Archive for the ‘Comfort Food’ Category

Eleanor Powell & Fred Astaire “Begin the Beguine” Tap Dancing

March 20, 2018

Because while we battle the evil forces trying to take down our country and destroy democracy and freedom for all, now more than ever, we need to take breaks. Enter Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire dancing to make your spirits soar. From The Broadway Melody of 1940. Tapstacy.

Also, because I just reviewed two outstanding selections, I thought if I take a break with this post, it gives whatever I review next a fighting chance.


Rita: Season 4

March 6, 2018

Season 4 of Reel Charlie’s second favorite (Borgen still #1) Danish series, Rita took a sharp right turn. Rita got a job in her old hometown, reacquainted herself with her high school best friend and contemplated setting down roots. With the exception of Hjørdis and Uffe, Season 4 leaves all of Rita’s kids, colleagues and fuck buddies behind.  But the biggest change comes in the form of time. The season travels back and forth between Rita’s teen years and present day. Tessa Hoder does an outstanding job as Rita in 1985. For me, parts of this worked and other parts didn’t. Certainly the change shook up the series. The producers took chances and that’s always to be commended. Personally I missed her kids, her love interests and her life back at her former school. Rita had no sex or love life in Season 4. The 8-episode arc spent most of the time watching her soul search attempting to find her place in the world. The big reveal in the seventh episode wasn’t much of a surprise to me. I guessed as much. It’s hard to imagine a singular event forever catapulting someone in a certain direction, but I have known people who experienced that in real life. Without giving away too much, I wanted more for Rita. A friend of mine who is a Young Adult novel guru often frets over the reality that sex for female characters, especially YA teen girls has to mean something – either love or repent. It frustrates her that YA female characters just can’t have sex as a part of their life experience and move on. I felt that way about Rita. Why couldn’t she just be sexually liberated? Why couldn’t she just be someone who doesn’t need a man. She likes to sleep with men, but she doesn’t need to be in love with one or take care of one. What’s so threatening about that? So I felt a little lost watching Season 4. I’m tempted to give it my odd “more than like it” score of 3.5, but Rita has meant so much to me I’ll leave it at 4 out of 5. I hope they do one more season so she can reconnect with her children and others from her former life. If not, it’s been an amazing ride.

Rita: Season 3

February 18, 2018

Season 3 of our beloved Rita continues the journey of play not-by-the-rules, but by breaking them. Danish school teacher Rita knows best for her family, friends, and co-workers. Season 3 focuses more on Rita drifting into unknown waters as her children fly the nest and she’s back to being single. Rasmus might be gone from Rita’s bedroom, but lucky for us not from the series. Helle takes over as Headmaster of the school, Hjørdis and Uffe settle in to their relationship, Jeppe has his first live-in relationship with boyfriend David, and Rita meets a not exactly what she imagined new man named Said. Rita goes on a journey with her students this year which challenges her intimacy with strangers while making the audience wonder why she can’t have similar relationships with those in her personal life. Such a great show which goes darker than normal in this third season. When you get to the end, you realize why. Big changes ahead for our gal. Does that include her finally quitting smoking? Tune in to see. 4 out of 5 for this incredible television series from Denmark.

One Day at a Time: Season 2

January 31, 2018

I can’t say enough about Netflix’s reboot of Norman Lear’s One Day at a Time. The show emits a message of love and respect wrapped up in a dopey situation comedy format. Yes there’s slapstick humor. And lowest common denominator humor. But there’s also smart writing, attention to character development, embracing contemporary issues in an honest way with a Cuban-American family who defines what it means to be American. Cracking idea to recast the series from a Latinx perspective. And I love that Elena, the teenage daughter is an out and proud lesbian. Her butch comment made me laugh so hard. Adorable. Super cool cast including Justina Machado (Six Feet Under), Todd Grinnell, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz, Stephen Tobolowsky, new cast member and trophy boyfriend Ed Quinn and legend Rita Moreno. One Day at a Time creates a perfect blend of mindless entertainment with in-your-face current topics. Yeah, I’m bumping this one up to a 4 for Season 2. I laughed a lot during the twelve episode arc. And adored their politics.

Grace and Frankie: Season 4

January 28, 2018

Grace And Frankie

Grace and Frankie continues to be a mixed bag for me. Just when I’m ready to give up, something clicks and the stories feel real and I feel a part of the show. Season 4 took its good old-time getting me to that place. Lots of silliness mixed with awkwardness. At the very least, the balance between the girls, the kids, and the ex-husbands seems to flow better each season. There’s even room for additional characters – boyfriends, thrupple potential, kids’ partners, along with oddballs and girlfriends. All in all, I enjoy the show. It just never seems to bowl me over like it finally did in Season 2. I gave the show a 4 out of 5. Seasons 1 & 3 each got a 3 out of 5. Same for this season. Wondering where they might head next.

