Winter Break Ideas: Vol. 2

Published 12/31/14 by:

Since I’ve already bestowed upon you my ideas for what you should listen to over your winter break, please allow me to entice you with what you should be viewing. Note: I didn’t include any movies because my recommendations would be “Boyhood” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” and if you’re reading my blog then  you’ve probably already seen both of them multiple times.

 

HBO’s “True Detective” How McConaughey and Harrelson haven’t been in all the movies and shows together already is beyond me. Their slick southern charm is abundant in this masterpiece mystery. While people often comment that “music is a main character” on many television shows, in this case it’s the locations and scenery that play a part in the allure of  “True Detective”. As Matthew and Woody toggle from present day police interviews, to flashbacks of their detective days many years earlier, the audience gets a first class tour of Louisiana. You get to see everything from church tent revivals, to biker bars, to beautiful bayou homes. The entire show is breathtaking, in a bullet-dodging, scenic views, soliloquy kind of way. You know, the usual. I wish…

 

 

Comedy Central’s first season of “Broad City” Do not watch this show with your mom. No, seriously. Don’t. This sitcom is about two women in their mid-twenties working dead end jobs to buy their favorite cereals, and fund their bad habits. Produced by Amy Poehler, this is easily my favorite TV comedy of the year.

broad city photo

ABC’s “How To Get Away With Murder” I know what you’re thinking: another Shonda Rimes show?! The short answer is: yes. I was also reluctant to start watching this show, as I’ve quit watching both “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal”, but HTGAWM isn’t the typical fare for Shondaland. First of all: it’s a mystery. Within the first five minutes of the pilot you witness the main characters dragging a dead body around in a total panic. Second of all: the show is filled with flashbacks and flashforwards. As you try to piece together who the real criminal is, as well as the victim, the two timelines inch closer and closer to one another until you think you have all the puzzle pieces, but then you get Shonda’d, and you don’t. Bonus: everyone’s outfits are on point.

 

 

HBO’s “The Leftovers” It has been a long time since I’ve loved something this dark. In fact, I think “Six Feet Under” was the last time I succumbed to a show steeped in sadness and longing. “The Leftovers” is based on Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same name, in which the rapture has happened, and the world has lost 2% of its population. 2% of our humans just effing vanished into thin air. No one knows why, or how, or if it will happen again. “The Leftovers” demonstrates how the people of one community have reacted to their losses, and how fragile we all are, despite how we carry ourselves in our daily lives. Justin Theroux and Carrie Coon easily could’ve been nominated for Golden Globes for their superb visceral performances in the first season, but were sadly overlooked.

 

 

The CW’s “The Flash” This is for folks who enjoy good storytelling that tangles with superhero lore. If you’re a fan of “Arrow”, “Smallville” or “Iron Man”, then you’ll thoroughly enjoy the adventure that Barry (played enthusiastically by newcomer Grant Gustin) is on.

 

 

 

 

Editor’s note: I just started watching Kingdom (the MMA show starring Matt Lauria and Nick Jonas), and it’s straight fire. I was too amped up to fall asleep after watching it. I’m two episodes in, but I think we have a winner.

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The Ultimate Role…If I Were An Actress

Published 5/28/14 by:

 

Dream Role Photos

 

I recently watched a YouTube video in which the absurdly beautiful cast of MTV’s Teen Wolf was asked what character past or present would be their dream role. The answers ranged from Rachel Green in “FRIENDS” to Neo in “The Matrix”. As someone who has been an avid film and television enthusiast since first falling for The Muppets at the ripe age of three, I’ve been thinking about my choices for days. Here’s the rub, though: I’m not an actress. I’m making my choices purely based on things like cast chemistry, the writing of the show, and how fun it would be to play that character. I did not approach the creation of this list with any type of thespian knowledge or prowess. That being said, I think I made some really educated decisions. I’d also love to hear what inspired choices all of you would make! Let me know in the comments!

 

1. Carla Tortelli from “Cheers” –  Carla is the perfect example of a Bostonian waitress; She’s quick-witted, snarky, and can talk sports with the best of ’em. She doesn’t put up with any bull, because if that’s what she wanted, she could just stay home with her thousand kids. I envy her one-liners, and the cast of characters that Cheers pulled together in that bar where everybody knows your name.

