Welcome ya'll,

Thanks for checking out my blog. This is mostly my own crazy thoughts on a variety of subjects, but primarily they will be about movies, tv, and books. Being a movie junkie, rabid reader, and TV show-aholic, this blog is just another excuse to feed my addictions. [a quiet 'yay me']. Hope you enjoy, Clancy Metzger

Sunday, January 31, 2010

"The Dollhouse" done...I am sad : (

Let me start by saying, I am a Joss Whedon groupie. "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer", "Angel", "Firefly" - love'em all! "Buffy" had seven seasons, "Angel" five, and criminally, "Firefly" only had one but did get a movie to wrap it up. And now "The Dollhouse" is cut short too soon after only two seasons. And it was getting really good - really, really good.

"The Dollhouse" is about a company that takes people (mostly voluntarily), stores their personality, wipes their minds clear and then imprints them with other personalities (and skills) for the benefit of others - these people are called 'Dolls' and they live in a secret, protected environment called the Dollhouse. Typically, these others who benefit are rich people or corporations who have some bizarre or not quite legal need or fantasy. The dolls commit to six years of service at the end of which they will be richly compensated and will have no memory of all they did as dolls. Sounds good - right? Especially if you had something horrific happen to you which caused you to want to skip the grief of the next six years of your life anyway.

Well - be assured - it is not as good (?) as it sounds. The technology becomes a very bad thing that could lead to the end of mankind as we know us. And a few dolls, a few Dollhouse executives, and the genius that created the technology have to band together to save the world from becoming mindless drones.

As usual, Joss Whedon has created a brilliant show and uses many of his favorite actors from his previous shows (Eliza Dushku, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof) to populate his world. Unfortunately, like "Firefly", "The Dollhouse" is being ended way to soon. Fan fervor brought about "Serenity", a movie based on "Firefly" - let us hope that fan fervor can resurrect "Dollhouse" in some way. As a fan of all things Whedon - I am SAD, Sad, sad about the end of "The Dollhouse" and will keep my fingers crossed. I will also anxiously await the next genius show out of Joss Whedon's genius mind.

Friday, January 29, 2010

"Inglorious Basterds"

Quentin Tarantino - you go guy! What a terrific ride of speculative history.

'The Basterds,' who are the mostly American Jewish group of Nazi hunters on a quest to get themselves 100 Nazi scalps each, are lead by Brad Pitt and comprised of a wonderful if not altogether well-known group of actors. Probably the most well-known of these would be Til Schweiger. The supporting cast in the rest of the movie do a great job as well, and I can now fully appreciate why Christoph Waltz won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for playing the an extremely pleasant and chipper Jew hunter (which really makes him even more sinister).

I will say that even as disaffected as I am by violence there were scenes in this that made me put my hand up to block my view - scalping is just gruesome. And anytime someone is being cut, I cringe - even when it's just some scene where two people are going to be 'blood brothers' or something and cut their thumb a little. It could have something to do with how many times I've cut myself slicing vegetables or opening a box or whatever - I'm clumsy or accident prone or grace-challenged. I just can't say - I'm OK with stabbing scenes just not slicing scenes. I dunno....but, I digress.

Bottom line - great movie, a little tongue-in-cheek (standard Tarantino), funny, but serious too. The Squeamish and Faint-of-Heart - don't say I didn't warn you. I am encouraged though; it's always a good sign, to me, if I can see why movies are nominated for multiple awards.

The FINAL update on "Harvest of Stars"

I am done! I have have finished the book. I made a concentrated push two days ago so I could wrap this up. Although on a personal note, I do still have to do the 'discussion' of it with H.

In conclusion, Poul Anderson is not to my taste, so I can safely say I have no intention of reading anything else by him. And I'm going to hide behind, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Even I'm tired of this topic, so on to other things. I'm about to start a book about the Smothers Brothers - I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

All things creative are such a personal experience

It has occurred to me as I am writing on several projects of my own and also as I read "Harvest of Stars" (yes - that again) (H - go ahead and gloat). What I, Poul Anderson or anyone else creates means something to that creator and, if made for public consumption, hopefully will mean something for others.

Will it mean the same thing - not likely. Will it impact someone in both obvious and vague ways, some perhaps not even realized until years down the road - probably. Will it find resonance with everyone - odds are slim. Will it even mean the same thing to its creator as time passes - who knows. One writer (I think poet, Robert Browning, but don't hold me to it) when asked what he meant by some piece of writing said, and I paraphrase, that when he wrote it, he and God knew that answer, now only God does. This has stuck with me for a decade because I agree - people change and times change and perspectives change and you get the idea...

"Harvest of Stars" is one such beast. My best friend, H, (H - meet everyone, everyone - H) has found an immediate and subliminal connection to it. I have not. "Atlas Shrugged" resonates so deeply with me I feel compelled to re-read it every five years or so but H has no such compulsion.

