Original vs. Remake – Romeo + Juliet

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and me to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  Returning to our usual ways, Catie reviews the original and I take on the 1996 remake.  This month we tackle the classic, Romeo and Juliet (or in my case, Romeo + Juliet).

Usually I jump right into Catie’s homemade summary at this point; but she didn’t write one this month.  However, I will borrow her words because as usual they are spot-on: if you don’t know the basic plot of “Romeo and Juliet,” this blog post will probably be lost on you anyway. 

So, let’s just go straight to the trailer:

Before I begin my review, let’s talk briefly about Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet.

One of Shakespeare’s most popular works, Romeo and Juliet may be the most tragic love story ever told.  Many people have complained about reading Shakespeare, but I personally feel that his brilliant use of unrhymed iambic pentameter throughout Romeo and Juliet sends the reader back in time to the intended period and setting.  Shakespeare also connects with audiences of all generations with the universal themes of love and fate, and the destruction of the star-crossed lovers.

For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
~ William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

As Catie discusses on her blog today, Shakespeare’s tragedy was depicted into a motion picture in 1968. Sir Laurence Olivier narrated the film, while Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey played the young lovers.  The music composed by Nino Rota still gives me goose bumps when I hear it today.

The classic love story was adapted again in 1996, starring two of Hollywood’s biggest young stars (at the time) – Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.  This time titled, Romeo + Juliet, Shakespeare’s story is modernized (for example, using guns instead of swords) while the cast still uses Shakespearean dialogue.  One might ask, a modernized Shakespearean play with traditional Shakespearean dialogue?  Yes!  It’s simply wonderful… and creative… a great way to attract the youth of today… and masterfully performed by all involved.  And the cast is extensive: Brian Dennehy, Paul Sorvino, John Leguizamo, Dash Mihok, Jamie Kennedy, and Paul Rudd to just name a few.

But let’s talk about Leo for a second. Yes, I call him Leo.  Although his portrayal of Romeo came early in what we now know to be a very long and fruitful career, his performance was still impeccable.  But it wasn’t until Romeo + Juliet that I truly fell head-over-heels for him (and again in Titanic… and again in the 2013 version of The Great Gatsby).   However, celebrity crushes aside, rarely do I watch him in a film where he does not nail whatever role he is playing; and I firmly believe he will be remembered as one of the greatest actors of my generation.  And for the purpose of this post?  He can be my Romeo anytime.

And while I wasn’t thrilled about Claire Danes playing Juliet, I still weep pretty much uncontrollably every time I  watch this film (even though I know the ending… and very well at that).  To me, this makes Romeo + Juliet a classic.  I honestly believe it will live throughout the decades.  Shakespeare’s story will be told and adapted countless times in the years to come; but there is just something about this film that will survive the test of time.  Baz Luhrmann’s (writer, director, and producer) creation is unique and it will take some sort of new and fresh creative genius to top this particular rendition of the classic tragedy/love story.

Oh, and before I forget, the soundtrack is amazing.  Despite the fact it’s pushing almost twenty years old, I still listen to this disc on almost every road trip.  This ‘90s fun/blast from the past features Garbage, Everclear, Des’ree, Butthole Surfers, The Cardigans, and Radiohead.

So, overall, is the 1996 version worth a watch?  Yes!  I think so.

Does it compare to the original film?  Absolutely.  It its own right.

Should people forget about the original version?  No.  It’s a classic and originals should never be forgotten.

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog to see what she thought of the 1968 classic.

What do you think?  Have you seen either the 1968 or the 1996 version of Shakespeare’s classic love story?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Author K.B. Owen on One of Her Favorite TV Detectives – Columbo

Like most of the other writers I adore today, I first met Kathy “K.B.” Owen on social media back in 2011.  We hit it off… talking about writing and pop culture, particularly Survivor.

Author K.B. Owen
Author K.B. Owen

But Kathy and I share something greater than our minor obsession for the popular “Outwit, Outlast, Outplay” reality television program—we both LOVE mysteries.  I keep an eye on Kathy’s blog because I know I can count on her publishing some fabOoolous posts, featuring some of the literary and television sleuths I grew up reading and watching… like Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Perry Mason, and even Scooby Dooby Doo.  She has also introduced me to a few 19th century historical facts, from clothing, to holiday celebrations, to true crime.  I’ve never been one who’s big on the past, but the stories Kathy shares are fascinating!

However, Survivor, mysteries, and 19th century facts aside, Kathy is also a wife and mother, who squeezes in gardening where she can between writing and taking care of her beautiful family.  She’s one of the most genuine and supportive people I have met and I’m lucky to call her a friend.

Since it’s technically Tele-Tuesday here at The Ooo Factor, Kathy is here to talk about one of her favorite TV detectives of all-time (and one of my dad’s) – Columbo.

But Kathy is also here to share a tad about her latest release, Unseemly Pursuits.

