“Victoria & Abdul” – A Royal Friendship Swept Under the (Persian) Carpet

It is difficult to express how much this movie exceeded my expectations.  Of course from the previews and the photo ads I knew it was going to be a historical tale of two friends, maybe even two lovers.  I was expecting the royal charm that it did, in fact deliver, but I had no idea that it would be so funny.  “Victoria & Abdul,” a Focus Features film, is as much a charmingly fun movie as it is a bit of a heart-wrenching one.

Historically, and to her subjects, Queen Victoria has been made out to be somewhat of a callous, uncaring ruler, but in “Victoria & Abdul,” we see her in a totally different light.  No better actress could have been chosen to play the Queen than, Dame Judi Dench.  To say she is stupendous in this role would be an understatement. Danny Cohen, the cinematographer, should be commended for the beautiful scenery which at times, especially during the harbor scenes, felt as if postcards were coming to life.

Ali Fazal plays Abdul Karim, who was sent from India in 1887 to present Queen Victoria with a special coin called a Mohur, which was minted in honor of her “Golden Jubilee” (a celebration commemorating her 50th anniversary as Queen.) He’s given specific instructions not to make eye contact with her, as is the rule for all non-royals. Somehow, he manages to catch her eye, she finds this amusing and their friendship ensues. Queen Victoria is so intrigued and becomes so obsessed with Abdul that the royal household thinks she’s lost her mind. Director, Stephen Frears, uses the artistry of close-ups to give the audience and intimate view of the Queen’s feelings and true personality.  I personally thought the movie portrayed Queen Victoria as someone who, despite her position of power, was also humble and tolerant of racial differences way ahead of her time.

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Abdul teaches Queen Victoria how to write in Arabic

Queen Victoria was the Empress of India, but had never been there because her court feared she would be assasinated.  When Abdul comes to the palace, she is fascinated by his knowledge of history, culture, language, and the Muslim religion and she wants to learn about all of it. She quickly promotes him from servant to teacher; she even gives him his own servant.  To the disappointment of her son, future King Edward VII (“Bertie,”) played by Eddie Izzard, who is a dead ringer for the real the Edward VII, the Queen continually uses her power to bestow royal titles upon Abdul, sometimes even referring to him as “son.”  

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Actual photo of Queen Victoria working with Abdul ready to assist. 

When the Queen passed away and Edward VII became King, he did everything in his power to sweep Victoria and Abdul’s relationship “under the rug,” but nearly 100 years later, a journalist named Shrabani Basu discovered the story and wrote the book on which the movie is based.  I think you’ll find “Victoria & Abdul” amusing and a “feel good” movie to watch with the family.  Note, it’s rated PG-13.

Are you planning to see it? Check back and let me know what you think by posting your comments. – BMT

 

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Movie Review – “Kevin Hart: What Now” #HittingTheatersThisFriday

Kevin Hart, Ride Along Red Carpet Premiere, Sydney Australia

Image from wikimedia.org

I laughed so hard, I thought I was going to have a stroke!  True story – “Kevin Hart: What Now” is hilarious.  I really did feel as if I was going to bust blood vessels from laughing!

I purposely left a set in between me and the first group of people in my row (I would have given the seat up if someone needed it, but it never came to that) because I was worried that the people sitting next to me were going to get mad at me. “Reason why is” I can’t watch Kevin Hart and not crack-up and when I crack-up, it’s LOUD! However, there were two seats on the other side of me.  Two nice young women asked if they were open, so of course I said, “yes.” I struck up a conversation with them about how much I loved Kevin Hart.  Luckily, one of them (the one sitting closest to me) saw him live and was a big fan.  As soon as the movie began, I was so happy she sat next to me because Kevin did what he does best – – make us laugh!

Kevin was firing off one funny “true story” after another; each one funnier than the last and the two of us were screaming with laughter from the very first joke!  It was as if she was my “sista from another mista” because she laughed just as loud as I did, she held her stomach and moaned from the laughter pains, just like me!  She even sat up trying to get air, just like me!  The movie was so funny that so many times I laughed so hard that no sound came out, because I was losing oxygen (she did the same thing!) We weren’t just laughing, we were losing our minds and it was the best feeling ever!!  I can truthfully say, I never laughed so hard and so much at a movie, in my life and having a “laughing partner” felt so liberating!  Of course, the rest of the theater was laughing too, so there was no way they could get mad at me.  Honestly, you’d have to have been in a coma not to laugh.