 

2. Penny Lane from “Almost Famous” – I don’t think a cooler girl has ever been written in a film or television show. Not only does she embody rock and roll, but she loves it in a charming and enveloping way. I don’t think I realized what a rock and roll lifestyle was, until I encountered Penny. Her credo “it’s all happening” makes every moment seem thrilling. I’d love to play someone so adored, complex, and free-spirited. In terms of cast: who wouldn’t want to hang out with Russell and William all day? And maybe squeeze in a moment or two with Lester Bangs? Sigh.

 

3. Kate Austen from “LOST” – This was a really hard decision because I only wanted one totally hardcore chick on the list, and my alternative choice was Sidney Bristow from “Alias”. Ultimately I went with Kate because she’s a rebel with a cause, and I dig that about her. Kate is the polar opposite of who I am, and I think it would be so incredible to play a girl who’s so adventurous, agile and intuitive. Additionally, I wouldn’t balk at the opportunity to kiss Jack and Sawyer. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

 

4. Winnie Cooper from “The Wonder Years” – There can only be one girl next door on this list, so Joey Potter didn’t make the cut. Winnie is smart, approachable and has great headbands. Her family suffers the loss of a brother to the Vietnam War, and she seamlessly transitions from awkward pre-teen to lanky, beautiful teenager throughout the show. She’s an every-girl, but with the benefit of an awesome era to grow up in. This might be my dream role. Also, it would be really fun to “TV date” the same boy from ages 11 to 18, because not many folks get that experience.

 

 

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Review: Pretty Little Liars’ “Close Encounters”

Published 1/21/14 by:

Pretty Little Liars Close EncountersImage courtesy of: AlloyEntertainment

My rambling recap:

In tonight’s episode we finally see the Liars venture into the great unknown WITH WEAPONS. Hallelujah! They show up at the Busy Bee Inn wielding hammers, field hockey sticks etc. They’re too late, but it’s renewing my faith in their potential to track down Ali, and not get murdered in the process. In no time Spencer is playing hardball with her dad, as he discovers her at Toby’s apartment. She assumes he’s there tracking her down, but he’s there to discuss Radley with Toby. We then find out via Spencer’s excellent litigation tactics that Jason has started drinking again, and was recently arrested for starting a fight in a bar. That solves the sneaking around that Spencer’s dad and Mrs. DeLaurentis have been doing…maybe?

Oh no, just what I was hoping for last season, but now have been dreading  finally happened. Aria picked Ezra over Jake, after his “morning with me, afternoon with him?” comment. I’m all for more Ezra screen time, but not if he’s a total creeper spy bro who potentially is the luminous “Board Shorts”. And Shauna shows up at the church out of the blue? I forgot she existed. Now she’s passing messages for Ali to Emily? Have we (as viewers) figured anything out about Shauna? I feel like the Liars dismissed her too quickly, and now they’re going to regret not having paid more attention to her earlier.

Shauna may have just earned a spot as a Liar – she lived next door to Ali’s grandparents in Georgia, and has been keeping eyes on Jenna et.al. to see who tried to kill Ali. That must be some bond that she and Ali had, if Ali is trusting her on this witch hunt. It’s quite fishy (per usual) that Ali never mentioned this lovely friend from Georgia to any of the Liars – especially Emily.

The Aria dumping Jake scene was excruciating because he was such a nice guy, but walked into a thunderstorm mid lightning. And Toby contemplating signing the plea bargain is dragging out that Radley story line even more. Sign it, don’t sign it – I don’t give a crud.

The Liars still think Shauna is on the A team after Emily reveals her church encounter with her. While it doesn’t seem plausible that this “out of the blue friend from Georgia” would move to Pennsylvania to hunt down Ali’s tormenter, Emily reminds the Liars that “Ali can make someone love her enough to do that.” Man, that just makes me want more Ali flashbacks – she’s the most fascinating character on the entire show. Her charisma and cunning ways around older men as well as her female peers is unlike anything else happening on television right now. I have to say, I’m pretty convinced by Shauna after she knew everything Ali said to Em outside of the barn. I’m not buying this whole “you have to see Ali alone” business though, but I am a firm believer that Emily really was her favorite. I’m glad that Spencer tries to talk some sense into Emily, because let’s face it: she’s still blinded by her life-long love of Ali.

