Author: Teanna W

When I was a kid, Christmas was a big deal to me; mostly because of gifts and A Charlie Brown Christmas. As I’ve gotten older, my taste in holiday films has changed dramatically. Every year, I gather up my favorite holiday movies, and have my very own Christmas movie marathon. And every marathon begins with my favorite, Die Hard. Over the years, I’ve heard quite a few people list Die Hard as their favorite Christmas movie, and I’ve heard just as many question how it could be. Listen, for me it could be as simple as being set at Christmas, but Die Hard is so much more than that. Picture it, Los Angeles, 1988…

Who: New York cop John McClane, in L.A. visiting his estranged wife, Holly, and their children. Things are pretty bad between John and Holly. He’s mad that she got a fancy-schmancy new job on the west coast and she’s mad because he’s a prick who thought she would fail. Points to Holly; John is d-bag.bruce-willis-as-john-mcclane-in-die-hard

Where: The 30th floor, as well as the ventilation shafts and various unfinished floors, of Nakatomi Plaza. The place is huge and leaves lots of room for bad guys and John to play cops and robbers.

What: While attending a company Christmas party, Hans Gruber and his armed minions hold everyone in attendance hostage. In order to get what they need, Hans kills a couple folks; but hey, that’s the price of doing business and being the bad guy. (insert shrug)hans gruber

When: Christmas Eve. And why not? It’s not like anything else is happening on this not quite a holiday.

Why: In an effort to teach Nakatomi Corporation about their greedy ways, Hans and co. are attempting to break into Nakatomi’s vault to steal $650 million dollars in bearer bonds. (I don’t know how much money that translates to, but it sounds like a lotta cheddar.) Personally, I think the theft is more about Hans’ greed than Nakatomi’s. When the man in charge, Takagi, won’t pony up the access codes, Hans kills him. It’ll take a little more work to get to their goal, but these guys have patience. All’s going well until John decides to get the police involved. When that doesn’t go as planned, he tries to stop them with his one-man army, plus Al and Argyle.

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Why I Love This Movie

  1. Die Hard  combines some of my favorite things: shootouts, explosions, corny quips, and awesome bad guys who make you question your own morals. It is a great action movie with an iconic hero in John McClane. C’mon, he is the epitome of the impossible white man. On his own, he takes out eight of the dozen or so bad guys who attack the building; all in a tank top undershirt and no shoes. Might I add, he kills the last two guys with the last two bullets in his gun. If that ain’t impossible, I don’t know what it is. John scrambles barefoot across broken glass, wrecking his feet, yet somehow manages to scamper across the building to kill bad guys, save the hostages, jump off the roof as a bomb is detonated, narrowly miss being pulled out a window by a fire hose, escapes the aftereffects of the aforementioned explosion, and is saved by Al when Karl tries to gun him down. A lesser man would have been taken out by the cuts on his feet.
  2. Two words: Alan. Rickman. This is the role in which I fell in love with Alan Rickman. Yeah, yeah he’s the bad guy. Does that really matter when he’s strolling through the room in that black suit, with that luscious accent? I say, no, it doesn’t. The man is an acting god; point blank and the period. I don’t know what work he did before this and I don’t really care. He will always be Hans Gruber to me. Or Colonel Brandon, Severus Snape, Harry, Metatron…okay, I’m obsessed with him. Whatever.
  3. Two more words: Bruce. Willis. I guess I should be ashamed about how much I like Bruce, but I’m not. I’ve seen a good portion of his body of work and while not all of it is good, I tend to enjoy him, if nothing else. Yes, even Hudson Hawk. I’m not sure if it’s because I loved him as David Addison on Moonlighting, or because I love his half smile.
  4. Hans Gruber ain’t your average bad guy; he was ahead of his time in terms of diversity. Not only did he have a few of his German brethren, he had a black guy, an Italian, and an Asian on his team. He’s an equal opportunity bad guy; you can’t get mad at that.gallery-diehard-1

Forget your gifts, eggnog, and spending time with family you can barely tolerate. Die Hard encapsulates the true meaning of Christmas: selflessness.  If not for John McClane, all those people would be dead. Thank you, John, for showing us that Christmas means risking your own ass to save others. This Christmas, add Die Hard to your must see Christmas movie list, and let John McClane save your day.

