Saturday, 3 December 2016

British TV: A List

   I have not posted for a very long time. 2016 has been a shit year for various reasons, both politically and personally. This blog is still something that I want to carry on and be passionate about, so I am going to be posting a lot more regularly (since my last on was in June, this I hope won't be hard).

   I have been thinking about what this is to me. This is a very small corner of the internet that belongs to me, and I am going to post about what I want to write about. For me that in itself is a powerful thing.

   So, I cannot remember which Betty that wanted a request for more British shows, and I wanted to give a list of ten series that are British. I am including the whole of the UK here. This list is completely subjective but I have thought about why I am talking about them. I have decided to go Alphabetical, so with no further ado...

   Black Books



   This is a series dear to my heart. It had the wonderful Tamsin Greg who I first discovered here. This is about a dissolute man who owns a Second Hand Bookshop, who in fact just wants to drink. It had a silliness that I really appreciate. If you like dark humour and this is really about three people, then this series is for you. Dylan Moran is an Irish Stand Up and was one of the creators and writers, he also stars.

   If You Like This...I am a huge fan of Tamsin Greg, she is in Episodes (she is much more acerbic and just as great), she is also in Green Wing which is a bit more absurd. The co writer of this Graham Linehan has written a lot of series too, and I will be talking about him further. If memory serves there was another series called now I have looked it up The Book Group in 2002 (if you wanted a series about books that is still tinged with dark humour). I have not seen this, but it looks interesting and is set in Scotland.

   Doctor Who



   This is in many ways an obvious choice. If you want to have a sense of how Science Fiction and Fantasy in TV is handled, this is an interesting look. I am not a super fan. I would point to Martha as the companion series, (which had Blink the best episode for me and has the great Cary Milligan in it, and is all about her). I would also show up for Catherine Tate (thought that final episode is really awful to watch of that series). It has it's problems but the actors make up for that for me.

   If You Like This...There was recently a spin off called Class. It too has it's problems, but I would point to episode 3 and 5 as episodes I really liked. Kind of left field, but there was in early 2000s a remake of a show with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer called Randall and Hopkirk Deceased that sort of deals with time travel. It also has Tom Baker in it, it's interesting and I found it funny. So give it a go.

   Father Ted



   This was also written and created by Graham Linehan. It has that touch of the absurd, but within Ireland, and about a Priest, it's funny. If you want a look at Irish comedy this is an interesting start.

   If You Like This...The Vicar of Dibley is a good comparison for a comedy about a person within the religion. Like with Father Ted actually this comedy is just as much about the main person as it is about the side characters. Alice is a favourite of mine. It is a good example of a comedy that is warm and non dirty. On the other side of dirtiness but from the brain of Sharon Horgan, is Pulling, this is set in England, but it is interesting to look at her work, I mention her as she is also Irish. It is a strange pairing but she's a writer that deserves the success that she is getting and this is the first thing that I noticed her in (she is also in it). 

   Goodness Gracious Me



   This will always have a big place in my heart for Meera Syal alone. This sketch comedy Is great, and if you can find clips online it's still funny to me.

   If You Like This...There are a lot of sketch shows to choose from but am going to pick two. As Seen On TV with Victoria Wood. Victoria Wood passed this year (a big reason 2016 sucked for me). It has the great Julie Walters in it. It is just so sharp still. As a sketch show it still makes me laugh. I am also going to mention Monty Python, now this is very different apart from the format but the silliness in that show really made my comedic taste. I would also say some of the stuff in there really has not aged well (I always have to keep in mind this is from six white men, most of whom are straight and it was made in the early 70s, still that is not me giving it a pass). I would also briefly mention Smack The Pony as an all women sketch group.

   The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy



   I have my theories about this property. I think you love the one that you were introduced to. This has had so many versions. it is a series of books, a radio play, a TV series and movie. For me this version is the best, and the voice of the Guide just makes me happy. Plus this deals so well with looking at what people are explaining. This explanation of the drink will always make me laugh. You can find it here (P.S. I need that dress like now):



   If You Like This...Red Dwarf is such a part of the my childhood that for me it will always make me laugh. This series is kind of dark if you think about it. A man is left to drift in space, with a human manifestation of a cat, a computer, Hologram and Robot for Company. Still the first six or so series make me laugh. And this theme sing will always make me smile. You can find it here:



   I am also going to mention that I think last year there was a radio version of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. This has also had a lot of versions including book and TV Series. If you can find the radio series I think it's a good work that goes with this sensibility.

   Love Soup



   This is probably mean to put this on my list. I would dare to say this is very hard to find. I can't not put it on, for me this is Romantic Comedy done right. It has a strange concept in that the lovers never meet but you see their lives and how perfect they are for each other side by side. It also has Tamsin Greg in it, she is so very good. It has that dark slant of humour that I really appreciate.

   If You Like This...I have mentioned Me and Mrs Jones before. This is a lot more silly and light. It only had one series, but it's again a Romantic Comedy done right in a TV setting. The supporting cast also for me make this something that you should watch. I am scratching my head but if you'd like more sprawling but with a British romantic feel there are a lot of books that might scratch that itch, Trisha Ashley, Katie Fforde, Jill Mansell and Melissa Nathan to name a few.

   Pride and Prejudice



   Oh come on you didn't think I would leave out this series. So, so good. My favourite scene has to be Elizabeth and Lady Catherine having that final confrontation. So good. I also think the supporting cast make this a series to be remembered.

   If You Like This...Ok there are many, many TV adaptions of Austen but the Sense and Sensibility version staring Hattie Morahan is beautiful, she is so so good. Plus the men in this are all gorgeous. It is written by Andrew Davis who did Pride and Prejudice. If you want Austen but with a modern light, Lost in Austen is good. This marries the modern aspect with why women fall in love with the world that is created by Austen. I like how funny it is. Also has not everyone wanted to travel into their favourite book? There are many other literary adaptions but for me Pride and Prejudice I still re-watch and it makes me super happy.

