Review: The Kitchen

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Nothing was really cooking in this kitchen. #TheKitchen flamed-out with a dismal $5.5 million debut given the high-voltage cast (Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elizabeth Moss) and a production budget nearing $38 million.

I went into the film expecting to be entertained, instead I was caught in a world-wind of inane dialogue and a storyline that is at the apex of improbability. There is so much to unpack with this film, where does one begin. It is set in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen in the 70’s. The story is about three women married to members of the Irish mob. Their husbands are arrested by the FBI, convicted and sent to prison. The mob is supposed to take care of them while the men are away, but it’s not quite turning out the way they thought, so the three women devise a grandiose plan to take care of themselves. They take over the protection rackets and then violently snuff-out the competition.

We saw a much MUCH better film of this nature in #ViolaDavis‘ #Widows. But in The Kitchen, we have a jumbled mob/crime thriller that is DOA, dead on arrival because it just doesn’t fit the era nor is it remotely believable. The 1970s was an era when patriarchy, sexism, misogyny and racism was still very much in-your-face. Here we have three women, with one being Black, who not only takes out members of the Irish mob to control Hell’s Kitchen, but they encroach upon the Italian mob’s territory, then forms a partnership with the Italian mob boss. Come on now. I know there were and are women in the mob, and many are prominent figures, but three ordinary housewives suddenly becoming hardened killers and taking all of five minutes to learn the business, is ridiculous. Then let’s not even get into all of the subplot’s twists and turns. It was dizzying and not in a good way. This film shows us that even when you have talented actors, they can’t save a bad script and bad direction.

#MelissaMcCarthy #TiffanyHaddish #ElizabethMoss

Review: Hobbs & Shaw

 

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No shade, but I didn’t like Hobbs & Shaw as much as I thought I would. There were some elements in the film that were cool, but overall, it was just a meh action flick. I like Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and of course Idris Elba. But the preachy monologues about “family” were way too syrupy for me, the macho testosterone fueled banter and posturing was tedious, and though Vanessa Kirby was supposed to be a badass, they still found a way to sexualize her. Hell, instead of #HelenMirren’s character being in prison, she would have been more fun to watch kicking ass. But, the way this film was shot and written, Mirren was too old for the demographic Hobbs & Shaw is geared toward. On the surface, I appreciated the homage Johnson paid to his Samoan heritage, but it honestly felt forced and had the feeling of pandering.

 

The action was good, but there was nothing in this film that I haven’t seen before in other action/adventure films in one form or another. Hobbs & Shaw was truly made for 18-24 year old males because “macho and testosterone” was in overdrive. I know Hobbs & Shaw is under the banner of the Fast & Furious franchise, and I also know that it rankled many of those who feel that Johnson swooped in and basically made the franchise about him instead of about the ensemble. But Hobbs & Shaw is definitely a stand-alone film. Other than the eye-rolling family subtext, this film has absolutely nothing to do with the Fast & Furious franchise. And by the way, killing Idris Elba was a bit irritating. A film about his character and how he came to be that evil and murderous, would be great. But it is Hollywood, his character can always be resurrected.
Directed by David Leitch. Starring #DwayneJohnson,
#JasonStatham#IdrisElba#VanessaKirby.

 

Synopsis: Hobbs (Johnson), a loyal agent of America’s Diplomatic Security Service, and lawless outcast Shaw (Statham), a former British military elite operative join forces again, when cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist Brixton (Idris Elba) gains control of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever — and bests a brilliant and fearless rogue MI6 agent (The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby), who just happens to be Shaw’s sister — these two sworn enemies will have to partner up to bring down the only guy who might be badder than themselves.

#HobbsandShaw

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Arte Johnson, Emmy-winning star of the 60’s and 70’s comedy sketch show “Laugh-In, Dead at 90

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Arte Johnson, Emmy-winning star of the 60’s and 70’s comedy sketch show “Laugh-In,” died July 3 in Los Angeles of heart failure. He was 90.
Arte Johnson was born on January 20, 1929 in Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA as Arthur Stanton Eric Johnson. He was an actor and writer, known for Love at First Bite (1979), Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (1967) and The President’s Analyst (1967). His best-remembered characters on Laugh-in were a German soldier with the catchphrase “Verrrry interesting…”, and an old man who habitually propositioned Ruth Buzzi’s spinster character.
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In 1972, Johnson guest-starred in an episode of The Partridge Family as Nicholas Minsky Pushkin in the episode, “My Heart Belongs to a Two Car Garage”. In 1973, Johnson guest-starred in an episode of the situation comedy A Touch of Grace. In 1974, he appeared in the first season of the Detroit-produced children’s show Hot Fudge. He also appeared, for one week, as a celebrity guest panelist on the game show Match Game. In the late 1970s, he was a semi-regular celebrity guest panelist on The Gong Show.

In 1976, he played the animated cartoon character “Misterjaw”, a blue, German-accented shark (with a bow tie and top hat), who liked to leap out of the water and shout “HEEGotcha!” or “Gotcha!” at unsuspecting folks on The Pink Panther Laugh-and-a-Half Hour-and-a-Half Show. He also voiced the character “Rhubarb” on The Houndcats. Also in 1976, he appeared as a guest on Canadian TV show Celebrity Cooks with host Bruno Gerussi and a clip from his episode was featured in the opening credits until the show ended in 1987.

