Friday FaBOOolousness – The Boo Factor: Halloween

Who can get through the Halloween season without watching the spooky 1978 film, Halloween?  Not this horror movie fan!

The House

The Mask

The Scream Queen

Michael Myers

The movie opens with a young Michael Myers stabbing his teenage sister to death in 1963.  He is admitted into Smith’s Grove Sanitarium where he spends the next eighteen years undergoing treatment from psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Loomis.  But, on October 30th 1978, Michael awakens from his catatonic state, escapes the hospital, and steals a car.  Where’s he going?  He has unfinished business in Haddonfield, Illinois

The next morning, we’re introduced to Laurie Strode and her best friends Annie and Linda, a happy group of teenage girls walking to school.  The three friends agree to babysit later that night, Halloween night, despite the fact that Laurie feels like someone has been watching her all day – a man in a dark jumpsuit wearing a weird, white mask. 

Later that night, Annie’s boyfriend calls for a ride, so she drops off the little girl she is watching with Laurie who is conveniently babysitting Tommy Doyle across the street.  Alone in the car waiting for her boyfriend, Michael sits up from the back seat and kills Annie.  Tommy watches as the “Boogie Man” carries Annie’s lifeless body back to the house, but Laurie shrugs off Tommy’s antics as a Halloween scare. 

Next, Michael discovers Linda and her boyfriend Bob having sex in the house.  What are the rules of horror movies?  Never have sex.  Have sex, and die. 

Michael sets his eyes on his true target – Laurie.  After very suspenseful scenes, Laurie barely escapes Michael’s grasps and manages to hide the children before crawling deep into a corner of an upstairs closet.  Just as Michael finds her, Dr. Loomis finally catches up to his patient and shoots him.  Michael falls from the bedroom window; however by the time Loomis looks out, he is gone. 

Queue The Music

Ever wonder why the film is referred to as John Carpenter’s Halloween?  That’s because John Carpenter wrote the screenplay (with Debra Hill), produced (with Hill, and others including Moustapha Akkad) and directed the movie, and created the original music.

In October 2010, the Biography Channel aired Halloween: The Inside Story, and my appreciation for the original film of the Halloween franchise grew.  Not only did the film captivate audiences, but the movie’s success came with an extremely low budget, even for the 1970s. 

Carpenter took the small financing and hired a ton of no name actors, including the now famous, Jamie Lee Curtis to play Laurie Strode, Michael’s main target.  He approached famous actors to play the part of Dr. Samuel Loomis, but after multiple rejections, Carpenter finally found an English actor interested in the role, Donald Pleasance.

The other cast members had a few film credits to their name, but many were considered “B” movie actors: Nancy (Loomis) Kyes played Annie; P.J.  Soles starred as Lynda; and Nick Castle played “The Shape” – or Michael Myers as we know him.

Keeping within the small budget, Carpenter selected areas in California for filming the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, and he tasked the actors with gathering and dropping the fake fall leaves over and over again during the twenty-one days of filming.  The most astonishing of all the Halloween facts learned while watching Biography’s special, was the fact that the Michael Myers’ mask is actually a Captain Kirk mask painted and tweaked just a bit so that it wasn’t recognizable as the popular Star Trek character.

Originally the The Babysitter Murders, Carpenter’s movie saw extreme box office success. The approximate $300,000 film made over $47 million at the theaters.  The Halloween franchise remains popular today and consists of ten films, including two recent remakes by rocker, Rob Zombie

Pleasance and Curtis have remained loyal to the franchise; Pleasance filmed a total of five Halloween films and Curtis four.  The Halloween movies have also featured a few familiar faces over the years:  Danielle Harris (Halloween 4, 5, and both of Rob Zombie’s remakes); Paul Rudd (The Curse of Michael Myers); Josh Hartnett, LL Cool J, Michelle Williams, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Adam Arkin, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (H20); Sean Patrick Thomas, Tyra Banks, and Busta Rhymes (Resurrection); Malcolm McDowell and Scout Taylor Compton (Zombie’s 2007 and 2009 movies).

