Day: May 8, 2017

TV Show Review: Feud

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5 of 5 stars to the first season of Feud, a TV drama series produced by Ryan Murphy that began airing season one in 2017, focusing on the famous feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford from the 1950s thru the 1970s. Season 2 has already been approved for 2018, and it will focus on the feud between Prince Charles and Princess Diana in the 1980s and 1990s. How could you not want to watch this amazing show?

Why This Show?

  • I am a big fan of Ryan Murphy’s TV Shows. I first watched Nip/Tuck, then Glee, followed by The New Normal. He got a little quiet for a while, but then came back with a few amazing shows in a row: American Horror Story and Scream Queens. But then he produced Feud. I couldn’t say no!
  • I’ve seen a few Bette Davis and Joan Crawford movies, stimulating some interest in how Murphy would portray their feud. I wasn’t alive when they had their disagreements, nor had I seen too many older movies, but I thought this would be a great way to immerse myself in their culture.
  • I enjoy Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange in almost anything they’ve previously been in. How could I not give it a chance?
  • The significant other really wanted to watch it… again, how could I say no?

Show Overview

  • Eight (8) episodes on the FX network in March and April, 2017. Each were about 1 hour long, starting with the pitch for “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” and ending with the death of both women.
  • Joan Crawford and Bette Davis are the primary focus of the show. You see Bette’s relationship with two of her daughters, and you see Joan’s relationship with two of her daughters. There is very little concerning the early years of Joan’s life, and Murphy avoided the entire story involving Christina, which was later a book and movie about Joan’s abilities as a mother.
  • The show also has several side stories concerning:
    • Aldrich’s wife, affairs and their divorce
    • The assistant’s drive to be her own director
    • Victor Buono’s “hidden” homosexuality
    • The Warner brothers fame and fortune
    • Hedda Hopper’s cancer
    • Mamacita’s nearly heroic efforts to support Joan

Notable Stars

  • MY FAVORITE (in this show)
    • This is so tough… Both Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange were amazing. I think Sarandon has the slight edge, simply because she plays a bit of a different character for me, whereas Lange’s portrayal reminds me of a few other characters she’s brilliantly played before. That said, I am including both here.
    • Susan Sarandon had some moments worth of an Oscar. She nailed Bette in so many scenes. There were also a few with a bit too much of an edge in the performance, but still memorable. Always with a cigarette in her hand, the accent was critical to show us the Bette we all love. Sarandon held nothing back, always a spit fire — she lit every seen with her expressions, eyes and anger.
    • Jessica Lange’s bitter misery with Joan’s life was evident at every moment of her performance. When she cried, you almost wanted to laugh at her… not because it was poor acting, but because she truly made Crawford a flawed character who couldn’t ever see beyond her own opinions. With age, she mellowed a bit, but never could she see the error of her ways. She may have had a tough life, but she was way too pushy in some aspects. For Lange to get this across was amazing!

  • OTHERS
    • Judy Davis plays Hedda Hopper, a vicious columnist and reporter known to go after the stars with a vengeance. She had some really strong and tender scenes where I didn’t know if she was speaking a brilliant truth, or just being a bitch!
    • Jackie Hoffmann plays Mamacita, Joan’s maid and personal assistant. Her accent is hilarious,  but she’s got a very strong role as a supporting cast member in this one.
    • Alfred Molina plays Robert Aldrich, their director. He is married, but seems to forget it from time to time. His marriage is a key point during a few of the episodes, helping provide some much needed reality for life of the “middle-class” housewife during the 60s.
    • Stanley Tucci plays Jack Warner, the owner of Warner Brothers Studios, who bankrolls the pictures that the women star in. His character was such an ass!!! But the acting was great.
    • Alison Wright plays Pauline, a fictional character portraying the director’s assistant, but she wants to direct her own films. She’s a compilation of several people from real-life at the time. She has several great scenes, helping provide some depth and humor, outside the feud between the two other women.
    • Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Olivia de Havilland, an actress working in other films with both women. She’s closer to Bette Davis, and ultimately takes Joan’s place in “Hush, Hush… Sweet Charlotte.” She’s good, nothing too special tho.
    • Kathy Bates plays Joan Blondell, a similar-type actress during their generation. She provides commentary about Joan after she’s passed away. Fine performance, nothing special.
    • Kiernan Shipka plays Bette’s daughter, fighting with her mother the entire time. Typical character you’ve seen her play elsewhere… best known for her work as the daughter on MadMen.
    • Tons of other stars, but those are the major ones.

