Monday, August 17, 2015

No Rhyme Nor Reason

For whatever reason, this super beautiful girl is into this super redneck wearing a flag for a pair of swim trunks. Pretty much all they do is make out in pool and she lets the curtain of her hair fall over his sunburned, cross-eyed face. Again, I feel bad for these cast members who have to pretend to care about any of this.

Samantha claims that she, as a human being, would never plot against another human being. After she says this, they show secret footage of her as human being, plotting. She looks like she stepped off the pages of Vogue, circa 1962. She has really long hair and a wide mouth and should be wearing white lipstick and go-go boots.

Everyone is upset because they feel like Juelia (who can't spell her name) has been played by Joe and that it was super unfair because she has a dead husband and a baby girl. Like, it might have been okay if she was single and no one died.

This new girl has arrived. Her name is Amber and she is of indiscriminate ethnicity (i.e. sort of black). Amber, of course, picks Dan who was supposed to be in love with Ashley who is a portrayed as the strange one, but all I've seen that is weird is that she uses the word literally too much. Like literally every second. Ashley will be kicked off the show. Literally. With a kick. They show footage of playing with a sand crab, in direct contrast to the woman last night who squealed when she saw a crab on a rock.

Megan and JJ go on a date. Megan is the one who was afraid of the crab. She has a black feather tattooed on her arm. She may or may not be wearing false eyelashes. JJ was for certain a member of the young Republicans of America. They go on a jet ski and she can't stop smiling. Back on the boat, they cuddle up and he stars at her fake breasts. Dolphins have been paid (in fish) to swim next to the boat.

Ashley may have had one too many Coronas. They show her going to talk to the birds. I mean, who cares? She likes animals. I mean, who cares?

Dan and Amber go on a date where she has to climb up a ladder in a short skirt for some reason. Dan wears a white pressed shirt tucked into jeans. The locals force them to kiss and fireworks go off. My Dan says, "Hey, that's what happens to us when we kiss."  Dan the TV person is crazily shiny in this lamplight.  He has his hair down in the style of a 1930s movie star, lots of gel and product and a serious part. My Dan says some more inappropriate things about what's going on under the table, that I will not retype here. Dan says he didn't expect that the conversation would keep going or that they would keep kissing or that it would be this intense and exciting and that he would sweat this much. Is she getting his sweat on her face? Is his beard sweaty? MD says that he hopes their next day will be going food shopping at Shop Rite (that's what are date nights involve).

Well, almost time for the rose ceremony. Going home will be Juelia and Ashley, even though she's the most entertaining. I don't know who else will be on the chopping block, because I can't remember who else is on fantasy island.

Once again, the guys have to stand around and drink things out of coconuts and pretend to give a crap that Joe knew Samantha prior to coming to the show. Samantha seems to be made of wax. JJ might threaten to beat up Joe. JJ confronts him and Joe gets up to leave, but then he sits back down again  JJ says that Joe lied to their faces. Joe calls JJ dumb for a banker. JJ calls Joe out for always making circular references. Jared is shocked that he likes JJ better than Jared. JJ wantsw to be the crap out of Joe because that's the better way to solve problems.

No rose ceremony. Damn.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Bachelorinos in Paradiso

I watched a little bit of last night's show and here's how I can summarize: the women all got together
and decided to wear fake eyelashes. The men all got together and decided to get bad tattoos. I don't know what else happened except that I felt sorry for the contestants because they were forced to have these phony conversations where they pretended to care about who is scamming who. I have no idea who went home (did anyone?) or what happened of any significance, but I'm confident that the first ten minutes of tonight's show will be a recap of those 3 important minutes. I also don't understand why the show is now three hours long per week, when it really only needs to be 9 minutes.

Clare and Jarrod/Ashton are on the sailboat, guided by a ghost. They will now be forced to go bungee jumping. Cue picture of love birds grooming each other. Both must go down topless. I'll say that it's pretty high. Clare and Ashton bond over Clare putting her nose in his armpit right before they are pushed off the cliff in an embrace. Clare poops her bikini bottoms as they tumble but the producers edit it out. He's holding on to her and they may be engaged in intercourse. It's unclear but not unlikely.

Where did the twin-ish sister go? Ashley is crying because Clare had a great date and Tenley is, like, so confused because two guys are into her. But guess what? Another dude has shown up and he too is in love with Tenley, who he calls "Elevensey" GET IT? He went to Notre Dame, you guys.