I absolutely love the painting, "The Green Violinist" by Marc Chagall, but my mom who is a fabulous painter (and has painted me my own copy of "Starry Nights") won't make me a copy of this one because she thinks it's jarring and unappealing. Taste - who can account it.

Now, this is not an original muse, I do realize, but one I want to share anyway. The cliche' 'One man's trash is another man's treasure' is so apt. And just because one person or one group or whatever may not appreciate something fully or even at all does not mean it is without value - it is just without value to them.

So, as I speculate on various topics here - they are only my thoughts which may or may not appeal to you - which is as it should be!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More on "Harvest of Stars"

I have finally reached the middle of this book. I am now reading faster as it is becoming more interesting to me but it is still going slow, and I now have a backlog of books I need/want to read. It is improving for me though and want to acknowledge that. I think I can say that I will probably not read any more Poul Anderson; he's just not to my taste. Besides, I tend to like Fantasy better than SciFi anyway. More later, friends.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Disaster movies - hopeful or depressing?

I like disaster flicks. Whether it impacts one town or the whole earth - I just like'em. Many of my friends and family either find them depressing or cheesy or both. Me, I like the cheesy-good, the well-done, heck - I even like the cheesy-bad and that is because I do not find them depressing - I find them optimistic and hopeful.

I want to clarify - there are bad disaster movies (not to be confused with cheesy-bad) - but generally it has little to do with how poorly they are acted, written, directed, or filmed and more to do with how they end. They should always, always, ALWAYS end with mankind triumphing in whatever capacity over the adversity.

I watched "2012" with my mom and though she liked the movie, she always finds these movies depressing in concept. If you haven't seen this one yet - do! It's an edge of your seat exciting ride from beginning to end with spectacular special effects.

The ones done correctly - no matter whether it's the core of the earth doing something freaky or the sun is having a bad hair day, there's some horrible disease infecting everyone or it's an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, the ozone is melting, a super-collider is about to explode or a nuclear reactor is on the verge of a meltdown - end with mankind surviving. Man is always smart enough and has enough survival instincts to put aside the bigotry and narrow-minded hatred that routinely dictates, unfortunately, our daily lives and rise to the occasion of coming together despite differences and solve the problem at hand. Seems obvious to me...

I think it may have been the SyFy channel that had a disaster day a few weeks back, so naturally, I set up the DVR to record a bunch of movies. Most were cheesy and made for TV, but I still enjoyed them, but one was what I consider bad - because it did not end the way I think it should have ended. Except for the ending - I liked it. It was called Annihilation Earth with Luke Goss. I was jazzed, as usual, until the final minute (SPOILER ALERT) when the movie makers let the earth blow up - What the...!!! That is not how it's supposed to end - at the eleventh hour they're suppose to save the earth from the already horrible destruction it has suffered and man can then rebuild the world! Just my opinion - but I always want mankind to win.

With all that said - here are some disaster movies I think worthy of attention - the great - the OK - and the cheesy-good. This is a short list, and I do realize how many I have left off, but I'll go with these for now.

LOVE IT - 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, Armageddon, Titanic, Dante's Peak, Volcano, Waterworld, Twister, Outbreak, Independence Day

PRETTY GOOD - The Core, Impact, Earthquake, Daylight, Covert One: The Hades Factor, Chain Reaction, The China Syndrome, The Poseidon Adventure, Poseidon

CHEESY-GOOD - Category 6:Day of Destruction, and its sequel Category 7: The End of the World, The Towering Inferno, Tremors, Airport

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Jersey Shore"

Well, I did watch the finale of the "Jersey Shore" and the Reunion show as well. Not my cup of tea. To each their own...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Italian movies of worth

This evening I was at a friend's birthday party and one of the conversations I had was about Italian movies. It began because the reality TV show "Jersey Shore" was brought up. I have not watched this yet, but think I may check it out just to what's up with Snookie and The Situation (I dunno). But then we got talking about great Italian movies. Of course "Scarface" was mentioned (not a favorite of mine - although Pacino is brilliant). Another discussed was "The Godfather" trilogy (genius!).

But, I would like to suggest some other, lesser known, films that are based around the Italian culture. The two that immediately jumped to mind, and were recommended in my conversation, were "Everybody Wants to be Italian" and "A Wedding for Bella" - both are basically romantic comedies (with a bit of drama thrown in for balance).

"Everybody Wants to be Italian" is about two people who meet at an Italian mixer dance. Our romantic lead here is a guy who runs a fish store and is still hung up on his ex-girlfriend. He is also not Italian which is the crux of the comedy. But all his friends and co-workers are. They insist he go to this Italian dance so he can meet a nice girl and get over his ex. He is set-up with Marissa. It's an interesting friendship that blooms. There are several character actors that will probably be recognized, and the movie is a funny examination of what it means to be Italian because as they say - Everybody want to be Italian!

