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

Thursday, October 30, 2014

MOVIES: "This Must Be the Place" and "The Iron Lady"

So, I've been sick this week which has kept me off my computer, but which gave me time to watch some movies. I'm better now. Not 100% but better and getting back to life. So on to the movies.

The Iron Lady with Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent was amazing. Streep was breathtaking as Margaret Thatcher and Broadbent was touching as her husband. I think this was a very humanizing look at what Thatcher's life might have been. There is no doubt that she was a great lady and brought about major change in England, but this was a very tender and touching look at the softer side of the Iron Lady. Yet it didn't diminish her strength in any way.

Bottom line... great cast, great acting, great story, great film. If you haven't seen it - do yourself a favor and see it. Really.

This Must Be the Place was a strange film. It's about a neurotic ex-rock star who goes on a quest to hunt down his father's Nazi tormentor after his father dies. That's what the description says. I suppose if you just look at the surface, then yes, that's what it's about. But that's not what I saw. Or at least not what I took away from it.

I had to think about this one some. Digest it. Let it simmer. And a host of other cliches. The movie I watched was about love, overcoming fear and a journey to find yourself.

Cheyenne is played, brilliantly, by Sean Penn. Ex-rocker, lost soul, fearful man-child, and romantic. You see him trudging around Ireland, where he has settled, with a wheeled cart. He's afraid to drive or fly. He goes to the mall regularly to meet a young fan/friend who would be a groupie were he still performing. He wears heavy goth make-up and big hair and goes through his day in an almost zombie-like antipathy. He says what's he's thinking whether it's rude or politic. He has an affected high pitch voice and silly giggle when he's amused.

He also has a wife of thirty-five years, played brilliantly by Frances McDormand, who adores him and is an obvious grounding force for him. She's full of life and doesn't pull punches with Cheyenne, but she's also compassionate and understanding about whatever it is that has turned him into a virtual recluse.

So, for me the story is about Cheyenne finding his way back from whatever ledge he's been sitting on for decades. It's a rambling, bizarre journey that feels as lost as he is, but you do see him growing and getting strong and finding his way back to humanity.  You also see a solid relationship and a love that  we can all aspire to.

Not gonna lie, it's a weird movie. But somehow it's still resonating with me and keeping me thinking. I'd love to discuss if anyone else has seen it.

And as a side note on Sean Penn- if you haven't seen him in I Am Sam, you must. Such a great film and Sean Penn is phenomenal.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"In Her Eyes" by Joss Whedon

Wow... I've probably said before how much I adore Joss Whedon and pretty much anything he does. And today will be no different.

Joss Whedon is one of those rare talents whose every move is pretty freaking golden. This may be an over-exageration since I'm not personally familiar with Mr. Whedon nor am I privy to his private every-goings-on and he is human so we can assume that he does indeed make mistakes. But for the purposes of this conversation (you can speak up...) I will be indulging myself that he is kind of perfect.  Witness his brilliant answers to dumb questions about women.... and his body of work.

Yesterday, my besty, told me about a new movie by Joss Whedon. I watched the trailer and had to watch it immediately, so long story short, he told me I could watch it on Vimeo.com. Check it out. A free account and you can find indie type films that you might not find in the theaters. Anywho - this is where Joss Whedon put up this film and I'm just going to say again. Wow.

I rented it and watched it this morning. I want just a tiny sliver of the genius running through Whedon's every cell. The story is a metaphysical romance. Two people who can see through the others' eyes and talk to each other because they kind of live in each others heads.

Geez, I'm really torn right now. Because I want to talk about the movie but I don't want to spoil it for those of you who haven't seen it and, fingers crossed, will see it in the very near future.

Okay. I'm not going to give any details - so no spolier alerts - but I will say that the writing is great. The casting spot on. The insight into each other's lives would be a strange and interesting way to know someone and the self-analysis each goes through on their journey together is touching.

Just going to say, I loved it. Love Joss. Loved the concept and the realization.
See it, my peeps.  See it. Please. No, that's not begging. Maybe a little but really, do yourselves a favor and see it. Did I mention you should see it?  Yes!  See it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Madame Butterfly... the opera

Went to see Puccini's Madame Butterfly at the opera Saturday night. Amazing. I loved it, especially the second half where the music was epic. Really epic!

