Sunday, June 30, 2013

Machine Gun Preacher - Movie Review

Greetings Pups,

Do you all remember when I did a little tribute to Gerard Butler last year in celebration of the fact that I thought he had begun to make good movies again, specifically Coriolanus and Machine Gun Preacher? Well, today, I've decided to take a closer look at one of those films, the one that's much easier to follow, because, as we all know, Shakespeare = hard. So let's talk about Machine Gun Preacher.

Machine Gun Preacher is something of a biopic about a guy named Sam Childers, who was once a drug-addicted biker, but later became a Christian. And can I say that, as surprised as I was about the news of Gerard Butler being cast as The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera back in the day, I was even more surprised at the thought of him playing a preacher. Because of, well, reasons. Still, I was up for it, and when I finally got to see the movie, I was quite pleased with his performance. Actually, I was quite pleased with this film in its entirety.

We start with Sam being released from prison and going home to see his wife, Lynn, played wonderfully by Michelle Monaghan, and his daughter, Paige, who was played mostly by a very talented, young actress named Madeline Carroll. Lynn had been working as a stripper when Sam left, but she quit that job because she became a Christian in her husband's absence. He's not too happy about that, since her not working there anymore will cost them a lot of money. Eventually, after a violent incident, Sam agrees to go to church with her, where he, too, accepts the Lord into his life.

After hearing a missionary speak, he decides to go to start going on missions himself, which leads him to helping out in Sudan. His main goal there is the children, the orphans, and to protect them from the Lord's Resistance Army. It's nothing short of a war zone, but, despite the attacks and being forced to become part of this war himself, Sam is determined to build an orphanage for the children. With the encouragement from his wife, friends and family, he does not give up on his mission.

However, besides all that he has to deal with while in Africa, Sam has to face some difficulties while at home. He decides to start his own church where he is the preacher. This is probably a good time to tell you all that I loved watching Gerard Butler preach. Every time he said "Hallelujah!", my response was always "Say it again! Say it again!". And I also hoped that something of all that preaching was sinking in with him. Anyway, his church manages to attract several members, but whilst trying to gather funds for his efforts overseas, he hits many stumbling blocks. All of this causes a lot of tension with his relationships with his family and friends, to a point where you almost think he may backslide because of all the pressure. That feeling does not last long, once you realize that it is merely frustration that is fed by his passion to help the people of that country to survive. What he goes through is a perfect example of what many Christians go through in their walk with the Lord, because we all fall down from time to time, but, through faith, we get back up and keep going. And that is exactly what Sam Childers did here.

I suppose I should now take this time to talk about a couple of the other cast members here. We get the lovely Kathy Baker as Sam's mom. I really love this actress, and I get such a mama-like vibe from her that it makes roles such as this perfect for who she is now. And, much to my eternal delight, we get Michael Shannon as Sam's best friend, Donnie. Yeah, I could tell you he did a superb job in this, but I already told you that he was Michael Shannon. So that kind of goes without saying, since he is always that good.

Now some of you, who have both read my blog before and seen this film, may think that my one complaint would be about the swearing. I always say that I tend to find strong language in films unnecessary, but, strangely enough, I almost see the need for it here. What it takes to really understand the change that Sam Childer's went through in his life is to see where he was before. It's even necessary to show those times of struggle after he became a Christian. I personally have gotten criticized by other so-called Christians when it comes to the fact that I, in my writing, often call attention to the dark times I've had to endure in my life in the past. Apparently, some people think those things should never be mentioned. Ever. But I, with all my heart, do believe that, to truly appreciate the "here and now", you have to understand the "there and then". Still, if there is one Bible verse that comes to mind when I think of this man, it is 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new". Yeah, that sounds pretty accurate.

So, in conclusion, if you want to think that the only reason I am recommending Machine Gun Preacher is because I am a Christian, that's fine. It is as good of a reason as any. But regardless of that, it is still a great movie with a phenomenal cast and a powerful story. I'm also going to say that it was mostly accurate to what really happened, since I'm fairly certain it had the stamp of approval from Sam Childer's himself, though even the truest of stories are often victims of "Hollywoodization". Yeah, that's a word ... now. And, if you are curious, yes, Sam and his family are still doing all of this amazing work, through organizations like Angels of East Africa and The Children's Village. So see the movie, and then, thank God that He can change a man enough to make that man want to change the world.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Water is Rough, But My Boat is Still Sailing

Greetings Pups,

So I know that I normally use this blog to entertain anyone who happens upon it, and I love doing that. Today, however, I'm going to get personal and talk about the state of my life at the moment. And, no, I don't mind if you opt to not go forward because you think this might be boring. Honestly, it might be, since I won't be putting in the amusing things that I normally do - hopefully. But if you do choose to read on, you might just get inspired, which is also another goal of mine with what I write.