   Skins



   I like the first series of this so much, if you like it, then by all means dive into the rest. I have mentioned this before on this blog. The writing is what makes the series great, it also helps that the actors are fantastic. I become a huge fan of Dev Patel from this. This feels like an authentic look at British teens, and what their experience truly is. 

   If You Like This...My Mad Fat Diary, I have also mentioned this before on this very blog, but it such a good series. The first series holds such love for me as well. It feels authentic and the main actor in this is amazing, Sharon Rooney. It deals so well with mental heath, fatness and sex. I cannot recommend it enough. I am also going to mention Fresh Meat here as well. This has a lot of problems, but it again feels authentic to teens and early adults. This is about people first going to University. It is an interesting look at University.

   State of Play



   This when I first saw stayed up until 5 in the morning to watch it. I hadn't finished it, but that is how much I liked this. The actors here are all so good. It is really worth it for the acting. I would mention that Polly Walker and Kelly MacDonald are amazing to me in this. Plus I would mention that Phillip Glenister is good as is Bill Nighy. This is a political thriller told over six episodes.

   If You Like This...Shameless, the original. This may be a strange pairing but this is from the same writer. Shameless to me has the same tone just done within a family. These both have James McAvoy in them. Drop The Dead Donkey, this may also seem like an odd pairing. This is a Comedy and definitely in the early 90s. This is set in the same setting of a newsroom. It still has a similar darkness just less pronounced.

   Vexed



   I am talking specifically about the first series. This has Lucy Punch who I really, really liked in this. This is silly, but the chemistry between the two actors make it. If you like a pretty silly tone paired with good actors then this is for you.

   If You Like This...Jonathon Creek. This was one of my all time favourite series as a teenager. This has a great hook, and the actors make it work. Mysteries are solved by a writer and magician. There is always something that cannot be explained and over the episode you find out the mystery. I prefer the first three series, but it's still good. Luther, this is a real departure but I wanted to include this, if only because Idris Alba is great in it, and is about solving crimes but the relationships are just as important.

   Misc....I wanted to mention a few series and short things. One Consuming Passion. A whole film about Mills and Boon, and it has Olivia Coleman in it? Sign me up!!! I love the title sequence in this. It just overall made me so happy that this about romance. I think this was made as Mills and Boon had it's one hundred year anniversary, not too long ago. I love this so much if you can watch it, please tell me! Two The Great British Sewing Bee. I have talked about this a lot, but it's so good and I love watching previous episodes. I wanted to talk about a reality show British style. There are just as many terrible UK reality stuff too, but this is special to my heart. Finally French and Saunders, it's still good. If you can find clips it's well worth it. They both make me laugh, it is well worth looking at where they both found their comedic voice.

   OK, and I am done!

   Just to finish here is one video from Monty Python with Heathcliff and Cathy doing Semaphore, it will still make me giggle. You can find it here(it starts at 1:05):



   And this song from Victoria Wood's musical from Acorn Antiques. It never fails to make me smile. Acorn Antiques is an acquired taste but it still holds up. You can find it here:







Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Links!!! Links!!! June Links!!!

    So what a terrible few months. I am not going to get into why, but safe to say it was really, really bad. I am just beginning to get into the light, and trying to make lists of things to do (and really this is about getting dressed, eating, and trying to make other plans).

   This blog, however is important to me. I want to keep writing here, it makes me really happy. I am also going to something with the Bookclub as I have completely dropped out for a couple of months. I think I am going to do two books for a month.

   So onto some links to some stuff that I am happy to share. In no particular order...




   The Great British Sewing Bee, series four. I am really enjoying this series so far. It has gotten increasingly harder and some of the challenges are super crazy! Though the ski suit thing they had to refashion to make me giggle this week, if only for the outfit that Claudia Winkleman wore.

   It's something that I really love and if you live in the UK you can find it on BBC IPlayer. That picture just makes me smile.

   I found this podcast only just yesterday and I gobbled up more than ten in just two days. They talk about a pop culture and in a way I really love (plus it is run by librarians, be still my heart). It's something that I really recommend. You can find it here: https://bellwetherfriends.wordpress.com/
  
   Talking of that podcast. There is where I found this really interesting article about queer women on TV. You can find it here: http://www.autostraddle.com/2015-queer-lady-tv-literally-everything-you-need-to-know-with-infographic-271508/

   I also only found this website last night at around half 11. Still I want to dive in and read all of these books. I am so excited that there is a website about people of colour in romances. You can find it here: http://romancenovelsincolor.com/



    Talking of romance with people of colour, I read A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev at the beginning of the year. It's so good. I happened get it on audio via my library and the narration was great. Read this book, it's really good, plus that cover is amazing.

   I have a history of getting into things well past the pop culture being interested in it. I was looking at songs on Glee. What interested me about the two songs that I am going to post about are the arrangements. The arrangement of Smooth Criminal isn't fancy but those cellos I could listen to all day. Plus the voices are great. You can find it here:


   This other song, it's amazing. This is the combination of Rumour has it and Someone like You. It's fantastic, those voices blew me away. You can find it here:





   I also over the last month discovered the Phoenix Pack series by Suzanne Wright. I am not a huge paranormal reader but this series really hooked me. This has a lot of violence and there a quite a lot of sex scenes. I think my favourite of the series so far is Dark Instincts. I just love Roni a lot. She's my kind of heroine. I also like the cover. Again this is a book that is violent and sexy, so that might not be your thing, but it was definitely mine.  

    I, while surfing the internet came across this twitter account. If you are not following this, do it yesterday, @angryasianman.

   It was through this that I found this article, that you can find here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/alisonwillmore/28-asian-american-filmakers?utm_term=.hy1Rd9gVZ#.emx8MqQWG

   I was reminded through that article how much I loved that dance sequence in Step Up 3. Which you can find here:



   And I will link last to this that I found via @twobossydames on twitter. This made me like Gina Rodriguez so much (Jane the Virgin is a really good show as well). She gave her golden globe dress to a fan to wear to her Prom. You see the whole story here: http://www.vulture.com/2016/03/gina-rodriguez-sends-fan-golden-globes-dress.html#

   I am going to end this by recommending this song and this specific arrangement by The Wailin' Jennys. The Parting Glass is such a good song. There is something about listening to something that is just pure voice. I could not stop listening to it when I first found it. You can find it here:




Monday, 13 June 2016

My Best Picture Rabbit Hole

   I have not posted anything for a while so I thought I would do something fun. So just for fun I wanted to talk about the movies.