But first, do not get the story mixed up with the movie M. Butterfly, the movie with Jeremy Irons and John Lone. That is amazing as well, but not the same story at all and not amazing in the same ways. And today we are discussing the opera. (Go watch the movie though....)

Back in June of 2013 I wrote a blog on The Fictorians' site about Great Love. In it, I talk about why some great loves are cool, some kind of dumb, some seriously stupid. Mostly I talk about why they endure as legends of great love for good or bad. Mind you I'm not saying I dislike any of them, mostly I chose them because I love them (stupid or not). And as a disclaimer - this is all my personal opinion, so throw rant balls in my direction if any need thrown. :)

So, after seeing Madame Butterfly, I want to discuss my thoughts on the great love between Butterfly and the American sailor.  Spoiler Alert! I will be talking about details and the end of the opera.

In the opera program, there was an article making a case for us not to hate the sailor right off. I think the author spoke of cultural differences, etc...  between the Japanese and American cultures of the time as well as the differences between then and now. I don't think the case was strong. Or at least not strong enough for me.

So, here's what I think, bottom line, and then I'l talk about why. I think the sailor was a thoughtless, careless asshat and Butterfly was in denial and immature. Still loved the opera!

Okay. Why was the sailor a thoughtless, careless asshat?  Because he didn't care about Butterfly, not really or he wouldn't have rented her along with the house on a 999 year lease that you can get out of at any time with no consequences. Yes, he married her, but it meant no more to him than the lease did. He always fully intended to go have a 'real' wedding later with an American girl. Yes, he continued to pay her rent after he abandoned her. Enough to appease his guilt I suppose, but not enough for her to actually live above poverty level on. Yes, he returns at the bitter end, but only in time to watch her die. And does anyone believe for a moment that he didn't still intend to take the boy with him?  I don't.

Yes, he returned after running off because it was 'too hard to see her'. Coward. He needs to grow a pair. And seriously, as soon as he learns he has a son, he's just going to come take him away from his mother and raise the kid with his American wife? Seriously. Cultural differences of then, now, the future perfect be damned. That's a dick move. The boy was well loved and well tended. Had that not been the case, Okay. But it wasn't.

And don't get me started on the age thing since she's fifteen when they marry. (Yeah, I know... cultural difference... blah, blah, blah.) It's my blog and I can stand on my culturally different high horse if I like. :P

Maybe the sailor did love Butterfly while he was with her. But it was obviously a pretty skimpy love since he left so easily and lied to her so easily and lead her on so easily and then planned to take away the only thing she had left - so easily. And getting his American wife and the local consul to do his dirty work for him? And thinking that a wad a cash made up for taking her son away?  Asshat is really too nice a term for what I think of him. But whatever.

Butterfly. She fifteen. And at the end, WHEN SHE KILLS HERSELF, eighteen. Immaturity doesn't begin to cover it. This is a grown ass man leading an innocent girl into thinking he loves and will return for her and they will live happily ever after. She's fifteen, dude! What teenage girl doesn't want to buy into that whole Great Love story? What teenage girl isn't going to completely pine for her first love? Hello... Romeo and Juliet. Butterfly saying and maintaining vehemently that he's going to return because she switched to his American religion and is his wife (American style) doesn't change the facts. Rose colored glasses mean anything?

Now, aside from Butterfly's obvious immaturity. She's also just being obtuse. Really obtuse. Susuki and the Consul try repeatedly to tell her he's not coming back. She should remarry or get on with her life.  But no, she acts as though her faith in asshat will change who he is. She should have had an idea of his careless and callous ways when he was playing puppets with the statues of her ancestors before their wedding. But no, she willfully chooses to overlook all the facts and maintain her confidence in someone who has not given her any reason to. So, her bad.

Point is, both of these people is at fault in the tragedy they are calling their love. I don't buy it. His love is temporary and changeable. Hers is blind and that of a child. So, while this story endures as that of a Great Love (mostly on her part, I'm supposing), it falls under the same umbrella as many of the others I spoke of in my Fictorian blog post. But again, tragedy makes for a great story and self-immolation seems to be a means of proving how very deep your love is (I'm rolling my eyes, really).

Still loved the music and the opera. I just have to not think too hard about the story or characterization. And by the way... the little boy in the opera - TOO DAMN CUTE!
'Nuff said. Any thoughts, opinions, rants, musings? Go for it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Black Box Theaters in general and William Shakepeare specifically...