I won't go into too much detail, but, due to reasons, things have been a bit tricky lately in my life. Some people may be going through less, guarantee some people are going through more, but I am dealing with some issues that have decided to stack themselves up at my door, where they keep knocking and don't seem to want to leave. This isn't exactly something that I haven't had to endure in the past. Still, I'm not really enjoying have to do so now. The good news, though, is that there is good news.

I'm going to be fine. It must be the whole Christianity thing coming into play, but I have been able to learn that, whatever comes will go, and it all has a purpose. In my life, the purpose of these trials is to make me better. In fact, I hold fast to a belief that, if God didn't think I was already strong enough to handle this, He wouldn't have let it come my way. Yes, I think the more difficult these things are, the more God trusts that I can pass the test, because He wouldn't give me more than I can handle. It may be a cliche now, but it's kind of true.

So, as the title today says, the water is rough, but my boat is still sailing. Actually, I can already see things improving. I'm a survivor. I have survived a lot of things that some haven't, so much so that I'm almost proud of myself for still being here. And I look forward to the day when I can look back, because it means that all of this has, indeed, passed.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why the World Needs Tiffany Hendra

Greetings Pups,

So, I'm a girl, right. And as such, I occasionally like things that may be put in the category of being girly. For example, I like the fashion. Yes, I know. It's just clothes, as I have been told numerous times. Perhaps, it is the artist in me which leads me to believe that it goes beyond that. See, much like the overlords of Broadway who can literally turn ANYTHING into a musical, we artists can take any seemingly mundane activity and call it creative. For real, though, there is quite an art to putting a halfway decent outfit together. I should know. I think the problem that many people have with the world of fashion is when things get out of hand, when one's outward appearance begins to control their life, and what suffers is who they are on the inside. So is there anyone out there who can help us ladies balance our outer and inner beauty so that they both can flourish? Yes, there is. Her name is Tiffany Hendra, and, in this post today, I am going to tell you all why the world needs someone like her in it.

One day I was searching around on the You Tube, looking for fashion tips and whatnot, and something interesting caught my eye. It was a web series entitled Sanctuary of Style hosted by the aforementioned Tiffany Hendra. So I decided to check it out, and what follows is a lesson in not judging a book by its cover, something that I occasionally still do. I clicked on an episode, and as soon as I saw her, I thought that there was no way she was going to be able to help me. Seriously, this woman is drop dead gorgeous and thin, and my guess is that she may have been born that way. (Don't forget to thank God for your genes, pretty people!) Needless to say, I was not exactly born that way, and I figured that this woman would only have tips for, you know, her own kind, so to speak. I was wrong. Very wrong.

Turns out, I have gotten so many tips from her on how to get myself to my full-on prettiest. That makes me happy. And, despite what some people may try and tell you, there is nothing wrong with trying to look your best and taking pleasure in doing so. It does not make you shallow or superficial if you care about how you look. So there! But, as I was speaking on before, how we look is only a part of what can make us beautiful. As cliche as this has become, sadly, what we are on the inside does matter, too. Thankfully, Tiffany gives us a hand with that, as well.

In amongst all the episodes where we learn about clothes and accessories and 'make your face pretty' stuff, she always manages to give us what we truly need as women. She talks about being motivated, using your potential to its fullest, knowing that you're loved and even prayer. And all of this, she does in a very sincere way. I know I have made mention several times about how much I am not a fan of disingenuous people, but Tiffany is certainly not one of them. You can see that she truly does care about the women out there who are taking her advice. She really does want us to be the best that we can be, both for ourselves and those around us, so we can be a blessing to the world. And if we can look fabulous while doing it - YAY!