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SATC-1I’m an avid TV watcher…as if you didn’t know. As a big time viewer, I’ve been known to talk about a variety of TV shows as if they’re my favorite. Yeah, it’s true I do love most of the shows I’ve watched, but only a few have my heart like Sex and The City (SATC). The tale of four women living and loving in NYC is, to me, as hilarious and heartwarming now as it was when I first watched it. Every now and then, usually spurred on by a mini-marathon on E!, I pop in my DVDs (yes, I own the entire series), grab a drink, and settle in for a few hours with my girls. For those of you who don’t know what SATC is about, here’s a quick overview:

  • Carrie Bradshaw is known for her sex column and her love of fashion. Her closet is full of designer labels, her bookshelves full of copies of vintage Vogue, and her life full of questionable romantic decisions.
  • Samantha Jones is a public relations juggernaut, sought out by the wealthy and well-known in the city. She owns her own business and her sexuality.
  • Miranda Hobbes is a cynical attorney, who treats her relationships like business deals. She believes in love, as long as it doesn’t interfere with everything else she has to do.
  • Charlotte York-(McDougall) Goldenblatt is a romantic dreamer, who’s goal is to find her true love, get married, and have a family. She’s softhearted, but tough when she needs to be.

To paint a better picture of the show, I’ve put together a list of my favorite episodes. Okay, real talk: it was hard for me to whittle this list down to five. It would be easier for me to list my least favorite episodes, but here goes.

My Motherboard, My Self (Season 4, Episode 8)

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Miranda’s mother passes without warning, the same time Carrie’s computer dies, taking all her past work to the grave with it. Though the ladies band together to support Miranda, they deal with their own issues. Aidan buys Carrie a new computer, so she pushes him away to maintain her independence. Samantha loses her orgasm, only to realize all she needed was to allow herself to feel grief for Miranda’s loss. Charlotte finds strength in taking charge of their flowers for the altar. In a surprise move, Aidan and Steve show up to the funeral to show their support, too.

Great friend moment: Carrie walks Miranda down the church aisle, behind her mother’s casket.

My favorite line:  “Well I’m not gonna find my orgasm in this town.” ~Samantha

What I love about this episode: This episode is touching; Carrie, Charlotte, and Samantha come together to support Miranda and Aidan and Steve show up, too. Miranda has a great scene with a saleslady when looking for a new bra, where she’s able to get out her feelings about her mother dying.

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda (Season 4, Episode 11) coulda4

Miranda finds out she’s pregnant—despite the odds of it happening—and decides to have an abortion. Charlotte finds out she’s not pregnant, after five months of trying, and later learns her body is rejecting Trey’s sperm. Afraid of judgement from Aidan, Carrie lies to him about having had an abortion. Samantha vies for the chance to represent Lucy Liu, and uses her name to get a Birkin bag—neither one of those things go the way she planned.

My favorite line: ”He only has one ball and I have a lazy ovary. In what twisted world does that make a baby?” ~ Miranda

Great friend moment: Charlotte runs into Miranda on the street right after finding out she can’t get pregnant. Even though she flips out on her, Miranda follows as she walks home in case she wants to talk.

What I love about this episode: This is another touching episode. The conversations about abortion and Charlotte’s trouble conceiving are heartwarming. The scene with the four of them at the end makes me tear up everytime.

Cover Girl (Season 5, Episode 4) covergirl

Carrie turns down the proposed cover of her book; being naked on the cover is not her thing. Samantha offers to take charge of Carrie’s photo shoot and her styling. Carrie walks in on Samantha in flagrante delicto with the World Wide Express guy, and her hasty exit creates tension. Miranda joins Weight Watchers and begins dating a man who overeats when criticized. Charlotte looks for self-help books to get past her failed marriage. Things come to a head with Carrie and Samantha, until the tables are turned on Samantha and she catches Stanford and his beau in the act.

My favorite line: “Miranda went out with an overeater and he over-ate her.” ~ Carrie

Great friend moment: Seeing Carrie struggle over how she wants the cover of her book to be, Samantha offers her PR expertise in exchange for a couple drinks and lunch.

