Party and Play (Film Thoughts: Goodbye Seventies)

Todd Verow’s ‘Goodbye Seventies’ has a story that has been told numerous times already. It’s about a bunch of men in the 70s who start to make gay porn, and become successful at it, and then have heartbreaking ending, as the new decade ushers in AIDS. But Todd Verow is a different kind of filmmaker. Under his hands, his film becomes a celebration of a certain kind of smut film, so specific to the era. The movie is filmed like one of those films, complete with grainy film, stilted dialogue, awkward pauses. You will be transfixed watching this as if it is trying to hypnotize you. I admit not ‘getting’ it t first but once you get its wave length, you will understand (and appreciate) what exactly Verow is doing.

Boys, Always (Film Thoughts: To All The Boys Always & Forever)

Valentine’s Day is here again, and I normally just ignore this holiday but i was walking last night and felt that slight pang – seeing flower vendors on the street selling roses. But it passes – there’s always rom coms. And Netflix has released the final installment on their ‘To All The Boys Series,’ this one sub titled ‘Always and Forever.’

Directed by Michael Fimognari, we see our high school lover Lara Jean and Peter spend their Senior year in High School, and you know what that means – college applications, proms, and (though perhaps a little late) sex. The film offers no surprises in any of these fronts, but Lana Condor and Noah Centineo have mastered their chemistry that it hardly matters – you take everything easily, and it comes out sugary sweet like the cupcakes that Lara Jean bakes.

I wish I loved the film instead of just liking it though. I found it just a bit too long, and some of the situations felt forced, though the actors sell them well. Condor’s styling seems a little ‘off’ to me – I guess they are trying to make her look older – and Centineo seems a little bored (his body is jacked though) All in all, the film is not as memorable as the first one, but who are we kidding? The fans will lap this up.

Moments (Movie Thoughts: The Map of Tiny Perfect Things)

I was skeptical about Lev Grossman’s ‘The Map of Tiny Perfect Things.’ I mean, didn’t we just all watch ‘Palm Springs’ last year, and here we have the same conceit – the ‘infinite loop’ kind of day, but with teenage characters. But it promised me romantic comedy, and I am always game for that, so I acquiesced.

It’s not bad. I got bored with the Groundhog Day idea in the beginning, but the film is trying to say something: I think that we should enjoy tiny little ‘perfect moments’ because in the end that is what matters in life. In the Covid world we live in nowadays, it is resonating. There is some cute acting from the leads, so I didn’t get bored, and mostly believed what they are selling. But mostly, I felt like I have seen all of this before… as late as yesterday.

Unmusical (Movie Thoughts: Music)

The pop star Sia has directed her first film, titled ‘Music,’ and I really don’t know what to say. It’s not bad in the worst sense of the word, but it’s bad. Like insultingly bad. It’s about an autistic young woman named Music, played by her muse Maddie Zigler. And in this day and age, and Ziegler portrays her in teh most exaggerated ‘autistic’ mannerisms, almost to the point that the character seems like a cartoon (Bugs Bunny has more subtlety, though) Irt totally takes you out of the story (and the film) and I am bewitched how this got made. Apparently, Sia has apologized and has said she will remove offensive scenes…but the version I saw still has quite a few of them, so…

And it’s not like the cast is full of hacks. I mean, we have Kate Hudson, and Leslie Odom Jr. Sia has peppered the film with music videos, and if there were any redeeming value for the movie, it would be those. Visually, they are interesting.

But I still can’t get over everything else.

Love or Leave (Music Thoughts: Love Me or Leave Me, Joanna Berkebile)

Joanna Berkebile’s ‘Love Me or Leave Me’ is a Spotify recommended album for me. Berkebile studied and used to perform opera in Los Angeles but has since moved to Kansas City and is now singing jazz. (I think she also is in real estate there)

First off, Berkebile has a great sense of rhythm. I like her here most when she is doing swinging tunes. Her voice has remnants of operatic style, but it isn’t too pronounced or distracting.

I just wished her music excited her more. To me, it just sounds….ordinary. I don’t know how I wished it would be, but it just kinda bores me.

Best and Free (Perfume Thoughts: Libre Eau de Parfum, YSL)

YSL Libre is my favorite perfume…that I don’t own. I remember sniffing this when it first came out and loving it instantly. But I never did get a full bottle of it. I would go to Sephora and spray…but I always say that as soon as I get a deal for it, I would buy it, but never did. Today I found a sample of the Eau de Parfum, and I am reminded of how gorgeous it is: and it blooms differently today in the cold-ish Southern California weather.