So I can think of nothing better to do than honor a woman who does these things for us. We all need a little encouragement and inspiration in our lives, and Tiffany is someone who is happy to give it. You can see what an amazing spirit she has and how grateful to God she is for everything in her life, like her career, her friends, her family and especially her husband, Aaron, who is a great guy, a wonderfully talented musician, and, let's just say it, really good looking! Seriously, though, Aaron Hendra, look him up, because he does have some great music.

Anyway, to wrap this up, go online and find this woman. Sanctuary of Style. You will not regret it. And all I can say is that goodness begets goodness, and Tiffany Hendra is putting a lot of that out into the world. By continually blessing us, she will, no doubt, continue to be blessed in her own life. That's how God works, and she is proof of it.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Friday, June 14, 2013

The One Seasoner's Club - Out All Night

Greetings Pups,

If you read my post wherein I listed my Top Ten episodes of A Different World, you may recall that I praised the work that Patti LaBelle and Diahann Carroll did on that show. I even went so far as to say that I wished they would have had a show together of their own as those characters. Well, sadly, we never got that, but we did get a little something from Miss Patti LaBelle. What we got was a series called Out All Night.

Out All Night was a sitcom that aired during the 1992-93 season and was, in part, created by the same people behind The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. You can easily tell that's where it came from since both shows have the same feel to them, and, thanks to one episode which I will speak about later, they were, apparently, both in the same "universe", if you will. As I said, the star of the show was Patti LaBelle, and, as enjoyable as she is as a singer, I really do love her as an actress, especially in the realm of comedy. She plays a character named Chelsea Paige, who is a famous but former singer who decided to open up a nightclub called Club Chelsea, where we get performances by many hit acts of the day as well as those of Chelsea's (Patti's) day. This, of course, means that we constantly get guest stars for the show. Again, more on that later. Let's talk about the supporting cast and characters.

The main cast of the show is relatively small, which I think is a good thing. First, we have Charice, Chelsea's daughter, played by Vivica A. Fox. She doesn't necessarily live in the shadow of her mother's fame, but she does feel the pressure of being such at times. Then, we have Jeff played by Morris Chestnut, who is hired to be the manager of the club. He is very straight-laced and a very 'let's get the job done' kind of guy. And he is, therefore, in opposition to his roommate Vidal played by Duane Martin. He is the less ambitious, more trouble making but fun friend that you just can never get rid of. But why would you want to do that, really? And finally, we have Angus played by Simon O'Brien, who is their U.K. neighbor. I say "U.K" because I'm a hundred percent sure that he is from one of those countries, but I don't know which one. Also, he's the one white person on the show, if that matters to anyone. And they all live together in the apartment building owned by Chelsea Paige, because it was the 90's and people still bought real estate in the 90's.

That was the set up. Now the plot of every episode was full of your basic sitcom shenanigans. Nothing too groundbreaking, but still funny, and that is plenty to get from sitcoms. The one thing that was different, as I mentioned before, were the weekly, musical guests performances. We got everyone from Gladys Knight to TLC to Dionne Warwick, even Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Yeah, please do not mention to Mark Wahlberg that I brought this up, because he, apparently, gets a little upset if anyone is reminded of his past life. Now most of the performance, obviously, took place at the club. But there was at least one that didn't, and it ended up being my favorite. It's also probably my favorite overall episode. What happens is that, after Jeff and Vidal have a fight, Jeff kicks Vidal out and he ends up staying with Chelsea in her much bigger apartment. Vidal gloats about this at first, and then finds out that she is not at all a subdued, older woman in her home. Nope, she keeps him up at night, trying to make him watch Child's Play and cooking hush puppies and jambalaya, which he enjoys at first, but soon, he can't take it anymore. One night, he thinks he's got the place to himself so he can sleep, but in walks Chelsea with Natalie Cole and her entourage. They begin to sing softly and sweetly, but not for long. Within moments, they end up basically torturing him with their amazing voices. And it is fantastic. Oh, and speaking of guests stars, we also got an appearance by Karyn Parsons playing her Fresh Prince character Hilary Banks. See, this is why I think both shows were in the same realm.

