Monthly Archives: July 2016 Wasserman


I can’t understand why Democrats didn’t want this to be the face of their party.


** Stranger


Stranger Things: If you like this miniseries, it’s an entertaining homage to 1980s kid-centric adventures. If you don’t like it, it’s a lame rip-off of superior movies. I think it’s a bit of both. The Spielberg-inspired fantasy has a lot going for it. The characters are generally engaging – especially the sheriff, the funny kid with curly hair, and the telekinetic girl – and the show’s ’80s vibe is fun. But there is also a great deal of plot silliness and material that feels overly familiar.


** Kids


I have a warped sense of humor, but I can’t be the only one who thinks the commercial with kids watching Trump rant and rave on TV is hilarious. Hillary, if you are so concerned about children being traumatized by Donald’s scary blathering, maybe you shouldn’t air this ad 500 times a day, which ensures that our precious snowflakes will get to see it.


** Kanye


This gift to the world from Kanye West has been out for a month now, but we haven’t commented on it because it was only recently that our bad dreams stopped. Looking at it again, we can only assume that this is why some people join ISIS.




Typo of the Week honors go to CNN: CNN


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Linda Blair



Politics Pees on the Carpet


I walked into a room and the TV was on. Pundits were talking about someone with an “unstable personality” and a “disturbed nature.” Turns out they were discussing the French Tunisian who bulldozed pedestrians in Nice, France.

It’s a sad state of affairs when my initial hunch was that the pundits were analyzing one of our presidential candidates – either one of them.




.                Stillson    Lansbury

.                                  Greg Stillson                                          Mrs. Iselin


I look at Hillary and am reminded of Mrs. Iselin, the conniving political operative in The Manchurian Candidate: cool, calm, and calculating — always calculating.

I look at Donald and I see Greg Stillson, the psychotic presidential candidate in The Dead Zone: certifiably insane.

Should be an interesting four years … provided we survive them.




“People don’t like to be treated like they’re fools.” – Republican analyst Steve Schmidt criticizing the Trump campaign’s head-in-the-sand denials that Melania Trump’s speech plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech.

Here’s one man who hoped that we were fools:



.                                                                          Sam Clovis


Trump campaign chairman Sam Clovis explained to Wolf Blitzer that Melania’s speech was simply a case of coincidental language:


Blitzer:  So, what do you make of this these accusations of plagiarism?

Clovis:  I think that the language is common enough that it would not be impossible or a stretch to believe that they [Michelle and Melania] would come to the same conclusions or the same language. It is a little ironic that they are — that in some places they are exact. But we see this often.

Blitzer:  Because it would be one thing if there were just one or two little lines, but there were several — there were three separate passages that were extremely similar.

Clovis:  Yes, and …  I thought the thing that was interesting last night was, I was — I was absolutely spellbound when she came out on stage. One, she — there is no way to describe how striking she is. I mean, just in her physical presence.


When all else, fails, change the subject.




By the way, I think that’s a picture of Sam Clovis. Not sure. It might be Roger Ailes.




Speaking of Ailes … so far, we’ve heard tales of women at Fox who rebuffed the dirty old man’s advances. But Ailes was the powerful head of the top network in news. Are we to believe that all of the 22-year-old cuties itching for career advancement said no to him? Some of them must have said yes.

I assume Donald Trump’s favorite news source, the National Enquirer, is on the job.






CNN’s Ana Navarro, pictured above, was unhappy with Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement of Trump:


“If you get invited to a dinner party, you don’t show up, eat the food, drink the wine, and then piss on the carpet. And that’s basically what Ted Cruz did today.”


I don’t know. It seemed to work for Linda Blair in The Exorcist.








I assume Geraldo is lamenting the reputed $40 million golden parachute Roger Ailes received as a reward for spending decades sexually harassing babes at Fox News.






You know times are tough when even Stephen King can’t seem to write.



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by John Dunning Booked to Die


I had modest expectations for Booked to Die, Dunning’s debut novel about Denver cop-turned-bookseller Cliff Janeway. From its synopsis, Booked appears to be like any of a thousand other detective stories you might have read – hard-boiled, hard-drinking, lady-loving, smack-talking shamus investigates a murder – and in many respects, it is.

But I was pleasantly surprised. Dunning’s asides about rare books and bibliophiles are diverting, the Bogart-and-Bacall banter between Janeway and a femme fatale is engaging, and Janeway’s wry, first-person narration wears well.

I have one quibble: It has to do with a Dunning punctuation quirk: The man is positively obsessed with the colon: It’s bizarre.


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“I judge actors mostly not by the acting, but by the scripts they pick.” – Bill Maher.

Me, too. I used to admire Robert Downey Jr. and Jennifer Lawrence, but nowadays they seem more interested in superheroes and paychecks than in making good movies.


