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Posts tagged ‘television’

Winter Reviews Part 1

It’s that time for some more entertainment reviews. What have I been watching or listening to that I recommend or that you should avoid. Read on for my take on the latest movies, TV shows, DVDs and albums of the last few months.

Movies

Wind River
Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen star in this murder mystery from writer-director Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water). Set in the snowy mountains of Wyoming, the movie deals with a murdered woman on an Indian reservation. Jeremy Renner is the Fish and Wildlife guy who finds the body. Olsen plays the FBI agent assigned to the case. Who was this woman? And who could have committed such a horrible crime? Good writing, acting and directing. I recommend it. Grade: B+

Leap!
This animated tale tells the story of an orphan (Felicie) who dreams of a being a ballet dancer. She escapes from the orphanage along with her inventor friend, Victor. They travel to Paris and soon Felicie is impersonating another girl so she can study dance at the Paris Ballet. Of course, she gets found out, but she still has the dream. This is a movie for those of us who believe in pursuing their passions. You should never give up. Grade: B

Logan Lucky
Steven Soderbergh’s latest is a heist comedy with an all-star cast. Channing Tatum is a down on your luck loser who comes from a cursed family. He hatches a plan with his brother, sister and some friends to rip off a NASCAR race in North Carolina. This is definitely a redneck “Oceans 11.” Turns out they may be able to break the family curse after all. I enjoyed myself. Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, and Katie Holmes co-star. Grade: B+

Mother!
Mother is the latest movie from director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan). It stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as husband and wife. What seemed like it was going to be a cool horror movie, turns out to be more of a psychological mind trip. What a weird and strange movie… can’t say I would recommend it at all. I didn’t care for it at all. There are plenty of scenes that make you uncomfortable, as J-Law’s character is under attack for most of the movie. I had to Google what the movie was about. And once I found out, I still didn’t give a damn. A big misstep for all involved. Grade: D

Brad’s Status
Ben Stiller stars in this movie that is written and directed by Mike White. Stiller plays a man experiencing a midlife crisis. His son is going off to college soon. He starts to think about his friends from his college days and how he is the least successful member of the group. Filmed mostly in Boston, this is great movie that I can see being nominated for Best Original Screenplay. There are laughs and thought-provoking moments too. Go see it. Grade: A-

Home Again
Reese Witherspoon makes her return to romantic comedy with this movie. It is written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer, daughter of Nancy Meyers (one of the top romantic comedy directors). The movie has a good cast: Michael Sheen and Candace Bergen among others. The story has Witherspoon returning to her childhood home after a failed marriage. She starts a flirtation/romance with a young guy at a bar. And the next day, him and his friends are moving into her guest house. See these guys are looking to make it in Hollywood, and she is the daughter of a famous director. All involved try, but in the end it doesn’t add up to much. Forgettable for sure. Grade: C-

Battle of the Sexes
Steve Carrell and Emma Stone star as Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King in the tile tennis match that happened in the mid-70’s. Riggs is a male chauvinist pig who wants to keep women in the kitchen. King is the up and comer who is reshaping the world of women’s tennis and discovering her sexuality. Both stars do a great job, but it is Stone who has the juicer role. I expect to see her nominated for a Best Actress Oscar again. Despite having taken place over 40 years ago, the movie still feels very relevant to today. Grade: A-

The Mountain Between Us
Idris Elba and Kate Winslet star in this adventure-romance. After their separate flights to Denver are cancelled, the two join up to rent a charter plane to get to their destination. She is going to her wedding. He is going to a medical conference. The plane crashes in the mountains, and they must join together to survive all of their challenges: extreme weather, hungry wild animals, lack of food and water, and more. The tragedy brings them closer together. Will they make it out alive? And what will life be like if they do? It plays a bit like a Hallmark movie, but I still liked it. Grade: B-

Goodbye Christopher Robin
This true story tells the tale of author AA. Milne — the creator of “Winnie the Pooh.” The book series was inspired by playtime with his young son (Christopher Robin). Mr. Milne served in World War I, and was dealing with PTSD. His son became a celebrity in his own right after the books were published. And it was hard for him to outgrow his father’s shadow. Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie star as the writer and his wife. I would expect to hear of this movie come awards season. Go see it. Grade: A-

Thor: Ragnorok
The third Thor movie has the character stranded on a trash planet, while back on Asgard the planet is being destroyed by Hela (played by Cate Blanchett). Thor is joined by the Hulk as contestants in a gladiator contest. Loki is back also. Will Thor get back to his planet to save it? This is definitely an improvement over Thor 2, but I still feel that the Captain America and Iron Man films are better. It is funny and action packed, but it becomes an overload of F/X by the end. Grade: B-