So let's get to the point here. Did this show deserve a second season? I'm going to say yes. I really liked this show. I thought it was funny, I enjoyed the cast and I liked the way they incorporated music. I don't exactly know why this show didn't last beyond one season, because, again, it's very similar to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, if not in structure, then in the style of humor. That show lasted for six seasons, so I just don't get it. I guess it could have been about timing or behind the scenes conflicts. I don't know. But the bottom line is that I would have been quite happy to have gotten a few more years of this series. Like I said, I do love Patti LaBelle. I think she's hilarious and, obviously, very talented, as if I had to tell you guys that. She's just someone who I can't help but like, because she seems like she would be so much fun to be around.

Now I don't know if episodes of Out All Night can be found anywhere, sadly. I don't think they've done DVDs or anything, which I would buy. Hopefully, someone with the power to do so will see this and grant my wish. But if you can find some episodes somewhere, watch them. You'll have some fun. And, then, tell me where to get them, too.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Just the Perfect Ten of Us

Greetings Pups,

Okay, let me start by saying that my use of the word "perfect" in the title of this post is simply for the benefit of wordplay. You see, I will be talking about a TV show today, but it wasn't perfect. No show is. Except for Little House on the Prairie. That show was perfect. However, was this show I speak of, for lack of a less overused word, awesome? Why, yes, it was! And, again, back to the title, I will be discussing a show called Just the Ten of Us.

I can't imagine that there aren't at least some of you that remember this show. It has been over twenty years since it aired, and it may not have been a huge hit, as per the likes of The Cosby Show or Family Ties. But I have many, many fond memories of it. Just the Ten of Us was an ABC show that was a spin-off of Growing Pains, a show that I really didn't watch, but did so enough to know that it wasn't as good as what it spawned. In my opinion, anyway. It took one of the teachers from that show and followed him and his very large family. How big was the family? Well, that "ten" should be taken at face value. That's right. Two parents, EIGHT kids. Holy crap! And, speaking of holy, I bet I know what you're thinking - with that many kids, they must be Catholic! Well, you would be right in that assumption. In fact, their Catholicism is a kind of a big part of the show, and, yes, it was used for comedy, but not to the point of being offensive. I don't think so, anyway. Then again, I'm not Catholic, so who knows? Look, it's a comedy and the characters happen to have this particular religion, so there you go. I suppose this a somewhat good way to segue into talking about the setup, characters, cast and whatnot. So let's get to it.

Just the Ten of Us was about the Lubbock family, headed by Coach Graham Lubbock, a fun but sometimes strict father, played by Bill Kirchenbauer (I think I spelled that right). He was apparently a recurring and popular character on Growing Pains, and, therefore, got this spin off, wherein he moves his devout and loving wife, Elizabeth, played by Deborah Harmon, and his family from New York to Eureka, California, after losing his job and getting an offer at St. Augustine's. Here's the thing about St. Augustine's though - it's an all boys school. There are eight Lubbock children. Only two of them are boys. Yeah, he's got six daughters, four of whom are teenagers and will be attending high school with teenage boys who have never seen a girl EVER IN THEIR LIVES! Okay, that's not really true, but, through the eyes this father, it may as well have been. Now let's talk about those kids, shall we?

We start with the oldest, Marie, played by Heather Langenkamp. Yep. Nancy from A Nightmare on Elm Street was on this show. And whilst that is how most people still see her, I see her as Marie from Just the Ten of Us. It's all about where you first see people and when. Anyway, her character is, to put it bluntly, "the good one". As I said, the Lubbock family is Catholic, but, of all the children, Marie has embraced it the most, even expressing ambitions to one day become a nun. But she also just wants to be a teenage girl and struggles with it a bit. Next up are the twins, because, if you've got eight kids, there's a good chance you're going to have some of those in the mix. Their names are Cindy and Wendy played by Jamie Luner and Brooke Theiss, respectively. Now, initially, both of the girls were showcased as the same type of vapid, but soon, Cindy was made out to be the dumb one with a heart of gold, whilst Wendy became a bit more of a conniver but not too mean spirited of one. And they were also both the most boy crazy of the sisters, but I think Wendy won because she got to go out with both Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry. No, seriously, they were both on this show, pre-Friends. Fourth in line is my personal favorite character, Connie, played by JoAnn Willette. She was, to say the least, the deepest of all the kids. She was very smart, with all her book reading and what have you, and she was also kind of cynical. Also, Connie was a writer. So, yeah, I could really relate to her. I actually think she also got some of the best dialogue, where she could show how intelligent she was and yet it didn't cross the line into her being pretentious. Though it did come close to that every now and then, it just ended up being funny.