The Good and The Bad

  • The set re-creations were phenomenal. Winston had a book about Joan’s NYC apartment and looked it up… they nailed the interior.
  • They took a few liberties with the timing on events and some exaggeration in a few areas. Looked up a few of the realities and facts to compare. Nothing too jarring, but enough where you’d go, “huh?”
  • Both of those women were mad crazy during that time period. It’s like they want to love their children, but I did not see that… they certainly said they loved them and tried to show it, but wow… kids were never the top priority!
  • Old Hollywood was a beautiful thing sometimes. It was also very messed up. Feud clearly shows the highlights in each and every episode.
  • There is a nice dream sequence in the last episode where Murphy explores “what could have been” if the two women ever tried to become friends.
  • The re-creation of some of the real movies were so fun to watch, especially having seen both the movies that were the key focus: Baby Jane and Charlotte.
  • The 1963 Oscars… that episode was brilliant. To see how they stabbed one another in the back. How Joan won in the end even when she didn’t. And to think these ladies did stuff out and in the public, where everyone could see their behavior. Hilarious!

Final Thoughts

  • It’s a re-living of history with about 80% truth and 20% exaggeration or fiction. But what you get is a solid show, full of memories and nostalgia for the olden days… which weren’t all that long ago!
  • The concept of the show is great… and I really look forward to the next one with the prince and princess.
  • Too early to tell if the show will get any nominations at the Oscars, but we’ll see soon enough!
  • You’ll enjoy this no matter what age you are, whether you lived through it, watched some of the movies or think that’s so far in the past, everyone else is ancient. It’s got drama and comedy. It’s got fashion, style and charm. It’s got down and dirty politics and shenanigans. All with a classy production.

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Each week, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking.

Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare!

Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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TAG: This or That Book

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tag

I found this book tag on a friend’s page. You should check her site out as she has great book conversations, tags and fun. Sophie @ Blame Chocolate  But the creator was Ayunda @ Tea and Paperbacks and so you must check out this site, too.


Rules

  • Mention the creator of the tag
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you
  • Choose one of the options, you don’t have to tell the reasons why you chose that but you can also do that if you want to.
  • Tag other people to do this tag to spread the love!

 

Reading on the couch or on the bed?

Tough one… I read in bed before I go to sleep, but I also like sitting on the couch or the chair in the living room. If I had to choose… reading in bed. It’s a bit more comfy.

Male main character or female main character?

I usually prefer female main characters. I tend to learn more and understand it more easily.

Sweet snacks or salty snacks?

Definitely sweet. It’s hard to say no to them.

Trilogies or quartets?

I’ve read a ton more trilogies… can’t even think of a quartet off the top of my head.

First person POV or third POV?

I usually read third-person, so I tend to prefer it. But a really strong first-person narration can be even more chilling.

Reading at night or in the morning?

Definitely at night. Mornings are for blogging, social media and email.

Libraries or bookstores?

Not fair… too tough of a choice. Libraries for their beauty. Bookstores for the opportunity to keep it all for myself. If I had to choose… libraries. They have so much charm.

Books that make you laugh or books that make you cry?

Books that make me cry. I enjoy laughing, but that’s a “point-in-time” reaction. If you make me cry (or feel emotion, since I really don’t cry), I’ll retain it forever.

Black book covers or white covers?

I think a black book cover stands out more and captures my attention. White makes me think it’s boring even though that’s not a true statement.

Character driven or plot driven?

