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

Advertisements

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 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

Despacito (Slowly)

Recently, I had been hearing a song in Spanish called Despacito and I was curious to find out what it meant because I was dancing in the car every time I heard it.

The hottest lines in English for me were:

“I want to undress you in kisses slowly firmly in the walls of your labyrinth”.

“want you to show my mouth your favorite places…”

The song is a collaboration between Puerto Rican pop artist Luis Fonsi and Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee.   At that time, Despacito (Slowly) “was the most-streamed song of all time”.  (Hanlon)

“The reggaton-pop song was released on January 13, 2017 and topped the charts of 40 countries.”   It was even made into a remix featuring Justin Bieber on April 17, 2017.    (Pemberton)

Sources:

Allegra T. Hanlon on July 19, 2017, Billboard.com.

Becky Pemberton, April 10, 2018, https://thesun.co.uk.

Submitted by Rosa L. Griffin

Four Factors–Great Sex for a Man

On 6/15/18, Matthew Boggs on Youtube suggested four things that men would like in sex.

They were:

  1. Frequency
  2. Variety (“routine lulls the brain to sleep”, “different rooms”)
  3. Fantasy (“fulfillment of same”)
  4. Intensity

Those four things are also important to a lot of women.

Maybe the men who don’t like sex much should get together with the women or partners who don’t like sex much.   You just know there are some out there.   And, leave us others to it.

Check out Matthew on Youtube.

Submitted by Rosa L. Griffin

 

 

 

 

Review of book: Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James

Last week, I borrowed and read the book Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James.  This is her first book of three in the series.  This week, I’m reading Fifty Shades Darker, the second book in the series.   I already have the third book, Fifty Shades Freed.

I borrowed all 3 books from the library at the same time.   However, I paid to see all three movies (my control-freak side) on the big screen.  I needed closure to see how their sado-masochistic (S&M) adventure worked out.    I have to find the review I wrote of the first movie and I will be writing a review of the book trilogy as a whole.

I read someone’s comment before I saw the first movie that her books couldn’t possibly be bestsellers because they are so poorly written.  That commenter was a liar.   E. L. James’ books are well-written from pretty sex-novice character Anastasia Steele’s point of view in her turbulent affair with handsome rich young man, Christian Grey.

Another commenter asked why Christian Grey had to be rich.   Being poor is not something I want to fantasize about.  Fantasy is how we escape a condition we don’t want to be in.   Been there–lived that!

“Laters, baby!”

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m still writing a review of Jodi Picoult’s book, Small Great Things.   The review is coming soon.

 

Another comment was that

Review of movie: Diary of a Nymphomaniac

By Rosa L. Griffin

In the French movie with subtitles, Diary of a Nymphomaniac (2008), a young woman, Valerie (Belen Fabra),  “discovered” sex with a young single man.  And, with any new experience you enjoy, you want to keep partaking of it.  She thought she would stay with him forever, but he refused to keep up with her demands for sex.  Her second man was married and also refused to keep up with her needs.  So, she was labeled as a sex addict or nymphomaniac.

So, with her next man, she attempted marriage and discovered that he was a cruel drug addict, so the marriage was off.   Feeling that she may as well be what she was being labeled, Valerie turned to prostitution so that she could enjoy sex often.  However, she made the mistake of falling in love with a customer who was not in love with her.  She was definitely looking for love in the wrong place.

The most poignant scene in the brothel was her making love with a paraplegic who only had feelings in his hands.   However, she was treated very badly by another customer—her first anal rape by a scraggly old drunk—and her female madam tried to get her to take a dead female lover’s place.

Valerie had a great rapport with her grandmother to whom she could talk with any time about anything, played by Geraldine Chaplin, who spoke French fluently.

The bottom line is that Valerie was looking for love, not just sex.   She was not a nymphomaniac and did not have sex with anyone and everyone she met with no thought for the consequences—which is a loose definition of nymphomania.     I believe that you should pursue sex on your own terms, instead of settling for the first man or woman to come along.    But, how will you know unless you can experiment safely?

I disagree with IMDb (Internet Movie Database) that Valerie eventually found redemption in the version that I saw.    There was no need for redemption as she was, like men, experimenting with sex.   However, what she found was that she was responsible for her own decisions and could handle that responsibility.

P.S. Give foreign films a chance.   Yes, you have to read the subtitles, but most of them are worth taking the time.

Some interesting resources:

https://m.fictionpress.com/s/2034269/Memoirs-of-a-Nymphomaniac.   Delightful poem

www.xojane.com/it-happened-to-me/sex-addiction-more-than-just-a-bad-habit

https://theconversation.com/what-makes-a-woman-a-nymphomaniac-20306

http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-facts-about-nymphomaniacs.php

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/may/07/confessions-of-a-menopausal-nymphmaniac-sex-dating-apps

Written by Rosa L. Griffin