“Weeds” is laugh-out-loud hilarious… and clever!

 

I just finished watching Season 1 of the Showtime comedy series Weeds.  (Since I don’t have cable, I have to depend on Blockbuster.)  I was curious about this show for a long time, and finally watched it this past week.  I didn’t know what to expect…  Mary-Louise Parker (MLP) is FABULOUS (as always).  She looks AMAZING for her age (note the skin and figure), and creates chemistry with all her co-stars!

 

MLP plays Nancy Botwin, a recently widowed mom who deals weed in the fictional suburb of Agrestic (near the hills outside Los Angeles).  Dealing is a business to Nancy, not personal.  She learns the ropes from her experienced, tough-talking supplier Heylia James (Tonye Patano) and Helia’s nephew Conrad (Romany Malco).  Heylia and her family live in West Adams, a mostly African-American neighborhood of LA.  Romany can also be seen in The Love Guru with Mike Myers. 

 

 

Nancy has two sons, Silas (a cute, popular teen) and Shane (an eccentric, sensitive kid).  These boys (Hunter Parrish and Alexander Gould) hold their own alongside the adults on the show.  Thank goodness, they’re nothing like typical sitcom kids! 

 

It’s the kind of show where the viewer doesn’t know what’s going to happen next.  The music is very fitting, yet quirky.  The dialogue is realistic (yes, people do curse in the ‘burbs), fast-paced, and VERY FUNNY!  Characters are multi-faceted and contradictory (like real people).

One of the best things of this comedy (IMHO) is Justin Kirk.  I couldn’t figure out WHO he was for a few minutes; Justin had longer blonde hair and lost 20 lbs. for his role in Angels in America.  Justin played Prior, a young man dying of AIDS in the 1980s, in the HBO miniseries.  On Weeds he plays the lazy, pot-loving Andy (Nancy’s brother-in-law).  Andy and Nancy’s dim-witted accountant Doug (the always funny Kevin Nealon) NEVER need an excuse to get high.  Andy is dysfunctional, but sometimes pretty wise, too. 

Justin on Weeds

 

Justin at an awards show

 

Elizabeth Perkins plays Celia, Nancy’s neighbor and quasi-friend, who’s constantly trying to make her (failing) family life look perfect.  She’s obsessed with her little daughter’s weight and rules the PTA with an iron fist.  A lot of the dark humor comes from her character.  Celia has moments of vulnerability, too, defying the typical spoiled, bored housewife stereotype often seen on TV.  (She has a good figure too- not thin like MLP, but curvy.) 

 

 

 

 

Back in 2000, MLP and Ben were in Proof on Broadway.  Coincidentally, MLP was also in Angles in America, as was Ben Shenkman (he played Louis, Prior’s ex-boyfriend). 

MLP and Ben in Proof

Ben in Angels in America

 

Check out Weeds– you won’t regret it!  

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0439100/

Movie Review: “The Dancer Upstairs”

This is an unusual (yet VERY intelligent) film that I first watched 2 yrs ago.  I found it (only $3.99!!!) at Blockbuster this past weekend.  I had to get it!  The Dancer Upstairs (released in 2002; directed by John Malkovich) is based on a book by Brit writer, Nicholas Shakespeare.  His book is based on the lives of several REAL people. 

The movie deals with many issues: terrorism, government/police corruption, violence, family, love, and above all- the search for truth.  The viewer is pulled in because of such themes; the setting is the recent past in an unnamed Latin American country.  (However, those with knowledge of that area will know that the author meant to portray Peru.)  This film is in English, as Malkovich wanted, but spoken by the actors as a second language.  This doesn’t in any way detract from the film because these actors are SO strong.

The main protagonist is Agustin Rejas (the always-fabulous Javier Bardem), a smart (reads many books), humble, and honest policeman who used to be a lawyer.  He’s not the typical swaggering detective we’re familiar with; he is calm, yet determined.  He has a young daughter devoted to ballet and a beautiful, but a bit superficial, wife.  

A recent rash of terrorist attacks, such as a little boy walking into a government building w/ a bomb in his backpack, have the military, president (unpopular w/ many; accused of crimes), and regular people in fear.  All across the country, there are mysterious deaths of political leaders, military men, etc.  Dead dogs are hung from posts w/ signs proclaiming “Viva el Presidente Ezequial” (the codename for an unknown terrorist leader). 