Before we jump into Kathy’s TV guest post, check out the blurb for her latest historical mystery:

A deadly secret that won’t stay buried…

UnseemlyPursuitsCover 266x400It is the fall of 1896, and Miss Concordia Wells is hip-deep in the usual tumult of a lady professor’s life: classes, clubs, student pranks, and the unending drama generated by the girls she lives with on campus.  Complicating this normality is the new Lady Principal, whom the students have nicknamed “the Ogre.”  The woman seems bent on making Concordia’s life miserable.

And then there’s the exotic spirit medium, Madame Durand, who has befriended Concordia’s mother and has started a “Spirit Club” on campus.  Madame’s prognostications of doom are at first only mildly irritating – until events take a sobering turn.  An ancient Egyptian amulet donated to the college mysteriously disappears, the donor is found murdered, and his daughter – Concordia’s best friend – confesses to killing him.

Desperate for answers, Concordia unravels a 20-year-old secret, closely guarded by men now dead.  But such secrets can be dangerous for the daughters left behind, including Concordia herself.  Can she make sense of the mystery that has bound together their fates, before it’s too late?

*****

Hi Tiffany, thanks for having me! I’m so glad you asked me to talk about one of my favorite tv detectives:

Columbo

Publicity photo 1973, Margie Korshak Associates. Wikimedia Commons.
Publicity photo 1973, Margie Korshak Associates. Wikimedia Commons.

Some interesting facts about Peter Falk and the Columbo series:

1.  Bing Crosby was first offered the role of Columbo, but he didn’t want to commit to a series.  He joked that it would interfere with his golfing.

2.  In 1968, the first 90-minute pilot (Prescription: Murder) aired, co-starring Gene Barry. The regular tv series ran from 1971 to 1978, and was part of the NBC Mystery Movie anthology, which included McCloud and McMillan and Wife.  Columbo was brought back in 1989 (this time for ABC) for 5 more continuous seasons.  The 13th and final season aired 5 episodes between 1998 and 2003.  It has won multiple Edgars, Emmys, and Golden Globes. There were 69 episodes in all, directed and written by different talent over the years.

3. The first regular episode was directed by a young Steven Spielberg. As Peter Falk later told Spielberg’s biographer:

Let’s face it, we had some good fortune at the beginning. Our debut episode, in 1971, was directed by this young kid named Steven Spielberg. I told the producers, Link and Levinson: “This guy is too good for Columbo” … Steven was shooting me with a long lens from across the street. That wasn’t common twenty years ago. The comfort level it gave me as an actor, besides its great look artistically — well, it told you that this wasn’t any ordinary director.

4.  William Link and Richard Levinson, the show’s creators, did something that was unusual for the time in a mystery series:  instead of a “whodunnit” format, where the progress of the episode moves towards the revelation of the murderer, it was a “how’s-he-gonna-catch-em,” where we see right away, in the opening scene, who did it, why he did it, and how, and then the rest of the episode is the detective hounding, questioning, and drawing the net tighter and tighter around the murderer, until he cannot escape.

5.  One of the cool things about the series is the star-studded guest-murderer cast.  Here are a few of the well-known names:  William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy (they were in separate episodes), Robert Conrad, Johnny Cash, Eddie Albert, Anne Baxter, Dick Van Dyke, Dabney Coleman, Faye Dunaway, Janet Leigh, Ricardo Montalban, Roddy MacDowall.

photo from Wikimedia.org, according to Creative Commons licensing
photo from Wikimedia.org, according to Creative Commons licensing

Columbo’s appeal:

1.  The suit: It looked like it was purchased from a thrift shop, and then perpetually slept in.

2.  The car: It certainly stood out among the Mercedes, BMWs, Cadillacs and Ferraris that typified the wealthy and famous of southern California (which seemed to be the demographic Columbo perpetually found himself working with). Columbo’s car was always breaking down, making a clatter when it did run, and had various parts breaking off.

It took me a while to figure out that it was a Peugeot. According to http://www.columbo-site.freeuk.com, Columbo drove a 1959 Peugeot 403 convertible. And Peugeot only made 504 of that body style in 1959. So when Columbo called his wife’s car “just transportation” – implying that his car is special – he was right!

Columbo’s car, via MSNautos
Columbo’s car, via MSNautos

3.  The “dog”:  Of course Columbo had to have a bassett hound, one of the best sniffer dogs out there.  But it wasn’t your typical bassett hound. “Dog” was a shuffling collection of neuroses and odd behaviors.

4.  The cigar:  It rarely seemed to be lit, did it? Columbo certainly chewed on and spoke around it, though.

5.  The game:  Ah, the wonderful cat-and-mouse interaction that goes on between Columbo and the murder suspect.  The persistence, the squirming, the murderer’s initial coolness and control inevitably giving way to exasperation, rage, and mistake(s) that will prove his undoing.  Masterful!