Here's a new dumb way that they're talking. They ask an obvious question and then answer it in an even more obvious or else oblique way. Like: "Do I want to their date too be a good one? Of course, I don't. I hope he pukes on himself. Do I want her to ride on a horse in white shorts while he stares at her butt? Of course I don't want them to ride on a horse, separately or together and especially not in those shorts. Is there an echo in here? Of course there's an echo in here, in here."

Tenley (whose name I have to re-type three times before my spell check will allow it) is so excited that Michael from Desiree's season is on the show She modestly asks why he likes her. He says, "Well, you're strikingly beautiful and you're always smiling and you have so much positive energy." Michael may want to re-think those white pants.

You guys, there is no way that they don't give these men some camera-ready kiss training. They totally coach them in how to first push back the woman's hair and then put their hands on either side of their faces before gently descending. And they must wear leather bracelets.

Jarrod turns into kind of a dick by reminding Clare that she's eight years older than him and that might be an issue. She's 34, practically ancient. Clare goes, "Well, that's it then." Thank you for not crying, Clare. The dude has not yet learned how to shave.

Two guys are telling this blond woman that she needs to send Joe home because he's not here for the right reasons and also because he's from the South and his eyes are too close together. Joe denies that he is playing her and then he lunges for a kiss to prove that he's sincere. Because no one would ever kiss you if they didn't truly like you. They should just cast this show with 15 year olds. Joe is passed and wants to beat the shit out of Mikey. "I swear to God, ya'll, I want to bet my brass knuckles out and take him out back..." By comparison, Mikey is starting to look like a dreamboat, samurai ponytail or samurai ponytail. Joe manipulates two of the guys into admitting they were wrong. Someone is crying in the bathroom but I don't know who it is. Who it's the other guy. Come on. That's okay.

I missed a few minutes because I was watching some guys with crazy hair on American Ninja Warrior. Ashton goes the crier and tells Herr that he wants to put his hands on her face and kisses her. She goes, "I was waiting for that long enough. Holy shit, dude!" So romantic.

Rose ceremony. That strange girl is still there. I wish she would stay the whole time. Clare could give the African American guy a rose. Clare gives an impassioned speech about how no one has asked her what she likes. Then she tells this other girl that if the shoe fits, she should wear it.

Blond girl picks Kirk with the bow tie. He's a ginger and reminds me and looks like an extra from The Walton.

The weird girl gives the rose to Dan.

Jade gives it to Tanner who elbows a few guys out of the way.

Tenley picks Joshua, the drug addict.

Clear, rather than forfeiting the rose, goes off to cry. She does not know who to give the rose too. It's to be continued...

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Say Anything Still Works

Watched Cameron Crowe's Say Anything last night for the first time in about fifteen years. I am trying to decide if it's a feminist film or not. It's one of the few teen movies where the guy is totally willing to give up everything for the girl and the girl is the one who has big plans. In this movie, she's the valedictorian and she has earned a fellowship to study in London. Conversely, Lloyd isn't sure what he wants to do (aside from not want to "sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career"). His main goal in life is to be the boyfriend of Diane Court. He's Lloyd Dobler, as played by the long-eyelashed, super tall John Cusack, who I have a fondness for because he's a native Chicagoan and because I also like his sister, actress Joan Cusack, especially her green-eye-shadowed character in Working Girl. 

There was a spat of these "unpopular guy gets popular girl" films in the 80s, like Patrick Dempsey's Can't Buy Me Love and Eric Stoltz in the one with Amanda Jones...Oh, Some Kind of Wonderful. Essentially, they all run something like this: unpopular or unknown guy gets super hot girl, who discovers that he's way better than the dumb jocks she's been dating.

But Say Anything is somewhat different because it's not that Lloyd is unpopular, it's just that he's not in her league. He's older, and has no plans for college. He lives with his sister, his parents are nowhere to be found, and he likes to kick box. Diane is the one with the future and the plans and the brains. They have this great kiss in the rain where he's super tall and they're both soaking wet and he's got his hands tangled in her hair and then there's this other sweet moment right after the first time he sleeps with her that he's shaking but denying it, but still shaking and he says it's because he's happy. 

Of course, there's also the fact that he keeps saving her, kind of, making sure she's safe at the party, that she doesn't step on glass on the sidewalk, that she can travel to London without freaking out on the plane, and he's this replacement dad figure, because, in an unexpected and possibly unnecessary plot twist, Diane's dad (played by the guy who was Frasier's dad in the show) turns out to be a crook, embezzling from his elderly clientele. And still. And still, it has this amazing Lily Taylor as his best friend who writes countless songs about her ex boyfriend, and who rejects him when he wants to get back together and she doesn't end up with someone else and that's okay and there is not sexual tension between her and him, and that's okay too, they're friends and she thinks he's amazing and that's it.