“What Now” is somewhat of a documentary movie.  It is Kevin’s stand-up comedy routine, which he performed in front of a record-breaking, sold-out crowd of 50,000 at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 30, 2015. It was the first time in history that a comedian sold out a football stadium.  Kevin wants to make history again by breaking box-office records for this opening weekend by showing the film around the world.  If you follow @kevinhart4real, he’s asking everyone to help him make history this weekend. He’s using the hash tag – #ComedicRockStarShit for all posts related to “What Now.”

The movie can also fit into the action, drama, and comedy, movie genres.  It opens with a James Bond-like title sequence.  At first, you will think it’s an action comedy.  For the first ten minutes or so, it’s a comedic parody of a Bond movie, featuring Halle Berry as herself but as Kevin’s “Bond-girl.”  Kevin is agent 0054! This movie within the movie satirizes all of the cliché things that happen in spy movies.  For example, there’s a room labeled, something like “convenient changing room with clothes that fit Kevin Hart!”  There is even a bloody shootout scene, which is rather gross and actually made me and my “sista” cover our eyes.  Therefore, besides for the language, the bloody scene also makes this an adult only movie.

When the “mission” is accomplished, Halle and Kevin make it to the venue, where Kevin shoots up an elevator shaft onto the stage, and the concert begins.  It was so awesome  to see the aerial shots of the sold-out stadium!  Kevin teared-up when he took his final bows.  You can tell how grateful he is to have been able to go back to his hometown and sell out the stadium. It was as if that moment was when he realized he made it as a star!  It’s inspiring to see someone who has worked hard, realize his dream.  I also have a lot of respect for big stars who are not afraid to be humble.  My favorite part, which made me love Kevin even more, was just before he left the stage and thanked the crowd.  He told the audience to “look around,”  he said, “I see every race, ethnicity, and nationality possible.  I see some of everybody. We all came under the same roof and we laughed tonight.  If you can laugh together, you can live together; if you can live together, you can love together.  I live by those rules and I’ll be damned if I didn’t see that s**t here tonight. . . in my city I made history. . .and this has been the best night of my f**’n life. ..” You can actually find video of this moment posted by a fan on YouTube.  I didn’t post the link here because I try to keep my content PG-13.

When the Universal Pictures studio representative asked what I thought of the movie, I told him that I thought I was going to have a stroke and that I was so lucky the girl next to me laughed as loud as I did.  He replied, “everyone was laughing.”  They were; the room was roaring with laughter for the entire run of the film!  The stand-up routine is full of so many funny and animated stories about Kevin’s kids, his “lady,” his dad, and his friends, all prefaced with “true story.”  Kevin says he doesn’t lie, “unless the truth is not believable!” I don’t want to give away and jokes or punch lines, you have to see this movie for yourself.  Please remember it’s rated –R; it’s not for kids and if you get offended by foul language, then it’s not for you.  If you are a Kevin Hart fan, the answer to the question, “What Now?” is go buy your tickets!  “Kevin Hart: What Now” opens Friday! Don’t miss it! – BMT

P.S.  Don’t get up when the credits start rolling, there’s more movie! As always, please let me know what you think. – Beth

Vicki Lawrence & Mama Sing at the Tobin Center

This seems to be my year for checking items off my bucket list or simply doing things I’d never imagined!  Being in the same room as a comedic legend such as Vicki Lawrence falls into the latter category!

I grew up watching the Carol Burnett Show; we never missed it. It didn’t matter where we were, a friend’s house, a family get together, everyone sat around to watch Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway perform their weekly comedy sketches and Movie/TV Show parodies.  My favorite segments were the Mama’s Family skits.  Being a young girl, I found it amusing that a Grandma could be so raw, mean, and funny at the same time!  I remember how shocked I was to find out that Vicki Lawrence was actually much younger than Carol!  I actually thought she was older, or at least the same age. I believe that’s how you can judge good acting, when someone can make you believe that she IS the person whose role she’s playing!