And now for the younger children. The firstborn and only talking boy was Graham, Jr., but we called him J.R. played by Matt Shakman. He was your typical trouble making young kid, and it could get annoying sometimes, but not too often. Again, they wrote his character really well and made it just plain funny. And you can tell that a lot of what he did was to get attention, since it is probably easy to get lost in the shuffle in a family that big. Then, we have Sherry played by Heidi Zeigler. Aw, man, she was great. Sherry was literally the smartest member of the family and never let anyone forget it. The way she spoke almost made her seem like a shrunken grown-up, but it worked, a lot. Heidi was such a fantastic little actress that you totally bought the whole act. She and J.R. also had some great banter, since she was so smart and he was not so much, and as she got older and still made fun of her big sisters, you can see that she kind of wanted to be a part of what they were doing. Just like kids tend to do. And then we have Harvey and Melissa, the babies. They're . . . there. To give us ten. And that's about it.

So that's the family. Any other characters? Of course, we do have to go to school, don't we? Let's begin with Headmaster of St. Augustine's, Father Hargis played by Frank Bonner, who I believe is best known for his role of WKRP in Cincinnati. He was pretty good here, and all the while you're watching him, you ask yourself a couple of questions. Like, why is he a priest again? And why is he the headmaster of this school? Because he kind of seems to hate doing both of those things. We also have a fellow student of the girls named Gavin Doosler played by Even Arnold. Yeah, he's the geek, in case you couldn't tell by his name. What is it about giving the geeks these obvious nomenclatures? Anyway, he was in a lot of episodes and was a fairly important character after awhile. That's fine. I thought he was kind of entertaining. We also get a crazy old nun named Sister Ethel played by Maxine Elliott Hicks, who would show up here and there to do her crazy nun stuff. And finally, there's another coach in the school named Duane Johnson (wait, what?) played by Dennis Haysbert. See, high school coaches. You, too, can one day become president if you try hard enough. 'Cause wasn't he the president on 24 or something? I don't know. I never watched it. Anyway, that's basically the whole cast there.

Now I was going to talk about some of my favorite episodes, but I've had so much fun going back and reminiscing about this show, I think I may have to devote one of my Top Ten lists to it. I will say this, though, this family did have some fun adventures, such as joining the choir, buying a cow and going to the Virgin Islands. Okay, that last one was just the four oldest girls, but whatever. Oh, and speaking of them, Marie, Cindy, Wendy and Connie also started a singing group called the Lubbock Babes and performed at a local pizza joint. They actually did this in several episodes, and I must say, they weren't bad singers at all.

Okay, I may as well take this time to talk about the show's undeserved cancellation. Like I said, Just the Ten of Us was never a mega hit, but it did have a good following and decent ratings. From what I have gathered, it was all about politics at ABC. Even though the show had high enough ratings to merit it another season, somebody decided that they would rather have something with more of an adult edge and another show from Miller/Boyett and Lorimar, who were also behind the other three shows in the TGIF lineup, because they wanted them all to "look the same". Okay? So a great series like Just the Ten of Us got cancelled so that a show called Going Places could take its place. Never heard of that one? Well, it was kind of not good and barely lasted a season. So . . . genius idea, guys. Part of me wishes that things worked back the then the way they often do today. You know, the way shows with a lot of fans and decent ratings get cancelled and are then picked up by another network and their original network regrets dropping them in the first place and all the fans are happy. Yeah, that would have been fabulous.

Anyway, let me wrap this up. I know that Just the Ten of Us may not have the legendary status that other comedies from that era do, but it was still a really good show. It was hilarious and had a talented cast, and it had writers who knew how to present younger characters intelligently but also realistically. What a novel idea! Now I don't know if episodes can be found anywhere, maybe online or somewhere, but I do seriously hope that someone digs up this gem for a DVD release or that a channel decides to start airing some reruns. I would watch, and I bet a lot of other people would, too.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams - Documentary Review

Greetings Pups,

Last year, I had the pleasure of reviewing an album called In Your Dreams by the wonderful Stevie Nicks. If you read that, thank you. If you didn't, spoilers. I thought it was amazing. Now in that review, I mentioned that you could find a two part, ten minute short film of sorts about the making of the album online. I enjoyed that very much, but, at the time, I wished it was longer. Surprise! I finally get something I want. As it happens, what I thought was just a long promotional trailer for the album is actually part of a documentary, also entitled In Your Dreams. So was the two year wait between album and documentary worth it? Let's find out. But, seriously, what do you think I'm going to say?