Justice League
DC tries their hand at the group superhero movie. So you have Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg coming together to fight off the villain known as Steppenwolf. Of course, Superman comes back to life. DC is still getting their movies wrong — this past summer’s “Wonder Woman” being the only exception. I was bored, and ultimately I just didn’t care. Grade: C-

Lady Bird
This movie stars Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) and is written and directed by Greta Gerwig. She’s a high school senior who can’t wait to escape her circumstances: living in Sacramento, CA, going to Catholic school and having a demanding mother (Laurie Metcalf). ‘Lady Bird’ refers to the name the girl wants to be known as instead of her boring birth name: Christine. This touching comedy-drama is definitely a must see. Excellent performances as well as writing and directing by indie star Greta Gerwig. Go see it! Grade: A

The Shape of Water
Guillermo Del Toro directs this modern fairy tale set in the 1960’s. It concerns a mute woman who falls in love with an amphibious creature that is being kept at the government facility she works at. The basic story is — I fell in love with the creature from the black lagoon. What was interesting were all the parallels to today… fearing those that are different, white male privilege, sexual harassment, government conspiracies and more. Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon are sure to get nominated for their roles. Also starring Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins. The movie looks great and the director presents some beautiful visuals. Grade: B+

DVDs

Blade Runner
So I had to catch up on this one as I never saw it when it came out, and a sequel is out soon. Harrison Ford stars and Ridley Scott directs. The story has Ford playing a detective tracking down replicants (artificial humans) . What is cool about the movie is the look of it. The story was just OK to me. I know that it bombed at the time, but is considered a sci-fi classic now. Grade: C+

Passengers
Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt star in this action-adventure movie. They are passengers on a space ship traveling to a new colony. Pratt’s character wakes up from the deep sleep he was in. He is alone, and he decides to wake up another person to spend time with — Lawrence’s character. The only “person” that they communicate with is a robot played by Michael Sheen. The stars have decent chemisty, but there is not much to the story for me. Much ado about nothing. Grade: C-

Office Christmas Party
A raunchy office comedy that stars Jennifer Anniston and Jason Bateman. T.J. Miller co-stars as Aniston’s brother — who is running the family business. He gets the idea to throw a wild Christmas party in order to nab a potential client. So there is sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. I got some good laughs, it was decent diversion. Grade: B-

Madonna — Rebel Heart Tour
Madonna’s last world tour is finally on home video after premiering on Showtime last December. What you get is another wild and wonderful spectacle from the Queen of Pop. She may have been 58 when it was filmed, but she doesn’t look like she is slowing down. She is still pushing the limits. Includes new songs as well as re-worked favorites too. The DVD also includes a highlights audio CD. A 2-disc full audio version of the show is sold separately. Grade: A

Dixie Chicks — DCX MMXVI Live
This is the DVD from last year’s tour by the Dixie Chicks. It was my #1 tour of last year. This concert was filmed at the Forum in Los Angeles. It was great to see this show again. The crowd is into it and the ladies are in fine form. Includes all their hits plus a few new songs too. They haven’t lost any of their edge. The nice package comes with 2 CDs of the show too. Grade: A

Colossal
Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis star in this comedic drama. The basic plot is that Hathaway returns home after losing her job and boyfriend. In a parallel story, there is a monster that is attacking Seoul, Korea. It turns out that Hathaway is the one who is controlling the monster. Every movement she makes when she is at the park, happens with the monster on the other side of the world. The makers get plus points for trying something different. But ultimately I just thought the movie was sort of weird and just OK. Grade: C-

Split
M. Night Shyamalan’s latest movie stars James McAvoy as a deranged man who has multiple personality disorder. He kidnaps 3 teenage girls from a mall parking lot and keeps them in a bunker-like location. The personalities range from a little boy to a woman to a violent man. The girls are never quite sure who they are dealing with. Betty Buckley stars as his therapist. The movie is better than I thought it would be. McAvoy does a good job of playing crazy. Grade: B

The Founder
Michael Keaton plays Ray Kroc, the man behind fast-food phenomenon McDonald’s. Kroc was just a milkshake mixer salesmen when he met the McDonald’s brothers in Southern California. Kroc goes into business with them and ultimately steals the company right out from under them. It is an interesting story about greed, ambition and drive. Grade: A-

A United Kingdom
David Oyelowo and Rosemund Pike star in this true story. It tells the story of Seretse Kharma and Ruth Williams. He is the heir to the throne of a kingdom in Africa. She is a English typist who he falls in love with when he is studying in England. Their marriage gains international attention and causes both of them strife and instability. Would his homeland accept him as King with a white wife? I enjoyed it — good acting, writing and directing. Grade: A-

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
This is the sequel to Al Gore’s 2006 Academy Award-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Sequel.” That movie detailed the effects of global warming on the planet. Since then there have been some successes with the movement, but there is still a lot to be worried about. We are getting more extreme weather as well as national catastrophes. Plus we have politicians who are still denying that climate change is real. We need to keep talking til real change gets made. Grade: B+