Halloween III: Season of the Witch is the only film in the franchise that doesn’t tell Michael Myers’ story, and is by far my least favorite.  So which one is my favorite?  The original, of course.  But, I’ll watch  Halloween: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, and Halloween: H20 anytime I can!

Did the original 1978 Halloween scare you?  Did you ever think twice about babysitting on Halloween?  Which of the Halloween movies is your favorite and least favorite?  Who wins – Michael / Freddie / or Jason?  I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Halloween!

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Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Here a Laugh, There a Laugh

This week, Amber West and I are laughing up a storm over the new comedies on TV, and we’re sharing a double dose of laughter with our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews of Suburgatory, New Girl, Up All Night, and 2 Broke Girls

Up All Night

Reagan and Chris Brinkley have it all – good looks, great jobs, exciting night lives, and most importantly, a healthy and loving relationship.  Reagan (Christina Applegate, Married with Children) produces her best friend’s Oprah-like talk show and Chris (Will Arnett, Saturday Night Live) is on his way to partner at his law firm.  Their successful careers are right on schedule, that is until their life changes forever with a simple announcement –they’re pregnant.

The Brinkleys refuse to think that things are going to change, but they are in for a big surprise.  It all starts when the birthing plan is thrown out the window the second they arrive at the hospital: Reagan’s water breaks at the studio, so she doesn’t have her overnight bag and favorite headband; their doctor is busy with another delivery and isn’t available to them; and the natural delivery just isn’t working so Reagan goes in for a c-section.  Despite all of the chaos, baby Amy arrives. 

After the baby arrives, the struggles continue as Reagan and Chris battle insomnia, attempt to clean up their language, and insist on not losing their “cool” personas, their sexy bodies, and their super sporty car.  They try, but they can’t avoid the inevitable.    

Let’s not forget about Reagan’s best friend and boss, Ava (Maya Rudolph, Bridesmaids).  While she undoubtedly loves Reagan, Ava doesn’t understand when the world doesn’t revolve around her – but not in a bad way, in a funny way.  Ava’s a mess; and Reagan holds her together, which is why when Reagan takes maternity leave, Ava is lost. 

We don’t watch many thirty minute sitcoms in our house, but couldn’t resist the urge to try Christina Applegate’s return to TV.  It didn’t hurt that we’re both huge SNL fans and love Maya Rudolph.  Preconceived notions aside, I can’t help but award Up All Night with a JFTV rating – it satisfies like a Snickers. 

Up All Night keeps the laughs coming, and anyone trying to maintain any kind of balance with children will enjoy.    

2 Broke Girls

Meet Max (Kat Dennings, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) – Manhattan nanny by day and Brooklyn diner waitress by night.  Max has control of her life, a life that’s not extravagant by any means; she has her own apartment, boyfriend, and overall seems happy.  That is until the diner hires a blonde, dressed like she owns the place, to share shifts with her. 

Meet Caroline (Beth Behrs) – a former Manhattan socialite who has lost everything courtesy of her father’s Ponzi scheme.  Caroline runs away from her life, not that she has a choice, and chooses Brooklyn as her new residence (because according to a Google search, Brooklyn is the least likely place anyone from her former circle visits). 

Caroline doesn’t need or use her Ivy-league education and her business and marketing background to wait tables, until she discovers the diner is not selling the tasty cupcakes for enough money – Max’s cupcakes.  Caroline knows that in the city, people will pay $7-$10 a cupcake, and she begins pocketing some extra cash and creates a business plan.  Now, all she needs is Max to hop on board.

Although it’s very difficult for her to do, Max invites Caroline to stay with her.  After a boyfriend mishap, the two bond and despite Max’s constant put-downs, the girls plan to start a new life together and open a cupcakery – Max is the talent and Caroline is the brains.  In just a few episodes, we’ve seen both characters grow, even if their cupcake funds haven’t (at the end of each episode, the cupcake savings tallies on the screen for the audience – the girls have a long way to go to reach $250,000).   

