Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 2/22/21 — 2/28/21

I was going to write about how I finally feel as if I’ve gotten my rhythm back after having my focus shaken by last week’s  winter storm but I just finished watching this year’s Golden Globes ceremony and it was literally one of the most depressing things that I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

After all that, I’m just ready for the week to be over.

Films I Watched:

  1. Airport (1970)
  2. Airport 1975 (1974)
  3. Airport 77 (1977)
  4. The Concorde …. Airport 79 (1979)
  5. The Dead Pit (1989)
  6. The Little Things (2021)
  7. Staying Alive (1983)
  8. Summer of Fear (1978)
  9. The Towering Inferno (1974)
  10. The Way Back Home (2006)
  11. Wildcats (1986)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. 9-1-1
  2. 9-1-1: Lone Star
  3. AMC Backstory
  4. The Bachelor
  5. Bar Rescue
  6. Community
  7. Degrassi
  8. The District
  9. Gangsters: America’s Most Evil
  10. Golden Globes
  11. Hell’s Kitchen
  12. Hill Street Blues
  13. Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court
  14. The Love Boat
  15. Mobsters
  16. The Office
  17. Parking Wars
  18. Perry Mason
  19. Tough as Nails
  20. Twilight Zone
  21. Yes, Minister

Books I Read:

  1. Leave The World Behind (2020) by Rumaan Alam

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Air Supply
  2. Broken Bells
  3. Chromatics
  4. Daft Punk
  5. Dropkick Murphys
  6. Dua Lipa
  7. Elle King
  8. Glume
  9. Marilyn Manson
  10. Modern English
  11. Muse
  12. Phantogram
  13. The Prodigy
  14. Saint Motel
  15. Simple Minds
  16. Vitalic

Live Tweet:

  1. Through the Shattered Lens Live Tweets The Golden Globes

Awards Season:

  1. Southern Eastern Film Critics Association Winners
  2. Vancouver Film Critics Winners
  3. Online Association of Female Film Critics
  4. Art Directors Guild Nominees
  5. The Golden Globe Winners

News From Last Week:

  1. Daft Punk Break Up
  2. 366 Feature Films Are Eligible for the Oscars, the Most Since 1970
  3. Norway Museum Says Edvard Munch Wrote ‘Madman’ On ‘The Scream’
  4. NBC Pulling ‘Nurses’ Episode From Digital Platforms After Criticism Over Orthodox Jewish Storyline
  5. Lady Gaga’s two French bulldogs have been returned safely, LAPD says
  6. CNN reporter under fire for ‘insensitive’ remarks on Tiger Woods crash
  7. Cuomo Is Accused of Sexual Harassment by a 2nd Former Aide
  8. Cynthia Nixon, others scoff after Cuomo team names judge to ‘review’ gov’s sex scandal
  9. As recall threat grows, California Gov. Gavin Newsom shifts his governing style, pushing reopenings
  10. Cannes, France, Opens Its Stunning Underwater Museum

Links From Last Week:

  1. My story of working with Governor Cuomo
  2. Media star Andrew Cuomo has gone missing
  3. The Golden Globes’ weirdest nominations: Sia’s ‘Music’ and more
  4. Justice League: The Shocking, Exhilarating, Heartbreaking True Story of #TheSnyderCut
  5. NBC Needs To Apologize For Their Libelous Portrayal of Hasidic Jews In “Nurses”
  6. Inside Joss Whedon’s ‘Cutting’ and ‘Toxic’ World of ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’
  7. We’re gonna celebrate: How Daft Punk’s Discovery gave computer music soul
  8. ‘They left an indelible mark on my psyche’: how Daft Punk pushed pop forward
  9. Daft Punk and the virtues of mystery
  10. Bye, Robot: a farewell to Daft Punk
  11. The Robots Who Ruled the World

Links From The Site:

  1. I reviewed The Little Things and shared a scene that I love from Staying Alive!
  2. Erin shared: The Dark Throne, The Spice of Life, Hardrock, Diary of Death, Off Limits, Death Haunts The Dark Lane, and Gold!
  3. Jeff shared music videos from Heart, Pearl Jam, Journey, Kiss, Matchbox Twenty, Chicago, and Hot Chocolate!
  4. Ryan reviewed Moments with Mo’ Peaches, Bubblegum Maelstrom, and Dust!

