Bookended by Cats was named after Milo and Otis. They are the short, orange, and furry brothers who, upon entering our lives in 2003, often bookended us on our couch. And who are we? We're a geek couple living in PA. We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Godzilla vs Kong - HBO Max

 Dangrdafne review:

Let me start with I LOVE Godzilla. I have been watching Godzilla since I was a child. My paternal grandparents watched Godzilla all the time and always included me if I was visiting. So not only do I love Godzilla but he brings back such amazing memories for me.

That said this was not a Godzilla movie to me... this was a King Kong movie. I don’t dislike King Kong but I definitely prefer Godzilla. Overall the movie was ok. It was nice eye candy and I am shocked at how there were a few things that were NOT spoiled for us and I will not spoil it here either. 

King Kong was HUGE and Godzilla looked a little odd to me. They definitely worked things to be in Kong’s favor and that is one reason why this was a King Kong movie and not a Godzilla movie.

We did laugh at how the movie harkened back to the old poorly acted originals but I actually don’t think it was the actors as much as the material they were given. But I have to say if I could be part of a Godzilla movie, I don’t think I would care what my lines were at all. I would just love to be a part of the spectacle and I am imagining that was the case for this cast.

The young deaf girl was fantastic and I would love to see her in many more roles. When she was on the screen, I couldn’t keep my eyes off her, she was striking to me. I did also like the multi-cultural cast but found it hilarious that the one scene in Hong Kong only showed “Americans”. 

We all know we don’t watch these movies for the story or the humans and that was very true of this movie. But I almost wasn’t sure I would watch at all once the music played. What was up with the music choices??? It was very jarring to me, so we just laughed through them and waited for the action scenes.

I await the next pure Godzilla movie 🍿 and I won’t complain too much about this one because I definitely want another Godzilla movie. I should also add that I would like to see this in IMAX at some point because as I said earlier in this post, the movie was very good eye candy.

2 paws

Friday, April 9, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for April 9, 2021

 


[On the Windscreen] -- My last several Flashback posts have focused on an entire album that was released on, or near, the calendar date in question. I'm continuing that trend today, but with a slight change. April is my birthday month. So, starting this weekend, I am featuring music from 1986, the year in which I turned 18. I've done this at least once before, focusing solely on music released during April 1986. But this time around, I'm leaving the whole of 1986 open to exploration. This week, I'm featuring a little record that hit the charts on 3/17/1986 -- 35 years ago! It is also one of my favorite albums from that year: Depeche Mode's fifth studio album, Black Celebration. Although it received mixed reviews upon its release, Black Celebration reached #4 on the UK albums chart, yielded four singles (all top 40 in the UK), was cited as one of the most influential albums of the 1980s, and earned a spot on Spin magazine's 25 Greatest Albums of All Time (#15, April 1989). This record successfully married pop beats with a darker aesthetic, a combination Depeche Mode went on to further develop in their next few releases (Music for the Masses, Violator, and Songs of Faith and Devotion). I also need to point out that my favorite version of the fourth single, "But Not Tonight," is probably the Extended Remix (which is not, unfortunately, included in the playlist embedded below). So, while we have only "A Question of Time" (but not "A Question of Lust), let's kick off a "Black Celebration" of my birth month in this "World Full of Nothing." Maybe we can all get "Dressed in Black" and watch a "Fly on the Windscreen." However, "Breathing in Fumes" and getting "Stripped" are both optional.

Flashback: Black Celebration (1986)




That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

ARMOR (1984) Re-Read

 

// It was an odd being which rose from Felix and through him. It was, in fact, a remarkable creature. It was a wartime creature and a surviving creature. A killing creature. From a distant place, the frightened Felix scanned himself. He recognized little. Still, what he saw was a comfort of sorts and he concentrated himself toward it, toward the coldness, die callous machinelike... The Engine, he thought. It’s not me. it’s my Engine. It will work when I cannot. It will examine and determine and choose and, at last, act. It will do all this while I cower inside. // 

I finished another re-read of ARMOR by John Steakley (1951 - 2010) over the weekend. As I recall, I first read this novel in the late 1980s. I next read it in the mid-1990s. I'm not sure if this latest revisit is my third or fourth. But I will say that, for the most part, I think this book still holds up as an exploration of the psychological toll on combatants -- think STARSHIP TROOPERS (the novel, not the movie), but with better battles and more internal examinations. On second thought, it doesn't matter whether you compare the novel ARMOR to either form of STARSHIP TROOPERS; the simple truth is that ARMOR is superior. 