What I love about this episode: We see Carrie has grown up; she admits that she’s not the person she used to be and for the first time, I really noticed it. Also, the dynamic between Carrie and Samantha was always good so I liked seeing them have trouble with each other.

Critical Condition (Season 5, Episode 6) The Face

While nervously awaiting the NYT review of her book, Carrie gets an unexpected review from “the girl with the face”, who dated Aidan after she did. Charlotte meets with a divorce lawyer to fight her former mother-in-law’s move to take the apartment her ex left her in their divorce. Miranda struggles with being a new mother and judgement from her neighbors. Samantha struggles with a broken vibrator and accepting the fact that Miranda’s life is different. Stanford has a new boyfriend and seeks Carrie’s approval.

My favorite line: “Babies are not my scene. From what I heard, this one’s an asshole.” ~Samantha

Best friend moment: Samantha watches Brady so Miranda can have a break and get her hair done.

What I love about this episode: Miranda, Samantha, and Stanford all call Carrie out on her selfishness. It happens a couple other times over the course of the series, but this was a rare occasion when they pretty much all called her out on her shit.

The Post-it Always Sticks Twice (Season 6A, Episode 7) Carrie Postit

Getting dumped via post-it, brings out the crazy in Carrie, but she’s still happy for Charlotte, who just got engaged to Harry. For his MTV debut, Samantha urges Smith to not claim her as a girlfriend, but when he does, she doesn’t feel good about it. To take her mind off Berger, Carrie suggests a ladies night, which gives Miranda an opportunity to wear her skinny jeans.

Great friend moment: Carrie convinces Charlotte that celebrating her second engagement in marriage is not a bad thing, and tells her she should feel free to be excited and happy.

My favorite line: “If that place was called “Bed”, this one should be called “Smell”. ~Charlotte

What I love about this episode: Another great example of the ladies supporting each other. Carrie could have easily used her breakup as a reason to downplay Charlotte’s engagement, but she put it aside and was happy for her. The scene with the joint and the aftermath is one of my favorites.

I consider SATC my favorite show not only because I’ve seen every episode about a million times, but also because there’s no other that I know which episode (and what season) it is from a single scene. What I love most about SATC is that it’s a six-part love letter to women and friendship. Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte are not perfect people, and at times they sure as hell aren’t perfect friends. But seeing women (who are not related to each other) love and support each other is not the norm—even in a fictional world. That’s drove me to the show—their friendship. Everything else was just a sugar rim on my Cosmo.

Honorable Mention (aka my other favorites): An American Girl in Paris Parts Une and Deux (Season 6B, Episodes 19 & 20), The Ick Factor (Season 6B, Episode 2), The Catch (Season 6A, Episode 8), Hop, Skip, and a Week (Season 6A, Episode 6)

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There’s something very exciting about finding a new (to you) show. It’s pretty much like a new relationship; spending all of your time together (binge watching), starry-eyed daydreaming (thinking about the show when you should be doing other things, like working), the afterglow from heady kisses and anticipation of the next (when you finally catch up and can watch live), when you introduce your new love to your friends and family (the Facebook status, telling what you’re watching). This was me over the last month, when I started watching Jane the Virgin on Netflix.

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I missed the first season when it aired live because it’s on the CW and before The Flash, I didn’t watch that network. I have a lot of friends who watch the show and rave about, so once it was added to Netflix, I decided to give it a go; never expecting I would like it. It’s a clever show, that plays like a telenovela (secret identities, scheming wives, lying boyfriends, criminal masterminds, a love triangle–and that’s by like episode four! It’s also one of the funnier shows on TV, mostly because of the Narrator and Rogelio.

  • Jane: a 24 year old waitress and aspiring writer, who lives at home with her mother and grandmother. Jane was accidentally artificially inseminated during what was supposed to be a regular pap. How does this happen? I’m glad you asked; the doctor was distraught and mixed up two patients’ charts. Jane was asleep when asked if she was ready for the insemination. I still call bullshit though. I don’t know much about artificial insemination, but if it doesn’t include the use of a speculum, Jane should have known something wasn’t right. Did I mention she’s a virgin, saving herself for marriage?
  • Xiomara: Jane’s mother, who had her at 16; Xo lives a carefree life marred by bad decision making skills.
  • Abuela: Jane’s grandmother, who although she’s a bit judgy, is the smartest person in the family.
  • Rogelio: Jane’s absent father and telenovela star, Rogelio wants to get to know his little gir–er, grown ass daughter. When Xo told him she was pregnant, he told her to get an abortion. And Xo never told Jane about his existence…so that’s a thing.

