Archives for posts with tag: Comedy

I love catching reruns of older TV shows, sometimes even those that were before my time as a teenager. Within a few days of each other, I saw episodes from two different shows, in which one girl has a crush on someone. That was at least part of the their overall stories. Both have a similar way of handling their feelings and to me, it’s all the more relatable.

Starting with the earlier series, “The Facts of Life,” Natalie (Mindy Cohn) admires a guy in secret, yet it all ends up out in the open in one episode. When it came to having a crush on someone, I always wanted to keep my feelings hush-hush. In high school, I could never tell if the guy I fell so hard for knew…whether through someone else or on his own. Curious interactions with him kept me guessing. There was playful teasing coming from him and never knowing what to make of it, as well as being so shy, all I could do was giggle at his wild antics. My best friend and I remember when he’d call out my name in class, sounding so tempting. I’d glance back at him to see his devilish grin flashing my way, his eyes twinkling with mischief. That expression always made my heart melt and I’d turn away quickly, fearing he could sense my feelings if we made eye contact long enough. Or, would my best friend giving me a teasing glance at my reaction to him reveal everything? Before going on to the next series, there’s one more thing about this show. I’ll have to write more about it sometime in another post. It’s so striking to watch “The Facts of Life” now, what with how different teen-focused TV is these days.

Next, I caught an episode of “Roseanne,” in which Darlene (Sara Gilbert) has a guy over at the Conner house for a date. She’s awkward in trying to follow some flirting advice. Watching the scene, I doubted even with my shyness that I’d be that awkward and after all, it’s a TV show and the situation could be exaggerated for comedy. For me, it would’ve come through in not knowing what to say to my crush…or if I should respond in a flirty way at all, afraid of reading his actions wrong. The guy I had such a huge crush on in high school was the first time someone so gorgeous had been as attentive to me as he’d been. He offered to defend me against some creepy guy (so sweet!), was helpful in other ways. A few close moments happened that didn’t seem as though he was outright hitting on me, at least not in my mind. Dealing with such encounters for the first time, I just wasn’t sure what it meant. Not only that, but never thinking I was his type, I tended not to assume he was showing interest in those close moments. So, of course, my own reaction would be shyness and awkwardness.

Along with how well myself and many others could relate to such TV show scenes of teenage love, it’s the nostalgia and memories. They take me back to those similar moments when I was a teen girl with a heart beating for a certain someone. I’ll never forget any of those times.

As this new teen flick opens, Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) is rushing through the high school halls, reflecting emotions racing from hitting “send.” Life couldn’t get any worse after she accidentally texts desires to her crush. Both that and the exchange between Nadine and her teacher, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) drew me to “The Edge of Seventeen.” It made me wonder what it would be like if texting was around during my high school years. The “what if” scenarios my best friend and I talked about made us glad we missed a slip-up such as Nadine’s. Of course, we also had the tradition of passing paper notes, hoping not to get caught by the teacher. But that almost happened when my best friend tried to pass me a note, asking what was going on between me and a certain guy. That was only part of what she wrote. She had to quickly crumple it up to avoid the embarrassment of a teacher seeing it, reading it to everyone and revealing a secret to the entire class…my crush included. So, despite the difference in communication, Nadine’s dilemma was already very relatable to us.

The facial expressions and body language Nadine shows as she relays her troubles to Mr. Bruner are that of absolute teen mortification. All I could think during this scene was, If my best friend had been caught, what would I do? I only know that I’d be rushing out of school. Or wishing I could do so, since it wasn’t local to my town and I didn’t yet have my license to drive off and escape from my own Nadine moment. It was all too close to happening.

Then, Nadine backtracks through a long line of misfit moments and family tragedy, which makes her feel as though nothing goes right. At least not in her life or from her perspective. It doesn’t help that Darian (Blake Jenner) is her win-at-life brother. In sarcastic, attitude-filled narrating, Steinfeld captures the tormented experience of teen life.

Yet there are easy-going moments, such as when Nadine and Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) are talking about boys as they hang out at school. What Nadine says reveals that she’s got a thing for a bad boy, Nick (Alexander Calvert). Not only could I relate to that, but also to the chit chat about imagining that first time. It reminded me of girl talk between my best friend and I during many high school sleepovers.