Let’s be honest, I only set the pilot of 2 Broke Girls to record so I could say, “I checked it out.”  After all, the sitcom is created by Michael Patrick King (Sex and the City) and comedian Whitney Cummings, and it fills a very popular time slot between CBS’ How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men.   

But, after only one episode, I returned to the series option on the DVR and updated the recording to grab all of the new episodes.   Even the man of the house has watched a few episodes with me and laughs out loud (even if he won’t admit it).   

For this, I must award 2 Broke Girls with my second JFTV rating of the day, especially since each episode centers around diner food and cupcakes.  The actresses have great chemistry and comedic timing, and the audience can’t help but root for the two to open their boutique cupcakery with Chestnut (the horse) hanging around outside.

All this talk about cupcakes has me drooling!

What do you think? Have you watched Up All Night or 2 Broke Girls?   Can you relate to any of the characters?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of Jeremy Sisto’s suburban-purgatory, or Suburgatory, and the “adorakable” New Girl, Zooey Deschanel, for a few more must-see laughs. 

Need another reason to watch?  All of these shows have been picked up!

Come back next week when Amber and I curl up with TV’s new dramas based on popular fairytales: Grimm and Once Upon a Time.  

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future. 

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Tele-Tuesday: Perp or Victim?

Continuing with last week’s post, television 2011 has brought us a large lineup of new programs hoping to find a permanent home on the networks.  After giving almost all of the new shows a try, I’ve picked a few that have definitely peaked my interest and earned a spot on the DVR.

For those of you with just enough time for a few programs a week, this is for you!

We’ve already discussed why Revenge is Sweet, so today we’re going to talk about what happens when someone’s number is up.

Post 9/11, the U. S. Government hires Mr. Fitch (Michael Emerson,Lost) to build a computer with the programming capabilities to predict terrorist activity.  Fitch’s machine produces numbers, specifically social security numbers, indicating who the country should add to the watch list.  Of course, not every number that it generates is indicative of terrorist activity and those are thrown out.

Fitch decides to save the portion of his computer the government deems irrelevant, and he discovers that he can find individuals who may or may not be involved in a crime tomorrow, the next day, or a year from now.

Realizing he doesn’t have the required resources to follow each lead on his own, Mr. Fitch seeks out former CIA agent, John Reese (Jim Caviezel from major motion pictures including The Passion of the Christ).  Reese is the perfect partner for Fitch; he’s presumed dead by the U.S. government, and he possesses the highest level of training and skills the U.S. military has to offer.  Better yet, his beloved was murdered years before and Reese has nothing to lose.

Person of Interest begins when hoodlums on a subway train attempt to mug Reese.  Notice we said attempt….Reese, dirty and resembling a bum, fights back and incapacitates each and every one in the gang.  The police take Reese in for questioning, where he meets Detective Carter (Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).  Det. Carter isn’t buying Reese’s story, but he is bailed out by a mysterious benefactor (Fitch) before she has the chance to question him further.

Reese cleans up and Fitch pitches his idea to him – “the machine” generates a social security number, and Reese will follow the individual gathering Intel to determine whether or not the individual is going to be the victim of a crime, and when, or whether or not the individual is going to be the perpetrator of a crime, and try to prevent it.  Mr. Fitch will provide Reese the necessary funds for each investigation; money is no object.

The first social security number Reese receives belongs to a young and beautiful district attorney.  Reese follows her with the intentions of protecting her from whatever danger is ahead, but he soon discovers that she, along with others on the NYPD, is dirty.  Reese uses this opportunity to blackmail and pocket one of the dirty cops, Detective Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman, Rescue Me), which really comes in handy considering Det. Carter refuses to forget about the subway vigilante.

The phrase, “act first, ask questions later,” describes Reese perfectly.  He’s not afraid to punch, kick, or even shoot anyone he considers dangerous and a threat to the individuals he is tasked with protecting.  We’ve likened Reese to Michael Westen (Burn Notice) in our house, except Reese has even less to live for than our favorite burned spy, making him one dangerous dude.

