I Miss My Weekend

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I am Kevin. Kevin is me.

It’s always weird coming back to work on Monday and having people ask me what I did over the weekend. I’m never sure if I should lie and sound like a productive adult, or come clean about catching up on Gossip Girl. For the record, even my most TV-filled weekends include the obligatory apartment cleaning, laundry, and grocery run, so I’m not some lame-o. My weekends just tend to include marathons of the TV variety.

 

This weekend’s theme: Guilty Pleasures.

aww yiss

aww yiss

Thanks, ABC Family, for playing  Step Up 1, 2, and 3(D) back-to-back on Saturday. I don’t know what sweet Siren song Channing Tatum’s hips are playing, but every time I see those movies on, I’m sucked it like a weak sailor.

Those hips don't lie

Those hips don’t lie

Also in true guilty pleasure fashion, Titanic was on all weekend. Of course I had to watch it. When I lived in Florida, it was probably on at least once a month. It was ridiculous. Between that and the constant reruns of Extreme Home Makeover, television was a roller-coaster of emotions.

She'll never let go!!

She’ll never let go!!

This weekend also marked the season-end of my summer hate-watch/guilty pleasure show- AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire. I talked about this a bit way back when on my family’s podcast thing, but after completing the season, I’m still not completely sure how I feel about it.

Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark, Mackenzie Davis as Cameron Howe and Lee Pace as Joe MacMillan

Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark, Mackenzie Davis as Cameron Howe and Lee Pace as Joe MacMillan

For those who aren’t in the know about Halt and Catch Fire, it’s set in the 1980’s in Texas’ Silicon Prairie. The show focuses on a fictional computer company building a faster, lighter, fiction-ier version of an IBM computer. The show stars Lee Pace, who some may remember as the Pie Maker, Ned, from Pushing Daisies (others may recognize him as the fabulous Thranduil in the Hobbit Trilogy, but whatever). Joining Pace’s Joe MacMillan on his technically-illegal quest are Gordon (Scoot McNairy), a face-in-the-crowd computer engineer, and Cameron (Mackenzie Davis), a young, female?!, computer prodigy.

In theory, this show sounds good, and for the most part it is. I’ve said it before, new shows have a lot they have to throw at you in the first few episodes to develop characters and plot lines, so it’s a lot for viewers to process all at once. Add to that the fact that this show has to live up to the precedents set by Breaking Bad, the Walking Dead, and Mad Men, and the pressure to possibly become the new “it” show.  I have no problem with any of that, though. The problem seems to be, like my aforementioned Black Box, that they have a prime opportunity to develop some butt-kicking females- who build computers – but they mainly just deal with stupid boys. For example, the first four episodes mainly consist of Cameron trying to get the guys on board with true-to-life graphics and interactive interfacing, to which Gordon replies “It’ll never be done!” (I say as I look for a moving image of a cat booping a dog on the nose.)

What a time to be alive.

What a time to be alive.

But I will give the show credit for getting better throughout the season and ending well. Cameron and Gordon’s wife Donna (Kerry Bishé) actually end up with better season 2 set-ups than their fellas. I guess my hate-watch show has started to grow on me, and I’m kind of looking forward to what the future holds, especially for Joe (because we all need more Lee Pace in our lives, IMO). In some of the final scenes of the finale, we see him hike off into the wooded sunset,

Joe hikes off towards the woods, into the sunset

And we all know what happens to him next:

#fabulous

#fabulous

Side note: In the finale, they reference the MacIntosh “1984” commercial that aired during the Superbowl, which you can watch here. Another interesting video I found was the footage of Steve Jobs unveiling the MacIntosh for the first time. Watch people lose their minds over paint and text-to-voice capabilities. Meanwhile, I yelled at my tablet for taking five seconds to load my Pinterest app. Watch this show and appreciate the fact that we are no longer in the technological dark-ages.

 

Other than that… have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy?????

