Archive for August, 2010

The TV show “Benson” was a situation comedy about a governor and his somewhat quirky staff.

In one of the more serious episodes, the group – as part of the government leadership – was tasked to participate in a drill in which it was simulated that there had been a nuclear attack. They were in the basement/shelter listening to the “news report” on the radio describing the devastation. Even though the report was fake, just part of the drill, between the somber note in the reporter’s voice and the sirens constantly wailing in the background, the whole scene began to overwhelm the group with its badness. Finally the governor turned off the radio and the group decided to go outside and just enjoy the calm night under the stars.

I think about this episode sometimes when I start to get overwhelmed, especially by some gloom-and-doom prediction I’ve heard on the news. Yes, someday things might be bad – truly, some days *will* be worse than others – but I’ll deal with those when the time comes. Until then I’ll try to keep some perspective, and not miss out on the good things in the present.


In the movie Dirty Dancing, as Baby and her family arrive at the vacation resort, Lisa – Baby’s somewhat shallow sister – begins to whine that she should’ve brought a certain pair of shoes because they match a dress that she sees. (Is the dress for sale? I’m not sure, I’ve never understood that part. Anyway.)

The girls’ mother tries to console Lisa by reasoning, “Sweetheart, you brought ten pairs,” but Lisa continues to bemoan the shoes. Not exactly sympathetic, her father declares, “This is not a tragedy.” Baby agrees, citing examples of *real* injustice in the world.

[It’s a great scene.  Sometimes, when I find myself moping over some trivial thing, I hear Jerry Orbach boom, “This is not a tragedy!” And usually … okay, eventually … I see that it isn’t.]

(Originally Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:28 pm)


In the movie, Dirty Dancing, the father of the teenaged main character is angry/disappointed in his daughter for sleeping with an older man. In one scene the teenager – quite maturely – approaches her father, respectfully saying that she’s still a part of the family and he can’t keep giving her the silent treatment.

As she speaks, emotions soon get the best of her, and she cries, “I know I let you down … but you let me down too.” I thought that was a simple but powerful appeal for him to talk to her, a reminder that although he was disappointed by her, he wasn’t the only one who was hurting. 

(Originally Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:18 pm)

A plot in an episode of Friends involved Phoebe finding out how some classic movies really ended. It seems that when she watched them as a child, her mom would turn the TV off before something bad happened. In re-watching the films, Phoebe is devastated by the real endings, and she lists among the badness she has discovered that “Rocky loses.”

However, in the context of that film, I don’t think Rocky’s loss was such a bad thing. I mean, from the start, he didn’t think he could beat that other boxer; he just wanted to go 15 rounds with him, which he did. So what if he wasn’t deemed the winner by the event’s judges? He did all he could, and he accomplished what he wanted. Sounds like success to me!

Date Night movie review

Posted: August 6, 2010 in Movies, review

After reading another scathing review of the movie “Date Night,” I must rebut. First of all, unlike so many current movies, the trailer made the story look appealing to me. Critics have panned the movie as being low brow; well, I don’t consider myself a fan of “low brow” humor, but I‘ll take a flick that’s pure entertainment over one with self-important preaching through tall blue people any day. And I must not be alone in that, because the theatre we were in had a relatively good turnout, and the audience laughed in response to almost all of the attempts at humor.

I am by no means a fan of Tina Fey or Steve Carrell, but I disagree with reviewers’ claims that they have no chemistry. I think the mild awkwardness between their characters shows how much the marriage has fallen into a rut.

I really enjoyed watching as the couple gets sucked into their adventure. At one point as they’re scrambling to, well, get out of the mess, the Tina Fey character makes a bold move, and Steve Carrell’s character looks at her and gasps, “Who *are* you?” It’s very good when one can still be surprised by one’s partner. At the risk of over-thinking the story, that harrowing night embodied all of the troubles (boredom, doubts, etc.) creeping into their marriage, and it helped them see different sides to each other — and determine that they’re going to stick together.

Bottom line: no, “Date Night” isn’t Shakespeare, but it is definitely watchable. As with all movies, don’t let critics’ bad reviews – and honestly, I think critics look for bad things to say because they think it makes them sound clever – scare you off if the movie’s premise sounds like something you would enjoy.

(Originally posted on Tue May 11, 2010 12:21 pm)