Perfect Mothers (Television Thoughts: Little Fires Everywhere, Finale, HULU)

Little-Fires-Everywhere-2478583I have finished ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ and I have some thoughts:

1 – The ending. I don’t know if I liked it, as the last episode felt a little rushed. The buildup was there, for sure, and the excitement was palpable for sure, but it may be too much at one time? I read that the book had a different ending regarding the fire – Izzy started the fire on print – and while I do like the metaphor in having the three other kids do it, my initial reaction was also: these kids are much too self-centered and selfish to do something like that. They would value their material things over that. I don’t think the realization would come all at once, and at the same time for all three of them. I have to admit that as a writing ploy, it is kind of brilliant. And really, Mia and Pearl was able to pack everything they own in hours ? I don’t know about that.

2 – Washington is really fantastic, and her role is much better than Witherspoon’s that’s why she is getting more attention. Witherspoon’s final scenes were on the shrill side, but her character was also not as well-written. While watching the episodes, I liked the fact that while you may agree or disagree with Elena or Mia, you understand both. In the final episodes, Elena felt like a different person altogether. The kids were all uniformly good, but Gavin Lewis (as Moody) was the best for me – he has the most expressive eyes. Gold Derby is predicting Emmy nominations for Witherspoon and Washington – the latter has a chance of winning.


Where There’s Spark (Television Thoughts: The Spark, Little Fires Everywhere S01 E01, Hulu)

little-fires-everywhereCeleste Ng’s ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ has been on my to-be-read list since it came out in 2017.  But of course, I have been so behind on my reading that there is, now, a Hulu series adaptation of it. As much as I want to read the book, the series will do for now. I had also been meaning to watch this, but there is so much content out there that I just saw the first episode. And it’s riveting. I don’t know how it differs from the book, but the first episode has me hooked and I can’t wait to start watching the series.

Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington both produce and star in this show, and they are cast perfectly. Witherspoon is Elena, all type A suburban perfection and Washington as Mia her artistic urban counterpart. Of course, the two characters together would bring sparks. (The first episode is titled ‘Sparks.’) Their families start to weld together – Elena’s four kids and Mia’s one daughter.

The series starts showing Elena’s house in flames. There’s a question on what started it, and some point to Izzy, Elena’s daughter. But I know things are most probably not what they seem in the story, and I am now just too eager to find out.

At the End Of The Morning (Television Thoughts: The Morning Show, Season 1, Apple Plus)


I just finished the Season finale of ‘The Morning Show,’ and what I ride. I binged the last five episodes, and I am glad I did in one sitting because it was *that* good. This is one of those shows wherein it started quite good, but the episodes kind of ebbed and flowed in the beginning. But as it sprinted towards the end, the story just got juicier, and all sides were presented evenly – and fairly.

And there is a great star in the series, and sorry but it’s neither Jen Aniston or Reese Witherspoon. For me, the MVP of the show is Gugu Mbatha Raw, who plays Hannah. talk about a character arc – she goes from almost-naive to surprised to being caught in the middle of all the crossfires, to being dejected by being used as a pawn. She is fantastic, and is the central heart of the piece.

I also liked that they showed a little bit of Mitch’s side. I don’t mean to exonerate him from his wrong doings, but Carell showed Mitch’s human side of a flawed human being. As for Aniston, I am still conflicted. I do feel another actress could have been better at the role, but don’t ask me who. She is fine, I guess.

I loved how it captured office politics – this happens everywhere not just in the mornign show industry. I look forward to how this all plays out on Season 2.

The One With Sondheim (Television Thoughts: The Morning Show S01 E05, No One’s Gonna Harm You, Not While I’m Around)


What I like most about this episode: Sondheim.  Even before seeing this installment, I have already been bombarded with the scene wherein Jennifer Aniston and Billy Crudup sings ‘Not While I’m Around.’  Theater fans all over have been salivating over it, as it seems to be Sondheim season lately. I thought Crudup was very good in the song, and Aniston surprised me – who knew she could sing?

I thought the rest of the episode was okay. We get the fallout from Bradley’s interview, and Alex is mad. To be honest, I am starting to not like Bradley’s ‘rogue’ style – it is very destructive to peace, and the show has gone through some turmoil – and I even think she senses it when she goes out to drinks with her co-workers. I think the show wants us to see Bradley as very flawed – we see her having random hook up with the bartender, for example. I don’t know why I am more sympathetic towards Alex – perhaps with my old age I value tradition and loyalty more? I am also getting a little warier with Aniston’s performance – it’s showy but kind of lacking in depth. I wonder how I will feel about it further down the line.

Do We Know Bradley (Television Thoughts: That Woman, S01 E04, The Morning Show, Apple Plus)


So on S01 E04 of ‘The Morning Show’ we get to know more about Bradley (Reese Witherspoon) but do we, really? It’s her first week as co-host, and she is committing some really big blunders – but are they calculated or is she just a run-of-the-mill screw up? I wish the show was more definitive in that, but it isn’t. She has been described as a ‘truth teller’ but maybe she just has no filter. I mean, in real life, can you imagine if an anchor just almost casually mentions that she got an abortion at age 15. In this episode, Witherspoon has the showier role, but Aniston still gets her choice scenes. And, there is a part of me that is unsure about Aniston’s acting skills here and maybe it’s the fact that I still cannot shake the Jennifer Aniston persona from the character.

