Category: Weekly Reviews

 

Is there a more pretentious expression than “Who are you wearing”?

 

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I have a question for the “Time’s Up” and “#MeToo” people: What about women who deliberately use sex or sleep their way into plum movie roles or juicy job promotions? Do they get a free pass?

 

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Peak TV

 

There are too damn many shows. I will watch a police drama and then not recall if the bad guy did something in the show I am watching, or if it was another bad guy in another police drama I’ve been watching.

 

There are too damn many shows. I forget about some of them. I will kind of enjoy season one of a show, then it will return a year later and I’ll forget that it’s still on.

 

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Quote of the Week

 

“This is a typical case.” – some lawyer on Fox News discussing the porn star who is suing the president of the United States

 

The sad thing is, I didn’t even blink when I heard this.

 

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If embattled Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner needs a new career, I think he’d make an excellent Bond villain. I am reminded of this dude from Thunderball:

 

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Just like the bad guy in Thunderball, Jared is famous for generating gender confusion:

 

 

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All eyes will be on accused harasser Ryan Seacrest at Sunday’s Oscars, which is beyond annoying.

It figures that, after all these years, the one guy still clinging to American Idol is the “celebrity” with no discernible talent.

 

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Some wag on Uproxx made Oscar predictions based on having seen none of the nominated movies.

 

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Blank Panther? I’m guessing that’s an intentional typo.

 

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America’s Sweetheart?

 

 

I recently watched a documentary about Julia Roberts, and it appears that the lady with the big smile (and laugh) might have been “America’s Sweetheart” on the big screen but, alas, not so much in her personal life.

Five years ago, I thought spunky and charming Jennifer Lawrence might be Hollywood’s newest A.S., but she’s morphed into a P.P. – Polarizing Princess.

So Roberts and Lawrence are out of the running. And our A.S. is not likely …

 

… Nancy Pelosi with her “crumbs” comment.

The problem isn’t her message, because Pelosi is mostly correct. Compared to what the Fat Cats got out of this tax overhaul, lowly workers are getting crumbs.

The problem is the messenger. Sorry, Nancy, but multimillionaires like you don’t get to decide what the rest of us consider “crumbs.”

 

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America’s Sweetheart? (Part 2)

 

 

How do you deflect attention from your failure at the Olympics? If you’re media darling Lindsey Vonn, you try to make it all about your touching devotion to a dead grandfather – with help from a fawning press.

I suppose that’s better than resurrecting your hacked nudes. Do these pictures represent America’s Sweetheart?

 

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 (Click thumbnails for a larger view)

 

Nah, you can have Lindsey Vonn, Julia Roberts, and Jennifer Lawrence. Seems obvious to me that the real America’s Sweetheart is about to celebrate her birthday. So here’s an early “Happy 96th” to Doris Day!

 

 

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I think I speak for no one when I say that I’d like to thank the Republicans and Democrats for releasing their memos regarding the Christopher Steele dossier and the FISA Court request.

Then again, now that the GOP and Dems have explained things, I suppose we can all sleep better, because our political parties never lie, spin, or try to sway public opinion.

 

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The jury was out last week on Babylon Berlin, a German import on Netflix. Now that I’ve seen all 16 episodes, I’m prepared to give this impressive drama a big “thumbs up.”

Yeah, the subtitles are a pain, the plot is convoluted, and there are a few moments that stretch credibility, but the show looks amazing and there are some unforgettable scenes – especially for a TV show. Like this number:

 

I can’t get that song out of my head. But that’s a good thing.

 

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TV Update

 

I can’t decide if I really, really like Netflix’s foreign import Babylon Berlin, or if I just kind of, sort of, like it. It’s one of those shows that defies a standard “review,” not least because – I admit it – I’m not always quite sure of what I’m watching.

It’s a German production, and therein lies the problem: You need to brush up on your German history to follow the complex plot. And I don’t mean World War II history, but rather pre-Hitler Germany, with its confusing confluence of socialist-Stalinist-capitalist influences.

