Lisa’s Week In Review: 9/16/19 — 9/22/19

This was another week of getting ready for October and this year’s annual horrorthon.  Just 8 more days to go!

Films I Watched:

  1. American Satan (2017)
  2. Booksmart (2019)
  3. The Cheerleader Escort (2019)
  4. Dating a Sociopath (2019)
  5. The Devil’s Hand (1961)
  6. Escaping the NXIVM Cult (2019)
  7. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
  8. The Ghost (1963)
  9. Moonraker (1979)
  10. Octopussy (1983)
  11. Replicas (2019)
  12. Return to Campus (1975)
  13. Single White Female (1992)
  14. Single White Female 2: The Psycho (2005)
  15. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
  16. The Student of Prague (1913)
  17. They Shall Not Grow Old (2019)
  18. Undercover Cheerleader (2019)
  19. A View To A Kill (1985)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. 90 Days in Narcoland
  2. American Horror Story: 1984
  3. Bachelor in Paradise
  4. Bar Rescue
  5. Big Brother 21
  6. The Bold and the Beautiful
  7. Couples Court With The Cutlers
  8. Dancing With The Stars
  9. Days of Our Lives
  10. Degrassi: The Next Generation
  11. Digital Addiction
  12. Fear The Walking Dead
  13. General Hospital
  14. Judge Jerry
  15. Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court
  16. The Primetime Emmy Awards
  17. Protection Court
  18. Return to Downton Abbey: A Grand Event
  19. Saved By The Bell
  20. So You Think You Can Dance
  21. The Young and the Restless

Books I Read:

  1. Air Force One Is Haunted (1985) by Robert J. Serling
  2. Boom (2019) by Michael Shanyerson
  3. Justice on Trial (2019) by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Above & Beyond
  2. Afrojack
  3. Alex Velea
  4. Alvin Risk
  5. Avicii
  6. Big Data
  7. Britney Spears
  8. Cage the Elephant
  9. Charli XCX
  10. Chastity
  11. The Chemical Brothers
  12. Coldplay
  13. DJ Judaa
  14. FARR
  15. Icona Pop
  16. Jakalope
  17. J-E-T-S
  18. Lara Snow
  19. Laye
  20. Panic! At the Disco
  21. Saint Motel
  22. The Ting Tings
  23. twenty-one pilots
  24. Zedd

Links From Last Week:

  1. Please consider subscribing to Ryan’s Patreon.
  2. I reviewed Big Brother for the Big Brother Blog!
  3. On my music site, I shared songs from Alex Velea, The Ting Tings, Lara Snow, Cage the Elephant, Saint Motel, Avicii, and Above & Beyond!
  4. On Pop Politics, Jeff wrote about Boris Johnson, Corn Pop, Andrew Yang, The Princess Bride, Bill de Blasio, and T.J. Hooker!
  5. On her photography site, Erin shared Passage, Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3, Cars 4, Cars 5, and Thunderduck Hall!
  7. How Did Lauren Duca’s Revolution Backfire?
  8. Britney Spears hasn’t fully controlled her life for years. Fans insist it’s time to #FreeBritney
  9. Want comedy to change minds? The risk of offensiveness has to be there.
  10. Comedy’s Last Stand
  11. Fixing a tattered reputation like Harvey Weinstein’s is dirty work, but pays so well
  12. Charlie Rose Faces New Harassment Allegations From Makeup Artist
  13. Scooby-Doo is 50: Yes it really was all about drugs

Links From The Site:

  1. Erin shared Lover Boy, Where The Town Begins, The Swap Set, Perfect 36, The Golden City, The Husband, and Dig My Grave Deep!
  2. Gary cleaned out his DVR and reviewed Greased Lightning!
  3. Jeff shared music videos from The Cars and Journey!
  4. I reviewed Undercover Cheerleader, Dating a Sociopath, Replicas, Return To Campus, The Cheerleader Escort, and Escaping the NXIVM Cult!  I also shared music videos from Chastity, Charli XCX, J-E-T-S, Laye, and FARR!  I also shared a list of Emmy winners because I liked to keep people informed.
  5. Ryan reviewed Kids With Guns, Bow vs Bow, and 0.03!

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

Here Are the 2019 Emmy Winners!

I was happy to see Chernobyl win.  Otherwise, the Emmys never interest me as much as the Oscars.

Here’s a list of tonight’s winners:

Best Supporting Actor (Comedy) — Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Best Supporting Actress (Comedy) — Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Best Writing (Comedy Series) — Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Best Directing (Comedy Series) — Harry Bradbeer, Fleabag

Best Actor (Comedy) — Bill Hader, Barry

Best Actress (Comedy) — Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag (Should have been Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Veep)

Outstanding Reality Competition Program — RuPaul’s Drag Race

Best Supporting Actress (Movie or Limited Series) — Patricia Arquette, The Act

Best Director (Movie or Limited Series) — Johan Renck, Chernobyl

Best Supporting Actor (Movie or Limited Series) — Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal

Writing for a Limited Series or Movie — Craig Mazin, Chernobyl

Best Actor (Movie or Limited Series) — Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us

Best Movie — Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

Best Actress (Movie or Miniseries) — Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

Best Limited Series — Chernobyl

Outstanding Writing For A Variety Series — Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (really?)