CDs

Fleetwood Mac — The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac
I decided to get this as I had the “Greatest Hits” from them and felt that they had more to offer. This 2-disc retrospective has all the hits, plus classic album cuts and lost treasures too. It is a great career overview for them. Grade: A-

Thomas Rhett — Life Changes
Rhett’s third album follows his breakthrough “Tangled Up.” There are special appearances by Maren Morris and his Dad, Rhett Atkins. It is an eclectic batch of songs, most of which he co-wrote. So you get some modern country pop, a hillbilly tune with his Dad, and white-boy soul. I don’t think it is as good as “Tangled Up.” His voice sounds great. Maybe it will grow on me. Grade: C+

Miley Cyrus — Younger Now
Miley’s latest album takes a different path from her last major project “Bangerz.” She has made a folk-pop album with touches of country also running through the tracks. What I love about it is — is that she is doing what she wants and not trying to bow to the radio gods. She has help from Dolly Parton on one song. I can really sense her artistry on here. She is maturing as an artist. Go check it out. Grade: B

Glee – The Music — The Graduation Album
The original stars of the Fox musical comedy-drama are graduating from high school during this season musical highlights. The cover songs include songs by fun., Lady GaGa, Jason Mraz, Green Day and more. It was nice to hear my favorites from the show again including Rachel, Finn, Kurt and more. Grade: B-

DNCE — DNCE
First, Nick Jonas had a hit with his solo career. Now brother Joe and his band DNCE are releasing their first full-length album after last year’s EP “Swaay”. This album includes the hits “Cake by the Ocean” and “Toothbrush” as well as a bunch of other catchy, fun songs. I always said the brothers were talented. “Almost” is a nice mid-tempo song about a relationship that almost worked out. I recommend it. Grade: B+

Demi Lovato — Tell Me You Love Me
Former Disney girl Demi is all grown up and loving life. This is definitely better than “Confident” her last album. I love the title track as well as the first single “Sorry Not Sorry.” She’s sassy and sexy and she’s got herself some good songs that are worthy of her vocals. I am enjoying it. Grade: B+

Kelly Clarkson — Meaning of Life
For Kelly’s 8th album, she is going for a more R&B sound than her previous albums. The results are one of her best albums ever. The set includes the first single “Love So Soft” as well as plenty of great hook-filled songs like “Heat,” “Medicine” and “Whole Lotta Woman.” Her backup singers are given prominence during some numbers. She continues to be my favorite Idol winner. Grade: A

Pink — Beautiful Trauma
Pink’s latest album (her 7th) recently debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts. It contains the first single “What About Us” as well as the title track “Beautiful Trauma.” Sonically it is a typical Pink album, with some rock, dance, folk and pop leanings on various tracks. Through it all her voice sounds strong. They are some of the best vocals of her career. She walks the line between arena rocker and singer-songwriter for me. And that’s a good place to be. Grade: B+

 

TV

American Horror Story: Cult
The latest season of the horror anthology show takes the last Presidential election as a jumping off point for it’s story. Series regulars Evan Peters and Sara Paulson are the main stars this season. Peters is a right-wing nut, who voted for Trump. Paulson is one half of a lesbian couple that wanted Hilary to win. Peters seems to a be a messiah-like guy who is running for office; and he is amassing people for his cult. Paulson is one who is terrorized by some killer clowns who are part of the cult. I had my reservations after the first episode (about it being too close to reality). And I complained about it to my husband a few times after that…. I have since given up on it, it is too much for me — disgusting and sick. Grade: C-

Dynasty
From the producers of “Gossip Girl” comes the update of the classic 80’s soap “Dynasty.” As a huge fan of the original, I was looking forward to this. Grant Show (Melrose Place) leads the cast as Blake Carrington. So now the show takes place in Atlanta instead of Colorado. And they are in the energy industry not oil. Plus the cast is multi-cultural now too. What was surprising to me, was how closely it followed the story of the original. I was expecting more. The biggest change was changing Sammy Jo to a Latin guy. And that throws everything off, as Sammy Jo came into Steven’s life after Blake killed Steven’s lover. We’ll see where they go with the show. But so far, I am not impressed. I did love the flashback scene to Fallon and Steven’s childhood, with Steven playing the old “Dynasty” theme on the piano. Grade: C

The Mayor
A political newcomer suddenly finds himself elected to office. In this case, it’s an aspiring African-American rapper who becomes the mayor of small town in Northern California. He is aided by his 2 childhood buddies and his chief of staff played Lea Michele (Glee). Brandon Michael Hall stars as mayor Courtney Rose, who still lives at home with his Mama, a local postal worker. Yes, it’s a fish out of water tale in a new setting. It makes a good companion with “Black-ish.” I am rooting for this “Mayor” to succeed. Grade: B

Will & Grace
After 11 years, the ground-breaking Emmy winning series is back on NBC with all of the original cast members. I was skeptical at first, but I have enjoyed the first half of the season. The writing is sharp and funny. After the year we have had in the US, it is time to laugh again. And this is TV comfort food. Grade: B+

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon. As always comments are kindly welcomed.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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Fall Entertainment Roundup Part 2

Thanks for coming back. Part 2 features my reviews of CDs and TV shows. As always, comments are kindly welcomed.