Some reviewers have pointed out that the shift in perspective from Felix the military scout in Part 1 to Jack Crow the mercenary in Part 2 is jarring and maybe unnecessary. I've also seen the argument that, maybe, Steakley just jammed the manuscript from another unfinished novel into ARMOR and then stitched them together in Parts 3 and 4.  I suppose that is possible. I also suppose that attitude might be a conceit from modern (post 2000s) reviewers having trouble with a form of storytelling (military sci-fi) that was in its nascent development in the late 1970s and through the 1980s. I liken it to kids these days being frustrated with the storytelling and editing of classic films. 

Anyway, like I said, the novel more or less holds up. Some aspects are even reminiscent (or would that be prescient?) of military conflicts that occurred decades after its publishing. 

I found the image for this post online, but it's a good match for my 1984 printing of the paperback.


"That’s the trouble with armor. It won’t protect you from what you are.” ~The Masao to Felix


Friday, April 2, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for April 2, 2021

 


[Burning Back to 1981] -- Are you ready to burn your way back to 1981? I ask that because, for years, I thought the chorus, and the song title, was "Burn your way back." Turns out, both were actually "Find Your Way Back" for Jefferson Starship's first single off their 1981 album, Modern Times. Released on 4/2/1981 -- 40 years ago this week! -- Jefferson Starship's sixth studio album would eventually peak at #26 on the Billboard Hot 200 while charting three singles, two of which landed in the top 100 ("Find Your Way Back" and "Stranger" peaked at #29 and #48 respectively). Modern Times was also notable for the return of vocalist and songwriter Grace Slick, who had been absent from the band for three years. UCR called this album a zenith of arena rock. AllMusic's Joe Viglione referred to this polished bit of 80s rock as psychedelic metal. I really cannot argue with either assessment. Let me know what you think in the comments.

FlashbackModern Times (1981)


Note: Depending on where you are, three videos in the embedded playlist might be hidden from you, giving you access to only six of the nine total tracks. In case you're interested in the other tracks, here are alternate links on YouTube: "Modern Times," "Alien," and "Stairway to Cleveland."



That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Dickinson - Apple TV

 Dangrdafne review:

With my upgraded phone, I received a full year of Apple TV for free. I quickly signed up because I had been wanting to watch Dickinson ever since I saw the commercials for it when it came out. 

Mind you, I actually know nothing about Emily Dickinson, except that she was a poet. I truly know nothing about her life and hardly any of her work but what I do know about her work, I love. So why would I want to watch this... well if you saw the commercials for this when it was coming out, it was luscious, beautiful, modern and very very clever.

Hailee Steinfeld as Emily Dickinson is perfect casting. I easily believe this is who Emily Dickinson could be if she were modern living in her era. Hailee breathes such life and death into Emily. I love Emily's family too, her brother is a dream in so many ways, her sister is hilarious and her parents are just the right kind of odd. All the extra characters are perfection also. 

I love that the whole setting is Emily Dickinson's era but the script is modern, as is the music. Speaking of the music, it is glorious. Every song is perfect for the music itself and for the lyrics. I feel like sometimes the song inspires the show as much as the show inspiring the music. 

I love how the poems are not only the support of each episode but how they show the poems to the audience during the episode. It helps me to hear them and read them as the poems can be quite deep and contextual if you just heard them or read them. Then add in how the episode supports the poem and this show is a dream.

4 paws

Friday, March 26, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for March 26, 2021

 


[A Pleasing Debut] -- 35 years ago this week, the  electronic music duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, better known as Pet Shop Boys, released their debut album. Please hit the record buying public on 3/24/1986. This record featured four singles: "West End Girls," "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)," "Suburbia," and "Love Comes Quickly." "West End Girls" peaked at #1 in both the UK and the US. The other three charted pretty well, too. This was particularly true for "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" which had been released as a single in 1985 and then reissued in May 1986. In this second go-round, "Opportunities" was the third single off Please and it peaked at #11 on the UK Singles Chart and #10 on the US Billboard Hot 100. 

My favorite song on the album is the opening track, "Two Divided by Zero," which was not released as a single (so here is video of a live performance). According to the Pet Shop Boys Wiki, the version on Please is fuller than the original arrangement which Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe had recorded in 1983. 

Once again, I'm embedding the full album playlist for this week's flashback rather than selecting a few tracks. This album really does deserve a complete listen, so enjoy!