The episode ends with some MeToo relevance – there is a question as to whether the management knew about the sexual shenanigans going on at the show, so when Bradley interviews the accuser, she churns the narrative. Everyone else goes berserk, of course, but Bradley just wants to get to the bottom of it (rolls eyes)

Reminds Me Of Home (Film Thoughts: Home Again)

homeagainPsWhen someone asks me what I am looking for in a partner, I think I now know what to answer. I want someone who won’t make me wait, that I am important to this person enough for them to want to be on time (even early) when they want to meet me. All through I my life I cannot even tell you how many times I waited for someone, and yes there were a lot of times they never showed up. I also cannot begin to tell you how many times I accepted multitude of sorrys. But I would like to think that at 50, I am better. But that doesn’t mean a scene in a movie like that won’t hit me straight in the gut, because it did, here in ‘Home Again.’  The main protagonist here, Alice (played by Reese Witherspoon) asks the younger guy she is dating, to a party, and he never shows up, and right there, right that very moment, I felt exactly what she was going through. Instantly I bonded with that character.

I was with her from then on, even if, frankly, the movie she is in isn’t really the best. I kept on seeing Nancy Meyer’s name in all the articles regarding this film that I thought it was her movie. (I even thought, why is a Nancy Meyer movie being shown at the end of summer?)  Then I realized that this movie was only produced by Meyer and is directed (and written)  by her daughter Hallie Meyer-Shyer. The result is a lower-rent (but still opulent) Nancy Meyer production. It’s plot has more holes than an expensive sweater with artsy-intentional holes. Since I like Meyer’s movies, I enjoyed this, but truly accept all its limitations. Plus, and this is a big plus for me, the men in here are adorable, especially Harry (Pico Alexander, major heartthrob) who is the guy Alice waited for. (The weak in me can even say who could blame her)

So emotionally, I was all-in here. No apologies.

I See London (Book Thoughts: London Is The Best City In America, Laura Dave)

3921In the middle of reading Laura Dave’s “London Is The Best City In America,” I thought to myself, “this would make a great movie,” and I made the big mistake of googling if the book has been optioned. Sure enough, it has been, and is being developed as a vehicle for Reese Witherspoon. Sigh. I can’t say I am a fan of hers though truth be told I have seen her give good performances. So when i resumed reading, of course I now envisioned her in the role. This is one of those great internal books – it is less plot driven and more character studies. Since London is my favorite city of all time, I have had this book for a while, and it has taken me a couple of starts and finally just kept on reading. It’s richly rewarding, but tries just a bit of your patience. You have to understand these characters deeply, or you may not be very sympathetic towards them.  The book makes you think about your choices in life, and how you handle these choices. We all seek things, situations that make us happy, and sometimes we pay a price for them.  I hope the film captures the essence of the book, and I am even keeping an open mind about Reese.

Send In The Clowns (Movie Thoughts: Hot Pursuit)

I knew this movie was going to be bad. And I was right, “Hot Pursuit” is a hot mess. I mean, going into it, I wasn’t expecting the next Citizen Kane but I thought I would at least get a chuckle or two out of it. But I honestly did not even crack a smile. With buddy movies, the one thing essential between the  main principals is chemistry. Sad to say, Reese Witherspoon and Sophia Vergara do not have any. Vergara fares just a tiny bit better, playing the Latina clown, but it’s not like she put some thought into her character – this is just an extension of her character from “Modern Family” and after a while,  it’s just a repetition of a repetition. Witherspoon even fares worse – I don’t know what possesses her to do this movie. She is sorely miscast (I am imagining this could have worked better with, say, Melissa McCarthy) and cannot do comedy to save her life. I mean, she was brilliant in a black comedy, like in “Election” but she has no comedic timing to speak off for this role. The story is a disjointed mess, and I couldn’t help but root for them to get caught so the movie can end right away. This was a total waste of my time, and I imagine anyone else’s. hot_pursuit_ver2_xlg-691x1024

Reese Walks The Line (Movie Thoughts: Wild)

I really was dreading seeing “Wild.”  I have soured on Reese Witherspoon, not that I was a big fan of hers o begin with, and from what I had heard, Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of which this is based on, was an exercise on self-indulgence and self-help bull, a la Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love.” But I know this movie is sort of revered, and comes from Jean Marc Vallee, who directed last year’s “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” (And I was also surprised to see that the screenplay was by Nick Hornsby, of ‘About A Boy’ fame) So with the bar that low, I ended up really liking the movie a lot – it tells a journey of a woman’s acceptance, and in her solitude, she doesn’t necessarily find herself but more readies the next step of her life. Witherspoon, to me, seems to playing Reese with an edge: oh look at her without makeup, swearing, shooting heroin, showing her breasts. In the end, it still felt like Reese, and she was the part I did not believe in the whole film. But she was still able to essay the character believably – I just imagined her beauty team touching her up between takes. The film still worked despite that. Everyone has been raving about Laura Dern’s performance here but to me it’s much ado but little. It could have been played by any other actress, and isn’t she only eight years older than Reese anyway? Wild is a great journey, even if you don’t like who you are traveling with.