Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Weekend Entertainment Recs for Seniors & Others

Music: Stop Making Sense (both audio and video versions) 
David Byrne and the Talking Heads, Jonathan Demme

Seeing this extraordinary concert film of the Talking Heads in performance in 1983, when it first came out, sent me rushing to the record stores where I bought every CD of the Talking Heads ever made, including this one! The two most significant people behind this event were David Byrne, the front man and songwriter for the group, and director Jonathan Demme, who would go on and on to ever bigger heights in the film industry. Byrne crafted some of the most amazing offbeat lyrics with music of vast appeal to those who see themselves as Outsiders. Additionally, the numbers are all sung by the one person capable of delivering these strange new sounds: himself. Byrne also has extraordinary stage presence, which hits its crowning moment when he appears in the "Big Suit." 

If Byrne were a visual artist instead (and he was when he was studying at the Rhode Island School of Design where he met the rest of the band), you would call his work Absurdist and Minimalistic. He makes it all work and with Demme filming the show, it is all caught perfectly. There are other fans who appreciate the other Talking Heads (3 members of the band) as much but it always seemed to me that there were many other musicians who could have filled their shoes. Byrne has continued to grow as a musician and a composer in the years since the band broke up. He quit the rock scene as a younger man's game and went on to compose soundtracks and then expand into other musical genres as well, including music inspired from cultures all over the world.

This album and video is available for instant downloading at Amazon and iTunes. I am a top reviewer at Amazon. You can see my reviews here.

Film: Wild Orchid (1990)

Mickey Rourke, the last of his super sexy movies; ELECTRIC!

Mickey Rourke is a very talented actor and he also used to be very good looking and sexy. His looks crashed due to boxing, plastic surgery and age. But his talent remained intact. This is one of the very last of his movies where he was super sexy and good looking. He pulls off the seemingly impossible here by playing an impotent rich guy in the tropics, who can only watch others, who is ultimately awakened anew by love. In real life, he was in love with the leading lady, Carrie Otis. Their attraction to one another in this film is absolutely electric. In a tropical land, amidst all sorts of shenanigans with the law, these two come together. I believe it was NC17 rated when I saw it. It absolutely sizzles plus is totally romantic. He and Otis were married briefly in real life and then his life headed into a downward spiral. But while it lasted, they were something.

This film is available for instant viewing at Amazon and iTunes. I am a top reviewer at Amazon. You can see my reviews here.

TV:  Everybody Loves Raymond
terrific sitcom about in laws & family life with fantastic cast

I did not watch this when it was first on tv. I've been watching it now on Amazon Prime Instant Video. I was very surprised at how good it was. The reason for its success is that it is not about just the nuclear family. It puts a very comic spin on the nuclear family by putting his utterly crazy family of father, brother, and mother, right across the street from this family. So they can never get away from the in-laws and they are up to one crazy thing after another. Patricia Heaton as Ray's wife Debra is the voice of sanity (the straight woman) in this show whereas Ray and his family are the comics. They are utterly zany. The brother cop is my personal favorite and the late Peter Boyle as Ray's father is simply outstanding. Ray Romano is an excellent comic and he delivers his comic lines perfectly episode after episode. This was a huge hit when it was on the air and I can see why. As an aside, having been raised in an Italian American family, that aspect of this show hits the bull's eye every time with the particular insanity of life inside such a family. 

This tv series is available for instant viewing at Netflix, Amazon and iTunes. I am a top reviewer at Amazon. You can see my reviews here.

Novel: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Classic, Wonderful Sci-Fi Novel-Writing & Narrating Equally Excellent

I listened to this as an audiobook and it was outstanding. This novel won every major award in the science fiction category and rightfully so. Ender Wiggins is sent away to military school at a very early age. He is among other special recruits who are also the only hope for the planet to survive the next war against the aliens. Ender was picked over his siblings by the school despite his also having very talented siblings. Ender is a little boy who should be in early elementary school. This makes it all the more astounding that he engages in daily warfare with his classmates, all of the same age, while also tackling massive academic challenges. 

Meanwhile, his siblings become secret journalists writing for opposite political sides, with one another's knowledge and cooperation, to make their marks on the planet. The story builds towards the inevitable showdown with the aliens. This is beautifully narrated by more than one narrator. I enjoyed the audiobook immensely. There is not an extra word in this novel. This is so refreshing as so many of the newer books seem to lack a real good editing job.

This is available for instant download as an ebook or audiobook at Amazon, iTunes, Audible and the Overdrive Public Library App.  I am a top reviewer at Amazon. You can see my reviews here.

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