More From Us:

  1. Ryan has a patreon!  Consider subscribing!
  2. At Days Without Incident, Leonard wrote about Daft Punk!
  3. At Pop Politics, Jeff proclaimed: I’m Still Alive!
  4. On her photography site, Erin shared: The Backyard Last Week, Ice, Daggers Above Your Head, Cold Air, Side of the House, Snow, and Swing!
  5. On my music site, I shared songs from: Glume, Daft Punk, Modern English, Vitalic, Dropkick Murphys, Phantogram, and Muse!

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

The Shattered Lens Live Tweets The Golden Globes

It turns out that Patrick had the right idea.  Jeff, Leonard, Case, and I watched the Golden Globes tonight and it was seriously the most depressing awards show that I can remember.  The tables were largely empty and Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s attempts at humor felt forced and awkward.  The constant bragging about the amount of money that the show was raising for charity felt like an attempt to deflect from all of the negative publicity that the HFPA has received over the past few weeks.  Nothing about the show felt right.

The winners accepted from home.  I enjoyed seeing Eugene Levy’s house.  It’s a very nice house.  But it still felt, to use that familiar term again, forced and awkward.  Even the surprise winners — and there were more than a few — could do little to alleviate the gloomy feel of the show.  At a time when we could use a little glamour, the Golden Globes were subdued and painful.  One can only imaging how painful the Oscars are going to be.

Here’s a few tweets from tonight:

Here Are The Golden Globe Winners!

Supporting Actor, Motion Picture — Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Supporting Actor, Television — John Boyega, Small Axe

Actress, TV Music or Comedy — Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

Motion Picture, Animated — Soul

Actor, TV Limited Series or Movie — Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True

Screenplay, Motion Picture — Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Actress, TV Series, Drama — Emma Corrin, The Crown

Original Song, Motion Picture — lo Si, The Life Ahead

Original Score, Motion Picture — Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste, Soul

Actor, TV Series, Musical or Comedy — Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

TV Series, Musical or Comedy — Schitt’s Creek

Actress. Musical or Comedy Film — Rosamund Pike, I Care A Lot

Actor, TV Series, Drama — Josh O’Connor, The Crown

Foreign Language Film — Minari

TV Series, Drama — The Crown

Supporting Actress, Film — Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian

Supporting Actress, TV Drama — Gillian Anderson, The Crown

Actress, TV Limited Series or Made-For-Television Film — Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit

Limited Series or TV Movie — The Queen’s Gambit

Actor, Motion Picture Drama — Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Director, Motion Picture — Chloe Zhao, Nomadland

Motion Picture Comedy — Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Actor, Motion Picture Comedy — Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Actress, Motion Picture Drama — Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holliday

Motion Picture Drama — Nomadland

Artwork of the Day: Gold (by Charles Wood)

by Charles Wood

Unless this is a reprint, this is from 1931.  Gold was written by Clarence Budington Kelland, who was a very popular writer of the time.  His most popular novel was Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, which has been filmed at least twice.  Gold was a novel about international finance.  It told the story of Anneke Van Horn, who knew how to make money but not how to land a man and have the family that she desired.  Remember, it was written in 1931.

The artwork was done by Charles Wood, who also did a lot of covers for western pulp magazines.  The red dress is exquisite and worth however much gold it cost.

Music Video Of The Day: Every 1’s A Winner by Hot Chocolate (1977, directed by ????)

I’ve been told that the Golden Globes are tonight so this seemed like a good song to go with.  Everyone’s a winner, though not really.

This was Hot Chocolate’s 2nd biggest hit, right after You Sexy Thing.  The music video, or “promotional video” as they were called back in the 70s, is a performance clip but what a performance!  How can you not be jealous of that super keyboard?

Good luck to all of the Golden Globe nominees and enjoy!

Film Review: The Little Things (dir by John Lee Hancock)

Rami Malek and Jared Leto In The Little Things

Since it’s due to leave HBOMax at the end of the day and since HBOMax isn’t exactly cheap, I decided that I should go ahead and watch The Little Things, the serial killer thriller that has been getting some unexpected Oscar buzz due to the performance of Jared Leto.