Flashback: Please (1986)



That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Alita: Battle Angel

 Dangrdafne review:

What? That's where it ended? Where is #2??? I NEED #2 NOW! Please

I loved this film. I loved Alita. 

And it was a movie where NEVER was it mentioned that a woman couldn't do what a man could do. I mean it was just their life that men and women were equal. WHAT?? I almost can't believe it. This just added to my love of this movie.

I loved Ido. He was a fantastic father. And Chiren turned out to be a wonderful mother. 

I loved that it was a love story but certainly not completely traditional. It was questioned a little about a human and a cyborg but really it felt quite natural and normal. So refreshing.

I did have some giggles during the motor ball races as the machines were quite comical - it reminded both of robot wars and that doll with the erector set spider legs in Toy Story - but it was easy to let it go and realize this was just life in Iron City. 

I want to see Zalem!! I REALLY hope we get an Alita #2.

3 paws

Friday, March 19, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for March 19, 2021

 


[Farther Miles] -- In March 1982, Mike Oldfield (of Tubular Bells fame) released his seventh studio album, Five Miles Out. Back in the day of LP and cassette sides, Side A of this record was entirely one 25 minute track called "Taurus II" (and, no, I did not select this week's album just because of my astrological sign). With one side dedicated to a single track, you probably guessed this record falls under the genre of progressive rock. "Taurus II" is kind of a followup to "Taurus I" from Oldfield's prior album, QE2 (1981), but it also has many other references and themes. I happen to like it as background music for driving or reading. Side B has four individual tracks, including the singles "Five Miles Out" and "Family Man" (a rock song which was later covered, and popularized, by Hall & Oates). Five Miles Out was a popular album, at least more so than Oldfield's prior few records, and it peaked at #7 in the UK. Both singles, however, failed to crack the top 40 (peaking at #43 and #45 respectively). This marked a revival of commercial success for Oldfield, though it would not rival the success of his first three records. I can find no actual music videos for any of the tracks, though there are some performances (like this one for "Five Miles Out," with a fine performance by Maggie Reilly), so I've simply embedded the entire YouTube playlist for you. (One of these days I'll return to a "read and hear more after the jump" style of post.)

Flashback: Five Miles Out (1982)



That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Ted Lasso - Apple TV

 Dangrdafne review:

This is the show that I love... even more than Titans.

I had absolutely no idea what this show was or really that it even existed. Then one day, I saw people talking about it online and there was not a bad word to be said about the show. In fact, everyone was saying how it was their favorite show now and a show that we need right now. 

So one night when I was doing my walk on my treadmill, I put on the first episode.

I am in love. I even came upstairs and said to my hubby, I may have a new favorite show of all time. ALL time. And only after one 30 minute episode. 

I kid you not. This show is incredible. Now after three episodes I am completely in love, lost in it and the biggest fan. “Because Nice Matters” is my motto and I could add because of Ted Lasso. What a happy, kind, allows me to take deep breaths show. It feels so good to watch this show. Simply put it makes my heart happy.

I am literally only 3 episodes in and I can not sing its praises enough and I know it will just keep getting better and better. Jason Sudekis is a joy, so is Brendan Hunt. Hannah Waddingham and Juno Temple make me proud to be a woman. The show is an American football coach being hired to come to the UK to take over managing a soccer team. A true fish out of water story but really I can't decide who is really the fish.

Nick Mohammed as Nate, Nate the Great, makes me smile every time he is on the screen. He is integral to the show and I can't imagine the show without him. The soccer players all play their perfect parts and I just look forward to where the story goes for each of them. 

The show really reminds me of how I felt when I watched Schitt's Creek. Like we were being treated to the mastery of joyful stories and superb storytelling. I would love to know Ted Lasso in real life and just bask in his joy and kindness. He just sees the world better than 99% of us but he can help you see it his way, if you just listen and join in.

Now after 7 episodes: I have laughed, I mean deep full belly laughing, I’ve sobbed, I’ve been shocked and I have just sighed and smiled. This show is glorious. 

Please, please if you have a chance to see this show, treat yourself and your heart to the joy.

4 paws and a tail and a whole second cat with 4 paws and a tail!!

