The World is Still Rich with Opportunity

A few years ago, I came across the quote below made by a reviewer of Richard Carlson’s book, Don’t Worry Make Money, that came out in 1997.         I don’t know the reviewer’s name and never found the review referenced again. But, this was and is an inspiration to me and I have always referred back to it over the years. I have a copy of it on my cubicle at work and on my bathroom wall so I can read it when necessary.

“Do you think that opportunity only knocks once? If you do, Richard Carlson, author of Don’t Worry Make Money, says you’re buying into one of the most perpetuated ‘myths’ in our culture.

Carlson argues that this kind of thing inspires people to do things they really do not want to do. That it is based on a ‘never enough to go around’ mindset that just isn’t true. Thinking that it’s now or never, often encourages bad decision making, for instance, he says. You might take a job you do not want or move to an area that doesn’t really sit well with you.

The world we live in is rich with ever-increasing opportunity, he says. The world is in need of creative people and everyone has their own gifts and talents to offer. You just have to figure out how it’s going to work for you. There are thousands of jobs out there that you can do. There are thousands of business opportunities.

But, Carlson says, first you have to overcome your fear: The fear of not having enough. The fear that you only get one shot and then it’s over.

It’s a big lie. Your life will be filled with great opportunities over and over again.”

On the other hand, you may be a person who has been blessed by some wonderful opportunities. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t more coming your way!

Submitted by Rosa L. Griffin

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Did you know? Sexy Sites

For the mature out there, you and your babe or you alone can get some distraction at these sites:

Dixie De La Tour’s website   https://bawdystorytelling.com, @bawdystorytelling on Instagram, @DixieDLT on Twitter

Esquire’s article “10 Best Sex Podcasts No Matter Your Taste” (rated for your convenience) by Breena Kerr, May 3, 2017,
https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/sex/a46389/best-sex-podcasts/

Literotica’s free erotic fiction website https://www.literotica.com/c/mature-sex  as mentioned at https://en.wikipedia.org/Literotica   [I never heard of until a friend told me about it]

Review of book, Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

I’ve always had admiration for farmers who have one of the hardest jobs of all—to attempt to make the earth bend to their will.  A farmer is entirely at the mercy of God and the elements.     A bad crop, storm, flood, pestilence, injuries, or drought can cost him everything he has.   Or, he can be a sharecropper (quarter-yield) or share tenant (half-yield) on that farmer’s land and suffer the same fate.

Such was the case for Henry McAllan’s family.  Henry was an engineer who decided to buy a farm—what he had always wanted.  He bought out the previous owner who had four other tenant farmers on his land.  Henry was the kind of white man who loved the land as if it were his mistress which his wife, Laura, observed.   Henry’s father Pappy and brother Jamie hated the land and only loved the alcohol, tobacco, food, etc. that any profit could bring them.

The story opens with Pappy having been murdered and his two sons Henry and Jamie are burying him in someone’s else’s old grave in the rain and mud.  Whenever it rained there, the creek would rise, and they’d be stranded for days.   That made me read on to find out why Pappy was murdered.  

Henry paid one of the townspeople $100 on a hand shake to rent a nice house for his wife, children, and Pappy.   When they arrived in 1940’s Mississippi, they found that the house was sold to someone else, and the seller was nowhere to be found.  So, they all had to live in the work shack on the land with no running water or electricity and a leaky roof with a shed on the side.   So, the gentle Laura, who was used to living better, had to do everything in that shack or in the barn with Pappy and the kids.   Laura and the kids were in for a hard life.   Pappy ruled over Laura and the kids as if he owned everything instead of his son, Henry.

In the middle of the harvest, Henry’s brother Jamie returned from the war after being a bomber pilot.   Henry, Laura, and the children loved the prodigal son though he drank heavily.

Hap and Florence’s black family was one of the share tenants who had to produce crops as part of the agreement.    Things were mostly all right if you can judge how black people were treated.  For example, black people could not sit on the seat next to a white person but had to ride in the back of a truck at the mercy of the elements.   They couldn’t walk through the front door of the town grocery store but had to come in and leave by the back door.   Blacks had to stay to themselves and couldn’t be seen to live better than whites.  And, the medical care for blacks was atrocious.