And, what about Fitch’s past?  Person of Interest provides flashbacks giving the audience tiny pieces to the puzzle.  We know that Fitch is the brains behind the computer; we know that the “face” of Fitch’s organization, his partner Ingram (Brett Cullen, The Gates), has been murdered; we know that Fitch now suffers ailments from a previous injury, and that he too is presumed dead.

What happened?  Is it possible that the government tried to cover up the fact that it asked Fitch to build this technology?

Do you watch Person of Interest?  What do you think?  Do you think the government has a “super computer” they use to track potential threats?  How long before Det. Carter learns the truth, and will she join the team or arrest Reese?  I’d love to hear from you!  

 

Remember – the final season of Chuck premieres this Friday night on NBC…..What do the writers have in store for fellow Nerd Herd and Buy More fans?  Will Morgan survive the Intersect?  Will Sarah and Chuck, Ellie and Awesome, and Casey save the world and live happily ever after?  What antics does JeffSter have up their sleeves this season?

Let me know in the comments section if you’re a Chuck fan too and what you hope to see as the series comes to an end!

Friday FaBOOolousness – October’s MarvelOoous Halloween Mashup

 

Halloween is right around the corner, so why not dedicate October’s MarvelOoous Mashup to bloggers getting into the spirit with some spooky and festive posts?

We start with one of the most familiar crafts this time of year, pumpkin carving and decorations.  Luckily for us, Angela R. Wallace walks us through some fun ideas in It’s Pumpkin Time!

Keeping with crafts, Tameri Etherton talks about the art of taxidermy (now that’s kind of a creepy conversation for Halloween, right?) and shows off her new front porch skeleton friends in her Wednesday Whimsy post.  Be sure to check out the link she provides to teach all of us how to make our own skeleton buddy.

Kate MacNicol teaches us a bit of Celtic and Wiccan history, as well as provides a healthy soup recipe in her post, What’s Cookin’ in Your Cauldron?

Do people really poison Halloween candy or is it urban legend?  Catie Rhodes investigates and provides some food for thought in her edition of Bad Candy.

Is chocolate really dangerous for our dogs?  Amy Shojai, my pet-guru, offers her expertise in her Howl-oween Spook-tacular and provides helpful first aid tips just in case man’s best friend bites into our chocolate Halloween treats.

Zombies are taking over the world, at least on TV.  Sonia G. Medeiros talks AMC’s The Walking Dead and announces the poll results to best and worst zombie movies ever in The Zombies Have Arrived!

Who can think Halloween without thinking about witches?  Personally, I’m a big fan of witches, which is why when Jess Witkins published A Wicked Review of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (prequel to The Wizard of Oz), I was wickedly intrigued.

While we’re discussing wicked witches, click over to Jillian Dodd’s Halloween special and tell her which of these sexy warlocks can cast a spell on you in her MANday: Warlocks Edition.

How about some television to get us in the mood for Halloween?  Besides horror, science fiction provides many haunting stories and far-out costume possibilities, as well as keeps the creatures crawling around the screens spooking us.  Not sure what sci-fi to watch?  Check out Amanda Rudd’s series: Top 10 SciFi Television Shows Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Skeptical that sci-fi and Halloween go hand-in-hand?  Michael Myer’s mask in the Halloween movies was adapted from a Captain Kirk Halloween mask.  No joke.

 

Speaking of haunting TV, who’s watching FX’s new show, American Horror Story?  Creepy….check out Lauralynn Elliot’s thoughts on her blog post of the same name, American Horror Story.

Do you believe in vampires?  They’re fictional, eh?  Read Stacy Green’s post The Vampire of Sacramento and tell me if you change your mind.

Speaking of vampires, visit Jillian Dodd’s blog and vote for which of these hot television and cinematic bad boys with bite can snuggle up and take a nibble out of your neck on her MANday: Vampire Edition.

Finally, it wouldn’t be Halloween without a few hauntings….