CDs

Dierks Bentley “Black” Dierks is back for his 8th album. Special guests include Maren Morris and Elle King. Stylistically he is not presenting anything new for me, but it is still a solid record. “Somewhere on Beach” covers similar territory to “Drunk on a Plane.” The duet with Elle King “Different for Girls” is a bit of a sequel to Beyonce’s “If I Was a Boy” if you ask me. I hope it’s the second single. Grade: B-

Beyoncé “Lemonade” Queen Bey’s new project premiered as an HBO special, and an exclusive on Tidal. It is her follow-up her self-titled project. Again, we have a visual album and a music album. Stylistically it is her most diverse project yet: rock, reggae, country, gospel, R&B, ballads and more. She attacks the rumors of Jay-Z’s infidelity head-on. Ultimately it is story of female empowerment, especially black women. She is a force to be reckoned with. Grade: A

Kelly Clarkson “Piece by Piece Remixed” Her record company released this to capitalize on her triumphant return to American Idol in it’s final season. She sang a stripped down version of “Piece by Piece” which ended up going viral, and it instantly made it’s way onto the pop charts. You get new versions of 10 of the 16 songs off her last studio album. Grade: B+

Daughtry “It’s Not Over… the Hits So Far” Only the third American Idol alumni to warrant a greatest hits album, Chris Daughtry and company offer up only 2 new tracks on this collection (Torches and Go Down). It is still a great career overview, even if most of the songs are from the first 2 albums (the band has 4). Grade: B

Brett Eldredge “Illinois” This is his second album. I decided to take a chance on him since he is opening for Keith Urban on his tour this year. He’s got a nice voice, and I instantly liked some of the songs. Will see where he goes with his career. Grade: B

Ariana Grande “Dangerous Woman” Ariana’s 3rd album is just as good as her previous one “My Everything.” Contains the hit title track as well as “Into You.” And I am beginning to get a sense of her as a woman and an artist… something I wasn’t sure about last time. Grade: A-

Nick Jonas “Nick Jonas X2” Nick’s breakthrough solo project has been re-issued in a special deluxe edition with 7 additional songs. So you get the hits from the original like “Chains” and “Jealous;” plus remixes of those 2, and a couple of new songs too like “Levels” and “Good Thing” (with Sage the Gemini). His pop-R&B sound is finally starting to grow on me. Grade: B

Miranda Lambert “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” I am just catching up on this girl. And I have enjoyed every one of her releases. This is her 2nd album and includes the hit “Gunpowder and Lead.” So you get fiery uptempo songs with a ttitude and tender ballads too. Grade: B+

Little Big Town “Wanderlust” One of the year’s biggest surprises for pop music fans. This is the country group’s collaboration with Pharrell Williams, who co-wrote and produced the album for them. You get their trademark vocals, but the tracks are pop tunes for the most part. Danceable, fun, and definitely hook filled. I loved it the moment I heard it. Includes the fantastic first single “One of Those Days” — which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Grade: A

Rascal Flatts “Changed” Rascal Flatts has never been much of a ground-breaker with their career. The country trio has a successful formula that they don’t mess with. So you get the big ballads, some good party tunes and nice vocals and harmonies. They have been consistently good through their whole career. Grade: B+

Blake Shelton “If I’m Honest” I am a fan of Blake, but this one is not doing much for me so far. “She’s Got a Way with Words” and the duet with girlfriend Gwen Stefani are the stand-outs for me. The rest is just OK. Hopefully it will grow on me. Grade: C

Sugarland “The Incredible Machine” This was the 4th (and so far last) album from the country duo. It contains the hits “Stuck on You” and “Tonight.” I hope that they get back together again to make some new music. Grade: B-

Keith Urban “Ripcord” Keith’s latest CD, has a few things in common with his last one “Fuse.” Is it country? If it is, it is very pop-oriented country. He has guest stars like Nile Rodgers, Carrie Underwood and Pitbull even on this album. I would love for Keith to try pop fully for one record, like Taylor Swift’s “1989.” That would be interesting. I believe Keith’s pop leanings, whereas with Tim McGraw it didn’t fit for me. Grade: B-

Jimmy Wayne “Sara Smile”
I first came to know this singer when he opened for Wynonna Judd on one of her tours. This is his 3rd album featuring the title track — a remake of a Hall & Oates song. They are featured on the song too. He’s got a nice voice, but some of the material is not up to par. Grade: C