6.  The humor:  Who doesn’t love those odd little personal side-tracks and idiosyncrasies that peek out when Columbo works a case?  The lethargic “Dog”  (yep, that’s his name, “Dog”) Columbo feeds his ice cream cone to; the never-seen but always-talked-about wife and her personal habits;  the expired driver’s license, which requires Columbo to take another road test with a DMV examiner (hilarious!); the police gun certification that requires him to go back to the shooting range (even though he never carries his gun); his car always breaking down…the list goes on and on.

Oh, there’s just one more thing….

Columbo’s demeanor:  fumbling (does the man ever have a writing implement on his person?), self-effacing, overly-polite, rambling off-topic.  These characteristics make an effective smoke screen (to the murderer…not us, of course) for his sharp mind and keen attention to detail.

Here’s a short clip, just for fun:

Are you familiar with the Columbo series? Do you have a favorite episode or feature from the series? Tiffany and I would love to hear from you!

*****

About K.B.

K.B. Owen taught college English at universities in Connecticut and Washington, DC and holds a doctorate in 19th century British literature.  A long-time mystery lover, she drew upon her teaching experiences to create her amateur sleuth, Professor Concordia Wells.

Unseemly Pursuits is the second book of the series.  The first book, Dangerous and Unseemly, was published in early 2013.

K.B. currently lives in Virginia with her husband and sons, and is busily planning the lady professor’s next adventure.

An Unseemly Giveaway

The Unseemly Swag Kit
The Unseemly Swag Kit

During K.B.’s Unseemly Pursuits book tour, which goes through the first week of March, there’s a giveaway at each blog stop (including here!).  The winner, randomly drawn from the commenters at each stop, will get a free ebook copy of Unseemly Pursuits.  At the end of the tour, she’ll hold another random drawing from among the ebook winners for the final prize: a special Concordia Wells series swag package! It includes customized mug, keychain, JellyBelly mini-tin, and signed paperback copies of the first two mysteries: Dangerous and Unseemly and Unseemly Pursuits. You can read, sip your coffee, and snack on candy in unseemly style. Check the sidebar on the home page of kbowenmysteries.com for the full tour schedule and other info.

But if you can’t wait to win, here’s where to buy Unseemly Pursuits:

Kindle

Paperback

Nook

Smashwords

Kobo

iBooks

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Tasty Breakfast Recipe – Blueberry Croissant Puff

My in-laws visited earlier this month and I wanted a breakfast that we could just pull out of the fridge and warm up.  For one, I’m lazy and anything easy I’m all for.  But also, we like to sleep in and realize that our guests don’t always keep the same sleeping schedule as we do.

Enter Pinterest.

Blueberry Croissant PuffI saw this Blueberry Croissant Puff recipe a while ago and had been waiting for the perfect opportunity to make it.  And man, I’m glad I did!

First, what’s needed:

3 large croissants, cut up into bite size pieces (about 5 – 5 ½ cups)
* I bought the Great Value Wal-Mart brand croissants and baked them up before tearing them apart.
** Plus I used all of it, making a double batch.
1 cup of fresh (or frozen) blueberries
* I didn’t measure; I just used an entire (large) container of blueberries.
1 package (8 oz.) of cream cheese, softened
* I doubled up.
2/3 cup of sugar
* I did NOT double up here.  It seemed like it would be too much sugar if I did.
**Turns out, it worked just fine with only ½ of the required sugar…
2 eggs
* I doubled up.
1 teaspoon of vanilla
* guess what?  I doubled up.
1 cup of milk
* I doubled up.  Surprise!

Now let’s cook:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place croissant pieces in a 9X13 baking pan.  If not doubling up on everything like I did, go ahead and use a 9-inch square pan.

Sprinkle with blueberries.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla with an electric mixer until well blended.

Gradually add the milk, beating well along the way.

Pour evenly over the croissant pieces and blueberries.

Let stand 20 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until set in the center and golden brown.  Cover it with foil the last 10 minutes if the tops are getting too browned.

Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Although, we skipped the powdered sugar bit…

What do you think?  Is this recipe worth a try?  Have any other easy breakfast recipes to share?  I’d love to hear from you!

Original Pinterest recipe found on this site:

http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2013/02/blueberry-croissant-puff.html

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Chicago P.D.

Welcome back to Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!

Today, I’m jumping in with a show that could either a) fall in line with all the other police procedurals on TV, or  b) stand out as the next Dick Wolf success—Chicago P.D..

NBC Summary: Sergeant Hank Voight leads the officers of District 21, where the past history and rivalries between the officers create problems at the district.

Created by Dick Wolf (Law & Order) and a spinoff series of Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. will serve as yet another typical police procedural on television.  Or will it?

