Binge Watching

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Valerie Garner

 

How many of you have gotten sucked into a TV series during this year’s lockdown?  I have to admit that I definitely fell into the binge watching abyss back in June, when I watched season 1, episode 1 of Grimm.  It didn’t grab me immediately, but after several episodes which I watched over three separate days, I noticed that I was developing that all-consuming curiosity, that compulsion to watch one episode, and since the next episode would be ready within seconds after the previous one concluded, I allowed the binge-watching to occur over and over.

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Piotr Adamowicz

 

Since I don’t really watch a lot of television, the Grimm sessions haven’t distracted me from essential things I need to address in my life, but I have definitely spent more than one Sunday evening glued to the tube, learning about all the wesen (aka, creatures) which are only visible to the Grimms.  For those of you who are fans of Grimm, check out the site which offers an encyclopedic list of wesen.

I began to wonder what the wesen see when Nick Burkhardt shows up.  There is a scene between Nick and Monroe, and Rosalie which explains what the wesen see in the Grimm when they woge (show their physical selves to the Grimm):

Monroe: It’s your eyes.

Nick: My eyes?

Rosalee: It’s how we know you’re a Grimm after we woge.

Monroe: They turn black.

Rosalee: Not exactly black.

Monroe: No, you’re right, actually. Black’s too weak a word. It’s more like infinite darkness. And we see ourselves reflected in that darkness. We see our true wesen nature.

Since I love fairy tales, fantasy and certain types of horror (vampires, etc.), this show is right up my alley. Especially now that lockdown has really put a damper on going out at night, I truly enjoy sitting at home and watching what is currently my favorite television series.  It doesn’t matter that Grimm aired from October 28, 2011 to March 31, 2017, for 123 episodes, over six seasons.  It also doesn’t matter that Grimm was canceled due to the writers’ strike.  I have been immensely entertained by the series, and since I am only on season 2, I still have quite a few episodes left to binge watch!

Beauty And The Beast

I will freely admit that I am a Beauty and the Beast fanatic, and waited with baited breath for the 2017 live action remake of the 1991 Disney animated classic to hit theaters this past March. In true fan fashion, I saw the new film twice during the week it was released, once in 3-D, and once on a regular screen.

The nostalgia of the 1991 release is nicely preserved in the remake, and the story line is followed relatively faithfully, while still expanding on the original version and creating a lush environment which could only be created through live action and CGI. The 2017 version visually dazzles in a way that the animated version never could, and that was indeed a thrill for me.

The live action film was cast quite nicely, and characters who were already quite interesting and colorful in their own right became even more amusing and multi-dimensional, thanks to the actors’ portrayals. I especially loved Kevin Kline’s portrayal of Maurice. Overall, I loved the 2017 film, but there will always be a special place in my heart for the 1991 animated classic.

Here’s where I mince things apart a bit. Despite the fact that Audra McDonald (who plays Madame Garderobe) is a six-time Tony winner, her voice grated on my nerves like nobody’s business, with its shrillness, its over-the-top trillings. It was enough to make me squirm in my seat each time she sang. I’m not big on musicals, especially when a lyric soprano musically rants like a mad bird (sorry, just my opinion).

Dan Stevens is rather convincing as the Beast, and does a nice job of conveying the myriad of emotions which the Beast experiences (rage, grief, frustration, shame, love). But like the prince in the animated version, the prince restored from the lifted curse was incredibly bland and unexciting. It was like eating a zesty, delicious meal (the Beast), and then getting a bowl of day-old porridge for the final course (the prince). I found Luke Evans as Gaston much more enticing, not only because his face naturally has more character, but also because he so convincingly played the narcissist vying for Belle’s affections that he was just more believable.

Lastly, while Emma Watson is a capable singer, and delivers a decent portrayal of the independent, bibliophile Belle, she wasn’t what I pictured when imagining Belle as a real person. By no means is Watson “gorgeous” like Gaston’s line in the song “Little Town” suggests. The line goes: “Right from the moment when I met her, saw her, I said ‘she’s gorgeous’ and I fell.” Yeah, right. I can see that in the 1991 animated film, but Watson is NOT gorgeous. She may be cute, or as a friend mentioned, handsome, but gorgeous? No. Beautiful? No. Even when Watson donned the yellow ball gown for the ever so famous dancing scene, there was nothing about her which could be regarded as breathtaking.

Nevertheless, I would watch the 2017 version of Beauty and the Beast again and again. I truly did love the film and plan to purchase the DVD to add to my collection of favorite films.

The Princess Bride

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A couple of weeks ago, I watched “The Princess Bride” for something like the 20th time since its release in 1987. It remains one of my all-time favorite films. Starring Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, and Robin Wright, and produced and directed by Rob Reiner, this fairy tale is filled with adventure, swordplay, castles, princes, pirates, and a love story to rival all others.

Here is the synopsis of the film which is posted on Fandango:

“Based on William Goldman’s novel of the same name, The Princess Bride is staged as a book read by grandfather (Peter Falk) to his ill grandson (Fred Savage). Falk’s character assures a romance-weary Savage that the book has much more to deliver than a simpering love story, including but not limited to fencing, fighting, torture, death, true love, giants, and pirates. Indeed, The Princess Bride offers a tongue-in-cheek fairy tale depicting stable boy-turned-pirate Westley’s journey to rescue Buttercup (Robin Wright), his true love, away from the evil prince (Chris Sarandon), whom she had agreed to marry five years after learning of what she had believed to be news of Westley’s death. With help from Prince Humperdinck’s disgruntled former employee Miracle Max (Billy Crystal), swordsman Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), and a very large man named Fezzik (Andre the Giant), the star-crossed lovers are reunited. ~ Tracie Cooper, Rovi”

"Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die."

“Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

I was surprised to discover that one of my dear friends had never seen the film, so we watched it together and were immensely entertained by all the clever twists and turns in the plot. It was also wonderful to hear my friend say that he really enjoyed the film and was glad he watched it.

As the film emphasizes, the noblest cause of all is true love.