Then again, is it stalking to leave eight voice messages and stand outside a girl's window blasting Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes?" Naw, it's not too bad. "I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen."

Monday, August 3, 2015

Day two, starting half way through

Wait, this is on again? I was watching Unreal, a TV drama about the making of a reality TV show.

Here's that one girl from Chris' season (Clare?) going on a one-on-one with Mikey. Mikey, the muscle monkey. Mikey, with tattoos who says things like, "Deep down, I have always had like this fifth grade crush on you and I think you're like so awesome." Their date is to simulate sex in yoga poses. No kidding. They will be focusing on the four chakras--the heart, the mind, the groin, and the butt chakras. They must touch ads to ads and pull each other back and forth. Please do not fart, they're both thinking. Actually, only Clare is probably thinking that. I doubt that Mikey cares. His favorite position is downward Clare and hopefully, he will be "able to experience it with he done day without all the cameras."  They dive into a pool and Mikey says that he wants to get to know her bette rand would like to kiss her. She says, in not so many ways, I am not interested in you at all. He tells the camera later "I like that we're on the same page together." Let's see what happens when I Google tantric yoga...
The people are starting to couple up and Tenley, who has a made up name and refers to herself in the third person, pouts, wondering who will give her a rose? Except you have to imagine her saying that in a bitty baby voice, as in "Who will give me a wose?" Mikey has his super short hair in a teeny tiny ponytail, not at all resembling a samurai.
Who raised these two sisters? They seem like brats. They both cry immediately and decide they need to start doing shots. Sounds like a good idea. The dark haired one says, "I'm going to hafta claim my stake." She interrupts Tenley's walk with Ashton and she tells him that she's awkward around hot guys. He does not know what to say to her.  The two sister are a little bit funny together as the one tries to comfort the other by saying, "You're way better than any of these girls running around with fake boobies. It's like saline central around here."
Tenley is throwing herself at J.J. and giving him permission to kiss her and rub her butt just below where the microphone pack is placed. The twins are now all dressed up with dramatic red lipstick. Ashley now suddenly has long dark hair and she looks like a Hawaiian pin-up princess. She and Jarod/Ashley tell each others how amazing they think the other person is and then he goes to talk to Clare. This, of course, make Ashley cry, but she does that crying thing that my friend Donna pointed out, where they don't let the tears actually fall down their faces, they grab them up with the tips of their fingers as if they are precious jewels. I think this is because they don't' want their foundation to come off in cakey rivers.
This show is more like a cross between The Bachelor meets Big Brother, because there is strategy involved.
Rose ceremony. Guy picks girl.
Tanner chooses Jade. She accepts.
Kirk chooses Carly. She accepts with gold shit in her hair.
Sweaty guy picks Ashley S.
Black guy picks blond girl.
Mikey picks Clare. She will accept this rose, even though she doesn't like him and he doesn't know it.
Jarod is the one who will make of break the lives of these other women. He picks Ashley I. That means that she and her sister ret to stay and only J.J. is left.
Jo.J. chooses... He seems like a total prick, by the way. It's between Jillian and Tinley. He picks...Tenley. This kiss paid off. Jillian is shocked because she thought she had him eating out of her own hand, as she mimed a couple of times.
Oh, no, bad news. This is on both Sundays and Mondays. I won't be able to watch it both nights ever.

Live Frat Party on TV

I will not be watching the whole show because I have another TV date for PBS' Poldark, a show where, to date, no one has worn a thong.

Thus far, we've met a meathead, three sweet girls, and the woman with the Bambi eyelashes who brought her sister. Not sure if she's a twin or what, but she is already having throwing her wet body against a guy in the ocean as he fortuitously grabs her boobs so she won't fall over. Ashley wears a  white v-neck T-shirt with no bra. They have reminded us the Ashley is a virgin but her sister is so NOT (their emphasis, not mine). Kurt the ginger shows up and Carly likes him. I like Carly but she has dyed her hair a little too blond. One black guy so far and Ashton Kushner is back with the same half-hearted facial hair. Jillian bounces in wearing a super cute neon yellow bikini with her butt cheeks hanging out (cue black bar). Jade, remember, is the hometown girl who posed for Playboy and was promptly dumped when she told Chris and then forced him to watch her video.  J.J. has just arrived in pink pants and been cast as the villain. Any adult who goes by just their initials should rightfully be played seen as the bad guy. The other Ashley enters, ready to take on the role of the kooky girl. She immediately goes to look at the parakeets, right after saying she wasn't correctly portrayed as a loony on the last show. There will also be a wedding between the two previous Paradise contestants.

