Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer Entertainment and Catch Up!

Summer has a decidedly different feel to the entertainment choices. There are lots of explosions and fantastical elements in the movies, people talk about beach reads which one can assume are lighter and more comedic or more juicy and scandalous. TV is next to nonexistent. Oh and there are also lots of outdoor concerts. And when I lived in St. Louis, it was the season for theater because of The Muny, an outdoor theater that I used to go to all the time and where I received most of my musical theater education (as in learned about plays by seeing them not actualfax education). I miss it! (and oh my gosh I just looked at the lineup for this year and it's unfair it's so good! :/ If you live in St. Louis you should go!)

Anyway....I hate summer. It's hot here, and my car is roasting early in the morning. The only thing I semi-like about summers are summer nights when things are cooling down and you can like...feel the release of pressure. I feel some kind of nostalgia during that time for childhood I guess. So my preferred entertainment is probably movies because there's something nice about a cool dark theater and a large icy Diet Coke. But...alas that costs money so I'll try to keep the movies I see to a minimum. I know I want to see Brave, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (don't judge), and probably more I'm forgetting. I'll probably have to make some tough choices about what to see! What movies are you looking forward to?

But there are also books, and I'm thinking about joining this readalong for The Stand? I usually fail at readalongs, even the ones I host, but this is a book I feel like I might enjoy and also is the kind of book that makes you well read. I want to read the original version, since I've heard it's better, does anyone know if it's easy to find?

Other than that, I actually don't have a lot of books I'm looking forward to. In fact, I'm pretty clueless on what's coming out which is a WONDERFUL feeling. I thought about downloading the sampler of Book Expo America's buzzy books, but part of me likes this "not knowing" feeling. We shall see!

On the reading front, I've been reading Jellicoe Road which I just so happened to pick up. This is a book people are really divided over, like they either think it's beautiful and amazing, or they think it's dull. I have to admit, I thought I would land in the beautiful and amazing camp, but my feelings about the book so far are kind of strange. It was hard for me to wrap my mind around the premise. At the same point in time, there's just enough intrigue that I don't want to stop reading the book. So I don't actually love it, but I don't dislike it either. Maybe my feelings will change by the conclusion?

Also something I've been wanting to mention forever is that I went on to read the next books in the Chaos Walking Trilogy. As you may recall, I appreciated but didn't love The Knife of Never Letting Go but when the chance to see Patrick Ness turned up, I decided to try to finish them. And like....The Ask and the Answer was amazing. I was blown away by how much more invested in the story I became and how much more interesting it was. The Ask and the Answer is a very very interesting book and the entire trilogy is great--it's thinky, emotionally intense, fast moving, etc. And I want to write more about them soon, but I wanted to mention this because it's great when your mind changes about something! And these would be good books for you to read over summer if you can. Also Patrick Ness was really cool and said lots of interesting things and he was really nice and signed all of my books with a different inscription so they'd be special! :)

Lastly...summer TV. I was looking pretty closely at the schedule earlier today and there are some interesting premises for reality shows, like this one on Lifetime about all the women leaving a town that I bet the girls at Lady Business could tear apart with their brilliant minds. But mostly I'll be watching what's tried and true, The Closer (final season, sob), Breaking Bad(first half of the final season!), and HGTV's Design Star while trying some new shows as well. What do you guys watch in the summer? (besides So You Think You Can Dance?)

Speaking of...I watched the pilot for Bunheads today. I think that those of you who watched Gilmore Girls might be interested in this one. The episode itself is packed which makes it feel a bit rushed. And I felt like some of the humor was trying too hard, but even so I liked it enough to want to tune in again. It's a female centric show, which, come to think of it, ABC Family is really good at. The main characters are older than what I usually think of as ABC Family's target demo, but there are some girl dancers that are teens and I'm sure we'll see more of them. The dynamic I felt like was set up at the end of the episode is what largely appeals to me, I can't get into it too much without spoiling it completely (it took me by complete surprise) and so I'm hopeful that it will find its footing and entertain. In short, if you can suspend disbelief--the setup is highly improbable, the show is likely to deliver in emotional truth (at least I hope so) so you should watch! You can check out the pilot early if you want! And then come back and tell me what you thought.


I still have some things to say about shows that ended last week.

Grimm is one of only two new shows from the season I'm still watching (and somehow I missed a few eps) and I'm not exactly sure why. It's really super goofy and a procedural to boot! But for some reason it's different enough to keep me engaged and I liked the finale quite a bit because it opened up some new storylines for next season. I have a feeling I will always prefer the mythology more than the case of the week stories, but at least people know now that there are mysterious creatures. It was really stretching my believability before! Also, I'm so glad that they added another female character, because that was just pathetic and she's cool.

I'm also still watching Scandal. And I almost didn't finish the season because the show went so over the top so fast. But I'm glad I watched the last two episodes, because I thought they were really great from the standpoint of the Fitz and Olivia relationship. Before the flashback episode I was so annoyed that the show wanted me to root for them. It was an adulterous relationship and I hated the way the reveal was done, where he grabbed her in the office and kissed her. And I hated how he was like, "she's the love of my life" and how Olivia always got conflicted and troubled and doubted herself because of him. But the flashback episode kind of sold me on the idea of them, not so much that I root for them...I think Olivia could do so much better! But the nature of their relationship, how they fell for each other hard and fast, how she pinpointed that the thing wrong with his campaign was how estranged he was from his wife. The actors really sold the moments of longing to touch and be more. But...the moment that killed me was the present day when he showed up at her place and they tried to fix the situation, and before he left he asked for a moment. And she reluctantly curls up next to him and they are both fighting back tears and I could just feel all of those emotions...the hopelessness of their relationship, the pain of the past, the longing for it to be something different than it is. It was a great emotional beat for the show in establishing their relationship and I can completely see why people would ship it or root for it, even though I don't. I think the show takes a shortcut by having his wife be merely ambitious and not really care that he cheats. It protects Olivia and Fitz but also simplifies everything.

But I also loved the progression of it in the next episode. I think it's interesting that they are choosing to paint Fitz as a reluctant president, he desperately wanted to take the out the sex tape provided. But everyone around him is making the decisions and calling the shots and I just thought it was interesting how Olivia and Mellie end up taking his choice away from him by finding a way for him to stay president and how betrayed he felt by that, the supposedly most powerful man in the world. In short, the show is really over the top plot wise, but I don't mind that so much it keeps me engaged. But I also think there are some interesting dynamics in the relationships. Who knows if I'll watch next year, but it was a good diversion this year.

So! Tell me all about your summer plans for entertainment...concerts, TV, movies, books, if I should do that readalong, etc. Also if you are going on vacation!


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