Friday, March 12, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for March 12, 2021

 


[Disco Beat(les)] -- In March of 1981, radio stations had several classic Beatles tracks back in rotation. But it wasn't the Beatles' own recordings that were played. No, it was a Dutch novelty act, Stars on 45, who specialized in soundalikes, that were actually in rotation. Stars on 45's schtick was to re-record hit songs as faithfully as they could, but then merge them with a common tempo over a drum track. In this way, they merged disco and classic Beatles for a 15+ minute track that could only be called ... "Medley: Intro 'Venus' / Sugar Sugar / No Reply / I'll Be Back / Drive My Car / Do You Want to Know a Secret / We Can Work It Out / I Should Have Known Better / Nowhere Man / You're Going to Lose That Girl / Stars on 45." Yeah, it's kind of a mouthful, bu it was popular. I don't have chart stats for the US, but this record did peak at #1 on both the Kent Music Report (Australia) and the UK Albums Chart. Plus, it was a hit in dance clubs worldwide. Do you remember Stars on 45?

FlashbackStars on 45's Beatles Medley






That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Titans season 2 - HBO Max

 Dangrdafne review

I told you this was a show I couldn't stop binging. I JUST posted about season one and we have already finished season 2.

WOW, WOW, WOW

I really feel like everyone involved in this show has been waiting to make this show. They are Titans in the industry and they have all just been waiting for everything to align to make this dream show. Each actor is perfectly cast for their character, the cinematography is spectacular and the writing is superb. I just can not get over this show. I love it.

Season two did have a rougher start than season one especially since season one was the longest introduction to a show ever but worth every second. But it didn't take me long to fall right back into step with everyone. I love the storytelling on the show and the character study episodes are like individual movies of their own. The episode "Conner" had me forgetting what show we were watching and thinking it was a whole different show (and that is not a bad thing to me). Impressive!!

One big change for season 2 was the music. Season one episodes closed with the Titans theme, which I love. Season two closes each episode with a perfect story matching song. This was a strange change at first but each song was thoughtful and perfect and some of my favorites.

I don't know when season 3 will exist but I am ready and waiting for it. 

In the meantime, there is another show that I like just little more than this one... and you all know that is a huge statement since I have been raving about Titans for 2 weeks now. Stay tuned right here to see what my favorite show is, even more than this one - if that seems possible.

4 paws and a tail

Friday, March 5, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for March 5, 2021


[Luciferian Jazz] -- I decided to switch things up a bit for the first Friday of March 2021. This week we are spinning Sun Ra's 1983 album, A Fireside Chat With Lucifer. I could do my own write-up here, but I think it's better if I simply quote from BeatCaffeine’s 15 Most Essential Sun Ra Records. (Besides, I'm running short on time due to grad school assignments). Here is what BeatCaffeine wrote:

Like many of Sun Ra’s album at this time, the music on this mid-eighties recording jumped all over the place putting an emphasis on adventurous experimentation and spontaneity. This album featured the massive politically and socially conscious jazz-funk masterpiece “Nuclear War,” while other highlights included the atmospheric ballad “Retrospect,” the soul-jazz groover “Makeup,” and the expansive 21-minute cosmic free jazz title track “A Fireside Chat With Lucifer.”

You might want to go back and check out the other 14 recommended Sun Ra discs, too. 

As long as we're deviating from the way I typically post here, let's embed the complete album via Bandcamp rather than YouTube this week. Enjoy!

FlashbackA Fireside Chat with Lucifer (1983)




That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Titans season one - HBO Max

 Dangrdafne review:

Wow, wow and wow. I truly had no idea what to expect for this show. In fact I didn't even know what it was about when I added to the watch list on HBO Max. I just knew it was comic book related and that hubby would want to watch.

And just like Doom Patrol, I couldn't imagine just how much I would love it! It is eye candy with a great story and amazing characters played with perfection by amazing actors. Hubby told me there would be characters from Teen Titans (the animated series we watch many years ago and I love), Doom Patrol and Batman.

I am completely sold and in love with Brenton Thwaites as Robin. As soon as he came on the screen in the first episode, I turned to hubby and said "that's Dick Grayson/Robin". He was EXACTLY what I think Dick Grayson would look like AND I don't even know the comic version of Dick Grayson. It was just spot on and he is incredible in the role.

Anna Diop is perfection as Kory Anders/Starfire and perfection as herself. She is gloriously beautiful and she is completely Starfire to me. I simply adore her and her acting. I love that she has no idea who she is but that doesn't even take away any confidence from her. I love that she just keeps moving forward and she doesn't wallow in her issues. 

