Lisa’s Week in Review: 6/28/21 — 7/4/21


Happy 4th of July!

Well, this was a lethargic week and I am thoroughly embarrassed to admit that this is the first week this year in which I did not read a book.  The heat got to me.  It got to a lot of people apparently.  For once, it’s actually hotter up north than it is down here.  

I got a lot of accomplished when we were snowed in back in February.  Extreme cold apparently makes me much more productive than extreme heat.  So, I may not have gotten much done this week but at least I learned something!

Films I Watched:

  1. 28 Days (2000)
  2. Airheads (1994)
  3. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)
  4. Girl in the Gold Boots (1968)
  5. Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man (1976)
  6. Omega Doom (1996)
  7. Splinter (2008)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. The Bachelorette
  2. Couples Court with the Cutlers
  3. Dragnet
  4. Hell’s Kitchen
  5. The Love Boat

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Adi Ulmansky
  2. Big Data
  3. Britney Spears
  4. The Chemical Brothers
  5. Clara Luciana
  6. David Hasselhoff
  7. Kedr Livanskiy
  8. THE KLF
  9. Led Zeppelin
  10. Lindsey Stirling
  11. Marc Collin
  12. Muse
  13. The Prodigy
  14. Public Service Broadcasting
  15. Saint Motel
  16. Taylor Swift
  17. Vanessa Hudgens
  18. Zendaya

Trailers:

  1. Clifford, The Big Red Dog
  2. Don’t Breathe 2
  3. Jolt
  4. Hotel Transylvania 4
  5. Beckett
  6. The Many Saints of Newark

Links From Last Week:

  1. Louise Brooks at The Electric: The End of an Era?
  2. Good Riddance (Pondering Thoughts On Twitter)
  3. Well, This Is Terrible (Charley Project Blog on Bill Cosby)

News From Last Week:

  1. Britney Spears’s Conservatorship Nightmare
  2. Judge Denies Britney Spears’ Request to Remove Father From Conservatorship Again
  3. Jackie Chan, Andy Lau Celebrate China’s Communist Party Anniversary as Hong Kongers Are Arrested
  4. Bill Cosby is a free man after Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns sex assault conviction
  5. Phylicia Rashad Apologizes for Celebrating Bill Cosby’s Overturned Conviction in Letter to Howard University Students and Families
  6. Cosby’s comeback: Disgraced comedian’s representative claims he is ‘in contact’ with ‘documentary makers’ to ‘tell his story’
  7. After Bill Cosby’s release from prison, Mickey Rourke shares frightening allegation on Instagram
  8. Bill Cosby Launches Tirade Against Howard University Over Phylicia Rashad Reprimand
  9. Box Office: ‘F9’ Expected to Hit $126 Million Over Holiday Weekend

Links From The Site:

  1. I shared music videos from David Hasselhoff, Marc Collin, The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Britney Spears, Lindsey Stirling, and David Hasselhoff again!  I reviewed Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man, Omega Doom, and The Conjuring 3!  I shared my Oscar predictions for June!  I also shared my week in TV and wished everyone a happy 4th of July!
  2. Erin visited the country and then the city with the help of the pulps!  She shared the adventures of Killmaster and she helped to celebrate the 4th with some vintage postcards!  She also shared: Wolf Trap Blonde, Decoy For Murder, Ranch Romances, Ribbon, Future Science Fiction, Complete Love Story, and Neighborhood Flag!
  3. Jeff shared a music video from Thomas Dolby!
  4. Ryan reviewed Mondo Groovy, Yankee Doodle Strangler, and American Fascism Now!

More From Us:

  1. Ryan has a patreon!  You should consider subscribing!
  2. Ryan reviewed Jim Lives at Solrad!
  3. On her photography site, Erin shared: Birds 3, Alley, Stay Out, July 1st, July 2nd, July 3rd, and The 4th of July!
  4. On my music site, I shared songs from The Prodigy, Zendaya, Vanessa Hudgens, Led Zeppelin, Ariana Grande, KLF, and David Hasselhoff!