Was the home of one of the sexiest men in Hollywood haunted?  Check out Errol Flynn’s Ghost by Catie Rhodes – would you stay the night in Mulholland Farm if the house hadn’t been destroyed?

What are two of the creepiest establishments associated with hauntings?  Insane Asylums and Prisons.  Stacy Green educates us on America’s Most Haunted Prison, and it’s not Alcatraz.

What does Halloween mean to you?  Do you dress up in costume and go trick or treating?  What are some of your favorite Halloween pastimes and crafts?  Do you have any favorite Halloween recipes or ghost stories to share?  I’d love to hear from you!

Come back next week for a Friday FaBOOolousness Boo Factor installment –Halloween.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Just How Desperate are They?

This week, Amber West and I are flipping channels over to ABC and sharing our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews of Desperate Housewives and Body of Proof

We all mourned the loss of the ‘80s night-time soap operas Falcon Crest, Dallas, and Knots Landing.  But in 2004, the genre was revived with Mark Cherry’s Desperate Housewives when the television world was introduced to a close group of residents on a unique street in a fictional town.

The series begins with the mystery surrounding Mary Alice Young’s (Brenda Strong) suicide, one of the housewives on Wisteria Lane.  Her death leaves behind devastation to her closest friends and her family (husband Paul, played by Mark Moses, and son Zach). 

Mary Alice narrates Desperate Housewives at the beginning and at the end of each episode; she shares her friend’s secrets and paints a picture for the audience explaining how and why the housewives make the decisions they do.

Meet Susan Mayer (Teri Hatcher).

The series starts with Susan’s recent discovery that her husband Karl (Richard Burgi) has cheated on her.  She files for divorce and immediately takes a liking to the new neighbor, plumber Mike Delfino (James Denton), and marries him twice.  Susan is the classic train wreck – she’s quirky, loving, and genuine; but nothing seems to go her way. 

Meet Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman).

Lynette escapes her rough childhood by using her drive and intelligence to obtain a degree in Advertising.  She meets her husband Tom (Doug Savant) in college, and Lynette decides to change her career path to a stay-at-home-mom once she and Tom start a family.  Four kids later, the cabin fever sets in and Tom and Lynette switch roles – she goes back to work and he becomes Mr. Mom. 

Lynette’s ambitions take over and she begins to man-handle her husband constantly (think an alpha-dog or a my-way-or-the-highway sort of relationship).  Tom loves Lynette and for the longest time doesn’t fight back, until….sorry, no spoilers here.

Meet Bree Van de Camp (Marcia Cross).

Bree is described as Wisteria Lane’s Martha Stewart-Stepford Wife.  She’s a perfectionist and an obsessive compulsive with a side of neuroses.  A gun-toting Republican, Bree marries her first husband Rex (Steven Culp) and starts a picture-perfect family; until, that is, he cheats on her.  Bree files for divorce, Rex dies, Bree marries Orson Hodge (Kyle MacLachlan), and Bree later files for divorce.   

In and out of relationships and marriages, Bree finds her solace in the kitchen.  She briefly owns and operates a gourmet catering business until Rex’s son, from an affair, blackmails it away from her.      

Meet Gabrielle “Gaby” Solis (Eva Longoria). 

Abused by her step father, Gaby flees Texas and never looks back.  She takes her beauty to New York, its runways, and its magazine covers.  After years of a successful modeling career, Gaby meets her husband Carlos (Ricardo Antonio Chavira), a self-made wealthy and cut-throat businessman. 

These two have had it all – poverty and wealth, affairs and loyalty, blindness and beauty, superficial happiness and familiar bliss.  Kinda.  The laughs never stop with Gaby and Carlos; they are by far my favorite duo on the lane. 