We sat behind a taxi driver that had the pleasure of driving Vicki around San Antonio. He was scrolling through his photos and we noticed a photo of him and Vicki.  We asked if he was at the meet and greet.  He told us that she, her husband, Al Schultz, and her son, were really nice. They gave him tickets to the show and it appears that he was their driver for the weekend.

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Vicki sings (Photo by JohnDavid Scarcliff)

Vicki came out and connected with the audience by telling comical, but true stories, about routine events such as visiting the gynecologist.  She reminded some of us that may have forgotten (or those that didn’t know) that she produced and recorded the first version of “The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia.”  Yes folks, Reba is not the original redhead to sing it!  She said her then husband, Bobby Russell, didn’t like the song and she “got it in the divorce.”  In 1973, it was number one on the “Billboard Hot 100.”  She sang it for us and joked about how she was the only artist that could do a medley of her hits in one song.

Vicki also told us the story of how she was discovered by Carol at a “Miss Fireball” contest. Over the years I’ve seen articles speculating that Vicki resented being in Carol’s shadow. I didn’t sense that Vicki had any resentment for Carol at all.  In fact, I think it is the opposite.  I think she is grateful. Though I did sense a little resentment between Vicki and Mama. It seems that whenever Vicki is spotted by fans, they yell out to her, “where’s Mama?” It is as if they don’t realize that she IS Mama.  I believe she should be proud that after 40 years, Mama lives on in the hearts of fans everywhere.  Even though Mama came out of the Carol Burnett Show, she is clearly Vicki’s masterpiece.  The Tobin Center was nearly full with people that came to see Vicki AND Mama and all the laughs were for Vicki and her alter ego – Mama; no one else!

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One thing Vicki did say begrudgingly, was that Bob Mackie created glamorous sequined gowns for Carol and for her just the Mama costume! (Photo by JohnDavid Scarcliff)

Since it is not shown in re-runs, my 17-year old daughter never saw the “Carol Burnett Show” or “Mama’s Family.”  She had no idea what she was in for, but she loved it!  She screamed with laughter, just as much as us “old folks!”  By the way, Vicki advised us that “Mama’s Family” is currently showing on “MeTV,” so if you get that channel, you are in luck.  Sadly for us, MeTV is not on the Dish Network.

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Better listen to Mama! (Photo by JohnDavid Scarcliff)

Of course the crowd really went wild when Mama came out and did a rap for us! It was hysterical!  She did an “ask Mama” routine where she touched on some current issues. One question I recall was how she felt about Caitlyn Jenner.  Mama said that she didn’t understand why someone would want to become a woman at the menopausal stage of life!   The best way to describe the show is to quote Vicki, herself, “My show is not a retrospective, . . .It is a mixture of stand-up comedy, music and my observations about real life.”(http://www.vickilawrence.com/2woman2013.html) The only thing she left out is that you will be laughing so hard your sides will hurt and your eyes will tear!

“Vicki Lawrence and Mama, A Two Woman Show” is touring the country and I highly recommend you catch it if you can.  You can see the schedule on her website by following this link http://www.vickilawrence.com/VickisSchedule.html.  I hope she comes back to San Antonio next year. – BMT

Movie Review – “Sausage Party,” Directed by Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan

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Literally the expressions you will make while watching this film! Image obtained from sausagepartymovie.com

Seth Rogen’s long-awaited animated comedy opens in theaters on Friday, August 12, 2016.  I use the term, “long-awaited,” because I recently saw Seth on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, where he told Jimmy that he had been working on this film for ten years!  Also, media hype for this movie has been going on for several months now. I, personally, was anxious to see it and I have to say that I was a bit disappointed.  The trailer, which is also R-rated, really does highlight the funniest scenes.