Tension mounts between the onscreen best friends because Krista ends up with Darian; it’s just another way in which he wins at life. Nobody could understand how Nadine felt, why it added to her isolation. Then again, she did encounter an awkward moment that shocked her, along with that aggravating sense of Darian getting what he wants as usual. If she had experienced some wins here and there, the budding relationship between her best friend and popular brother wouldn’t have been so troublesome. It just wasn’t as easy for her. Nadine herself longed for a certain guy, although he seemed out of reach and in his own circle of friends. So, unless something happens with him, it counts as another loss for her in life. A partygoer inadvertently rubs it in Nadine’s face how she and her brother differ in image, referencing a comedy movie that she happened to enjoy. The meaning and its parallel to herself and Darian is all too glaring. I figured, Well, I guess that’s no longer one of her favorite flicks!

Despite her feelings of loneliness and being misunderstood, Nadine has another person who seems like an escape from drama. The torment is gone as she spends time with Erwin (Hayden Szeto), a classmate with artistic talents. He’s witty, hilarious and even adorable, in the way that his feelings show for Nadine. As an overall good guy, he likes her and seemingly has no chance because she is blinded by feelings for bad boy Nick. It’s that circle of high school crushes and reminded me of when someone liked me, while my good-girl heart was bursting over another guy. I just couldn’t help but fall for his smoldering eyes, up-to-no-good grin and wild antics.

The issues Nadine has with her brother and best friend dating lands her time in the office where her mom (Kyra Sedgwick) works. As the angst-filled teen acts defiantly and goes berserk with a hole puncher, she brought to mind the image of Bender, in “The Breakfast Club,” as he just keeps pushing for more saturdays under the principal’s watch. For that matter, Nadine speeding off in her mom’s car was similar to Bender leading his detention friends as they sneak through the school. Much like running into their own problem along the way, Nadine races headlong into yet another personal drama…that humiliating text message to her crush. To think that she tried to change her mind, only to have the worst thing happen! Nadine understandably freaks out. This is yet another moment in which Steinfeld perfectly displays the emotion of such an embarrassing moment of feelings for a teen crush. It’s in her verbalized disbelief and angered physical reactions, banging on the playground slide. I could feel that she just wanted to tear her hair out, wishing she was able take back the racy message to Nick, never to be seen.

In misery and hanging out alone, she gets the most unexpected reply and it’s her crush. All too excited to take it any other way than something finally going right, Nadine is readying for date night. As her mom arrives home, my mind was racing with, Hurry up, Nadine…or you’ll never get out of the house! Let this work out for her!

I couldn’t help feeling excited and nervous for Nadine as she meets up with Nick, following their back-and-forth texts. He even came across as sweet as they rode through town. It stirred me that way as I thought about my own high school crush and how I would’ve felt going for a drive with him. Not only that, but in school he gave me, the shy type, subtle and maybe innocent flirty attention. Back then, I’d get a rush from thinking, Oh, my…he likes me…maybe…I couldn’t possibly be his type…how could he…but? How do I know for sure? It was an ongoing mystery, which I kind of loved to ponder. Luckily, there was never anything racy falling into his hands that sparked wilder situations. Of course, I wouldn’t have wanted something to happen just because a guy thinks it’s a sure thing with me. I’d want a guy, especially the high school guy of my dreams, to really feel the same way that I felt for him if things had gone further. In Nadine’s case, what with her bad luck, there is the element of the guy noticing her totally out of the blue because of what she texted. She didn’t interpret his reply that way and hopes for romance, while he is one-track-minded in a bad way.

After what happened, I thought, I was hoping he wouldn’t turn out to be a jerk! If things had turned out that way with my crush, it would’ve been total heartbreak. Watching the outcome of that scene, I could still feel what Nadine felt, as though I’d gone through the same exact ordeal. It brought to mind how I also wished for alone time with my crush. As Nadine hurt, I wondered, What would’ve happened? Would it have turned out different, with a budding romance? Or would it be a similar situation? It seemed like a cinematic message for teen girls to not fall for the bad boy type. Even with that rep, though, they can’t all be the way Nick was in how they treat a girl. Right? I fell for a guy in high school who I guess many would say had a bad boy image. Yet, I never had a moment in which my heart felt broken to the point of seeing him as a creep in the end. There were times when I thought he was helpful and sweet, making my heart melt. Unfortunately, I never dated him, always too nervous and shy to make an approach and tell him how I felt. Earlier in the movie, as Nadine tried to talk to her crush in Petland, I could relate to that barrier of awkwardness she showed in her steps toward the guy. But there was a determination, as well, to at least say something. So, I rooted for her in that moment.