Hap and Florence had a son, Ronzel, who came home after being a tank commander in the military.   When he returned home, he felt worse than a second-class citizen after being a war hero.   This was what Jamie and Ronzel had in common—the horrors of war that they tried to drink away together, which was forbidden in this culture.

Read Hillary Jordan’s book to see what leads up to Pappy’s death.   It is an intense well-told story of cultures and sacrifices.

© 2008 Hillary Jordan

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2009

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Review of The Leftovers, HBO television show, 2013-2017

Usually leftovers refer to some food that is left after a meal that can be used again to create some other meal.  Not so in this case.  This is sci-fi/horror.

The first episode opens with an exhausted busy mom in a shopping center laundry trying to handle some business situation and talking on the phone while doing her laundry.  Meanwhile, her baby is screaming at the top of his lungs annoying everybody in the laundromat the whole time.   Lugging laundry and her screaming baby back to her car, she is still busy on the phone. 

You want to say to her so badly.  Get off the phone, lady.  Did you bring a bottle or pacifier?   Check to see if the baby is wet.   Things that might ease his nerves as well as her own.   It appears that she doesn’t notice the baby until the baby stops crying in his child safety seat, because the baby is no longer there.   She finally puts down the phone and gets back out of the car screaming the baby’s name, like the infant has been playing a game with her and is going to come running out because she’s calling him.

In her hysterics, she doesn’t notice a little boy who is calling for his father after he sees that the cart rolling next to him is no longer being pushed by his father.

At the same time, a car accident occurs on the street nearby and a family in one car is hit by a car with no driver.

People in the shopping center look up to see a plane crashing in a nearby neighborhood.

This is how The Leftovers begins.   According to the fictional news, 2% or 140 million people (men, women, children, enfants of all races and ethnicities) have disappeared all over the world.

Cut to three years later and people are still wondering if it was the biblical Rapture—Christ’s return for good people to leave the damned behind?   A great many people disagreed.   Christ could not possibly have picked their aunt, grandpa, child, mother or father, for that matter—not those doozies!   Any number of other reasons are suggested like radiation, time travel, other dimensions, aliens, etc.

The performances by diverse actors, special effects and the music are amazing.  Justin Theroux (formerly Mulholland Drive, The Spy Who Dumped Me) plays the confused police chief, Kevin Garvey, whose predecessor (his father) goes nuts.  Amy Brenneman (former NYPD Blue, Judging Amy) plays his therapist wife, Laurie Garvey, who joins a cult after losing a baby she saw on an ultrasound on the day of the “departing”.  Christopher Eccleston (formerly Dr. Who, in Thor: The Dark World, etc.) plays the minister Matt Jamison who tries to help all the factions and loses himself in the attempts.  Chris Zylka (formerly Secret Circle, Freaks of Nature) plays the sheriff’s adopted son who joins a different cult than his mother. Margaret Qualley plays the sister Jill Garvey who can’t even enjoy hanging around with other young people her age because of the missing.   Veteran actor Scott Glenn (formerly Urban Cowboy, The Right Stuff, Silverado, etc.) plays the former sheriff and father, Kevin Garvey, Sr. who hears voices and is in a mental facility on disability.

The Leftovers is a wild intense ride from beginning to end.   Just when you think, this episode will probably end the series—hold on little grasshopper—it continues.  If you miss one episode, you won’t know what the hell is going on.   The characters are doing unbelievable things to make some sense out of what has happened to the missing.

Although this is not the first show or movie with this plot idea, this one is outrageously serious.  Factions pop up all over the place—those against remembering the missing, those trying to forget the missing, those who don’t know what to do, those who are scarred mentally and/or emotionally, and those who try to take advantage of others’ losses.

Just about everything you see will be used in a later episode so watch closely.  Bottomline:  everyone was already damaged before the worldwide disappearances.   The “departures” just nudged the meter up to critical mass.

The series was created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta based on Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same name.  Mimi Leder (On the Basis of Sex, Pay It Forward, Deep Impact, The Peacemaker, etc.) was the director.

Since I’m not one to keep up with any series after the first couple of episodes, I borrowed all three seasons on DVD from my public library and binge-watched them a couple of times. 

