Lisa’s Week In Review: 6/17/19 — 6/23/19


I’m home!  Thank you to Rose, Kim, Johnny, Baltimore, New York, and Rochester for being so wonderfully friendly and accommodating last week!

After spending the previous two weeks on vacation, I’m home and I’m ready to jump into the second half of 2019!  As I sit here typing this, there’s a big storm raging outside.  Hopefully, the rest of this year will be as exciting as this storm.

Here’s what I watched, read, and listened to last week:

Films I Watched:

  1. The Concorde: Airport ’79 (1979)
  2. Death of a Cheerleader (2019)
  3. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
  4. A Friend To Die For (1994)
  5. Like Crazy (2011)
  6. The Lady in Red (1979)
  7. Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009)
  8. Model Shop (1969)
  9. My Stepfather’s Secret (2019)
  10. Nightcrawler (2014)
  11. The Twisted Son (2019)
  12. Zombi 2 (1979)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. The Amazing Race 31
  2. The Bachelorette
  3. Big Little Lies
  4. Dance Moms
  5. Entertainment Tonight
  6. Euphoria
  7. Friends
  8. Highwire Live In Times Square with Nik Wallenda
  9. House Hunters International
  10. iZombie
  11. Jane the Virgin
  12. King of the Hill
  13. Off Script with Bruce Johnson

Books I Read:

  1. Blood Oath (2019) by Linda Fairstein
  2. Disaster Movies: The Ultimate Guide (2007) by Glenn Kay and Michael Rose

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Above & Beyond
  2. Afrojack
  3. Alvin Risk
  4. Armin Van Buuren
  5. Avicii
  6. Camila Cabello
  7. Cassius
  8. The Chemical Brothers
  9. Crud
  10. The Crystal Method
  11. Daft Punk
  12. David Guetta
  13. Dillon Francis
  14. DJ Snake
  15. Jakalope
  16. Saint Motel
  17. Shawn Mendes
  18. Sleigh Bells
  19. Steve Aoki
  20. Swedish House Mafia
  21. Tiesto
  22. UPSAHL
  23. Zedd

Links from Last Week:

  1. On her photography site, Erin shared: Weed In A Storm Gutter, Under the Bridge, The Favorite, Between the Trees, Subtly Southwest, The Train, and DART Tracks!
  2. I reviewed the latest episode of The Amazing Race!
  3. The pleasures of Pauline Kael
  4. Philippe Zdar, Founding Member of French House Pioneers Cassius, Dies at 50
  5. Cassius Pay Tribute to Philippe Zdar With ‘Dreems’ Album Release: Stream It Now

Links From The Site:

(I’m so fortunate to be able to work with these wonderful people!)

  1. Case reviewed the first and the second episode of Titans!
  2. Erin shared the covers of Two Complete Detective Books and the many adventures of Johnny Dekker!  She also shared: You’d Be Surprised, The Whispering Corpse, Planet Stories, Morals Squad, Main Line, Kill me Sweet, and Of A Strong Woman!
  3. Gary took a look at We’ll Sing In The Sunshine, Lady Street Fighter, and Welcome to Mooseport!
  4. Jeff reviewed An Innocent Man and shared music videos from Huey Lewis and the News, Bananarama, Christopher Cross, Danzig, Blotto, and Murray Head!
  5. Val reviewed The Kids of Degrassi of Street: Sophie Minds The Store!
  6. I shared a music video from Cassius and reviewed The Haunting of Sharon Tate, Model Shop, Death of a Cheerleader, and My Stepfather’s Secret!
  7. Patrick reviewed Dolls!
  8. Ryan reviewed: Crime Destroyer #1, Bullwhip #1, Atlas #1, Blind Justice #1, Crime Destroyer #2, Blind Justice #2, Bad Ben: The Way In, and Dybbuk Box : True Story Of Chris Chambers.  He also shared his weekly reading round-up!

Want to see what I did last week?  Click here!

Degrassi: The Kids Of Degrassi Street — Sophie Minds The Store


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In the last episode, we followed Lisa step by step through the process of nearly releasing a story that her brother Noel is a thief. This time we are essentially getting a reworked version of that same story about trust and responsibility, which is fine by me. It gives me a good excuse to skip over the many ways they try to tie these lessons together.

