Tag Archives: movies

Cooking with Gas as We Exit the Awful 2018

I was no fan of 2018, that is for sure.   As 2018 ends though, there are good things on deck and I’ll hope that 2019 is a bit gentler and happier.  I felt like getting out the rest of the pictures I have from 2018 before NYE tonight, so here goes:

Last Holidays at AMLI:

Honestly, as we get ready to move into our new house, there will be some sadness at leaving our apartment here at the AMLI development.  We’ve been here for almost 4 years!  That’s one of the longest times I’ve lived anywhere.  The location was fantastic for being able to walk to dining, shopping, and movies, and it was a small apartment but not in a bad way.  Except for having people over – the small size definitely kept us from entertaining.   So yeah, the new house we’re getting will be much more amenable to having people over!

Cool Shot of the Grand Wilshire one night:

That’s the current tallest building in LA, technically, which is next to the PwC building in DTLA.   Pretty neat.

Paras & Carey Engagement / Holiday Party Fun – 15 Dec 2018

Our good friends Paras & Carey got engaged earlier this month!   It’s fantastic news and they’re such a fun couple and some of our favorite people.  They had friends over for a Holiday-then-Engagement party and man oh man did I get drunk.  What did me in was after a whole night of drinking red wine, we switched to champagne to toast the couple.   OOF.  Not a good idea, at least for me.  Definite hangover the next day.  Anyway – pics!

Happy Hour with PwC

Before the PwC holiday break, the group I work with at PwC had a nice happy hour after work, when we all had come in to meet for a prep session.   It was fun, and I do love working with these guys.   All very smart and all a lot of fun.

Christmas at Mom’s

I’ve had the week off because PwC shuts down during the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  We didn’t expect to do much in terms of activities this week as we  knew we were gearing up to close on the house and buy a ton of appliances, so let’s just chill.   Unfortunately though, Larry ended up getting hit pretty hard with something that laid him out Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I ended up going to Mom’s by myself to meet up with Mom, Stacie, and Trent.  It was a fun time, but certainly my mind wasn’t all there thinking about Larry.

When I got back home from Mom’s, Larry was ready to go to the ER as he had a fever and it was just the culmination of him feeling really shitty.   As we prepared to do that, his fever kind of broke and we ended up not going.   Larry had chemo the next day (Wednesday) and both of us thought there’s no way he’ll be able to get it, but when we went in, the doctor ran blood tests and everything was better.   Some of the pain that Larry had been feeling in his chest area the doctor predicted was likely an ulcer in his esophagus area, likely from stress.   He got a prescription and that medicine seems to have helped – and whatever bug or illness was messing with him looks to have also gone away.

The last chemo session (Number 12!) was started on Wednesday and on Friday, he was able to say goodbye to the pump, hopefully for the last time.   It’s exciting to know that he’s past that first, super-intensive phase and that we know it did it’s job.  Now we just have to get ready for what comes next.  Hopeful that 2019 yields some good news there.

The Glen LA update:

First, we have wired our down payment to the escrow company, so things are feeling really fucking real as of today.   A closing date of today was actually in the cards, but because of the gas company (again) not being done with the installation until last week, the city sign-off won’t happen until next week (hopefully).

We did have two walkthroughs with the builder’s service rep over the past two weeks and folks, we not only have power, we DO have gas as well!   There are a good number of small little things, mostly touch-up type stuff, for the builder to resolve, but basically, this house is almost ready to go!

You’ll also notice that the backsplash is in, which was one of the last things that we noticed as needing to be installed, and man, when we finally got to see it, it was such a joy.   The kitchen looks goooood.   The whole house looks great!

Walkthrough 1:

Follow-Up Visit to see if Gas worked!

So great!

Larry’s energy has been better this past weekend, so on Sunday, we went to Best Buy and bought the remaining appliances we didn’t have yet, a refrigerator and a washer & dryer.   We’re pretty damn happy with the choices we made:

Next thing we’ve got our eye on is buying a king-size mattress set, and we went to Macy’s yesterday and I think we know what we want but we didn’t pull the trigger yesterday.  Might have to do that tomorrow though.

Other Stuff:

We’ve been watching a lot of movies lately.  The weekend before Christmas, when Larry was feeling okay, we actually saw two movies:

  • Bumblebee:  Holy shitballs, this was the Transformers movie I’ve always wanted.   It’s fantastic, it’s got the old-school 1980s style of Transformers, it’s funny, there’s actual emotional performances to be found, it’s got heart, and it’s a blast.   Highly recommended.

