Posted in Pop Culture

Woman Crush Wednesday: Pamela Adlon

In 1982 the sequel to the hit musical Grease came out.  It starred Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield.  It was panned by critics and was a bust at the box office.  When I saw it as a preteen, I fell in love.  I knew the songs by heart (Cool Rider FTW), had a crush on Maxwell Caulfield, and was thrilled that Pfeiffer’s character’s name was Stephanie.  And there was one character who I identified with: Dolores Rebchuck.  She was the little sister to Pink Lady Paulette and full of spunk:

Pamela Adlon Grease 2

The actress playing Dolores Rebchuck is Pamela Adlon.  She has been acting since she was a child, often voicing animated characters.  She has starred on shows like Californication, Lucky Louie,  and most recently the show she is also directing and writing, Better Things.     Her characters are always strong, smart, and full of attitude.  In a recent episode of Better Things her character Sam is teaching acting students that an audience wants to see your weaknesses.  Adlon’s characters always show their weaknesses, making them even more relatable.

On the Showtime show Californication, Pamela Adlon played Marcy Runkle, wife to Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler).  Marcy is also known as “Cokey Smurf” due to her tiny stature and uncontrollable cocaine habit.  She is manic and has little to no time for bullshit.  She calls out both her husband Charlie and his best friend Hank (David Duchovny) when they get out of hand, showing tiny doesn’t mean weak.

HBO’s Lucky Louie was the studio recorded precursor to FX’s Louie.  Pamela played Louie’s wife Kim and also wrote one episode.  Louis C.K. created the show and has encouraged Adlon’s writing on Better Things.  They have great chemistry together.  In one memorable episode C.K. goes full frontal and his on stage wife doesn’t even flinch.

Better Things is one of my favorite shows on tv.  Sam is an actress mom to three girls.  Pamela wrote the show that is based on her life.  The honesty in each episode makes me jump up at least once and yell, “YES!”  A recent episode titled Eulogy is a requirement for any parent who is tired of feeling underappreciated.   As somebody who wears her heart on her sleeve but always polices her feelings, I love how direct, unflinchingly truthful, and even a little bitchy Sam is.  She is who she is and anybody who has a problem with that can exit stage right.

If you like comedies that keep it real and don’t hold back, watch Better Things.  If that isn’t your thing Pamela Adlon also voices characters on Bob’s Burgers, Uncle Grandpa, and even voices Halley Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory.  She is a talent in Hollywood that isn’t going anywhere.

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Posted in Pop Culture, Wellness

Friday Favorites

I am knee deep in purging, packing, and panic over here and haven’t been able to properly sit down and write a decent blog post. I’ve written down some topics: Ode to Tacos, Woman Crush Wednesday (Stephanie Beatriz, aka Rosa from Brooklyn Nine-Nine), even just pictures of furniture that I am eyeing for the new house. But then I dismissed them all under stupid or no one cares (I have a long list of those that my brain likes to remind me of). So here’s a list of what is making me happy right now. I hope you have a list of your own (maybe one of these is on there!) and are able to take the time to enjoy them.

Music: Miley Cyrus’s “Younger Now”

Miley is an old soul. This video is rockabilly adorable and her smokey voice has only gotten stronger as you see her becoming the person she is meant to be.

Movie: The Big Sick

If you have read about The Big Sick, you know that it is touted as being a sweet and funny romantic comedy that you will love. And that is all true. The plot is based on the real life love story between star Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, who is played by Zoe Kazan. Along with It, The Big Sick is one of my favorite movies of 2017.

Hulu Binge: Top of the Lake China Girl

This second season of the Elisabeth Moss crime drama manages to improve on the first. Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) and Nicole Kidman as flawed but strong women join the cast as Moss’s Robin tries to find the killer of a young sex worker who washes up on the shore of Sydney, Australia. Jane Campion (The Piano) doesn’t shy away from dark subject matter but it is always compelling.

Book: Stephen King’s The Stand

This is my first Uncle Stevie novel and I have read over and over again that this is his best one. I am about a quarter of the way in and all I can think is:

Yes, I knew before that Stephen King was awesome. The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile are two of my all time favorite movies that are based on stories by him. But as a writer/reader, his level of description is mind blowing. I feel like Captain Obvious typing this but seriously, why did I wait so long?!

Movie Trailer: Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs

Dogs, Japan, animation, and Wes Anderson. And no matter how weird it looks, it will be AWESOME.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorite: Goodies from Comic-Con

While others were out enjoying their Saturday on 7/22, I was sitting in my solar powered air conditioned house refreshing my phone throughout the morning. Why, you ask? Because down in San Diego, CA on this past Saturday was the holy grail day of panels in Hall H. The Warner Bros. Panel was scheduled for 1130 am. And even though I didn’t get to enjoy the crowds of 150,000+, the overnight lines to get into Hall H, and celebrities hidden behind masks, the family and I did get to enjoy trailers that were released throughout the day.