Many other housewives have lived on the lane over the years including: Edie Britt (Nicollette Sheridan), the beautiful yet spiteful real estate agent, often times regarded to as the “neighborhood slut” by many of the girls for bedding Susan’s ex; Betty Applewhite (Alfre Woodard), the neighbor who keeps her son locked up in the basement; Katherine Mayfair (Dana Delany), the once-upon-a-time neighbor who returns with dark secrets surrounding the identity of her daughter; Angie Bolen (Drea de Matteo), the housewife running from the mafia; Renee Perry (Vanessa Williams), Lynette’s college best friend and recent divorce’ trying to define herself without her famous baseball player husband; and Karen McCluskey (Kathryn Joosten), the senior citizen neighbor who supports, babysits, and provides a bit of a reality check to the over-the-top housewives.

Desperate Housewives is a television dramedy at its finest.  For this reason, I must award the ladies of Wisteria Lane with a MacTV rating.  Guilty Pleasure?  Check.  Not Perfect?  Check?  Satisfying?  Definitely, Check. 

Honestly, can’t you just picture Susan, Lynette, Gaby, and Bree curling up to watch Falcon Crest with a warm bowl of Mac-N-Cheese?  Okay, well maybe not Bree….unless it was baked gourmet style with green chilis and bread crumbs. 

From watching each and every one of the seasons, this eighth and final season should close with a bang.  The history of Desperate Housewives proves that no one is safe.  It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for some of the housewives to die or even go to jail.  It’s doubtful that Cherry will wrap everything up with a pretty red-bow, and for that, we thank you! 

Here’s to a doozy of a series finale coming this spring…..

What do you think? Have you watched Desperate Housewives?   Who is your favorite character? How do you think Mark Cherry will close out the series?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of a former Wisteria Lane housewife’s new show, Body of Proof

Come back next week when Amber and I talk some laughs with a double dose of TV’s new comedies: Suburgatory, New Girl, Up All Night, and 2 Broke Girls

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future. 

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Tele-Tuesday: Revenge is Sweet…

Fall television 2011 has brought us a large lineup of many new programs to accompany our returning favorites.  These new shows hope to find a permanent home on the networks, while some have already vanished from the TV schedule (R.I.P. The Playboy Club and Free Agents). 

Not everyone watches as much television as this crazy girl.  So, after giving almost all of the new shows a try, I’ve picked a few that have definitely peaked my interest.  For those of you with just enough time for a few programs a week, this is for you! 

Part I

The return of the night-time soap opera… Wednesday Nights on ABC – Revenge

Revenge stars Emily VanCamp (Everwood) as Amanda Clarke/Emily Thorne, a young and beautiful addition to the rich and prestigious Hamptons.   However, Emily’s arrival isn’t her first trip to the neighborhood… 

When she was a little girl, Amanda and her father lived in the quaint beach house next door to her father’s boss and his mansion.  Late one night, Amanda’s father was ripped away from her for crimes that later sent him to prison for the rest of his life. 

Not necessarily believing in his innocence, Amanda rebelled and spent time incarcerated herself.  The day Amanda was released from her own prison, she was greeted by a stranger with life changing news: her father was dead, he had been framed, and she was now filthy rich. 

Amanda’s father believed in and secretly invested in a young man named Nolan Ross (Gabriel Mann) when no one else would.  Nolan awarded Mr. Clarke forty-nine percent of his company in return for the investment, and his investment was now worth millions.  When Amanda’s father died in prison, all of his assets were awarded to Amanda. 

But something greater came with these riches – a map and information on each and every person responsible for framing her father and sending him to prison.  Amanda assumes a new identity as Emily Thorne and sets her plan in motion vowing revenge against those responsible – primarily the Grayson family. 

After establishing herself around the world as an educated and philanthropic young lady, Emily returns to the Hamptons and rents the beach house where she spent time with her father; the house where he was so abruptly taken from her.   

In each episode, Emily destroys someone involved with her father’s demise: her father’s assistant and current mistress to Conrad Grayson, Lydia Davis (Amber Valletta); her father’s closest friend and a corrupt hedge fund manager, Bill Harmon (Matthew Glave); and the district attorney who prosecuted her father and current state senator, Tom Kingsley (Yancey Arias).

But who are Emily’s prime targets?  Conrad Grayson (Henry Czemy), the CEO of her father’s company who spearheaded the entire take-down, and the CEO’s not-so-loyal wife who stood by and watched her lover taken away in handcuffs (yea, you read that right – love triangle 101), Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe).  