   I have many a time talked about the Oscars and how annoying they are. Two articles changed my mind. One from Buzzfeed and the other from Slate. The Buzzfeed one ranks all the Best Pictures, all 87, the Slate one ranks all the movies nominated in all categories for the year 2014 (and it's every one, the shorts, the screen plays and costumes included).


    You can find the Slate article by Joe Reid here:

    I am now going down the movie rabbit hole, and here are the movies that I've seen out of all the best picture nominees. I feel bad about some that I've seen over some others, this is completely subjective, so starting with the year 1934 (worth it to note the Oscars years start in 1927), here we go.

   It Happened One Night, this happened to win best Picture in 1934 and the only one that I've seen out the 12 nominated that year. It's a really well done romantic comedy. Watching them fall in love is really great. It's a movie that holds up. Out of all of the other movies I would probably want to watch The Thin Man, but that's about it.




   Top Hat, was nominated in 1935 (not best picture). Again this is the only one I have seen in that year out of the 12 that were nominated. It's a charming movie, Fred Estaire and Ginger Rogers are fantastic together. I think it's one of their movies that people remember. The story is slight, but in my opinion the dancing makes up for it. It's not my all time favourite dance movie but still good.

   The Awful Truth, was nominated in 1937 (not best picture). As with these early years it's the one I've seen out of in this year 10. It's good, and it has Cary Grant in it, my secret boyfriend. I haven't seen it in a while but as I remember it I laughed a lot.

   The Wizard of Oz, and Ninotchka were nominated in 1939. Those were the two I've seen out of the ten nominated. Nope I have not seen Gone With the Wind which won, and I'm not going to either. I saw The Wizard of Oz a lot as a child, and when you first see it the black and white to colour amazes you. Judy Garland is amazing in it (and finding out how the studios mistreated her makes me sad for the performance, but that first time is still with me), you forget how just ravishing it looks. Ninotchka just doesn't do it for me. So for me The Wizard of Oz is the movie that gets better, but again I've only seen the two. Though the flying monkeys and the Witch scared the shit out of me as a child.

   Rebecca and The Philadelphia Story are the only ones I have seen from 1940. Wow I did not know how many older movies I have seen. So I have mixed feelings about Rebecca, it's moody but I don't know there is a lot to like about it but I think for me the book is so much better. The Philadelphia Story has Cary Grant in it, and Katherine Hepburn who I will always love. The movie though? I think I like Bringing Up Baby better. Out of those movies they are still good and worth watching.  

   Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon were nominated in 1941. These are the ones that I have seen out of the ten. It's well documented my strong dislike of Citizen Kane, so I won't get into it. The Maltese Falcon is a film noir that I really like. I love Humphrey Bogart in it. Plus there was a really interesting Ted Talk by Adam Savage surrounding it that's super cool. There is something about how the movie looks that still gets to me.

   Random Harvest and The Talk of the Town were nominated in 1942. Random Harvest made me cry so hard. I don't think I've ever cried that hard over a movie. It's a tear jerker done the right way. The Talk of the Town is a strange movie but I think worth it for Jean Arthur. It also has Cary Grant in it as memory serves. Be sill my heart. Both worth watching. 

   Casblanca (which won) and The More the Merrier, both in 1943. Casblanca still looks good and has the wonderful Ingrid Bergman in it. I don't think she get's enough credit for the heart breaking acting she does in this. The dialogue in the movie is pitch perfect. The More the Merrier is also a strange film, but I am a Jean Arthur fan girl forever, just watch it for her.  

   Gaslight in 1944, so we are getting to tighter nominations (this is still the only I've seen). There are only five here. Gaslight is an interesting movie and there is a weird relationship to female hysteria in here. I like it, but it's a hard watch. It also made Gaslighting something we can talk about and it stemmed from this movie (also Angela Lansbury is in it and got nominated for best supporting if memory serves).

   It's A Wonderful Life, 1946. It's the only one I've seen. The Best Years of Our Lives Won, and it's the first best picture that I would be interested to see. It's A Wonderful Life is much darker, creepier and more depressing than you remember. This is about a man who wants to commit suicide, and then is shown that his life mattered, because he put everyone else first. The ending? Yes feel good, but I wanted George for once to make his life about him.

   Born Yesterday, Sunset Blvd, 1950. All About Eve won and I have not seen it. I really want to because Bette Davis is great in everything. Born Yesterday is charming but it drags for me, but it does have Judy Holiday in it who was in Singin' in the Rain one of my favourite musicals. Sunset Blvd, is a depressing sit for me. It does have a great female villain, but it's hard to watch. It's a movie that shows the dark side, but the main character bugs me too much to want to watch it again.  

   Roman Holiday, 1953. Audrey Hepburn is delightful. It feels like a forgotten movie in some ways. I will say as much as like Hepburn the pacing isn't that great, but she really looks like a movie star.

   Seven brides for Seven Brothers, 1954. Watching the whole movie, it freaking long. It also has some very, very offensive sexual politics going on. The music works, but really it's not something that has aged at all well. I still occasionally watch music from it, but it's few and far between.

   12 Angry Men, 1957. It's a strange decade the 50s, with all this male angst. I, however love a movie that is about relationships and how those change with time. It's a movie set in a really short amount of time but it holds such power. Well worth watching again. Plus Amy Schumer did a great sketch about it as well.

   Auntie Mame, 1958. If you watch this again it's a pretty odd movie. The structure is all over the place. It's charming in it's own way. Frankly way better than many a movie about women. Gigi won that year. Not a movie that I would want to see.

   West Side Story, 1961 and won. So I remember the year my school did this musical which my sister was in. She was great as I recall. The songs are awesome and chorography of the dance is really good. It's worth it for the music and dance.