It’s an orange blossom scent, for sure, one fo y favorite notes of late. Mixed with lavender, it gives a unisex vibe, even though it is marketed towards womens. My favorite thing about the scent? It has a chamomile note that is calming and gives the perfume a ‘cold’ demeanor.

The scent also feels ‘dressed up,’ akin to the YSL Tuxedo. I can see wearing it with a dinner jacket on a formal event. As I wear it to the office, it adds sheen to my office wear. I would say for me this is the best commercial; release in recent years,

On A Night Like This (Film Thoughts: One Night in Miami)

Regina King’s ‘One Night in Miami,’ for the most part, happens on the night of Feb 25, 1964. Cassius Clay isn’t Muhammad Ali just yet, and he has just became the Heavyweight Champion of the World from Sonny Liston. Sam Cooke has just flopped at the Copacabana in New York City, and Jim Brown is contemplating leaving his football career behind because of what he feels as exploitation of black players. And Malcom X is Malcom X. the film is an adaptation of Kemp Powers’ play of the imagined conversation between the two legends inside a motel room on that fateful night.

And most of the time, it feels like a play (that’s not a complaint here) King is an actor, so she gets great performances from all the actors, but for some reason Leslie Odom Jr. (of ‘Hamilton fame) stood out for me. I have to say that the film felt just a little claustrophobic for me, and I wish King had opened it up more. I think maybe the performances were at times too intense? I also have to admit I am not the biggest fan of these four legends. i respect them as legends, surely, but I am not enough of a football or boxing fan to feel terribly excited. But on this Martin Luther King Jr weekend, I give them all props.

A Million Smells (Perfume Thoughts: 1 Million Parfum, Paco Rabanne)

The Mega Million lottery jackpot is rising and by chance I happened to come upon my sample of Paco Rabanne 1 Million Parfum, so I thought it was kind of ….fitting. I know this is a very popular Sephora commercial type of scent, so I wasn’t expecting much. But when I read up on it, I thought it had a nice back story from one of its noses, Quentin Busch:

“The original idea of this one comes from an accident: back from vacation I had two bottles broken in my leather bag… one was my sunscreen and the other a sample of cistus. The smell was absolutely divine! I captured it with one simple formula: a contrasted smell of salty monoï-tuberose blended with resinous leather…”

Suddenly it became a tad more interesting, and (drumroll) I liked this a lot. In the cold weather the coconut note felt kind of decadent, and it has that suntan lotion accord that i always like when I get to smell it. Sure, the tuberose here is a watery commercial kind, but it wasn’t offensively sweet. It skews more white floral than fruity, which is a good thing. I don’t know if I would buy it, to be honest, but I can see myself wearing it to work, for example. If I win the Meg Million jackpot, I would buy something else, though, haha.

Major Mayor (Television Thoughts: Mr Mayor, NBC)

I don’t know how I ended up watching ‘Mr Mayor’ on Hulu – It was suggested to me, and I just pressed play, not knowing anything about it. Well, it turns out it stars Ted Danson (ok, I guess) and the show was produced by Tina Frey and Robert Carlock (yay)

The premise of the show is ‘novel,’ if it were 2013, I guess. A businessman runs for mayor of Los Angeles… and wins! (He only did it to impress his teenage daughter) And of course, he surrounds himself with ‘wacky’ incompetent characters, a la Veep. Holly Hunter plays his nemeses, an ultra-progressive who he makes deputy mayor.

The pilot wasn’t really that funny (is it me, or are pilots mostly horrible?) But I have to admit I laughed somewhat on the second episode, where the mayor goes to events stoned. I think the show has a lot of potential, if the characters are given enough room to breathe and develop. I sometimes have long stressful days where I want to watch something light, and this show just might do that trick.

Noises Off (Movie Thoughts: The Ultimate Playlist of Noise, Hulu)

This is how I described Hulu’s ‘The Ultimate Playlist of Noise.’ – Imagine is Amazon’s ‘The Sound of Metal’ was produced by Netlix, and more specifically Netflix’s teen universe (except that if Netflix did this, it probably would have starred Noah Centineo)

The film is about a teenager, (Keann Johnson) who learns that because of a tumor, he will have to lose his hearing. So in order to prepare for it, he goes on a quest to record noises (bowling pins hitting, fireworks, etc) and go on some kind of road trip to accomplish this. He embarks on this with a young woman he falls for, and there is a back story of how, when he was a kid, he was rescued from a fire by his older brother, who perished from it.

There’s a lot to unpack there, but the approach is YA, so most of this is easy to digest. It helps that Johnson is a good actor, so it all goes down easy. But a lot of it is mindless, and the road trip part felt very formulaic for me. But the last part packs a lot of heart, so this isn’t as worthless as you would initially deem it to be. You could do worse.