Category Archives: Movies

2015: The Year in Random Thoughts and Obsessions

For my yearly wrap up of 2013, I wrote, “All hail the return of the king – David Bowie – and the art of the music video.” And I included a link to his surreal collaboration with Tilda Swinton for ‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’. Two years later and RIP, we’re talking and posting about how much we’ll miss Bowie. (My thoughts can be found here.)

Yes, the last year has been especially tough. I’ve lost friends and heard of marriages dissolving, read helplessly of terrorist attacks in France and the continuing assault on women’s rights in the U.S. Not to mention the masses of refugees desperate for safe havens and the innocent lives struck down by gun violence.

“Day In Day Out

Stay In Fade Out”

Yet, in the midst of everyday upheaval, small glories continue to reveal themselves. Glimmers of hope to remind us that we are not alone, that quite simply, wonders never cease. Here’s a small sampling of some of my favorite things from the world of popular culture:

lady story

Yes please! More stories about strong females. (photo taken at a shopping center in Sha Tin, by therockmom)

  1. Serena Williams tops my list for consistent awesomeness. What a joy to watch her match against Heather Watson at Wimbledon. I was with my daughters and nephews on a sunny summer morning, trying to explain the arcane scoring system. All of us cheered on Williams yet at the same time felt inexplicably proud that Watson could stretch her to three sets. Later in the year, the girls and I watched the marvelous doc, Venus and Serena, and although Williams didn’t get her Grand Slam at the US Open, we still knew: she is the greatest.
  1. In movies and television, we sought out strong girls and women and, even in the midst of the industry’s glaring inequalities, still found a few to shout about, namely: Kate (Emily Blunt/Sicario), Riley and Joy (Inside Out), Alex (Priyanka Chopra/Quantico), Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw/Beyond the Lights), Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska/Ida) and of course Rey (Daisy Ridley/Star Wars Ep VII). Recently I’ve had the pleasure of introducing my kids to The X-Files Season One and the complex relationship between Scully the scientist and Mulder the believer. As the new episodes remind us, the X-Files is just great storytelling.
  1. While I still can’t convince EO and YO of the wonders of Jane Austen, school assignments and various recommendations (not quite me shoving a book in to their hands and saying: read this! but close, lol.) have introduced them to classics by Harper Lee, Truman Capote, Joan Didion, F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Golding along with plenty of Judy Blume.
  1. And in the Department of Obsessions, I still can’t get enough of Castle, Mesut Ozil (COYG!), Maneki Nekos and Justin Beiber’s (lack of) facial hair. Say what you want, go on, I can take it 😉

    Imagine Dragons & phones

    The lights! The sounds! The… phones. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. (photo taken at Imagine Dragons’ HK show, by therockmom)

  1. Last but certainly not least, music! Live highlights of the year were Clockenflap in Hong Kong and Taylor Swift in Washington DC. For Swift, it was the girls, Grandma plus me and my dear friend and her daughter. We sat (and stood) in awe at Swift’s seemingly effortless command of the stage. She is a Force, thankfully using her powers for good, not evil. However, due to her dissatisfaction with Spotify, she’s not on my playlist of the year’s best. Instead I’ve included Ryan Adams’ version of ‘Wildest Dreams’, which was my favorite song of hers from 1989. His cover is just okay, kind of standard, sensitive RA. As I listen I realize that his whole take on 1989 has missed the point entirely. The point is that these songs were written by and about a young woman and her very specific experiences with the push and pull of desire. So a guy in his ‘40s? I don’t think he can quite capture what she’s feeling, that moment in time. As much as I love Ryan Adams, he could have given this project a miss.

I’ll finish here with the playlist – 25 songs from fantastic recent releases and a few new-to-me-this-year discoveries (KING, Sun Kil Moon). Interestingly, over half the songs are from female singers/bands and women-fronted bands. Not that I was aiming for that gender balance, it just happened, but I’m pleased nonetheless.

So much good music out there – listen, discover, enjoy!

 

Spader Fans! Here Are Your Quiz Answers:

Thanks everyone for reading and participating in my quiz: Trending Baby Names or James Spader in the ’80s?

The hair, the HAIR! From The New Kids, courtesy of Creative Commons and www.ingridrichter.org/cheese/new_kids.html

The hair, the HAIR! From The New Kids, courtesy of Creative Commons and http://www.ingridrichter.org/cheese/new_kids.html

Here are Spader’s muy beloved characters from the ’80s. Do you have a favorite?

Let me know!

2. FenwickDiner (TV short), 1983

3. LowellFamily Secrets, 1984

5. MorganTuff Turf, 1985 (Kim Richards was the love interest, FYI)

7. DutraThe New Kids, 1985

8. RichardsMannequin, 1987

11. Digby (I inadvertently wrote Dutra twice, so changed this later. Sorry for the confusion!) – Greasy Lake, 1988

13. SteffPretty in Pink, 1986 (Those deconstructed linen suits and loafers, no socks)

17. GrahamSex, Lies and Videotape, 1989 (his most normal name for arguably the weirdest guy in the bunch)

18. DeforrestThe Rachel Papers, 1989

20. RipLess Than Zero, 1987

As for those trending baby names, most of them came courtesy of The Huffington Post. But there are three baseball-loving boys in North Carolina who deserve a mention:

Price, Grey and Preston (future attorneys-at-law) – you rock!

Trending Baby Name OR James Spader in the ’80s?

Hi all & welcome back to a bit of weekend fun. A rockmom quiz inspired by a group of young boys we encountered at a minor league baseball game over the summer.

God loves minor league baseball. (photo by therockmom)

God loves minor league baseball. (photo by therockmom)

The trio sat in front of us the whole evening: chatting, wearing their giveaway jerseys and eventually – inevitably – pouring ice cubes down each others’ backs. As local boys and fans of the team, they knew a lot about the players, such as who’d been called up to the bigs, who was the team’s best left-handed pitcher and what the heck OPS stands for (on-base plus slugging, a sabermetric i.e. ‘extra fancy’ stat). Their parents were sitting several rows behind and would periodically call out their names. As you can imagine in 2015, the Year of Our Whole Foods, there was absolutely no Tom, Dick or Harry in this group. They all had names that sounded like partners in an accounting firm. Or, as I realized a few weeks later when Pretty in Pink popped up on cable (you can’t not watch it), the names of James Spader characters from the 1980s.

His best roles, IMHO.

But I won’t say any more. See if you can identify each name as either a James Spader movie character from the ’80s or a current popular boy’s name.

Enjoy yourself and please, no fair consulting IMDB! I’ll post answers on Monday.

  1. Preston
  2. Fenwick
  3. Lowell
  4. Carson
  5. Morgan
  6. Grey
  7. Dutra
  8. Richards (with an ‘s’)
  9. Price
  10. Pax
  11. Digby
  12. Bennett
  13. Steff
  14. Logan
  15. Hudson
  16. Kingston
  17. Graham
  18. Deforrest
  19. Zed
  20. Rip