11.30.2010

Dear Brendan,

I'm sure you're a nice guy, but it seems that karma kinda bit you in the ass tonight on The Biggest Loser. And I gotta say, I was glad to see it happen.

Good luck as you continue your weight loss journey--your 125-pound loss so far is amazing and admirable. And hey, maybe you'll come back and win the $100,000 at-home prize.

Now, I hope you'll join me in pulling for Ada to win the whole damn thing. She deserves it.

Sincerely,
Valerie

11.29.2010

Love and Other Drugs

I saw Love and Other Drugs starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal and have mixed emotions about it.  There were certain parts I really enjoyed and others that just made me groan (these mostly involved the brother of Jake Gyllenhaal's character).  Ultimately, I think the writers tried too hard.  At different times, the movie is a romantic comedy, then a romantic drama, then a melodrama with a message. I really enjoyed the scenes with just Hathaway and Gyllenhaal, and they both did an excellent job, but all the side stories and characters just brought the movie down.  In my opinion.

11.28.2010

Morning Glory

My sister and I saw Morning Glory yesterday.  It stars Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton as the executive producer (Rachel McAdams) and hosts of a morning show ala The Today Show, called Daybreak.  I don't think there are spoilers here because you pretty much get the gist of the whole thing from the previews, but just in case, here's heads' up that I'm discussing some plot points here:

***possible spoiler***

Rachel McAdams is the new executive producer of the show who's working to save the show from its ratings slump.   I think they could have done a lot more with the plot.  Harrison Ford plays an experienced newscaster, like Dan Rather, who's reduced to having to host the morning show.  He feels it's beneath him, and in Rachel McAdam's attempts to raise ratings, she creates a show that *IS* beneath him, in my opinion.  Instead of adding more and more zany antics to the morning show, I would've preferred to see Rachel's character add a new dimension to the show with a reliable and interesting news show that's enhanced by the entertainment stories, rather than focusing on those the whole time.  Everything she added to the morning show is what I've come to hate about The Today Show in real life.  (On The Today Show, after the first 15 minutes or so, where they cover the news headlines, it becomes mostly 3 hours and 45 minutes of sensationalistic nonsense.

***end spoiler***

So, while the movie is mildly enjoyable, it is not great by any means.  On one of the commercials, they compare it to The Devil Wears Prada.  Wrong.  It's nowhere close to TDWP.  I'd be upset if I paid full price for it.  (Thank god for Entertainment coupons!) I wouldn't recommend you pay full price for this movie, but if you can see a cheap matinee, or have some sort of coupon, it'd be okay.  Maybe even better to wait for video.

11.22.2010

99 Books. I got...

Saw this on a friend's Facebook page, and decided to share here. I have no idea if the statement about BBC is true, but let's go with it.

99 Books

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 99 books listed here. Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt. Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can see your responses!

  1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
  3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
  6. The Bible
  7. *Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
  8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
  9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
  10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
  11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
  12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
  13. *Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
  14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
  15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
  16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
  17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
  18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
  19. The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
  20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
  21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
  22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
  23. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
  24. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
  25. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  26. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
  27. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
  28. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
  29. *Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
  30. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
  31. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
  32. *Emma - Jane Austen
  33. *Persuasion - Jane Austen
  34. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
  35. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
  36. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
  37. *Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
  38. Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
  39. Animal Farm - George Orwell
  40. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
  41. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  42. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
  43. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
  44. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
  45. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
  46. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
  47. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
  48. Atonement - Ian McEwan
  49. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
  50. Dune - Frank Herbert
  51. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
  52. *Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
  53. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
  54. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  55. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
  56. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  57. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Had
  58. *Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  59. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
  60. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
  61. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
  62. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
  63. *Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
  64. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
  65. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
  66. Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
  67. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
  68. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
  69. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
  70. Dracula - Bram Stoker
  71. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
  72. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
  73. Ulysses - James Joyce
  74. The Inferno - Dante
  75. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
  76. Germinal - Emile Zola
  77. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
  78. Possession - AS Byatt
  79. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
  80. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
  81. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
  82. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
  83. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
  84. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
  85. Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
  86. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
  87. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  88. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
  89. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
  90. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  91. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
  92. Watership Down - Richard Adams
  93. *A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
  94. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
  95. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
  96. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
  97. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

So, let's see. There are 27 that I read.  And another 6 that I've touched on.   Just for kicks, I went ahead and added asterisks for those I own, but just haven't read yet.  That's another 10.  Not bad considering the supposed 6-book estimate.  I'll have to revisit this list down the road to see how I do.

