The Dishmaster

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Tuesday

10

July 2018

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COMMENTS

X Factor’s Louis Walsh Sexually Harasses Mel B on Live Television, and No One Helps

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The deranged entitlement of Louis Walsh makes me physically ill. In a newly resurfaced video, the former X Factor judge can be seen openly grabbing Mel B.’s ass during an interview, and when she openly confronts him, he smugly smiles followed by a joke from Simon Cowell about her safety. Though I generally try to steer clear of blaming bystanders, this is just too gross to ignore. Simon seems disturbed, but I’d like to know if Walsh was ever taken to task for sexual harassment. As for Mel B., I applaud her standing up for herself, and it’s too bad no one else joined.

Sunday

8

July 2018

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COMMENTS

Leave No Trace Movie Review — Survival Isn’t Just Physical

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If there was a political message bubbling below the surface of Leave No Trace, I certainly was not looking for it. For me, this was first and foremost a father/daughter story about love and pain. The beautiful indie drama directed by Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone) centers on a teenage girl named Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) and her veteran father Will (Ben Foster), who live off the grid for a reason that is not immediately apparent. When they are caught in a nature preserve of Forest Park (just west of Portland), social services treats them with both compassion and structure, the latter of which Will is loathed to accept. Tom has an easier time, especially when she socializes with children her own age. Though she subtlely expresses her enjoyment to her father, he simply can’t adjust, and away they go again. We won’t ever know the full backstory of these two, and that’s okay. The audience is entrusted to fill in the gaps, and we have all the information we need to know these characters.

There are a few reviews of this film that suggest it’s about much more than meets the eye. First, should we question our social norms? Maybe. But this isn’t about that. There’s one thing separating both Will and Tom in my opinion, and it isn’t social norms. It’s people and expectations. He can’t expend the mental energy required to interact with others and follow guidelines, unlike Tom. Perhaps that’s a far too simplistic way of viewing his struggle, but isolation seems to be the anecdote for his angst. Though it would be nice to say his love for his daughter knows no bounds, it isn’t true. He’s paralyzed by demons that the love for his daughter cannot fix. Tom’s final decision is more about empathy than a typical teenage/parent schism, and it’s beautifully executed by both actors.

It has also been suggested that this film shines a spotlight on PTSD and the way in which America treats its Veterans. Again, if that’s the case, I did not see it. If anything, it shines a spotlight on the power of depression. For Will to recover, he’d not only need the means, he’d need the motivation, and he simply doesn’t have it. The generosity of others can’t outweigh his personal peril, and as we’ve seen from many recent, tragic suicides, the love for one’s child is also not enough. Mental illness is a beast that only the sufferers fully understand. And speaking of that generosity, it’s also been mentioned that this is a story of white privilege. If Will were a black man, would he have been gifted with such generosity? It’s certainly a reasonable question we should all ask ourselves when a neighbor is in need of help.

If there’s a deeper meaning at play here, it’s to celebrate the earth and to acknowledge that sometimes the littlest of things are enough. Will and Tom could live off the earth, but should they? Indulgences are okay but beware of the pendulum swinging too far in either direction.

Friday

22

June 2018

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COMMENTS

James Corden and Paul McCartney Deliver the Best Carpool Karaoke Ever

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There’s a lot to be learned about Paul McCartney, aside from the obvious. For starters, there’s no bigger star alive today, and the man is still both humble and grateful. His love for his craft is as present as ever, as the legendary Beatle still tours and releases great songs for his rabid fan base. In fact, he collects new fans every minute, as you can see from the video below from James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, which features age-spanning devotees. Though I’m not a loyal watcher of Corden’s Carpool shtick, this one is worth watching.

It’s worth noting that Corden is a genius. Were I too gain fame on any level, aside from all that charity stuff, I’d use it to meet the legends, and if I could sing, I’d certainly swim in the opportunity to sing WITH them. I can’t think of a more out-of-body joy than what Corden got to experience.

Watch below.