   The Sound of Music, 1965, it won that year as well. I love the music and Julie Andrews does a great job in it. I think I tend to forget how long it is, but it holds up. For the Goat song alone I will still love this movie.



   The Graduate, 1967. I think it may be perfect. Though the 60s were not a great decade for me watching any film made in that era. Also this has an interesting dynamic with women and it still works. Still I have not seen In the Heat of the Night which won, and I should. Still what a weird line up (Doctor Doolittle was nominated that year (whatever).

   Oliver!, 1968. Another musical that I first saw in a school reproduction. I have a bad relationship to this. It had a lot of weird class shit in it, sexual weirdness and Fagin as a character is problematic to say the least. The songs are great, but I have a real dislike to child motivated musicals (I have the same relationship to Annie).

   M*A*S*H, 1970. Still holds up, and I hadn't realised it was directed by Altman, and he's amazing. I laughed at this, it's a great movie.

   The Sting, 1973. The only one I've seen and it won. I like the music and it's fascinating to watch. Robert Redford at his prime. It's feels a little too slight to me. I don't know, I like comedies but it's a little hard for me to commit. It's also long. Hey, a lot of movies were.

   Chinatown, 1974. Super fucking creepy. Still the first time I saw this movie it blew me away. Jack Nicholson I so very good here. Good movie that I never want to watch again, that ending still gives me the shivers.

   All the President's Men, 1976. It's a great movie. It also has Dustin Hoffman looking gorgeous. Out of most of the movies listed it's probably the one I return to most. It's great. And no I've never seen Taxi Driver or Rocky. Send your letters....

   Annie Hall, 1977, and it won. Yeah, OK Woody Allen is a hard subject. Is it a good movie? Yes I think it is. Diane Keaton I don't think get's enough credit for being great. I have not watched in it a while. I can't with him separate the art from the artist. I know too much. It taints it for me. Oh and I have of course watched Star Wars, without the outraged gasps it's a really long film. It also get's weird what with Leia and Luke being related and all. I like the second one more, but that is hardly a new opinion.

   Coming Home and Heaven Can Wait, 1978. Coming Home is a great movie, and that sex scene is both hot and really revelatory. Heaven Can wait, is also still good. Julie Cristie is great in it. I think both are good. You can never go wrong with great female leads.

   Kramer vs Kramer, 1979, and it won. Dustin Hoffman is great, so is Meryl Streep. That final scene will always slay me. Still, it does have a weird men can be parents too theme.

   Raiders of the Lost of Ark, 1981. And so we come to the eighties. I am not a super fan of this. Still it was the only one I saw. Meh. 

   ET, The Extra Territorial, 1982. All I remember vividly about that movie is when Elliot kisses that girl like the scene from the movie The Quiet Man.

   Amadeus, 1984. I may or may not when I was about fourteen watched Amadeus on TV. All I know is I recognise the costumes. I could barely tell you what it was about. Though Mozart's Requiem is a beautiful piece of music

   Witness, 1985. I can barely tell you anything about Witness either, I remember Harrison Ford looked good in it. It's lost to me in the mists of time. 



   Children of a Lesser God, Hannah and her Sisters, A Room with a View. 1986. Children of a Lesser God is an interesting and in a lot of ways subtle film. The chemistry between the leads is palpable. I will say this for Hannah and Her Sisters, the one scene I remember is where Barbara Hersey breaks up with that dude. It's a powerful scene. Still we have talked about my feelings toward Allen, and it's hard to watch. A Room with a View I still watch. Judy Dench, Maggie Smith and Helena Bonham-Carter are all really good. Both worth watching.

   Moonstruck, 1987. My favourite romantic comedy. So fucking good. The Lost Emperor won that year. No opinion about that. Overboard came out that year, it's still good despite the premise being super bad. I could still watch Goldie Hawn being a badass any time.

   Working Girl, 1988. I kept thinking I saw Rain Man (which won), I don't think I did. It's a movie that has been aped by pop culture too much so I can't sepreate it. I like Working Girl a lot. Joan Cussak is amazing.

   Dead Poet's Society, Field of Dreams. 1989. Now that I think about it both of those films are boys and men dealing with whatever. I will say this both times I saw them they effected me. Not enough to make me watch either ever again. I also have a hate of Kevin Costner.

    The eighties did give me Dirty Dancing, Desperately Seeking Susan and Moonstruck. All of which I still watch and love.

   Dances with Wolves (won), Ghost. 1990. Jesus. This is why I'm still mad at Costner (though he was in Bull Durham but not enough to forget how terrible he is in this, and all of the truly awful politics in Dances of Wolves). Ghost, it's a film that has been parodied way too many times. Whoopi Goldberg won the Oscar for her role and she's great, not something I am eager to watch again but it's good.

   Beauty and the Beast, Bugsy, JFK, and Princes of Tides. 1991 Bugsy I barely remember. JFK, not an easy thing to remember, particularly as it's directed by Oliver Stone. And go away Kevin Costner.  Princes of Tides, is OK. I don't think time has been a good friend. Beauty and the Beast is still good. They are making a live action soon so we'll see. I do like that Belle likes books. Yep never seen Silence of the Lambs. Again it's another film that's been aped way too many times by pop culture. So never mind.

   A Few Good Men, Howard's End, Scent of a Woman. 1992. Scent of a Woman is not a complicated movie. Still there is something to that courtroom scene. Not great and it's super freaking long. Howard's End wow did E M Forster have some shit going on there for a while. It's hard for me to judge. I watched it for my A-Levels. I love Emma Thompson, but it's not something I really love. A Few Good Men. It's OK. Sorkin is a promblematic writer for me. It's not something I really like to watch.

   The Remains of the Day, The Fugitive. 1993. The Remains of the Day just makes me sad. Emma Thompson forever though. The Fugitive, still good. Still watching it now.