Taking place in the 90s, The Little Things follows two cops as they investigate a series of murders.  Deacon (Denzel Washington) is the former hotshot homicide detective who, back in the day, allowed his obsession with an unsolved murder to destroy his life. He lost not only his wife but also nearly his life.  Now, he’s a small town deputy who is still haunted by the cases that he didn’t solve.  Jim (Rami Malek) is the detective who has picked up where Deacon left off.  Deacon is haunted and unable to move on.  Jim is young and cocky and obviously doomed to repeat all of Deacon’s mistakes.  At first, Jim doesn’t want to work with Deacon and Deacon seems to be a little bit skeptical of Jim’s abilities.  Eventually, though, they bond over their mutual righteousness.  Jim is the type of who reminds the crime scene technicians that they’re working for the victim.  Deacon is the type who muses about whether or not God has abandoned humanity.  On the one hand, we should be thankful that they’re good at their job.  On the other hand, you wouldn’t necessarily want to invite either of them to a party.

Deacon and Jim’s investigation leads them to a suspect named Sparma (Jared Leto) and you know that he’s a bad dude as soon as you learn that his name is “Sparma.”  It sounds like too much of a mix of sperm and pharma for this guy to be anything other than dangerous.  Sparma is an appliance repairman with unwashed hair, a permanent smirk on his face, and a disconcerting history of confessing to crimes that he didn’t actually commit.  Jim and Deacon both think that Sparma is guilty but can they prove it?  How far will they go to take a possible killer off the streets?

Jared Leto is certainly creepy as Sparma.  In fact, I think you could probably argue that he’s a little bit too obviously creepy and unhinged in the role. Most real life serial killers — especially the ones who manage to kill for years without being detected — are able to blend in with society. Consider the cases of killers like Gary Ridgway, the Green River killer who avoided capture for nearly three decades, or Dennis Rader, the infamous BTK killer.  While it’s true that everyone in his hometown apparently thought Rader was a dick even before he was revealed to be a serial killer, he also still managed to hold down a respectable job while raising a family and fooling people into thinking that he was just a normal jerk as opposed to a homicidal one.  That ability to blend in and disguise their true selves is one of the things that makes real-life serial killers so frightening.  Sparma, however, might as well have the words “murderer” tattooed on his forehead.  I can understand why Jared Leto is getting Oscar buzz because it’s a showy role and it allows him to act up a storm.  But it’s still hard not to feel that the film, which tries to introduce the idea that Deacon and Jim’s obsession with this case has led to them developing a tunnel vision that has left them incapable of suspecting anyone other than Sparma, might have been a bit more effective if it had taken a slightly more ambiguous approach to the character.

That said, The Little Things is a well-made movie.  Though it’s bit overlong and occasionally meanders a bit too much for its own good, the film looks great and director John Lee Hancock does a good job of creating an effectively creepy atmosphere, providing the viewer with some wonderfully ominous images as Deacon and Jim search for the truth in the middle of the night.  For instance, the scene where Deacon imagines himself talking to the ghosts of the killer’s victims really shouldn’t work but it does because Washington gives such a committed performance and Hancock, as a director and writer, is smart enough to just let the scene develop naturally.  Even as he ages, Denzel Washington remains a compelling actor and he helps to carry The Little Things over more than few speed bumps on the way to the end credits. At its best, the film works as an examination of obsession and there is a haunting intensity to the film’s final moments that suggests the movie that The Little Things could have been if the film’s pace had been just a little bit tighter.

In the end, The Little Things is uneven but it has enough effective moments to be watchable.

Artwork of the Day: Death Haunts The Dark Lane (by Robert Stanley)

by Robert Stanley

This book was originally published in 1948 but I’m not sure what year this Dell edition was published.  Though the cover may suggest that something unsavory is happening here, that’s just Sheriff Roden and his dog keeping Kentucky safe.  Sheriff Roden appeared in several books written by A.B. Cunningham.

The cover was done by Robert Stanley, whose work has been featured many times on the site.

Music Video of the Day: Saturday In The Park by Chicago (1973, directed by ????)