Want to check out last week? Click here!

Film Review: The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (dir by Michael Chaves)


The year is 1981 and Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, of course!) have just screwed up another exorcism.  Only Ed hears as Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor) begs the demon that has possessed 8 year-old David Glatzel (Julian Hilliard) to enter him instead.  Unfortunately, Ed also has a heart attack and passes out before he can tell Lorraine what has happened.

The next month, a hollow-eyed Arne is walking down a road.  He’s just murdered his sleazy landlord, stabbing the man 22 times.  It seems like an open-and-shut case, except for the fact that Arne claims that he was possessed by a demon and that it was the demon who actually committed the crime.  At first Arne’s lawyer is planning to go for an insanity plea but then Ed and Lorraine invite her to come have dinner with them and to see their favorite doll, Annabelle.  The film immediately cuts to Arne’s visibly shaken lawyer announcing to the court that her client pleads “not guilty by reason of demonic possession.”

It’s a funny scene and I was a little bit surprised to see it because, in the past, The Conjuring films have always been distinguished by how seriously they took themselves.  The first two films both unfolded in atmospheres of growing dread, following families that not only had to deal with societal evolution but also with angry spirits.  The first two Conjuring films worked not only as horror films but also as period pieces, as stories about changing times.  Though Ed and Lorraine were always the main investigators, the first two films devoted as much time to exploring the dynamics of the haunted families as it did to portraying the Warrens.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (or, as we’ll call it in the interest of space, The Conjuring 3) takes a different approach, which I imagine has much to do with Michael Chaves directing the film instead of James Wan.  This time, Arne and the possessed family all remain ciphers.  We never learn much about who they are or who they were before they met the Warrens.  We don’t know what Arne was like before he became possessed and, as such, it’s hard to get emotionally invested in him once he does end up with a demon inside of him. 

Instead, the film emphasizes Ed and Lorraine Warren and their work to uncover the occultist who was behind the original possession.  Ed worries about Lorraine as she has psychic visions and wanders around yet another dirty basement.  Lorraine worries that Ed is going to give himself another heart attack as he hobbles through the woods in search of an evil spirit.  Lorraine proves her powers to a skeptical detective.  Ed complains that he doesn’t want people treating his wife’s abilities like a carnival sideshow but he still allows himself a slight smile when she selects the correct murder weapon.  Of course, at one point, Suspicious Minds is heard on the radio and we briefly flashback to Patrick Wilson singing the song in The Conjuring 2.  Once again, the film argues that Ed and Lorraine’s romance, their endless love, makes them uniquely capable of battling the Devil.

The film has its moments, largely because Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are adorable as Ed and Lorraine.  At the same time, though, there’s a definite “greatest hits” feel to the third Conjuring film.  There’s little about the film that feels truly spontaneous or surprising and most of the scenes feel like reworkings of scenes that worked in the previous two films.  As good as Farmiga and Wilson are in their roles (and as much as I appreciate the idea of a Catholic super hero film franchise), Ed and Lorraine work best when they’re relating to and helping other characters.  The Conjuring 3 often solely focuses on them and the end result often feels more like an Insidious sequel than a Conjuring film.

The Conjuring 3 is enjoyable enough.  It gets the job done, while never reaching the emotional heights of the first two films.  It has enough jump scares to be a fun movie to watch on a rainy night but it’s not one that really sticks in your mind after it ends.

The_Conjuring_-_The_Devil_Made_Me_Do_It

Happy Independence Day From The Shattered Lens


cats-hate-fireworks

Happy 4th of July from all of us at the Shattered Lens!