My main question is this—will Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) be a good guy or a bad guy?  While I did not watch the entire first season of Chicago Fire, I did watch enough to know that he was not a “good” cop.  The character did not hesitate to cross legal or ethical lines.  And if he’s anything like that on the new show, what in the world is his staff going to be like?

And speaking of Jason Beghe, I’ve had a crush on him since I was a little girl when he starred as the quarterback, Tom Yinessa, on HBO’s 1st & Ten.  Yes; my parents let me watch with them—it was about football, after all!  And most recently, I’ve enjoyed his recurring character, Richard Bates, on Showtime’s Californication where he plays an alcoholic/sometimes gay/sometimes straight man.  His performances are fantastic.  Needless to say, I gave Chicago P.D. a try just for him.

The new drama also stars: Jon Seda (Band of Brothers) as Detective Antonio Dawson; Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill) as Detective Erin Lindsay; the great Elias Koteas as Alvin Olinsky; and many others.

But let’s talk about Voight right now… like I mentioned earlier, Voight was not a “good” cop on Chicago Fire.  Actually, he went to jail.  However, in this new series, his character has negotiated some deal to get out of prison and land himself the supervisory position for the Intelligence Unit of the Chicago Police Department.  We later learn this deal is for him to secretly report back to Internal Affairs… but will he?  Will he be 100% honest with them?  Probably not…

So is he good or bad?

Well, Voight instructs his staff to keep everything in-house… they tell him the truth, so he can lie for them.  This isn’t so strange.  Anyone who has played sports has heard the saying “what happens in the locker room, stays in the locker room.”  Same concept.

The Intelligence Unit is family, and to Voight, nothing is more important than family.  Yet, sadly, his sordid past actually gets one of his officers killed in the first episode (in a round-about-way).  Sorry for the spoiler.

Ultimately, Voight just operates under the mantra—and expects his team to as well—whatever it takes.

Does this make him bad?  Naaa.  I kinda like him and will continue to watch because of him.  I want to see how many professional and ethical lines he and his team will cross, while maintaining characters that I like and am actually rooting for.  There seems to be the “right way” and the “Voight way” of doing things.  Sometimes “Voight’s way” is the only way to get things done.  I get that real cops shouldn’t act this way, but this is TV and I like it.

But enough about just Voight…

Chicago P.D. bounces back and forth between his unit and the officers who patrol the streets of Chicago.  As a Law & Order fan, I can definitely tell this series is a Dick Wolf creation from the cinematography and style.   And being a Chicago Fire spinoff, many of the characters have done and will do a crossover stint at one time or another (for those who love and need more of Taylor Kinney and Jesse Spencer).   If I understand correctly, the series will actually do a full-blown crossover episode event with Chicago Fire and Law & Order: SVU.  Guess I’ll need to watch Chicago Fire that week.

While I will and already have watched more of Chicago P.D. than I have Chicago Fire, I can’t award the series with anything beyond a JFTV rating.  I like it; I do.  But I don’t mind letting the episodes pile up on the DVR to watch when I have time.  It’s just like when I keep a bag of those greasy potato chips in the pantry, but only reach for them when I need a fix.  After all, it is just another police procedural on TV today… just with a different kind of twist.

What do you think?  Do you watch Chicago P.D.?  I’d love to hear from you!

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
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
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
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

New to TV – Winter 2014 (Part Four)

It’s that time of year again… the winter television schedule is here!  And as always, the networks have a lineup of many new programs to accompany our returning favorites.

Some of the series have promise, while others may flop—but, regardless, we’ll tune in to check them out!

Today, we’re mixing it up with a teen sci-fi program and a few comedies.

*****

Star-Crossed

CW Summary:  When an alien spacecraft crash-landed on Earth, 6-year old Emery Whitehill harbored an Atrian boy before losing him to authorities; ten years later, Emery finds the boy, along with fellow Atrians, has returned to her town as a social experiment. 

Originally titled Oxygen, Star-Crossed has been compared to Romeo and Juliet with aliens.  For the aliens (Atrians), earth was supposed to be a refuge, a place to find unification after their world was attacked.  But for the Americans, their arrival is an invasion and they fear the Atrian kind.

The series stars: Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights and Scream 4) as Emery; Matt Lanter (the remake of 90210) as Roman; Grey Damon (Friday Night Lights, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, and Twisted) as Grayson; and Malese Jow (The Vampire Diaries) as Julia.

Oh yeah, and of course Star-Crossed wouldn’t be a true teen drama, aliens or not, without a love triangle…

We’re a little late with this one… Star-Crossed premiered last night, February 17th, but the CW is usually pretty good about replaying a pilot episode, as well as making all of the episodes available online for the viewer’s convenience.

*****

About a Boy

NBC Summary:  An unemployed man, who lives solely off of the money earned from writing a hit song, has his perfect life turned upside-down when a single mother and her 11-year old son move in next door, thrusting him into playing the role of surrogate father.