Rogen co-wrote the screenplay with Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, and Evan Goldberg. The story is written by Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Jonah Hill. These three guys are good friends, comedians, screen-writers, and  producers.  I would say that Sausage Party gives us a pretty good glimpse into their somewhat warped minds!  Really, thinking about the characters Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen have played, we shouldn’t expect much more (or less) from this movie!  What is hard to believe is the star-studded cast, along with Seth who plays Frank and Jonah who plays Carl, (both sausages/hot-dogs) are:

  • Kristen Wiig – Brenda – a hot-dog bun;
  • Bill Hader – Firewater – a bottle of tequila and El Guaco – guacamole;
  • Michael Cera – Barry – one of the sausages;
  • James Franco – a human drug addict;
  • Danny McBride – Honey Mustard;
  • Craig Robinson – Mr. Grits – a box of Grits;
  • Paul Rudd – the grocery store manager;
  • Nick Kroll – Douche – a bottle of douche;
  • David Krumholtz – Vash – a lavash;
  • Edward Norton – Sammy Bagel Jr. – a bagel;
  • Salma Hayek – Teresa – a taco;
  • Anders Holm – Troy – another one of the sausages;
  • Greg Tiernan – Potato;
  • Sugar Lyn Beard – Baby Carrots;
  • Lauren Miller – Camille Toh – a tampon; and
  • Scott Underwood – Twink – a twinkie and Gum – a wad of chewed-up bubble gum.

Seth seemed amazed when he told Jimmy Fallon that he actually got eight-time Oscar-winning composer, Alan Menken, who wrote musical scores for movies such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin”, to do the music for this movie.  I have to say that if Sausage Party wins any Oscars it will be for the music and animation, which are both fantastic. The food is really brought to life and you briefly forget you are watching a cartoon and get caught up in the drama!  There’s even a heated love story between Frank (Rogen) and Brenda (Wiig)! Seth said that he wanted it to have the feel of a Disney/Pixar film by bringing food to life, but it’s “deranged and insane” because, as Rogen said, “the secret life of food is horrifying, because you eat it.”

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Frank and Brenda can’t wait to be taken home by the “human gods.”  Image obtained from sausagepartymovie.com

This movie is rated – R.  It cannot be stressed enough that it is NOT for children. Even Rogen said it was hard to find a trailer that could be viewed on TV. The trailer on the website requires users to confirm they are 17 or older! Several people brought their children and were warned by the screening host that it was not a movie for children and gave them an opportunity to leave; they did not.  Can somebody say, “bad moms?” LOL! Please trust me; get a sitter, unless you want your kids saying the “F” and other choice curse words and putting their food and/or themselves into sexual poses just in time for the new school year! No joke, this is literally an hour and a half animated movie with enough sex, drugs, and violence to own up to its R-rating; there’s even a rape scene! When I asked my 17-year old daughter what she thought about the movie, she said, “we watched food have sex for an hour!”  I laughed and told her that she just came up with the perfect review! She was looking forward to seeing it more than I and she, too, was disappointed. I hate to say this, because I do not condone drug use and/or excessive drinking, but I think the only people that will really enjoy this movie are those that are high on something.  Honestly, I don’t think Hollywood should be sending out that type of message. I think there should be more movies that stress NOT to do drugs. In my opinion, good comedy does not and should not require its audience to be inebriated. Although meant to be taken in good-humor, I suspect this movie may drum up some controversy from those without a sense of humor, as there are stereotypical jokes and innuendos about Hispanics, Blacks, Jews, and Muslims.

The movie was screened by a full-house (the line was already looped around the theater hallway two-hours before the scheduled start time.)  There was a lot of laughter from the crowd, but many times you could hear gasps of “OMG” and “eeewww,” because what we were watching was so absurd, profane, violent, and nothing one would expect from an animated movie! Even though my daughter is 17, I felt embarrassed watching it with her! I see it is getting mixed reviews, so, as I always say, don’t let me stop you from forming your own opinion.  If you were waiting to see it, by all means go.  It’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Personally, I’d wait for the DVD, but that’s just my unsolicited opinion. What’s your opinion? If you see it, please let me know by posting your comments. – BMT

Post-Script – 8/16/16 – I screened Ben-Hur tonight in the same theater that is now showing Sausage Party and there was a sign outside the door stating that the movie is Rated – R and that it is for audiences 17 and older, it also states that no-one under the age of 7 is permitted into the theater!  This sign was also posted outside the theater at the box office.