Usually, when it comes to the holidays, it falls upon the TSL’s ennui-stricken kitty, Doc, to wish you a happy one.  But I like to handle the Independence Day posts because they provide a chance for me to offer up some advice.  If you live in the city or the suburbs, give it a rest with the fireworks!  I mean, a few fireworks are okay but if you’re still shooting them off at three in the morning, you’re an asshole.  End of story.  And don’t tell me that it’s because you love America because anyone who truly loved this country wouldn’t be keeping its citizens awake at four in the a.m.

I would also say this.  Check on your pets and your neighbors.  As much as most of us love fireworks, they can be terrifying for animals and for people suffering from PTSD.  I guess what I’m saying is treat each other with a little bit of respect.  

I mean, don’t get me wrong.  I understand why — especially after the previous year that so many have suffered through — many people are going to be tempted to go a bit overboard celebrating this Independence Day.  I’m planning on celebrating it myself.  I’m a Texas girl and, though I’m currently happily taking part in city life, I’m also enough of a country girl that I can understand the appeal of blowing stuff up.  My family loves fireworks.  I don’t think there’s a single fireworks stand in Oklahoma that hasn’t been hit up by one of my cousins at one point or another.  I’ll be watching fireworks tonight, assuming it doesn’t rain.

I will admit that I love the whole ritual of Independence Day.  I love getting together with family.  I love the cook outs.  I love the fireworks, as I mentioned before.  Even the oppressive July heat really doesn’t bother me.  Last year, because of the pandemic, all of my usual Independence Day traditions were cancelled and I spent the weekend at a cabin up at Lake Texoma.  I got to watch fireworks explode over the water.  It was a beautiful sight and I’m glad that I go to do something but it still didn’t feel quite right.  Independence Day is perhaps the only day of the year when I don’t hate crowds.

Don’t get me wrong, of course.  Independence Day, for me, does not mean blindly worshipping the government.  (I certainly won’t be doing that as long as our current administration is in power.)  Nor does it mean ignoring some of the troubling realities of America’s past.  If you’re someone who refuses to celebrate Independence Day, that’s your right and I support you, regardless of how much fun I’m going to have today.  No one should be forced to celebrate anything and nothing makes me cringe more than when I see people doing the whole, “This person dared to criticize America on her birthday!” routine.  The whole point of Independence Day is that everyone has the right not to celebrate it, if they so choose.

So, do what you want this Independence Day!  But, seriously, go easy on the late night fireworks, okay?

Happy 4th!

Lisa’s Week in Television: 6/27/21 — 7/3/21


Twonky

This week, my plan was to get caught up on all of the MCU shows and Mare of Easttown and all the rest.  As you’ll soon discover from looking at the list below, that didn’t happen.  But that’s okay.  By the time next week, I will be caught up on everything, just in time for the Emmy nominations.

Here’s what little I watched this week!

allo-allo

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

Rene’s got a new radio but he’s got no way to power it!  He’s also got a huge amount of sausages, some of which are real and some of which hide a forged painting.  To be honest, I struggled a bit to follow the plot of this week’s episode but all of those sausages being tossed around made me laugh.

bachelorette 2021

The Bachelorette (ABC, Monday Evening)

I’m just going to admit it.  I don’t like Katie Thurston.  I wanted to like Katie.  I tried really hard to like Katie.  I agree with Katie on so many things.  But this week’s Rose Ceremony-dismissal of Thomas was just too …. bleh!  Basically, Katie felt that Thomas was there for “the wrong reasons.”  She was right, as far as any of that can really be determined.  (Is anyone ever on a show like this for the right reason?)  And she felt Thomas was creating drama and being a toxic influence and again, she’s right.  But the way she sent him home was so self-righteous and overdramatic and specifically designed to be a big viral moment that it’s hard not to feel that Katie really wasn’t that much better than Thomas.  Katie’s complaint was that Thomas was treating the show like a “Bachelor audition” but Katie came across like she was auditioning for Bachelor in Paradise.