In September 1977, Johnson appeared on an episode of the NBC daytime version of Wheel of Fortune as a substitute letter-turner, both to fill-in for an injured Susan Stafford, and to promote his short-lived NBC game show Knockout, which aired through early 1978. Instead of being introduced by the show’s announcer, he would start the show with a small monologue, then the announcer would introduce the day’s contestants. In 1979, he was cast as “Renfield,” the comic sidekick of George Hamilton’s Dracula in the surprise box office smash, Love At First Bite. The following year he appeared in the all-star television disaster movie Condominium.

In 1985, he voiced “Weerd” in The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, and played a disgruntled employee denied severance pay in an episode of Airwolf. He also voiced several characters, such as: Dr. Ludwig Von Strangebuck and Count Ray on two episodes of Ducktales, Devil Smurf on The Smurfs, Top Cat and Lou on Yo Yogi!, Newt on Animaniacs, and many other shows.

In 1987, Johnson guest-starred in the Murder, She Wrote episode, “No Laughing Murder.” Johnson’s character, Phil Rinker, is a guest at a wedding engagement party of the children of a legendary, but bitterly estranged, comedy team, Mack & Murray (played by Buddy Hackett & Steve Lawrence and based loosely on the genuinely legendary Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis split). After discovering that their on-going dispute is a result of the theft of a video deal’s residuals, Johnson’s character is murdered but the death is made to look like a suicide.

In 1990, Johnson appeared in an episode of Night Court. From 1991 to 1992 Johnson appeared in multiple episodes of General Hospital as Finian O’Toole. In 1996, he played the old laboratory head of a team of scientists working on a serum of youth in Second Chance. He has performed more than 80 audio-book readings, including Gary Shteyngart’s Absurdistan (2006) and Carl Hiaasen’s Bad Monkey. In 2005, he appeared in the Justice League Unlimited episode “The Ties That Bind” as the voice of Virman Vundabar.

He retired from acting in 2006.

I’m BAAAACK!!

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I’ve been on a rather long hiatus from blogging because sometimes life takes you in some of the most unexpected directions. But now I’m back at it; more energized, more opinionated and even more in your face than ever! So let’s do this and do it BIG!

A Case Study: The I’m’s…..

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You know who they are — we work with them, we may live with them, we’re friends with them, they’re disbursed throughout our families, we pass them in cars and on the street everyday. Those familiar people who, for lack of a better word, are assholes who think the world revolves around THEM. They are what I comically call “The I’m’s“.

They can call or text early in the morning, late at night, at work, in the store, in the gym, in the car….anywhere at anytime when they need YOUR help. They sound the alarm and expect you to come running and, like the sucker you are, you answer the call to action. They will walk through a burning fire, scale the highest mountain, swim in the deepest ocean, fight the most abominable traffic, hop a flight, take a cab, get on the bus, walk, take the subway, go out into the hottest weather or the coldest blizzard to get to you when THEY need something.

But here is when they earn their title. You may be someone who rarely asks for favors and try to handle your life like a BOSS. But the second you ask one of these “I’m’s” for the teeniest, tiniest of favors, here it comes, wait for it…I’m too tired, I’m too busy, I’m too sleepy, I’m too hungry, I’m too hot, I’m too cold, I’m too exhausted (to drive), I’m not in your neighborhood, I’m stuck on the freeway and it’s too far out of my way, I’m working late, I’m digging a tunnel to China, I’m feeding the cat/dog, I’m washing my car, I’m picking my nose, I’m plucking my eyebrows, I’m scratching my butt (it may take a while), I’m involved with family commitments (family is never an issue for these people until it involves helping you, that’s their excuse), I’m inventing the cure for whatever illness I can think of that will get me out of assisting you, I’m too broke to drive because I need to conserve my gas so I can get to work, though they forgot their lie and posted numerous pictures on Facebook and Instagram of them out at a swanky restaurant or party, bragging about how much fun they had. This list could literally go on forever. But I think you get the point.

The I’m’s are basically narcissists with a little bit of passive/aggressiveness and egomania thrown in for good measure. Usually they’re innocuous and they’re not particularly bad people. But they are draining and infuriating. They have no idea that their actions affect their relationships with people in their personal, as well as their professional lives. They only see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear and everything else is white noise. They can pick other people apart at the seams, but when they’re called on their bullshit, they become extremely defensive, then try to flip the script and blame the issue on YOU. It’s Psych 101…..a classic move if there ever was one.

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So it brings me to this little sage piece of advice: if they’re in your life, you must make a decision if they’re worth the frustration, headaches and hurt feelings you’ll have dealing with them. Can you accept the mind-numbing fact that they are who they are and they won’t change. Or do you jump ship, swim as fast as you can to the shore, get to a safe haven, shower, change your clothes and catch the first thing smokin’ as far away from them as you can get. The choice is yours. I have some decisions to make of my own and it may be painful but I know what I need to do to preserve my sanity. You see, I’m not your garden variety woman, I have 1-800-FUCK-YOU on speed dial. I have very few problems with doing a surgical incision on relationships that are more of a liability than an asset. That’s just who I am.

So until next time, have a great weekend and I will keep everyone posted on my Winter cleaning. 🙂 Peace!