How did YOU do?

11.21.2010

American Music Awards - 2010

Just watched the American Music Awards, and gosh--it was a pretty lackluster night. There's nothing I want to go back and watch again. I enjoyed Pink's performance. New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys closed the show, but I was never a screaming fan for either group. They were more of my sister's thing.

Here are the nominees and winners of the night, as well as some of my random commentary.

Rihanna starts off the show wearing ENORMOUS hoop earrings...5 inches in diameter. She does a decent job, but to be honest, I'm a little tired of her voice.

Favorite Soul/R&B Album: Usher beats Sade and Alicia Keys.

Favorite Band/Duo or Group (Pop/Rock) - interesting lineup: Black Eyed Peas, Lady Antebellum or Train. BEPs win. Interesting combination in that group of nominees.


Favorite Female Country Artist--Taylor Swift wins. She's there with long straight hair and bangs and looks so different. She beat Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert.

Samuel L. Jackson comes out looking like he's manning a lighthouse. He's got on a pea coat, and his pants are tucked into boots. He introduces Kid Rock who sings "Times Like These." Nice song.

Favorite Latin Music Artist goes to Shakira, She beat Enrique Iglesias and Daddy Yankee (who would be my choice to win).

Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist is Rihanna, who beat Alicia Keys and Sade. (My fave would've been Alicia Keys.)

Favorite Country Male Artist nominees are Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Brad Paisley. I actually remember Luke Bryan from one of the challenges on Celebrity Apprentice, but alas, Brad Paisley is the winner.

Bon Jovi performs.  First, "What Do You Got" and then "You Give Love a Bad Name," and "It's My Life." Wow...haven't heard this medley of songs since....last week when they were on the Today Show. That's alright, it was a fun performance. The whole audience was on its feet.

The T-Mobile Breakthrough Artist nominees were Justin Bieber, Lady Antebellum, Travie McCoy or Mike Posner. Voting "just ended" and the winner is: Justin Bieber.

Taylor Swift performs, but I'll refrain from my usual comments about her because I don't want my friend Kerri to get mad at me. ;o)

Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist nominees are: Justin Bieber, Eminem, and Usher. The AMA goes to J.B. Funny...he says he's not sure how this is possible since he's been singing Eminem since he was, "like, three years old" (I'm sure Eminem feels good about that), and that Usher is his mentor.


Favorite Country Band/Duo/Group: Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum, and Rascal Flatts. Winner is: Lady Antebellum.

Favorite Alternative Rock nominees: Muse, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend. Muse wins. I'm glad because I like their song "Uprising."

Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist noms: Michael Bublé, Lady Antebellum, and Train. Michael Bublé takes it. His first AMA.

Ke$ha performs "We R Who We R." She needs to find a new theme. All of her songs are about going out, dancing, and drinking. Nothing wrong with those things...just that "Tick Tock" was enough on the subject.

Favorite Soul/R&B Male. Lady Antebellum come out to introduce this award. The guy with the beard said, "As a country band from Nashville, Tennessee, if there's one thing we know it's soul and R&B music." Heh, heh. Nominees are Chris Brown,Trey Songz, and Usher. Usher wins again.

Ryan Seacrest gets to announce Artist of the Year. There are five nominees: Justin Bieber, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, Eminem, and Katy Perry. What, no Usher? The winner is....J.B. What a surprise. He's the youngest person to ever win this award. Good for him. He invited Usher on stage to share the award as his mentor, best friend and big brother. Aww...that was sweet.

And finally, New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys perform together, for the first time. I still contend that Howie's the cutest. I saw Michael C. from Project Runway grooving in the audience...looked like he was having a ball.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that.