Source:  Wikipedia

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Blog review of Ripper Street television show

The series was created by Richard Warlow and lasted from 2012-2016.   It was broadcast on the BBC Two network.   The fictional series is set in the 1800’s in White Chapel, a hamlet in the East End of London, England. 

“White Chapel was considered one of the worst districts to live in even before the Ripper murders.   It was overcrowded, crime was high, living and sanitation conditions were horrendous, sheep and cattle were herded through the streets, only two in every ten children lived past the age of 5, the smell of raw sewage had to be unbearable, and each street was only lit by one gas lamp at night.   Dorsett Street was so bad that policemen had to enter in groups of four.  There were over 1200 prostitutes, some of whom plied their trade for as little as three pence or a loaf of bread.”  (https://strawberrytours.com)

Ripper Street is intense.  The series starts just as the Jack the Ripper murders cease.   At least five women’s bodies were found shredded during his or her rampage.   Killings after that were also blamed on him/her though they didn’t fit their MO (mode of operating or modus operandi).   Some believe Jack was a man but there were women trying to be licensed as doctors at that time.  If not for the strong character studies, the series would have been depressing.

Our “hero”, Detective Inspector Edmund Reid (played by Matthew Macfadyen), is based on a real policeman Edmund John James Reid in 1888.  In the series, Inspector Reid wants to develop a crime lab at his headquarters to help with identifying criminals, perhaps the first CSI (Crime Scene Investigation).   He recruits a former American military captain Homer Jackson (played by Adam Rothenberg) who was a medic in an American war.  The captain and his “wife” Long Susan (played by MyAnna Buring) operate a brothel which keeps quite a few women from walking the streets.   Houses of prostitution operated legally for the more upper-class prostitutes while the lower-class prostitutes had to wander the streets at night to sell their bodies.   Murders of prostitutes were not even covered in the newspapers, so it’s possible there were more murders committed than reported.   This made it easy for Jack the Ripper to get away with his/her murders.

This series also shows how police became the monsters that put as much fear into people’s hearts as the criminals.   Once the police saw the females’ mutilated bodies and other horrors, it would be hard to un-see such trauma or not to develop PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder.   Policemen were not allowed to use guns at first.   The lack of support financially or emotionally didn’t help either.  Detective Sergeant Bennett Drake (played by Jerome Flynn) is great as Inspector Reid’s sidekick who complained of not making enough money.  (Flynn was great also in Game of Thrones).  Eventually the Inspector works 24 hours a day and can’t relax because of the things he has seen, heard, and done.  

Drugs like “cocaine, cannabis, opium and their derivatives like laudanum were widely and legally available as painkillers and pick-me-ups in over-the-counter remedies from pharmacists.  The drugs were present in nerve tonics, throat lozenges and gargles.  They were used in local anesthetics, in wines, sherries, and ports.  They were commonplace among rich and poor alike.”    https://www.jack-the-ripper-tour.com/generalnews/sherlock-holmes-and-the-seven-percent-solution/

The most heartbreaking episode for me was in season 3, “Live Free, Live True”, in which women went to doctors to be healed after back-alley “doctors” mutilated their bodies because abortions were illegal.   I assume that the rich had their own doctors who kept their daughters’ secrets and gave abortions on demand when necessary.  

In this series, women were just starting to become doctors and running for political office.    However, even running for political office or having rights was illegal for women.    In this episode, a young woman is impregnated by her boss who loves her, but she doesn’t tell him until her near-death abortion and supposed help from a male doctor afterward.    But it turns out that the male doctor is experimenting on the young women so he can sterilize them to keep them from having babies in the future, not healing them.   The additional twist is that the young woman’s father-figure who has been with her all of her life is actually her mother, who works as hard as a man does.   I cried through the whole episode seeing what men and women had to go through in the 1800s.

Today, a little responsibility by both parties would make abortions less necessary.   Condoms as contraception are free in many places like colleges, some doctor’s offices, etc.  And, abortions were never meant as birth control.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Review of the movie The Happytime Murders (2018)

“Noir gone porn with puppets”

“Noir is a genre of crime film or fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity.   It includes films or books that show the world as being unpleasant, strange, or cruel.”  Dictionary definition.