Will loves his responsibility-free life.

Marcus is an outsider that none of the other kids really get.

But once Marcus and his mom move in next door, the two form an unlikely friendship.

Based on the book by Nick Hornby, written by Jason Katims (Parenthood and Friday Night Lights), and directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), About a Boy promises a lot of heart and tons of laughter.

The sitcom stars: David Walton (the adorable actor from the short-lived Bent) as Will; Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting) as Fiona; and Benjamin Stockham (1600 Penn) as Marcus.

About a Boy premieres Saturday, February 22nd on NBC after the Olympics.  The sitcom will then air on its regularly scheduled night—Tuesday.

*****

Growing Up Fisher

NBC Summary: An 11-year old, who has been his blind father’s eyes and wingman for as long as he can remember, has his world turned upside-down when his parents decide to separate, which starts the family down a path of changes from their usual roles.

Meet the Fishers:

Mel is just as normal a father as can be – he teaches his kids to drive; he works in the yard; and he plays sports with his son.  There’s only one issue—he’s blind.

Joyce is living a teenager’s dream, except she’s the mom.

Katie is a regular teenage girl.

And Henry.  Henry is accustomed to being his dad’s guide, who has to now not only adjust to his parents’ divorce, but also his being replaced by a “real” guide dog.

Growing Up Fisher is narrated by one of my crushes—Jason Bateman (and he also serves as one of the executive producers).  With him behind it, I may have to give this one a try.

The sitcom stars: J.K. Simmons (The Closer) as Mel; Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg) as Joyce; Ava Deluca-Verley as Katie; and Eli Baker as Henry.

Growing Up Fisher premieres Sunday, February 23rd on NBC after the Olympics.  The sitcom will then air on its regularly scheduled night—Tuesday.

*****

If I had to rank these in order of which one I’m most looking forward to, I’d put Star-Crossed at number one.  About a Boy probably comes in second with Growing Up Fisher following in last place (sorry Jason Bateman).  Here’s the thing – I totally expect the CW teen sci-fi drama/romance to outlast both of NBC’s comedies.  Why?  Because mid-season sitcom replacements usually don’t fare all that well.  That said, I’m not really chomping at the bit to see any of these—but that’s me.

What do you think?  Will you tune in to watch any of these new shows?  Which one most interests you?  I’d love to hear from you!

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Original Vs. Remake – The Lone Ranger (2013)

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and me to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  Returning to our usual ways, Catie reviews “the original” and I take on the 2013 remake.  This month we tackle the classic, The Lone Ranger.

Usually I include Catie’s homemade summary here, but since hers sounds a bit different from the 2013 film I will talk about today, let’s “borrow” the IMBD summary:

Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.

Now, let’s watch with the trailer:

Before I begin my review of the 2013 version, let’s talk generally about The Lone Ranger.  As Catie pointed out in her review, the concept of The Lone Ranger dates back to the 1930s when a radio show aired three episodes a week for over twenty years.  Then came the books, a newspaper comic strip, comic books, a television show, and multiple movies.  The 2013 film falls in at number five.

When something lasts and lives this long, one can assume it has reached cult status.  And I am no different from the millions of other fans—I grew up loving The Lone Ranger.  How did my admiration begin?  I have no idea; since the TV show aired from 1949-1957, I think we can rule that out.  Maybe it was the 1981 film from Catie’s review?  But if it is, I sadly don’t remember much, if any of it.  However, the movie makes sense to me… since I grew up a child of the ‘80s.

Regardless, I was a fan and proudly hung a poster next to my bed.  I wish I still had that poster, but it is lost along with so many of my other childhood things.  But I remember it… The Lone Ranger atop Silver; Tonto riding Scout; the two riding alongside each other, perhaps with Silver rearing back.   That part is a little blurry to me.  Give me a break; it has been a long time.

But anyway…

When I first heard they were making a current film version of The Long Ranger I was thrilled beyond belief.  And when I learned Johnny Depp would play Tonto?  Are you kidding me?  Elated.  Ecstatic.  Excited.   I mean, first of all, he’s Johnny Depp.  Everything he touches turns to gold.  Not to mention, his performances are always above and beyond perfect.  He transforms into character; he doesn’t just act a role.  And to me, the powers-that-be behind this movie couldn’t have picked a better person to play Tonto.

Additionally, the casting of Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger (John Reid) was great.  He and Depp had on-screen chemistry and his comedic timing was spot on.  Not to mention, it’s believable seeing him in the role of a hero—he can pull it off.  Nothing like his role as the evil twins in The Social Network.

The film also stars: Helena Bonham Carter (as we’re very accustomed to seeing in Johnny Depp films), Barry Pepper (whom I adore, although he’s barely recognizable in this film and he plays a not-so-nice guy), William Fichtner and Tom Wilkinson.

