Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Milk Fed: A Novel Book Review

Food is more than the physical nourishment our body needs to function. It can also be stand in for something else in our life that has not been entirely dealt with.

In the new Melissa Broder novel published earlier this year, Milk Fed: A Novel, Los Angeles transplant Rachel was raised Jewish, but those days are long gone. Outside of her job at a talent agency, the most important thing is her physical appearance. She counts calories like the world is ending and can be found after work at the gym, furiously working off whatever she eat earlier that day. Following up on her therapist’s recommendation, she cuts of all communication with her mother for 90 days. Since she was little, Rachel has been constantly reminded to watch what she eat.

Shortly after, she meets Miriam, the zaftig employee behind the counter of one of Rachel’s favorite frozen yogurt places. Miriam is more orthodox in her practice of their mutual faith and intent on making sure that her soon to be new friend is well fed. Taken by Miriam, Rachel goes on a journey of family, faith, sex, and learning to love yourself.

I loved this book. Instead of being one of those obnoxious skinny women who makes the rest of us feel unattractive, Rachel is human, complicated, and completely relatable. I loved her emotional trek as she opened herself up to eating, Miriam (and everything Miriam represented), and learning to let go of the parental criticism that makes itself too comfortable in our consciousness.

Do I recommend it?

Absolutely.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Mental Health

Flashback Friday: D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994)

Success breeds success. But that does not mean that there will be a few bumps and bruises along the way.

The sequel to The Mighty Ducks, D2: The Mighty Ducks was released in 1994. After the success of his underdog team in the first film, Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) has returned to rink playing for a minor league team. When a knee injury sidelines his career, he is hired to coach the Team USA for the Goodwill Games held in Los Angeles. Taking most of the original Ducks with him and adding a few new players to the roster, it looks like they are heading to an easy win. But when Hollywood comes calling and Team Iceland stands in the way of their championship, the Bombay and the Ducks realize that they have work to do.

As sequels go, this film is pretty good. Granted, I haven’t seen it in a very long time, but based on what I remember, its not bad. The bar is that might higher, forcing to the characters to deal with new challenges in order to reach their goals. I also appreciated the additional diversity of the newer cast members.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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This Latest Round of The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict is Starting to Scare Me

As a third generation American Jew, I’ve grown up in the safety and security of the United States. I’ve always known that antisemitism exists, but it has hit me in the face this week with the latest round of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

For the first time in a long time, I am scared.

I am scared that there are too many in this world who believe the lies that Hamas (and Iran by extension tells the world). Human rights are universal and always important, but they can also be twisted to fit one’s perspective.

I am scared that some of my Jewish brothers and sisters are falling for the falsehoods that could kill them. Across the United States, Jews have been attacked by pro-Palestinian mobs. In Los Angeles, a mob screamed at customers and threw glass bottles as they eat outside a restaurant. I am all for peace, but how does one make peace with a neighbor who constantly agitates for your death?

I am scared that the Israel I know and love will cease to exist. Not just due to the violence within the region, but due to the silence and the complicity (again) by the outside world. I am scared that both Palestinian and Israeli children will grow up not only psychologically damaged, but also unable to see past the fears and hatred that they were taught by the adults around them.

If you listen to only one thing today, listen to last week’s episode from the podcast Us Among the Israelis. I cannot imagine what it is like to not be able to function normally, not knowing when a rocket may fall on your home or place of business. It’s akin to living during the Blitz. But instead of this happening during a specific time in history, it becomes a common occurance.

I am a Jew and proud of it. I have yet to move away from my faith and will likely never. But that does not mean that it scares the shit out of me.

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Filed under History, International News, Podcast, World News

Flashback Friday: My Girl 2 (1994)

Growing up is complicated and confusing. It was for many (as it was when I was that age) a day to day experience that has the potential to stay with us long after childhood is over.

In the 1994 film My Girl 2, (the sequel to My Girl) Vada Sultenfuss (Anna Chlumsky) is now a full fledged teenager. Her father, Harry (Dan Aykroyd) is trying to pretend that his little girl is not growing up, but it is a fruitless endeavor. Summer is on the horizon. Vada’s pregnant stepmother Shelly (Jamie Lee Curtis) convinces her husband to send Vada to Los Angeles for a vacation.