Rest in Peace Garry Marshall

Somehow this sad news fell under my radar. Writer, producer, actor, Garry Marshall passed away on July 19, 2016.  He was 81 years old. As I feel it is always better late than never, I want to send my thoughts and prayers to Penny Marshall and the entire Marshall family. Garry Marshall was so incredibly talented, it would be terrible not to pay tribute to him. If you aren’t familiar with Garry’s career, just think back to your favorite TV show or movie since the 1960s and he probably had something to do with it. You name it, he’s likely written, produced, directed, and/or acted in it! Just to briefly list his accomplishments in television, he wrote for the Tonight Show Starring Jack Paar; The Danny Thomas Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Lucy Show, Gomer Pyle, and The Odd Couple, just to name a few.  More notably he was the creator and executive producer of classic hits such as Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley (starring his sister, Penny), Mork & Mindy, Angie, Joanie Loves Chachi, and he was the executive consultant for the current version of The Odd Couple, with executive producer, Matthew Perry.  Over the years, Garry starred in several TV shows and movies, including Goldfinger, A League of Their Own, Murphy Brown, The Simpsons, The Majestic, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Louie, Two and a Half Men, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Hot in Cleveland, and The Odd Couple.  

Garry was born, Garry Kent Masciarelli on November 13, 1934 in the Bronx, New York. His father, Anthony Masciarelli, an industrial filmaker, changed the family name to Marshall in 1934. Though I am not certain why, I do know that back in those days, due to discrimination, many Italian-Americans changed their names to something they believed to be less “ethnic.” Being a New Yorker of Italian descent, I have a special place in my heart for stars like Garry. I always enjoyed listening to him give interviews. His voice, that New York accent, always took me back home. I couldn’t post about Garry without a video clip, so here’s an interview Garry did on “CBS This Morning” in 2012 to promote his book, “My Happy Days in Hollywood.”  Such a humble and down-to earth man; they just don’t make them like that anymore.

(Video obtained from YouTube)

Movies Directed by Garry Marshall:

1982 Young Doctors in Love
1984 The Flamingo Kid
1986 Nothing In Common
1987 Overboard
1988 Beaches
1990 Pretty Woman
1991 Frankie and Johnny
1994 Exit to Eden
1996 Dear God
1999 The Other Sister
1999 Runaway Bride
2001 The Princess Diaries

2004 Raising Helen
2004 The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
2007 Georgia Rule
2010 Valentine’s Day
2011 New Year’s Eve
2016 Mother’s Day

If you are like me, you may be reading this list, thinking, “I didn’t know he did that!”  As you can see, not all of his work was comedy, but all of his work was brilliant!

In my research, I came across some of his quotes, “It’s always helpful to learn from your mistakes because then your mistakes seem worthwhile.” He also said, “Learn to work with people you wouldn’t go to lunch with.” Wise words to live by, don’t you think? The world has lost another great artistic legend. Rest in peace Garry. Eternal be his memory.

What’s your favorite Garry Marshall accomplishment? I’d love to hear about it.- BMT

“Bad Moms” – So Good, It’s BAD!

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Photo obtained from  http://stxmovies.com/badmoms/

“Bad Moms” stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Jay Hernandez, Clark Duke, Annie Mumolo, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Christina Applegate.  Written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore of “The Hangover,” it’s a comedy about stereotypical mothers of all types.  The movie of course has some exaggerated scenes to enhance the hilarity, but the basic premise is one that all Moms, even Dads, can relate to. Single working Moms, working Moms in two-parent households, and even stay-at-home Moms are often overworked, under-appreciated, and most of all judged by fellow parents that think they are doing  this “parenting thing,” better.  Let’s face it, kids don’t come with an operating manual, every child is different, and every parent has their own individual parenting style.  There’s no “how to be a good parent” book that can possibly cover every scenario faced by parents. We all make mistakes; it’s trial and error! Every Mom has been a bad one at some point, but we all do the best we can and what matters in the end is that our children are, and know they are, loved and that as their parents, we would do anything to protect them.