 

TV

Animal Kingdom
Based on the Australian film of the same name, this TNT series follows the exploits of a crime family: a mother and her sons and grandson. The location has been moved from Australia to Southern California’s beaches. The cast is lead by Ellen Barkin and Scott Speedman. Everyone is good looking, and there is a decent amount of male flash on display. Sex, drugs, bad behavior — so far I am enjoying it. Grade: B+

Mad Men (Part 2 of Season 7)
I have been a big fan of this show through the years. I missed the last season, because I didn’t have a TV for a good portion of last year. So now I am finally catching up with it on Netflix. I have to say this last season was a bit of a disappointment to me. It was all over the place. So much of the stories occurred away from the ad agency. And they tried to give everyone a decent ending except Betty it seems. Grade: C

Greatest Hits
Billed as a special event limited summer series, this show brings back hitmakers of the past (like Rock Springfield and Backstreet Boys) singing their greatest hits as well as current hitmakers (Pitbull, Meghan Trainor) too. Each episode covers a 5-year period like 1980-1985; 1990-1995 etc. The show is hosted by Arsenio Hall and Kelsea Ballerini. This shows reminds me of “Hit Me Baby One More Time” a summer show from summer’s past that brought back old hitmakers to prime time. It was good to see some of the stars on here, even if they aren’t as good as they used to be. I hope they bring it back next summer. Grade: B

Do you agree with my reviews? Please sound off in the comments. I would love to know what you are watching and listening to.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Guys I Want to See in a Kilt Part 3

 

It is refreshing to see more and more kilt companies popping up in the last few years. They see a market for something different with men’s clothing. And who better to improve visibility for kilts, then to see a celebrity wearing one. I would love to see the following celebrities out and about in a kilt. I am sure they would make some best-dressed lists if they did.

Sam Hunt — This country hunk has made a splash on the music scene in the past year with his album “Montevallo” and it’s singles “Take Your Time” and “House Party.” I can imagine him rocking a utility kilt for sure.

Teddy Sears — Besides being an actor in such shows as “The Flash” and “Masters of Sex,“ this man is an athlete who loves surfing and triathlons. A sport kilt sounds up his alley.

Matt Bomer — He’s been in big box-office hits (Magic Mike) and TV shows too (American Horror Story: Hotel). Plus he’s gay in real life. I could see him wearing a kilt on the red carpet some time.

Ben McKenzie — He’s come a long way since “The OC”. Now starting on Fox’s Batman prequel “Gotham” as Detective James Gordon. He plays a tough guy on TV, but I bet he has a softer side in real life. Plus he has Scottish ancestry too.

Tom Mison — He stars on “Sleepy Hollow,” as a man who is from another time. So he is used to period clothing. What has more tradition and history than wearing a kilt?

Jamie Bell — The boy who was “Billy Elliot” has grown up nicely. He has a background in dance, besides acting in such films as “The Eagle” and “Snowpiercer.” I could see him wearing a hiking kilt on the weekends.

Jason Derulo — Pop/R&B hit-maker Jason Derulo has given us such fun songs as “Talk Dirty” and “Want to Want Me.” Plus, he’s taken on judging on “So You Think You Can Dance” also. He is always very stylish and trendy with his clothes. I could see him rocking a kilt in his concerts.

Corey Stoll — He’s equally at home on screens big (Ant-Man) and small (House of Cards). He’s tall and has big ears… just imagine him wearing a kilt commando.

Jason Statham — Action hunk Jason Statham has definitely kicked some major ass on the big screen in such films as “The Transporter” and “Fast 8.” I can’t imagine anyone taking issue with him when he is wearing a kilt.

Chris O’Donnell — He started in the movies (Batman & Robin), but now makes his home on TV (NCIS: Los Angeles). Plus he has some modeling on his resume. I could see him wearing a kilt relaxing on vacation.

Zac Efron — He came from the Disney Channel (High School Musical), but he’s graduated to big screen roles in “Hairspray and “Neighbors.” He boyish charm, and hot body would make him look great in a kilt.

So, those are my choices for this latest round of kilt fantasy hunks. Did I mention your favorite? Be sure to check out Parts 1 & 2 of this series. Sound off in the comments with your choices.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Speedos lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Living Without TV

So we have been living without a TV for about 4 months now. I would usually watch about 15 minutes in the morning before I left for work. I turned on the TV one morning, heard a loud pop, and saw smoke coming out of it while sound still played. WTF? I unplugged it immediately. That was the day our TV died.Broken-TV

So now I am trying to get by without a TV as I save up to either repair or replace the one we had. It was a Samsung 45” big screen TV, the first one we have ever had. We had some good times with it: birthday parties, Christmas parties, Oscar parties, Madonna parties and movie nights too.