Teagan Croft brings Rachel Roth/Raven to life. On the animated Teen Titans, I recall not really knowing Raven that well. She was definitely an emotional teen and a loner but I don't recall why, Titans have given me the why and I am in. I can't wait to see where this story goes...

Ryan Potter is playing my favorite from the animated Teen Titans, Gar Logan/Beast Boy. I LOVED Beast Boy on Teen Titans and I love him on Titans. He has the quirks and the kindness and the fun that Beast Boy had on the animated series. 

There are so many more characters and all are amazing. Minka Kelly would be another that stands out not only because I love her as an actress but she embodies Dawn/Dove so well. She seems all delicate and sweet but do NOT cross her as she will take you out. 

We did joke at our shock that these Titans do indeed kill! They are not our animated Teen Titans... and I like that just fine. Warning though, this show is extra violent. I mean I look away soooo much during some episodes. That's the joy of cable. 

Great score and music too and it is beautifully filmed. I love, love, love this show. This is one of the few shows that I have found it very hard to stop watching/binging. I just want to keep watching and see what happens next. Simply stunning, really it is.

4 paws and a tail

Friday, February 26, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for February 26, 2021

 


[40 Year Dog] -- 40 years ago this week, Rick Springfield released his third studio album in the US (and his fifth studio album overall). Working Class Dog hit the charts on February 24, 1981. This record marked an all-time high in Springfield's career with a #1 hit, "Jessie's Girl," that sold a million copies and won the 1982 Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. (Note: I know it's a beloved song, but like many so-called love songs, "Jessie's Girl" has problematic lyrics ... as shown in this clip, From Jessie's Girl's perspective). Another single from the album, "Love Is Alright Tonite," was later featured in the 2001 comedy film, "Wet Hot American Summer." 

Working Class Dog peaked at #7 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and ended the year at #31. Of the three singles, only "Jessie's Girl" and "I've Done Everything for You" got the music video treatment. But YouTube does have a live 1982 performance. Instead of grabbing three tracks from the album, I'll continue my recent activity of embedding a playlist for the full album. Enjoy! 

FlashbackWorking Class Dog (1981)




That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

 Dangrdafne review:

I LOVE this movie (most of it). I LOVE Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. I LOVE all the supporting women. I did NOT love Ewan McGregor ... at all. In fact, I called him Ewwwwan after this movie. I wish it was because he was such a good villain that I didn't like him but it was that he was so horrible in this role. Bland, ridiculous, boring and just plain bad. Basically I wish they had just dumped the males in this movie and just let it be all the women and some unknown males. 

My favorite part of the movie was how I felt watching it - I felt like I was in a comic book and it was a wild, crazy, fun ride. I just loved watching this movie. I loved the insanity of it all. Just give in and enjoy it. Girl power!! I hope there is more Birds of Prey to come, I am ready.

3 paws with Ewwwwan

4 paws without Ewwwwan :)

Friday, February 19, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for February 19, 2021

 


[Don't You Forget Breakfast] -- The Breakfast Club, the second of John Hughes' teen coming-of-age films, hit theaters on February 7, 1985. Later that same month, on February 19, 1985 -- 36 years ago this very week -- The Breakfast Club (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) hit stores and charts. British pop musician Keith Forsey produced the album, in addition to writing and performing on several tracks. This soundtrack album peaked at #17 on the US Billboard 200 chart, probably propelled by Simple Minds' recording of the song "Don't You (Forget About Me)." I mean, that one track practically leapt from the soundtrack and became the anthem of the film itself. The tune is an aural bookend, with Keith Forsey's demo playing as the film opens and the Simple Minds version playing over the close and end credits. 

But I have to ask: Do you recall anything else from this record? The only other artist on the album with name recognition for me is Wang Chung, but their contribution didn't leave much of an impression on me. Other tracks might have me recall specific moments of the film, but I don't think I'll be humming them later. Still, in re-exploring the album, I do find the entire effort to be worthy of, at least, background music while doing other reading or work. Let me know what you think. 

