I’m kind of straddling the fence on this topic. I will let the ladies of The View weigh in on the topic.

What do you think about Hugh Hefner? Was he the icon of a progressive ideal or just another man portraying women as mere sexual partners without brains or ambitions? Leave your comments below, I’m curious to know what you think.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Television

Throwback Thursday-Warm Springs (2005)

We have two choices when life throws us a curve ball. We can either roll over and take it or see the opportunities in the curve ball.

In 1921, future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was crippled by polio. He sought treatment in Warm Springs, Georgia.

In 2005, this period of FDR’s was dramatized in the TV movie, Warm Springs. Stepping into the fictionalized shoes of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were Kenneth Branagh and Cynthia Nixon. While FDR is being treated for polio, he is helping to revitalize the spa and inspire the other patients, in addition to trying to keep his marriage afloat.

In American politics and American history, both FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt are giants. In humanizing the main characters, the audience sees another to the late President and First Lady that only a select few during his time in office saw.

I recommend it.

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Filed under History, Life, Television, TV Review

Yom Kippur

No one is perfect. We all have our faults and we all make mistakes. But that does not mean that we can’t start over and wipe the slate clean.

Friday night to Saturday night is Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

We ask for forgiveness of our sins from both our fellow mortals and our holy parent. We hope that the combination of asking for forgiveness, prayer and fasting for 25 hours will be enough for the slate to be wiped clean for another year.

For me, Yom Kippur, of all of the Jewish holidays, is the most important day of the year. The hardest thing anyone can do is admit that they are wrong and ask to be forgiven for our errors. It’s not easy, but it is sometimes necessary. When the sun has finally set and the Shofar has been heard, it is as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

My creator and holy parent does not expect me to be perfect, it is understand that I am human and I will make mistakes. At the same time, it is also understand that I am willing to repent and try to learn from my mistakes when they occur.

To all those who are fasting, have an easy fast and may the G-d write you in the book of life for another year.

Shana Tova.

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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body Book Review

It’s not exactly a secret that women above a certain size are looked down upon.

Earlier this year, best-selling writer Roxane Gay released her new book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. Her most personal book to date, the book reads like a therapy session or an entry from her personal journal. After she was raped at a young age, she began to gain weight to hide her shame and mask her misery.

I’ve been a fan of hers since reading Bad Feminist (another book I highly recommend) for the first time three years ago.This book is poignant, emotional and it felt, for me as a reader, that writing this book was her catharsis not just as woman, but as a human being.

I absolutely recommend it,

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism

Why Are We Not Talking About Puerto Rico?

America has been hit by three hurricanes in a very short amount of time: Irma, Harvey and Maria.

Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico, leaving millions of American citizens without the basic necessities. While another President would focus his or her energy to getting aid and supplies to those who are in need, President Trump decided to focus on one thing: the NFL players who protested injustice by taking a knee, locking arms or simply not being on the field while the Star Spangled Banner was sung at the beginning of the game.

The rules of American democracy can be boiled down to one simple statement: I may not agree with you, but I will support your right to speak.

President Trump has forgotten this. He has also forgotten that he is no longer the owner of a private corporation who, as long as he stays within the legal and moral boundaries, can run his company as he likes. He is now a public servant, beholden to the citizens of this country. We are his employers, he is our employee

I support those who chose to take a knee in silent protest. My heart also goes out to those who are trying to put their lives back together in Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas. We need to focus on helping our fellow citizens, not tearing them down.

Are you listening President Trump?

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Filed under National News, Politics

The Choice: Embrace the Possible Book Review

Dr. Edith Eva Eger has a unique take on grief and dealing with the emotional trauma. A survivor of Auschwitz and The Holocaust, her experience during World War II gives her an insight as how to deal and move on from grief and trauma.

She has chronicles her experiences in a book entitled, The Choice: Embrace the Possible. At the outset of World War II, Dr. Eger was a young woman from a Jewish family living in Hungary. By the time the war was over, Dr. Eger was a survivor of Auschwitz and other concentration camps. While she and her sisters were lucky enough to survive, the rest of their family perished. After the war, she married, had three children, became a refugee from Soviet controlled Hungary and emigrated to America, where she eventually received her doctorate in psychology.

Among memoirs by Holocaust survivors, this book stands out. While it is about Dr. Eger’s story, it is about much more than that. It is about how we can face our demons and traumas, whatever form they take and find the inner peace that we are yearning for.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, Life