I keep wanting to call Don Lemon “little Donnie Darko” because it sounds insulting and I have no respect for him.

But it also sounds racist.

So I’d best not call him “little Donnie Darko.”

 

**

 

TV Update

 

 

Shows I Hate to Love

 

There are good reasons to shun two of Netflix’s latest offerings, Dark and season two of The Crown. I have issues with both shows. But I watched all ten episodes of the German mystery Dark and am well into the second season of The Crown. They are both very, very well made. If you begin watching either of them, you are likely to get hooked — despite yourself.

 

 

Why I dislike Dark

 

It’s a time-travel fantasy show, and I generally like time-travel shows only when they are light and fun, like Back to the Future or Time After Time. As far as current science knows, time travel is not possible, and therefore the entire premise is silly. Yet Dark takes itself oh-so-seriously.

And there are a lot of characters. The show takes place in 2019, and in 1986, and in 1953. You must learn the names of characters in 2019, and of the same characters 33 years earlier, and of the same characters 33 years before that. The various characters in 1953, 1986, and 2019 are all played by different actors. And they are German actors, so they are unfamiliar.

The myriad characters all have complex relationships with one another. Once you finally feel comfortable with Ulrich in 2019, for example, you must learn what his father looked like in 1953, or whom Ulrich was dating in 1986, or which children he sired by which woman.

During your struggle to read subtitles and unravel scores of relationships between unfamiliar actors, you must also keep an eye out for clues to the central mystery: Who is kidnapping and killing kids in a small German village? We didn’t have to work this hard during Stranger Things.

 

Why I kept watching Dark

 

If you accept the silly premise, it’s an otherwise intelligent show. The cinematography and art direction are striking. The soundtrack, which alternates between ‘80s retro and some kind of eerie, modern, German contribution, is cool. The gloomy setting and mood are also cool.

 

Why I dislike The Crown

 

Why on Earth should any of us give a rat’s ass about the problems of rich, privileged, self-pitying royals? We shouldn’t. So what if their life isn’t trouble-free? Let them eat cake.

 

Why I keep watching The Crown

 

Living the life of a British royal is a seductive fantasy. If you can divorce your thoughts from the fact that these people actually exist, which isn’t always easy to do, this handsome, well-produced show will suck you in with its world cruises, slaves servants on hand to cater to your every whim, and that torrid sex scene between stars John Lithgow and Claire Foy.

OK, just kidding about that last one. Maybe.

 

**

 

 

Uhhh … who?

 

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Voyeur

grouchyeditor.com Voyeur

 

This might be one case where the movie is better than the book. Famed journalist Gay Talese’s nonfiction account of a Colorado Peeping Tom was often a repetitious slog through the mind (and journal) of Gerald Foos, a motel owner who for years spied on unsuspecting guests through ceiling vents and then recorded his observations.

This documentary, on the other hand, is less about peeping and more about two old men who are both preoccupied with how they are and will be perceived by the rest of us. The juxtaposition of the proud and meticulous Talese with his partner in crime, the alternately insecure and self-aggrandizing Foos, as they strive to publish Foos’s perverse tale is an often-fascinating look at fame – and infamy – in America. Release: 2017 Grade: B+

 

**

 

Nocturama

grouchyeditor.com Nocturama

 

Nocturama is stylish, beautifully shot, and has several scenes that are truly harrowing. But too bad the editor wasn’t in charge of things, because the movie also has a lot of sequences that drag on needlessly – especially during the first hour. Writer-director Bertrand Bonello’s premise is a good one: A group of disaffected young people are persuaded to plant bombs on the streets of Paris, and then hide out in an upscale department store while all hell breaks loose in the city. But in that first hour, Bonello’s camera dwells on every corner the kids pass, every elevator they use, and every subway change they make on their way to planting the bombs. Yet the rest of the film is a chilling portrait of what could come next in the form of terrorism.  Release: 2016 Grade: B+

 

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This was our prediction from a year ago:

 

 

OK, OK, so our timing was a little bit off. But still ….

 

**

 

These are apples:

 

.             

 

**

 

 

As far as I’m concerned, there is only one “celebrity chef” – the man pictured above.

The rest of these guys are just cooks on TV.

 

**

 

 

I just finished season three of Broadchurch, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Hardy and Miller (above) are the most entertaining crime-fighting duo since Blomkvist and Salander in the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

I’ve softened my view of Hardy (David Tennant), of whom I said in my original review: “My problem is with the lead detective.  … this guy is so relentlessly sour and unpleasant that I find myself sympathizing with anyone he encounters — including all of the murder suspects.”

Hey, this is The Grouchy Editor. I can’t hold a grudge against a fellow grouch.

 

**

 

I wonder if Queen Elizabeth caught this episode of Suits, featuring her future granddaughter-in-law.

 

**

 

 

I have a hard time shedding tears for the Big Shots losing their jobs over sex scandals. When I lose my job, or when you lose your job, that’s a problem. When Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose get axed, they lick their wounds while sitting on piles of cash.

 

**

 

I suspect that the best, smartest people in America are people you never see on television, most likely because they avoid going on television.

 

In other words, turn off the TV because there is hope for all of us.

 

**

 

 

Yeah. What the lady above said. In this article.

 

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by Holly Madison

 

We’re told not to be judgmental of other people, but when someone writes a book about her “career” as one of Hugh Hefner’s concubines, isn’t she really saying, “Hey, look at me and my life! What do you think?”

OK then, Holly Madison. I think you are a bubble-headed blonde with just a wee bit more smarts than most of the other bubble-headed blondes who at one time comprised Playboy publisher Hefner’s harem in Los Angeles. You were smart enough, at least, to find a competent ghostwriter to chronicle your years at the Playboy Mansion and on the reality show The Girls Next Door.

In Rabbit Hole, Madison strives mightily to paint herself in the most flattering light — she was just a naïve little girl from Alaska who made some poor choices — which I suppose is human nature. She doesn’t really succeed, but I will say this: In the process of documenting her life, she manages to make everyone else in her orbit also look bad. Hefner, for example, comes off as a male version of Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest:  manipulative, insecure and controlling.

But silly me. I was hoping to learn at least a little bit about Playboy’s past – Hefner’s famous friends, the Dorothy Stratten episode, the magazine’s impact on society – but Madison has no interest in the slice of Americana that the magazine represents. She is interested in the endless petty squabbles among the “girlfriends” and with their geriatric crypt keeper at the Playboy Mansion.

No one leaves a good impression in this memoir, including its delusional author. At one point she compares the arc of her life to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Talk about seeing things through the looking glass.

 

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It was fun to see Laura Ingraham reunite legendary 1950s comedy team The Buffoon Brothers on her Wednesday-night show. That’s Bill on the left, and Bob on the right.

Who could forget the boys’ classic routine, “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow”?

 

 

**

 

Thank you, Charlie Rose, Louis C.K., and Harvey Weinstein, for affording all Americans the opportunity to mentally picture you as you step naked out of the shower.

It’s one thing to see handsome young movie stars do nude scenes, but what everyone’s been secretly craving is the sight of flabby, shriveled, middle-aged celebrities like you in the altogether.

 

**

 

 

You Be the Judge

Jeanine Pirro has been railing against evil, powerful men who can’t keep their willies in their pants.

Here’s a question. Which do you think poses more of a danger to society: a 75-year-old creep prancing nude in front of his co-worker, or a woman driving 119 miles per hour on a public road?

 

**

 

 

Just like everyone else in America – admit it; including you – I don’t watch many Westerns. I probably overdosed on horse operas when I was a kid, when TV was saturated with Gunsmoke and Bonanza and the like.

But I’m watching Godless on Netflix, and I like what I’ve seen (five of seven episodes). In 2017, viewers have something we didn’t back in the days of Marshal Dillon and Ben Cartwright: high-definition, large-screen televisions. When the drama dwindles on a Western like Godless (it rarely does), you can always soak in the stunning shots of sunset in the New Mexico desert.

Godless isn’t the new Lonesome Dove, but it does have colorful characters, some memorable scenes, and a good, old-fashioned Gunfight at the O.K. Corral vibe.