The film may have received mixed reviews; however, as one who has never really paid much attention to the critics (odd, I know, considering I write reviews of one kind or another on a weekly basis), I really enjoyed this film.  I did have a few beefs though…

For one, it was long.  Usually when a viewer notices that a film is long, that means the film is dragging.  And it did in parts.  Secondly, although I love The Lone Ranger theme song (from the “March of the Swiss Soldiers” finale of Gioachino Rossini’s William Tell Overture), when it played in the 2013 flick, it blasted my eardrums.  Flat out, it was way too loud.  I compare it to when a commercial plays at a higher decibel then the television show one is watching.  BIG pet peeve of mine.  And third, The Lone Ranger didn’t say, “Hi-Ho Silver, Away!” until the very end.  And I mean the very end.  I was waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and then he said it and the credits rolled.  It bummed me out that it took so long.

But overall, is the 2013 version worth a watch?  Yes!  I think so.  Especially if one is a fan of any of The Lone Ranger stories—the TV show, the movies, the comic books, etc.  Particularly if one is a fan of Johnny Depp.  And without a doubt if one likes to laugh.  Even those who enjoy westerns should check it out.  And I don’t like westerns.  Can’t stand them, actually.  But I do fall into the three other categories.

Does it compare to the original/1981 film?  Sadly, I don’t know.

Should people forget about the original/1981 version?  Probably not.  Originals should never be forgotten.  But again, I can’t really speak from experience here.  Stop by Catie’s blog to see what she thought of the 1981 film.

What do you think?  Have you seen either the 1981 or the 2013 version of The Lone Ranger?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Killer Women

Welcome back to Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!

Today, I’m jumping in with a show that I have been looking forward to since I heard about the idea—Killer Women.

ABC Summary: From executive produce Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”) and created by Hannah Shakespeare, step inside the dangerous world of the Texas Rangers from the female perspective and experience the arresting “Killer Women.”

Based on the Argentine crime drama, Mujeres Asesinas, this series follows Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer, Battlestar Galactica), a Texas Ranger who is really good at her job.  Each week, this former beauty queen tracks and arrests a different female criminal.

Molly Parker “follows the law, not the rules.”

Having recently filed for divorce from her senator husband, Molly has three things going for her: her family (she currently lives with her brother, his wife, and two girls), her boyfriend (she’s dating a HOT D.E.A. agent), and her job (something she’s really good at).  Speaking of her job, she excels at reading suspects, digging down until she finds the truth, and using firearms.  Plus, she’s not afraid to break the rules to do what’s morally right.

Molly is a strong character with flaws, overcoming one of her biggest weaknesses—the abuse she endured while staying with her husband.  She’s smart, sexy, and talented.  However, I find it hard to believe that a Texas Ranger would be trained as a hypnotherapist to help witnesses recall events like Molly is.  Wouldn’t law enforcement hire an outside professional for that?

The series also stars: Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Necessary Roughness) as D.E.A. Agent Dan, Molly’s boyfriend; Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica, Fairly Legal) as Billy, Molly’s brother; Alex Fernandez (Dallas) as Lt. Zea, Molly’s boss; Jeffrey Nordling (Once and Again) as Carl, Molly’s hopefully soon-to-be-ex husband; and many guest stars, like Beth Riesgraf (Leverage).

Killer Women is enjoyable.   Another one of the reasons why I like it?  Being from Texas, I absolutely HATE (sorry to use that word, Mom, but I do) it when television shows use fake and over-the-top Texas accents.  Yes; we have a unique accent down here.  Yes; sometimes we shorten words because we’re lazy.  And yes; some of us really do sound horrible.  But we don’t sound like TV makes us out to sound.  And thankfully, Killer Women does not use the ridiculous TV Texas Twang we’ve been subject to in the past.  Except on a few words.  But I can live with a few words.  I just can’t listen to a 40 minute show of it… it hurts my ears.

All of that said, I give Killer Women the JFTV rating.  It’s not the best thing on TV, but it’s certainly not the worst.

The series was originally only an eight episode arc, but after poor ratings has been reduced to six with the final episode airing February 18th.  I just don’t get the decisions networks make today.  If you’ve paid for and shot eight episodes, why only air six?  Even if the ratings were that poor, why not air as many episodes as you have, giving the viewers that do watch the rest of the show?  And why air a struggling and NEW program opposite something as BIG and popular as the Olympics?  I’m telling ya, the decision makers at the networks should have their heads checked.

As for me, I’ll watch the show until the end.  Maybe ABC will change their mind and air the last two episodes this summer?  Because while the show has been yanked from the TV schedule, it hasn’t been officially cancelled.  Not that I can find, anyway.  So, I guess there’s hope?  Personally, I think Killer Women would make a great summer program when there aren’t so many other TV shows to choose from.

What do you think?  Do you watch Killer Women?  I’d love to hear from you!