  • Aquaman:  Look at DC, finally figuring out how to make their superhero movies.  Wonder Woman was finally something good from them, and of all things, they made Aquaman a thrilling and fun movie.  It doesn’t hurt at all that Jason Momoa is practically perfect in the role, even if there’s no way you would have believed they’d go with his look for Aquaman based off of his traditional comic-book appearance.   The movie is a touch too long, and there’s a lot of video-game style plotting going on (go here to get that, then go there to get this, but first get this other thing) but it’s still really entertaining.   I think DC really needs to consider jettisoning all the Snyder nonsense and figure out how to tell the best Superman movie they can.   Good luck though, as Richard Donner already did that.

At home, we’ve watched a couple of movies via renting them from ITunes:

  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople:  Oh my god, this movie is amazing.   If you watch the trailer, you’ll know immediately if you like it or not, as the movie is basically this but fleshed out into the full story:

The director, Taika Waititi, is the same guy who made Thor: Ragnarok and What We Do In The Shadows, which I’d previously raved about.   He’s got a wonderful sense of humor and tells a story with such a great wit.   I don’t want to go too much further in describing the plot, but the kid in the movie, Ricky Baker (played by Julian Dennison), is hilarious, and Sam Neill as Uncle Hector is wonderful.   Just, go, rent this movie.  It’s SOOO good.

  • Hearts Beat Loud.  This is a cute independent movie about a Brooklyn record store owner who makes a great song with his college-bound daughter, and the resulting path of whether they continue to do this at the expense of his daughter no longer going to college.  It’s a small story with a lot of great actors and good performances, and the music is very good.  I don’t know if I loved the movie?   It was cute for what it is, and the trailer below helps give you a sense of what to expect.   Nick Offerman can get it though – he’s a good looking guy in this hipster-y makeover.

  • The Spy Who Dumped Me.  I really wanted to like this more than I did.   Coming from someone who still actively adores the movie Spy, this looked to be exactly in that same sweet spot and it has two actresses, Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon, that I love as well.  But man, this was not it.   It had moments that were fun, and a ridiculously hot guy in the form of Sam Heughan, but just something didn’t feel pulled together about it.  Glad it was a rental!

Before I end this post, I had to post some posters I saved from the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters movie.   Have you SEEN these trailers????   I need this movie in my bloodstream it looks so goddamn good:

O

M

G

Just make it Spring 2019 already.   Godzilla and King Ghidorah battling it out??????  Rodan fucking shit up???  Mothra all peaceful then throwing down???? GHIDORAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!   Just…too much.   It’s by far the movie I’m looking forward to the most this summer.   So exciting.  Anyway, I love these posters they made:

Just damn.

Anyway, that’s a long enough post for the end of the year.   As I mentioned at the beginning, 2018 was a shit year for all the reasons that you can think of.   I NEED 2019 to be better.

Week One Complete + All Sorts of Other Stuff

Yep, the first week of Larry’s chemotherapy is complete.  It’s been a whirlwind, a rollercoaster, and exhausting, and I don’t recommend it for anyone.  But it’s all in service of the fight that we will be winning, and I am frankly glad to get it started.  No more quarter for these fucking cancer cells in Larry’s liver.  No. More. Quarter.   Get the fuck out.

The beginning of the week was when Larry had to go and sit in the treatment center for about 3 hours hooked up to an IV.  He’s taking the Folfox treatment chemotherapy which is the standard method of treating colorectal cancer.  We didn’t do Avastin this round, which will likely be back for Round 2.   With this therapy regimen, Larry will go every 2 weeks.

On day one of each cycle, he’ll get chemo in the center.  Before he leaves, the staff then attaches an infusion pump that attaches to his port and he carries around with him, which keeps administering the chemo.  He keeps the pump with him for the next 48 hours, and after that, can then go back in and have the pump removed.   His regimen is then over for the next 1.5 weeks.  All things considered, it is something he has to deal with for like a full 2 days, but after that, he can get back to just building his strength and living his life.

Obviously it doesn’t come without side effects.   Neuropathy, nausea, and fatigue are the main ones we experienced, but I don’t think they were too overwhelmingly bad this round.   I don’t know what we can expect as this continues, but I do know the key is to keep him eating, drinking, and exercising.  So that’s what we’ll be doing, dammit.

To prepare for naps and relaxation on the couch, we got some help from Nicki to go to our storage unit and grab the chaise part of the sectional couch.  We’d put it away as our apartment just really wasn’t big enough to have it present…but now it’s like, fuck it, we want to be comfortable!

