I’m back…

This Corona bs had me down for a bit. Anxiety, dread, fear of just about everything… well no more. I plan on writing more and getting back to the place I was just before everything turned into the twilight zone.

So look for a few things I have coming up:

Movie Reviews

Subscription box reviews

And just some “me writing about me” randomness.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019, US)

7.7/10 IMDb, 85% Rotten Tomatoes

I really needed something current in my life and I figured – hunky great actors, pretty good director, interesting premises.

My thoughts: This movie could have been awesome. I mean, it had all the pieces needed to be pretty cool. Pitt and DiCaprio were wonderful. But the story – the story was just blah. It has moments that were entertaining but it was not consistent. Pitt and DiCaprio’s characters are bros. They navigate their careers together, or more like, Pitt follows DiCaprio due to an unfortunate incident he has that stalls his own career. It’s 80% a story about them… but it doesn’t go anywhere. Then we add in Margot Robbie. I understand why she’s in the movie, and her one main scene, makes her very like-able. You are rooting for her but if you know anything about her character, it makes her story sad. Then we get to the ending, I’m not going to give it away, but totally way out of left field. It’s awesome, definitely what you would expect out of a Tarantino movie, but as with the whole movie, very inconsistent with everything that has happened previously. I went into this movie really wanting to like it. I haven’t loved any of my movies yet…

My Rating – 3/5

Juliet of the Spirits (Federico Fellini, 1965, Italy)

7.6/10 IMDb, 79% Rotten Tomatoes

Again, it took me a little bit to understand what was going on and get a grasp on the storyline but it was much easier to follow along and understand than the last movie.

My thoughts (I’ve changed this category from just initial thoughts because it takes me a while to digest most movies): There is a lot going on in this movie. If I feel for the main characters, I enjoy the movie more, and I definitely empathized with Juliet. The movie starts with her about to celebrate her anniversary with her husband. She is excited and wants it to be perfect. And in walks her husband with 20 of their “closest” friends. She doesn’t complain. She is the people pleaser – from her husband, her mother, her sisters, her “friends”. It starts to wear on her and as she learns more about her life, she has trouble coping. She starts to hallucinate and not really know what is real anymore. She meets someone that symbolizes who she thinks she would like to be, but the grass isn’t always greener. I feel like since I am a people pleaser in recovery – lol – I understood her struggles. The actress, Giuiletta Masina, portrays her character wonderfully. She has such innocence and I felt moved by her journey.

Would I recommend this movie: Again, it is subtitled. So if you can get past that, then I would recommend it. Fellini was know as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of his time, so I thought it was exciting to finally see something he created. You might too.

Fun Fact: Giuiletta and Fellini were married during the production of this film and were married until he passed away. This film also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1966.

My Rating – 3.75/5

Blow-up (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966, Great Britain)

7.6/10 IMDb, 87% Rotten Tomatoes

It took me a couple of days to really find the words for this movie. Is it good? What is it about? What the hell is happening? All questions that I feel are left mostly unanswered.

Initial thought: This was definitely made in 60’s. Everything just shouts an artsy version of Austin Powers, and by artsy, I mean they are really trying too hard.

Fashion photographer not happy with this work, goes out to film more. Along the way stops to buy a propeller (?). Decides to take photos in the park. This is where the story gets somewhat interesting, but this is after an hour of very little dialogue and very little story line. Maybe this is all a way of showing that his life is so mundane. Poor little fashion photographer. I have no sympathy or real feeling for this character. Without giving too much away of a very skimpy storyline, he finds something interesting in his photography… or does he. I believe that the director or screenplay writer was trying to make us think that sometimes your mind believes things are not really there. Case in point, the very last scene is a mime troupe playing tennis. Yes, you read that right. They believe they are apart of the game and the photographer plays along. Maybe his life just needed something exciting to happen, and he made this all up, even with so much going on around him.

Would I recommend this movie: Definitely not. If you want to think during your movie experience, this is the last one I would suggest. I’m all for walking out of a movie feeling like you need to really think about what happened, but this one… was just out there.

Fun Fact: The movie received best director and screenwriter nods, but did not win. Not sure why… must have been a bad year for film. Vanessa Redgrave was also in this movie as Jane. Great actress, again – horrible movie.

My rating: 1/5

Yukinojo henge ~ An Actors Revenge (Kon Ichikawa, Japan, 1963)

7.4/10 IMDb, 95% Rotten Tomatoes

I bought myself a book called 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. Always looking for a challenge, and I never know what I want to watch, I figured I would make a game out of it. The book only goes to 2018, so I added People Magazine’s Top 10 movies of 2019 to the list as well. (Although if you read my posts on their top 10 albums of 2019, I’m not sure they are a great judge of anything.) I assigned each a number and used a random number generator to pick a movie. I ended up with this one – Japanese, subtitles and all.

I don’t really know how to format my movie reviews as obviously they are nothing like reviewing an album. But I will try my best…

Initial Thought: What have I gotten myself into? Luckily Scott was out of town because there was no way he would have sat through even 5 minutes of this with me. Not because it’s necessarily a bad movie but, right off the bat, I knew this wouldn’t be his thing.

The movie is filmed beautifully. The beginning scenes are in a Japanese theater and the colors are vivid and gorgeous. The way the movie is filmed is very different than most films I have seen and I really liked watching it. The main storyline was interesting – an actor out to avenge his mother and fathers death. It was the subplots that confused me. I don’t know enough about Japanese culture and the Kabuki theater, so that could be why I didn’t understand some of the references. I know that women were sometimes not allowed to act, so the main character portrays a woman on stage, but continues to portray a woman outside of the theater. We could make the argument that he is transgendered, but it’s not really played that way.