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  • Rafael: a rich, spoiled playboy cum hotel magnate, and testicular cancer survivor, Rafael is the father of Jane’s baby. And it just so happens she had a crush on him years ago; and they happened to kiss. When we meet Raf, he’s married, but no longer in love with his wife–that duplicitous bitch….we’ll get to her in a bit.

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  • Michael: a detective with the Miami PD, Michael is Jane’s boyfriend of the last three years. He’s sweet, funny, and very understanding. When he’s not lying—sorry, we’ll get to that in a minute.

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  • Petra: the duplicitous bitch; she was married to Rafael, using him for his money. Never mind Petra actually loves him; she cheated on him with his best friend!

JTV7

  • The Narrator: though he’s never seen, The Narrator is the thread that ties all the stories together. He gives voice to characters’ emotions and gives the audience background when necessary. He’s also funny as hell.
  • Luisa: Rafael’s sister and the doctor who accidentally inseminated Jane. Luisa is an alcoholic whose marriage just fell apart, had an affair with her stepmother, and is all around crazy as hell.
  • Magda: Petra’s psycho mother; not much to say about her because psycho pretty much sums it up.
  • Sin Rostro: a drug-dealing, murdering, criminal mastermind.

I love this show. It’s hilarious, but like any good soap or telenovela, it has some romance, mystery, treachery, and even some murder. The storylines are smart, the writing is tight, and the casting is flawless ( I couldn’t see anyone else playing these characters). On it’s face, the show is pretty much perfect. And yet….I hate Jane. Okay, maybe hate is a strong word. I heartily dislike her. What I found adorable in season one, I find annoying in season two; and there’s only been six episodes so far! I wish it were one thing, but my issues with Jane are wide and varied; she’s whiny, picky, indecisive, judgemental, hypocritical…when you get right down to it, she’s not a likeable character. Yeah, she’s always been a micro-managing, goody-two-shoes perfectionist, but now, I just want her to have a stadium of seats. I guess my real issue with Jane is that I can’t relate to her. She’s too young and immature. And I definitely don’t like how she treats Rafael and Michael. Whatever it is, it keeps me from enjoying the show as much as I used to. Well, that’s not true. The rest of the characters keep me entertained, especially Rogelio; I kinda hope he gets a spinoff. The story lines are stellar, too; they keep me coming back for more. When did my Pitch turn into a Rant??

Never mind what I said before; Jane the Virgin is a good show and everyone should watch it. My only hope though, is that as Mateo gets older, and Jane gets used to motherhood and how her life will change, she matures. I don’t want to see her making the same selfish choices week after week.

Catch up on Jane’s adventures then let me know: are you #TeamRaf or #TeamMichael?

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Fall 2015 promised to be a pretty interesting season for new TV shows. Or maybe I just figured they would be interesting because I saw far more brown people than I’m used to seeing. Diversity being such a hot topic last year and the (crazy, unexpected) success of Empire, opened the doors for more shows about and starring people of color. Drawn by brown faces and actors I love, I decided to give way more shows than usual my attention.

quanticoThe promos for Quantico had me intrigued from the start. Okay, the pretty faces, especially that of Priyanka Chopra, intrigued me. The premise: a group of FBI cadets begin their training at Quantico and six months later, the shit hits the fan by way of a bomb that decimates an entire city block. The main suspect is star agent, Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra). The show employs flashbacks, which anyone who knows me knows I hate. Why writers can’t explain what happened without a bunch of flashbacks, I’ll never understand. Much like How To Get Away With Murder, the flashbacks on Quantico [almost always] deftly tell the story of what happened before, while keeping the audience engaged on the now. The actors are gorgeous, maybe too gorgeous. I can’t imagine any of them being FBI agents; they stand out too much! Where are all the plain, nondescript recruits? Everyone is shady as hell! Every character is suspicious and I like not knowing what will happen next. I don’t remember another show that had me guessing quite this much. It was recently announced that ABC ordered a full season, so Alex has some time to clear her name. Grade: A