Honestly, while the walking space was intruded upon, you can still get by.   And it’s amazing to have a full couch again.  You can truly sit a few people there now to watch TV!  And I like having a chaise option to sit in.  Sometimes you don’t want to chill in the chair, right?

On the weekend before chemo, on Saturday, July 14, Larry and I happily made it out to the Hollywood Bowl.  We’d had to miss our first planned show around July 4 as we just weren’t feeling good enough to make it, but Larry’s made huge progress in feeling back to normal, at least as much as he can.  It was a huge happiness to make it to the Bowl this time though, as the performers were Christopher Cross, Kenny Loggins, and Michael McDonald.   Yep, the Kings of Yacht Rock were all together, and the songs and performances were amazing.  AMAZING!  And that place was sold the fuck out, as obviously many are unashamed in their love of smooth pop rock!

Anyway, that concert was a nice thing to have right before heading into chemo.  We got through the week of chemo with its ups and downs, but this isn’t really the place to go into all of that.  Just know that Larry made it like a champ, and he will continue to fight to be free of this cancer.  His youth will be an asset and we’re going to take advantage of that in this fight.

So on Friday night, Mila and Sveta dropped by and it was just a blast.  We had dinner, talked, drank wine (well, Sveta and I did), watched TV (showed Sveta the first episode of Pose, which is one of our favorite recent shows as it’s glorious) and just overall had an amazingly fun evening.

On Saturday morning, Larry & I went for a brisk walk around Glendale, and Brand Blvd was shut down in advance of the annual car thing they do here.   So here are some pics of that:

This weekend, we had yet another Hollywood Bowl concert in store!   On Saturday, July 21, it was a screening of the movie Jaws accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl orchestra.  As a reminder, Jaws is a fantastic movie, and even with it being 40+ years old, it still thrills and kicks ass.  Seeing it with a giant crowd makes it even more fun, as it was clear there were some who weren’t ready for some of the scares.   Chief Brody’s snap to attention when the shark nearly takes his arm off is still fantastic.

And now it’s today!  We just came back from seeing Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again! and gotta say…it WAS FANTASTIC.  So much fun, they got some of the deeper ABBA cuts into the song (“Andante, Andante” was a particular delight), the new members of the cast portraying the younger versions were amazing, CHER was wonderful, and the story ended up being very poignant.  The ending scene might have made me cry just a LOT.  But then there were the upbeat numbers to “Waterloo”, “Dancing Queen”, and happily, “Super Trouper” that just made my heart swell with happiness.  ABBA is the fucking best and will always be.  And I’ve heard that Cher is going to release an album of ABBA covers and that just makes me so happy.  Anyway, go see it, you’ll be very happy you did so.

Finally – I have to share that my Daily Double clue from my game way back in 2016 ENDED UP IN THE 2018 JEOPARDY DAILY CALENDAR!!!  And it’s today!   And I’m so stoked.  I had seen my super bestie from the taping (Vicki) had posted a few weeks back in the J! group that her clue had showed up in the calendar.  I had bought the 2017 calendar thinking maybe my clues would be in it, but I think that the production schedules of that never would sync up – so it makes sense our clues wouldn’t show up until 2018.   So I was motivated to find a copy of the calendar (got it on eBay) and quickly flipped through it to find anything that looked familiar…and there it was on July 22!   It’s not correct that it was a Final Jeopardy (I WISH), but still, I’m psyched that my question made it:

A Weekend of Movies

Larry got sick on Friday so we’ve spent the weekend chilling at home.  You know what’s great to do when you don’t leave the house?  Watch movies!   Especially those that you have been meaning to see but didn’t!

On Saturday, after getting errands done, we finally watched I, Tonya.   That movie was incredible – Tonya Harding’s story is insane, and even though they’re clear that this movie is based off of highly unreliable narrators, you still feel a smidgen of pity for her.  Her mother looks to have been a monster, she fell in love with an abusive idiot, and she didn’t know how to “play the game” with the Figure Skating authorities so that she could be judged on more than just her athletic talent.   Margot Robbie is amazing as Harding while Allison Janney absolutely disappears into the role of Lavona Harding, Tonya’s mother.  The first half of the movie is mostly dedicated to Tonya’s life up until the point of “the Incident”, which is of course when Nancy Kerrigan was attacked.   The rest of the movie is about the attack and the aftermath, and man, what a shitshow.   I mean, the movie is still entertaining, but it’s hard to believe the shit that went down.