To be honest, it’s been a while since I really liked any of the bachelors or bachelorettes on this show.  I guess that’s why I never mind when things don’t work out for them after the final rose.

couples-court

Couples Court With The Culters (Channel 33, weekday morning)

I watched the case of Stoltz vs. Winning on Friday morning.  From the start, it was pretty obvious (to me, if not the judges) that Mr. Stoltz was cheating but at least Ms. Winning got to wear a really pretty green dress on TV.  After watching the show, I bought a new green dress for myself!  Anyway, Mr. Stoltz and Ms. Winning were actually a really cute couple so I hope things worked out for them.

Dragnet

Dragnet (MeTV, Weekday Mornings)

Dragnet was one of the first cop shows.  Premiering in the 50s and featuring Jack Webb as no-nonsense Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet’s episodes were based on actual cases that were investigated by the LAPD.  The 1950s Dragnet, with its semi-documentary style, is considered to be a forerunner of shows like Law & Order.

Of course, I’ve never actually seen the 50s Dragnet.  That’s because that version of Dragnet is rarely repeated, even on the retro stations.  Instead, the version of Dragnet that currently shows up on MeTV is the second version of the show, which ran from 1967 to 1970 and which featured Jack Webb stiffly lecturing hippies on why the law had to be obeyed regardless of whether or not they agreed with it.  While this version of the show wasn’t always as campy as it has since been made out to be, the show’s best-known episodes do tend to feature Friday sighing in disappointment while someone with long hair tells him that “smoking a little grass is no big deal, baby.”

I set the DVR to record Monday morning’s episode, largely to see if I might be interested in watching and reviewing Dragnet for this site.  (I’ve seen a few episodes over the years but I’ve never sat down and watched the whole series from beginning to end.)  The episode I recorded was from 1970 and it was one of the last episodes of the second version of the show.  Friday was taking a night class, one in which the idea was for the students to just talk about their differing views of the world.  When Friday noticed that one of his fellow students had a baggie of weed in his notebook, Friday arrested him.  The scandalized class then voted to kick Friday out.  Friday gave a speech about why the law had to be obeyed and he refused to apologize for arresting his classmate.  In fact, he declared, he would do it again if he had to!  Friday won over some members of the class but not enough to overturn the vote.  However, another classmate revealed that he was an attorney and that he was prepared to sue the professor on Friday’s behalf.  “Cops have constitutional rights, too!” the lawyer said.  Friday nodded in agreement as the show ended.  It was a bit of a silly episode, as any episode featuring Friday interacting with the counter culture tended to be.  (Until he made his arrest, no one suspected Friday of being a cop despite the fact that everything about him literally screamed, “Cop!”)  I especially liked the fact that the liberal professor had a Van Dyke beard and was made up to resemble a Satanic high priest.  At the same time, this episode can today be viewed as an early example of cancel culture and, in the end, it did make a good point.  Everyone has a right to an education.  That said, it really didn’t look like the student had that much weed on him and I personally probably would have been uncomfortable being in a class with Sgt. Friday.

On Wednesday, I DVR’d the first ever episode of the 60s Dragnet.  From 1967, “The LSD Story” was just what the title implied.  Friday and his partner, Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan), investigated a bunch of swinging hippie drug parties and they met a teenage dealer called Blue Boy.  Blue Boy’s wealthy parents refused to get upset over his druggie ways and, somewhat inevitably, Blue Boy ended up dead of an overdose.  On the one hand, it was definitely heavy-handed and over-the-top and the show’s insistence that marijuana would automatically lead to LSD was undeniably cringey.  But, at the same time, there was a sincerity at the heart of the episode.  My first thought was to call it the epitome of a Boomer show but Dragnet was really a Silent Generation show.  The boomers, after all, were the ones dancing in front of the lava lamp.

