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filmmaven's coffee chat

a morning discussion of film and popular culture over coffee

Month

July 2016

Confessions of a TV junkie: Str8 outta Ride from the hood baby

Good Morning — its already HOT here in Detroit – we are set for a few days of heat wave …but I am spoiled sitting in my air con drinking coffee made from fresh ground beans with a touch of cream in vintage ceramic mug from The Sands Hotel and Casino…sands

….Thinking over the viewing from this week …I’ve been living vicariously through my shows watching people experience places I’ve never been and lives I have no personal experience of …..I take that as an extra special treat — I’ve never been one to imagine myself in those places or situations, no clue what that would be like …but I do have an empathy and affection for people as they move through their own worlds. I suppose that is what makes Television and Film viewing so amazing … It helps connect me to the world out there and takes me to places I would never know ……

RIDE with Norman Reedus ( AMC 6 episodes) — Trying not to gush too much – I find myself feeling all fan girl geeky when talking about this show. Each episode made me more and more a fan of Norman’s and the style of the program. Easy. Simple. Smooth. I felt like we glided through each episode with such fun, spirit and class. Everything and everyone was appreciated and acknowledged for its own beauty. A little super KUDOS to Anneka Jones, executive Producer – Thanks for making America look so cool with such beauty and grace. The show takes the high road in every way that phrase is possible. I learned things and saw vistas otherwise I never would have experienced. (TEE HEE ROBERT RODRIGUEZ TEE HEE…PETER FONDA — there got that out of my system)NN

 

 Straight Outta Compton (USA 2015, Dir: F. Gary Gary — available now on HBO) — While I am a  fan of all music genres and have great appreciation for rap / hip hop / MC  — I fully admit to not having a knowledge base to understand all the intricacies that surround this story. So my first critique has to focus on wishing the back story portion of the film was a little more clear and in-depth. It felt as if the set up was for ‘characters’ as these young men are in hip hop and not their base story, I would have appreciated just a little more…..That said…let’s talk about Jason Mitchell – an actor with out a lot of experience who’s performance in this film was multi faceted. Easy – E (Eric Wright) is portrayed with such smooth complexity that allowed the audience to connect with and understand, if not fully like, this man. No one is given the victim role nor the villain (Except Suge Knight) but Easy has a little extra screen time allowing us to explore his motivations. While I wondered if perhaps Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson) was given just a bit of shine on his activities the character is played beautifully by his son O’Shea Jackon, jr. Interesting juxtaposition to play your Dad as a young man having such a different childhood and youth experience….There were moments went it felt awkward to me yet the overall performance is good. Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre (Andre Young) a controversial character in so many ways; people have felt too many things were left out and others that too many details were glorified. I was not uncomfortable with it either way. There was certainly a sly depth to the performance and an almost tongue n cheek exploration of the character as a man. As with all the guys that duality of being a good man and having so much of everything is not given the reality check it needs until the end when dealing with Easy -E’s illness. There was no exploration of the personal lives as children are born and marriages happen so a central piece is missing.  A terrific film with some good performances …but …with so much left to the side and a feeling of telling but not telling. I didn’t leave the film with a deeper understanding of anyone except perhaps Eric Wright….the story seemed more of a nod to him than a real exploration of the N W A as it fits into the lives of these men. NWA_3_embed

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Its the First Friday in July and I’m feeling nostalgic for the 90s

Flipping channels during commercials is my fun spot. Its so wonderful to have streaming and DVR options but when confronted with actual airing – the tendency is to travel around the air waves until I’ve forgotten what it was I was actually watching. This is how I happened upon the reruns of the Cybill show (CBS 1995-1998 Created by Chuck Lorre, yes, that one) on the LAFF network.  Of course, I had to stop and take a few moments to revisit this show since seeing the wonderful Alicia Witt in the Walking Dead this past season. The talented actress was such a funny and quirky character as Zoe, Cybill’s daughter with her second ex husband Ira. It was a pleasure to watch a few episodes of the show. Isn’t it time for a Cybill reboot? How does she deal with being an older actress with grandchildren? Did she ever get married again? Can Chuck Lorre do mature thoughtful writing for a 21st century female cast?

 

This is of course the era of television that brought us

Roseanne (ABC, 1988-1997) — Still a force to be reckoned with as so many people who started here are now big stars of television; a force of nature that propelled many acting and writing careers. Sara Gilbert, who played Darlene the middle child full of angst is now a producer and star of CBS show THE TALK. Johnny Galecki star of the BIG BANG THEORY was rescue puppy David, the sweet answer to bad boy brother Mark (played beautifully by the late Glenn Quinn).  Still holds up funny in reruns but I’m not sure a new audience would find that emotional connection of an honest quirky portrayal of motherhood. Great for laughs and of course guest stars. A charming and delightful last acting note to the odd Shirley Shrift (SHELLEY WINTERS) roommate to Marilyn Monroe, cousin to Tony Curtis, as Roseanne’s favorite woman Nana Mary.

Doug (Nickelodeon 1991-1999) — The cartoon version of every 80’s kid’s childhood. Parents relate to it as much as kids do, its sweet, honest and imaginative.

Northern Exposure (CBS 1991-95) — Such hope for this one when it started and then it just fizzled out …it came like a cold breeze and hugged the audience with warm characters and quirky tales ….only to ….who knows? Rumors abound but ultimately ….its still very much worth watching.

Home Improvement ABC 1991 -1999) — Now this is television; While Roseanne held us up on Tuesday nights with worn and torn tee-shirts as a hint to what happens if you don’t study hard, Mr. More Power Tim Taylor kept us warm under a blanket of standard middle-class family fair. With a sweet level headed wife and 3 adorable borderline bratty kids, Tim prevailed as the bumbling good heartfelt  father figure to all. Although the bothersome one note story prevalent in many sitcoms of the time had fathers as head of household regardless of the fact that they were thoughtless selfish child like creatures held to a better standard by bossy wives….Tim and crew pulled it off with charm. Showing all the sweet ways of life if you worked hard and could fix up stuff with expensive tools – Tim Taylor was a dying breed and we loved him. He meant well and always came through in the end (as long as someone told him how). Funny, but rather slow to the laugh.

 

 

On a personal note about pleasure for a fellow blogger, My Torti, Clover, is the queen beeyotch from heck…Since she first came to live with us over 18 years ago she was unable to control her attack mode . I am usually the only one who can approach her, hold her and see the signs when she is ready for attack…..Its a pleasure overload. She gets all sweet and lovely then slash!! But I love her madly. So wear gloves and long sleeves and love your new kitty. Its all worth it.

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