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Marvel expands its universe (literally) with this new film that of five misfit heroes as they try to make some money, exact revenge, and save the galaxy- all in that order. Parks and Rec‘s Chris Pratt leads this group both in missions and comedy. This movie was very funny, in my opinion. I knew what I was getting myself into with Marvel’s typical cheekiness, but this on point and borderline parodical. Vin Diesel’s scene stealing Groot, a tree humanoid, was probably one of my favorites.

Who wouldn't love this little guy?!

Who wouldn’t love this little guy?!

As far as whether this movie is appropriate family-fare for all ages, I guess that would depend on your family. Just like its predecessors, the characters don’t shy away from the occasional choice phrases and innuendos, but that’ll fly past most kids’ heads. I will warn you, though, that any kid under the age of 12 will probably be parroting the phase “I am Groot” for the rest of the summer. The movie sports amazing visual and make-up effects, smart writing, and a solid soundtrack. It’s a summer blockbuster, do I really even need to make a case for it? Side note: Lee Pace (you know, from like ten seconds ago?) plays the weird bad guy. See also: Lee Pace + more + our lives, above.

 

During the previews they previewed Interstellar, Matthew McConaughey’s newest film about interstellar space exploration that was one of the “cool kids” of Comic-Con. It looks good, but my weird fear of space has me kind of saying “Oh no, oh no, oh no….” (hah, McConaughey reference)

But really, I'll probably pass

But really, I’ll probably pass

 

Ugh, my weekend already seems like it’s a year away. Let’s go back to those simpler times, where real pants weren’t required and no one request read receipts on their emails.

Seriously- don't request them. You're not the president.

Seriously- don’t request them. You’re not the president.

 

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It’s been 4 months since my last post??!

Oops… But I can explain:

The past few months, for anyone reading this and curious, have been very interesting for me. I recently moved out of my parents’ house and into my own apartment (FINALLY!!). You guys, if you haven’t lived on your own, I totally recommend it. Everything is just way better, especially having my own DVR and high-speed internet. Now I don’t have to worry about my shows being bumped off for a rerun of Storage Wars, and 10 gigs of internet to use all on your own is like having the Autobahn all to yourself. I’m sure 10 out of 10 doctors would recommend.

I also recently got a promotion and a raise at work, which is going to make my previously mentioned apartment very happy. (Author’s note: I should probably go on record, for my mom’s sake, and inform any readers that my apartment could be called “The Place that Clearance Built,” because I don’t mess with that full price stuff).

But all of this change and growing up has left little time for me to do any writing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been watching things, A LOT of things, it’s just that I was having a minor existential crisis about writing a blog and who would even want to read it (*womp womp*).  However, just when I felt like giving up, life’s perfect little timings slapped me with this nugget of wisdom:

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” – Cyril Connolly.

Thanks, Mr. Connolly, and thanks, life. There’s just one main problem:

You said, Chuck.

You said it, Chuck.

 

To that I say, oh well! I’m just going to not look back at those unwritten four months and move forward. So while I shove those lost months, thoughts, shows, and movies, into a too-small closet and struggle to shut the door, I’ll talk about the present. Apologies, in advance, if that strained closet door opens back up momentarily in the future. Just ignore it…

 

Have y’all seen The Grand Budapest Hotel yet?? If not, you need to get on that.

It's like Wes Anderson Guess Who

It’s like Wes Anderson Guess Who

Set in the fictional mountainous town of Zubrowska, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a flashback within a flashback, within a book enactment (“whaaaa?” I know ), and follows the interesting and suave M. Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) and his new Lobby Boy, Zero (newcomer Tony Revolori). The movie seems to have everything you want in a movie night: a bit of humor, a bit of romance, some mystery and suspense, and a star-studded cast. I have a coworker who regularly asks me for movie recommendations, and I’ll tell you what I told him: “It’s basically just a bunch of big stars in small parts, and it’s almost a quirky ‘Murder on the Orient Express.'” If none of that makes you want to see it, I’m not sure what will.

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What I would give to be part of this conversation…

Critics seem to all agree that this is Wes Anderson’s best film of his career, so far. Receiving 91% from critics and 88% from viewers on Rotten Tomatoes, praising the eccentricity and stylish way that Anderson presents this story. If you liked Wes Anderson’s other films, or want to have some more Lord Voldemort in your life, then grab some macaroons and enjoy!