This is Sophie, played by Stacey Halberstadt. Her mom is played by Lydia Chaban.

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As per the usual for the parents of the kids Of Degrassi Street, Sophie is going to be left unsupervised in a situation where she definitely should be. Her mom is going out of town for a wedding. Her dad is in the apartment above the store in a body cast. We only hear him once in a while when he yells down at her. This means Sophie will be left alone to run the De Grassi Grocery. There is mention of an aunt that is cooking her meals, but we never see her. All that said, if this wasn’t the case, Sophie wouldn’t have the chance to open the episode with the catchphrase of the episode which she says to her mom: “Trust me!”

I think this might be Lewis Manne again playing the cab driver picking up Sophie’s mom. If it is him, then it looks as if he has shaved his beard. It’s hard to tell for sure.

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It looks like him from the back…

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when you compare it to the way he looked in the last episode.

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Throw in the way he appears while getting out of the cab, and it sure looks like him to me.

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I’m gonna go ahead and say it is him. Especially since two people from behind the scenes make cameos later on in the episode. At this rate, Manne is becoming the Alfred Hitchcock of The Kids Of Degrassi Street.

While I’m aware that we did get a glance at a school in Irene Moves In, for me this counts as the first real appearance of a school in the Degrassi franchise. As you might have guessed from the Christmas tree in the distance, they are about to be let out for the holidays.

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It’s a little difficult to make out that board, but a math contest was recently held. Whoever won got an “earphone radio”.

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The camera pans down this hallway to show us the kids exiting from a room to go to their lockers. While it does so, I swear the voice coming over the PA system to tell us about the math contest is none other than Sue A’Court. You might remember her as Nurse Trish from Cookie Goes To Hospital. It would make sense since this is one of the episodes she wrote.

Sophie is the winner of the math contest. She didn’t get a single answer wrong. “Homework Causes Brain Damage”??? That’s a new one on me. Having numerous things that keep interrupting you so that it winds up taking you an inordinate amount of time to write a simple post about an episode of Degrassi, now that causes brain damage.

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Chuck asks if he can see her radio, but with her ego at maximum size, she ignores Chuck at first by inviting Noel to try it on. He refuses. Then she tells Chuck that he might “wreck” it.

Apparently Noel is a fan of the Rolling Stones.

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There’s a little exchange between the three of them. What’s important is that we find out Chuck’s dad is in jail and that Chuck was suspended from his hockey team for fighting. The second of which he blames on the other person.

Sophie does as the title says; she tries to mind the store. She is a very “I don’t need any help person” that her recent win at the math contest only makes worse.

Chuck is out collecting bottles to try and raise money to get one of those radios that Sophie won in order to give it to his dad.

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What follows is a series of situations where Sophie could get robbed without her knowing it.

Some examples include this highly suspicious little girl.

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When Chuck turns in some of his bottles for cash.

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This guy who causes her to have to come out from behind the counter to fix a display he knocks over. By the way, that’s Bruce Mackey who was gay in real life. He passed away in 1997, they named a park on De Grassi St. after him, his house is where they shot the first episode of the show, and according to the The Queer Alliance Of Degrassi Next Class, he is the reason the franchise had a mandate to include LGBTQ characters and issues. This was due to a friendship with one of the show’s creators.

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That would be the person below, Linda Schuyler, who comes in after Sophie has left Chuck in charge of the store–“Trust me!”–while she goes out to deliver a package to a customer.

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Noel even shows up for an after-hours milk purchase.

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During most of this, Chuck hangs around the store and tries to help out Sophie. He keeps asking her about coming to skate with him, but she dismisses his offers. She says she doesn’t have any skates, and despite the fact that Chuck says she can wear his sister’s skates, she still says no.

Things weren’t great between Chuck and Sophie before, but they reach a boiling point after Sophie counts the money in the register at the end of the day in order to compare the total with the day’s receipts, and comes up $20 short.

Assuming that it must be Chuck’s fault, because she couldn’t have possibly added it up wrong, she crosses the line when she tries to use Chuck’s father being in jail as proof that it must have been him that caused her to come up $20 short. Chuck’s response is to push over Sophie after saying “that nobody accuses him and gets away with it.” Chuck has anger issues.