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
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
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
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – The Walking Dead

Welcome back to Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!

Today I’m jumping in with one of the television shows I have been looking forward to returning in the 2014 winter TV season—AMC’s The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead 2AMC no longer means American Movie Classics.

The supernatural element is taking over the television world today, and AMC joins this phenomenon by telling the story of a small group of people working feverishly to survive a widespread zombie epidemic in the great state of Georgia in The Walking Dead.  The series begins with small town sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) waking from a coma to discover he is alone in every sense of the word: the hospital is desolate, the town looks like a post-apocalyptic war zone, and his family has vanished.

A man and his son save the deliriously weak Rick from his first encounter with a walker, or zombie as we know it, and nurse him back to health and educate him on the events that have transpired while he was in a coma.  The outlook appears bleak, but Rick insists his family is alive and sets out for Atlanta to find his wife (Lori, played by Sarah Wayne Callies) and son (Carl, played by Chandler Riggs).

On his journey, Rick finds his family and his best friend (Shane, played by Jon Bernthal) along with a small group that will become a part of his new family: Glenn (Steven Yeun). Andrea (Laurie Holden), T-Dog (IronE Singleton), Carol (Melissa McBride), Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), and probably my favorite character… along with most of the show’s other viewers… Daryl (Norman Reedus).

Rick immediately establishes himself as the team leader; but after the camp is infiltrated by a group of walkers and a few lives are lost, the survivors retreat, pack up and head out.  And so the journey begins….or continues in this case.

The first season of The Walking Dead is only six episodes, making it perfect for a marathon style viewing party (that’s what we did).  In season two, the survivors cohabitate on a farm with Hershel (Scott Wilson) and his daughters (Maggie, played by Lauren Cohen, and Beth, played by Beth Kinney).  Of course, as expected, they have to abruptly leave the farm and take up residence in an abandoned prison, which begins season three.  And along the way, they cross paths with The Governor (David Morrissey) and a few other recurring characters (like Michonne, played by Danai Gurira, and Tyreese, played by Chad L. Coleman).

Now in season four, the group’s once safe fortress is no more…

Just how successful is The Walking Dead?  The series has already been picked up for a fifth year and averages anywhere between 10-16 million viewers per episode.   Yeah, it’s one of the most popular TV shows on today…

The Walking Dead is shot without the vibrant colors of shows like Hawaii Five-0; but while not black and white, still appears dark and gloomy in relation to the current state of events.  The episodes are not for those with weak stomachs and are filled with suspense, leaving us hanging on by the seat of our pants.  Not every character is likable, yet we find ourselves hoping that the walkers don’t bite anyone else.

The series is a bit graphic at times.  Honestly, I almost stopped watching at one particular point in the pilot episode (I did not like seeing the walkers devour a horse).  But I stuck with it and I really am glad that I did.

Oh, and most importantly, not one single character is safe from death.  Not one.  Of all the survivors listed above, six have already perished.  I just won’t say who…

It’s difficult to decide which rating I should award The Walking Dead.  For bringing zombies to television, I’m leaning towards a GTV rating; the fact that I actually need the week in-between episodes to recover from what has happened, I’m leaning towards the GTV rating; for keeping me on the edge of my seat, not being predictable, and for the music, I’m leaning towards the GTV rating.  So, I guess it’s a top-tiered TV show for me—GTV all the way.

What do you think?  Do you watch The Walking Dead?  I’d love to hear from you!

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
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
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
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Cooking with my Ronco Rotisserie

I don’t know about many others, but we get sucked into watching those late-night infomercials on the weekends.  Perhaps if we didn’t pretend to be vampires and stay up all night we wouldn’t, but we do.  Not all of the ads get to us, usually just the food those devils are preparing.  Why?  Because we love food!  Who doesn’t?

That and kitchen gadgets.  When we consolidated all of our things, we didn’t have enough space for all of our kitchen “stuff” even though our kitchen was twice the size either of us had previously.  And while we did get rid of the things we never really used or had duplicates of, that didn’t stop us from constantly adding new and FUN things over the years.

Like our Ronco Rotisserie.

Ronco Rotisserie

First off, it’s huge.  We really didn’t have the space for this; and despite my never wanting to store anything on top of the refrigerator, we had no other choice thanks to its size.

Secondly, pretty much every accessory that comes with the Ronco claims to be dishwasher safe.  However, after washing everything prior to its first use, some of the stuff rusted.  Not cool.  That tells me it’s not *really* dishwasher safe.  But, after unsuccessfully reaching out to the company for replacement warranty items (maybe we waited too long to use for the first time… or maybe they lost the email… regardless, they never responded), we were able to rub off the rust (and a lot of the coloring) and it is now right as rain.  Because we hand wash.