Today, we then watched another of last year’s Oscar films, The Shape of Water.  Yeah, the fish fucking movie.  I think I was bracing for this movie to be not my cup of tea, and it turns out I was correct in that assessment.   So, the story the movie tells is about a mute janitor woman in the 50s or 60s who works at some kind of secret government lab and she strikes up a relationship with one of the creatures being worked on there.  Comedy ensues!   Ha, not really – this has some elements of comedy but mostly it’s a weird love story where one half is a fish monster.  The production design and the performances are all very good – I won’t knock the movie for not having style, as it’s got that in spades due to it being a Guillermo del Tero movie.   But the actual story didn’t really work for me.  I’m kind of in shock that the damn thing won Best Picture this year.  It really is a movie about a woman who fucks a fish.  That’s no lie.  So cheers to the Academy for having an open mind, but I think it was an award for del Toro and a very beautiful-looking movie.  Eh, what do I know?

Okay, it wasn’t all movies.   This past week, Larry & I have been watching Cobra Kai, the Youtube Red series that picks up the Karate Kid story of Daniel and Johnny as they’re now middle-aged.  Here’s a great trailer for it which basically spells it out:

The premise is fantastic – Daniel has grown up to be a successful family man while Johnny ends up a burn out.   But then he sees a need to teach a local kid, Miguel, how to defend himself, which leads to the re-opening of Cobra Kai.  Daniel isn’t having any of that…and suddenly we get a complex world where perhaps Johnny isn’t the defacto bad guy?  We watched all of it last week, finishing up on Friday night.  It’s FANTASTIC.  The show was lovingly made by people who definitely knew their stuff from the movies, and both Ralph Macchio and William Zabka do great coming back to these roles.  Highly recommended, and here’s hoping a Season 2 is in the works, as while Season 1 certainly wraps up a lot, I could see this continuing.

I bring up Cobra Kai because it definitely triggered all the nostalgia and neither Larry nor I had seen the original The Karate Kid movie from 1984 in years, maybe decades.   Of course it’s up in our head as we are children of the 80s, but yeah, it’s been a while.   Cobra Kai references the original movie a LOT via flashbacks and so it was like, you know what, let’s watch it.  And surprisingly?   The movie is still really good and holds the hell up.   Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi is still the fucking best, and Elisabeth Shue is wonderful as Ali.  Ralph Macchio had so much charisma in his role too, but it isn’t just the performances – the story and the way it’s told is really well done.  All the memories and references are still epic: “get him a body bag!” and “sweep the leg” and “wax on, wax off” – it’s awesome.   A great rewatch.

A Quiet Place and Not So Quiet Places

We went and saw A Quiet Place yesterday.   Watch the trailer here:

Scary, right?  YES, SCARY.

At just about 90 minutes long, A Quiet Place is quite a thrilling movie and is the right length to keep you on the edge of your seat before.  Too much more than that and you’re gonna kill people.  As you see, this movie is intense.  Set in the near future, we find ourselves with a family surviving in the aftermath of a world in which a kind of creature has overrun the world and decimated the population.  The creatures are attracted by sound and WILL kill you if they hear you.  Because of that, this movie is unrelentingly quiet.  So much so that even when you’re eating snacks in the movie theater, it feels like EVERYONE can hear you.

Needless to say, the movie shows us this family (headed by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) as they do their best to survive without getting slaughtered.  If you’re a fan of monster-ish movies (think, Cloverfield, which apparently was a momentary consideration at Paramount, but they decided to let it stay stand-alone) and can handle some high tension, this movie is for you.  It’s a thrill ride, but definitely keeps you nervous the entire time.  Whenever the sound drops out and no music is playing, you find yourself gripping your chair bracing for some fresh hell to occur.  And it does.  🙂

Anyway, it’s well worth seeing, especially in a theater when you kind of have to keep quiet too.  Go see it!

The Not So Quiet Places from my post headline is that last night we went out.  We hung out with Nicki and Rekha at the Largo Theater again, this time to see a 2-man improv show.   I think we may have hit a threshold of how much improv we want to see.  But it was funny, but $30/ticket funny?  Not so sure about that.  Regardless, I always love seeing friends and getting out of the house.   After the show, we walked from the theater over to West Hollywood, where Carey & Paras were celebrating Paras turning 30.   Ah, 30.  They were set up at Pump, a fun hotspot that is staffed by gorgeous folks, which of course is to be expected.   Had a lot of fun and managed to not get utterly shitfaced.  Yay me!

And now today, we went out and looked at furniture that we’d like to think about getting for the new house.  Went to the Living Spaces in Panorama City, which is a mile or so north of our future home.  It’s a pretty impressive store and we ended up finding a few things we’d certainly consider getting.   They have some interesting outdoor furniture for our roof deck, and we also saw some couches and a new bed frame that would be kinda perfect.  So we’ll see…quite a bit of time left and when we went and visited the GlenLA lot on our way home, one of the sales reps was indicating that our Phase is scheduled for September still but to be flexible as it could be longer.  Here’s hoping it’s not that much longer.