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Getting pushed into a bunch of Wonder Bread is pretty good, but it’s no Irene getting paint splattered on her while looking like she is posing for a crime scene photograph.

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Chuck has a conversation with Noel about what happened. Noel’s remarkably mature about it. He doesn’t defend what she did and doesn’t give Chuck a pass for what he did. Noel agrees that it was wrong for Sophie to assume Chuck stole money from the store and for Sophie to say that Chuck must have learned how to steal from his father. But he reminds Chuck that it wasn’t his father who pushed her over. That’s something he did, and since he could have just walked away, pushing her over is something he has to take responsibility for regardless of the fact that Sophie provoked him.

He also points out the obvious that Chuck knows he didn’t do it, and since it makes no sense that Sophie would’ve taken money from her own store, one of them must have made a mistake.

Chuck tries to apologize, but Sophie won’t have any of it. It’s not till Sophie takes the money to the bank and the clerk informs her she added things together wrong that she’s open to admitting that she was wrong.

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Sophie finds Chuck at an ice rink and gives Chuck her radio to give to his dad. Chuck happens to have brought his sister’s skates with him, so she agrees to skate with him.

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I really appreciate that much like previous episodes, despite learning a lesson during the episode, they don’t immediately lose the part of them that caused the issue in the first place. The instant Sophie gets on the ice, she says she doesn’t need Chuck’s hand, and proceeds to fall down.

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Speaking of not changing instantly, it takes till the moment in the credits below for Sophie to remind Chuck that he hasn’t actually apologized to her for pushing her over.

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He does, and despite the fact that she falls down again saying that’s it’s helpless, he tells her once more over the final set of credits to trust him.

A fairly unremarkable episode, but it did have Linda Schuyler and Bruce Mackey in it. It does have a happy ending, teaches a good lesson, and I’d say the writing was solid as just about everything links together with the themes of trust and responsibility. It’s just not particularly memorable aside from the cameos.

Stacey Halberstadt passed away in 2006. To the best of my knowledge, this is her only appearance in the series. We’ll see Chuck again, though.

Next time we finally get to the episode I’ve wanted to talk about since I started writing about Degrassi–Casey Draws The Line. This time there are permanent consequences to Casey and Lisa’s actions.

As a footnote, while looking into this episode, I found out that they used to sell books to go with the show, such as the one below for Lisa Makes The Headlines.

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  1. The Kids Of Degrassi Street
    1. Ida Makes A Movie
    2. Cookie Goes To Hospital
    3. Irene Moves In
    4. Noel Buys A Suit
    5. Lisa Makes The Headlines

Lifetime Film Review: My Stepfather’s Secret (dir by Michael Feifer)


Bailey (Paris Smith) comes home from college and discovers that things have changed since she left.

For instance, her mother, Tina (Vanessa Marcil), is now a vegetarian!  Also, Tina’s suddenly really into exercise and yoga and stuff.  In fact, Tina seems to be happier than she’s ever been and that’s a good thing since Tina previously had some issues with alcohol.  Of course, that’s understandable when you consider that her husband was mysteriously murdered a few years ago.

So, why is Tina so happy now?

Meet Hugo (Eddie McClintock)!  Hugo is some sort of weird New Age massage therapist person and it turns out that he and Tina are going to get married!  They’ve known each other for like two weeks and they’re totally in love!  Bailey is like, “Mom, don’t you think things are moving too fast!?” and the previously cautious Tina is all like, “I love him!”

However, Bailey is convinced that her new stepfather has some secrets and it turns out that she’s right!  But what exactly are those secrets?  Why has he been using Bailey’s computer without permission?  Why is he using her webcam to spy on her?  Why is he constantly getting strange calls and why does he often seem to be distracted by something that only he sees?  Even more importantly, why is Tina acting so weird?  Whenever Bailey tells her about Hugo’s strange behavior, Tina just shrugs it off.  Has Tina been drugged or brainwashed and what, if anything, does that have to do with Hugo’s secrets!?