Chris tells them to follow him into a tent and to sit on the wooden settees. He announces that one of the women will be going home. As for the sisters, Chris says that if you extend a rose to one, they will both be staying. Why? The other girls are immediately jealous.

Chris Harrison wants to show them something interesting. He wears a blue leisure suite--matching pants and jacket, probably no socks, but we never do get to see his ankles. He's going to take them to the wedding of those other beautiful people who met and bonded within fifteen minutes in the last season. Boring. I forgot how boring this particular show is. How much money did they pay Marcus and Lacey to pretend to be married by Chris Harrison? Fifty thousand? Only two of their family members are allowed to attend. Chris reminds them that they failed at love on their first reality shows, but that love was with them and they were able to find each other on the second reality show. Wow. They share some canned and unsurprising vows and are pronounced Harrison, which means that all of the vows are extra meaningless. Smiles all around from the cast. The one girl with a tragic story that I don't remember catches the bouquet. Almost no teeth were knocked out in the grabbing of the bouquet.

Lots of drinking will ensue, tears will be shed, and bikinis will be worn. I'll try to catch up next week (it moves the Monday nights after this one special episode).

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Books I've Read in the Last Two Weeks and Barely Recall Now

My ability to hold on to a plot line beyond a month is severely limited, which is good and bad. The bad part is that I think I may have a brain tumor. The good part is that I can read books more than once, always with a sense of de ja vu, like I may have read it before. Some of the time, that's because I'm not reading with great attention, but with one eye on the dog and the other eye closing in tiredness (I read mostly at bedtime). But here's an update on what I've read recently, as far as I can remember it. All of these books came from the wonderful, amazing, fantabulous Princeton Public Library. If that library were a man (or a woman), I would gladly make out with it.

1.  Finders Keepers by Stephen King. This book includes characters from his last volume, Mr. Mercedes, which I also read but can't remember very well. According to Wikipedia, it's the second in a trilogy devoted to this town, these characters. Finders Keepers runs over a slightly familiar trope for King, a fan obsessed with a writer (think Lisley's Story and Misery).  But it was... boring. By King standards, because one of his greatest strengths is that he creates page-turning tensions. You must keep reading until the end. That was true of this book, but the plot was boring. A bad guy kills an author and steals his money and all of his unpublished work and then buries it in his own back yard, after killing the other two people who helped him pull off the heist. He then goes to prison for a few decades for a different crime, and the kid whose family buys his house uncovers the treasure a few years later.  The novel centers around the killer being released and tracking down the little boy. Not to ruin it for you, but there is a scene at the end where the bad guy burns to death trying to rescue the books, not unlike what happens to Annie Wilkes in Misery. I didn't care much for the kid or his plight and the characters seemed flat. I read it cover to cover though.

2. By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham. If you haven't read The Hours, you must. This book did not compare to that one, but the writing was lovely, so many beautiful sentences. He reminds me of McEwan--they both write about moments in life where the character is trying to decide what it all means, why are we here, what does life mean, but not in a pontificating or obvious way. The story was about an art curator who thinks he might be falling in love with his wife's fucked up younger brother.

3. Long And Faraway Gone, by Lou Berney. This is a crime novel about two characters trying to solve mysteries from the past. One is a detective hired to figure out why this woman is being harassed at her place of business (he's also a survivor of a terrible crime 20 years earlier); the other a woman whose sister disappeared at the county fair twenty years ago. I liked it, but it felt like the writer wasn't sure how to resolve the mysteries. Both were solved when other characters just messed up to what had happened. With no consequence. Also, the two crimes did not link up in any way and the characters only fleetingly intersected. Which story was more interesting? The guy who couldn't figure out why he survived this mass shooting in a movie theater after-hours. No answer was forthcoming. That question was not answered.