I definitely like both, but preference is plot. I can forgive a bad character. I can’t accept a bad plot.

Tag?

I’m not tagging anyone specific, but it’s easy and fun, so everyone should!

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Each week, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking.

Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare!

Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Review: Gulliver’s Travels

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Gulliver's Travels Book Review
If you’ve never heard of Jonathan Swift before, perhaps this will jog your memory… In one of his other famous works, A Modest Proposal, he offers a suggestion that we should eat babies in order to survive.

Whaaaaat? You’re probably thinking I’m a nut job for talking about this. But a few things to remember…

1. Swift is Irish. So it’s OK. They can say those sort of things and get away with. And so can I. Because I’m Irish. Oh… and it’s all satire. So let’s relax a bit. 😛

2. A Modest Proposal is not the point of this review. Swift’s other famous work, Gulliver’s Travels, is the point of this review.

3. Swift wrote these novels / essays about 300 years ago. Yes, you read that correctly. 300 years ago.

4. The government controlled everything. He was a rebel. But a good one. And his works are absolutely fantastic. On to Gulliver’s Travels. My rating: 4 of 5 stars

5. This may be where the word “yahoo” comes from. LOL

This is one where I just don’t want to ruin the story. Gulliver encounters several new species of people on his travels, most notably the Brobdingnag folks and the Lilliputians. Basically, the land of really tiny people and really huge people. But don’t think this is a non-politically correct book, where he’s saying negative things about giants, midgets, short people, tall people, etc. It’s satire and 300 years old. It’s the language of the past. He’s commenting on society’s values, the things people say/do, who’s hovering over whom, etc. He’s actually “standing up for the [wo]man.”

It’s such an absurdist story that you undoubtedly enjoy it. Yes, its language is a little stilted. And it’s written in a way where sometimes the classics can be painful. I admit it. I love them, but I admit it. If you need something satirical, read a few chapters. Pick the first two voyages. It’s a bit lengthy, but you’ll get the drift even skimming a little bit. Everything he has to say is still mostly pertinent to how we feel about government today, just different priorities and levels of occurrence. But when you can input all the things we’re feeling and thinking into a entirely new made-up race or breed of people, showing the silliness of what is going on in politics and culture, it’s a good laugh worth experiencing. It was one of the fastest published and absorbed works of literature in history. People ate it up! America wasn’t even a country when this was published!!!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: Gaudy Night

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Gaudy NightBook Review
4 of 5 stars to Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers, a strong and talented writer of detective mysteries in their Golden Age of publication. This was truly an excellent book. Upon finishing my third year at college, I’d taken all the required courses and a variety of electives to complete my double majors. My advisors and professors, knowing I had an affinity for reading and writing mystery stories, encouraged me to do an independent study on this era of literature; but they also told me I wouldn’t be allowed to select any of the books I had to read. She would pick two per month for me to read and discuss. And this was one of the very first ones… she was a big Dorothy Sayers fan and thought this was the author’s most popular book. Despite it being in the middle of a series, which I severely dislike, I read it without enjoying the prior installments. And it turned out OK.

Though it’s hailed as a Lord Peter Wimsey book, it’s really about Harriet Vane: young wife accused and jailed for murdering her husband; she’s released when Wimsey proves her innocence. And they begin their own little flirtation and romance. Harriet goes on to be a writer and plans to visit her alma mater, a women’s college in the 1930s… what an intriguing concept. Full of some feminism, some mystery, some romance, some education… I loved it, even tho at times it was a little too “eyes slanted down one’s nose” for my taste.