First up is Ready Player One. This Spielberg directed flick that comes out next March is based on the book by Ernest Cline. It was one of my favorite books of 2016. As an 80s movies nerd, it fulfilled all my dreams in one story. It is the tale of Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a teenager living in the future. Society is so bleak that he prefers to be in the OASIS, a virtual reality world. When the creator of the OASIS dies, he sets up the players to chase clues that will lead them to win the game and his fortune. The game is stuffed with movies, television shows, and video game references (Joust, anyone?). I have been waiting for this movie to come out since I finished the book and the trailer had me whooping and hollering throughout.

We did take a break from waiting for more trailers and dragged the kids to see War for the Planet of the Apes (which was awesome, btw). As soon as we stepped out of the theater Scarlet’s first question was, “Is there a Stranger Things trailer? Is there?!” And OH MY WORD, there was. The trailer is set to the tune of Thriller by Michael Jackson, Vincent Price narrating while Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarrazo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Will (Noah Schnapp), Hopper (David Harbour), and the others are dealing with the aftermath of Season One and hoping for a reappearance of Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown). There is new student Max (Sadie Sink), problems between Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Steve (Joe Keery), and more scary monsters that are slightly bigger than the Demogorgon. Is it October 27th yet?!

Thor: Ragnarok comes in November, four months after Marvel’s release of Spiderman’s Homecoming. It is directed by Taika Waititi and it is the third installment. This time around Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is captured and forced to fight for his life, where he comes face to face with his Avenger mate the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Together they try to battle Hela (Cate Blanchett), who is hell bent on destroying Thor’s world. I always enjoy the Thor movies but please don’t ask me to explain what each one is about other than Thor saves the day. But with this new one, the visuals (they look like a seventies rock band cartoon and Cate Blanchett looks like a total bad ass), music (70s rock), and humor (“I know him! He’s a friend from work!”) have my expectations higher than usual. Add Jeff Goldblum in blue makeup and Tessa Thompson (Westworld), and Thor Ragnarok will stand out from the rest.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend!

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorite: GLOW (Netflix and Run)

Glow is my latest Netflix and Run binge that I am sad to be done with. It is a re-imagination of the 80s show that I also loved. My favorite characters back then were Dementia and the Farmer’s Daughter. This new show stars Alison Brie and Marc Maron as star and director trying to get the matches on television. It took me back to my childhood bedroom with the teal and peach comforter adorned bed, my side ponytail and florescent pink Garfield sweatshirt with matching leggings, while I listened to “Two of Hearts” by Stacey Q on my boombox. And even though there is plenty of wrestling (no monkey tosses, sadly), it is a story about friendships that are worth fighting for.

Ruth (Alison Brie) and Debbie (Betty Gilpin) are close friends. Ruth is a struggling actress and Debbie is a new mom and former soap star. Ruth is sleeping with Debbie’s husband. When Ruth goes to an audition for a women’s wrestling show, Debbie crashes it with the knowledge of the affair. They end up being cast as each other foes, Debbie as the All American to Ruth’s Russian. They join the rest of the women who all portray a stereotype that befits their appearance.

In the ring each woman plays their part but out of the ring they are shown as not good or bad, but real. They all make mistakes, some with the best of intentions and some not. You want to hate Ruth not just because of what she did to her friend but because she can be annoying. But Alison Brie’s performance makes you love her anyways and you want her to win Debbie’s friendship back.

Just like Stranger Things‘ opening credits recall films like E.T., Glow brings back graphics that we saw on 80s shows like Solid Gold. Songs like “The Warrior” by Patty Smyth, “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie, and “Invincible” by Pat Benatar just enhance the emotional content of each scene. And if you remember Duran Duran’s Rio album cover, you have a good idea of what hair and makeup looks like.

Bad ass women, hair, makeup, and songs that bring the 80s, and an excellent Marc Maron, Glow is another hit for Netflix that you should check out. Season 2 should be a given.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorites: Korean Films and America

Joon-ho Bong’s Okja tells the story of a little girl and her super pig. When Okja gets taken from Mija (An Seo Hyun), she does everything she can to get him back. It is a moving tale that also showcases the meat industry and its disregard for animal lives. The cast is made up of Korean and American actors and has a lot to say about our society. Watching this made me think of other Korean films that I have been lucky enough to see over the years and how they seem to know us as citizens better than we do.

The Host is how a monster is created when chemicals are dumped into Seoul’s Han River by an American doctor (Scott Wilson, Hershel from Walking Dead). Hyun-seo (Ko A-sung) is taken by the mutant being and her family races to get her back. It is a monster movie but at it’s core it is about family with a bittersweet ending.