4. The Dangerous Husband by Jane Shapiro. I picked this one up mostly because I thought, Oh, finally, a book with the word "husband" in the title instead of "wife." This quick read was a dark comedy about the difficulty of staying married, particularly when the husband is chronically, hyperbolically clumsy and prone to knocking over bookshelves and people at any given moment. Halfway though, the wife realizes she can't leave him, and so he must die. The writing was entertaining, strange, and somewhat tiring with its quirkiness, but I guess that means one should just not try to read it all in one sitting.

I'm also now reading Charles Baxter's interrelated collection of short stories with titles like "Bravery," "Loyalty," and "Chastity." I'll let you know how that goes. Library trip is imminent for later on today.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The SHOCKING Season Finale

What could that mean? Will someone be killed? Will Kaitlyn's twin show up to say she's the one who slept with Nick? Will Shawn confess that he's secretly married to...Nick's sister? Or will they drag this out for two hours and she'll pick Nick like she's supposed to so they can break up after two covers of US Weekly and go their separate ways to be on Dancing with the Stars?

Shawn, please stop doing you're hair in that 1950s do-wop soda jerk style.

Nick, you are not Nick Carraway. No more bow ties for you.

Kaitlyn, stop petting your mom's hair. Kaitlyn's mom is very made up and young looking. She has bangs and may have just had her braces removed. My far-flung reporter, Emily Morgan Brown, aptly describes her as "old-fashioned hoochie mama." That about covers it.

Nick shows up first, with his hair distinctly sandier than I remember it. He also has decided to grow a beard He is wearing a wooden beaded bracelet that look like a girl's necklace that he wound around his wrist four times. Hoochie Mama grills him, saying that she remembers him as arrogant and possessive and wondering if he can explain what it is that Kaitlyn likes about him. She asks if they will still like each other after the sexual attraction wears off. I think he's actually falling in love with mom, who keeps touching her neck. He fakes tears.  He is a bit of a mumbler. I can understand like every third word he says, "Your daughter argghh...she with the (murmur stumble slur) can't get enough of her." They make out by the mini van while saying goodbye. Numerous audible kisses.

Dan says he wants me to sign him up for the next season of the bachelor. Here's his pitch,"Danny Fernandez, yoga instructor, 47, lives in New Jersey with 12 year old son, frequently forgets to cut his eyebrows, but is a careful driver and hopes to find someone who will help him clean his ears for the rest of his life. His mom just bought him a shirt today."

Here's his head shot.

Shawn is next. He says that he's hoping "To get off to the right foot." He brings thank you gifts and Kaitlyn's sister likes him. His part is totally half-way down the side of his head and cut with a razor blade. They seem to like him better, even though he's more of a dude and uses the word "dude" often. Mom is a cry baby. She loves tons of cliches strung together.  Sister Haley also loves Shawn. This is the part where they skew it so we think that she's going to pick Shawn, but she won't. Shawn asks for both of their blessings. Mom goes, "We love our daughter, but she is an idiot. As long as you know that from the start." Dad says, "There's going to be lots of ups and downs. She's probably bipolar like her mother." (Those are Dan quotes).

Is this Kaitlyn's mom or Jackie Collins? You decide.

Is this Kaitlyn's mom or Sharon Osborne? Unclear.

Nick has the first one-on-one final date with Kait in Marina del Ray on a sail boat and he leaps from the motor boat onto the sailboat. Why oh why can't something happen like where he falls and hits his teeth and knocks them out? Who is sailing this boat? Where is his hand right now? You got it, all the way up her denim shorts.  They have another date and Nick wears a shirt that it looks like something his mom bought him, possibly from Macy's. Who is he trying to look like with this super un-hip shirt and beard? That guy from Little House?

Dan thinks that instead of going on adventures like sky-diving and cave spelunking, they should try to get their social security cards together in Trenton, like we had to do. Now, that's a character-revealing adventure.

He got her a gift and it's in his bedroom. But he says it like this:"Iboughtyouagiftandit'sinmypants." It's a handwritten poem in a frame with a picture of the two of them "There is magic in your eyes and when I see you there is love in your heart and when I touch you I feel love worth letting go." A terrible, terrible poem with spelling errors that he wrote on the back of the inside of a box of Froot Loops and stuck in a frame from Things Best Forgotten.

Now it's Shawn's turn. He shows up in a tight white long underwear shirt, also looking like a character from Little House. Maybe even the same actor. Kaitlyn, stop petting his knee.