 

Keeping with the star-studded cast theme, but heading back to 2001, let me take a second to talk about Gosford Park.

Look at all the British people! and Ryan Phillpe...

All the British people! and Ryan Phillpe…

I’ll admit this first off- I’ve known about this movie since it’s premier, but it took me 13 years and 4 seasons of Downton Abbey to truly appreciate (and honestly get through) this movie. I include the 4 seasons of Downton because Gosford Park was written by Downton‘s creator, Julian Fellowes. It’s got all of the things Downton fans love, the Upstairs/Downstairs dichotomy, Maggie Smith, the dressing gong…. it’s all there. It’s the perfect movie for anyone needing a Fellowes fix, or a Clive Owen fix (you’re welcome). It won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and loaded up on nominations for supporting roles, costume design, and best picture (it was beat out by Russell Crowe and A Beautiful Mind). Like I said, if you’re missing Carson and the rest of the Downton crew, or need sassy Maggie Smith to join you on your summer vacation, then watch this. Go! Do! Watch!

USA Films is actually one-third of what is presently known as Focus Features. The more you know!

 

It’s summertime, and for this pale-skinned TV lover, it mainly just means hiding from my natural enemy- the sun- and watching second string TV shows. There aren’t really too many to write home about, but let me quickly talk about one I’ve been watching:

Black Box is ABC’s attempt at drawing in Scandal‘s Gladiators during its summer hiatus.

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It follows Dr. Catherine Black, a famous neuroscientist at the Center for Neurological Research and Treatment, as she tries to balance her job, personal life, and the secret that she has bipolar disorder. Sounds interesting, right? Unfortunately it starts to get uninteresting pretty quickly. Dr. Black’s fiance, Chef Will Van Renseller, and her have very little chemistry to the point that I’m rooting for them to break up. If that’s the master plan, then kudos to the writers, because I want more than anything for them to break up. The show is procedural, each week dealing with a new disease or disorder, but none of them every get too interesting; and even though they have a prime opportunity to feature a smart and strong female lead, she just gets defined by her disorder.

Now, I’ve mentioned most of these things on my family’s podcast (oh yeah, my family is trying out a podcast), but I’ll mention it here too: the show makes me want a bread bowl. They’ve set the whole show underneath some overpowering jazz saxophone. I feel like I’m back in college, sitting in my neighborhood Panera studying and jamming out to some smooth sax. I keep coming back to it every week though, probably because of fellow redhead Kelly Reilly, and I’ll definitely finish the season since I’ve made it this far. It’s a new show, so I understand it has a tall order to establish a cast of characters and an overall plot, and while each week has it getting better than the last, I have a feeling it might not be back next season. Sad too, because I really want it to stay on the air, at least to keep that street saxophone player working.

C'mon, let him keep his job.

C’mon, let him keep his job.

 

Other than that, it’s mainly just been me watching the Cooking Network, making pies, and watching Jeopardy. I’ve basically spent the early days of summer turning into my grandmother, now I just need to be retired to complete the transformation. My neighbors probably think I’m weird. Oh, and in case you missed it, this was an actual Final Jeopardy response last week:

For the record I knew the real answer- Alfred Nobel

For the record I knew the real answer- Alfred Nobel

Well, maybe with my new outlook on writing, and with a better grasp on my changing work life, I’ll actually start doing some more regular writing.

Yeah I'll probably see you in another four months...

Yeah I’ll probably see you in another four months…

Let’s get this year started!

Unfortunately, it’s still the one of the sadder parts of the year where all of my shows are on their midseason break. I’ve discovered some new shows- Broadchurch and Orphan Black, and I plan on writing about those, but I’m still finishing up Orphan Black and want to wait a bit to write about them. Stay tuned for that. (Slight spoiler alert: I love them! They’re amazing!)