FlashbackThe Breakfast Club (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

For this week's post, I've embedded the soundtrack's full playlist via YouTube. There are 10 tracks:
  1. "Don't You (Forget About Me)" — Simple Minds
  2. "Waiting" — Elizabeth Daily
  3. "Fire in the Twilight" — Wang Chung
  4. "I'm the Dude" — Keith Forsey
  5. "Heart Too Hot to Hold" — Jesse Johnson & Stephanie Spruill
  6. "Dream Montage" — Gary Chang
  7. "We Are Not Alone" — Karla DeVito
  8. "The Reggae" — Keith Forsey
  9. "Didn't I Tell You" — Joyce Kennedy
  10. "Love Theme" — Keith Forsey



That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Big Little Lies Season 2 - HBO Max

 Dangrdafne Review:

Not sure where to start with this one. My mother and sister liked this season more than the first. I was reluctant even before hearing this information as I really LOVED the first season and really didn't think they needed to do more. I was satisfied with season one and the ending. I did not need more... but they made more and it was reportedly better.

I am very late to watching it but since we had HBO Max still I decided to binge it. I will start with if you like the characters in the first season then you should watch the second. It is an excellent show and the acting is superb. I mean Meryl Streep is almost unrecognizable at times to me. Incredible cast and a good continuation of the story.

But I will add, for myself, I wish I had not watched it. I really did not like season 2 BUT at the same time I know that it is incredible. I know that sounds contradictory and it is but I can see the genius of the show and the cast but I was just so annoyed by it all. I really wish I had just let the story be but I had heard how good it was, and better than season 1 so I tried it.

Again, the cast is spectacular and Meryl Streep is perfection but I think the show was just too slow and after watching so many other shows lately that moved along it was very difficult to get into. And even though I liked the characters, this time their quirks were not so lovable to me in season 2. In fact, the quirks were distracting and it made it hard for me to take the characters seriously. Case in point, Laura Dern's character was almost a caricature for most of the episodes, it finally paid off in the final hour and it was almost too late for me but I cheered her on and felt like I was able to exorcise the season watching her.

I hear there is talk of season 3. I will definitely let others watch it first, if it happens, and then decide what to do. I am a glutton for punishment at times... especially when some of my favorite actors are involved.

2 paws

although I really know it is 4 paws

Friday, February 12, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for February 12, 2021

 


[RIP Chick Corea, 6/12/1941 - 2/9/2021] -- Keyboardist, composer and bandleader Chick Corea died this week. My late father introduced me to Corea's music, and he has since remained one of my fave artists. Still, I must admit that I do not own, and I have not even heard, the entirety of Chick Corea's catalog. It is immense: 81 studio albums, 17 live albums, and eight compilation albums (per Wikipedia). As a leader, he released 21 records between 1980 and 1990. So, even if I simply focused on his 1980s output, I would be hard pressed to select a trio of tracks as a suitable retrospective. So, how am I to honor his musical memory? Well, read and hear more after the jump. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Lovecraft Country - HBO Max

 Dangrdafne review:

Should I or shouldn't I watch this show? It is horror. It is scary. It is amazing according to many of my friends. I figured I watched Preacher, so how much horror could it be? Enough :)

Yes, it was extremely violent and gross and hard to watch but at the same time it made sense and I didn't feel like it was gratuitous. It fit the story and was even needed at times. I survived ;)

What an extremely thought provoking show. I had so many questions not only just about the story but about the history and the use of black actors in traditionally white roles. It was refreshing to see sci-fi and horror turned on its head. The cast was incredible and I would love to sit down with them to discuss the show and their thoughts on it all. 

I love that I had to live in their world and realize that sci-fi was a part of their world. That Lovecraft Country was real and that is not what they were surprised to learn about as the story went on. It was a great mystery story and again a beautiful family story. I really really love stories of families that are either by blood or even more so by choice. Such subtle things happen within the overall global story and I was enthralled with it all. 

I get why people loved this show so much. It is different, intriguing, thought provoking, horrific, glorious and timely. I am on board if there is a season 2 but I am also ok if this is all the story they get to tell. Although I think I would rather it continues so we all get to see the upside down sci-fi world of Lovecraft Country and make it the norm. 

4 paws

Friday, February 5, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for February 5, 2021

 



[Workin' -- Redux] -- Two years ago today, I lost my day job. It was the the second time in my 25+ year corporate career that my position had been terminated. And so, just as when Friday of that week rolled around, I find myself thinking about working and employment. Both in terms of having work to do and being unemployed (or even underemployed). It's all we can do to stay one step ahead of the mortgage/rent, utilities, and healthcare bills, right? And all those things continue to be major concerns as the wealth gap keeps increasing and we find ourselves nearly one year into a global pandemic impacting the US. I don't recall if healthcare costs were problematic in the 80s, but finding and keeping decent jobs was definitely high on the social anxiety meter. The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh? So, with this still in mind, I opted to repeat the songs from the 2/8/2019 Flashback post today. Once again, we have songs about work and working in the Flashback. There are no party anthems like Loverboy's "Working the the Weekend." But this week's playlist isn't strictly somber, either. So, which workhorse tracks made the cut this week? Read and hear more after the jump!