He says he has a pit in his stomach because he's not sure if he should propose to her since she obviously slept with someone else.  For the second date, he dresses up by wearing a football shirt from the Gap. He says, "I want to  be able to say, 'This is my girl, this is my wife.'" He also has a gift for her, it's a jar of candy. Or a jar of fruit or wait, it's a jar of their dates. It's a memory jar, like a memory book, only, like, in a jar, dude. Where did he get the notes that he wrote to her? What's in the jar is their love story. What will happen if she chooses him is that she will end up in a jar, thrown in a river.

The two men pick out rings. Nick has dedicated himself to the white v-neck T under an open button down shirt look. Shawn is into whatever fits the tightest.

I missed a bunch of stuff because my computer lost power. But yes, they have fucked with us the whole season, so we would think it would be Nick, and it's not Nick, because she likes Big Boy better. She likes the guy who can't pronounce the word "been." As in, "I've been on a journey," comes out like, "I bin on this journey, dude."

Nick does not want to hear it. This is like being dumped at prom. That's how not-high the stakes are.

EW! I don't like Shawn though. It's not because Shawn isn't a good guy, it's because he seems like a beefcake. I mean, I get that these are personas, but I don't see anything, not one thing, that's interesting about him. Can the producers not find a way to make the people on the show seem more individual or human?

Stunned silence in the studio, like someone just announced that the president was shot. Except for the ll year old girls with side-ponytails in the audience, no one is really that invested in this show, because we all know it's staged.

Shawn shows up, wearing a skinny tie from 1989 and a skin tight tuxedo. Probably he's wearing a sleeveless shirt under the jacket. The moment he saw her, he knew his life was never going to be the same. When he introduced himself, he felt like he's never felt before, these past couple of months and through the highs and the lows and the ups and downs, he would not change any of it, something about more than he can imagine, the incredible-est woman he has ever met and he wants to kiss those lips and have a pit in his stomach every single day and he falls more and more in love with her every time he sees her, she is the love of his life, and all he wants to do is make her the happiest girl in his life. She blathers the same things back. She says that he makes her laugh (unintentionally). She too enjoys the ups and downs. And the truth is...She will stop sleeping around now. And she loves him with all of her heart. Kiss. Music swells. Dan wants to know if this is staged in Lego Land. Like, what are all those mini pillars? It reminds me of that scene from This is Spinal Tap, where the producers were imagining huge replications of Stonehenge, but the set designer came back with mini-versions "in danger of being crushed by a dwarf."

That's all she wrote people. I cannot stay for the after-birth.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Aging Sherlock

We went to see Mr. Holmes at the Princeton Garden Theater last night and it was a lot about regrets and forgetting and getting older and trying to puzzle out a case. Holmes is in his nineties, 93, and he's losing the power of his brain, his greatest asset, though still sharp in some ways (he has the power to deduce where the housekeeper has been by the state of her hair, nails, and dress), he can't recall the details of the case that caused him to quit detective work entirely. The case went so badly, he retired to the country, where he keeps aviaries, and those bumblebees play a big part in the story, these industrious creatures who are mysteriously dying. Then there is his visit to Japan to get a special herb to help his memory from a Japanese man, and there is a mystery there too, because it turns out the man invited him there because he believes Holmes knew his father (and encouraged him to abandon the family--which wasn't true).

So, there are four mysteries--the mystery of why the bees are dying, the mystery of Holmes' last case, which he keeps piecing together through the little boy of the house, the mystery of the Japanese man, and I guess that's it and so it's three mysteries. Oh, well, unless you county the mystery of why Laura Linney was cast as the housekeeper. I mean, I love Laura Linney, but she doesn't scream, "English housekeeper/mother" to me. Well, there is also the mystery of what happened to the little boy's father, and that gets solved as well--in trying to better himself, the father joined the RAF during WW II and was shot down on his first mission. His friends who worked at the garage all signed up for mechanics duty and all made it home. There's a lesson imbedded in his death, which is to not try to rise above your station, lest you be shot down by the enemy.

I love Ian McKellen, though I confuse him often with the author, Ian McEwan. He was the right amount of doddering and sharp. Dan and his mom thought the beginning was slow, but it's so beautiful, all of this rolling green countryside and raggedy sheep and old automobiles, that I didn't notice the slow pace. Luke was interested because he has read a lot of books about the young Sherlock Holmes. Plus, he's inexplicably patient about unfolding plots--I felt the same nervousness when we watched The Life of Pi together--that whole story starts off with 30 minutes of domesticity before it roars into action--but he stayed interested in that as well. In any case, I recommend Mr. Holmes, as long as you go into it knowing it's more about the challenges of aging then it is about who killed so and so,