Thursday, 29 August 2013

Favourite scenes in Friends - The One With Rachel's Other Sister

I've not done of these for a while but I saw this episode this week and laughed like a drain. This is one of my all-time favourite Friends episodes, every character is written perfectly and Christina Applegate is wonderful.

Let's assess:

Joey: the sub-plot about Joey forgetting to show up to the Days of our Lives Thanksgiving parade and Phoebe teaching him how to lie still makes me laugh. Racoons! When Phoebe says to him "No! No racoons!" I always giggle. Also, when Rachel and Amy fight and Monica says "somebody do something!" Joey replies "Stop them? Throw some jello on them!"

Rachel: the inner-bitchiness of Rachel is one of my favourite things about her. When Amy says Jill (their sister) gained 15 pounds, Rachel simply asks, "face or ass?" I love that.

Monica: Monica and her fancy plates. Bless her. When she tells them all to eat their food without using the plates and then a scene or two later insists she is fun, Phoebe's response about how she's all about the fun while trying to eat her meal without a plate is hilarious.

Chandler: this isn't so much Chandler's episode but he does get to call Monica Crazy Plate Lady.

Phoebe: Phoebe gets some great lines in this but it's all about the racoons.

Ross: Not normally one I guffaw at but he's good here. Rachel: "I would like to invite Amy to Thanksgiving." Ross: "It'll be like the pilgrims bringing the Indians syphilis." I just googled how to spell syphilis and it was on the images page. I am going to have nightmares.

Anyway, the entire discussion about who gets Emma if Rachel and Ross die is brilliant. Joey: "Who has to die for me to get her?" Amy not realising she's met them before is also hysterical. Her insistence to Monica: "No, she was this really fat girl who followed Rachel around!"

I don't think there is a dud moment in the entire episode. Even Jennifer Aniston's hair looks beyond great in this. I still miss Friends and I think I always will.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

A Chorus Line

I adore A Chorus Line. I think it's one of the best musicals there is and I am very fussy about my musicals as I may have mentioned. Back in April, I went to see it on stage (with my sister of course, who else?) and I wasn't expecting anything particularly amazing yet it blew me away. I love that it starts with a great number. No waiting about for 10 minutes before you get a song, this gets right into it with 'I Hope I Get It'. From the top, 5, 6, 7, 8... and I just want to get up and dance baby. 

I love how it tells the story of the backing dancers and singers. I've often wondered how people end up doing that for a living. It just looks so hard and they don't get paid much. But this show tells us! They do it for the love. The love of dancing, of being on the stage, of performing

I often listen to the soundtrack from the original Broadway show on my way home from work and it makes me want to skip along the pavement and burst into song. So far I have restrained myself. My friend from New York says she loves this show so much that she wells up just hearing the opening notes. I am not quite that emotional about it but I understand where she's coming from. After all, everything is beautiful at the ballet.

The worst thing about this show is that they can't all make the final line-up. By the end of the two hours, you want them all to be stars. There are a couple of stand out songs for me, first up is Dance Ten, Looks Three. Here's Cliff Barnes' girlfriend singing it. The lyrics are fabulous.

I also love One of course. It's really best not to judge A Chorus Line on the film. Much as it's a bad film we love, this is a show made for the stage. You need to sit and transport yourself to Broadway. God, I hope I get it...

Monday, 19 August 2013

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood did not form part of my childhood, I have no recollection of watching any films in which he featured. If you ask me to name a Clint film, I'd say Dirty Harry but I've never seen it. However, Netflix is changing all this. In the last few days I've watched In The Line Of Fire and Escape from Alcatraz and something of a crush is forming. Yes, 45 years after the rest of the world, I am seeing Clint Eastwood for what he is; a hunk!

Also, he is a very good actor. Escape from Alcatraz is well worth a watch if you've not seen it. My main amusement point is that it features Mr Heckles from Friends! Yes, the crazy downstairs neighbour is Clint's next door jail mate. This threw for me for at least 45 minutes of the film as he looks exactly the same. What struck me watching it is how films didn't used to feel the need to either have action or dialogue every single second. Much of Escape from Alcatraz features scenes in which Clint is digging, escaping (in real time so fairly slowly) or just musing. It was also filmed on Alcatraz so it's a bit spooky. It's genuinely a good film, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

In The Line Of Fire. Well! How have I never seen this? A film about secret security that I had missed. Rene Russo, John Malkovich, our friend Clint and Frasier's father. It's a dream cast! It's 20 years old and Clint was 63 when he made it but I have to say he's hot. The scene where he kisses Rene had me thinking yes, I totally would. There's something very manly about him. He's a sexist pig in this film but nonetheless, yes.

So now I am going to leave you with various Clint pictures, remind you he is 83 (he's looking good) and ask you to recommend me some more Clint films as I am on a mission.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Nile Rodgers

Nile Rodgers. Truly a living legend. I know the thing to do when asked to identify your favourite guitarist is to say Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page or even Slash. Yeah, I love those guys but seriously, Nile Rodgers is the man. The man behind Chic and Sister Sledge. He could have just done that and be the man but he's all over the place this summer as the man behind Get Lucky, the song of the summer. I love Daft Punk, I love Nile Rodgers, so I was always going to love this. The whole album is great.