 

Oscar-Bait Movies? Yes, please

I’m not getting into The Last Jedi yet, but yes, I’ve seen it (three times) and I fucking love it.  I’m so pissed that the music from my favorite trailer is NOT in the official soundtrack though.  WTF, Lucasfilm?

This post today is all about some of the recent movies we’ve seen that are complete Oscar frontrunners, and happily, they’ve all been very good movies!

Call Me By Your Name (2017)

We saw this two weekends ago as it’s getting a bit wider of a release, finally.  Long story short, it’s a fantastically beautiful and sensual movie, which happens to focus on a budding gay romance in gorgeous Northern Italian rustic scenery some time in the 1980s.  Armie Hammer is a hunk of a man and Timothee Chalamet is the more earth-bound guy that gets a summer in Armie Hammer’s orbit.  The gorgeous scenery and slow but sure seduction between these two is captivating, but let’s be honest, this is a complete gay fantasy.  Nevertheless, it’s such a well-done movie that it’s hard not to get swept up into the fantasy. It helps all the performances are amazing, and critics are rightfully talking about one scene/monologue that the father figure has at the end, as it’s quite a stunner.   Funny, erotic, emotional and mesmerizing – don’t be surprised if it wins Oscars this year.

Here’s the trailer:

Next up….

The Disaster Artist (2017)

It’s possible you’ve never heard of the movie called The Room, a justifiably terrible movie made by Tommy Wiseau.  It came out in 2003 and almost immediately jumped into that weird world of cult movies, this one getting the branding of sooooooooooooooo bad it’s good.  Like, I used to say Showgirls was so bad it’s good, but there’s still a lot of decent stuff in Showgirls.  The Room is just bad all around, and in very weird, confounding ways.  Full disclosure:  I’ve not seen The Room, but have seen the scenes most people talk about and I’ve read plenty and listened to the “How Did This Get Made” podcast for it, which had a special guest of Greg Sestero, who is the guy who helped Tommy Wiseau make the movie and co-stars in it with him as “Mark.”

Basically, The Disaster Artist is the tale of how this movie came to be.   James Franco is the director and mastermind of this masterpiece and also stars as Tommy Wiseau, and holy hell, he’s amazing.  Not only is it an amazing retelling of the entire story from Greg and Tommy meeting in acting class up to and including the creation of The Room and its premiere, but the movie is fucking hilarious.  You do not need to have seen The Room to enjoy this movie as The Disaster Artist lets you in on the joke:  Tommy Wiseau is not a human.  It’s not clear at all who he really is or where he gets the money to make this movie, and he’s got absolutely no acting ability.  But Tommy had passion and with Greg’s help and encouragement, they get there.  They destroy their careers in the process, but managed to become infamous.  And here we are with this movie, so I guess it’s the silver lining.

The cast in this movie is thrilling.  Dave Franco, James’ brother, is the co-lead of this movie and does a fantastic job playing the straight man to Tommy.  Dave Franco is also super hot.  A giant assembly of comedians from that crew is also here, like Seth Rogen, Paul Scheer, and Alison Brie.  Amazingly, this movie has every likelihood of getting Oscar nominations and James Franco would certainly deserve one for acting, and who knows, maybe directing?  I highly recommend catching this movie if you can, otherwise you’re just teaaaring me apaaaahrt!!!!

And finally, at least in this post….let’s get to:

Lady Bird (2017)

A very ‘feels real’ movie about a senior in a Sacramento high school who calls herself “Lady Bird.”  Lady Bird wants nothing more than to leave for a New York college but the trouble is that her family can’t afford that kind of college and she’s also a little bit unqualified academically to make it.   So she gets invested this last year of high school to make it happen.  Of course over the course of this year, situations at school and home serve to get in the way.  Saoirse Ronan as Lady Bird is amazing, but it was just wonderful to see Laurie Metcalf as her mother.  You’ll be seeing both of their names likely as Oscar nominees as they both giving stunning performances.  You’d think this is purely a drama from my notes here, but there is a lot of funny stuff to be found in this movie.  And of the three movies listed here, this one had me in tears many times.  Hopefully that’s not a deal breaker, as it’s a movie well worth seeing.  Check out the trailer:

And that’s that.   Stay tuned for my thoughts on The Last Jedi as well as whatever the hell else I can think of to post about.  I have so many pictures still to get through it makes me nervous.  🙂