MV_SavingMrBanks11

I did get to see Saving Mr. Banks on New Year’s Eve. That was amazing, in my opinion. I have been a fan of Mary Poppins and vintage Disney my whole life. In fact, I was so much a fan of Walt Disney and his dream for a more magical tomorrow, that I spent 3 wonderful years working for the Mouse at Walt Disney World, in Florida. Le sigh…. The memories… but I digress. What I am trying to say is that this emotional look at the leaps and bounds Walt Disney had to go through, and the equal effort P.L. Travers took to try to stop the production, of the beloved classic was both well written and well acted. It averaged 81% on Rotten Tomatoes, where many critics agree that while, yes, it is sappy, it’s charming and even delightful. Tom Hanks is great, as always, as Walt Disney, and Emma Thomas has garnered a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of author P.L. Travers, and I’m sure it’s not her last nomination for the role. I saw it with my mom and my siblings, the youngest of which is 11, and we all really liked it. I would definitely recommend this for any Disney-philes like myself, who want another dose of nostalgia and a hearty helping of feels. Added plus: Jason Shwartzman and B.J. Novak play the Sherman Brothers, who wrote the songs for Mary Poppins and many other Disney films and TV specials. They tone down the sarcasm and turn up the optimism as they wade through all of Mrs. Travers’s requests.

Sorry for the language, mom!

Sorry for the language, mom!

Downton Abbey started Sunday! *throws confetti* Now, I didn’t finish watching last night’s episode, I was watching more of Orphan Black, but I will say that I’ve already seen the whole season. I won’t go into specifics on how I’ve already seen the whole season, being American and all, but I have. I know that this two-hour premiere did seem to drag a little bit. We kick everything off with O’Brien stealing off into the night and continue the fun with the vampire of Downton, Lady Mary. I know, I know, she’s still grieving over her lost husband Matthew, but it has apparently been six months.  Notable mentions include Lady Grantham apparently not being able to dress herself, and Lord Grantham not wanting to bother Mary with money issues because she’s, *gasp*, a lady. Creepy honorable mention goes to Nanny West for looking like the grandmother of Kathy Bates’ character in Misery. I know this episode was a slow start for the season, but let me tell you something, one reader from Vermont, this season is great! The best season so far, in my opinion (though I’ve read others’ saying otherwise). There is scandal, class issues, race issues, Lady Violet at her best, and even some Mary hating Edith action. Poor Edith…. Anyways, I am planning on finishing the DVR’d version of the Masterpiece Classic and will probably do a DVR round up next weekend. I’m still working out most of the blog post ideas, so hang in there with me.

Side note: my new favorite things are the various pics of Edith with googly eyes. This Tumblr is hilarious. I have no way of explaining why I find these so funny:

Seriously, why can't I stop laughing?

Seriously, why can’t I stop laughing?

I also watch the premiere of the new ABC event, The Assets, this past weekend. The new 8-week miniseries follows the dramatic events of the search for the CIA mole during the Cold War.

assets

It was based on the book that was co-written by Sandy Grimes, the real-life agent who helped lead the search. Jodie Whittaker, who played the grieving mother of the victim in one of my new favorites, Broadchurch, plays Sandy Grimes. So far, I’m enjoying her performance, and I’m looking forward to seeing the journey her character has to go on. Technically, if you know the history of the CIA mole scandal, then you’ll know who the mole was from the beginning. If you’re like me, however, and seemed to delete that information for more pressing things, don’t worry- they actually show the mole from the very beginning of the show. That’s not even a spoiler, because the cold open involves the mole going to the Russian embassy to trade information. They then proceed with a time jump that isn’t really labelled, and it can leave you confused for a little bit, but you get the hang of the show’s rhythm after a while. If you like FX’s similar venture, The Americans, then you’d like this for sure. With this show taking Scandal‘s time slot on Thursday nights, you Gladiators out there might be out of a show until February 27th, so why not take a chance on this to fill the void. Hey, we might even learn a bit of history in the process.

I’ve got some more stuff in the works for this thing, I just have to find time to write it. In the meantime, it the People’s Choice Awards are tonight, and it looks like Masterpiece Classic is re-airing the older Sherlock episodes in preparation for the January 19th Series 3 premiere (so excited!), so you can catch up on those with me. So many shows, so little time!

Happy watching, friends! 🙂