Looking: Season 1 (take 5)

January 14, 2018

Read my full review of Looking: Season 1. Simply gorgeous.

Travelers: Season 2

January 8, 2018

Netflix continues importing the Canadian Sci-Fi comfort food show, Travelers. And boy am I happy. Season 2 finds the five travelers from the future digging deeper into their host bodies’ lives. More than one mistake is made, but of course these are humans from a world ruled by AI, so it’s almost encouraged they screw up. I love the interplay between the team. Eric McCormack holds his own as star and producer. Just as strong are his team, MacKenzie Porter, Nesta Cooper, Jared Abrahamson, Reilly Dolman, and Patrick Gilmore who plays non-traveler David. Travelers proves to be the perfect winter comfort food show. Especially if you’re looking for low-key Sci-Fi with little CGI. Travelers is definitely more about the human experience. I’m up-ing my rating to a 4 out of 5. Would definitely watch this again.

Radio Days

January 4, 2018

How many times have I seen and loved Woody Allen’s Radio Days over the past 30 years? Is it wrong to watch his older films and enjoy them? Film Forum in New York City currently screens a remastered Annie Hall for the 40th Anniversary of that film. Can we separate art from the person? Should we? I’m going to leave those questions open for you to ponder.

Radio Days takes all of Allen’s mid-career film elements and melds them perfectly into a love letter to an earlier time – the 1940’s, to New York City, and to the medium of radio which ushered in our global media appetite. Allen’s pacing in the film seems just as old-fashioned as the time period. Places he could have cut for our current attention span honor the film’s glorious moments, taking their time. Rather than ego, the slightly longer scenes feel like a question, “are you seeing this? – because it’s important.” A stellar cast including Julie Kavner, Michael Tucker, Dianne Weist, Seth Green, and Wallace Shawn with small and cameo roles from Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Jeff Daniels, Robert Joy, Kitty Carlisle, Danny Aiello, Gina DeAngeles, and Tito Puente (holding the Chihuahua while conducting). But it is Mia Farrow who steals the film with her hysterical, “Hark, I hear the cannon’s roar” line that honestly is one of the funniest scenes ever. I love Radio Days with its nostalgia defining story among a cast of characters both rich and poor. Two sides of an ever-changing New York City. 5 out of 5.

What Was the Best Downton Abbey Christmas episode? (Heroes and Heartbreakers)

December 25, 2017

Naz Keynejad over at Heroes and Heartbreakers reviews every Downton Abbey Christmas episode. Beginning with Season 1 which never officially had a Christmas episode and ending at the #1 spot with Season 2’s final episode which reveals Daisy’s connection with her father in-law, Thomas’ treachery over Isis, Bates’ guilty verdict, Rosamond’s indecent suitor, and finally, finally Mary and Matthew’s proposal – the one that actually got them to the finish line.

Hat tip to my dear friends Nina and Joe who spoiled me this year with a surprise of the complete series on Blu-ray. I watched this episode tonight, Christmas 2017 with great joy. The audio flaunted power as well as the stunning visual detail in the video – smoke in the fireplace, the black shadow of Bates in prison, the place settings after the hunt, and the depth of the snowflakes as Mary says yes to Matthew. Blu-ray continues to astound me making Downton Abbey sparkle.

See the full reviews over at Heroes and Heartbreakers.

Four Bewitched Christmas Episodes

December 25, 2017

Owning a television series on disc allows you to binge in unique ways. For instance today I was able to watch all four Christmas episodes of Bewitched thanks to the series boxed set. So much fun to travel from 1964 – 1970. The four episodes span a wealth of stories including not believing in Santa Claus, older people hating Christmas, Santa getting stuck in CT thanks to an Esmeralda spell gone bad, and a very special episode, Sisters at Heart about racism which was written by a group of LA 10th graders and won a special Emmy award that year.

Bewitched Christmas episodes:
Ep# Title Director Writer(s) Air Date
1–15 “A Vision of Sugar Plums” Alan Rafkin; Herman Groves December 24, 1964
4–16 “Humbug Not to Be Spoken Here” William Asher; Lila Garrett & Bernie Kahn December 21, 1967
6–14 “Santa Comes to Visit and Stays and Stays” Richard Michaels; Ed Jurist December 18, 1969
7–13 “Sisters at Heart” William Asher; William Asher & Barbara Avedon (teleplay) December 24, 1970

Bewitched “Humbug Not to Be Spoken Here” 1967


Bewitched “Sisters at Heart” 1970

%d bloggers like this: