Monthly Archives: October 2013

by Margaret Atwood

Handmaid

Its tempting to downplay, as feminist propaganda, Atwood’s parable about a future America where men use religion to subjugate women (aided and abetted by other women).  But then again … I can drive a few miles from where I live and watch Somali women, clad in “modesty” robes and Muslim hijabs, strolling past Victoria’s Secret at the mall.  And I can turn on the TV and watch some southern Congressman calling for bans on birth control …. 

Let’s face it:  If any political alliance is handed the means for imposing its will on the rest of us, it probably will.  Atwood’s superb novel depicts this societal nightmare from the female perspective, but the dangers of her “Gilead” are universal.

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Couch

 

Bravo recently premiered The People’s Couch, in which friends and relatives watch TV, and we watch them as they watch TV.  When I tuned in, everyone was watching My Little Pony.

I was tempted to call my landlady to see if she would like to come over and watch me as I watched these people watching My Little Pony.  Yes, it’s come to this. 

 

*****

 

I read that there was a picture of Lady Gaga’s ass.  So I Googled “Lady Gaga’s ass.”  Turns out there are many pictures of Lady Gaga’s ass.  This week, we dedicate the Review to Lady Gaga’s ass.

 

.      Gaga13  Gaga3

 

.  Gaga10  Gaga11

 

.      Gaga4  Gaga5

 

.  Gaga12

 

.   Gaga6  Gaga7

 

.    Gaga9  ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

 

*****

 

This photo of a Notre Dame running back has been creating quite a stir.  Apparently, the ladies think he is quite the stud — we have to agree.

 

USC v Notre Dame

 

 

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Young

 

TV Update

 

Shows We Hear Too Much About:

There has always been a whiff of “this show is for teen girls” about American Horror Story, but season three is dishing out more than a whiff.  Teen witches at a boarding school might pass for scary on the Disney Channel (“Let’s bring the cute dead boy back to life!”), but not so much anywhere else.  Grade:  B

I simply can’t watch The Walking Dead anymore.  The zombies are silly, there is very little suspense, and there are way, way too many “heartfelt” conversations.  Grade:  C

 

Shows We Hear Too Little About:

Spiral on Netflix (below).  Cool show, similar to American police procedurals but with French actors, French music, and French sets.  Did I mention that the show is French?  It’s also smart and more cinematic than most cop shows.  Caveat:  There are lots of lawyers, and that means lots of talking, and that means lots of subtitles.  Grade:  B+  Clips

 

Spiral

 

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the phrase “miserable Russian peasants,” I don’t automatically think, “Funny stuff!”  But that’s what Harry Potter’s been up to on Ovation’s A Young Doctor’s Notebook (top).  Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm star in this black comedy about a city-boy doctor stuck in the boonies of 1917 Russia.  The first two episodes are so-so, but the third has some truly inspired slapstick.  Grade:  B+  Clips

 

*****

 

Castellanos

 

Anderson Cooper and Alex Castellanos (above) discussed Tea Party darling Ted Cruz:

Castellanos:  A friend explained to me today, finally, what Ted Cruz is doing.  And I finally understand:  He’s having bunny sex.

Cooper:  Wow.  This is the late-night edition of 360.

Castellanos:  In nature, there are boom-and-bust cycles.  The snowshoe hare, every ten years, multiplies sixfold.

Cooper:  Are you high?  What are you talking about?

Castellanos:  I am high.  Let me explain.  Let me explain … the bunny, the snowshoe hare — I thought it’s a marvelous explanation — every six years, every ten years multiplies sixfold.  Bunnies like sex, apparently.

There was more, but at this point I began to feel sorry for poor Cooper, who has had to deal with this kind of thing before.  Click here  and scroll about halfway down.

 

*****

 

Einstein

 

Misused Word of the Week:  Brilliant

Piers Morgan, a brilliant journalist, interviewed Alan Dershowitz, a brilliant legal scholar, this week on CNN.  I would argue that there are only a handful of “brilliant” humans — generally toiling in the world of science — in each century.  Einstein was brilliant.  Stephen Hawking is brilliant.

Steve Jobs was not brilliant; he was pretty good at figuring out what people wanted from their computers.  Adrian Peterson is not brilliant; he’s pretty good at running with a football.  As for Morgan and Dershowitz, well ….

 

*****

 

Here’s a rat video.  But it’s a funny rat video.

 

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Gravity1

 

With movies that rely heavily on special effects, I like to employ the “late-show test”:  Thirty years from now, when the film plays at 2 a.m. on some cable channel (or on a movie-chip implanted by Netflix into my brain), will it still seem good?

I believe that, for example, in 30 years Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey will still be considered a classic – a perplexing classic, sure, but nevertheless a classic.  I also think Apollo 13 will still entertain.  Ditto for Marooned, a mostly forgotten 1969 thriller about astronauts stuck in space.  On the other hand, there are plenty of old science-fiction movies which, although impressive at the time of their release, now seem laughably dated.  Which brings me to …

Gravity, Alfonso Cuaron’s nail-biter about two astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) who are quite literally lost in space after satellite debris pummels their mother ship.  The astronauts, in the middle of repairs to the Hubble Space Telescope when disaster strikes, must somehow save themselves.  That’s the plot.  The story goes from plausible to silly to utterly ridiculous in 90 minutes.

 

Gravity2

 

Gravity is all about movie-star power and special effects.  Clooney, as you might expect, cracks wise.  Bullock, as you might expect, does a lot of heavy breathing and talking to herself.  Cuaron’s script makes the leanest of attempts at character development – there is some gratuitous chatter about Bullock’s dead daughter, and jokes about Clooney’s playboy past – but Cuaron’s not really interested; it’s just filler between the more visual scenes. The 3-D special effects are impressive, but without a compelling story (as in Marooned) or themes (as in 2001), I’m guessing that Gravity will one day strike viewers of the late-late show as a quaint piece of fluff.      Grade:  B

 

Gravity3

 

Director:  Alfonso Cuaron   Cast:  Sandra Bullock, George Clooney   Release:  2013

 

GRAVITY  GRAVITY                                   

 

                                         Watch Trailers and Clips  (click here)

 

GRAVITY

 

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Watters

 

The Minnesota Lynx won their second WNBA title in three years.  In Minnesota, these are the only sports titles we win.  And so, in honor of our beloved women’s basketball team, I am this week including lots of  lynx.

 

*****

 

Normally, Fox’s Jesse Watters comes off as a smirking, condescending jerk.  But I will have to admit that his interview with Shubedi Shudarson (pictured at top), a United Nations guest from Nepal, was priceless.  Shudarson’s discourse on Nepali cuisine can be found at one minute, twenty-five seconds of this lynx.

 

*****

 

CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen and Carol Costello discussed the Obamacare Web site:

Cohen:  I still can’t log in.

Costello:  OK.  So I guess you can call maybe and get a live person on the phone to fix some of these problems — is that true?

Cohen:  Well, what you can do is if, like me, you’re not able to log in and you want to get insurance, you can call the 800 number that they have on their site.  They can help you with a lot of it over the phone and they can also send you information by snail mail.

Imagine that.  Isn’t modern technology amazing?

 

*****

 

We all hate commercials.  But the following ads are causing me to lose sleep at night.

 

DealDash

“I won this 55-inch TV for less than thirty dollars on DealDash.com!”

 

You, too, can experience this charming woman — over and over and over again — by clicking on this lynx.

 

*****

 

This teeth-gnashing, suicide-inducing Goodwill commercial ran last year and now it’s back.  If I have to suffer through it again this year, so must you.  Click on this lynx.

 

Goodwill

 

*****

 

Kooiman

 

“President Obama has offered to pay out of his own pocket for the museum of Muslim culture.” — Fox’s Anna Kooiman (above), falling for and then reporting a fake story from a parody news site.

Sooner or later, when you staff your cable-news shows with blond bimbos, it will come back and bite you in the ass.

 

*****

 

SPB

 

Maxim is running another story about everyone’s favorite summer event, the “Smallest Penis in Brooklyn” pageant.  Evidently, this was the only show in 2013 that did not feature Miley Cyrus — and she’s not happy about it.  Click on this lynx.

 

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by Marisha Pessl

NightFilm

 

Is it possible that someone at the Random House editorial department has a vendetta against Pessl?  That’s the only explanation I can think of for the bizarre proliferation of italics in her book.  You eventually get used to it, but the infestation of italicized words in every other paragraph is, initially, a major distraction.

In other respects, Pessl’s thriller is a mixed bag.  Her plot is imaginative:  An investigative reporter hunts a mysterious cult-filmmaker named Cordova, whose young daughter kills herself by leaping down an elevator shaft.  But there are stretches of Night Film that are so poorly written – so illogical or overwrought – that at times it resembles an earnest high-school student’s essay for English class.  A typical simile from page 205:  “The woman’s small black eyes swarmed it like flies over a turd.”  I’m not sure why they failed to italicize “turd.”

 

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I Spit on Your Grave 2

.       Spit8  Spit9

 

This is why Web sites like “Mr. Skin” exist.  If you have no desire to suffer through the ridiculous plot and unpleasant gore of a film like this, but you do think star Jemma Dallender is a hottie, “Mr. Skin” has screen grabs for you.  Dallender spends much of Spit 2 in the nude, playing a model who is raped, whisked to Bulgaria (don’t ask), and assaulted again before she escapes to exact revenge.  The most shocking thing here is the presence of actor Joe Absolom, who plays such a sweet guy on the British series Doc Martin.  His agent must have put his balls in a vise.  Release:   2013   Grade:   D-

 

*****

 

Movie 43

.      Movie2  Movie3

 

I’m not convinced it was entirely a coincidence that, just two months after the release of Movie 43, esteemed film critic Roger Ebert was in his grave.  A lot of Hollywood A-List talent appears in this comic disaster, which relies almost exclusively on scatological “humor.”  There might be some 10-year-olds who enjoy this but, if so, I weep for America’s future.  Release:   2013   Grade:   F

 

*****

 

The Call

.      Call1  Call2

 

Teen girl is abducted at the mall and stuffed into the trunk of a car, where her only link to the outside world is a cell-phone connection with 911 operator Halle Berry.  It’s realistic, pulse-pounding stuff – until the final half hour when, for reasons known only to the filmmakers, the plot goes all Silence of the Lambs on us.  Release:   2013    Grade:   B-

 

*****

 

Oblivion

.      Oblivion1  Oblivion2

 

The problem with Oblivion, essentially a video game for the big screen, is that in between its glitzy CGI and action scenes we must endure:  a) flat characters, and b) a pretentious story that steals ideas from much better sci-fi films.  That’s the bad news.  The good news?  If you’ve just purchased a new high-def TV, it sure does look pretty.  Release:   2013   Grade:   B

 

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Obamacare
Obamacare - Copy

 

Welcome to our attempt to scam the gullible public.  Please send checks to the address below.  If you are under 26 and covered by your parents’ insurance plan, please have your idiotic parents send checks to the address below.  Thank you, and have a nice day.

 

Obamacare

 

Send checks to:

Grouch

Grouchyeditor.com

P.O. Box 666  Minneapolis MN 55441

 

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