   Forest Gump (won), Four Weddings and a Funeral, Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption. 1994. Forest Gump, whatever. Four Weddings and a Funeral, still good. It's something that I really loved so much. Pulp Fiction, when I first saw this I was blown away. The soundtrack was a revelation to me when I saw this. I still have a sticky relationship to Tarentino. I am not a fan of his. Still this movie is iconic. The Shawshank Redemption, this is where I fell in love with the character of Red. It's such a small movie in some ways. Yes it is probably a movie about dudes and their feelings. It's stood the test of time. Yeah I agree with a lot of people Pulp Fiction was the movie of that year.


   Apollo 13, Babe, Il Postino, Sense and Sensibility. 1995. My favourite of all of those Sense and Sensibility. Directed by Ang Lee and written by Emma Thompson. Alan Rickman never looked so good or noble and Emma Thompson is amazing. Still never seen Braveheart (that won) and now never will.

   The English Patient (won), Jerry Maguire. 1996. Jerry Maguire is a hard thing to watch for me. I don't like a lot of what is going on here. Cameron Crowe's work is a mixed bag. It also has a lot of catch phrases. I'm not sold on the emotion between any of the people in it. I will say Regina King is great. The English Patient I saw with all my family at the very front of the cinema. So slightly sick making. Juliette Binoche is really good. I'm not sure the rest of the movie holds up. Kristen Scott Thomas was my favourite thing in Four Weddings and a Funeral, it just feels forced.

   Titanic, (won) As Good as it Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting, L. A. Confidential. 1997. The only year on here that I've seen all five.  A lot of films here have not looked good. I will say Titanic was huge and a lot of my contempories were really into this. The first time I saw it I was a sobbing mess. Now? It's hard to watch. Still it won. As Good as it Gets, terrible. I thought that at the time I was watching it. Good Will Hunting interestingly enough I saw first in German understanding very little. It effected me the first time I saw it in English, not now. The Full Monty seems like an outlier. It's still good. I still like it. L. A. Confidential, also still good. The only time I liked Russell Crowe. As a group of movies it's not awful.

   Life is Beautiful, Shakespeare in Love, Saving Private Ryan, Elizabeth. 1998. I'm not mad about this. Shakespeare in Love still holds up. Saving Private Ryan is bigger in scope but I like it less. The other two I cannot remember very well.

    American Beauty, The Sixth Sense. 1999. It's a movie that really was well thought of at the time, in fact both were. I think American Beauty is flawed but it's got good things about it. Thora Birch is underrated in my opinion. The Sixth Sense it's still good. Bruce Willis is great. If we are picking movies were the most talked about and regarded of that year, American Beauty is it for good or ill.



   Gladiator, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Chocolat. 2000. Looking back at this I'm still mad about it. Gladiator is not something I think I ever liked. Also it has the annoying trope that he's doing this as his wife and family were fridged. It's also fucking long. Erin Brockovich I like and I know people are mad that she won for but it's still a good thriller. Chocolat I like well enough and it's something I still watch. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, I fell in love with. I am so happy that it at least got nominated and it's still ravishing and amazing. So, so good.  

   Gosford Park, A Beautiful Mind, Moulin Rouge, Lord of the Rings: The fellowship of the Ring. 2001. Moulin Rouge I don't really care about, it's not a story I care about either. A Beautiful Mind wow did people backlash on this. It's a long film and it's hard to let go of a lot of the stuff in there. Russell Crowe rubs me the wrong way so this is not for me. Lord of the Rings remember the magic? I do. I still like it as well. Gosford Park though is my all time favourite out of the bunch. I love Kelly McDonald in this. Clive Owen (my other secret boyfriend) is really good. It's shot so well. I still love it. I always will.

   Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 2002. Yep out of the five I've only seen one. Chicago won that year. I am meh. This instalment of the Rings is in my opinion the weakest.

   Lost in Translation, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. 2003. So two very, very different movies. Lost in Translation feels stranger n a good way  and more about people who disconnect and connect. It's a good movie. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is also still good and worth watching, though do you really have to go on and on and on?

   Good Night and Good Luck, Brokeback Mountain. 2005. Ah the year that Crash won. I liked the ones I saw fine. I have not seen Crash and am definitely not going to. I am not all that invested to be fair.

   Little Miss Sunshine. 2006. The only movie I've seen on this dock. It's still good. Toni Colette is really good.

   Juno. 2007. The only movie I've seen on this list. Still something great in there. Also Allison Janney is great, in pretty much everything, but great in this movie too.  

   Frost/Nixon. 2008. What a bizarre movie year. The Reader was nominated. I am a long time fan of Dev Patel. If you ever catch up on the UK skins you can see how good he was at the start of his career. I am interested in watching Slumdog Millionaire for him. Frost/Nixon it's not something I re-watch. It does have my third secret boyfriend Matthew McFadden in it.

   The Blind Side, Up, Up in the Air, An Education. 2009. The Blind Side another movie that an actress won her best for that people I don't think are going to look back on well. Up is still good. An Education is slight but the acting is great, all actors that I really like as well. Up in the Air, I don't really care all that much about.

   The King's Speech, Toy Story 3. 2010, The King's Speech won. Yeah the backlash was substantial. It's not one I re-watch. It does it's job well. Toy Story 3 is good. It's interesting though what the other picks were, just to say that they were very different movies doing different things.  

   The Help. 2011. Shit, it's pretty bad that this is the only movie I have seen. I'd like to see Hugo. The Help is a strange movie adapted from a book. It's hard to be fair about this movie. I will say this I very much doubt history is going to look back on this fondly. Get Viola Davis in better movies.

   Argo. 2012. The only one I saw and it won. It's fine. I am probably never going to see it again. An interesting year for movies though. Lincoln though?  

   The Grand Budapest Hotel. 2014. Sorry 2014. I like the one film I saw fine.

   As a spread of movies it's all pretty varied. I have some movies that I will definitely try and catch up on, and ones I am super glad I never saw. As terrible as some movies are that won, the picking is the thing. Still I am very glad that #OscarsSoWhite got the attention that it deserved this year. Talking about it is the first step, but there needs to be opportunities given to people who are not white in every sector of movies. The writing, acting, producing and making. Otherwise it's yet another year where you give the jobs to people who make the same thing, and not only that but badly.