rosewoodI can admit it, Morris Chestnut is the only reason I wanted to watch Rosewood. Lorraine Touissant made me want to stick around. Three episodes later, I’m not sure why I watch this show, let alone why I let it take up precious space on my DVR. Rosewood, to me, is a cross between Quincy, Crossing Jordan, Bones, Psych, and CSI:Miami. It’s not a bad show; it’s just not very good. The premise:  Rosewood (Morris Chestnut), a pathologist with a history of medical issues works with the police to solve crimes. Here’s the problem, they don’t usually even ask for his help; he just shows up. Detective Villa, who Rosewood rubs the wrong way, wants none of his help, even when he’s right.  I like all of the characters and actors except one: Rosewood’s “partner”, Villa. She tries too hard and it’s borderline embarrassing to watch them on screen together; they have zero chemistry. It would have made more sense to cast Nicole Ari-Parker in this role, since all signs point to Rosewood and Villa ending up together. Eh…no. Let’s not do that. I haven’t watched anymore episodes but Fox did order a full season, so I guess I have time to catch up. I guess. Grade: C+

minority reportI love Minority Report and I can’t get over how much I do. I was skeptical at first because I’m not a big Megan Goode fan, but I enjoyed the movie and I have to show some support. The pilot was only okay and I figured maybe it would be a “watch on demand” or “watch a bunch of episodes at one time on DVR” kind of show. I’m so happy I stuck with it. Each episode is better than the next. The premise: several years after three precogs were released from their milk bath and free to live their lives on their own, one of them, Dash, works with Detective Vega (Megan Goode) to help her stop murders before they happen. I wasn’t sure Minority Report would translate well from the big screen to the small screen; TV budgets aren’t usually that good. I was wrong. The showrunners have done a good job of making the future look great; every episode I’m floored by a new gadget that is featured. Vega and Dash have great chemistry and work well together. As a matter of fact, all of the characters pair well together. Unfortunately, the ratings for Minority Report are not good and Fox is keeping the season at 10 episodes. I’m choosing to not take this to mean it will get canceled, but rather that they want to have tighter storylines. Grade: A

code black_revCode Black is a medical drama about the ER staff in a busy L.A. hospital, starring an ensemble cast that includes Marcia Gay Harden, Luis Guzman, and Raza Jaffrey. The premise itself is in no way original. Didn’t we see this 20 years ago on NBC? But what can I say? I love medical dramas. What makes this show stand out is the stellar cast. I’m a sucker for both Marcia Gay Harden and Luis Guzman, individually, so together I’m a complete goner. Their chemistry is great and to be honest, all of the characters and actors have remarkable chemistry. The show, while wonderfully cast and acted, suffers from a problem I can’t seem to get past; it’s on CBS. I don’t trust their ability to stand behind shows that are not for the octogenarian set. I’ve missed an episode already, so I need to play catch up and remember when it airs. Grade: B

blindspotThe premise for Blindspot is that a woman suffering from amnesia, covered in tattoos, is left wondering who she is and why she was left in the middle of the city with an FBI agent’s name on her back. It’s rather difficult for me to talk about this show because it was my most anticipated new show of the season and it is my biggest disappointment. Starring Jamie Alexander, the pilot for Blindspot was so good; I pretty much decided no other show could stand up against it. Yes, based off the first episode. What we actually got was a great example of bait and switch. They hooked us with an amazing pilot, only to leave us scratching and shaking our collective heads during the next two. Yes, the action is good; I for one love seeing Jamie kick ass all over town. But by the second episode, she had beat up two men of color in apartments, spilling into stairwells, using the same damn moves.  Not to mention her constant complaining about who may or may not know her identity and her whining about what she could do to help the team if she had a gun, too. Then they gave her one—without an ounce of training or a badge. And that’s when I stopped watching. I won’t even go into the wooden acting of the male lead or the fact that the supporting actors are not being fully utilized; suffice it to say, this show will not be missed by me. Grade: D

 

Making the decision to watch a new show can be a dicey situation. Best case scenario, shows are better than you expected. Worst case, you’ll be begging for those hours on your deathbed.

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