On black box theaters in general.... LOVE THEM. If you've never been to a black box, go. Seek them out. You are right there, up close and personal with the actors. It's intimate and generally speaking, there are no bad seats as there are so few seats (maybe a 100 or so). It's just a different theater experience and I can't recommend it enough. Many theaters have both a main stage and a black box, so don't ignore the smaller venue. You'll find wonderful plays and experiences just waiting for your eager, theater-loving selves.

Saturday night, I saw The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) in a black box theater. The week prior I was at the main stage (at the same theater) and saw Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical. Both awesome, but the Shakespeare - can I just say I haven't laughed that long or hard in a long, long time. This is three guys and thirty-seven plays in two hours.  There is definitely some improv involved as well, but wow. So funny!

Not all the plays get the same treatment - some have some real time devoted to them and others are summed up or briefly mentioned, but still quite a feat. I won't give too much away.

So, if you ever have a chance to see this, do not stop at Go, do not slow down for the really lucrative yellow and red properties... run to get tickets and see it more than once if you can.  I saw it on closing night and wish, Wish, WISH I could go back and see this multiple times over. I would. I really, really would.

And in other news.... I'm having a good day. Hope you are well.

(Have you noticed by new trend of actually writing my blog? I know.... I'm impressed too!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Scorpion... and maybe some other Fall TV Shows

I am loving Scorpion. The first comment I saw about the show was how unrealistic it was.and that the person commenting was expecting it to be better.  And I thought to myself... So? So what? What does realistic have to do with anything? Better how? More realistic? Whoever that person is, maybe they should focus on documentaries if that's their criteria. (Nothing against documentaries - I like them too.)

Yes, the show is based on a real genius who runs a real think tank type problem solving group. And said genius provides story ideas for said show, so for my money - it's distinctly possible, if improbable, that some of these stories could be based in some sort of fact. And let us not forget that fact is often stranger than fiction. On the Fictorians (another blog I'm involved with), all of September was a month based on stories of fact that were stranger than fiction. So, who are we, the masses, to know the truth of what is realistic when dealing with geniuses or covert government agencies or other stuff outside our realms.

Bottomline, Scorpion's foundation is cool. But why does a TV show based on that kind of coolness need to be realistic? It doesn't. TV would be pretty boring if it was realistic.

CSI and NCIS (all of them) would be dead in the water if realism was vital since the average autopsy (according to my local crime scene investigators) is given about seven minutes. And unless the crime scene is high profile, it's never going to be treated with the detail and time given all crime scenes on these shows. But realistic wouldn't be entertaining. Or slightly educational (all you doubters - HUSH).

How about Blue Bloods  or any other cop show.  The average cop can go an entire career and never fire his side-arm, but cops not shooting at bad guys is not especially entertaining. So, cop show cops shoot a lot, kill a lot of bad guys and generally fire their guns at least every episode.

Even "reality" (quotes and any snarkiness you interpreted are intentional) TV is scripted and edited to make it seem more interesting than it really is. I won't start on reality TV. I'm just not going there. I'm in a good mood.

My point is that entertainment, like TV, is meant to entertain, so we want guns being shot and science being explored to its deepest levels and gadgetry at its coolest. Action needs to be more action-y. Humor more humor-y. Drama more drama-y. Emotion just that much more emotion-y. All more than reality. At least that's how I like my TV.

So, Scorpion is right up my alley, as are the previously specified shows (not reality shows). Because I want to be entertained and escape into my escapism.

Now, a little more about Scorpian. Smart is its own brand of sexy, so geniuses are hot! Geek hot, but hot none the less. And looks have absolutely nothing to do with it. This team is sexy and what they accomplish is awesome because they're doing it with extra brain power. For a brain geek groupie, like myself- it's the best of all worlds.

The team is smart, funny, cool, nerdy, tough, and socially atrophied. But they are saving lives and doing their best in a society they barely relate to. I love the little boy! Good people in exceptional circumstances doing the best they can. (That last sentence is the premise for a good many stories, shows and movies.... just saying.) If you haven't watched it - I'm recommending it.

Also on my recommend list for this Fall (some new and some not)(and a small glimpse into my soul)(it's possible that last statement was an exaggeration) (or not):
The Blacklist
Person of Interest
NCIS (all of them including the new one in New Orleans)
CSI (the original and I'm excited for CSI:Cyber)
Madame Secretary
Big Bang Theory
Blue Bloods
Hawaii Five-O

This is by no means an exhaustive look at my very full DVR record list, but it is a start and I'm always open to more. If you got a hot suggestion - give it to me!