   I will end this piece by saying it's a broad sector of film that covers decades over the Oscars. I recently saw this list via NPR. It's fifty in total of a canon of black film. It's an interesting list. I really want to see a lot of the stuff on here. You can find it here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2016/05/30/watch_a_tribute_to_the_50_greatest_films_by_black_directors_video.html

   I will also add the movie from 2015 that I really want to see is Girlhood. I've heard really great things, and it's movie that is different from everything else on my rabbit hole.
  

  


  


    



     

  






  


  


Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Romance Recommendations: One Big List Part Two (and Final Part)

   So another 40 romances to go on the last of the list, here we go!

41. To Catch a Bride by Anne Gracie. Rafe goes on the hunt to find a grand daughter of a friend, and is she who he thinks she is? One of my favourite tropes in historical romances where the heroine dresses as a boy. Favourite scene: Alisha taking care of Rafe when he has a fever.

42. Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton. This is very British but I love the method of the putting the two people together. Peter and Mina meet through a insurance claim over the phone and the two soon become more. Favourite scene: where Mina explains her roast dinner.

43. An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn. It's honestly a tie with this book and Penelope's and I love that she starts each chapter with an except from Whistledown. Sophie meets Benedict while in costume. They soon meet again, but will he remember the woman in the masquerade now she is a servant? Favourite scene: Sophie and Benedict in the prison.

44. Gargoyles and Port by Mary Selby. This would be super hard to get hold of outside the UK and the romance between the main characters isn't the whole of the book. Still it's perfect to me. It's also hard for me to give this book justice what with a missing deed, choirs, teddy bear shops. I'd say go with it, and if the tone grabs you, you won't be disappointed. Favourite scene: Where Serena reunites with Will at the very end.



45. Duchess by night by Eloisa James. Harriet decides to give being a man a try at the house of Lord Strange. How long will her disguise fall him? Favourite book with a woman dressed as a boy. Such a good book. Favourite scene: Where they first fence. So good.

46. Night Watch by Suzanne Brockmann. Britney and Wes are stuck together and it get's hard when Britney knows he is in love with someone else. Another trope that I like in romance where one person starts off being unrequited but falls for someone else. Favourite scene: the one in the fog on the beach, it made me cry and laugh.

47. The Ex-Wife's Survival Guide by Debby Holt. Sarah's husband decides to leave her for a much younger woman. Sarah then goes on  a journey of being in the play Rebecca. This is also super British but for me the humour is what makes it a fantastic book. Favourite scene: Sarah, Martin and his brother eating sausages.

48. True by Erin McCarthy. This is one of the first New Adult novels I read so it holds a little nostalgia for me. Rory finds herself involved with a bad boy, with a bet involved. I'm not a fan of secrets but when done well and there being a reason it pulls it off. Bet Me is one of my all time favourite novels and that deals with it beautifully. Favourite scene: Rory and all of her friends going snow sledding.

49. Smiley by Laurann Dohner. I am not a big paranormal reader but I do really like Dohner. Varnie gets drugged accidently but it leads her to a New Species who is ready to fight for her. Favourite scene: them shopping together in the mall.

50. Crashed Out by Tessa Bailey. It is hard to pick a favourite with that author for me. I love how she writes sex and this one is really good. Favourite scene: the first time they have sex.

51. Hotter than Ever by Elle Kennedy. One of the best threesome romances that I've read. It helps that everyone is super hot. Favourite scene: Adam finally admitting that he loves Dylan.

52. Cowgirls Don't Cry by Lorelei James. I am a sucker for James's cowboy erotica and I picked my favourite couple. Favourite scene: At the very end them being a couple.



53. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. I love Echo and Noah as a couple. This is another New Adult that I was first introduced to and it made me realise how well done the genre can be. Favourite scene: them playing pool together.  

54. Thank You Mrs. M by Kate Rothwell. A retelling of Daddy Long Legs with the genders swapped. It really made me happy. Favourite scene: where he explains all the things that he likes about her.

55. Roping the Wind by Kate Pearce. Erotica is hard to do well. This does it well. Favourite scene: where the heroine talks about her past relationships, and she is not ashamed and nor will she allow him to make her feel bad either.

56. Up Close and Dangerous by Linda Howard. I was really into Howard as a teenager and it's a close call between this and Prey but I loved the survival process in this book. Favourite scene: Bailey and Cam first sleeping together in their make shift shelter.

57. Be My Baby by Susan Andersen. Beauregard it turns out really does need to guard Juliet as accidents become more and more threatening. Favourite scene: Them fighting over their first kiss. It sizzles that scene.

58. Living Dangerously by Katie Fforde. Polly yearns to become a professional Potter and David keeps showing up in her life can she give him a chance? Favourite scene: Polly's awful dinner party. It just makes me laugh way too hard.

59. Head Over Heels by Jill Mansell. I wanted to include a Mansell on a romance list, and she writes about a lot of characters. This is the one that I like the most. I tend to actually like the romance subplots more. Favourite scene: the couple in the park and that first kiss.

60. Hubble Bubble by Christina Jones. Sometimes I like a romance that is sweet and with a little magic in it. I like that this happens to have an older woman and a younger man. Favourite scene: their first kiss.



61. Chloe by Freya North. When her godmother dies it sends Chloe on a trip around the UK. Who wouldn't love a book about their own name? Not me. Favourite scene: Chloe sniffing the pots, both times.

62. Mistress of the Groom by Susan Napier. My first ever introduction into romance was Mills and Boon. This is one of those books that I still love. Jane and Rafe were enemies and now they seem to be lovers, will it last? Favourite scene: Jane coping in the house with Rafe as company.

63. Fall With Me by Jennifer L Armentraut. This is New Adult and deals with some pretty intense themes. I think it is my favourite of that series. Favourite scene: The heroine explaining to her parents that she has a stalker, it still makes me laugh.

64. Blue Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas. This also deals with some intense stuff but for the couple at the centre of this book is worth it. Favourite scene: the first time they have sex. So good.

