A Bloody Bore Telecast (Television Thoughts: The 2021 Oscars)

I know reviews are all over the map, but for me, the Oscars was a big interminable bore. It was so bad that at point I fell asleep int he middle of the telecast and I don’t even know if that ever happened to me ever during an Oscars telecast.

I miss a host. I miss someone in charge, doing comedy bits, making sure the ceremonies are in order and is moving along in a reasonable pace. The long speeches were so boring – these people so self involved wen they know they can go on and on and on. This was a weird year, yes I get it, but also, most of these films were very accessible, and people should have been more familiar with them.

The winners? Eh. I was happy for the Korean woman from Minari, but also was kind of rooting for Glenn Close. Speaking of which, her comedy bit jolted everyone out of slumber last night. I mean, she saved the ceremony, and deserves an Oscar just for that. And guess what, I was rooting for Antony Hopkins anyway, and fee his win for ‘The Father’ is well-deserved.

Boys Behaving Badly (Movie Thoughts: Here Are The Young Men)

2003 Dublin is the setting for Eoin Macken’s ‘Here Are The Young Men,’ and despite a talented cast, it falls flat. It’s one of those kids behaving badly kind of film, although a.real narrative would have been nice. I am sure the book is all fleshed out but what we get here is endless scenes of these kids gallivanting, getting drunk and taking pills, vandalizing and basically acting like bums. Dean-Charles Chapman has a strong movie star presence, and Anya Taylor-Joy shows up from The Queens Gambit to sing a Joy Division song. Those are basically the most interesting things in this wandering feature.

A Mix of Mix (Perfume Thoughts” Mixed Emotions, Byredo)

Byredo’s scents may not always work, but you can be assured they will always be interesting. I wore their new release, Mixed Emotion, today, and the first word that came to my mind if I were to describe it? Odd.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing in my book. This is a scent that challenges, but at the same time gives a unique kind of pleasure for me. It’s a tea scent – Mate – and that note permeates the whole time you are wearing this. Combined with a very dry black currant, the mix is unusual, and at times it could be baffling, but I found myself sniffing my arm numerous times to get a whiff of it again and again.

This got me thinking that nowadays, a scent has to wow me for me to want a full bottle of it. Most times I like something upon sampling, but tell myself later on that I can live without it. This… makes me think, it makes me contemplate. It’s definitely unique, I will give it that, and for some reason I am particularly drawn tot his. But, in the end, would I want this in my wardrobe? I find I have so many scents that I am just wanting to finish. I think now I want perfumes that continually interest me, will keep me engaged even after a couple of wearings. I have mixed emotions about Mixed Emotions, and maybe that’s the point.

Gonna Go Through It Together (Film Thoughts: Together Together)

Nikole Bekwith’s ‘Together Together’ premiered at Sundance earlier this year, and I wanted to see this film so badly but couldn’t get a ticket, and I heard so many good things about it that I was determined to see this as soon as I can. And my instincts were right – this is a wonderful film, the first one that touched me deeply in a long while, and for now, my. favorite film of the year.

Bekwith takes the rom com genre and its tropes and spins it, flips it, reverses it. You think the movie is going somewhere familiar (and I was totally fine with that) but it upends itself and gives you something even more meaningful.

Patti Harrison plays Anna, who agrees to be the surrogate to single guy Matt (Ed Helms) Anna is fiercely independent and determined to make this a business arrangement. But we all know that nothing in life is such, and both characters learn to accept and feel.

Helms is terrific. I only know of him from his stupid comedies but he shows surprising sensitivity here. And Harrison is a find, a modern day romantic leading lady – I hesitate to add that she os tarns because all in all it doesn’t matter, but her performance here just proves that point more effectively than anything else. I found myself laughing and crying, and that last frame will haunt anyone forever. Run and go see this film.

Zoe Bossa (Music Thoughts: Shades of Love, Zoe Scott)

It’s 420, so let’s chill, and maybe listen to… bossa nova music? Sure, why not mon. Right now I am spinning Zoe Scott’s ‘Shades of Love’ and is fits the bill just right. Scott is apparently a rock artist who shifted gears and recorded an album of bossa nova music. She employs just the right light touch in here, with her versions of ‘Quiet Nights,’ ‘Wave,’ and ‘Once I Loved’ among others. She sets some pop songs in the same setting, like My Cherie Amour,’ and ‘Baby It’s You.’

She doesn’t do anything ground breaking but these tracks mostly work. Her versions of Amy Winehouse’s ‘You Know I’m No Good’ feels kind of gimmicky, and her “Triste’ lacks melancholy but for the most part these are nice pleasant versions of these songs,

Tagged (Movie Thoughts: Reefa)

It is interesting how graffiti has evolved over the years. Before, it was a bit of a nuisance. But nowadays, I would be the first one to pose ion front of it for the Gram. When I was last in Miami, I visited the Wynwood District where much if teh film ‘Reefa’ is set – it has walls and walls of beautiful artwork. This film, directed by Jessica Kavana Dorbusch, celebrates the short life of Israel Reefa Hernandez, an eighteen year old graffiti artist senselessly killed in Miami.