I realized I couldn’t keep up with things like I had been with my DVR. Plus I would have to just let go of some shows. Also, some of the shows I watch are not available for free on the net, and I didn’t feel like trying to pay for them on Itunes. I did my best to follow American Idol, one of my favorite shows. I would usually watch the shows the next day or so. Empire I was able to watch all of it too.

Shows I haven’t been able to catch up with yet include: Grey’s Anatomy, Nashville, Scandal, The Amazing Race, and Modern Family. Missed the final episodes of The Fosters for this season, so don’t know what happened to Jude and Connor. Haven’t watched any of the The Real World: Skeletons online. I was a little iffy on this season anyway… maybe I am finally falling out of love with it. Disappointed I missed Mad Men’s last season and the latest season of Bates Motel and Orphan Black too.

Internet watching is a challenge too, streaming that skips, and having to watch all the commercials too. On the DVR, an hour show is 40 minutes. On the web, an hour show is an hour. I find myself losing interest sometimes, and then watching an hour show over a couple of days. All in all, a frustrating experience.

We are still getting discs from Netflix at home, and have hooked up a CD/DVD drive to the iMac. But it sucks to not have a big screen to watch shows on. Good thing that there are not a lot of award shows at this time of year… Sorry, Billboard Music Awards, you aren’t one of my must see award shows.

Haven’t done anything yet as far as finding a place to get the TV fixed. I just did a simple web search, and the first thing to come up was Best Buy Geek Squad. I remember as a kid we used to have someone come to our house to fix our TV… not sure I will find that these days. And is it even going to be worth it to fix? Who knows? Things aren’t made to last these days.

So when exactly am I going to replace the TV? I keep telling my lover, if I go crazy and you come home one day and see a TV, you know I couldn’t take it anymore. I do get sad about it sometimes. I want one by the fall TV season for sure. I know I can get through this. I know I will be fine.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Fall Entertainment Wrap Up

So what TV shows and CDs did I like this fall? Read on for my reviews.

Red Band Society
So far so good with this Fox dramedy. It is centered on a bunch of sick kids living inside a hospital. It reminds me a bit of “Glee” the early days… in that the kids are all a bunch of misfits. The show is narrated by a kid in a coma. Oscar winner Octavia Spencer plays a nurse. You would think it would be depressing, but it has been very life affirming for me. Celebrate life. Grade: B-

Black-ish
This new sitcom stars Anthony Anderson and Tracey Ellis Ross as parents navigating the world being African Americans in the modern era. With lines being blurred all the time, how do you be true to your self and hang on to your culture? That’s the question the show is asking. So far, I saw one episode , it was OK. Bottom line, it needs to find the funny, otherwise it will be a 1-season show. Grade: B-

How to Get Away with Murder
From executive producer Shonda Rhimes comes her latest drama. This one stars Oscar nominee Viola Davis as a college law professor, who also takes on cases too. She takes on some of her students as interns who help with her cases. Fun, and twisty so far, definitely one of the must-see shows of the fall. Grade: A-How to Get Away with Murder

Gotham
Otherwise known as the Batman prequel. This one focuses on 2 police officers on the Gotham Police Department, and the city full of criminals including those that will become foes of Batman, like the Penguin and Cat Woman. Bruce Wayne is just a kid here, having just lost his parents. But he is already brooding. So far, I like this show. And I am not a big comic book geek either. Grade: B+

American Horror Story: Freak Show
The latest installment of Ryan Murphy’s anthology series. This stars Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Kathy Bates and more. This follows the freaks at a circus freak show in Jupiter, Florida during the 1950’s. Needless to say murder and mayhem happen in this town. Just as strong as past installments. Grade: A-

CDs

Anthony Hamilton “Home for the Holidays” — Not the same old, same old. He brings in some new songs and some classic songs too in fun, funky arrangements. Grade: A-

Ariana Grande “My Everything” — She is definitely growing on me. Three big hits off of this so far: Problem, Break Free and Bang Bang. With more to come, she is definitely one to watch. Grade: B+

Little Big Town “Pain Killer” — Better than their last album; they still sound like a country version of Fleetwood Mac to me. And that is a good thing. Nice songs and great vocal harmonies. Grade: B+

That’s it for now. I am sure I will have another episode of this periodic column in the New Year. I would love to hear from you.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Movie Stars I’d Love to See on the Small Screen (Part 2)

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Last week I addressed women I would like to see doing some TV. This week I will talk about the guys. Here’s my wish list:

The Men

Jude Law
Star of The Talented Mr. Ripley and Cold Mountain. With his good looks fading some, he would be perfect for some sort of procedural, be it a medical or lawyer show.

Ewan McGregor
Star of The Impossible and The Ghost Writer. He has had a nice and varied career, so not sure he would want the gig of a TV series. I love the romance angle for him, maybe an update of something like “Hart to Hart.”