I don’t always agree with Maher. It’s grating when he goes on one of his rants about “stupid Americans,” as if all he needs to do is cross the border into Canada or Mexico or any other country to be immediately surrounded by Mensa members. I’m thinking Americans don’t have a monopoly on ignorance and foolishness, but you might not think that after listening to Maher. And I also get tired of his endless crusade to legalize marijuana.

But on the whole … the man is sharper and bolder than any other satirist on the television screen.

Now that I’ve praised him, he’s certain to make some boneheaded comment this week during the Republican convention.




Say that again, and I’ll snap your head off!


“I’m going to be talking to white people.” – Hillary Clinton on troubled race relations. Yeah … that’ll learn us white people. We need to be educated about traffic stops that end with somebody in the morgue by a woman who hasn’t driven a car in years, and who thinks “ghetto” is the name of a Stevie Wonder song.


“People who are successful.” – Fox News describing anyone who is actually “rich.” The winner of a hot-dog-eating contest is successful. Bill Gates is rich.


“Undocumented workers.” – Most of the mainstream media adhering to the P.C. Bible. When I forget my card-key at home and can’t get into work, I’m an undocumented worker. Geraldo in the kitchen is an illegal alien.






Freeform’s Dead of Summer isn’t likely to make anyone forget Halloween, or even Friday the 13th, but it might feature the most bodacious brunette in Slasherville since Debi Sue Voorhees wore her birthday suit in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. Pictured above and below, Amber Coney struts her stuff in the most recent episode of Dead of Summer:


Coney3    Coney4    Coney5


Below, Debi Sue Voorhees — just in case you needed a reminder:


.               Debi1       Debi2

(click pictures for a larger view)






I looked at the list of Emmy nominees and I noticed at least one glaring omission: You simply have to give a nomination to Vera Farmiga (above) for her work in Bates Motel. But they didn’t.


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Night Of


Above, a picture from HBO’s intriguing new miniseries, The Night Of. We haven’t reviewed the show yet, but we needed a picture for the top of the page, and it was either this or Roger Ailes. No one wanted to see a picture of Roger Ailes at the top of the page.




It was another depressing week for America: Hillary Clinton sold out her country and got a wrist slap from the FBI; some dude in Louisiana sold CDs and got killed by the cops. A critic for Variety commented on an actress’s looks and triggered Internet outrage; the boss at Fox News harassed female employees and got huge ratings.




It’s discouraging that when Clinton points out Donald Trump’s many failings, she is right, and when Trump points out Clinton’s many failings, he is right. No matter who wins the election, I’m afraid we are all going to have to move to Canada.




.                           Carlson1    Ailes


“[Gretchen] Carlson also alleges that [Roger] Ailes repeatedly asked her to ‘turn around so he could view her posterior.’” – The Daily Beast


“He [Ailes] told me that if he was thinking of hiring a woman, he’d ask himself if he would fuck her, and if he would, then he’d hire her to be on camera.” – anonymous Fox employee


Above left, Gretchen arrives for work at Fox News. Above right, Roger fantasizes about fucking his employees.


.                      Carlson2    Carlson3





.                                 Andrea1      Andrea2


Far be it from me to spread gossip, but AilesGate does make one wonder about the case of Outnumbered host Andrea Tantaros (above), who vanished from the air in April, followed by a press release from Fox stating that the network “determined it best that she take some time off.” Did Tantaros fail to show Roger her posterior?




Normally, when I go looking for typos, I head straight to The Huffington Post. This week, we’ll settle for CBS:






Nothing like a good old-fashioned national crisis to bring out the Twitter idiots:




We tried to reach Governor Warner for comment. Sadly, he doesn’t exist.


Foreigners weighed in with incisive comments:









It’s hard to feel sorry for the bozo pictured above, who saw nothing wrong with brandishing a rifle in public yet was shocked when Dallas police hauled him in for questioning.


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Can you like a movie and be mad at it at the same time? Sure you can. Let me explain.

Here’s what I liked about 10 Cloverfield Lane, a thriller starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman:  For about 90 percent of its runtime, it’s a tight, claustrophobic puzzler. Winstead’s car is run off a Louisiana back road, and when she regains consciousness she finds herself imprisoned in an underground bunker with an ominous jailer named “Howard” (Goodman). Howard informs her that he is actually her savior and that while she was unconscious there was an environmental disaster, possibly nuclear, possibly chemical, or possibly extraterrestrial. Unfortunately, she, Howard, and a third survivor, Howard’s neighbor, must ride out the catastrophe in the underground shelter, possibly for years.

So far, so good. So far, the movie is like Misery with this twist: Winstead doesn’t trust creepy captor Howard — but there’s evidence his story might be true.