As I searched for photos to post with this review, I came across a cute and funny photo of a note a kid must have given his or her Mom, it read, “I dedicate this book to my Mom, who is sometimes very grouchy!” (the photo was from momgrind.com and apparently can’t be reproduced.) It reminded me of a recent card my daughter made for me, in which she wrote, “. . .even though you are sometimes ugly and mean, you are still my best friend.”  Our kids know deep down that even when we are at our very worst, they are the best thing(s) in our lives and we love them with all of our hearts. The end of the movie is really cute when the real Moms of the movie’s cast talk about their parenting methods and commend their daughters for being good Moms.

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Photo from stxmovies.com/badmoms

This photo is from my favorite scene of the movie, Amy, (Mila Kunis) is asked to take on a PTA committee and she just flat out says, “No.” Everyone in the room was shocked because no one had the guts to stand up the PTA President, (Christina Applegate). The PTA President is your typical perfect and affluent Mom, who seems to have it all together, seems to have everything, and is the alpha-dog of the group, delegating to everyone. Sometimes, as a Mom, and more so when you are a single Mom, you have to just stop taking on responsibilities.  You just get burnt out.  Recently, I was a member of a committee and I was asked to take on an additional task, and I too just said, “no.”  I remember hearing gasps from other members; they couldn’t believe that I was bold enough to refuse.  There comes a point when you just have to consider your own sanity and be your own advocate. This scene was the turning point; Amy began a revolution and that’s when it gets really funny!

This is a movie you don’t want to miss. You will laugh so hard at some points, you may not hear some lines, as I did, and may even want to see it again!  It’s so good, that it’s “bad.”  A perfect movie for date night or girls’ night out.  Please keep in mind, even though it’s about Moms, it’s for Moms, rated R, and not for kids.  It’s OK to be a bad Mom sometimes, but taking kids to this movie is not a good idea.

Please let me know what you think. – BMT

 

Movie Review – “Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping”

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Photo of movie screen by RCT with Snapchat filter

While what looks like may have been the majority of screening viewers were undoubtedly crying their eyes out watching “Me Before You” tonight, we were screaming and crying with laughter.  We chose to see “Popstar – Never Stop Never Stopping” tonight at the Santikos Palladium Theater, along with about 75 other viewers.

In the words of my daughter/assistant/photographer, RCT, “Popstar” is, “Everything I love about the Lonely Island, wrapped up into one movie!”

The movie, written by and starring Andy Samberg, is a parody of a documentary about the struggles and triumphs faced by today’s pop stars.  The movie stars several “Saturday Night Live” Alumni – Maya Rudolph, Tim Meadows, Bill Hader, and Jimmy Fallon – along with Joan Cusack, Justin Timberlake, and the other two thirds of the Lonely Island – Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer.  All of whom give their typically funny performances.  However, what really adds to the fun and gives the movie it’s “documentary feel” are the cameos by famous artists, such as – Ringo Starr, Ed Sheeran, Mariah Carey, Usher, Sir Paul McCartney, Adam Levine, Pink, Simon Cowell, Mario Lopez, Snoop Dogg, and many many more!  There are so many, I apologize to those I missed.

Through the sarcasm and humor, Popstar teaches some valuable life lessons about friendship.  I don’t remember the exact quote, but the message Samberg clearly wanted to relay is that fame (life) is full of ups and downs and through it all you need to remain true to yourself always and “don’t be an A**H***!” 

Popstar is a perfect summer movie!  We hope you enjoy the show. Please come back and post your comments. – BMT

Steven Wright Brought us to Tears at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house Friday night at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.  We didn’t expect Steven Wright’s performance to be tear-jerking, but believe me; he was so funny everyone was crying!  I honestly can’t remember if there was ever a time I laughed this hard!  His monotone delivery of jokes and his existential observations is not just hilarious; it’s genius!  In his interview with “Inside Joke,” Wright said that his comedy style happened by accident.  It seems stage fright is the keystone of his act. He says that the first time he was on stage, he was nervous and was seriously concentrating on the jokes.