Fast-forward to the film festival, Erwin’s sense of humor continued to show in his entry for the event. Between what Nadine read into it and the good guy’s response, my heart sank once more for her…Oh, no! My eyes teared up in the closing scenes after everything that the tormented teen had been through, followed by a new day and new possibilities.

Congrats to Steinfeld on her nominations for “The Edge of Seventeen” this award season!

My best friend and I watched “Bad Moms” together and loved it as a great laugh-out-loud time with the gals type of movie. Neither of us is a parent, however we related to the overall theme of rebelling against an overbearing system. For example, acting up in a strict high school teacher’s class. In the movie’s case, it’s Amy (Mila Kunis) against the PTA where her kids go to school. But it’s not just the PTA as one entity; its leader, Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) is a real stickler for the rules. She is the queen bee among her two sidekick mom friends, Stacy (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Vicky (Annie Mumolo).

What with all the running around Amy does and never catching up, then an added problem from her husband, it’s no wonder she hits a breaking point. This one particular bad day she’s having
just seems as though it can’t possibly get any worse for her. Luckily, she finds support in two
other moms who’ve had it up to here, Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell). Together,
they let loose, leaving their mom troubles in the dust.

One of my favorite moments in newly bad mom Amy is when she uncovers the red hot rod in the driveway. Charging through town, she digs her cool wheels. With my red Camaro, hands-down my favorite sporty car no matter what year, I felt like the onscreen bad mom. I also love the latest Dodge Challenger and I think what Amy drives is an older model. Either way, it’s an awesome car and is perfect for her good-to-bad mom transformation.

Carla is also great as bad-mom inspiration for Amy’s new image. She’s already on the wild side and the more straight-laced moms despise her. No doubt, the most comical of the anti-PTA trio. The timid Kiki sees a new light as she hangs out with her rebellious friends. The three of them, all having it up to here with parenting rules, make an awesome team. Not only for their support system, but for the laughs and fun times as they let go of stress.

Then there is love interest, Jessie (Jay Hernandez) and…Wow! He sure looked a lot like a guy I once had a crush on; my jaw dropped! As Amy and her friends act wild, go out on the town, party, etc., I felt as though I was rooting for her and Jessie. She tries to meet other guys, yet
things don’t quite click. It’s hilarious, how various attempts falter for her in a scene in which someone is out of practice with the dating world. I could relate in the sense that I wasn’t able
to really talk to my crush at the time. Amy even had an awkward moment with the gorgeous Jessie.

Rivalry between Amy and Gwendolyn add to the humor, heating up as the snobby PTA mom goes low to hold onto her rank. The only way to stop her is to go against her in a more official
way, with the help of Carla and Kiki. Their antics draw in other moms who want to escape from
parenting and party hard.

Whether at a grocery store, in a bar or at Amy’s house, the gals’ wild ways kept my best friend and I laughing to the end. The unexpected twist involving Gwendolyn was a nice touch that made us wonder where everyone’s story would go next. I also wanted to know what becomes
of Amy and Jessie’s relationship, should a sequel come along.

One more enjoyable element throughout this comedic movie was its soundtrack of jumping party songs. They were must-haves to buy on iTunes.

If you saw “Bad Moms,” what were some of your favorite or most relatable moments from the movie? Who was your favorite character?

A variety of cinematic works have caught my interest over the past few months, from animated to sci-fi. Several were in theaters earlier this year, so now I’m waiting to buy them on DVD or Blu-Ray. Independents aren’t always playing in theaters closest to where I live. Whenever they’re available to buy, I’ll catch up those at home as well. However I watch them, here are a handful more movies I’m hoping to see.

  • “Eddie the Eagle” (2016)
  • “The Shallows” (2016)
  • “The Boy” (2016)
  • “Nine Lives” (2016)
  • “Me Before You” (2016)
  • “Love & Friendship” (2016)
  • “Cafe Society” (2016)
  • “Why Him?” (2016)
  • “Bad Moms” (2016)
  • “Elvis & Nixon” (2016)
  • “The Abolitionists” (2016)
  • “10 Cloverfield Lane” (2016)
  • “Finding Dory” (2016)
  • “Midnight Special” (2016)
  • “The Space Between Us” (2016)
  • “Approaching the Unknown” (2016)
  • “A Monster Calls” (2016)
  • “Ghostbusters” (2016)
  • “Godzilla Resurgence” (2016)
  • “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” (2016)

A few of the movies above are coming to theaters or are now playing. So I’m looking forward to some great flicks on the big screen in the near future.