But there’s a lot to like about this 16-part series, including:

 

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The characters.   Leads Volker Bruch and Liv Lisa Fries (pictured above) are photogenic, charismatic, and sympathetic. Sure, Bruch plays a drug addict and Fries’s role is a part-time hooker, but hey, they’re Donny and Marie compared to the seedy characters in their orbit. Speaking of which, the supporting cast is superb, especially Peter Kurth (below) as corpulent, maybe-good-maybe-bad cop Bruno Wolter.

 

 

The visuals.   It’s an expensive ($40 million) production, and the money shows. The cabarets, mansions, and tenements of 1929 Berlin are rendered in magnificent detail.

 

 

The music.   It’s strange yet mesmerizing. It’s Marlene Dietrich singing “Falling in Love Again (Can’t Help It)” — not literally, but that captures the spirit.

 

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I will never understand the appeal of watching B-movies on the Syfy channel. The other day, the network ran Lake Placid 3 which, as far as I can tell, is attractive for two reasons and two reasons only: laughing at the cheesy special effects, and ogling naked starlets. Yet on SyFy, sex and nudity are edited out.

Here is what you’ll see of starlets Kacey (Clarke) Barnfield (the brunette), and Angelica Penn (the blonde) on the SyFy version of Lake Placid 3:

 

 

Here is what you’ll see on the DVD:

 

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BuzzFeed has a scary article about the future of artificial intelligence and how we humans are probably all screwed. Actually, there are quite a few articles and books about the future of artificial intelligence and how we humans are probably all screwed.

Soon, we’ll be seeing videos in which Trump (apparently) confesses that he is in fact Russian, and Obama (apparently) confesses that he was a woman named Marissa before having a 1980s operation in Denmark – and we won’t be able to tell that the videos are fake.

 

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Today’s false story that we planted on the Joker’s Updates bulletin board to get a rise out of Big Brother fans:

 

 

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Big Brother fans are excited because ousted Trump administration bogeywoman Omarosa (above right) is in the hamster house.

As for me, I prefer the joy of spreading false rumors in Big Brother chat rooms, like this one at Joker’s Updates:

 

 

“Shannon,” by the way, is Shannon Elizabeth. You might remember her from American Pie. If you don’t, these screen captures might jog your … memory.

 

 

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My Facebook page informs me that War of Kings, above, is a “featured game.” I’m sure it’s all about a skillful female hero who fights her way to … ah, who am I kidding? It’s obviously about her shapely ass.

 

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 “(Fill in the blank) Sparks Twitter Outrage”

Can we retire this clichéd, tired phrase already?

It’s too easy for lazy editors to find 23 people who are upset about something – anything – and to then create a stupid story about it.

Exception:

“Twitter ‘Outrage’ Sparks Twitter Outrage”

That one we can keep.

 

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This nasal-voiced, annoying chick on the Match.com commercial who says, “Come find me!” Doesn’t seem all that smart.

I am picturing some creepy serial stalker, sitting at his computer in the basement, watching this commercial and taking her request as a personal challenge.

 

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These two clowns got booted from the Winter Olympics in South Korea for startling spectators with their hilarious Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un impersonation.

Big mistake. They were vastly more entertaining than watching whiny athletes like Lindsey Vonn.

 

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Normally, I might cheer for the Philadelphia Eagles on Super Bowl Sunday simply because I’m tired of Tom Brady and the Patriots and their crab-faced coach.

But man … that would mean rewarding Eagles fans, and Eagles fans seem to be the largest collection of undeserving thugs in the country.

 

 

Go Patriots! … I guess.

 

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When the news is so relentlessly depressing, it’s tempting to just put your head in the sand until it all goes away.

 

Notice I said your head, not my head.

 

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We asked Rip to live Tweet the Grammy Awards. From time to time, he got bored and strayed off topic:

 

 

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Nothing worse than a politician who fails to ease calms.

 

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OK, well … ahem … about that whole “America’s Team” thing in last week’s post ….

Never mind.

 

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TV Tidbits

 

I’ve only seen the first episodes of Counterpart and The Alienist, so it’s too soon to know if they’ll be worthwhile viewing. So let’s review them, anyway:

 

 

Counterpart on Starz is a science-fiction drama starring J.K. Simmons. It might be good if … it avoids the common sci-fi pitfall of letting its plot get too far-fetched. Humorous sci-fi can get by with that sort of thing; serious sci-fi, not so much.