Watch the interview here –

He makes very little eye contact with the audience as he casually walks around the stage talking about absurd and obvious things we generally take for granted.  For example, “search parties are always surprise parties!”  He asks questions we are afraid to ask, like – “why are pictures square when the lens is round?” or “why is it a penny for your thoughts, but you have to put your two cents in?”  He has so many one-liners, I didn’t think I could remember them, but then on Saturday, I found myself in a restaurant and overheard the waiter asking someone if they wanted their water with ice or room temperature.  I chuckled remembering Steven’s line – “it doesn’t matter what temperature it is in the room, it will always be room-temperature!” Then I got home, looked at the walls and thought about how badly my house needs painting.  I laughed again and thought about Steven’s pondering – “is there anything between the paint and the wall?”

Steven Wright is not just a stand-up comedian, he’s come a long way since his debut on the “Tonight Show With Johnny Carson”.  He won an academy award for Best Short Film, Live Action, for the short-film he wrote entitled, “The Appointments of Dennis Jennings,” in which he also starred. He is also one of the producers for the FX Series, “Louie,” starring Louis C.K.  He also appears to be musically inclined.  On the off-chance that the audience would get bored, he breaks up the monotony of his routine by strumming a guitar and singing goofy songs and the laughter continues!

In his stories, he talks about how people, such as his teachers would cry after dealing with his slightly “off the wall” logic! I think he means they cried with laughter.  It’s hard to resist.  At one point I laughed so hard, I literally got dizzy and thought I was going to pass out!  I saw stars, then gasped for air!  My mom told me the same thing happened to her.  After this experience, I think it may be possible to die laughing! Wouldn’t that be the best way to go?!

They say laugher is the best medicine.  Studies show that finding humor in everyday life is a healthy way to cope with stress. In that regard, you might consider Steven Wright to be a therapist! We felt great when it was over and with the highest ticket price being $39.50, it’s much less than a therapy session!  We all tend to be living “life in the fast lane” these days, Steven Wright reminds us to laugh at life’s little quirks.  I hope he returns to the Tobin Center soon.  Everyone should experience his performance at least once and for those of us that have already seen him, It wouldn’t hurt to have a “follow-up.” – BMT

Did you see the show? Have you seen Steven Wright perform? What do you think? Please post your comments below. Did you take any photos you’d like to share?

Review – “Ricki & the Flash,” Directed by Jonathan Demme

(Image from wikimedia.org)

Ricki is a rock-star.  Well, at least that was the dream she pursued when she left her family and moved to California. Spoiler alert, it’s not Rick Springfield! Meryl Streep plays Ricki, the 60-year-old lead singer of a cover band – the Flash.  Mamie Gummer, Streep’s daughter, plays her troubled daughter, Julie, who with her two brothers harbor a lot of resentment towards their mother.  Ricki’s three children were raised by their stepmother, Maureen (Audra McDonald) and Dad, Pete (Kevin Kline).  They grew up more than comfortably, in a mansion, as opposed to Ricki, who’s in bankruptcy.

When Julie’s husband left her for another woman, her father turns to Ricki, because, we all know that as we go through life’s trials, sometimes we just need our Mom.  Except for very rare circumstances, no one loves you more than your Mother does.  When Ricki is feeling inadequate as a parent, Ricki’s boyfriend Greg, (Rick Springfield) the bassist in the Flash, said it best when he told her that kids don’t have to like their parents, it’s the parent’s job to love their kids – “that’s why you’re here.”

There was one technical error in the script that may bother anyone in the bankruptcy field, individuals don’t typically file Chapter 11; in Ricki’s situation, she would have been in Chapter 7. Despite that one word technicality, this movie is great! Once again Streep proves she can take any role and make it Oscar-worthy!  You may be thinking that she doesn’t seem like the rock-star type, but she pulls it off convincingly!  Mamie Gummer also does a great job and the mother-daughter chemistry between them is extraordinary. Rick Springfield and Kevin Kline are perfect for their roles as well.

Go see “Ricki & the Flash.”  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll rock out, but most of all you’ll appreciate your family.  “Ricki & the Flash” reminds us that no matter what conflicts lie within your family, love is the glue that bonds you, always and no matter how broken your heart is, as Ricki says, “it’s like a Big Mac, it lasts forever!”  – BMT