Which of these are you most interested in seeing or have seen?

A trip to Italy is not yet in my future, yet taking in the sunny Tuscan scenes of “Letters to Juliet” (2010) definitely added to my summer wanderlust. Whenever I finally do travel to Italy, I’ll be sure to explore Verona, where Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) learns of people writing to Shakespeare’s famous and tragic character.

 

Besides the travel aspect, I also love that Sophie is a writer. Her instinct for a potential story kicks in when noticing a collection of letters. She soon finds a unique, romantic topic inspired by people writing to Juliet about love. Travel. Writing. Two activities that would make up my own dream job. From the start, this movie was right up my alley.

 

One letter by a woman named Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) is of particular interest to Sophie, as it reveals of a love story from decades before. Her response as Juliet quickly brings Claire’s grandson, Charlie (Christopher Egan) into the picture. This made me think that, in real life, what are the odds? However, I love that because it adds to Sophie’s first moment of amazement in Charlie finding her letter.

 

Of course, Charlie isn’t too thrilled and even seems to find Sophie not very bright, although not in those words. His retorts imply that impression of her. It is clear that she thinks him rude, as well as close-minded in regards to finding his grandmother’s lost love. Is it romantic and worth the pursuit? Is it completely ludicrous?

 

The odds of Sophie’s letter having been found so quickly seem to be a sign that searching for Claire’s lost love will work out. As the search begins, they find out something that backs up Charlie’s feelings on the matter. Adding to the romance is how Sophie decides to narrow down where they’ll go to find the elusive man from Claire’s past. It gives the sense that the couple are meant to reunite, something for which I feel any viewer would hope. In Shakespearean tradition, some of the men they question bring comedic moments into the adventure.

 

Sophie and Charlie’s relationship changes while still facing obstacles as the adventure continues. Not tragic themselves as Romeo and Juliet are, they each have dealt with sad situations in their families. So, in this movie, elements of Shakespeare’s work come alive. Comedy and Tragedy. Also, as there is Paris in “Romeo and Juliet,” Sophie has her fiance, Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal). He’s supportive of Sophie’s work and seems like a great guy, yet is increasingly busy with his career.

 

The conclusion brings about a Tuscan setting that I’d love to visit in any travels throughout Italy. It also includes a moment paralleling a famous one between Romeo and Juliet. If only I knew whether a real structure or a movie set used in that scene, because it was a perfect touch to the story!

 

Overall, I thought it was a clever storyline of Shakespearean theme and I’ll have to add this to my DVD collection. Until then, I’m glad to have finally caught it at the beginning just a couple of nights ago. I knew I’d love it! Several other movies I’ve enjoyed that have locations in Italy include:

 

  • “Roman Holiday” (1953)
  • “Casanova” (2005)
  • “Eat Pray Love” (2010)
  • “Under the Tuscan Sun” (2003)

 

Classic Hollywood actor Steve McQueen has been one of my favorites ever since the first time I saw “The Blob” (1958).  That was probably back when I was in high school or earlier.  It was a while before seeing him in anything else, but I thought he was great in the role as he led his friends in an effort to warn locals of danger.  I thought he was a handsome actor and there was something I liked right away about his onscreen demeanor.

As much as I love the sci-fi movie, I wasn’t at first aware of the annual Blobfest held in Phoenixville, Pa.  But last year, I finally made it out to the event celebrating the town’s ties to “The Blob.”  Check out my Blobfest photos on Flickr.  I bought a copy of this documentary about McQueen just outside of the Colonial Theatre.