 

**

 

 

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I don’t know. It seems to me that Senator Al Frankenstien was just upholding a longstanding family tradition when he reached out to protégé Leeann Tweeden. For example:

 

Henry Frankenstein reaches out to his protégé:

 

 

Boris Karloff reaches out to his protégé:

 

 

Al Frankenstien reaches out to his protégé:

 

 

**

 

 

Nude model Leeann Tweeden claims “Fish Lips” Franken behaved inappropriately. I call her “nude model Leeann Tweeden” because I’m a bit tired of hearing her called “radio host Leeann Tweeden.” Yes, she’s a radio host. But she’s a radio host because she was a Playboy model first.

 

.                            

 

**

 

Sex Scandals Checklist:

 

Hollywood –

Media –

Politicians –

 

Still to come – musicians, CEOs, and professional athletes! It’s going to be an entertaining winter!

 

**

 

Quote of the Week:

 

“We have to stop letting five self-righteous Millennials at The Huffington Post bully everybody into having opinions that they don’t really hold.”

– Bill Maher in an anti-groupthink, anti-political correctness rant

 

**

 

People on My TV Who Need to Go Away: 

 

.                                  

 

The knucklehead (above) from Toujeo commercials.

Listen up, happy boy: You come dancing and prancing like that through my neighborhood, you’re gonna find out what it’s like to have your pants filled with eggs.

     

 

Toady to fat cats Kevin Brady (above). How much did the rich spend to buy your soul?

 

 

**

  

Most outrageous sex scandal so far? I nominate the clowns in Washington, our illustrious “leaders” who have been quietly siphoning off millions of taxpayer dollars to pay hush money to their victims.

 

**

 

 

One of the benefits of not being a particularly sexually desirable person, i.e., not being young and pretty, is that you don’t have to worry about landing on the radar of creepy old politicians like George Bush the elder and Joe Biden.

If I was a kid or a young woman, I’d be more terrified of these geezers than of the monsters in House of Frankenstein … er, Frankenstien.

 

 

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Spielberg

 

This retrospective about the famed filmmaker often resembles DVD commentary tracks in which everyone involved with a movie kisses the director’s ass. Of course, in this case the director is worthy of much praise, but still … it gets old.

Speaking of old, maybe it’s my age and nostalgia for my misspent youth, but I’ve always preferred early, “immature” Spielberg to later, “mature” Spielberg. Yes, his more-adult dramas are well done, but other directors can do that. Conversely, no one’s been able to match the excitement of Spielberg’s early roller-coaster rides. Release: 2017  Grade: B

 

**

 

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

 

I suspect The Autopsy of Jane Doe looked a bit ridiculous on paper. Much of the story is either far-fetched or horror-movie cliché. But when you have a talented director (Andre Ovredal), a suitably spooky setting, and an old pro like Brian Cox as your star, you can turn a so-so screenplay into something special – something genuinely creepy and suspenseful. Cox and Emile Hirsch play father and son coroners who spend one terror-filled night dissecting a beautiful corpse (Olwen Kelly). Generally, I’m not a fan of gore, and this movie has plenty, but hey, it is about an autopsy. Release: 2016 Grade: B+

 

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Tucker’s Face

 

They say that women who use Botox tend to have frozen, perpetual smiles. The weird thing about Tucker Carlson is his frozen, perpetual scowl.

Tucker’s guest could be discussing nuclear warfare, or his guest could be describing how to tie a shoelace – Tucker has this expression:

 

.                                             

 

Why am I reminded of prehistoric man?

 

.                                             

 

 

**

 

Here is a little quiz:

 

Scenario 1:  Donald Trump plays golf with a bunch of fellow millionaires and billionaires, his buddies and peers. They tease him about whether, now that he’s supposedly the most powerful man on the planet, he can do anything for them.

Scenario 2:  Donald Trump, after downing a plate of Kentucky Fried Chicken, meets a group of unemployed coal miners. They ask him about whether, now that he’s supposedly the most powerful man on the planet, he can do anything for them.

Question:  When Donald lies in bed at night and contemplates his vast power, which of the two groups do you think he would more like to please?

 

**

 

Dumb Quote of the Week

 

“Our stomachs are empty … Survivor is no joke. I mean, we’re not joking when we say if we don’t get food today we might die.”Survivor contestant Ashley

 

Sure, because the CBS camera crew and the medical team stationed just a few feet away from you – not to mention the network’s legal department — would like nothing more than to watch you starve to death.

 

**

 

Apparently U.S. and Japanese leaders are engaged in some kind of competition to see who can look more foolish in public.

As you might recall, in 1992, George Bush puked on the lap of his host, the prime minister of Japan.

 

 

 

Not to be outdone by Bush, last week, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe slipped on a political banana peel, doing this comical back flip while golfing with Trump.

 

**

 

I was hoping to find a little escape from all the bad news in America, and so I surfed to The Hollywood Reporter to find a review of Murder on the Orient Express.

This is what greeted me on the main page:

 

 

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Rob Lowe’s cockiness wouldn’t last long.

 

Poor Hollywood. As if new sex scandals every day weren’t enough, its favorite sports team went and lost the World Series. Poor Hollywood. (Tee hee hee!)

 

Mila Kunis got knocked off her perch.

 

**

 

 

I was a bit harsh last week when I called Stranger Things overhyped and mediocre. I stand by the overhyped part, but after watching the final two episodes of the second season, I think “mediocre” is a tad cruel.

I can see why kids would love this show. I probably would have loved it when I was a kid. It has a lot of fun characters and some memorable scenes.

From a jaded-adult standpoint, it’s a story that’s littered with ridiculous episodes. But it’s mostly entertaining.

So I’m revising my opinion, just a bit:

 

Kid Grade:  A

Jaded-Adult Grade:  B-

 

**

 

This photo of a previously unknown woman named Anok Yai went viral last week:

 

 

Geez … how could it not?

 

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Harvey Weinstein gets in trouble with the starlets. George Bush gets in trouble with his “David Cop-a-Feel” routine. But Howard Stern, the King of All Sexual Harassment, never seems to get in trouble.

Stern has been copping feels and scandalizing women for as long as I can remember. The difference between Howard and Harvey and George? Somehow, the “shock jock” persuades his female guests that a little bare-bottomed humiliation is their idea.

And their husbands and boyfriends are just as game and/or gullible, offering up their ladies to Howard’s altar of ass.

Stern’s 1992 video Butt Bongo Fiesta is a monument to bad taste, with cringe-worthy racism, misogyny, and homophobia all competing for attention. Not to mention scatological humor. Much of the video is, well, unwatchable. But I do like the parts presented below.

(The quality isn’t great on these clips, but hey, they are lifted from an ancient, hard-to-find VHS tape, and so ….)

 

Marie

 

 

Marie told Howard that she is a housewife and a real estate developer. She and her spouse “represent your more middle-of-the-road American couple,” she claimed, but Howard was skeptical. “I bet you do,” he said.

The kinky housewife revealed that she and hubby sometimes enjoy spanking sessions. For this video, Howard got to join the fun.

 

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In these screen captures, Howard nearly tongues a piece of ass. Hubby doesn’t mind. Wifey seems not to notice.

 

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.                     

 

The cameraman zooms in so that viewers can enjoy a close-up of Marie’s bare — and quite red — cheeks:

 

 

We’re not sure if Marie had an orgasm during her spanking session. It seems like a possibility. Here is the video:

 

Stacy

 

 

Stacy was a 21-year-old blonde whose long-haired boyfriend wanted to bongo her butt for Howard.

Below, Howard takes a peek at Stacy’s blonde bush and persuades her to remove her g-string:

 

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Howard examined Stacy’s bare backside and quipped, “My goodness — anybody want a roast-beef sandwich?”

 

 

Stacy’s video:

 

 

Jessica

 

 

Jessica Hahn achieved infamy when her sex scandal with televangelist Jim Bakker made headlines in 1987. The former church secretary then prolonged her 15 minutes of fame by debasing herself for Howard and by posing, naturally, for Playboy magazine (below).

 

 

 

In the video below, Ms. Hahn spreads her limbs for a sketch in Butt Bongo Fiesta:

 

 

And here she is in a segment about the vagina. Notice how the cameraman cannot resist zooming in on hers.

 

 

If you’d like to watch the entire video – not exactly recommended – it can be found here or here on YouTube.

 

 

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