Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekly Buffet: Bit Of A Cool Off

[Making mass quantities of cream puff with my Grandma on a stormy, humid, summer day.]

For the first time in months, the weight of my own little piece of the world seemed to be loosening it's grip. This is my first weekend of summer that is totally free - no plans or expectations whatsoever. It is rather glorious.

With some more time on my hands, I have found ample opportunity to instead freak out about everything else unfolding in different countries. While I may have a masters degree in stressing about my own life, where I really excel is getting all befuddled about current events.

Don't even get me started about the horrid and extremely bizaro treatment of this MH17 crash. Truth be told, yesterday, in a fit of more extreme fury (right here where you are now reading) I had typed out a full on 10 paragraph rant on the subject. Today I have since realized this wasn't the place, and deleted my "up on a soap box" discussion. I'll save all that talk for something else I'm writing.

When not wrapped up in world happenings, all this free time and a stint of cooler weather last week meant for some indoor activities of the baking, movie, tv watching variety. Today Washington is back to a streak of sunny skies, which means the citizens of this state will be outside again, because there is too much guilt brought on by sitting on a couch when beautiful weather is a-callin'.

Before all this pop culture grandness that I consumed is forgotten (after my brain gets fried laying in the sun all day while reading a book), here are the many great things I discovered over the last seven days.

Meryl and Julia 

With the build up of  August: Osage County over award's season, the same clips were shown on repeat. We all saw them, those scenes that showcased screaming Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in attack mode.

Then there were the reviewers that hated the film, saying it was just that, a bunch of screaming. With both those combined it soon became a Meryl movie that I actually (forgive me) didn't even want to see.

Months went by and needing to pick something to rent, August came into sight, and I decided to give it a go afterall. Thankfully I did, because there is a whole lot more interesting stuff going on in that flick. Sure, there is plenty of Streep and Roberts letting eachother have it, but wow, there were a ton of better clips they could have selected that would have actually shown the depth of acting talent.

The reviewers who said this is the epitome of Streep overacting are right only to a small degree. For every (somewhat) over the top dinner scene, there is at least 50 smaller moments that leave you in awe of her excellence at becoming completely immersed in her characters. Dancing around the living room sans wig during a fit of drug induced euphoria? That's how acting is done people. No one thought she could outdue herself, but guess what, y'all just got Meryl'd.

While the love for Streep is unwavering, Roberts, on the other hand, over the years had started to become annoying. When she was nominated for best supporting actress this year, I was the first to roll my eyes and let out a dramatic sigh. Once again, I'll admit when I'm wrong. She holds the entire movie together, just like her character who shoulders the weight of all the endless family drama.

Anyone who was less than interested in August: Osage County, give it a chance, it might surprise you.

"The Voyager"

Even after seeing her magical rainbow suit show up in posters all over the internet the last couple months, I had forgotten all about the near impending release of Jenny Lewis' new tunes.

Then she makes a music video that finds herself, Brie Larson, Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart and a cool chick drummer dressed as dudes in track suits and mustaches. Needless to saw this video has been blowing up already, simply because it is awesome and supported by another great Ms. Lewis track, "Just One Of The Guys." When it comes to quality female songwriters, Lewis is always at the top. She is both insightful and comedic, but always presenting a ballsy point of view that is uniquely her own.

On the concert front, she is coming to my area with Beck in August, and if I can make it happen, I'll be there. I may just  have to resort to endlessly blasting her album for the rest of the summer, which will be great too, but not the same.

Anyone who adores Jenny Lewis, but hasn't seen her live, try to check out this latest tour - you will be in awe.

Holy Cow - That's A Lot Of TV

I remember a time, not too long ago, where summer meant a couple months of reruns. How the world has changed. It seems like there is more TV than ever before!

Lately though, I'm not too obsessed with one show in particular, and have been sampling many show's, one episode at a time on a rotation.


Last week I finally finished the third season of Louie (which still leaves me a whole season behind, but still). Louis C.K's show isn't for everybody, with reports of many scoffing at his treatment of female characters. To me, season three was very impressive. I love how much it has evolved into a story less reliant on his stand-up routines and is instead focused on a lot of dark complexity.

The numerous episodes where Parker Posey guest stars are so strange and wonderful that my mouth was gaping open in shock, wondering, "Did that just happen!". Don't worry, C.K. is still bringing the funny. There is an extended sequence during a Christmas episode involving a doll that left me in laughing hysterics and might be the funniest thing I saw all year.

Also, David Lynch shows up for three episodes. How is that for range?

The Creek

Dawson's Creek made its glorious debut on Netflix a couple years ago, so I finally started watching it for the first time. After all these years I had to know why the girls fawned over Van Der Beek. When it was actually on television, I was that age where I was just a little too young to care about it, and would rather be watching TGIF.

Who doesn't love sixteen year old characters spouting life philosphies like they are thirty? You guys, Jen's from the big city, she know A LOT about life. It is definitely the perfect thing to fill anyone's quotient of cheesy drama - perfect for laughing late into the summer nights.

Halt and Catch Fire

When the trailers for AMC's latest started showing up during commercials of Mad Men, I couldn't get over how impeccably they had captured the 1980s. With a girl who is so channeling Watts from Some Kind Of Wonderful, the Eurythmics soundtrack, and just the look of the filming quality, Halt and Catch Fire looks like it was actually made thirty years ago. I also saw Lee Pace's face show up in the clips, so, yes I was all about this show's debut.

While it is a smart, well written show, the first couple episodes were weighted down with more computer jargon that I think isolates the audience. There will be people who understand what the hell they are talking about and live for it, and people like me, who sort of understand, want to know more, but in the end get bored instead.

I'm not giving up just yet, but it has a lot more to prove before becoming AMC's latest masterpiece.

The Leftovers

Tom Perrotta has written many excellent stories, but he might be most known for the fantastic movies adapted from two of his books -  Little Children and Election. Another one of his more recent novels, The Leftovers, has been turned into an HBO series that began airing about a month ago.

I've only seen about two episodes so far, but the concept has been freaking me out. The story focuses on the world reeling after an event that mysteriously caused millions of people to disappear without a trace. Those left behind will never be the same again, but some try to continue on living life as normal where others, unsure of how to go on, have joined cult type groups. It's a very compelling concept, which was adapted by Perrotta and Damon Lindelof.

I know, Lost fans I too was hesitant after seeing Lindelof's involvement, but for right now I think it's an intriguing presence that fits in well today with the culture's interest in unexplainable, apocalyptic type entertainment.

The sun is making a comeback- the PNW will be back into the 80s come mid week. Hopefully that means a week of swimming, reading, rocket popscicles, and ice cream.

With the glorious weather taking up my time, I may begin to fall behind again on new pop culture, but there's always the time after too much sun, where nothing is better than taking a break with a fan, a cool drink, and a little bit of TV or an entire movie.

Until next time.

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