I didn’t recognize that blonde that Ezra was conveniently berating in front of Jake on the street. She looked older? Anyone think she looked familiar? And Travis? Hanna physically attacking his face with her lips? She’s rushing it, but I kind of don’t blame her. She feels like crap, and now Mrs. Marin is concerned. Good times. Her mom’s advice to Hanna is solid, but Hanna is stubborn. Hanna is right –  it is her broken heart so mend it she will (whatever way she wants).

Now Mrs. DeLaurentis is on the board at Radley? THIS could get interesting. She could be the master puppeteer in terms of all the lovely ladies who have graced the halls of Radley. And who would’ve thought that Jake would be the one to warn Aria about Ezra? I’m sure he’s not the last person to do this…but maybe this will finally let the Liars in on Ezra’s secret.

I can’t tell if Ezra is lying about meeting with Maggie’s lawyer, but if he is, damn he’s good. And hearing Aria say that she’s so happy that she chose Ezra makes me cringe. And now Emily is dropped off by Shauna to see her long-lost love. I can’t help but find it adorable that Emily changed her outfit so many times to see Ali. And just when Emily and Ali seem like they’re going to team up with each other and rekindle their odd BFF-lover thing, Spencer shows up and blows it for Em. If looks could kill, Em may have just maimed Spence. Does this mark the first time we saw Ali being vulnerable? It was actually alarming to me.

While Spencer has always been the conspiracy theorist of the group, and is usually pretty spot on, I blindly trust Ali in this situation. Ali genuinely looked freaked out, and even though that whole “targeting Emily to divide the Liars” theory has potential, I’m still swayed by Ali. I guess she made me love her enough to be swayed – I’m no better than Em. Whoops.

The knives in Jake’s boxing bag? Shauna’s photo being set on fire!? YIKES!

Tonight’s episode had a lot of good set up, but that scene between Ali and Em was the best of the season thus far. What did everyone else think?

What could Jason really be doing?

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Review: Pretty Little Liars “Love ShAck, Baby”

Published 1/14/14 by:

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 8.40.24 PM

 

Emily’s midnight visit from the reaper – I mean, Ali- coincides with the her being the first person to research Allison’s old diary. Emily is only willing to dive back into the journal if it means she can get answers. Although Hanna assigning the journal to Spencer next (quite quickly) suggested that there are some things in there that she doesn’t want Aria to see, I think that Em is still going to suffer the most from  this resurrection of Ali.

Ezra watching the Liars delve into Ali’s journal was super creepy and very voyeuristic. Spencer’s “You like Jake; You love Ezra” proclamation to Aria was quite true, but all the more eerie because of Ezra’s new A team status. And how is it that he’s listening to Ali’s phone calls via his laptop? I’m starting to think that he’s not just part of the team, but maybe the origin.

Spencer’s dad and Ali’s mom uttering “Jason needs to know” is suspicious. I’m not buying that Mrs. DeLaurentis is getting a divorce. I’m also very suspect of Ali’s note to Emily at the cafe. I’m not convinced that Emily would be the most helpful in Ali’s quest to rejoin humanity, but perhaps Emily is the one that Ali trusts the most? It’s hard to say. Ali’s apparitions seem to appear to Hanna and Emily the most, but I don’t know what the significance of that is.

Spencer’s dad relaying that Toby’s mother’s death “wasn’t a suicide, but it wasn’t a murder either” is odd, and dragging out this annoying plot line even more. After Spencer tells Mrs. DeLaurentis off and essentially calls her a home-wrecker in the coffee shop, the girls head to The Bumble Bee Inn, based on one of Ali’s cryptic poems. In any other episode I feel as though Aria would’ve confessed to Ezra where she was headed, but in this one she conveniently dodged him. Flash to Ezra being at Hanna’s house for the first time ever. Since when does he make house calls? And Hanna’s mom doesn’t find this odd? And why is Ezra targeting Hanna and rifling through her room as well as her laptop? Does he know she took the journal from his lair, and if so, how?