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Doom Patrol - HBO Max

 Dangrdafne review:

So after signing up for HBO Max to watch Wonder Woman we wanted to see what else we could watch before our month was up. I found Doom Patrol. I know my hubby loves Doom Patrol so I knew he would want to watch it. What I didn't know was how much I would love it too.

What an incredible cast to start! Each person is just perfect in their role and I am completely in deep with their lives and well being now. 

The one odd thing I will say, is I am glad I can't see Brendan Frasier in his role, I mean I am glad he is covered up because I am having a hard time believing it is him and the role he has to play. Mind you, it is because he is amazing but if I could see his sweet face I am not sure I would be as sold or I might even be mad he has to play such a role. I really mean no disrespect to Brendan, he is amazing and I am forever grateful he is in this role.

Diane Guerrero is one of my favorite actresses and she is incredible as Jane (and I love that she used to play the best friend to Jane in Jane the Virgin). She portrays multiple personalities to perfection. I once worked with someone with this situation and I often envisioned what she was going through exactly how it is portrayed for this Jane in Doom Patrol. 

April Bowlby as Rita Farr is by far my favorite, if not only because I just adore her red hair and her lovely accented voice. She portrays her character like she has known her all her life, and she just may have, although I hope not. 

And we can't forget Matt Bomer as Larry Trainor... although it might be easy too because you don't actually get to SEE Matt Bomer too often in the show. AND I can't help hearing his voice as Rob Lowe's for some reason when you don't see him. BUT at the same time he is excellent in the role. 

I hate that I wanted to watch this and think about how messed up they all were but really all I could do in the end was see myself in each of them. If ever there was a show to make a plea for mental healthcare, it is this one. 

I love family shows and what I mean by that is a show about a family and my favorite families are those comprised of friends and unexpected beings (human or otherwise), not necessarily blood families. 

We watched everything that is available for the show and eagerly await the next season. I highly recommend this show, even if you don't know Doom Patrol (as I did not) but love comic book stories. It is clever, different, timely and very well done. 

4 paws 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for January 29, 2021

 

[Money, Class, and Power] -- After a year like 2020, in which we saw a global pandemic pound the US economy -- but not the stock market -- like few things ever have, no other financial news should shock me, right? But January 2021 keeps things rolling with a group of s***posters screwing Wall Street's big boys at their own ludicrous game.  So, in honor of r/WallStreetBets gaming GameStop's stock, and in recognition of the ever-widening gap between the haves and the have-nots, I've compiled six songs about  money, class, and power. Why twice as many songs as my usual Flashback post? Well, there are two reasons. First, I decided to let each tune speak for itself as opposed to me writing something pithy to justify its inclusion. Second, I couldn't trim the options down any further (I started with nearly 12 tracks). So, what made the cut in this week's double length playlist? Read and hear more after the jump!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Undoing - HBO Max

Dangrdafne review:

WOW! WOW! WOW!

My mother actually stated this show as a 10 out of 10 for her and along with the story in Entertainment Weekly, and the cast of this show, I knew I wanted to watch it.

It is only 6 hour long episodes and oh my goodness the amount of story that happens in those 6 hours is a massive undertaking and one that David E Kelley can more than handle.

An incredible story told by the most wonderful cast: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Noah Jupe, Donald Sutherland, and Lily Rabe and a supporting cast of people I hope to see for a long time to come.

It's a mystery wrapped in a courtroom drama wrapped in a family drama. Sooooooo very good.

I can tell you nothing specific because you need to watch it for yourself and enjoy the ride. It is beautifully filmed and the costuming is luscious. Nicole Kidman is a force to watch and I believe there is nothing she can't do at this point. Hugh Grant had me needing to watch Notting Hill after the show so I could clear my brain of his character. Donald Sutherland was pure, intense, heartbreaking, demanding and one of the best roles I have seen him create. But the actor who stole the show for me was the young boy, Noah Jupe. Oh what a joy to watch this young man portray his character. The emotions he had to go through, it was impressive.

Bonus information: the singer of the opening credits song is none other than Nicole Kidman. Simply beautiful.

