Category Archives: Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Thor (2011)

It has been said that pride goes before a fall.

In the 2011 film, Thor, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), is the first born son of Odin and Frigga (Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo). The heir to the throne of Asgard, he thinks that he can do no wrong. When his arrogance gets him into trouble, Odin sends Thor to Earth (Midgard). Falling for scientist Jane Porter (Natalie Portman), he has to learn humility while saving both realms from his vengeful younger brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

This movie is so good. It’s funny, it’s charming and entertaining, and Hemsworth is the perfect actor to play the role. Hiddleston, as usual, is spot on and proves once more why he is one of the best actors around today. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the Shakespearean influence is subtle, yet powerful.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

P.S. Who else is excited for Thor: Love and Thunder. I know I am.

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Throwback Thursday: Hang Time (1995-2000)

Everyone has that one thing in high school that defines those years and that experience. It could be sports, music, art, etc.

Hang Time aired on NBC from 1995-2000. This high school sitcom followed the lives of seven members of a high school basketball team at fictional Deering High School.

In short, this show was Saved by the Bell on the basketball court. Other than the sports angle, the only thing that made this show stand out was that the team consisted of both male and female players. I can recall watching an episode or two, but I was not a regular viewer. Obviously, there was enough of an audience to keep the series on the air for five years. I was not among them.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Feminism, Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

Throwback Thursday: Carnage (2011)

One of the things I find fascinating and frustrating as a grownup is that we claim to have the ability to be mature and think things through in an intelligent and reasonable manner. That being said, it is amazing how easy it is to revert back to childish behavior.

The 2011 film, Carnage, is based on the play God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza. After two eleven-year-old boys get into a fight in Brooklyn Bridge Park, their parents meet up to figure out what exactly happened and mend fences. Michael and Penelope Longstreet ( John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster) and Alan and Nancy Cowan (Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet) hope to resolve the problem in an adult and expedient manner. Instead, the conversation devolves into revelations of the character’s flaws as both spouses and parents.

Directed by Roman Polanski, this movie reveals what happens when people stop being polite and start being real (to borrow a quote from The Real World). The most interesting narratives are the ones that reveal our shortcomings as human beings. This one has revelations oozing from the core, asking all of us to look at our own imperfections and be honest about the weaknesses we need to work on.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: Gene Simmons Family Jewels (2006-2012)

The “celebrity reality show” is an interesting subgenre within reality television. It can show that the subjects are just like the average person. It can also show how they are not like the average person.

Gene Simmons Family Jewels aired on A&E from 2006 to 2012. This reality show followed the daily activities of musician Gene Simmons and his family (a la The Osbournes).

It was an interesting and quirky look at a man whose reputation (depending on the viewer) may only be known by his out-there stage antics and his claim about how many women he has taken to bed. His family-man aesthetic is a 180 that I don’t think that many people saw coming.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

P.S. His exploration of being Jewish and the son of a Holocaust survivor I find to be touching, human, and very refreshing.

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Throwback Thursday: Amelia (2009)

The standard narrative of the biopic is as follows: the person was born on x date, they accomplished a,b, and c, and died on y date. They are known for (fill in the blank). The final product can go one of two ways. It can be an exciting and entertaining deep dive into the subject. Or, it can turn it into a paint-by-numbers story that comes straight out of a basic internet search.

The 2009 film, Amelia is based on the book East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart by Susan Butler. Starring Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart and Richard Gere as her husband, George Putnam, the movie tell the story of the life and legend of the groundbreaking pilot.

The problem with this film is that it is boring. The inspiration and pride that should come from the tale is non-existent. Though the actors do their best, their best is not enough to save this tepid chronicle of an American legend.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, History, Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Finding Your Feet (2017)

Life has a way of throwing curveballs at us when we least expect it. What matters is how we respond to that curveball.

In the 2017 movie Finding Your Feet, Sandra Abbott (Imelda Staunton) has just been given the shock of a lifetime. Her husband has been sleeping with her best friend for the last five years. Leaving her upper middle class, bourgeoisie life behind, she goes to the only person she can: her older sister Bif (Celia Imrie). Bif is a free spirit who could not care less what others think. It has been ten years since the women have seen one another. What starts out as an exit from heartbreak turns into the experience of a lifetime and a bonding experience that neither sister anticipated.

