Die Another Day (Movie Thoughts: Four Good Days)

Fresh from Glenn Closes’s another Oscar defeat comes ‘Four Good Days,’ which is another bait-y role for her. I don’t know why the Academy just won’t let her win as she certainly deserves one for her body of work (I thought she was very good in ‘The Wife’ and should have won for that) Yes, I know that sometimes she can be on the over-acting side. But then again they gave one to Al Pacino, and he is the poster child for that, so…

Anyway, I liked this film. It veers more towards a PSA, After School special, and is a little on the soapy overwrought side but both Close and Mila Kunis, who plays her drug addicted daughter, are believable enough to sell the story. It shows addiction as an ongoing process, and something that can not be solved quickly. I have to say that the story can sometimes be exhausting, but maybe that’s the point. That’s how you would feel if you were in that situation. As a film, though, it’s okay but probably not something you want to see over and over.

Irish Eyes (Movie Thoughts: finding You)

Brian Baugh’s ‘Finding You’ has a very cute trailer, and I am a sucker for rom coms so I got sucked into watching it. It’s not a bad film – surely I have seen worse – but it is also not that inspired. I know some people have called this as the ‘millennial Nothing Hill’ but it just doesn’t have the charm and star power of that.

The story is also a bit…dated, focusing on an actor who is ‘trapped’ in a situation where he pretends to be in love with his leading lady. That premise is a little bit last millennium, to be honest. I don’t think that kind of situation will realistically exist.

The film plays out exactly how you would think it would play, although its two hour running time can probably be trimmed a bit. Jedediah Goodacre, the male lead, plays his role like a little bit like a wet noodle but I guess that’s fine since the film is set in Ireland and it always rains there. On a nice summer day, the film could be a bit of a refresher, but you will forget it right way.

In The Name Of The Father (Book Thoughts:

I really thought Jonathan Parks-Ramage’s ‘Yes Daddy’ was one fo those fun frothy summer reads. I knew nothing about it beforehand except for the fact that it had a gay protagonist. And the beginning of the book kind of felt that way. It turns out this book is a modern gothic thriller. That genre is normally not my cup of tea but I found the book very interesting, and as a natter of fact couldn’t stop reading it till the end – I finished it in three sittings. This book takes you to a wild journey and is totally unpredictable. You think it is going some place but takes a left turn somewhere. There were times I felt infuriated with Jonah, the main character/narrator b uty that even made the book more engrossing for me. I have to say that thsi is pretty well-written and is an auspicious debut novel from Mr. Parks-Ramage. I bet it becomes a summer hit.

Fashion Show (Series Thoughts: Halston, Netflix)

Ryan Murphy takes on Halston in Netflix’s ‘Halston,’ and just like a lot of things Murphy, it isimperfect with flashes of brilliance and mediocrity. I know I should commend him for dealing with gay and gay-adjacent subjects, buT i just wish they were all good. Serviceable won’t cut it, and ‘Halston’ is just barely serviceable.

Based on Steven Gaines’ biography so it’s not like they don’t have a lot to work with. Halston’s life is brimming with glitz, glamour, and more than enough drama to fill seven series of Netflix episodes. But we get five here that focus on different things, and shows a couple of obvious sides of this genius. We never see what made him tick,. we never really see anything beyond the surface.

Ewan McGregor tries very hard to flesh out the character but is left floundering in the air. he nails his voice, but somehow reads ‘older.’ Rebecca Dayan steals her scenes as Elsa Peretti, and I rally like Krysta Rodriguez’s Liza Minnelli, which really could have gone so bad.

The show could have been a camp classic, but it’s too shy to be that. It’s also not a blushing wallflower, it certainly can’t be described as square. the latter episodes fare better than the first ones, a conundrum for Murphy who almost always does things in the opposite direction. It’s not boring, for sure, but I found myself wandering at times. Or maybe I just can’t make up my mind? It is pretty to look at, and they nail the costume and production design. Still, it feels a tad hollow.

Love Travels (Movie Thoughts: Long Weekend)

Steve Basilone’s ‘Long Weekend’ is a romantic comedy with a twist. Bart (Finn Witrock) meets Vienna (Zoe Chao) when he is down and out, and he gets charmed by her quirkiness, and they fall for each other. But there’s just a little hitch: she is from 2052, and is just traveling back to pre covid LA to buy stocks so she can pay for her mother’s cancer treatments. The film is a well-meaning love story that is surprisingly tender and touching. I normally do not like sci-fi elements in anything, but both Witrock and Chao really sell this, and in the end, I was more than convinced. I wish the screenplay was better written. For example, I thought the twist was revealed too early and it seemed like the film did not know where to go afterwards, but for the most part, I was convinced because of the good acting.