4 paws and a tail

Friday, January 22, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for January 22, 2021

Image from How Do You Know You're Doing Science Wrong? 
[scienceblogs.com]

[Better Living Through Science -- Redux] -- 
Back in January 2011, a mere decade ago, this week's theme was inspired by a fan video that I had recently seen in my Facebook newsfeed. I used that very same video in the original post, and while you'll have to wait until later for specific details about it, I do have to confess that the fan video is no longer available, womp womp. But I did find a replacement, so for now, all I want to say about it is that it took footage from the then current incarnation of an older TV series and set it to a great song from a crazy-fun 80s movie (a movie that inspired a slightly entertaining 90s TV series, but that's a bit tangential even for today). 

"Science," I said to myself the week of 1/21/2011, "is a perfect theme for me to use in an 80s flashback!" And it's still perfect this week! Why is it so perfect? Well, I spent 1982-1986 in what was called the Scientific curriculum at my high school. I then spent the remainder of the 80s pursuing a Physics degree at Penn State. Yes, I was a good little nerd during that seminal decade. So, of course, I love music that is infused with technology -- or music that at least has lyrics influenced by science and technology. It may not be the best stuff for studying how to use bracket notation or matrix computations, but it is the absolute best music for celebrating after surviving another difficult exam.

Or celebrating a long work week. Like, perhaps, this week.  

If you want to know what songs your mad scientist has in the mix today, read and hear more after the jump.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Wonder Woman 1984

 Dangrdafne review:

First viewing - I did not like the movie. Although I think some of it was because we didn't have closed captioning on and I missed a lot of dialogue thereby missing some of the movie context.

I did feel the first viewing was a little lacking and the movie was a bit over the top. But we watched it a second time during the watch along with Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot WITH closed captioning and I liked the move much much more. It hit me differently too. I bought into the meaning and was very moved by it.

My biggest statement, though, I had during the two watches of the movie was "Why does a woman have to always give up everything?" 

SPOILER: 


Even the villain man got his son back at the end. But Diana/Wonder Woman has to give up everything she has.


End spoiler

The movie is definitely eye candy and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman will always make me happy. I had no issue with the Steve Trevor storyline overall and I liked how they made it work. Kristen Wiig as Cheetah was quite the casting choice and she blew me away. I always think that comedians make the best dramatic actors. 

Be sure to stick around for the credit scene. It is brilliant perfection. 

I definitely liked the first Wonder Woman better but I would watch this again (third times a charm) and probably will before our month of HBO Max is over - we signed up just to see Wonder Woman 1984.

3 paws

Friday, January 15, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for January 15, 2021

 



[This week in 1981] -- I know the past week has been rife with all sorts of emotions, most of them regarding specific events in Washington, DC. So, I wanted this week's Flashback to be a bit of an escape for all y'all. And what better way to escape today than by looking at what was on the charts 40 years ago this very week? (OK, there are plenty of other ways to distract yourself, and maybe some of them are better than this backward glance, but humor me, OK?). During the week that ended on January 17, 1981, Pope John Paul II met with Polish Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa, Ferdinand Marcos lifted martial law in the Philippines, and a former Beatle was in the midst of a 12-week run at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. If you want to know what the top three songs were 40 years ago this week, read and hear more after the jump.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for January 8, 2021

 


[Gen Hexed] -- I missed posting flashbacks for the second half of December and even the very first Friday of this new year. But, in my defense, there's been a bit going on, yeah? So, anyway, I'm back at it this week, and for my first post in this brand new year, new decade even, I'm featuring an album that is celebrating its 40th anniversary this very month. Released in January 1981, Kiss Me Deadly was the third studio album by Generation X. They had rebranded as Gen X, a new name for both their new 1980 lineup and their shift from punk to a more New Romantic look and sound. But this incarnation lasted just past the record release and a gig recorded for BBC Radio. Ego, narcotics, and fatigue have all been cited as contributing to Gen X's breakup. Singer Billy Idol left for a solo career, taking this record's lead single, "Dancing With Myself," to new heights. Bassist Tony James would go on to form Sigue Sigue Sputnik.  Kiss Me Deadly was a commercial failure. For a complete (and recent) review, I direct you to 2 Loud 2 Old Music's 1/4/2019 post

I like several of this album's tracks. I invite you to be your own judge. So, here's the full playlist of 2005 remaster (which included five bonus tracks).  

FlashbackKiss Me Deadly (1981)




That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!