Ronco Rotisserie
If you look closely, you can see all of the accessories that come with it – two baskets, skewers, etc) stored inside the unit…

Now, we can overlook these first two things.  Why?  Because every single food item we prepare with our Ronco Rotisserie is delicious.  And we’ve tried a lot.

Ribs…

Rotisserie ribsChicken – what we probably prepare the most with a side of fresh guacamole…

Rotisserie chickenAnd Shish Kabobs.  The before…

KabobsAnd after…

Rotisserie KabobsNothing takes too long in the rotisserie and the meat is cooked perfectly.  Every time we try something new, we just pull out our little cooking manual and use their recommended time frames for the meat. And voila!

Heck, we even like ours so much that we’ve since given both sets of parents one.  They may not use theirs as often as we do ours, but what they have prepared they have loved.

Your turn – do you rotisserie?  What other kitchen appliances can you not live without?  I’d love to hear from you!

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Teen Wolf

Welcome back to Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!

Today I’m jumping in with one of  the television shows I have been looking forward to returning in the 2014 winter TV season—MTV’s Teen Wolf.

Teen WolfWe all remember the 1985 comedy starring Michael J. Fox, right?  MTV promised to use the generalized idea behind the ’80s Teen Wolf, but compared their story to a transformed version with a darker side.  So did they?

First, a few similarities:

In 1985, Michael J. Fox played Scott Howard; today, Tyler Posey plays Scott McCall.

In 1985, Scott Howard’s best friend was an oddball named Stiles; today, Scott McCall’s best friend is an oddball named Stiles (played by Dillon O’Brien).

Stiles (left) and Scott (right)…

In 1985, Scott Howard wasn’t the best basketball player on the team, not until he transformed into his wolf-self; today, Scott McCall isn’t anywhere close to the best lacrosse player on the squad, until he endures the cursed bite, that is.

Now, to a few differences:

In 1985, Scott Howard suffered from a family curse, a long line of male werewolves that sometimes skipped a generation; today, Scott McCall is bitten by a werewolf while out in the woods.

In 1985, Scott Howard show-boats around as his wolf-self; today, Scott McCall works desperately to keep his curse secret.

In 1985, audiences laughed along with Scott Howard in Teen Wolf; today, viewers and Scott McCall cringe as another person in the community is brutally attacked by a supposed animal (although there are laughs, especially where Stiles is concerned…).

Wolfin’ out…

MTV’s Teen Wolf pleasantly surprised me.  First of all, like most other things MTV, the show is geared toward the younger audience (or YA as we’ve become accustomed to calling it in the literary world).  I may be in my thirties, but I like most Young Adult television series; and more importantly, I really enjoy Teen Wolf.  And it’s not just me—my guy doesn’t miss an episode either.

Moreover, the show’s claim to focus on the mythology of the werewolf and the darkness of the curse has played a major role in the television series.  If The Vampire Diaries has taught the TV rating’s world anything, it’s that teens (as well as whoever is watching) prefer the dark twists and storylines—if we want comedy, there are sitcoms for that.

During the first season, Teen Wolf introduced the idea of the alpha and beta wolf.  An alpha is the strongest, most powerful, and the most deadly kind of werewolf.  Over the course of the first few years, both Scott McCall and Derek Hale (played by Tyler Hoechlin from 7th Heaven) have transitioned from betas to alphas, due to circumstances surrounding them.  And just because one is once an alpha, doesn’t mean they always will remain an alpha… just sayin’.

Derek…

In the second season, Teen Wolf picked up the action, the suspense, and the storylines.  If season one piqued our interests, season two hooked us.  The story introduced the mysterious kanima, a mutation of the werewolf.  Better yet, viewers didn’t know for quite some time who the kanima was.  Was it “top-jock” Jackson Whittemore (played by Colton Haynes from The Gates)?  Or Lydia (played by Holland Roden), the annoying girl admired by Stiles?  Or heck, someone else all together?  Believe me… there were options.

Season three keeps with the mythology of the werewolf, as fictitious as it may be, and introduces viewers to the biggest, baddest alpha of them all—Deucalion.  But that’s not all; viewers also watch as some mysterious person or creature continues to sacrifice virgins, warriors, healers, philosophers and guardians… and a banshee is also introduced to the group.

Alison (with the bow) and Lydia…

The series has gotten better and better with each passing year, in my opinion anyway.  The show has great fight scenes (with not-so-bad special effects for TV, especially for MTV), forbidden love (Scott and Alison Argent, played by Crystal Reed, who hails from generations of werewolf hunters), and typical teen insecurities and humiliations.  And considering neither my guy nor I can wait long to watch once the new episodes are on our DVR, I’m awarding Teen Wolf with the Mac TV rating.  The water is definitely boiling rapidly with the intensity of each episode… and leaves us wondering what will happen next.

What do you think?  Do you watch Teen Wolf?  I’d love to hear from you! 

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
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
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
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

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