The writing is fantastic. The mystery is complex. And it’s more about proving false clues, sometimes revisiting them, but always applying sound logic. Sayers helped pave the way for many future female authors of detective stories. Christie is still my preference, but I thoroughly enjoyed Sayers’ approach and character-creation. If you enjoy 75+ year old stories, give this one a chance. It’s really quite psychological and introspective.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Annabel Lee

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Anabel LeeBook Review
Edgar Allan Poe is one of my three favorite poets and short story writers. In this poem, Annabel Lee, Poe pontificates on the love between two people, which suffers upon the death of one. Love is powerful. Love can also be dark. All that you’d expect from the mysterious suspense is firmly planted in this poem, but under a romantic guise; it’s different than his other works, but you can still tell it was written by him. Published in the 1849, it may be his most haunting poem; it was also released just around his death. He passed away at 40 years old, young even for 175 years ago. Many think the poem is about his relationship with his own young wife. I couldn’t say. All I know is that rhyme and the staccato temperament in both the words and the timing is top notch. Roll the words off your lips, feel the energy, and absorb the pain. It’s how to best understand Mr. Poe. My rating: 3 of 5 stars

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Cause of Death

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Cause of DeathBook Review
Cause of Death is the 7th book in the “Kay Scarpetta” thriller and mystery series by award-winning author Patricia Cornwell. I’ve read about 2/3 of the series and now returning to write reviews on everything I’ve read in the hopes it’ll push me to pick up the series again in the coming weeks. My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For those new to the series, Scarpetta is a Virginia-based medical examiner, but eventually she moves around a bit over the course of the 20+ book series. She’s sharp, witty and tough. She’s had strong ties with the police and the FBI, as well as been on the outs with them over her career. She’s been the targeted victim by a few of the serial killers she’s helped to trap and capture. She’s not married for most of the books, but has a boyfriend for a while. Her niece Lucy helps her solve crimes on occasion. And her cop friend Pete Marino was in love with her at one point. Some of this may have changed after book 13/14 when I temporarily stopped. I stopped because I felt like I needed a new character to focus on, a different set of stories in a different place, but they are still all generally good books.

Cause of Death was one of the average books. Scarpetta’s involved in more intrigue than usual, with international situations, and she’s also filling in for a fellow ME on New Year’s Eve when she is summoned to look at a dead body. The funny thing… she knows about it before the police do. Now who is after her? There are multiple story angles in this one, and Cornwell got too technical for me. I love to learn when I read, but I also don’t want to have to look stuff up in an encyclopedia or online. By today’s standards, some of this is more common knowledge, but over a decade ago, she was ahead of the curve.

While still a good story, it’s not my favorite and I wouldn’t recommend this one to start with if you’re interested in the series.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare

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The Cat Who Knew ShakespeareBook Review
4 of 5 stars to The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare, the 7th book in the “Cat Who” series, published in 1988 by Lilian Jackson Braun. At this point, the series is well under way. Qwill has been in Pickax, Moose County, 400 miles north of everywhere, for almost a year. He’s gotten to know several of the town’s residents, taken on a part-time column at the local paper and begun dating Polly Duncan, which will turn out to be a very low-key relationship for at least the next ten books in the series. In this installment, we learn more about the Goodwinter family, early founders of the town, and a family full of kooky characters. When one of the elders, who publishes the paper, dies, it looks like it may be more than an accident. And so what does Qwill do when his mustache starts to twitch a little? He investigates like any good journalist. It’s all about the Hixie Rice, the food critic, XYZ Enterprises, a big business and Down Below (anything south of Pickax), and the history of the Goodwinter family. Plus Shakespeare of course… and a very valuable copy of his play.

This was one of the cuter books in the series, partially because we really spend a lot of time with the various townspeople, see a few of them murdered off, and get to experience Qwill building solid relationships. Hixie Rice is a fun character… she will always make you laugh and a little annoyed at the same time. But it’s Junior Goodwinter who becomes a strong addition to the books in the future. He’s young, eventually has his own family and looks at Qwill with a lot of respect. I enjoy their friendship over the years.

You’ve go the usual antics with the cats, the plans for Qwill’s future residence (he moves to a converted apple barn!) and his foray into becoming a core and leading member of the town. Writing this review kinda makes me want to go back to read one again. I probably won’t, as there is so much else out there to read… but it’s that kind of series. You will love the simplicity of the characters and the backdrop.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews