Cute AND Useful Items

I’ve been using this Guess bag (purchased at a VERY LOW price from Filene’s Basement going-out-of-business sale back in November 2011) and matching wallet (from DSW) for the past few months.  I keep getting compliments on the bag, even from stylish people I meet!  It’s cute AND roomy (great for commuter gals like me).  The pillow is a rare find from from Target; I got it back in September. 

I bought this storage bench this past weekend from SuperTarget ($59.99) in suburban Indy.  This one is dark brown, but it also comes in black.  There is a smaller version ($49.99), but since I had enough space in my apt. bedroom, I got the bigger one.  My mom thought it was a GREAT deal, too!  It fits a LOT of DVDs (as you can see in pic below).  And for or those who love comfort, it’s also nice to sit on. 


Wiseguy (Season 1, Part 2)

Season 1, Part 2 of the unusual ’80s drama continues w/ the always gorgeous OCB agent, Vinnie Terranova (Ken Wahl), going undercover as a bodyguard to unstable billionairre Mel Proffit (Kevin Spacey) in Vancouver.  Proffit is into guns and drugs big time, we discover over this series of eps.

Fans of Spacey are in for a treat here, b/c aside from Mel’s drug dependency and eccentric ways, there are a FEW believable and touching moments, too!  Vinnie gets himself wrapped up w/ Mel’s stunning younger sister Susan (Joan Severance, a former model).  I was surprised to see such capable acting from a novice (too bad that she’s mainly remembered for her looks and skimpy outfits).

Mel’s most trusted associate (aside from Susan) is hitman Roger Lococco (Canadian actor William Russ; he later played the father on Boy Meets World).  Lococco, a Vietnam vet who operates according to his own code, is VERY intriguing.  Vinnie is mystified by him, yet feels like they’re connected somehow.  We eventually learn that Roger is MORE than what he seems.  Russ is a strong actor, so able to create a fine foil (or perhaps, frenemy) for Wahl.

We also see more of Agent Terranova’s field supervisor, Frank McPike (Jonathan Banks), in this arc.  He becomes vulnerable, and more likeable, after his wife asks for a separation.  McPike, who has a young son, gets a love interest.  Vinnie calls on The Lifeguard (Jim Byrnes) more often to discuss his true feelings, not merely business.  They finally meet each other!

Yes, this show has action: guns, fistfights, explosions, etc.  But what keeps me watching are the interesting (sometimes wacky, admittedly) characters that Vinnie has to deal w/ on a daily basis.  He gets involved in their lives, sometimes TOO much.  Though it’s set in the late ’80s, the show is not 100% gung-ho about the police, government, etc.  Vinnie admits in this story arc that he doesn’t want this type of life for long; he thinks of a wife, kids, and wanting to “worry about crabgrass.”  If there was a modern show like this, I’d probably tune in!

Here is my earlier review of Season 1, Part 1.

Great Quality Products

ASSETS Fantastic Firmers Tank (by Spanx)

You can buy this affordable tank in 3 different colors (white, nude, & black) and wear it everyday, if you want.  I have a black one currently.  Don’t worry, it’s not bulky, so you can wear AFTER Winter season, too.  ASSETS line of Spanx is available at Ann Taylor Loft, Nordstrom, and Marshalls.  I didn’t know about Spanx until lately, BUT better late than never!


Donna Karan Petite Plus Tights

So, you’re not a leggy size 8.  Neither is famed fashion designer Donna Karan!  There are still tights we petite (but not skinny) gals can wear.  I bought Donna Karan Petite Plus Tights (from Nordstrom) in all available colors: gray, dark brown, and black.  They’ll be useful year round; they are also sold at a fair price.  Though I’m NO expert on tights (I rarely wear dresses/skirts), I REALLY like these!  After a while, you’ll almost forget you’re wearing tights.  I think I’m ready to dress a BIT more girly…

Two Films Starring Timothy Hutton

Did you know that Timothy Hutton’s father was also an actor?  Jim Hutton was a contract player in Hollywood for many years; he got into acting while serving in the army.  He was said to have been similar to Jimmy Stewart- very tall, lanky, and a bit absent-minded in his delivery.  Unfortunately, Jim Hutton died young, before his son (at 18 y.o.) won Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Ordinary People, a touching domestic drama directed by Robert Redford.  In that film, Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland played Tim’s parents- WOW!

Despite his “boy next door” type of looks, there is something mysterious about Timothy Hutton.  He’s the type of actor you see pausing and thinking about a scene.  But, that’s not a problem, b/c he’s VERY good at becoming a character.  I like the fact that Hutton gets intelligent, sometimes very understated, roles.

Beautiful Girls (1996)

The main character, a piano player living in NYC, Willie (Hutton), goes to his working-class hometown (Knight’s Ridge) to visit his dad, little brother (David Arquette), and friends.  Their high school reunion is coming up, too.

One friend, Mo (Noah Emmerich), is a factory manager who’s settled w/ a wife and 2 rambunctious young kids.  He admires Willie for following his dreams.  Tommy (Matt Dillon), a star athlete in his high school days,  has a snow plowing business and a girlfriend named Sharon (Mira Sorvino).  But he has an on-again, off-again relationship w/ his high school sweetheart, Darian (Lauren Holly), who’s married to a wealthy man and mother to a toddler.  Paul (Michael Rapaport) is another snow plower who recently broke up w/ his long-term girlfriend, Jan (Martha Plimpton), a waitress who wants to settle down.  Paul is immature; he’s still crazy about supermodels (posters are all over his bedroom).

Willie, who’s deciding whether he should take his own relationship to the next level, meets his father’s neighbor, Marty (Natalie Portman), a 13 y.o. “old soul.”  They have some interesting conversations; she reminds him of less complicated times (childhood, innocence).

Willie, and all his pals, are intrigued by a glamorous visitor to town, Andera (Uma Thurman), the cousin of local bartender, Stinky. She’s the personification of their dream girl, so they all try to impress her how they can.  Andera is spoken for back in Chicago and Willie has a girlfriend, a lawyer named Tracy (Annabeth Gish).

This film is quite good (have seen it 3x over the years); the dialogue is (mostly) true to life.  It’s VERY well cast, too.  You get to know something about each of these young people who are in transition.  (If you enjoyeded Diner, Barry Levinson’s 1982 film, you’ll like Beautiful Girls.)  Though the title refers to women, it’s mainly a story of male frienship and romantic issues (self-doubt, fear of commitment, etc.)  Rosie O’Donnell has a REALLY clever/humorous scene inside a drugstore.

The Substance of Fire (1996)

As a young boy living in Europe, Isaac Geldhart (Ron Rifkin), hides in an attic filled w/ books to evade the Nazis.  From his window, he sees crowds burning books written by Jews.  As an adult, Isaac is a respected publisher of finely-made/serious books in NYC, though the business (Kepler Geldhart) is losing money.  His wife died a few years ago, and he’s still taking it VERY hard, though he hides it (w/ his charm, intelligence, etc.)  His eldest son, Aaron (Tony Goldwyn, giving an understated performance), handles the financial affairs of the family business.  Another son, Martin (Hutton), is a landscape designer/college lecturer living in the Hudson Valley.  The youngest child, Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), is an actress on a local children’s TV show.

Aaron, who’s out as a gay man, wants to publish a novel written by his boyfriend, Val (Gil Bellows).  Isaac insists that his company will NEVER publish trash like that.  Aaron decides to take control (w/ the help of his siblings, who are also shareholders).  It’s a tough decision for the kids.  Isaac, whose behavior becomes domineering and irrational, is enraged; he even asks for his surname to be removed from Aaron’s company!  Isaac opens his own firm and cuts himself off from his children for many months.  With the help of his long-time secretary, the kids get into the house (a historic townhouse), which has become a total mess.  They realize that something could be seriously wrong w/ their father.

I saw this film last week on Netflix; it caught my eye b/c of its cast.  It has some strong acting, esp. from Rifkin and Hutton, BUT just tried to do a BIT too much (w/ not enough time).  I wanted to know some more backstory and character motivation (esp. when it came to the BIG sacrifice Martin made).   The premise is quite unusual/interesting; the (realistic) issues addressed are VERY emotionally-charged.