Friday, July 4, 2014

Weekend Entertainment Recs for Seniors & Others

Film: What About Bob

Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus at Comedic Zenith of Their Careers; I LOVE this film!

This is the movie that is absolutely guaranteed to raise me out of any doldrums. It was a huge hit but it also seemed personal to me. This is because I spent time in therapy and can relate to becoming overly dependent on one's psychiatrist. This film takes that universal for psychiatric patients and raises it to the nth level with the combined comedic talents of two masters, Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus. 

Murray plays Bob, the patient, who can barely make it to his first appointment with Leo, his new shrink. Bob doesn't seem to notice that Leo is brash, arrogant, and insensitive. In fact, Bob LOVES Leo! Leo tells Bob he's on his own for the month of August, his vacation, and hands him his just published book "Baby Steps" which Bob should read to treat himself while Leo is gone. So, of course, Bob follows Leo to his vacation retreat and makes his life utter hell. From there on it is just one hilarious moment after another. This is so funny and such a mood elevator that I may just watch it again tonight.

30 Rock
Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan

There are two stars to this show. One is the writing of Tina Fey. The other is Alec Baldwin. The supporting star, who is also quite good, is Tracy Morgan. Tina Fey's Liz Lemon is the straight woman to Baldwin and Morgan. 

Alec Baldwin has won Emmy after Emmy with this role and deservedly so. He is a fantastic comedic actor. His timing is superb. He is the perfect CEO for the network and it is hard to pick his most comedic bit. His continuing travails with his mother, Elaine Stritch, are certainly right up there though. It is incredible to remember that this same actor did only drama for such a long time before turning to comedy. The film world's loss was certainly the tv world's huge gain when Baldwin signed on for the series.

I had never seen Tracy Morgan before this show. He is hilarious. Basically his role is that he is good hearted but insane. One cannot act towards him in any sane fashion as it will incredibly backfire. His entourage, his family and Lemon must tiptoe around him as absolutely anything might set him off. Then there he will be doing something on the news that is right out of the Twilight Zone.

Jack McBrayer (Kenneth) and Jane Krakowski (Jenna) are basically one note performances. They are good but they are not complex. Thus a little of them goes a long way and that is exactly how they are used. He is the page with the heart of gold and she is the diva of the show, less a star than Tracy but convinced she can be every bit as big as Tracy. Krakowski also has an excellent voice which is used in the show's musical numbers.

30 Rock will be a comedy classic from this era of tv. If you haven't watched it before, you are missing out.

Novel:  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
American Noir Thriller for Our Times

What makes this book so timely is that everything bad that could happen to this once golden couple has happened and it mirrors the bad things going on in America at large. They both lost their jobs in Manhattan working for upscale magazines. Her trust fund was wiped out by her parents' bad investments. Their brownstone is lost. They must move to a suburb of foreclosed houses in Mark Twain country (Missouri). All the jobs are wiped out there ever since this giant mall closed. It couldn't get any worse, right?

Well, of course it could and this is what pins the reader to the page. Not only does the American dream backfire but it crosses over into noir pulp land. This is the typical warring husband and wife of pulp noir fiction American style but there is nothing else typical about it. Kudos to the author for incredible inventiveness. I can't say more as the twists in the plot and characters is what makes it. Enjoy.

Music: K. D. Lang Live By Request

I must admit that I wholly misunderstood this singer. First I thought she was a country singer and avoided her for that reason. Then I heard her music was all tied up in the gay rights movement and that was too political for me. Then I heard she was singing duets with Tony Bennett who was over 80 at the time. It took Clint Eastwood to straighten me out. He released several tracks of her songs on one of his movie soundtracks and I just loved her. 

She has an absolutely magnificent voice and her songs have a lot of content to them, top lyrics and melody. So if you too think you would not like her, do not put her in ANY pigeonhole. I like all of her albums. I have all of them I selected this live one simply because she pours herself even more into a live performance than a studio one. You will want to listen to her entire repertoire after listening to just one album.

Everything reviewed above is carried by Amazon, iTunes, Audible, the Overdrive app for your public library and most other outlets both online and in the real world. These are taken from my five star reviews at Amazon where I am a Top Reviewer.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the recs, Carol! I dabbled in 30 Rock but will now revisit with a new appreciation for it. The Tracy character put me off, but now thanks to your perspective, I will be able to appreciate his role and thereby take advantage of the incredible talents of Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. Also, I, too, never "got" k.d.lang but will give her a try, too. Thanks for expanding (again!) my entertainment circle!