This adult spoof movie had potential to be a passable film noir movie.   It had the trappings of noir without the substance.   It had the deadpan disgraced detective puppet turned private investigator (well voiced by Bill Barretta), the tense relationship between the detective and his human female partner/former lover/candy addict (played by Melissa McCarthy), the dutiful discrete human secretary (played by Maya Rudolph) who had the detective’s back, etc.    I liked Melissa McCarthy in Ghostbusters, Spy, Brides Maids, Life of the Party, The Heat, and The Boss.

The technical part with the green screens and the puppets and their voices were excellent work as in all Muppet work, but I believe a movie with puppets could have been done without the extremely overt sex acts though.

However, the title was misleading, implying that a child could see it.   I saw Muppets on the DVD cover and didn’t realize that it was rated “R”.   It was just a matter of time when porn came to puppetry.

Animation has been into adult themes for the last 20 years with The Simpsons, American Dad, Family Guy, South Park, Futurama, etc.   Parents have had a losing battle finding television shows or movies that young children can see where children are not telling their parents to “eat their shorts.”   Disney’s “Snow White” was adult enough with showing little children a witch who fed Snow White a poisoned apple.  The many renditions of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” in books and movies may be frightening to young children.

One theme in the movie is racism in which a puppet says, “all I do is sing and dance” and that theme is repeated by humans who don’t care that the puppets have been killed.   Other themes include puppets in the sex trade, puppets as endangered species, puppets in addiction, puppets tortured by bullies on the street with no recourse, puppets gambling, etc.

“Murders” implies that there will be killing.   Seems like all of the puppets get killed by being gunned down, exploded, overdosing on candy, etc.; especially the ones who were prior puppet stars of the Happytime television program.

I remember watching Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Electric Company, etc. when my child was young.   Today, children know more about technology than their parents do and are able to access what they want.

Wikipedia calls it “a 2018 American black comedy crime film” in which “puppets and humans co-exist”, but not well.   But, if you like this kind of movie, this is your chance.

The movie, “The Happytime Murders” (2018), was directed by Brian Henson, produced by a multitude of people including Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, Brian and Lisa Henson, etc.; story by Todd Berger and Dee Austin Robertson; and screen play written by Todd Berger.

Source:  https://IMdB.com

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Review of two movies:  Bãhubali:  The Beginning (2015), and Bãhubali 2:  The Conclusion (2017).

Per Wikipedia, Bahubali: The Beginning is the seventh-highest grossing Indian film worldwide.    Both these movies are about political intrigue, love, greed, betrayal, etc.–the stuff that epic legends are made of.

Two sexy brothers, Bahubali (played by Prabhas) and Bhallaladevi (played by Rana Daggubati), were raised by the same woman from infancy, Queen Mother Sivagami (played by Ramya Krishnan).   Both the brothers were mama’s boys and tremendously conceited.

Although Bahubali winked at the girls, was always the apple of his mother’s eye, and certainly had the popular vote, he still cared about his people, gave to them and helped them every chance he got.  We use the word “ma” as short for mother, but Bahubali used it as a term of endearment when he addressed his queen mother, and his slave “uncle”, Kattappa.  Bahubali’s son, Shivudu, also used this term when he addressed his foster mother who he believed was his real mother.

Bahubali found love when he was sent by his mother to see what was going on in their country to get experience.   Acting as a poor simpleton, Bahubali met princess Devasena (played by Anushka Shetty), who fought alongside her men to defend herself.   She smelled Bahubali and knew he was neither poor nor simple.  Sexy.

When his Princess not yet betrothed, tried to walk across the short bridge to the boat that would take her to meet his mother, the bridge breaks and Bahubali jumps in the water between the boat and the princess in order for her to walk barefoot across his shoulders to the boat.  Sexy.

The evil that men do.   Bijjaladeva (played by Nassar) was always the buzzing insect in everyone’s ear, always drunk and looking out for himself by pretending to care about his son, Bhallaladevi, who was in line to be king.   He was constantly suggesting bad ideas to the Queen mother who had the last say on everything.  He seemed to poison everything with words.

After Bhallaladevi stole the throne, he terrorized his people, made thousands more slaves, wanted everything his brother had, and took for himself what his people were entitled to have, including having a 100-foot gold statue made of himself.   We see in the celebration that many peoples other than Indians were there to pay tribute to King Bhallaladevi.   Soldiers were numerous and expendable at any time.

