Lisa’s Week in Review: 3/12/18 — 3/18/18

I’m home!  After spending 6 days in London, 2 days in Brighton, 2 days in Edinburgh, and 2 days in Ardglass, Jeff & I are back in the States.  I have to admit that, much like Dorothy, I’m in a bit of a dream state right now.  Going from snow and below freezing temperatures to 80-degree Texas weather in one day will do that to you, I suppose.

This upcoming week is going to be all about catching up.  Not only do I have several movies and books to review on both this site and Horror Critic but I also have a DVR full of programming to watch.  So please, no one spoil how The Bachelor ended…

(Just kidding, I already know.  Wow, Arie sure turned out to be a prick…)

Anyway, here’s last week in review:

Movies I Watched

  1. The Artist (2011)
  2. Gambit (2012)
  3. Lucky (2017)
  4. Tomb Raider (2018)

TV Shows I Watched

  1. 8 out of 10 Cats
  2. American Idol
  3. Back in Time For Tea
  4. Benidorm
  5. Breakfast
  6. Brooklyn 99
  7. Casualty
  8. Film 2018
  9. Mothers, Murderers, and Mistresses: Empresses of Ancient Rome
  10. On Camera: Photographers of the BBC
  11. Pointless Celebrities
  12. The Ruth Ellis Files: A Very British Crime Story
  13. Survivor 36
  14. Top of the Pops
  15. Troy: Fall of a City

Books I Read

  1. Brave (2018) by Rose McGowan
  2. The Woman In The Window (2018) by A.J. Finn

Music To Which I Listened

  1. Blanck Mass
  2. Britney Spears
  3. The Chemical Brothers
  4. Django Django
  5. Jakalope
  6. Moby
  7. Nathan Carter
  8. Souisxie and the Banshees
  9. Taylor Swift

Links From The Site:

  1. I shared 20 Shots From 20 Alfred Hitchcock Films and my favorite Yeats poem!
  2. Erin took a look at The Covers of Alfred Hitchcock Presents!
  3. Gary reviewed The Beatles: Eight Days A Week — The Touring Years and also cleaned out his DVR!  For St. Patrick’s Day, he reviewed The Irish In Us, along with sharing both a cartoon called The Wee Men and Robert Mitchum singing Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral!
  4. Jeff argued that the video for Bush’s Everything Zen was the worst music video of all time!
  5. Ryan reviewed Teaching Comics: Volume One and What is a Glacier?, along with sharing his weekly reading round-up!
  6. Case reviewed Love, Simon and declared it one of the best films of the year so far!

(Check out last week’s week-in-review by clicking here!)

Have a great week!


Spring Break Scenes That I Love: Plane vs Shark from Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus

Hopefully this doesn’t happen to anyone on their way home from Spring Break.

Or me, on my way home from my vacation.

Travel safely!

From 2009’s Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus:

Embracing The Melodrama Part III #8: The Boost (dir by Harold Becker)

Seven days ago, we started embracing the melodrama with my review of No Down Payment, a look at lies and betrayal in suburbia.  Today, we conclude things with 1988’s The Boost, a look at lies, betrayal, and cocaine in California, with the emphasis on cocaine.

From the first minute we meet Lenny Brown (James Woods, at his nerviest best), we assume that he has to be high on something.  He’s a real estate broker and he’s one of those guys who always looks a little bit sleazy no matter how hard he tries otherwise.  His smile is just a little too quick.  He laughs a little bit too eagerly at his own jokes.  He talks constantly, an endless patter of self-serving compliments, nervous jokes, and self-affirming platitudes.  He’s a bundle of nerves but he’s also a brilliant salesman.  We may assume that he’s on coke when we first see him but actually, he doesn’t touch the stuff.  He barely drinks.

Of course, that changes when he’s hired by Max Sherman (Steven Hill).  Max is a philosophical businessman, the type who makes sure that everyone who works for him gets a nice house, a nice car, and several lectures about what’s important in life.  When Max first shows up, it’s tempting to dismiss him as just a self-important businessman but he actually turns out to be a nice guy.  He gives Lenny a ton of good advice.  Unfortunately, Lenny ignores almost all of it.

At first, life is good for Lenny and his wife, Linda (Sean Young).  Lenny is making tons of money, selling houses that can used as a tax shelter or something like that.  (I never understand how any of that stuff works.)  Lenny is making all sorts of new friends, like Joel Miller (John Kapelos) and his wife, Rochelle (Kelle Kerr).  Joel owns four car washes and he’s made a fortune off of them.  All of that money means that he can throw extravagant parties and take nice trips.  It also means that Joel has a never-ending supply of cocaine.  At first, Lenny turns down Joel’s offer of cocaine but eventually he gives in.  At the time, he says that he just needs a little boost.  Soon both Lenny and Linda are addicts.

Of course, nothing goes on forever.  The tax laws change and Max suddenly finds himself out-of-business.  Lenny and Linda lose their house.  They lose their expensive car.  They even lose their private plane.  They end up staying in a tiny apartment.  Lenny says that he can still sell anything and that they’ll be back on top in just a few months.  Of course, even while Lenny is saying this, his main concern is getting more cocaine…

Though dated, The Boost is an effective anti-drug film.  The scene where Lenny overdoses is absolutely harrowing.  Wisely, the film doesn’t deny the fact that cocaine is a lot of fun before you end up losing all of your money and having to move into a cheap apartment with shag carpeting.  It’s a bit like a coke-fueled Days of Wine and Roses, right down to an ending that finds one partner clean and one partner still in the throes of addiction.  James Woods gives a great performance as the self-destructive Lenny, as does Sean Young as his wife and partner in addiction.  And then there’s Steven Hill, providing the voice of gruff wisdom as Max Sherman.  When Max says that he feels that he’s been betrayed, Hill makes you feel as if the entire world has ended.

Speaking of endings, that’s it for this latest installment of Embracing the Melodrama.  I hope you enjoyed this mini-series of reviews and that you will always be willing to embrace the … well, you know.


Weekly Reading Round-Up : 03/11/2018 – 03/17/2018

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Was it just me, or did this past week seem particularly loaded with debut issues? I mean, I know Image has at least one new number one every Wednesday, but lately it seems like everybody’s getting in on the act. Here are the four that I read since last we met here —

Eternity Girl #1 is the latest from DC’s Young Animal “pop-up imprint” (whatever the fuck that even means), and anything drawn by Sonny Liew is something I’m gonna buy. Truth be told, I really can’t believe that the cartooning genius behind The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye is even doing a monthly book for one of the “Big Two” publishers — but I’m doubly dumbfounded by the fact that he’s not writing it, as well, since (let’s be honest) you’re not gonna pair him with anybody who’s better at the art of scripting than he is…

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Music Video of the Day: American Slang by The Gaslight Anthem (2010, dir by Kevin J. Custer)

I have to admit that one of the main reasons that I picked this video is because, assuming everything goes as scheduled, Jeff and I will be returning home on this day.  (I’m writing this on February 20th, just to provide some context for you.)  I wanted to pick a video for a song that has the word “American” in the title.

With all that in mind, though, American Slang is a good video for a good song from a good album by a good band.  The song and the video take a look at the contrast between the American dream and what, for many, is the American reality.  Myself, I just like the look of this video.  New York is beautiful in black-and-white.