Steve McQueen DVD

Over the years, I eventually started to catch other movies starring McQueen whenever they would air on the Turner Classic Movies channel.  There were a lot of McQueen movies being featured on TCM throughout the day on Friday, Aug. 9.  Before that line-up, I had also seen him in:

    • “The Magnificent Seven”
    • “The Reivers”
    • “Bullitt”
    • “The Towering Inferno”
    • “The Great Escape”

There were a number of McQueen’s movies included in the line-up that I hadn’t seen before.  So, I decided to watch what I could; now, I can add the following movies to the above list and they are all so well-acted by McQueen and his co-stars:

    • “Somebody Up There Likes Me” (he didn’t play the main character)
    • “Le Mans”
    • “The Cincinnati Kid”
    • “Papillon”
    • “Soldier in the Rain”

Although I have “Papillon” on DVD, I still haven’t been able to watch it that way due to my laptop DVD drive still needing repairs.  On the desktop computer, the speakers aren’t working.  So, I’m glad that TCM included “Papillon” in their McQueen movies because his role in it was stunning.  I would describe it as one of those roles in which you see an actor like you’ve never seen him before.

I feel the same way about McQueen’s role in the movie that followed, “Soldier in the Rain,” with Jackie Gleason.  Only in this case, it was for the comedic style.  There were some moments of drama mixed in among the many hilarious ones as well.  I hadn’t heard of this movie before, but now I am planning to add it to my DVD collection; I just loved it!

I’m looking forward to seeing more of the movies in which McQueen starred.  What’s your favorite of his movies and roles?

The opening scene of “Carnage” (2011), shows a group of boys and a physical fight brewing among them.  Following the incident, two couples meet in the home of one family, the Longstreets, to resolve the fight between their sons. Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan Cowan (Christoph Waltz) are the parents of Zachary; Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael Longstreet (John C. Reilly), the parents of Ethan.

Nancy clearly believes that there should be an apology and that the two boys should talk it out.  It was her son who had been hitting the Longstreet boy in the fight, yet she doesn’t want to let him off the hook.  You can’t hear any words exchanged when the boys fight, but she later brings up name-calling as a part of bullying and of the particular incident.  An argument of which boy is really to blame ensues; did Zachary start a physical fight or was it in defense of being called names?

Alan is rather removed, busy with taking business calls as Nancy tries to continue talking with the Longstreets about the boys’ problem.  He also doesn’t feel that his Zachary will ever apologize due to his personality.  In Alan’s opinion, kids fighting is just something that happens here and there.

While going over and over the situation between the Zachary and Ethan, the already tense discussions spill into further differences.  The Cowans and Longstreets argue about differences in their marriages and parenting styles.  However, it’s not just one set of parents against another; husband and wife get annoyed with each other as do both men and women.

Penelope is the much more aggressive of the two Longstreet parents, while Michael is laid-back and tries to make light of things.  She goes from showing a fairly reasonable demeanor to the parents of the boy she believes is entirely at fault.  However, various moments in the parents‘ meeting, as well as certain statements by Nancy, greatly anger her.

Early on, Michael is disliked by Nancy because of his disregard for a hamster’s well-being.  As part of his relaxed personality, simply letting the family pet go is an action which he tries to excuse as humanely as possible.  It is one such incident which causes judgement against the Longstreets and their characters as parents.

Some laughs come about, showing how the adults can still find some basic aspects of life that give common ground.  It’s all in how people communicate as mature, intelligent adults who are the starting points for a solution to a bullying incident.  Those moments of laughter make you feel as though they’ll all come together in mutual agreement.  Stay tuned.

“Carnage” features a lot of great acting to relay dealing with bullying, a topic that is so important to address.  It gives a glimpse of parents reacting and attempting to remedy such an incident among each other, debating the best follow-up steps.  From the boys in the beginning, to the assumed close of their parents’ meeting, the story filled with hard feelings reflects real life.  Kids are not the only ones who engage in bullying; adults do as well, even if it has nothing to do whatsoever with any offspring.  In some cases of bullying among adults, the one in the wrong never apologizes.

The parents in “Carnage” come from different worlds and one thing in particular about them makes it easy to imagine a real-life scenario of adults bullying.  It is especially as they begin to get personal in arguments about their married lives and parental skills.  Did they apologize after hitting on such personal and sensitive topics?  You’ll have to see what happens; I find it interesting how the scenes in the Longstreet home conclude.

This movie is one that I could really connect with in terms of the idea of apologies between people.  Whatever their age, I feel that people should talk things over and apologize when something hurtful is said or done.  Sometimes, blame might be mutual.  However, if only one person is clearly in the wrong, the apology is owed by that person to the other party involved.  In either case, why let it drag out for a long time?