 

 

The Alienist on TNT is a period drama about a serial killer in 1890s New York. It might be good if … it avoids the curse of too many period dramas that fall in love with the setting at the expense of a good story.

 

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Let’s forget about government shutdowns and illegal immigration this week and instead celebrate football and the real America’s Team.

Click here to watch the famous video again. And then watch it again. And again. (Unless you’re from New Orleans, in which case, never mind.)

 

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And while we’re celebrating football, take a stroll down memory lane and savor this ancient photo of Kansas City quarterback Len Dawson enjoying a break in the action:

 

 

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Netflix Nuggets

 

The plot owes a lot to The Silence of the Lambs, and you might well be able to guess the identity of the killer, but France’s La Mante is a well-made thriller that’s often gripping.

Who knew that former “Bond girl” Carole Bouquet could play such a fascinating serial killer? (By that way, that’s not a spoiler.)

 

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 Dalton

 

Fanny Watch

Netflix cranks out tons of rotten horror movies. The Open House is not one of them. It’s no masterpiece (ignore its abysmal customer rating on IMDB), but I enjoyed the creepy atmosphere and an ending that conjured memories of the original Black Christmas.

Plus, actress Piercey Dalton contributes this shower scene to our Fanny Watch:

 

 

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More evidence of the decline of Western civilization:

 

 

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The media were aghast that an American president might utter the word “shithole” in a public forum. Classy Politico, for example, wouldn’t dream of exploiting such a vulgar term. From Politico’s Web site:

 

 

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TV Updates

 

 

Sometimes I get hooked on a show simply because I am entranced by the main characters. It doesn’t matter if they’re robbing a bank, or reading quietly in the library; I just want to see what they’re up to.

Fortunately for viewers of The End of the F***ing World, a delightfully eccentric Netflix import from Britain, the show’s writers are more than capable of finding interesting things for teenage runaways James and Alyssa (pictured above) to do — things like shoplifting, car theft, and offing serial killers.

 

 

Sure, it’s contrived. But God help me, I am once again watching (and enjoying) the crazy geezers on Better Late than Never.

 

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We’re thinking that the presdent of Fox Business Network should consider repatrating some funds to hire a proofreader. It’s something dimmocratic the could do.

 

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Good commercial:

 

 

I loathe that GEICO green lizard, but I’ll have to admit that a lot of the company’s other spots, like the sloth bit pictured above, make me chuckle.

 

Bad commercial:

 

 

Good lord, could Xfinity have found an athlete with less personal charisma than shuffling, mumble-mouthed bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor, pictured above? Not “lookin’ good,” Elana.

 

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What the hell is it with all of these weird-ass, sex-related confessions and rumors featuring Michael Douglas?

Is the dude trying to tell us something?

 

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OK, sure. We could do that.

 

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Bad Headlines

 

 

Yes, and yes again. Trump and his Republican pals need to stop citing the fucking stock market when crowing about “the economy.”

 

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Trump might be nuts, but CNN seems to be right there with him. Brooke Baldwin freaked out when a guy said “boobs” on her show, but on New Year’s Eve she boasted to a drunk Don Lemon that “my balls are bigger than your balls.”

Lemon, viewers might recall, once complimented Kathy Griffin on her “nice rack.” And then last week, we got CNN’s Randi Kaye laughing and fondling a pot-filled bong on live TV.

Brian Williams, when informed about Baldwin’s “big balls” declaration, assured anyone within earshot that his enormous testicles are listed in the Guinness World Records.

 

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Let me see if I have this straight: Tobacco taxes go up every 15 minutes, but liquor taxes, which haven’t gone up in decades, are going down?

 

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Mark Steyn and Sebastian Gorka: How are these not the same guy?

 

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Formerly great show that is now merely a good show:

Curb Your Enthusiasm

 

Formerly great show that is still a great show:

Black Mirror

 

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Veteran character actor Paul Sorvino wants to pummel Harvey Weinstein for blacklisting Sorvino’s daughter, Mira.

The blacklisting makes no sense to us, either, because we took a look at Mira’s audition tape, presented below:

 

 

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That’s Elizabeth Montgomery, circa 1963. You can’t tell me that Hollywood babes of that generation weren’t the bomb.

 

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