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series: Saturday Night Live (should have been Documentary Now)

Outstanding Variety Talk Series: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (at least it wasn’t Samantha Bee)

Best Supporting Actor (Drama) — Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)

Best Writing (Drama) — Jesse Armstrong, Succession

Best Supporting Actress (Drama) — Julia Garner, Ozark

Best Actor (Drama) — Billy Rose, Pose

Best Directing (Drama) — Jason Bateman, Ozark

Best Actress (Drama) — Jodie Comer, Killing Eve

Best Comedy Series — Fleabag (should have been Veep or Barry)

Best Drama Series — Game of Thrones


Lifetime Film Review: Escaping the NXIVM Cult (dir by Lisa Robinson)

I have to admit that cults have always fascinated me, largely because I can never really comprehend what would lead to someone joining one.

Seriously, how is it that otherwise intelligent people end up in a position where they not only become brainwashed but they also voluntarily give up their own individual personality, all so that they can belong to something that doesn’t make much sense.  Myself, I’ve always been fortunate in that not only am I very confident in my talents and my beliefs but I’ve also never felt the need to have a mentor or any other type of life guide.  Fortunately, I value my independence above all else.  I’m also lucky enough to have ADD so severe that there’s no way I could actually spend more than 5 minutes listening to a lecture designed to brainwash me.  I did go to one self-help seminar in college that seemed to be kind of a cultish but I was so bored that I left about halfway through.  (Add to that, I was also annoyed by how much everyone else seemed to be enjoying it.)  I’m immune to brainwashing, or at least I would like to think that I am.

Unfortunately, that’s not true for everyone.  We tend to think of a cult as being a group of weird people living in a compound but the truth of the matter is that there are cults all around us.  Basically, any organization that demands that its members sacrifice their own individual thoughts in order to “serve a greater cause” or please a certain being is a cult.  Go on Twitter right now and you’ll undoubtedly be able to find several different cults fighting with each other.  Cults appeal to people who, otherwise, feel empty.  They provide a home and a group of ready-made friends but, of course, they also demand complete obedience and punish any hint of individuality.  There’s no room for dissent.  You see that a lot today and it’s a shame.  People no longer think for themselves and instead, they believe whatever they’re told to believe.  People have lost their damn minds over the past few years, both figuratively and literally.  Sadly, it seems that once someone loses the ability to think for themselves, it’s gone forever.

I found myself thinking about this last night and this morning as I watched the latest “ripped from the headlines” Lifetime film, Escape From The NXIVM Cult: A Mother’s Fight To Save Her Daughter.  NXIVM, which was founded and controlled by Keith Raniere (played, in a wonderfully creepy performance, by Peter Facinelli), presented itself as being a “personal development company” but, as everyone now knows, all of the self-help seminars and corporate doublespeak was actually a cover for a pyramid scheme that also served as a recruiting tool to supply Raniere with sex slaves.  Among those who worked with Raniere was former Smallville actress, Allison Mack (played by Sara Fletcher in the film).

The film focuses on the true story of actress and minor royal Catherine Oxenberg (Andrea Roth), who spent a year helplessly watching as the NXIVM cult brainwashed her daughter, India (Jasper Polish).  The film shows how the cult (and, more specifically, Allison Mack) preyed on and manipulated India’s own insecurities and used them to take her away from her family and her friends.  In perhaps the film’s most disturbing scene, India returns home on her birthday and spends the majority of her own birthday party trying to recruit people to join NXIVM.  It’s disturbing because we all know someone like India, someone who has become so obsessed with politics or religion or fandom that they view every occasion as just being another recruiting opportunity.

The film follows Catherine as she uncovers the truth about NXIVM, which is that it’s essentially a large-scale criminal racket that, because it’s targeted the children of the rich and famous, has also become immune to prosecution.  When Keith is informed that Catherine has been publicly denouncing NXIVM and threatening to expose them, Keith smugly just says that they’ll sue her until she’s silent, just “like the others.”  All of the sordid details are presented here — from the branding of Keith’s and Allison’s initials on their slaves to NXIVM’s casual and infuriating misogyny to the way that Keith used blackmail to manipulate both his followers and those who he considered to be a threat.  But what makes the film ultimately memorable is not just the portrait of how NXIVM operated but also the film’s celebration of Catherine Oxenberg’s refusal to give up when it came to rescuing her daughter.

All in all, it’s a well-done movie and certainly one that has an important message.  Be vigilant and beware any organization that claims that the key to happiness is sacrificing your own individual spirit.

Music Video of the Day: Lights by Journey (1978, directed by ????)

Though this classic Journey song eventually became a tribute to the band’s hometown of San Francisco, it didn’t start out that way.

As Steve Perry explained in an interview, “I had the song written in Los Angeles almost completely except for the bridge and it was written about Los Angeles. It was ‘when the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on LA.’ I didn’t like the way it sounded at the time. And so I just had it sitting back in the corner. Then life changed my plans once again, and I was now facing joining Journey. I love San Francisco, the bay and the whole thing. ‘The bay’ fit so nice, ‘When the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on the bay.’ It was one of those early morning going across the bridge things when the sun was coming up and the lights were going down. It was perfect.”

Lights was the third single released off of their Infinity album, which was the first album to feature Steve Perry as lead singer.  Though Lights would only reach #68 on the charts, it’s popularity increased over time, to the point that it became one of Journey’s signature songs.

Like almost every Journey video, the video for Lights is a simple performance clip, though some very 70s special effects are included as almost an afterthought.  This would be Journey’s style until they tried something different with the infamous video for Separate Ways.