Thursday

21

June 2018

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COMMENTS

Demi Lovato Reveals She is No Longer “Sober” In New Track

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Demi Lovato released a cuttingly honest track about her struggle with addiction, revealing that she is no longer “Sober.” It includes apologies to her friends, family, and fans, and Lovato termed it “My Truth” on Instagram. She’s been bravely honest about her story, and this is part of it. Listen below.

Sunday

17

June 2018

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COMMENTS

Tabloid Gossip: Your Week of Links

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Khloe Kardashian is back in Los Angeles. People

Brad Pitt’s custody value landed him a victory. OK! Magazine

Heidi Klum and her boyfriend enjoyed Disney. TMZ

Britney Spears posed for a very cute family photo. Too Fab

Mel B. is in love. Page Six

Will Smith and his ex-wife still vacation together. BET

Chris Hardwick’s ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra accused him of sexual assault. EW

Pete Davidson and Cazzie David were on a break when he fell for Ariana Grande. The Cut

Jennie Garth is on the road to divorce. Inquistr

Catherine Zeta-Jones is feeling herself. Wonderwall

Jason Mraz is “bi your side.” Dlisted

Val Chmerkovskiy put a ring on it. Brides

Thursday

14

June 2018

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COMMENTS

Sophia Bush Talks About Chad Michael Murray . . . And He IS NOT PLEASED

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I like Sophia Bush. I think she’s a strong career woman who’s unafraid to speak her mind, and my heart breaks for her and her costars, who have been bravely forthcoming about their experience in the Me Too movement. The actress sat down with Andy Cohen for his Sirius XM radio show, and the ‘Watch What Happens Live’ host predictably asked her about her short-lived marriage to her ‘One Tree Hill’ costar Chad Michael Murray. Bush is understandably sick of the question, but her answer was . . . odd. She seemed to imply she did not want to marry him in the first place, and that surrounding personal and professional pressure forced her to take the plunge. Murray called the claim ludicrous, saying the only reason he’d ever marry is for love, and any implication that he was unprofessional on set is untrue. It’s no secret there’s bad blood here. They were rumored to have split over Murray’s alleged affair with Paris Hilton on ‘House of Wax.’ If that affair is true, then Murray proposed to Bush AFTER having cheated. At the time, Bush said, “It devastates me now that I have been reduced to a Hollywood statistic, another joke marriage. I never expected to be married more than once . . . because I knew what I was getting into and will always believe in love.” Before their divorce was even finalized, Murray was already engaged to 18-year-old Kenzie Dalton, while she was a senior in high school. Dalton and Murray met on set, and their engagement lasted seven years. He is now married to his ‘Chosen’ costar Sarah Roemer, with whom he shares two children. Needless to say, he’s a serial monogamist (alleged infidelity aside).

Though I won’t post the interviews between Murray and Bush at the height of their romance, I’ll just say that the two of them seemed very much in love. Whether love and infidelity are mutually exclusive, that’s not for me to decide. Women everywhere can surely relate to having entered into a relationship with someone you later feel you completely misjudged. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that, instead of severely downplaying whether the love existed in the first place, or reasoning one’s way out of a perhaps regretful decision. Also, I find that marriage to be an extremely interesting part of her story, so I understand why she’d be asked about it. The fact that she was forced to work beside her ex-husband for YEARS while he brought his 18-year-old girlfriend on set seems like an insurmountable task, and if I were interviewing her, I’d want to know how she did it. But yeah . . . I’m sure she’d like to put it behind her.

Thursday

14

June 2018

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COMMENTS

John Cena Will Make the “Sacrifice” of Children for Nikki Bella — What an Offer!