65. Beautiful Stranger by Ruth Wind. Marissa and Red Dog sigh. I just love the couple. Favourite scene: when they go out to dinner at the Mexican restaurant.

66. The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James. James did a series of books rewriting fairy tales. I really like the whole series but this book I thought did such a great job of overturning expectations. Favourite scene: James coming back after being presumed dead.

67. The Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin by Sophie James. I really like historicals and this one was a new one to me and made me happy. Favourite scene: The heroine getting out of the tree with her hero's help.

68. Carolina Moon by Nora Roberts. I also have another favourite trope which is novels involving mind reading. I just really like this book. Deals with intense stuff too. Favourite scene: The couple setting up her bed.

69. Midnight Run by Lisa Marie Rice. A very sexy book and it shows poetry can be sexy too. Favourite scene: them fucking while reciting poetry. It's a hot scene.

70. Dr. Devastating by Christine Rimmer. What I thought was great about this book is that it goes through the female fantasy and a lot of them. Favourite scene: Acting out one of her fantasies.




71. Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope. I wanted to include a book that updates a classic. It's really hard to do well, but this pulls it off beautifully. Favourite scene: Ellie and Marianne in that bathroom.

72. Bachelor Boys by Kate Saunders. Again this is hard to find even in the UK. Worth it for how deftly Saunders writes it. Favourite scene: Rufa on the train trying to understand the shambles her life has become.

73. Deep by Kylie Scott. I am very tempted to put her whole series on here, but I still love Lizzie and Ben more. This has pregnancy in it, a trope that I am not overly keen on, but Scott makes it work for me. Favourite scene: them in the bathtub.

74. Forever and a Day by Jill Shalvis. Grace find that she can hold down a nanny job with an over worked doctor, he seems to be a hunk too. I love the couple in this book, particularly Grace. Favourite scene: the mix up with her phone, makes me giggle.

75. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. You can never go wrong with a classic. My favourite scene has always been the confrontation between her and Lady Catherine. It is so good in every version that I have seen.

76. Singled Out by Trisha Ashley. I think this is the one that I re-read the most often of her work. It is in many ways a dark book, and that is on both sides of hero and heroine. Favourite scene: The heroine reading the hero's book.

77. Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. Enough said. Favourite scene: Agnes and Shane waking up on the day of the wedding.

78. Too Much Temptation by Lori Foster. Another book I read when I was young. It holds up and is very sex heavy. Favourite scene: Grace translating for Enirico.

79. His Secretary Undone by Melanie Marchande. Secretaries and their bosses seem to be the longest trope of all. This is done with so many twists. It is definitely erotica but the couple captured me. Favourite scene: how he gets the ring. It makes me smile every time.

80. Three Fates by Nora Roberts. I love the three relationships in this book. It also is about stealing and mystery, I am sold! Favourite scene: Carrie changing in on Tia naked. Still makes me smile.

Remind me never to make another list. I am all listed out!

 

Monday, 21 March 2016

Romance Recommendations: One Big List Part One

   So in honour of lists and Sarah Maclean's list on twitter I am making my own list of romances that I would recommend. And this is going to be two posts.

1. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. All about bets and two people who try to fight the pull of falling love. Favourite scene: Hard to pick but I think the dinner rehearsal if only for the dress :)

2. Tainted Love by Alison Fraser. My favourite Mills and Boon novel. About a woman recovering from coming out of prison and the boy and man she develops a relationship with. Favourite scene: Fen and Clare talking about the close relationship to her and his son. It leads to secret being revealed and it's heart wrenching. 

3. Every Woman For Herself by Trisha Ashley. Charlie recovering from a divorce moves back home to her family, starts a magazine and a relationship develops between her and an actor and his daughter. Favourite scene: Way too many to choose from but if had to pick, I think the scene where she bashes melons and the vicar catches her. 

4. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. Sara a Swedish tourist gets more than she bargained for when she visits the town of Broken Wheel, her love of reading inspires more than herself (for all the book nerds like me). Favourite scene: where Sara picks the names for the sections of the bookstore. 

5. The Nanny by Melissa Nathan. Jo gets a job as a nanny for a family and finds out how complicated family can be. Read this for the Cassie subplot, it knocked my socks off. Favourite scene: the end of term scene, it really made me think about how girls work, and the way weakness is in all of us.

6. Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley. Laurie travels across the country landing in Carnal, where she meets Tate and there is a killer in the town. Favourite scene: the scene in the airport where Tate let's her know he'll beat up her ex-husband. This has scenes of violence and explicit sex. 


7. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah Maclean. Callie wants an adventure and makes a list to get it, Gabriel it seems wants to be in on the list too. First book I read by her and now she is on my automatic read list. Favourite scene: the fencing, so good. 

8. Hot by Julia Harper (also Elizabeth Hoyt). A fugitive on the hunt to solve a mystery is also hunted by an FBI agent. Best book I have read about people who seem opposites but are in fact the same. Favourite scene: where they talk about constellations. 

9. The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt. Anna goes to work for the dark and troubled Earl in his great big house, a pretence leads to great consequences. Favourite scene: where Anna and Edward argue over getting married. 



10. A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare. Minerva decides to go on a adventure of a lifetime and brings Colin into her plan. I love women who are good at something in the book, and love reading. Score! Favourite scene: Colin and Minerva at the fair, in particular her shooting. 

11. Shooter by Dahlia West. Hailey lands in a town and meets a group of military men. There seems to be something mysterious about her as well. One of the first books that I found through self publishing. This was the first book I read by West and I think still my favourite. Favourite scene: Hailey making a fun free cake. This deals with a lot of mature themes, including sexual violence. 

12. Gabe by Lori Foster. Elizabeth a sheltered woman decides to investigate heroes. Gabe seems reluctant to be interviewed but she gets more than she bargained for with him. One of the first I read by Forster. It has a nostalgic factor for me but I like the couple. Favourite scene: The drive through. 

13. The Rose Revived by Katie Fforde. Three women get involved in business after answering an advert, and get a love life too. Favourite scene: Harriet painting Sally in getting her portfolio ready. 

14. Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare.  I love Dare as an author so she is on here for more than one entry. Isolde inherits a castle, it seems an awkward situation since there is a Duke already living there. Favourite scene: so hard to pick but for me the speech at the end that Ransom gives, and it's significance. Be still my heart.



15. Take a Chance on Me by Jennifer Dawson. Maddie runs from her wedding and meets a gorgeous man in a bar. Sexy times ensue. Favourite scene: the first scene they have together in her wedding dress. Still makes me laugh. 

16. Soulless by Gail Carriger. Paranormal romance done well, Alexia investigates a vampire mystery and get's involved with the head werewolf. Favourite scene: Alexia and Conell are found by her family. 

17. The Mysterious Miss Mayhew by Hazel Osmond. Fran moves to a town for mysterious purposes and Tom get's involved. This is a sexy book, and a book that really made me laugh. Favourite scene: Hattie helping Fran with her paper art.

18. Moonshine by Victoria Clayton. This is a doorstep of a book, but worth it for the research of Ireland and the characters. Bobby after a disastrous affair lands a job as housekeeper in Ireland and the family keeps her there. Favourite scene: The first annual dance they have as a family. 

19. The Witness by Nora Roberts. This is way too complicated to shorten. One of my all time favourite heroines she had written and I love the hero too. Favourite scene: Brooks and Abigail talking about broken noses. It illustrates their characters so well.

20. Lead by Kylie Scott. Lena takes a job as an assistant to the complicated Jimmy Ferris. Assholes can be hard to pull off, but Scott made me understand why he is the way he is. Favourite scene: Jimmy asking about his Led Zepplin T-Shirt. It makes me giggle every time.

21. Open Season by Linda Howard. My favourite heroines are librarians and she is one of my favourites of Howard's. Daisy decides to change her life and the chief of police get's in her way of her husband hunt. Favourite scene: When Daisy buys the party pack of condoms and Jack confronts her in the street. Makes me laugh out loud every time.

22. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. Josie for the first time is making friends with people in her closet, and outside, including interacting with the man she is in love with. Favourite scene: Josie and Adam's first date.

23. Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis. My favourite in that series. Maddie decides that she has had enough of being a good girl, and that includes finding a Mr Wrong. Favourite scene: the sex they have on her furniture.

24. Top of Her Game by Emma Holly. One of the first I read by her, also one of the first romances that I read with a female dominant. It's one of my favourites of hers. This is one sexy book. Favourite scene: fulfilling one of Zach's fantasies. 

25. Tell me Lies by Jennifer Crusie. Maddie turns over a new leaf by telling the truth. One of the first Crusie's I ever read and I remember being so excited that they had the book in an UK library I had to wait two weeks and it was well worth it. Favourite scene: Maddie and Em at C.L's aunt and uncle's house of the first time. 

26. An English Bride in Scotland by Lynsay Sands. Just before becoming a nun Annabel is charged with marrying her sister's betrothed. Annabel and her husband become closer but her sister carries trouble. Favourite scene: Annabel saving her husband on her own out of the barn. 



27. Give in to Me by Lacey Alexander. April manages to get into a sexual submissive relationship with a man she knows very little about. This made me think about why women are attracted to that type of relationship and the negotiation it takes to make fighting what you want ok. An interesting book and a hot book. Favourite scene: the first time they have sex on the sofa and the mixture of fighting herself and giving into herself. It makes it an interesting investigation into sex.  

28. Rock Chick Rescue by Kristen Ashley. Jet manages to catch the eye of several bad people, all the while fighting her attraction to Eddie who she thinks wants to rescue her. Ashley is someone who always makes me laugh, but YMMV. Favourite scene: Jet on the phone while Eddie guides her to bed. I totally want my own Eddie, sigh. 

29. Truly by Ruthie Knox. May sees a different side to a city she hates when she meets Ben. Favourite scene: the first time they have sex. So awkward but sexy. 

30. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. Annabel and Owen explore friendship, anger and music in a book about confrontation and hiding. Favourite scene: The ride Annabel gives Owen and their discussion about music. 

31. Luring a Lady by Nora Roberts. Sydney inherits a huge company in charge of several buildings. Mikhail wants his building safe. The two go over the building and each other. Favourite scene: Sydney and his family having dinner. 

32. Beast Behaving Badly by Shelly Laurenston. Blaine and Bo have something in common after all and not just because they are mixed breeds. Favourite scene: Blaine and Bo dancing half naked.

33. Wicked Beat by Olivia Cunning. Rebekah and Eric have more in common than hot sex and music in this off beat book. Favourite scene: Rebekah losing her temper in the control room and Eric supporting her.



34. The Virgin's Guide to Misbehaving by Jessica Clare. Elise takes a ride on the wild side with Rome. Favourite scene: where they first get to know each other during a storm.

35. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella. Poppy loses her phone and get's a phone from Sam. They share more than information over the next couple of weeks. Favourite scene: Sam and Poppy texting after the TV interview.

36. The Clouds Among the Stars by Victoria Clayton. Another huge book, but worth it for Harriet. After Harriet's father is arrested there are several things that Harriet has to struggle with, like a job, and trying to cope with life, including Rupert. Favourite scene: Harriet teaching Freddie to skate.

37. Damaged Goods by Lauren Gallagher. Jocelyn gives an escort a try and a relationship develops between them. The first book I've read that deals with a male sex worker that caters towards women. An interesting look at sex and how that is shown.

38. Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas. Leo and Catherine have been at logger heads ever since his family hired her as a governess. Things change when they grow closer and even as Catherine fights, Leo may well win in the end. Favourite scene: where they talk about the Latin for killing ones sister. Another couple that always makes me laugh.

39. Neanderthal seeks Human by Penny Reid. First in the series and it still makes me happy. Jane fired from her job gets another with the mysterious Quinn. Favourite scene: Jane displaying her maths skills in the diner. 



40. Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren. My absolute favourite of her books. Mia and Ansel have a drunken night in Vegas that meant they got married. Mia travel to France and finds more than sex with her new husband. Favourite scene: Mia teaching the small girls dance. 

More to come tomorrow!