Would I recommend this movie: Yes, because I would love someone else’s take on it. But you really have to be ready for it. If you don’t want to think during a movie, don’t do it. Did I love the movie? No, but I’m still intrigued by it so I would love someone else’s thoughts on it.

My Rating: 3.75/5 (Can I rate in quarters? It’s my blog, so I say YES!)

#1 Ariana Grande thank you, next

I finally made it through what People Magazine says is the top 10 albums of 2019. I wish I could say it was a fabulous journey that introduced me to amazing new music that I will treasure forever… Let’s just get to #1.

Initial thought: I’m not a fan of Miss Grande. I feel like when she gets to a certain register in her voice, it just sounds like she is screaming. But the first song had a bit of a 90s hip hop vibe – a little TLC sound to it. So I was optimistic.

Favorite Song: None. I kept waiting, hoping for something good to happen. It didn’t. I didn’t save one song.

Would I listen to the whole album again: Obviously no. I really wanted to like it. I wanted the #1 album to be, at the very least, enjoyable. I was bored. I didn’t like it. So, I guess going through this list I’ve realized something – maybe I’m not a “pop” girl anymore. There was not one rock or alternative album, not even a male driven album. To be able to rank the best albums of the year, you need to look at all genres. I don’t think that was done. If they did, and this was truly the best, then 2019 was a crap year for music. But I don’t believe that.

# 2 Lizzo – Cuz I Love You

First off, I have to point out, there are two editions of this album – the standard and the Super Deluxe edition. If you are going to listen, make sure it’s the super deluxe. I listened to the standard first and was a bit confused because 1. It felt super short and 2. I didn’t love any of the songs.

This is another hard album to review because I had expectations… which leads to….

Initial thought: I didnt get the hype. Everyone eithers LOVES Lizzo or doesnt. So I was expecting some life altering experience. Listening to the standard edition of the album, I was underwhelmed.

Then I went to the Super Deluxe.

Favorite song(s): I did save 3 songs but they were all from the Super Deluxe version. First off – “Boys”. If anyone knows me, this song is right up my alley. Funky groove, sassy… saved. “Truth Hurts”… again, just the right amount of sass. Soon after found out K can rap the whole song. Pretty entertaining. And finally, “Good as Hell”, I feel like the song is a little cliche cause it’s everywhere but yes, I will listen to it when I’m having a good day and feelin myself. Don’t judge.

I will give an honorable mention to “Tempo” because I felt obligated to like something when I listened to the standard version. But I didn’t save it.

Would I listen to the whole album again: Nah. Sorry guys, she’s fun and sassy but nothing groundbreaking for me. I think there has been a lot of talk about Lizzo and the talk got me hyped for something. I’m not sure what. I’m all for her girl power, get ya some, but I needed something more.

#3 Taylor Swift – Lover

#3 on People Magazine’s Top 10 Albums of 2019

Can I just say I’m finding a trend here… maybe writing and producing a full good album is next to impossible.

But it’s Taylor Swift so I wasn’t expecting a miracle.

Initial Thought: The album started off with a fun little beat… but its pretty elementary.

Favorite Song: I have two. I already had “You Need to Calm Down” downloaded. I like it, it’s sassy. I’m sassy. Enough said. But then I forgot about “ME!”. Ok, yes, it’s a little cheesy but I really like Brandon Urie. His voice is amazing and I just love him. Add in a fun little pop ditty and well, I’m dancing in my kitchen.

Would I listen to the whole album again: No. I’ve never really been a TSwift fan. K loved her for a while and honestly, she just annoyed me. I didn’t like her country stuff but I thought it had a sweet vibe and then when she went pop and created fake drama with the Kardashians (none of that was real), I could only roll my eyes. I also really hate when she sings but she kinda talks at the end of a line. What is that? Whatever it is, it annoys me. So, the lesson of this post, if you want to annoy me, play any of Taylor Swifts other songs.

#4 Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go?

#4 on People Magazine’s Top 10 Albums of 2019

It’s extremely hard to put an initial thought on this album because this is the only album on the list that I have already heard in it’s entirety.

So my initial thought is going to go like this: I remember exactly when I listened to this album. I had bronchitis but I had to drive across town to get my mid year review for work. I figured – might as well listen to something new since I have to take this stupid drive to this stupid review. (That was my actual thought). I don’t remember my initial thought when I first heard it, but the fact that I stuck through it and listened to the whole thing is a good sign. And the fact that I saved the whole album the first time I heard it is an even better sign. Listening to it all again back to back, I got excited. It starts out good and ends even better.

My favorite song: That’s also a super tough question to answer. I have gone through times all of them have been my favorite. So, right now my favorite is either xanny or wish you were gay. Depends on my mood.

Would I listen to this album again: YES! What I love about this album is Billie’s voice along with the lyrics. Where Lana’s album was just boring, this is a perfect combo of fun songs, dark songs, feeling… everything I look for in an album. This is already on my list to buy on vinyl. So, yeah, I love everything about this.

#5 Lana Del Rey – Norman F*****g Rockwell

# 5 of People Magazines Top 10 Albums of 2019

Initial thought: Title does not match, this is relaxing.

Favorite Song: Doin Time. Sublime is amazing and Lana’s rendition is great. I saved it.

Would I listen to the whole album again: The rest of the album is just boring. Lana’s voice is at times beautiful. Other times its overpowered by the instruments, which sound great but makes it hard to understand her lyrics. I just wanted to be done with the album because I was bored. All the songs are slow, and I was tired, so warning – if you are tired and driving, do not listen to this album.