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

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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

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely (A Quote)

This was a best-known quote of the 19th century British politician, historian, and moralist Lord John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton 1834-1902, in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887.  But, he was borrowing from other speakers or writers who earlier said it differently.

A king was the one with the most wealth and power.  This person thinks that all in their “kingdom” are pawns to do with as they please and they’ve done it so long that they believe their own hype.    They rule by threats, coercion, bargaining, murder, and compensating.   “…this option to impose on without any regard whatsoever for due process, becomes, in the hands of most, a license to harm, if not destroy the careers and lives of others.  Leadership incompetence” 1

“Absolute monarchies are those in which all power is given to, or as is more often the case, taken by, the monarch.   Examples were Roman emperors who thought they were gods and Napoleon Bonaparte who declared himself emperor”.2

There’s no room for absolute power in a democracy of checks and balances.  As seen recently, if you act only to build your own wealth, it will eventually come back to bite you in the behind.

As in the movie, The Man Who Would Be King (1975), based on Rudyard Kipling’s 1888 original story, two con men (Carnehan and Dravot, “British adventurers in British India”) sought their fortune in a foreign country, Afghanistan.   They were fellow freemasons to the journalist that they convinced to help them with their research.  They started out by helping people who were warring against each other and came up with satisfactory solutions.   But, then they went a few steps too far by becoming kings themselves over people whose customs they didn’t understand.

Since the holy men who lorded over all the local tribes declared Dravot (Sean Connery) a descendant of  a God because of the freemason symbol he wore around his neck, he basically was thought to be a God for a few months until he told the holy men that he was going to marry a local girl and father children.  The local girl was instructed to bite Dravot on the face causing him to bleed.  Seeing Dravot bleed, the holy men knew he was not a God, and executed him.

Two years later Carnehan (Michael Caine) returned to the journalist.   They had paid for their deceit.  Carnehan had been tortured, crippled, and released.   But, he showed the journalist (Christopher Plummer) the skeletal head of Dravot that was still wearing his golden crown.

Both actors did a wonderful job, especially Sean Connery’s character explaining that he felt this Godship was his calling, and he intended to mend his ways.   Had they left with the spoils before they were outed, as Carnehan wanted to do, they would have been wealthy men.   But, Dravot believed his own hype.

And, now we have another example of absolute power in the case of the Saudi Arabian American journalist executed in the Saudi consulate in Turkey recently.    He was the  same journalist who accompanied President 45’s business dealers to Saudi Arabia on past trips.  And, don’t forget the arms deal President 45 already made with the Saudis.

Sources:

  1. Dr. Robert Aziz, Huffington Post, https://m.huffpost.com
  2. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely (A Quote), https://www.phrases.org.uk
  3. Wikipedia, Rudyard Kipling, The Phantom ‘Rickshaw and other Eerie Tales

Submitted by Rosa L. Griffin

 

V O T I N G !

The 2018 Maryland local elections for governor and other officials takes place as follows:

  • Primary Election, Tuesday, June 26 (Early voting, Thursday, June 14 through June 21)
  • General Election, Tuesday, November 6 (Early voting, October 25 through November 1

For a voter registration application, visit www.elections.state.md.us/voter_registration/application.html

Source:  Northwest Voice, November 2017 (A free publication serving Owings Mills, Pikesville, Randallstown, Reisterstown, Windsor Mill, Woodlawn and Catonsville), P.O. Box 47266, Windsor Mill, MD 21244, Phone:  410-508-1424, Web:  nwvoicenews.com, Email:  info@nwvoicenews.com, Publisher:  Kenneth C. Brown, kennybrown@nwvoicenews.com

If you want to know who is running for office, visit this link: http://www.elections.state.md.us/elections/2018/primary_candidates/index.html

http://www.elections.state.md.us/elections/2018/index.html

Submitted by Rosa L. Griffin

Closer to the edge than we think

Who are the invisible people?     The people who are unemployed–seems like forever. The people who use drugs or alcohol to the exclusion of anything else in their lives. The people who pass by us on the street who appear to dress pretty well, but have no home.

People who are out on the street begging with their children. The people who show up at Ms. Bea Gaddy’s for food and shelter daily. The people who can’t keep possessions from year to year. They don’t have a history like most people do–in pictures–because mementos have been left behind in their constant moves when they lose their housing.

Inheritances of money and land as well as other opportunities that some people never get and may never get in life were lost because of ignorance (even with education), drugs, lack of education, happenstance, bad luck, etc.

John died from AIDS and Hepatitis. His girl friend, a drug user, went into the hospital before him, but John died.

Shannon lives with a man she hasn’t known long while she is paroled to a house that was supposed to be for five women in transition from drugs, etc. While at this house, Shannon observes that the directress of the house uses drugs along with several of the other occupants.

Another occupant of the house, Joyce, used to have five kids living with her, but all were taken away and split up between 3 different homes because of her and her boyfriend’s drug abuse when they were living in their own rented “slum landlord” house.

Another man, Sam, appears to be on his way to becoming an invisible man. For years, Sam was independent and set in his ways and well-to-do by all accounts. He worked all the time at a great-paying job, but managed to get himself and his mortgage on his home into large arrears.   Recently, I heard that Sam had got involved with drug dealers indirectly by coming to the rescue of a former female lover, Vivian, who in recent years had developed a large drug habit and stole drugs. Vivian, once part of Sam’s household, had moved several times since she used to live with Sam. From what I’ve heard, Sam was made to sell drugs because he got involved with Vivian’s problem.

Sam was a man who was single, owned his own home, car, and had a 401K and other stock options on his job. An invisible person would think Sam was rich and lucky, but another thing that leads to invisibility is that Sam cut all ties with his family years before.

Invisible people who cut ties with family or whose families cut the ties, end up buried as “John Doe’s”. There is no insurance to cover his or her death and burial. There are no mourners to give them the proper send-off–to note that they even existed! After all, even if you never get your 15 minutes of fame, it’s still nice to be acknowledged that you were here!

Hunter is an invisible person. He’s in a coma in a terminal care facility where he’s been for 10 years. His relatives stopped visiting him long ago after his stroke worsened into the coma. They say it’s because of drug abuse. This was a man who worked for a living and had an apartment with a girl friend and a child.

Invisibility can be any color, race, ethnicity, sexual persuasion, social group, or economic standing. Once you fall between the cracks, it’s very hard to come back into the visible world.

The things the invisible people leave behind show that they exist. Before I realized there were homeless people, I used to be indignant at the piles of “rags” I thought were trash. But the “trash” was really shelter and clothing for people. That’s also when I realized why I would spell urine in so many public places.

In the present time, we are all from a paycheck to a billion dollars away from invisibility.

Written by Rosa Griffin