Later on, in part 2, the queen is bamboozled into putting out her good son and his pregnant wife.   But that backfired because Bahubali had to go and live with the poor.   Because of his good nature, he and his wife prospered among the people.

Another trick.   When Bahubali found out that his treasured slave, Kattappa, who he called “uncle”(played by Sathyaraj) was in trouble, he ran off by himself in his overconfidence in his super strength which proved his undoing.   The Queen mother was once again bamboozled into agreeing to Bahubali‘s execution, mainly because his princess was so outspoken which caused Bahubali to kill a man not in her station who attempted to put his hands on the princess in public.

How the queen could think anything bad of Bahubali is beyond my understanding.    But it’s difficult to see when you have the constant buzzing in your ears from people around you who don’t have the country’s best interest in their hearts.

When the people didn’t like what rulers did, they made it known vocally, and with undercover rebellions—a part of both movies.

A big surprise to me was how the man who played the hideous Kalakeya king (Prabhakar) looks in real life.  We don’t get much back story on this king.  This was the biggest war waged out of both movies.   What a hunk.

These Indian movies were directed by S. S. Rajamouli and written by his father, K. V. Vijayyendra.   Budget 250 crore ($2.5 billion).

I was unfortunate enough to miss both of these films on the big screen.   I don’t remember them being advertised in Baltimore, Maryland.   If they were, I didn’t see the ads.

As I told you before, subtitled movies may be some of the best movies you get to see.  Pretty soon you can grasp what’s going on and don’t necessarily have to read every word.

I recently viewed a library dvd of each title.    I was overwhelmed with the music, the dances, the costumes, the cinematography, the feats of strength, special effects, colors, exquisite fight scenes, etc.

I am ready for Bahubali 3, which I will go to the movie theater to see beautiful people of color on the big screen!

Other sources that will give you information on Indian history/mythology:

“Is Bahubali a Real Story from History?” by Harpreet Kaur, April 28, 2017, https://www.speakingtree.in

“Is the Telegu Movie ‘Bahubali’ a Real Story from History?”, https://www.quora.com

Wikipedia on Jainism, ancient Indian religion

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

 

Review of 2018 Aquaman movie

On Saturday, December 22, 2018, I saw the Aquaman movie in 3D at the Security Mall AMC theatre at the 7:30 p.m. show.  I was charged $15.49 which I thought was a bit much, but I felt it would be worth it to see Jason Momoa’s animal magnetism on the big screen.

I never saw Jason on “Baywatch”, but I did see him as the villainous werewolf in the movie “Wolves”.    Filmmakers did not pretty him up as movie leading men are prone to be.    In close-ups, he looks like a seafaring guy with lines in his face that could have come from working in the sun and wind.

Jason is not a pretty boy, but a gritty man on the order of a Charles Bronson-type who commands the screen when he’s on it.   Even without the hair, he would still look like he could kick ass and take names later.

Arthur Joseph Curry (played by Jason Momoa) didn’t start out as Aquaman.   He was just a fun-loving average guy who enjoyed fishing and guzzling gigantic beers with his lighthouse dad (played by Temuera Morrison).   Despite kids teasing him as he grew up because of his ability to communicate with sea life and his special abilities in water, he was always rescuing people who were in trouble in the water.   Otherwise, he just wanted to live an ordinary life.

But he’s no ordinary guy because of his mother.   However, his human father never told him about his inhuman powerful mother Atlanna who was queen of Atlantis (played by Nicole Kidman).   She was forced into a loveless marriage with the then-current sea king and left her lighthouse keeper/sweetheart to protect her human baby.

The queen’s legitimate heir to her throne and Arthur’s inhuman step brother, King Orm or Ocean Master (played by Patrick Wilson) starts a war with humankind because of humans polluting the oceans he says.   But it seems to me that he just wanted everybody to recognize him as king.    He uses fear tactics to bully all the other sea peoples into war with the land humans.   Some of the nonhuman beings under the sea resembled the mythical traditional mermen/women with fish tails while the rest were walking on legs like humans and they all could live and breathe underwater.