The first of Thursday’s episodes featured Friday and Gannon investigating a burglary of several pounds of explosives.  It turned out that it was stolen by a blonde man who wore a brown shirt and had a big Nazi flag hanging in his apartment.  The man argued that he wasn’t a Neo Nazi terrorist but seriously — this flag was right there!  The second episode featured Friday and Gannon investigating a kidnapping and who would guess that an episode about a kidnapping would be so talky?  Compared to the cop shows of today, Dragnet was very much obsessed with showing that everything iwas being doing exactly by the book and the kidnapping episode was more interested in examining how a fake ransom payment is set up than on the payment itself.  It was a bit dry but also a change of pace from what I’m used to.

The first of Friday’s episodes featured Joe Friday and Gannon interrogating a cop who was suspected of holding up a liquor store.  The cop turned out to be innocent but what was interesting about the episode was that the emphasis was put on Friday and Gannon being just as tough and suspiciously-minded with a colleague as they were with everyone else.  There was none of that “one of their own” stuff that you tend to find in more recent cop shows.  The second episode featured the hunt for a group of red-masked bandits.  It was fairly dry but it got the point across, that everyone was a professional doing the best they could to keep Los Angeles safe.

My main thought on Dragnet so far — the first season feels a bit arid, though there were a few campy moments, especially in the LSD episode.  Still, it’s interesting to see what Los Angeles looked like in the 60s and the show was definitely well-intentioned.  Jack Webb may not have been a particularly expressive actor but he brought enough sincerity to the role to keep things moving.

Hell in the Heartland

Hell In The Heatland: Where are Ashley and Lauria? (HBOMax)

I watched this four episode, 2019 docudrama on Sunday.  It was about the 1999 murders of Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible, two Oklahoma teenagers.  It was also about how meth is destroying certain parts of rural America.  It was disturbing stuff and made all the more tragic by the fact that, though we now know what happened to Ashley and Lauria, we still don’t know the location of their remains.  The Bibles and Freemans are still waiting for their chance to give Lauria and Ashley a proper burial.

Hell's Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, Fox)

The Red Team finally had to face an elimination.  Morganna was sent home.  I have to admit that I didn’t realize Morganna was on the show until she was kicked off, which probably explains a lot as to why she was eliminated.

paternity-court

Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court (Weekday Mornings, Channel 33)

I watched two episodes on Friday morning because I was too lazy to change the channel. My favorite thing about this show is how, at the start of each episode, Judge Lake snaps, “Good day, everyone!” at the courtroom and the courtroom replies with the most desultory “good day,” imaginable.

Love Boat

The Love Boat (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

This week’s episode was the second part of the story that was started last week.  The Love Boat crew was in Australia, for their cruise director, Julie’s, wedding.  Meanwhile, the missing link was being held prisoner in a cage by Jose Ferrer.  Yes, it was weird.  Anyway, it turned out that the missing link was a fake who had been hired to swindle the gullible and Julie did not get married because the groom fled the church.  Later, he sent Julie a letter that explain that he was …. wait for it …. DYING!  Julie broke down into tears and the episode came to an end.

I mean, my God — who knew The Love Boat was so traumatic!?

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Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

Everyone was totally caught up in football (or soccer or whatever you want to call it)!  Even though the show was shot in 2013 and set in the 90s, it still felt incredibly relevant to today.

The Office

The Office (Sunday, Comedy Central)

Sunday morning, I watched as Michael Scott quit his job, started his own paper company, and then successfully sold it, largely due to David Wallace really not being a very good CEO.  In retrospect, I think The Michael Scott Paper Company was probably the highpoint of The Office’s post-season 3 run.  The scene of Michael calling Prince Family Paper just to discover that he had helped to drive them out of business is horrifying, funny, and depressing, all at the same time!

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Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Granville is getting closer and closer to snapping.  Arkwright has no idea.

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Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Finally!  Will finished Romeo and Juliet and Kate achieved her dream of appearing on stage, despite the fact that it was illegal for her to do so.  It was a sweet ending to the 2nd series of Upstart Crow and it almost makes up for the lack of Yes, Prime Minister on PBS’s current schedule.

Twonky