Though the band may have been named after Chicago, the park referred to in this song is New York’s Central Park.  Robert Lamm enjoyed spending the 4th of July in the park and he went on to write this song about it.  It became one of Chicago’s biggest hits and it also became a song that was regularly featured in various Time Life musical compilations.  Back in the day, anytime a Time Life infomercial came on TV, you knew that you were going to get this song’s chorus stuck in your head.

In one form or another, Chicago the band has been around for over 50 years.  They were originally called The Big Thing before changing their name to Chicago Transit Authority.  There’s an urban legend that the real CTA sued the band for copyright infringement but the official story is that the band changed their name because Chicago was a simpler name and easier to remember.  By changing their name, the band allowed people to associate Chicago with something other than Mayor Daley, which undoubtedly helped to improve the city’s reputation.


Scenes That I Love: The Opening of Staying Alive

We’re still in the process of recovering from last week’s winter storm down here and I have to admit that, for me personally, it’s been a bit of a struggle to actually maintain my focus.  Last week’s combination of power outages and freezing weather threw me off of my usual rhythm and I’m still getting it back.

Fortunately, I have a little help from my friends.  Earlier tonight, a group of us watched the 1983 film, Staying Alive.  Staying Alive is the somewhat notorious sequel to Saturday Night Fever.  If Saturday Night Fever was actually a dark and gritty coming-of-age story disguised as a crowd-pleasing musical, Staying Alive is …. well, it’s something much different.  It’s a film about dancing and Broadway, directed and at least partially written by Sylvester Stallone.  Why exactly would anyone think that Sylvester Stallone was the right director to make a movie about dancing and Broadway?  Your guess is as good as mine but, in the end, the important thing is that Stallone wrote a key supporting role for his brother, Frank Stallone.  Frank not only performs several songs but he proves that he can glare with the best of them.

As for the film itself, it opens with Tony Manero (John Travolta) having left behind Brooklyn and the world of disco.  Now, he lives in Manhattan, he teaches a dance class, he humiliates himself looking for an agent, and he’s struggling to make it on Broadway.  (Basically, he’s turned into Joey from Friends.)  When Tony’s lucky enough to get cast in a lavish musical called Satan’s Alley, Tony has a chance to become a star but only if he can …. well, I was going to say control his ego but actually, his ego isn’t that much of a problem in Staying Alive.  Actually, there’s really nothing standing in Tony’s way, other than the fact that — in Staying Alive as opposed to Saturday Night Fever — he’s portrayed as kind of being an irredeemable idiot.  If Saturday Night Fever was all about revealing that Tony was actually smarter and more sensitive than he seemed, Staying Alive seems to be all about saying, “Whoops!  Sorry!  He’s just as obnoxious as you thought he was.”

Staying Alive is a notoriously ill-conceived film, though it’s also one of those films that’s just bad enough to be entertaining when viewed with a group of snarky friends.  That said, the opening credits montage — which features Tony dancing while Kurtwood Smith glares at him — is actually pretty good.  Travolta smolders with the best of them and the sequence does a good job of capturing Tony’s mix of desperation and determination.  It’s unfortunate that Kurtwood Smith pretty much disappeared from the film following the opening credits.  Judging from what little we see of him, Smith would have been pretty entertaining as a permanently annoyed choreographer.  Finally, how can you not love the neon credits?  This a scene that screams 80s in the best possible way.

So, while I continue to work on getting back to my usual prolific ways, why not enjoy this scene that I love from Staying Alive?

Artwork of the Day: Off Limits (by George Gross)

by George Gross

This is from 1953.  As you can tell from reading the cover’s blurb, this is a novel about the “The Guys, The Dames, The Joints, The Creeps Who Surround Our Army Camps And Prey On Our Soldiers.”  On the cover, you can see one of “the dames” distracting two soldiers on a street corner.  There’s no way that those men are going to be able to win their shooting game with a woman standing ten feet away from them.

(I showed this cover to Lisa and she said, “He’s probably just surprised to see his mom in the city.”)

This cover was done by George Gross.  Gross’s work has been featured many times on this site and will probably be featured many more times in the future.