Snowpiercer is set in the future with a group of survivors who are trapped on a train that circles the Earth due to a climate change experiment. The train is separated by class of people. Those who run the train are in the front where it is luxurious and those in the back are keeping the train moving and are fed hideous bars of “food”. A rebellion rises up that is led by Curtis (Chris Evans) against the terrifying leader Mason (Tilda Swinton). Snowpiercer is my favorite on this list and is being made into a television show starring Daveed Diggs.

Train to Busan is about a father trying to get his daughter to Busan where she can be safe after a zombie outbreak occurs in Seoul. It is reminiscent of Snowpiercer in that is set on a train fueled by fear, the upper class believe that they deserve to be saved over the lower class, and it has an amazing action fight sequence. This is the only movie on the list that isn’t directed by Joon-ho Bong but it is just as good as the rest and I am a sucker for a quality zombie flick.

Korean films Okja, The Host, Snowpiercer, and Train to Busan are all about family (biological and non-biological). But they all have a darker view of the world, which takes away the element of a fairytale ending. Whether it’s a story about a girl and her pig, a monster movie, a dystopian tale set on a train, or a zombie film, I think this view is what sets them apart and makes them so good.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorite: Master of None

Master of None is the creation of friends Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang. It is a Netflix show that just recently premiered season 2. It is a comedy and drama that tells the story of Dev Shah (Ansari) and his group of friends in NYC.

Season 2 finds Dev in Italy learning how to make pasta and absorbing the culture. He is recovering from a bad breakup. He has made friends with couple Francesca (Alessandra Mastronardi) and Pino (Riccardo Scamarcio). After he returns to New York he lands a job hosting a cupcake competition show. As fate would have it, he is able to spend time with Francesca as Pino does business in New York. He develops feelings for her, which complicates their relationship.

You know when you sit down to watch something and you just know you are going to enjoy it? That’s Master of None. Aziz’s Dev is vulnerable, honest, funny, and lovable. His male character is one you rarely get to see on TV. He doesn’t try to be cool or strong, he is just Dev. But Master of None is not just his story. It is also Alan, Alan’s dad, and Dev’s friend Denise (Lena Waithe). Episode eight is a Thanksgiving story about how Denise’s family evolves over 20 years. The main focus is on Denise’s sexual orientation and how she comes out to her mom, aunt, and grandma and to them accepting her lifestyle. It was my favorite episode until I watched the one that followed. Nine is a work of art. There is an Italian score, the scenery of the city and upstate, and even the lighting in Dev’s apartment. The combination gives it the feeling of a sixties romantic film.

Master of None is one of the best television shows out there. Emmy nominations are right around the corner and it should get ALL OF THEM.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorites: Getting through the week

The news. Friendships. Local water parks that would rather treat you like garbage than give good customer service. These past couple of weeks have felt like somebody is pushing my head under water, letting me come up for air for two seconds, and then pushing me back under. Anxiety, depression, and life can be fucking unfair. But you don’t want to hear/read me whine like a teenager. Even I get tired of feeling sad. When I have those moments I stop and think of the first thing that is making me happy. It sounds so obvious but being grateful for what I have does not come easy. This is what’s currently getting me out of my head:

Movies: Get Out and Cars 3

Get Out is an intense horror film from Jordan Peele about an interracial couple going to the girl’s parents house for the weekend. It is uncomfortable and claustrophobic with social commentary that will open your eyes a little bit or a lot.

Cars 3 is the latest cartoon from Pixar. It returns us to the story of Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and how he is being left behind by up and comers like Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). It is sweet and nostalgic with predictability that I didn’t mind. And it made me miss Paul Newman.

Movie Trailer: Stronger

Jake Gyllenhaal stars in this film about the Boston Marathon bombing. He plays Jeff Bauman, a man who loses his legs in the blast. My girl Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) plays his love. The trailer is heart wrenching and made me want to see it if only for people coming together in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.

Book: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

This young adult book is the 11th in The Mortal Instruments world that Clare has created. It is fantasy with warlocks, fairies, vampires, and a super human race called the Shadowhunters, which the stories mostly focus on. Lord of Shadows is number two in The Dark Artifices series and focuses on Julian Blackthorn and Emma Carstairs. They are parabatai, a bonded pair of Shadowhunters and best friends. There is a war coming between the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders and it is their job to try and stop it. Clare has created a world that takes you all over the world and places you’ve never dreamed of.

TV Show: @Midnight

Chris Hardwick of Nerdist, Talking Dead, and any other show you can think of that he might host created this Comedy Central game show. Guests such as contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race, comedians, actors, and even Kenny G come on to play categories like HashTag Wars. It’s silly adult humor mixed in with current events and it makes me laugh at least a few times in the 30 minutes it plays. I started watching it after we cut the cable a few weeks ago and I have come to look forward to it every night.

What are you watching/reading/listening to these days? I want to know what is getting you through the day/week/month!

Thanks for reading!