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My interest in John Cena and Nikki Bella’s relationship has recently peaked, as I’m the admitted product of their PR machine for the show. That being said, Cena is a fascinating man. For starters, he’s VERY intense, and Nikki seems like this sweet girl sucked in for the ride. In the clip below, you’ll see John Cena tell Nikki what he thinks she wants to hear, in the most unromantic way possible. Basically, he’ll have children for the sole purpose of not losing her. It sounds as if he’s negotiating his death. The problem? Aside from the obvious, I imagine Nikki, like many women, spent the last year mourning the loss of her relationship thereby emotionally pulling away in an effort to prepare for the inevitable. John’s about-face is therefore a giant mind-fck. John can sense it, and he rightfully asks the obvious question. I actually feel bad for both of them. They need a serious couples therapist. Nikki seems completely unable to articulate her inner monologue. Watch below.

Tuesday

5

June 2018

0

COMMENTS

Maroon 5 at The Forum — A Full Review

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Let me begin this post by assuring my readers that at one point in my life, I was a massive fan of Maroon 5. In fact, I’d say I was one of their first, and my love began when Adam Levine stood front and center on ‘Last Call with Carson Daly’ to debut ‘Songs About Jane,’ their first record. That album was almost entirely written by Adam Levine and Jesse Carmichael, the latter of which is the band’s pianist and rhythm guitarist. The two also almost exclusively wrote the band’s second album, ‘It Won’t Be Soon Before Long,’ which was also a success. But in 2010, everything changed. They released ‘Hands All Over,’ which debuted far below expectations. This was especially surprising given that it was produced by legendary veteran Mutt Lange. In an interview with Howard Stern, Levine referenced a rift with Lange while making the album, implying that once they worked out their differences, it was smooth sailing. Did Levine tie Mutt’s hands, thereby hindering the creative process, or did the two simply not get along — and the resulting album reflected their rancor? It’s hard to say and sometimes things just don’t land, but the experience seemed to have hit Levine hard given that for their next three albums, ‘Overexposed,’ ‘V,’ and ‘Red Pill Blues,’ Maroon 5 opened their doors to a daunting amount of songwriters outside their band. Was that the right decision? Perhaps. I certainly enjoyed those records. But I cannot help but think when you employ the industry’s heaviest hitters to keep you relevant, you move from a bunch of friends in their garage doing what they love to a group of guys trying to be famous no matter what the creative cost.

When I arrived at The Forum to see Maroon 5 live, I had an open mind. I promise. As soon as Adam began singing, I noticed his live vocals seemed far too low for the venue, which I first blamed on the front of house engineer. Then my friend asked if he was lip-syncing, and it was as if my mother just confessed Santa isn’t real (I’m Jewish — but you get the point). “It’s far too perfect,” she said. Later, when it felt as if he was in fact singing live, the vocals sounded astoundingly different. Though I have no direct confirmation that Levine lip-synced, I’ll say that I pay a hefty ticket price for a reason, and if Sheryl Crow can give an incredible performance at The Greek with a cold and cracked voice, Levine can sing that entire concert live. But let’s assume he sang live, for argument’s sake.

It’s no secret that Adam Levine is often the target of “haters.” Though celebrities will always deal with negative press, these types of attacks start from somewhere. Even Jonah Hill (a longtime friend of Levine) told Howard Stern that though Levine gets a bad reputation, he’s an extremely kind, genuine guy. So why the misconception? For starters, Levine seems arrogant. Why? Because he took the stage in sweatpants (literally), a wife-beater, and sneakers. This is a far cry from the suits the band was known for wearing during their rise, and it’s not acceptable for a grocery store run let alone the stage at The Forum. It’s as if Levine is so hot he’d look good in anything, and so famous he can’t be bothered to forgo his pajamas while performing. At one point he even took a swipe at James Valentine’s (lead guitarist) jumpsuit, which was actually damn cool. In fact, Valentine was the best part of the show, given that the man seemed to purely want to play his instrument, rather than artificially hamming it up for the audience. Speaking of hamming it up, Levine did this in all the wrong places. For starters, he almost exclusively played downstage right, despite having an underutilized stage (in the shape of a “V”) in the center of the audience. When he sang “She Will Be Loved” beside Valentine for the encore while standing on the unique stage mid-audience, it provided a rare authentic moment that could have been duplicated throughout the show to provide a more dynamic experience, rather than a light-assault akin to a South Beach club. Sit on a stool and sing a ballad, or do anything other than burn through your material while barely addressing the audience. I’m not there to see you hit the play button on your record and call it a concert. Speaking of which, I’d have loved to see more of the Maroon 5 band, but because of the on-stage setup, they were basically hidden like Hollywood Squares. Okay — I’ll stop now. I seem angry.