I have to admit that, as I was watching this movie, I kind of related to Bailey.  After my parents got divorced, I went out of my way to chase off any new guy who thought he was going to be my stepfather.  It wasn’t that I wanted my parents to get back together because I knew they were better off separated.  Instead, it was more that I resented the idea of some stranger suddenly showing up and expecting me to care about what he had to say or anything else.  For a few years, “You’re not my father” was my mantra.  You’re going to be stepfather?  No way!  Of course, for the most part, I was just being an immature brat and, eventually, both my mom and my sisters told me to grow up and knock it off.  Unlike me, Bailey has good reason to be suspicious of her stepfather.

In fact, you could argue that she has a few too many reasons to be suspicious of Hugo.  This film doesn’t leave much doubt that Hugo is a bad guy.  From the minute that he first appears, he might as well be carrying a sign that reads, “I’m Evil, pass it on.”  Amazingly, no matter how obviously evil Hugo may be, Bailey seems to be the only person capable of noticing.  In fact, everyone else seems to be so oblivious to Hugo’s evil that I suspect that the film was meant to be at least a little bit satirical.  With the exception of Bailey, everyone in the film is so incredibly dense that it’s hard not to believe that we’re not really meant to take any of them that seriously.

Anyway, we do eventually learn Hugo’s secret and it’s all pretty silly.  Hugo is not only evil and creepy but he also apparently has a thing about coming up with ludicrously overcomplicated schemes.  Fortunately, the action concludes at a cabin in the woods because it’s a Lifetime film and all true Lifetime films conclude at a cabin in the woods, or at least they should.

Anyway, My Stepfather’s Secret is an almost prototypical Lifetime film, with its untrustworthy male interloper threatening to tear apart an otherwise perfect mother/daughter relationship.  Usually, in these films, it’s the mother who knows best but, in this case, the role are reversed.  Enjoy it while you’re watching it and don’t worry about it afterwards.

Same As It Ever Was – “Dybbuk Box : True Story Of Chris Chambers”


Trash Film Guru

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack. And you may find yourself in another part of the world. And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife.

Or, you may find yourself browsing through the recent horror offerings on Amazon Prime and giving Texas-based writer/director Joseph Mazzaferro’s Dybbuk Box : True Story Of Chris Chambers a go simply because any movie that’s so sloppy as to omit an obvious “The” from its title is bound to at least be an interesting mess — and then, and only then, will you ask yourself “Well — how did I get here”?

That’s because this movie, in truth, isn’t interesting, occasional fuck-ups aside, such as our protagonist, Chris Chambers (played by — shit, you already know. The film’s only other “character,” Sarah Bently, “stars”…

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“Bad Ben : The Way In” – Nigel Bach’s Very Own Never-Ending Story


Trash Film Guru

Okay, so in truth I wasn’t aware that Nigel Bach had cranked out a sixth film in this, the most unlikely “franchise” series in cinematic history, and I usually pride myself on being on top of these sorts of things, but hey — when I learned that Bad Ben : The Way In had shambled its way from Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey all the way to Amazon Prime back on May 1st, I can’t honestly say that I was surprised or anything.

And, really, why should Bach stop? When he sub-titled one of his films “The Final Chapter,” it looked like maybe he was going to retire this admittedly played-out concept, but let’s be honest : these things cost no money to produce, he doesn’t necessarily “need” anything other than his iPhone to make them (although he’s expanded the cast a couple of time in the past, it’s not…

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Music Video of the Day: One Night In Bangkok by Murray Head (1985, directed by David G. Hilier)


One Night in Bangkok was written, by Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus, and Tim Rice for a musical called Chess.  Chess, which was meant to be a satire of the Cold War, tells the story of two chess champions, one an American and one a Russian.  One Night in Bangkok opens the second act as the American, who has now retired from playing professionally, is hired to provide commentary for a chess championship that is being held in Bangkok.  As is evident from the lyrics, he is not impressed by the city.  In fact, the American was so unimpressed by the city that the song was banned in Thailand and officially condemned by the Thai government.

The song was performed by actor Murray Head, who played the American in the Broadway production.  The single proved to be an unexpected hit, reaching number three in Canada and the U.S. and number twelve in the UK.  It’s gone on to have a long life outside of Broadway, being successfully covered by several different groups.

As of this writing, it’s still officially banned in Thailand.

Enjoy!