11.16.2010

Breaking news

I've decided to drop Desperate Housewives from my TV lineup, and Brothers & Sisters is hanging by a thread.

On DH, there is not one single story line that I am enjoying this season. Bree and "David" from 90210 (Brian Austin Green)--I don't buy them as a couple AT ALL. Gaby and the case of her newly discovered daughter is too much. I hate how she's ignoring Juanita in favor of her true biological daughter. Susan and her money woes--I've said it before and I'll say it again--SELL THE DAMN VOLVO! I like Mike, but now he's off in Alaska, so I can't even enjoy him on the screen. I usually love Lynette and Tom's relationship, but it's not enough. They keep hinting at some connection between Tom and Vanessa Williams, but it's not enough to keep me tuned in. I just don't care. Speaking of Vanessa Williams...I watched her play the exact same character for four years on Ugly Betty. Enough. And the episode where we learned of her phobia of little people was rather offensive. Worst of all is Paul Young being back. UGH. I hate his character. I hate his acting. I hate that they're trying to build drama over how he's going to exact revenge on his neighbors just because they didn't visit him in jail, when frankly, I just don't give a damn. This show used to be fun to watch. They'd leave you wondering what in the world is going to happen next, but now I find myself flipping the channels when it's on. It has overstayed its welcome.

As for Brothers and Sisters. I'm interested in Nora's new relationship with the radio guy. I love Scottie, but it seems like the writers just threw in the side story of his having cheated on Kevin at the last minute, without really considering his characters' background. I'm enjoying Kittie's story line, but she wasn't even in the episode this week, so it dragged. Sarah's annoying. Justin's annoying. I miss Rebecca. I miss the tension with Holly. Now that they're all friends, the show's no fun. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking I should just go ahead and drop it, but I really do want to see what they do with Nora's storyline. I'll give them a few more weeks.

In other news, a show that I really enjoyed was The Big C with Laura Linney. It started slowly, but after 3 shows I was hooked. It's very well written and I just adore Laura Linney. The season finale left me wanting more, which is what a show's supposed to do. I can't wait for season two, which I hope is coming. (I haven't heard yet whether it's been renewed.)

And finally, Thanksgiving is next week, so I'll be pulling out Home for the Holidays for my annual viewing. My family's coming to my house for the Big Day, and we're going to watch Pieces of April, my other annual Thanksgiving fave. Looking forward to it.

11.14.2010

Clearing out the cobwebs

It's been a long time since my last post. In that time I've turned 40! YIKES! Thankfully, I've had several people tell me over the past week that I don't LOOK 40. Good...I'll do my best to keep it that way. I had a wonderful birthday...different celebrations with different people. I'll tell the story soon about the biggest surprise of the weekend--my friends treated me to a "Dolphin Encounter" at Baltimore's National Aquarium. As I said to a friend last night, "What did you do today? I played with dolphins." When I get the pictures from my friends, I'll dedicate a post to the events of that day...it was a lot of fun and something I'll never forget.

So, I'm sitting here watching Oprah, and have been meaning to mention that although she still gets on my nerves, a LOT, I still record her show every day, just in case there's something interesting, and this season, plenty of shows have fit the bill. I really enjoyed the one last week about teenage heartthrobs, and last week, the show with Phil Donahue, Geraldo Rivera, Ricki Lake, Sally Jessie Raphael, and Montel Jordan was a lot of fun. This week, the cast of The Color Purple will be reunited--I'm looking forward to that. I think she's going out in style in her last season, and I do wonder what it will be like without this show.

In other news, I sawDue Date on Friday. Eh. I love Robert Downey, Jr. and enjoyed watching him on the screen. There were plenty of funny scenes, but unfortunately, most I'd already seen in the previews. There was a gentleman in the theater who kept laughing boisterously at the jokes and site gags, as if they were the funniest things he'd ever seen and heard, but for me, that just called attention to the fact that most of the movie was not THAT funny. I'd recommend saving this one for video.

I guess that's it for now. I hope to be around here more regularly now that things have settled down. Stay tuned...