I like his art a lot, but I think the film falls short. It shows aa great passion for hsi art, and shows how this passion led to his demise. The screenplay has huge holes and the characterizations aren’t well established. The actors have great chemistry with each other – you believe this is a real family – but beyond that I don’t know if we really knew the characters well. I found myself wishing for something more. Still, Miami is photographed beautifully, with vibrant colors that match its people.

Yellow Rose (Perfume Thoughts: Born in Roma Yellow Dream, Valentino)

I bought something at Macy’s the other day and to my surprise, I found a sample vial of Valentino Born In Roma Yellow Dream in my bag. Mind you, I don’t think I have even smelled the original Valentino Born In Roma so have nothing to base this flanker on.

Based on the promotional material of this scent, the perfume only has three notes: lemon, rose, and white musk. And that’s a good sign for me – nothing extraneous, no bullcrap notes on paper. And for the most part, the scent delivers just that.

A big lemon blast opens upon spray. It’s a little on the synthetic side, but not the wort thing. Then a big bouquet of roses blooms, and it’s the fresh dewy kind. And that is basically it. the drydown is still a white-musk rose.

I honestly don’t mind it, but then again I have been on a rose kick lately.. It certainly feels ‘yellow’ with the citrus element in there. It’s an inoffensive, kinda boring scent, but it is also not as bad as it could have been. It skews more sporty, but with just the right touch of floral, and is perfect, say for running around grocery shopping on a Saturday morning. It’s a nice mid-weight summer scent.

One For The Young (Television Thoughts: Younger S07 E01 – E04, Paramount+, Hulu)

Four episodes into the seventh season of ‘Younger,’ and I cannot believe this is the final season. Are we ready to say goodbye to these people? I think I have been writing abut my thoughts of the show since the first episode of the first season, and I don’t know if I can let go just yet. But it’s been a while since last time, and I honestly had to take a refresher on where the characters are right now.

Charles has proposed to Liza, and Josh has a kid, Check. Kelsey was head of the board but she ceded it back to Charles. Check. Diana got married to the plumber guy. Check.

Looks like Diana is honeymooning, but four episodes in and she has not come back yet (Apparently, her absence is COVID related) And Liza says no to Charles. I understand her – she has come from a bad first marriage and still has PTSD.

The first four episodes are a lot of fun – it pokes fun at a lot of things, and doesn’t even mention he pandemic, which is good, because aren’t we all sick of talking about it. Charles is broken from Liza’s rejection and isn’t taking it well, and having a fling with Quinn, played by Laura Benanti. By the way, aren’t you glad we live ina world where both Sutton Foster and Laura Benanti are on the same television show. I am sorely missing Miriam Shor, who plays Diana. I miss everything about her, including her wonderful statement necklaces, although they are giving Lauren more to do. She tries her hard, bu tit isn’t Diana. I am curious abut where and who Liza eventually ends up with – I know both Josh and Charles have fans.

Physical Attraction (Movie Thoughts: Monday)

For Mickey & Chloe, it was supposed to be a one-night stand. It’s a crowded Greek beach party, and they are introduced to each other, and before you can say oppa, they are kissing each other on the dance floor. The next morning, we see them buck naked on the beach, being arrested by the police. Sounds like the genesis of a romantic love story, right?

As it turns out in Argyris Papadimotropolous’s film, yes. But no. We see the couple go through things as couple do, but for me, it’s soulless. We never see what attracts them to each other, besides the physical attraction. Much has been said about the all-out nudity in this film, but it never amounts to anything sexy, in my opinion. The couple have non-stop sex, but I never felt connected to each of the characters – Mickey and Chloe never felt real, just pieces of cardboard. It’s a shame – the Greek landscape is wasted, and the actors, too. They try hard but you can only do so much with cardboard.

What He Knows From Heart (I Know More Now, Brian de Lorenzo)

I had a realization while I was listening to ‘I Know More Now,’ Brian de Lorenzo’s new album (his new one after decades) because when i first listened to the album, i wasn’t too fond of it It felt a little too ‘cabaret,’ and I bit self-indulgent. But I listened to it more, and I found a lot more to like about it. The song selection is definitely odd – a mixture of lesser known songs and ones that are (to me) iconic pieces for other people, De Lorenzo has a nice sweet voice, but it could be a bit colorless, and teh piano arrangements at times verged on recital-like. But I think, all in all, it’s an album that will catch you by pleasant surprise.

First, the good. The album title is derived from one of my favorite songs ‘No More,’ from Marvin Hamlisch and his ‘The Goodbye Girl’ musical. I consider this song a secret – nto many peopel have done it, and it was nice to see De Lorenzo give it a gay ‘twist.’ And I have heard numerous versions of ‘When October Goes’ that I was elated to find his version tenderly appealing. And the funny ‘Entering Marion’ with all its double entendres made me chuckle. But he didn’t add anything to ‘Second Hand Baby grand’ from Smash to distinguish his version from others and can we get a moratorium on ‘Waving Through A Window’ because it’s just so icky.

So, a little bit o fa mixed bag here. But I think some of these songs will end up on my daily playlist, so the good outweighs the bad.