A top-ranking military man chooses Rejas (w/ a team of young, streetwise detectives) to head the investigation.  They are to research the incidents, work long hrs. among a small group, and keep things hush-hush.  One of the young cops (Juan Diego Botto, a boyish Cuban-American actor) serves to lighten the tension w/ his jokes, casually rumpled/quirky wardrobe, and eye for the ladies.  

Though he is on this tough case, Rejas is NOT getting paid extra.  So, his check to his daughter’s ballet teacher, Yolanda (Laura Morante, an Italian actress whose looks and easy grace reminded me of Juliette Binoche) bounces.  He goes to give her cash, feeling apologetic, and strikes up a conversation.  You can tell that Rejas is intrigued by Yolanda from this first meeting; she is friendly and a good listener.  Yolanda is also mysterious b/c we don’t know much about her past; she says she has traveled a lot and likes to choreograph her own dances.  Rejas doesn’t tell her what he does for a living.         

Rejas is looking to find a honest way to make a living, he tells another character early in the story.  He doesn’t like it when the military is on the streets (martial law is declared at one time).  Yolanda is concerned with creative freedom, but doesn’t talk directly about her personal political views.  Rejas starts to fall for Yolanda.  I don’t want to write TOO much re: the action of this movie, but remember that NOT all terrorists (or those who sympathize with them) look like crazy, evil people.  There is plenty of action, blood, and drama to go along with romantic tensions.  I HIGHLY recommend The Dancer Upstairs.

Why English translations of Bollywood songs ruin the fun

Bollywood should be consumed in VERY small doses IMHO.  Otherwise, one risks becoming angry, irritated, etc. with it’s vacuous portrayals of women, recycled plotlines, and banal dialogue.  A FEW films rise above the junk, to be fair to the industry.  The more Bolly movies I see, the more I understand.  It’s cool, BUT sometimes the songs (esp. when translated) are… cheesy.  Okay, VERY cheesy! 

Do YOU like cheese?  Then read on (for some good laughs)!

A still from Devdas; my mom’s impression: “Oof, that movie hurts my eyes!” (It’s VERY bright, colorful, and melodramatic.)

 

“A thousand Romeos have been made crazy for love of me.” -Soniye Mil Jaa (Aaja Nachle)

This is my FAVE line from a Bolly song, ever!  Not many ladies can say this-  Elizabeth Taylor maybe? 

 

“You’re reaching the stars of my heart.  You tell me, after meeting you, why wouldn’t someone lose their life and love to you?” –Tauba Tumhaare Yeh Ishaare (Chalte Chalte)

 What the heck are the stars of someone’s heart!?

 

“Your heart says beat, beat; my bangles say jingle, jingle.  My god, my god, love has made me helpless.” –Tu Mere Samne (Chori Chori) 

This is one of my fave Bolly songs; the movie resembles While You Were Sleeping.

 

“Look at this crazy girl- she is ignorant of this world.  A gust of wind will come, and with it- her lover.” –Silsila Yeh Chaahat Ka (Devdas)

Yup, that’s how my fam says about me!  LOL!

 

“You are the flower of his arms.  I am just the dust of his footsteps.” -Dola Re Dola (Devdas)

Chandramukhi (th courtesan in love w/ Devdas) sings this to Parbati (the virgin in love with Devdas); it sounds SAD here in English.  See, you can get affected by this stuff!

 

“Even if a mirror pays you compliments, my heart says I should break it.” –Tune Zindagi Mein (Humraaz)

This movie is about jealousy; the last half hour is EXACTLY like A Perfect Murder.

 

“My bracelets say, my bangles say I have become yours, my lover.  Without you in my life, I will die.” –Bole Chudiyan (Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham)

Another one of my fave Hindi songs; this movie is HUGE and all-encompassing (of themes) in typical Bolly movies.  The songs in it are REALLY good!

 

“The sun dims into twilight; the moon beams shimmer brightly.  I stand still as the earth moves around me.” –Suraj Hua Maddham (K3G)

This isn’t SO bad- it’s romantic. 

 

“Very troublesome, buddy, very troublesome- a fair, fair face with a dark, dark mole.”  -Badi Mushkil (Lajja)

Yes, I was nearly ROFLMAO when I realized what it meant!!!

 

 

Poster for Lajja, a movie that tried to show feminist sensibility, BUT failed miserably!