Monday, October 6, 2014

"Transformers:Age of Extinction" and "Freakonomics"

Saw this at the theater and just bought it and watched it again. I still think it's the best of the franchise. Could be the story line or maybe it's just Mark Wahlberg. I'm really not above that kind of shallow bias.


Things I loved:
Mark Wahlberg - duh!  Seriously, he just keeps getting hotter and hotter and I think he's turned into a terrific actor. I will pretty much watch anything he's in. Period. Dot. The end. I don't think this needs a lot of explanation.

Stanley Tucci is so funny in this. I adore him. In pretty much everything (Shall We DanceHunger Games, Julie & Julia, The Terminal).  He's so charming and cute and flexible in roles he plays.

I liked the daughter (Nicola Peltz) and boyfriend (Jack Reynor) characters and actors.

Loved the quirky sidekick guy (TJ Miller). So much fun!

Loved the little blue-haired twitchy transformer that was being used and abused by KSI.

Loved Titus Welliver (playing James Savoy, the head CIA Hunter guy). He is such a stellar bad guy.

Loved Thomas Lennon (playing the President's Chief of Staff). He's funny as hell. Love him in everything.

Loved John Goodman as Hound. And how they made Hound look. Seriously, the beard alone was phenomenal.

Things I didn't love: 
I was a little puzzled by the other 'knight' level transformers like Optimus Prime - puzzled that they were dinosaurs and dragons. I dunno. And why Optimus had to fight them after freeing them and why they capitulated so quickly once he did beat them. How exactly did  he beat them? They didn't make a lot of sense to me. But whatever - they were there to save the day. I found it funny that they went to live in the wilds of Japan ( I hope it was Japan and not China. If it was, then my epic apologies). I just kept thinking that they could be mecha-godzillas for future destruction or salvation.

Hated that the quirky sidekick died. :(   He was so much fun.

Hated that Ratchet died :(

K - if anyone wants to tell me why any of the other movies in this franchise is better, I'm listening!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

NFL Football Season again... YAY!!!

This is late in stating since we're going into week five, but my Giants weren't doing so well and now they're finding their groove so now I feel more YAY about it all.

They got a new offensive coordinator who changed everything including how Eli Manning steps back to throw, so yeah... it's going to fuck up the offensive line's groove. The point of it all, I gather, is to mix things up and re-enervate the team and get them present again. I get that.

Sometimes, you slip into a groove - or perhaps it's more like a rut - and then you're in that soft comfortable place where things just happen instead of you making them happen. Then you're not present in the moment. And shit starts slipping.

So maybe after winning two Superbowls, my boys were complacent. Maybe they were in a groove/rut and they needed to come back into the moment and take charge. And maybe that's why Tom Coughlin did this. By the way, whether changing to a West Coast style defense is good or not (I'm coming around... but I'm still not 100% sold), I think Tom Coughlin is one of the best coaches out there. He is a positive, unruffled, stabling force on the sideline and I'm sure a motivating force in the locker room. So, maybe my boys needed this, maybe they needed to jump out of the rut and find a new groove.  We shall see.

The last few seasons have been less than stellar and that just won't do. Not for my Giants. Not for my Tom Coughlin. And certainly not for my adorable Eli Manning! So, I'm humbly optimistic that they are figuring out this new offense and will continue to improve and win.

Last Thursday's game was a double whack pack of sadness for the Washington Redskins as not only did my Giants play really good, but the Redskins were playing pretty bad (Six turnovers is tragic - for them. Not so tragic for us.). And though the Redskins are division rivals, I feel for them right now. RG3 is injured and while I think Cousins is doing a fair job stepping into the QB role, last Thursday was not evidence of that.

In conclusion, Life is full of ruts and grooves. The road we travel can be a mixed bag. Sometimes we're cruising the highway and it's smooth sailing. Sometimes we end up riding the soft shoulder for a while. And sometimes we can't even see the road because we're off-roading out in the boonies trying desperately to find the road again. Though some of you (you know who you are!) like off-roading all the time and that's cool too. Just travel safely and enjoy the trip no matter how you're traveling at the moment. :)