However, did you know how many songs this man is responsible for? I'm Coming Out and My Old Piano - both by Diana Ross, and oh my word, Kissing With Confidence, one of my favourite 80s songs.

How did I never know this?

He produced The Reflex by Duran Duran, Like A Virgin by Madonna,  Let's Dance by David Bowie. I didn't know about any of these. I feel so dim, how did I not know he produced Let's Dance? I adore that song. It's got one of my favourite introductions to a pop song ever.

I am off to make a Nile playlist and bow down to the guy. What a talent. I am closing with my favourite Chic song. The one that makes me want to be in Manhattan in 1978. If only.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Dire Straits

Like any self-respecting 80s teenager, I went through my Dire Straits phase. Did you know Brothers in Arms is the seventh best selling UK album of all time? I bought it. Twice actually as I had on tape and then bought the CD.

I still like a few of the songs on it. Money For Nothing is a great song and I won't hear anything against it. A fabulous opening and Sting yodelling away, what more could you want? Brothers in Arms is a perfectly lovely song but I remember being irritated that they'd copied Aha with their video. Also, The West Wing played this for too long in an otherwise flawless episode from season 2. Your Latest Trick was Susan Tully's (Michelle from Eastenders if you are a bit slow) favourite song. I remember reading that in Smash Hits and thinking she had taste!


However, my favourite song on the album was (and is) Walk of Life. I just love this. I don't know why but it makes me happy.

My searching to bring you this well-researched blog post tells me it's Mark Knopfler's birthday today. What a coincidence. He is 64 today, happy birthday Mark. I wonder if he still wears those headbands. Of course Dire Straits were about more than just one album but I am not going to linger over Romeo and Juliet or Sultans of Swing. For me, they were pretty much all about one album. And I am off to dig out my CD. I'll leave you with Susan's favourite.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Broadcast News

Yet another Netflix treasure, I've not seen this since it came out (ummmm, 26 years ago). This is one of those intelligent mainstream films that just don't get made anymore. Albert Brooks is wonderful, I don't know why he isn't in more, he's a fantastic actor. Of course some might say his high point is being the voice of Marlin in Finding Nemo but I think this comes close.

Holly Hunter is also a complete joy. She's one of my favourite actresses; smart, cute and funny. I have issues with the William Hurt character, he just isn't very nice and I don't think Jane would be interested in him. Is he really that handsome? I don't get it.

Now, a confession, all this time I thought Albert Brooks directed this but it was James L. Brooks. You can see why I was confused. He also directed Terms of Endearment (which I can't watch without becoming a basket case) and As Good As It Gets (which I've never seen but it's on Netflix so it's only a matter of time). The guy has only directed six films one of which is an Adam Sandler film called Spanglish. Truly, Hollywood works in mysterious ways.

This is still an excellent film. It is clever, thought-provoking and it has Joan Cusack. That makes two Joan Cusack films in a row! Joan with big hair, again:

Love her. I am considering having a Joan Cusack season.

Finally, it has Lois Chiles in it. Her from The Way We Were, Moonraker and Dallas. Did you know she had a relationship with Don Henley? Never say I don't educate you.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Working Girl

Working Girl is a film I've pretty much ignored because of my intense dislike of Melanie Griffith. However, thanks to Netflix, I watched this last night and it was a hoot. I don't think I've seen a film that simply has one song they play over and over again, in this case Carly Simon's Let The River Run. They really wanted to make that a hit. Other observations:

  • Sigourney Weaver is fantastic in this and wears red to great effect.
  • Joan Cusack is someone you'd like as your best friend.
  • It has Kevin Spacey in it!
  • And Alec Baldwin looking so young. And thin.
  • David Duchovny is an extra!
  • Oliver Platt!
  • It's a six degrees of separation dream of a film.
  • Melanie Griffith is obliged to wear horrible underwear in many shots.
  • Harrison Ford is dreamy.

However, TeenBoy and I were mainly distracted by the hair.

I repeat, the hair:

Look, I lived through the 80s and I really don't think anybody had hair like this. I'm not saying it was a good decade for hair but really? TeenBoy was transfixed and asked me "how would anyone get their hair to do that?" Awwwwww, I love how men know so little about the wonders of back combing, perming and hairspray.

Anyway, in conclusion this is thoroughly entertaining and well worth another viewing. When you all get Netflix.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013


Some people choose Netflix so they can watch House of Cards or Orange is the New Black. Me, I am loving the movies. Specifically the cheesy rom coms and 80s specials. For £6 a month you can have pretty much all of Jennifer Aniston's back catalogue, Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights, Pretty Woman, When in Rome, Desperado, Serendipity, Dawson's Creek. The list is endless. It has so much choice, all at your fingertips and I think it's a total bargain.

Last night I watched Super 8 which I missed at the cinema. Loved the first hour and then it descended into sci-fi nonsense. I recommend Netflix highly, I am a bit obsessed with it. Also, don't mock Havana Nights until you've seen it...
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