How will Emily destroy the Graysons?  Will she involve their son, Daniel (Joshua Bowman); the man she’s slowly but surely seducing?  The pilot episode began at Emily and Daniel’s engagement party before rewinding to Emily’s arrival in the Hamptons….so probably. 

Will Emily confide in anyone other than Nolan?  How about her childhood friend Jack Porter (Nick Wechler) who adopted her puppy and named his boat Amanda

Do you watch Revenge?  What do you think?  The series claims to be loosely based on the Alexandre Dumas’ novel, The Count of Monte Cristo – do you see any parallels?  I’d love to hear from you!   

Come back next week for more top performers that have peaked my interest this television season.

Friday FabOoolousness – Friday Night Flicks for Fall: Friday Night Lights

By now, everyone has heard of Friday Night Lights – whether it be the book by H.G. Bissinger published in 1990, the motion picture produced by Brian Grazer in 2004, or the television series starring Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton that aired from 2006 until 2011.  Some even know the “real” Friday night lights – high school football in West Texas

For the purpose of this post, we’re going to focus on the film.  Friday Night Lights is a perfect Friday night flick for fall. 

The time – 1988

 The place – Odessa, Texas

 The who – the Permian High School football players

The dream – to win the state championship

The obstacles – a coach that pushes his players too far, parents living vicariously through their teens’ lives, and societal pressure 

Two things come to mind when people outside the state of Texas think about West Texas – high school football and oil.  So, if everyone outside the state knows about the teenage pig-skin programs, what do the people inside the state think?  Football is life.  Win at all costs. 

Friday Night Lights follows Coach Gary Gaines (Hollywood great, Billy Bob Thornton), star Permian running back James “Boobie” Miles (Derek Luke), back-up running back Chris Comer (Lee Thompson Young) quarterback Mike Winchell (Lucas Black), fullback Don Billingsley (Garrett Hedlund), and safety Brian Chavez (Jay Hernandez) on their quest for a Mojo football championship.  The season seems to be right on schedule, but things erupt when Boobie tears his ACL. 

Coach Gaines is immediately under fire in the media and around town; a head football coach’s job is never safe in West Texas without wins and when a star player goes down, people panic.   

As if the pressure isn’t already mounting for the kids, Billingsley is also faced with managing his father’s (country music star, Tim McGraw) drinking and humiliating outbursts.  Like many other former football stars, Billingsley’s father continues to live in the past and is humiliated that his son is not performing up to his standards.

The season ends with a three-way tie in the district between Permian, their arch-rival Midland Lee Rebels, and Abilene Cooper.  With a flip of a coin, Permian and Lee move on (yes, they really flipped coins to break a three-way tie in conference when determining playoff spots).   Permian rolls through the playoffs and meets Dallas Carter in the state championship. 

Watch the movie to find out what happens next…. 

Have you seen Friday Night Lights?  Have you read the book?  Did you enjoy the television series?  I’d love to hear from you!

Rumor has it that another Friday Night Lights movie is in the works….

On a personal note, I was born and raised in Midland, Texas and I’m a proud Midland Lee Rebel.  My father graduated from the first ever senior class at Midland Lee, as did my brother before me, and now my oldest nephew is a freshman.  My mother has taught at Midland Lee for a long time (no years, I promise…you wouldn’t believe me if I told you), but not before graduating from Odessa Permian and participating on the Mojo Pep Squad.  

Friday Night Lights, while fictional, does not stray far from the truth, and I highly recommend it to anyone attempting to understand the severity of high school football in West Texas.  I was a student trainer in high school, and I remember a man who traveled in his trailer to watch the Midland Lee versus the Odessa Permian football game because he read Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream.  I grew up watching Lee play, lived the annual showdown with Permian, and was shocked that someone from thousands of miles away would drive just to watch high school kids play football. 

West Texas football is a big deal.  Maybe we’re crazy?  But, we’re proud.