Pierce Brosnan
Star of Mamma Mia and Die Another Day. The one-time Remington Steele, would be great for some sort of family drama.

Antonio Banderas
He can do comedy and drama, and has The Expendables 3 coming out this summer. But what about some sort of family drama, where we get to see him use more of his acting chops than a Sly Stallone movie.

Tom Cruise
Star of Top Gun and Mission Impossible. This is a total wild card pick! He would be great, but he would have to endure such a huge pay cut, I doubt he would do it! Still who wouldn’t want to see him in his first series. Ratings would be through the roof. Maybe this is still 10 years down the line for him… he can’t keep making action movies forever.

Adrien Brody
Sure he won the Oscar for The Pianist, but can you name any of his other movies? I think he would be good for a show on the Sundance Channel, as he seems to be an indie guy at heart.

Joaquin Phoenix
He seems to be finding good roles in the movies still, see last year’s “Her” — so getting him to do a series might be a hard sell. But he would bring an intensity to any role that he was offered.

John Cusack
He’s been in some good movies like “Being John Malkovich” and duds like “2012” too. I could see him playing some sort of retired ball player, coaching some new recruits.

Richard Gere
One of my favorite actors, he always brings his best when he is on screen. But like the rest of us, finding decent roles isn’t as easy as you get older. I would watch whatever show he was on.

So that’s my list! Did I leave any of your favorites out? Let me know what you think.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Movie Stars I’d Love to See on the Small Screen (Part 1)

 

TV is no longer the ugly step-child of movies. I read an article recently that mentioned that up and coming writer-directors are more interested in working on TV than in films these days. With outlets such as HBO, AMC, Showtime and regular networks too, it has never been a better time to be on television. Jessica Lange has found a successful 2nd act with her stint on “American Horror Story.” And this past season brought us Matthew McConaunghey and Woody Harrelson on “True Detective” on HBO. So what movie stars would I love to see on the small screen?

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The Women

Michelle Pfeiffer
Star of The Fabulous Baker Boys and Hairspray. She would be perfect for a family matron on a night-time soap.

Nicole Kidman
Star of Moulin Rouge and The Hours. With hubby Keith Urban on TV with Idol, I could see Nicole leading up a lawyer or detective show herself.

Catherine Zeta-Jones
Star of Chicago and Traffic. I totally could see her doing some sort of variety show.. she can sing, dance, act. Something like the old Tracey Ullman show.

Annette Benning
Star of American Beauty and The Kids Are All Right. I would pick something offbeat for her… someone with mental illness or disability.

Reese Witherspoon
Star of Legally Blonde and Walk the Line. Comedy is her forte, so something about being a faded beauty queen trying to get her life back together.

Demi Moore
Star of Indecent Proposal and Ghost. I know this is a bit of a wild card pick… but when you look back at her career, she can act. Before she was better known for who her husband was. I would totally have her call Ryan Murphy for the next American Horror Story.

Stay tuned for Part 2 about the men I would like to see on the small screen next week. Let me know your thoughts.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

If I was on GLEE…

Now in it’s 5th season on FOX, GLEE has been a great musical/comedy show featuring the lives of a bunch of misfit teens/young adults performing in a school show choir and now moving into adulthood. It looks like the actors are having a fun time. So what if I (or at least a high school age version of me) was on the show? Read on to see what this episode would be like.GLEE Season 5

Episode Title: Coming Together

Songs performed:

Destination Unknown (Missing Persons)/It’s My Life (Talk Talk)

Some Guys Have All the Luck (Rod Stewart)

Have a Nice Day (Bon Jovi)

I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor Swift)

Shy Boy (Bananarama)

You’re the One That I Want (John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John)

Basic premise of the episode: Shy, quiet, artsy student Daniel doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. He likes to draw and make things. He is not athletic, and most people think he is a nerd. He thinks he might be gay. He’s going through his teen years without a clear indication of where he should be headed, plus trying to rebel against his conservative parents.

Mr. Schuster’s theme for the week is “Individuality.”

The opening number would be a mashup of Missing Person’s “Destination Unknown” and Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life.” This would be a great group number. Shots of people walking down the hall plus dealing with parents at home too.

Daniel is dating a guy, while Blaine is jealous of the fact that the new guy has a boyfriend. (I wrote this before he got back together w/ Kurt). This is his time to sing Rod Stewart’s “Some Guys Have All the Luck.” I could even imagine a big sequence featuring guys in the pool for some sort of water ballet.

A new transfer student named Rasheed comes to McKinley High. Here was a hunky black guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The students are less than welcoming to him. He sings his entrance song Bon Jovi’s “Have a Nice Day.” Asserting to all that he won’t let others get to him, he’s gonna live his life.

Daniel finds out that Rasheed is in his chemistry class. There is an instant connection. Taylor Swifts’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” signals that he knows that his relationship and his whole world is about to change.