A great scene was when the sea creatures brought all the pollution and trash back to the coasts so that humans could see how much they have polluted the oceans.

Arthur’s advisor as he grew up human was Nuidis Vulko, (played by Willem Dafoe), who trained him in the skills he would someday need as king of the sea.

Mera is Vulko’s powerful daughter (played by Amber Heard) who comes to Arthur for help to stop the coming war between sea creatures and land humans.   He wants no part of this war but is forced into it by his step brother harming humans.   Mera is aloof at first because she doesn’t know Arthur.   All she knows is what her father has told her about him.   Arthur becomes Aquaman after he passes the test of retrieving the royal trident that no one else could do as well as saves his mom’s life with Mera’s help.

Director James Wan did a great job of getting that story told as a love and action story.   He pulls it all together so it’s full of fast-paced action and no way boring.

The actors make you believe they are underwater, and it doesn’t hurt for the special effects to make their hair move in water every time they are supposed to be in water.   You can tell a ginormous amount of money was spent on the special effects for this movie.   The visualization was done by a multitude of companies including Lucasfilm.   The powerful drum-busting music was wonderful throughout the movie.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Review of the book, The Devil You Know, by Mary Monroe

Ms. Monroe’s adult story is told simply without being too graphic or explicit.   It is a tale of people who are unsatisfied with their life situations as some of us are.

The three main characters are Lola Mae, an unmarried woman; Joan, a married woman; and Calvin, a married man.    All three join an online sex club where they meet a lot of other people who are strangers to them—an exciting, but possibly dangerous adventure any way.   They each get to meet other members of the opposite sex.  The remaining characters are sex club members, family members, church folk, and neighbors.

However, Calvin happens to be a serial killer which Ms. Monroe wastes no time in telling the reader.   We’ve all heard of similar dangerous situations, but the author has created meaty characters with their own individual lives.

Single Lola Mae has lived with and been tortured nearly daily by her step relatives since her father’s death.  Her step mom, Bertha, makes her do chores and prepare her step-mom’s “lack of hair.”   Her lazy married step-sister and step-nephew are always on Lola’s back.  Lola always has to explain herself to people who don’t give a damn about her as well as account for her whereabouts 24/7.   Lola has a job at a supermarket, but if you are going to do this much clandestine adventure, you need to have a house or apartment of your own at the age of 32.

Joan, a little older than Lola, is married to a boring guy, Reed, who had let himself go weight-wise and sex-wise.   Reed blackmails Joan into staying with him by often threatening to kill himself if Joan leaves him.   Joan is Lola’s best friend.    Lola helps Joan keep her sex club secret from her husband, but her husband also has a secret.

Calvin, the serial killer, has met Lola who he describes as “drop-dead gorgeous”.   But she has one major flaw—she looks like the wife he secretly killed a few years ago for being unfaithful.   Calvin had choices in this situation.   He could have divorced his wife, or they could have gone to couples’ therapy.  Not everything has to end in murder.   He paints Lola with the same characteristics, but she is not an unfaithful type and dreams of being married to Calvin.

Here’s where the suspense comes in.    Oh, there’s no doubt that Calvin’s going to kill Lola, but when?  So, for several chapters, when you think Lola had breathed her last, she doesn’t.    But you know the hammer is going to drop any minute.   In your mind, eventually you start thinking, why doesn’t he just get it over with?   But, no, he uses many substitutes to satisfy his murder monkey before he can set the right time to kill Lola.

The novel is light and entertainingly pleasant—a book to take your mind off your own troubles.   Each chapter is titled by the person’s name who is telling their side of the story, which makes it very personal.  Put all the ingredients together and you get a wild ride that keeps you on your toes.   The book was not boring!   Per Calvin, “murder is complicated”.

© 2017 Mary Monroe, Kensington Publishing Corporation

Review by Rosa L. Griffin

Miriam Margolyes; Josefina López

I watched a compilation of the Graham Norton show online and fell in love with his very humorous show.   On one such compilation, Miriam Margolyes had been a frequent guest on his show and got along very well with his diverse guests.

Miriam Margolyes is an Australian-British actress and voice artist.  She was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in dramatic arts.