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I really like this film. I like its message that you can start over again and happiness is still possible. I also love that the main characters are women of a certain age. Even in 2022, there is still a dearth of older female characters who are not limited to the role of mother or grandmother.

What I get from the narrative is that making lemonade, even when you are given figurative lemons, can happen. It just takes nerve and trust that everything will turn out ok.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Throwback Thursday: Roxanne (1987)

Love has a way of making us feel insecure. The question is if we have the courage to tell the one we love how we feel?

The 1987 movie, Roxanne, is a rom-com adapation of Cyrano de Bergerac. C.D. Bales (Steve Martin) is the fire chief in a small town. Known for his extraordinarily large nose, he likes to crack jokes about it. Behind the smartass one-liners are insecurity and fear of rejection. When astronomy student Roxanne (Daryl Hannah) enters his life, D.C. falls hard and fast for her.

Afraid that she will mock him, he uses newbie firefighter and pretty boy Chris (Rick Rossovich) as a conduit to express his feelings. Roxanne believes that Chris and the man behind the letters she has been receiving are one and the same. C.D. knows that he will have to be real with Roxanne, but will she feel the same?

This film is classic Steve Martin. Behind the humor is heart and a deep well of emotion that makes this classic tale feel both timeless and forever modern.

My only issue is that Hannah’s character is sexualized early on in the movie. I understand that this narrative is over a century old. The norms in 1897 are not the norms of today. I appreciate that she was given some depth as a character. But I feel like the scene in which she is appearing to be naked pushes her backward towards a typical female character whose only task is to be the love interest without having agency or a narrative of her own.

I also have to realize that the film is over 30 years old. Though Hollywood has not completely shaken off the idea of limiting women both on and off-screen, the celluloid glass ceiling has been cracked considerably since then.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: The White Queen (2013)

Women have always been the power behind the throne. But for all of that power, we are still fighting for the right to be acknowledged as leaders.

The 2013 Starz ten-part miniseries, The White Queen, takes place during the War of the Roses in 15th century England. The prequel to The White Princess, the series follows three women who all vie for the throne. The first woman is Elizabeth Woodville (Rebecca Ferguson), whose marriage to Edward IV (Max Irons), is not exactly welcomed with open arms. The second is Lady Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale), the matriarch of the future Tudor dynasty. The third woman is Anne Neville (Faye Marsay).

As each woman battles it out for her right to the crown, the country is thrown into a bloody battle. Someone is going to walk away the winner, but not before lives are lost and history is forever changed.

The series was and still is, intriguing. Obviously, being an American, this subject was not part of the curriculum while I was in school. While the casting is spot on and I love that the women are front and center, I found that the ending lagged a little bit. Other than that, it is thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: The World’s Strictest Parents (2009-2010)

Tough love is something necessary when it comes to our children. At the moment, it may seem overly harsh. But in hindsight, it may be the one thing that fixes the problem.

The World’s Strictest Parents aired from 2009 to 2010. This reality show followed misbehaving teenagers whose parents could not deal with them anymore. Each episode follows two subjects who live with strict host families for one week. If they continue to act out (which predictably happens), they are forced to submit to some sort of punishment. At the end of the week, each child receives a letter from their real parent, which hopefully opens the door to conversation and understanding.

This is reality television, so we have to take what we are watching with a grain of salt. What I find interesting is that the heart of the series is figuring out what is causing the behavior and resolving the issue.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: The Avengers (2012)

There is nothing like a superhero origin story. When done well, it opens the doors to limitless narrative possibilities.

Back in 2012, The Avengers hit theaters.

Following the events of Thor (2011), Earth is invaded by Thor‘s (Chris Hemsworth) adopted brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). His goal is to rule over humanity. Standing in his way is Thor, Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/ Captain America (Chris Evans), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Clinton Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).

The Avengers is so good. The actors are perfectly cast, the balance between the narrative and the action is perfect and it is just so much fun to watch.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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