Grow A Pear (Perfume Thoughts: Pear Inc., Juliette Has A Gun)

Juliette Has A Gun’s Pier Inc. is exactly what you think it smells – like a pear. It’s just a pear note, and it’s an accurate reproduction of what the fruit smells like. There is not much nuance and imagination to it, but do we really need that all of the time?

Yes, we do. While this is an inoffensive fragrance, it’s also quite meh. There’s nothing wrong with it, but the house is a niche brand, and this smells almost cheap, like something from the drug store or Bath & Body Works. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but with the bottle’s price points, I want more.

With that said, I am sure this appeals to a certain kind of market, and I don’t even mind wearing it on a hot summer day.

Part Of The Pack (Book Thoughts: Brat: an ’80s story, Andrew McCarthy)

When I was a college Freshman, I had an English class where we had to turn in an essay once a week, and it could be about any topic. I remember one time I did not know what to write about, so I wrote a ‘review’ of a film I saw over that weekend, ‘Pretty in Pink.’ I remember gushing about it, as I had enjoyed the film immensely. After I submitted the paper, I was called in by my professor, and he told me that I should explore writing about films, but I should also look at art with a somewhat ‘critical’ eye, and also write about things I do not like or agree with.

I just remember this anecdote as I write about ‘brat: an ’80s story,’ which is Andrew McCarthy’s memoir about his experience in the 80s. That film is what catapulted him to stardom. In the book, he writes about his experience shooting the film and had some great anecdotes: how Molly Ringwald was instrumental in getting him hired as her leading man yet they really did not have a close relationship while making the film. He also says he never really read the script until he was ready to shoot, and was right about how his character was portrayed (they had to do reshoots to rectify that)

The book is certainly well-written, but I still think he still held back some. He was forthcoming about his struggles with alcoholism, but we only get small bits about his bouts with cocaine and Xanax addictions. All in all, this is a much entertaining read, especially for someone who is a fan, like myself. I would have liked more on what happened next, and how he became a travel writer, and I am betting there’s a sequel tot his book.

Together Or Not (Movie Thoughts: Here Today)

I guess it says something about my age when Billy Crystal, who starred in one of the most famous romantic comedies of my time, is now playing characters in early stages of dementia. But star power is still power, and he commands the screen in ‘Here Today,’ which he also wrote and directed.

And it’s an old-fashioned kind of movie, like the ones they probably do not make anymore. First of all, it stars and is about adults, and adult issues. Crystal is Charlie Bernz, a consultant/writer in a Saturday Night Live type of show. He’s been there since be the beginning, and knows the ins and outs of writing for it. He lost his wife a while back, and his kids do not know his deteriorating health conditions.

He then meets Emma, played by Tiffany Haddish. Their relation ship has all the conceits of a romantic comedy, but they aren’t really a pair. Later on, when hid doctor asks them what their relation ship is, they both shrug. Maybe because Crystal and Haddish have an easy breezy chemistry that we think they are more (or less) what they are to each other. What matters is they characters both care about each other.

This is quite a touching movie, especially if you are a certain age, but it’s also all over the place. The work scenes at the show aren’t really interesting, and the movie only works when Crystal and Haddish have scenes together. Props to the latter for giving us close to real character even if it is underwritten – you can see she is a real move star with her magnetic presence. But thsi is Crystal’s vehicle through and through. If he stops making movies, and I hope not, this would be a great swan song.

In Swedish Harmony (Music Thoughts: Jazz It Up and Move, The Hebbe Sisters)

The Hebbe Sisters is a swedish musical group consisting of real sisters: Emelie, Josefine and Maria, all from the town of Varmland. ‘Jazz it Up and Move’ is their third album, a tribute to big band songs of the 40s and 50s. I’ve never heard of them before, and they are a fine musical group, reminiscent of other sister groups, The Andrews and The Boswells. The record is nice enough, with authentic-sounding arrangements, and their harmonies are pretty tight. But to be honest, I have heard all of this before, and even though the aren’t out to reinvent the wheel, this particular wheel is well worn and have been in use for a while now. I found my mind wandering after a while and losing interest. And can there be a market for this now? These records have already been recorded, and I don’t know why it still needs to be redone exactly the same way.

Lost in Space (Movie Thoughts: Voyagers)

I won’t lie – I really had no interest in watching this film, but teh attractive cast, specifically Fionn Whitehead and Tye Sheridan, lured me into seeing it. Why not, I guess. Well, it’s not the worst movie I have ever seen, and the beginning was interesting enough to catch my attention. But about halfway through this, I totally lost interest and even the cute boys weren’t enough to keep me involved. It’s a group of young people stuck in spice who have to fend for themselves and navigate power seekers and politics – stuff we have all seen before. Basically, it’s Lord of the Flies set in a space ship. I’m sure it appeals to a certain group of people, just not for me.