The first time I saw her was as an instructor, Professor Sprout, in the Harry Potter movies.   The next time I saw her she was portraying Miss Fisher’s snobby, prudish, bossy aunt, Prudence Elizabeth Stanley, in the Australian television series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. 

Talk about playing against type—she is nothing like the part she was playing on that show.   She has a great sense of humor and great timing with her jokes.  Miriam had every guest cracking up in each episode of Graham’s show in which she appeared.  Will.i.am, an American rapper, was one of them.   Her appearances on Graham’s show have made me one of his fans.   I’ll have to start watching his show.

Real Women Have Curves

I want to look into this comedy, Real Women Have Curves, by Josefina López.   Josefina is a Chicana playwright.   Her play about Hispanic female workers has been made into a movie for which she is also co-author of the screenplay.

Sources:

Wikipedia

http://www.miriammargolyes.com

http://www.josefinalopez.co/index.html

twitter.com/grahnort   Graham Norton is an Irish television and radio presenter, comedian, actor and author based in the United Kingdom

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

 

Review of movie Leave Her to Heaven, based on a book by Ben Ames Williams

Here’s another example of a fictional psychopath in the movie “Leave Her to Heaven” (1945) which was Fox’s highest-grossing film of the 1940’s.

The movie is about a beautiful socialite Ellen Behrendt (played by Gene Tierney, nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award).   Ellen is the former fiancé of the recently elected county district attorney, Russell Quinton (played by Vincent Price).  When she meets Richard, she quits Russell without any explanation.

Novelist Richard Harland (played by Cornel Wilde) is invited to her parents’ house for dinner.   Ellen leaves their house for 12 hours until Richard comes looking for her.  A clue to her personality, her father refused to go looking for her.  Unfortunately, Richard marries Ellen and becomes the male in her life who must give his full attention to her at all times after her father’s death.

Husband Richard soon realizes that Ellen is jealous of his writing, his adopted sister-in-law, his brother—anything or anyone that takes attention away from her.  Unfortunately, Richard was too gullible to see that his wife was dangerous until she herself told him so.

Ellen’s character fits the characteristics of a psychopath.  She possesses “a lack of empathy and feeling for others, selfishness, lack of guilt, and a superficial charm that manifests exclusively to manipulate others”. (See my essay, “Are You a Psychopath?” published in WordPress).  But, the romance changes into a horror movie when Ellen takes it to the dark side of psychopathy by drowning her husband’s disabled brother Danny (played by Darryl Hickman) in the lake, killing their unborn child, and committing suicide to frame her husband and adopted sister, Ruth (played by Jeanne Crain).

The most unbelievable part (Oh, forgive them Perry Mason) is the laughable trial scene highlighting Vincent Price.  Vincent Price’s prosecutor/anguished boyfriend as well as Richard’s defense lawyer/friend, Glen Robie (played by Ray Collins) were the worst lawyers.   Ray Collins was cheated out of the role he could have played.  His character Robie and the judge were asleep at the wheel.

The prosecutor badgered the husband unendingly without one objection from Richard’s lawyer/friend for the last third of the movie.  The prosecutor should have recused himself from this case because of a conflict of interest and lack of impartiality, knowing his romantic background with Ellen before her marriage to Richard.   I guess the filmmakers wanted to create more horror by adding Vincent Price to the horror abounding in the movie.

Normally, I stop watching a movie that loses its senses which this movie did by then.   But I had to see what was so Oscar-worthy.   Gene Tierney’s performance was Oscar-worthy.  She made me believe she was a killer.   However, Cornel Wilde wasn’t given much to work with in this part.  His character was clueless most of the movie as people can be when they are in love.  He sat still and looked handsome.

The other thing that I didn’t like about the movie was the title, “Leave Her to Heaven”, because it implied that Ellen should go to heaven because she was so good.  But, the book author, Ben Ames Williams, drew the title from Shakespeare’s quote in Hamlet, “leave her to heaven, and to those thorns that in her bosom lodge to prick and sting her.”  The title should have been: “Send her straight to Hell!”

This was the second movie in which I saw Gene Tierney as a murderous psychopath, but in the movie, “Razor’s Edge”, she killed people emotionally, not physically.   Otherwise, she was usually the epitome of innocence in her film roles.

Sources:  Wikipedia, IMDb.com

Written by Rosa L. Griffin