Rasheed confides in Jake that he has feelings for Daniel. He sings’s Bananarama’s “Shy Boy” because he knows that he has to have Daniel in his life.

The final scene would be the classic Grease duet “You’re the One that I Want.” Daniel has gotten in touch with his true feelings for Rasheed, and confesses them while rocking a kilt and singing at the top of his lungs. Rasheed even learned a few dance moves for the occasion. The whole class is in on the number too.

So what songs and themes would you explore in your episode? I would love to hear from you.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall TV Recap 2013

It’s that time again — when the networks bring out their new shows and your old favorites return. The fall season has already had a few casualties: We Are Men and Lucky 7  and Ironside. So what will I be watching, and what should I avoid? Read on…

Brooklyn Nine Nine
A workplace cop comedy… the first since Barney Miller. Andy Samberg and Andre Bauer lead the cast as a hotshot detective and the commanding officer, respectively. I saw the first episode, but was not impressed. More lame than anything to me — the only way to go is up. Grade: C+

Sleepy Hollow
Another new show on Fox. So the headless horseman and Ichibod Crane exist in modern times. Is the headless horseman part of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Will Ichibod adjust to living in modern times? It was just OK to me too. The leads are good, we’ll see if they can keep my interest. Grade: C+

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Marvel’s first foray into series television. Clark Gregg leads the cast as the leader of a rag tag team of special agents that travel around in a plane dealing with supernatural happenings. So far, so fun. Action and humor. Grade: Bmarvels-agents-of-shield

The Goldbergs
Jeff Garlin and Wendi McLendon-Covey lead the cast in this 80’s set sitcom. The pilot was very mean spirited, but above all, it wasn’t funny. The also got the dates wrong on some of their 80’s references. It wants to the “Wonder Years” of the 80’s, but nothing worse than a comedy that doesn’t work. Grade: D

Super Fun Night
Scene stealer Rebel Wilson stars in this new ABC sitcom. For some reason, she is using an American accent. She is a likable actress and a funny woman. You want to like this show… unfortunately, again it isn’t funny. And she deserves better. What happened to “Pitch Perfect 2”? Grade: C

Dads
Giovanni Ribisi and Seth Green star as friends and video game enterpreneurs who’s lives are turned upside down when their fathers move in with them. Easily the worst show I have seen of the fall season… from the mind of Seth McFarland. I can like raunchy comedy. This is just bad. Grade: D

American Horror Story: Coven
The third season brings a new setting, and a new story. This time the setting is modern day New Orleans and a school for witches. There are connections to a racist slave owner, plus voodoo too. Ryan Murphy brings back Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson & others and adds Kathy Bates and Emma Roberts. I didn’t like seeing the torture of slaves, but overall it seems this will be another fun ride. Grade: B

So what are you watching, or avoiding this fall season? I would love to hear from you.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

 

Goodbye 90210/Smash

Saying goodbye is never fun or easy. Two of my favorite shows are ending in a few weeks. One was a reboot of a classic Aaron Spelling soap, the other was a pedigreed show that never quite lived up to expectations. I am talking about 90210 on the CW and Smash on NBC.

The original Beverly Hills, 90210 ran for 10 seasons on Fox from 1990 to 2000. It launched the careers of Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty, Jason Priestly and Luke Perry. The reboot 90210 debuted in 2008 and will be ending its five year run this coming May. Though not as long running as the original, it still had a decent run (compared to the rebooted Melrose Place which only had 1 season).90210

90210 concerned a bunch of rich kids in Beverly Hills, first attending West Beverly High and then California University, if going to college at all. This version at least added some people of color, with Tristin Wilds as Dixon and Michael Steger as Navid. It also updated viewers on some of their favorite ladies from the original series in the first year or 2 of the show.

I watched all of season 1, part of season 2, missed season 3, and picked it up again for seasons 4 and 5. There was always plenty of beautiful people having a lot of drama in their lives with school, careers and love lives. It seemed like everyone dated everyone on that show. And they had a lot of fun too, fabulous parties and crazy getaways.

I got to know these people and liked spending time with them. Shenae Grimes as Annie Wilson; Tristan Wilds as Dixon Wilson; Jessica Stroup as Erin Silver; AnnaLynne McCord as Naomi Clark; Michael Steger as Navid Sharazi, Jessica Lowndes as Adrianna Tate-Duncan; and Matt Latner as Liam Court. They fought, they loved, they cried, but at the end of the day they were still friends.

Smash debuted in 2012 as a mid-season replacement on NBC. Headlined by Katherine McPhee and Megan Hilty as dueling divas, both vying for the same job — playing Marilyn Monroe in a fictional Broadway musical named Bombshell. Other stars include Debra Messing, Anjelica Huston, Jack Davenport and Christian Borle.

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