Why do the Liars insist on not telling anyone where they’re going? They head out to an Inn that has been shut down, get caught in a thunderstorm, and even Spencer hasn’t let Toby in on her location? Aria sneakily leads the Liars to Ezra’s cabin saying that it’s her uncle’s. I have to admit, Hanna’s confession that the missing page was about her hooking up with Aria’s brother Mike (who was pretty young at the time) was very lackluster. I was expecting something way juicier, because, well, this is “Pretty Little Liars” for crying out-loud. The only way this could be an interesting turn in the A plot, is if Mike has been coerced by the A team, unbeknownst to us all these years. Maybe that’s why he’s done some of the crazy things he’s done, had that bout with hermit-like behavior in his room, and lashed out at his mom?

How did someone (A? Ezra?) pull the proverbial wool over the Liars’ eyes so easily and take Ali’s journal? And then Travis conveniently arrives with his tow-truck? Is Travis a hero with excellent timing, or is he fishy? His endurance of a crying Hanna after he wants to “just be a nice guy” suggests that he’s the former.

“We gave Ali to A.” Yup. That happened, with one color-coded sticky note system a la Emily. It’s always Emily’s fault.

Did anyone figure out anything that I didn’t? The answer is yes, so clue me in.

 

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Review: Pretty Little Liars’ Winter 2014 Premiere “Who’s In The Box?”

Published 1/7/14 by:

PLL 2014 winter premiere

Alison Delaurentis is alive. Aria, Emily, Hanna and Spencer are coming to terms with this shocking truth as the episode opens. Ali couldn’t trust any of the cops in Rosewood, so she’s been hiding out for a year (at least? PLL timelines are a bit odd). Spencer is right in her assertion that the sooner the Liars make it safe for Ali to come back, the sooner they can pull every detail out of her about what has been happening in their lives: “We can ask her why she did this to us.” Spencer has already moved away from Ali the victim, and turned the victimization back on the Liars. Hanna’s revelation that whoever was in “Ali’s casket” was placed there in order to convince the Liars that Ali was dead is both accurate and insane. Although this is something that has occurred to me as a viewer since the finale, I hadn’t really considered how desperately A, or the A Team needed the Liars to assume Ali was deceased.

Ezra’s recommitment to Aria (especially long-term) is a bit alarming, but something I would’ve embraced so much more pre-summer finale. I do love Ezria, but now I feel like Aria is just plain haunted. In terms of Mona approaching Ezra and claiming she wants a mentor? Mona is always fishy, but now I’m wondering if it’s going to be a front for them being on the A team together. I’m not totally convinced that Ali would reach out to Jason. Does anyone remember Ezra’s initial reaction to the Liars spending time with Jason? I vaguely remember him not liking it, and strongly disliking Aria being around him. What could that be foreshadowing? Does Ezra give Aria the key to the cabin because he’s hoping the Liars will meet up there to conspire? Is it a ploy for him to spy on them? Will Aria potentially take the Liars there?

I honestly don’t understand where Toby’s investigation of his mother’s supposed suicide is going to lead. I understand Radley is a common thread for a lot of the troubled women on this show, but I have no predictions whatsoever as to how this is going to be pertinent to the overall timeline. How could it tie into Ali, and how will it connect to A? I honestly have not been terribly interested in Toby’s crusade, so I’m hoping the payoff is big, or it will be deemed just a time suck. What if that Sarah girl is in Radley? Her friend said, “they keep upping her meds.” Could that be the link? What good would come from Spencer’s dad closing down Radley with his lawyer wizardry?

While I’ve really enjoyed Caleb, all the Liars’ have been in long-term relationships, and I’m honestly ready for some new blood. I’m also ready for Emily to break it off with Paige. Emily’s confession that Ali broke her heart was timely because how is she going to move on if Ali is now undead?

Does anyone have a better cliffhanger game than Pretty Little Liars? I am so excited to know what’s in that journal of Ali’s. Also, the preview that shows Ezra and the Liars racing to find Ali? I actually sucked in my breath. What did everyone else think of tonight’s winter premiere?

 

 

 

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