I love "A Wedding for Bella" - it's touching, funny, romantic, heart-breaking, and just altogether wonderful. Scott Baio (the best I've ever seen him - you'll be surprised) is a high-powered business exec who really wants to be a baker. With his two brothers, he owns and operates, part-time, a bakery in an Italian neighborhood. Living above the bakery is an older couple who are like family. The movie explores what it means to be family and what a precious gift love is - in every form it touches your life. This one too has comedy, romance, drama - is both heart-breaking and beautifully love-affirming. And, Shuler Hensley is so good as one of the brothers.

In conclusion - whether it's a classic or a hidden gem - Italian films are just downright fun - so watch and enjoy!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The stars seem pretty dull thus far

I promised my best friend I would read a book she recommended and I was jazzed about it too - she said it was one of the best books she'd ever read and I guess it's touted as one of the best SciFi books ever written as well. So I jumped in raring to go.

Now, I want to make a disclaimer here! Everyone has different tatstes and what appeals to one person for one reason may appeal to another for a totally different reason or not appeal at all and that is why the world is so cool and we all can be different and have intellectual debates and argue points of opinion. So, (here's the disclaimer) while I love and appreciate my best friend and her opinion - I don't have to agree with it.

I think, normally, I would not write about something I have not finished, but I will return to this post after I am done and we'll see how it all ends together. I am half way thru "Harvest of Stars" by Poul Anderson and thus far I think it is wordy (which is funny considering my all-time favorite book is almost 1300 pages long and this one is less than 400), and I am so uninterested in what is being said that 70% of the time I can't stay tuned in long enough to even fully grasp all of a paragraph and sometimes even sentence. At first, I kept rereading passages but now I just continue on so I can finish this thing.

On the plus side, the concepts in it are thought-provoking (like what is freedom of thought and what happens when we lose it? Think Orwell's "1984" set hundreds of years in the future), and it's interesting to see the main protagonist try to out-think himself in order to escape and thus save humanity (the bad guy government has a duplicate of our hero that they have brain-washed to their way of thinking). After that though, so far, I just don't care. I'm not a big fan of the lead female character or any of the secondary characters ( and honestly - I'm not sure I really care if the hero wins either). I am definitely anti-bad guys in this but even they sort of bore me.

I was ready to quit reading it, since it's taking me forever (2 pages at a time and I'm dead asleep), so I wrote my best friend and begged her to please give me one good reason to continue reading this book. Oooohhhhh, she's a tricky one, she is! One of the things we are always telling each other is "If you're going to make sense, I'm not going to argue with you." So, with that in mind, (I hope she won't mind me sharing part of her email) this is some of what she resonded with...

"I guess you should read it for the same reason I read 'Atlas Shrugged' [my favorite book], I wanted to see what moved my best friend to say this was the best she ever read...Stop fidgeting, breath deep and just be open to experiencing something new without 'getting something out of it' - this book affects you subliminally, during the read and after. Besides, then we can argue about it when you are done!!!"

See what I mean - tricky....darn it - if she's going to make sense, I can't argue with her. Thus, I continue to read - slowly, very, very slowly. In my defense though - she had my abridged audio book version of 'Atlas Shrugged' she listened to driving across the country - she didn't actually read the entire 1200+ pages : ) This will be discussed again!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Show - 'Human Target'

So, Fox has a new show that debuted last week called "Human Target". It rocks! It's about a guy, Christopher Chance, who protects other people by putting his own life on the line to save theirs and flush out the bad guy in the process. He is aided by his friends, Winston and Guerrero. It's funny, action-packed and shows friends having each other's backs (warm fuzzy).

The three stars, Mark Valley, Chi McBride, and Jackie Earle Haley, are the perfect mix of three dysfunctional parts making one functional whole. Jackie Earle Haley was a child star who was MIA for 13 years only to come back in a big way in 2006 with a role in "Little Children" for which he got an Oscar nomination. He also played, brilliantly I might add, Rorschach in last year's "Watchmen". Mark Valley and Chi McBride have mostly done a lot of TV work, but I have to admit I don't remember seeing Mark Valley before. I see him now. I see them all. Thank you, Fox!

This was just a fun and exciting hour of TV viewing and I can't wait for the next episode. Check it out.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

'Kinky Boots' not as kinky as it sounds

"Kinky Boots" is a fun, heart-warming and eye-opening movie based on a true story about a shoe factory and its people who have to undergo a dramatic change in order to stay in business.

Charlie runs the shoe factory and Lola is a drag queen, played beautifully by Chiwetel Ejiorfor (recently seen in the blockbuster "2012"), whose lives take new directions after an accidental meeting. I don't want to give away too much of the plot because this is worth watching.

I will say that the characters are real and relatable, the supporting cast terrific, and the movie has surprising layers to it. The movie, made in 2005, is both light and funny but also carries a subtle but serious message about acceptance and change through openess and knowledge. This is a movie for anyone who wants a few laughs, fine acting, and a few warm fuzzy feelings to boot. That's what I think.