Now here’s why I’m mad: In the film’s climax, we find out whether or not Howard has been telling the truth. It’s a satisfying ending, but … it’s not the ending. The filmmakers, bless their sequel-loving hearts, choose to extend the ending, expand the story, and turn what had been a taut, adult thriller into something loud, splashy, trailer-friendly — and guaranteed to bring 13-year-olds back to theaters for Cloverfield the Sequel.

There were two or three times in the final minutes when I thought, “This is the perfect ending,” or “Now would be a great time to roll the credits.” But no, audiences expect overkill these days, apparently, so we must have two or three endings. Why settle for delicious ambiguity when you can spell things out in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS and show off your special effects?


.                 Clover4       Clover5


It’s too bad, because what comes before the overblown denouement is some nail-biting suspense, some smart writing, and two solid performances by Goodman and Winstead.     Grade: B+




Director: Dan Trachtenberg  Cast: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr., Douglas M. Griffin, Suzanne Cryer  Release: 2016




Watch Trailers and Clips (click here)


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Share Trumps

Trump with a model conquest — er, daughter Ivanka


Web sites — some of them fairly reputable — are reporting accusations that Bill Clinton hobnobbed with a sex offender, Donald Trump raped a 13-year-old girl, and Louis C.K. masturbated in front of female comics and writers.

It’s not easy being a rich and powerful male in America … but it sure is fun being a Web site.


***** Five


Fox’s Outnumbered moved outdoors last week so that panelist Juan Williams, seated in the middle above, could be outnumbered by even greater numbers of surly white people. (Yes, we realize there’s one black dude in the background, and yes, we realize this show is actually The Five. Sheesh.)




TV Updates: Thirteen


Thirteen (above) reminds me of Rectify, but with more twists and definitely more narrative “action.” It’s another drama about a lost soul trying to return to a life of normalcy — in Rectify it’s an ex-con attempting to adjust to life on the outside; in Britain’s Thirteen it’s a young woman who escapes her kidnapper after 13 years — and both shows are hypnotic.


A second British (with France) import, The Tunnel, has the same plot we saw on FX’s The Bridge and before that on Sweden/Denmark’s The Bridge. Which version of this popular story that you prefer likely depends on which actress you prefer in the role of the female cop with … I don’t know, autism or Asperger’s or something. I’ll go with Sweden’s Sofia Helin.


** Summer


They keep trying to bring big-screen horror to the small screen, but it’s a tough sell. The very things that make teen slasher flicks a guilty pleasure in the theater – sex, gore, violence, nudity – are the very things that get censored for your home-viewing experience. What does that leave? Bland, attractive, stereotypical young people and too many “jump scares.”

Being a teenage girl at heart, I watch a lot of this junk anyway. Here’s how I’d grade the current crop:


Scream (MTV):  I’m giving this a B. If the killer reveal wows me, I’ll bump that to a B-plus.

Dead of Summer (pictured above, Freeform):  Two episodes in, I am underwhelmed. C+

Slasher (Chiller):  I watched this a month ago, and have already forgotten most of it. C

American Gothic (CBS):  Two episodes in, I am underwhelmed. C+


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Spotlight Spotlight


It’s easy to see how Spotlight won the Best Picture Oscar: It’s an “important” movie, well-produced, well-written, and well-acted. It’s also easy to see why it grossed only $45 million at the American box office: Unlike, say, another newspaper movie called All the President’s Men, Spotlight is cerebral and clinical, more documentary and less Hollywood thriller. It’s not the kind of movie you can say you “enjoy,” because the subject matter — priests molesting kids — is so unpleasant. But you won’t be bored. Release: 2015  Grade: A- 




The Invitation Invitation


Director Karyn Kusama conducts a graduate course in suspense and — if you’ve had it with what passes for “horror” these days — you’d be wise to attend. The plot: A man accepts a dinner-party invitation from his ex-wife and her new husband at their secluded house in the Hollywood Hills. Old friends of the former couple are also among the invitees, but aside from the hosts’ expensive wine and fancy digs, something feels a little … off … from the moment guests walk in the front door. You might guess where things are headed, but Invitation has creepiness galore on its way to a nasty little twist-ending. Release: 2016  Grade: B+




No Escape No Escape


For an hour, No Escape is everything you could ask from an action-thriller: It’s relentlessly exciting and has heroes who behave in a believable manner – until they don’t. Owen Wilson and Lake Bell head an American family newly arrived to a Southeast Asian country when the prime minister is assassinated, unleashing violence in the streets and forcing the Americans to run, claw, and fight for survival. But after that thrilling first hour, the screenwriters resort to action-flick clichés and downright silliness. Release: 2015  Grade: C+


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