Saturday

2

June 2018

0

COMMENTS

‘Adrift’ Movie Review (SPOILERS AHEAD)

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Courtesy of STXfilms; Motion Picture Artwork © 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Some have suggested that Adrift emotionally manipulates its audience by keeping Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin) alive via hallucination when in the true story, Sharp sadly died during Hurricane Raymond, leaving Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) to navigate a terribly damaged 44-foot yacht for 41 days . . . alone.  As someone who has personally experienced profound grief, I can unequivocally defend this creative choice. First, Tami is said to have relied on the voices in her head to keep her alive, and one of those voices was Richard’s. Again, I reiterate that after having experienced personal grief, I relate to the idea that it’s possible to be propelled by the spirit of someone who has passed, as if they are still present. Had they let the audience in on the secret, the audience would not have felt Richard’s presence in the same way as Tami.

The story of the real Tami and Richard began in September 1983, when they took a 4000-mile sailing job from Hazana to San Diego, where they encountered 40-foot waves and 140 mph winds via the largest storm in the Pacific. With a non-functional electronic navigation system and a radio device that could no longer indicate the boat’s emergency position, Tami used a sextant to change course and accurately navigate to Hawaii. A sextant is a tool that employs celestial navigation, and it was introduced in the 19th century. Had she missed Hawaii due to any navigation error, she’d be dead.

Shailene Woodley delivered one of the best performances of her career. I saw The Fault in Our Stars, and she has grown tremendously since that film. This is a highly physical role, and Woodley is incredibly believable. Knowing it’s a true story certainly helped, but she kept the audience engaged from beginning to end, showing the array of emotions, including panic, defeat, and determination. Each new challenge (food rations, a broken sail, etc. . .) created an edge-of-your-seat intensity that’s up there with Cast Away.

Monday

28

May 2018

0

COMMENTS

‘Book Club’ Review: The Fierce Foursome Delivers

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (9664281ao)
Mary Steenburgen, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Diane Keaton
‘Book Club’ film premiere, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA – 06 May 2018

Sometimes all you need to adequately judge a film is to sit inside a theater, and listen to the room fill with laughter. Such was the case with Book Club, directed by first-time director Bill Holderman, and written by Holderman and Erin Simms. The film stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candace Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen. Given that all four women have been nominated for Oscars, with three winning, it is certainly no surprise that they would be a box office draw. It is a surprise however, that Hollywood would recognize them as such, given the industry’s blind quest for youth. With the success of Grace and Frankie on Netflix, and its age-spanning audience, it’s ever-the-more clear that there is a market for this type of comedy.

Keaton plays Diane, a recent widow with two overprotective daughters that are angling for their mother to move into their basement. Steenburgen plays Carol, a chef and loving wife to Bruce (Craig T. Nelson), who is emotionally struggling with his recent retirement. Jane Fonda plays Vivian, a power woman who is rekindling an old flame (Don Johnson). Candace Bergen plays Sharon, a divorcee who has discovered the world of online dating. The fierce foursome come together for their book club, and this time around they’ve chosen 50 Shades of Grey for their read. Though the trailer for this film would lead you to believe that their chosen book is merely a gimmick to bait the audience, it’s actually lovable background noise to a much more enjoyable plot-line. This is a fun story about friendship, and it proves that reinvention doesn’t discriminate based on age. These four women are famous for a reason, and given the right material, they will remind you of their prowess. Plus, you cannot go wrong with a lighthearted rom-com that delivers the laughs.