In California, Vada is staying with her uncle, his girlfriend, and his girlfriend’s son Nick (Austin O’Brien). Over break, she has to fulfill a school assignment: write an essay on someone whom she admires, but has never met. The easy answer is Vada’s late mother. Nick is unhappily tasked with being Vada’s tour guide. As they begin to look in her mother’s past, the job that seemed easy reveals itself to be more difficult than expected.

I adore this movie. It is funny, charming, adorable, and instantly takes me back to that time in my life. Though Vada is living in the early 1970’s, the experiences and the questions she has are universal.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Flashback Friday- The Hills (2006-2010)

We all know that so-called “reality shows” are not real. The question is, is the show “real” enough to bring in viewers?

The Hills aired on MTV from 2006-2010. A spin-off of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, the show followed the lives and careers of four young women living in Los Angeles.

The only good thing about this show was that the song sung over the opening credits is sung by Natasha Bedingfield. I watched enough of this show to know that it was as fake as fake could be. Some critics accused the show of being a nighttime drama labelled as a reality show. Frankly, I could not agree more.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Music, Television, TV Review

Throwback Thursday-Joey (2004-2006)

When a popular television program ends, it is tempting for both fans and Hollywood producers to consider the idea of a spinoff.

In 2004, Friends went off the air after ten years on television. In the fall of that year, a spinoff debuted. Matt LeBlanc had his own show, Joey (2004-2006). In the show, Joey Tribbiani (LeBlanc) moves to Los Angeles to pursue acting full time. He moves into an apartment purchased by his sister, Gina (Drea de Matteo) and starts to build a relationship with his nephew, Michael (Paul Costanzo).

If I am, to be honest, I give this show an A for effort. The creative team did everything they could to replicate the level of television success that Friends had. But there was something missing from this show that I cannot put my finger on.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America Book Review

In the 1930’s, Leon Lewis appeared to be just another unassuming lawyer from Los Angeles. But in reality, he was the head of a spy ring whose goal was to stop the secret Nazi invasion of America and protect the lives of the city’s Jewish population.

His story unfolds in the non fiction book, Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America, written by Steven J. Ross. Los Angeles was a target not only because it was home base of the entertainment industry, but also for the military sites that were close by. While the law enforcement chose to focus their attention elsewhere, Mr. Lewis and his ring of spies understood how important it was to uncover the truth before it was too late.

 

While the book is a little slow, it is worth reading until the end. Though the book is non fiction, Mr. Ross found a way to imbue the narrative with tension and danger. It reads like a fictional spy thriller, even with the documented historical facts.

I recommend it.

 

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History

Throwback Thursday-Son In Law (1993)

College, for many is an eye opening experience. It is often the first time we are away from the comforts of home and family. But it is also the opportunity to grow and find out who you really are and what you want out of life.

In Son In Law (1993), Rebecca Warner (Carla Gugino) is the all American girl from a small town in the midwest. Her choice for college is a school in Los Angeles. Her first few weeks are rocky, until she meets Crawl (Pauly Shore), who helps her integrate into college life. Feeling sorry that Crawl has nowhere to go during Thanksgiving, Rebecca invites him home.  When conservative small town America meets Los Angeles party animal Crawl, Rebecca, her family and her small town will never be the same.

This movie is very early 90’s. But it does not feel that dated because anyone who has gone away to college for the first time understands the anxiety that comes with the experience.

Do I recommend it? Why not?

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday

The Critics Were Wrong (Maybe)- Crossroads (2002)

Your late teens and early 20’s is a very interesting time in life. You are an adult, but you are barely an adult. Your childhood is only a few years behind you.

The 2002 movie, Crossroads is about that period  in our lives.

Lucy (Britney Spears), Kit (Zoe Saldana) and Mimi (Taryn Manning) have been best friends for years. The night of high school graduation, Lucy reveals that she is going to Los Angeles to audition for a record company. Kit and Mimi decide to go with her, against the wishes of Lucy’s father Pete (Dan Aykroyd). On the road to Los Angeles, they meet Ben (Anson Mount).

I saw this movie during it’s original theatrical run. I thought that the time, that it was not a bad movie, as I was around the age of the characters.

Were the critics wrong? No. This movie is just plain bad.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, The Critics Were Wrong