As I hinted, the In Your Dreams documentary is, for the most part, a behind the scenes look at the making of the album of the same name. I'm going to start by getting the negativity out of the way. I have read some other reviews of this film, and one of the major complaints is that this thing isn't interesting. I disagree, heartily, but I do see from where they are coming. If you're a person who does not enjoy behind the scenes type things, you may not be willing to give it a chance and, therefore, you won't get into this so much. I, personally, love seeing the process of music being made, as you may recall from my post about the Bravo show, Platinum Hit. It also seems to me that these critics were misinformed about the documentary's content, complaining that all Stevie did was talk about making the album. Well, duh! That was the whole point. Despite what they must have been told, this was not a documentary about her life, though she does talk about her life experiences somewhat. After all, the things that have happened to her are still inspiring her music to this day. Finally, I heard one critic say that this was 'a vanity project'. Maybe, under different circumstances, it could be called that, but I don't think Stevie made this for the public at large so much as she made it for her fans. I mean, it's not like this got some major, widespread release with her trying to shove it in everyone's face. It was an extremely limited release. This brings me to the conclusion that a big reason Stevie did this was probably as a gift to her fans. To be honest, if you aren't into her music, I'm not saying this can't be enjoyable, but it does help to be a fan. So, speaking as one of those myself, let's move on from the other critics and see what I have to say.

So the structure of the In Your Dreams documentary is this. We go through the album, song by song, learning the back story and creative process of each of them, and that is interspersed with stories of Stevie's life, as I mentioned. Actually, I've found that I enjoy both aspects of the film quite equally. Even though I have heard many of these stories from Stevie in the past, I still like hearing her tell them. And, of course, I am a self proclaimed 'behind the scenes voyeur', so I did like watching and listening to all the great music being made. And Stevie did bring in a lot of fantastic people to help her with In Your Dreams. Her main collaborator is Dave Stewart, who, until this project, I had no idea was such an incredibly fun guy. For real, I would like for him to be one of my friends. We also get to see Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood. There's a nice little reunion. Oh, and hey, Glen Ballard, are you helping out, too? Well, you've certainly improved a lot since the last time I mentioned you on my blog . . . which was like last week. But still, thumbs up on this one, my friend. And let us not forget the time we get to spend with Sharon Celani and Lori Perry-Nicks, the backup singers that have been with Stevie for over thirty years. Now that's loyalty.

Now I don't know what more I can say about the music that I didn't already say in my previous review, other than it's still amazing. I certainly enjoyed the way that they visually presented the songs, many as very cinematic looking videos. It didn't hurt that they filmed a lot of this in Stevie's house, which is phenomenally beautiful. And yet again, I absolutely love hearing about how these songs came to be written and what inspired them. Well, with the exception of one, maybe. Yeah, I didn't need to go any deeper into the fact that one of the songs was heavily inspired by one of the Twilight movies. Keep in mind, this is the same album wherein she wrote a song based on an Edgar Allen Poe poem. So, Stephenie Meyer, Edgar Allen Poe. Yeah. It's not that I'm judging, since I have written more than a few songs where I would rather not reveal what triggered the ideas. I suppose it proves what a gifted writer Stevie is if she can write this beautiful and interesting song based on, who some have called, the most boring and nondescript couple in literary and cinematic history. I'm mean, sometimes. Seriously, though, she should really never watch anything having to do with Buffy and Angel because THAT couple's story might inspire her so much that she'll lock herself away for a year due to an overwhelming attack of ideas. I mean, she could, literally, write an entire new album just based on the "Becoming" episode. Anywho, back to the other thing. Look, it's Stevie, and it's her album, so we're going to let her get away with it. We've certainly done it before. And since there are so many other great stories, I can let this slide. I'm sure she's grateful. Indeed.

Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to get very personal for a minute and admit that there is something about this documentary that makes me a little sad, but for myself. At present time, I do not have a musical collaborator, and seeing people working together on a such a great project, making all of this wonderful music, makes me wish quite a bit that I could have that. Sure, I relish the time I spend alone with my work, but I long to occasionally be able to share that with someone else, someone to create with and come up with ideas alongside at all hours of the day and night. As I once even expressed in a song of my own "Can I have a midnight conversation that lasts until tiger lilies bloom in the sky?" Boom! Yeah, I am that good, and even that pretentious. But I digress. The good news about all this is that the whole film and Stevie herself are so uplifting here that I can actually believe that it will happen for me someday. Yes, if nothing else, she is a person who can definitely inspire you to dream, and, despite what people may say, that is not a bad thing.

And so, if I haven't made this clear yet, I do really love this documentary. If you are a fan of Stevie's or you are a process watcher, as it were, you should absolutely check this out. It is currently available for downloading, and it will probably get a DVD release as well. If you're neither of those things I previously mentioned, I won't try to push this on you, but if you happen upon it someday, I say take a look. If anything, you'll get to witness the life of someone who is an absolute survivor, and that's always good. Plus, you'll get to hear some stellar music along the way. So why not?

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Friday, June 7, 2013

Blink the Brightest / Tracy Bonham - Album Review

Greetings Pups,

I think I have made it abundantly clear that I hate it when superb artists are underrated and under appreciated. Now I'm not saying that the charts have ever been perfect, but, in recent years, it has gotten kind of ridiculous and clearly obvious that having talent is not always a major necessity. So you can imaging how annoyed I am when an artist overflowing with talent does not get the recognition they deserve. Such is the case, I feel, with whom I will be discussing today. The album is Blink the Brightest; the artist is Tracy Bonham.

For those of you who lived through the 90's, particularly everyone who was going through their angsty phase, you may remember Tracy Bonham and her hit song "Mother, Mother" from the 1996 album The Burdens of Being Upright. She fit quite nicely right alongside musical peers such as Liz Phair, Tori Amos and Fiona Apple, whilst having a unique sound all her own. And yet there are some people who may throw her into the category of a 'one hit wonder'. I choose not to do that, because it practically implies that she had only one good song in her. Yeah, no. That is definitely not true, and I will prove it with the album review I am doing today.

Blink the Brightest was released in 2005 and was the third studio album from Tracy. I would most easily define it as pop/rock, which is good because it is, legit, one of the most perfect blendings of those two genres that I have ever heard. The first song is "Something Beautiful", which is a track strong enough to be the opener but not too overpowering. It's kind of a theory that the first song on every album ever is the hit. I'd say this may prove that. Next up is "I Was Born Without You". It has a really unique guitar riff that makes me shimmy my shoulders a bit, which is something I do sometimes in private, so let's keep that between us. And, speaking as the lyric snob that I am, this song has some great ones. It seems to be about a woman who is practically annoyed at how much she needs her significant other. Classic. And, yes, I can relate.

Now I will say that this album is very evenly toned, but you will get the chance to rock a bit, then really calm yourself. The rocking happens with the song "Eyes", but it's just enough to stay within the confines of the spirit of the album. Then, we contrast with "Whether You Fall", where things mellow since it's a simple and beautiful piano ballad. And, of course, we get to have some good, old fun with "Dumbo Sun". Yeah, I am, like, 78% sure that we're talking about New York DUMBO as opposed to cartoon Dumbo, but you never know.

The other thing I love about this album is how much Tracy really gets to show off what an amazing vocalist she is. Personally, I think this is no more evident than on "Wilting Flower". Nothing seems too complicated with this song, but it makes her voice absolutely shine. Speaking of which, there is also a song called "Shine", which I would say is my favorite here. I love it when the lyrics and melody of a song feel like they were utterly born to be put together, and that is exactly what we get with this one. And finally, we end with "Did I Sleep Through This?". It is a really fantastic match with the opener and gives the album great bookends.

So there you have it. In case I was less than obvious, I am definitely recommending that you take a listen to Blink the Brightest. Although, I will give you this warning. Whilst you will, no doubt, find this collection of songs very enjoyable, it may also make you a little mad. Like I said, Tracy Bonham is an incredibly underrated artist. Sure, people who know things know how wonderful she is, but the public at large has certainly not given her the recognition and acclaim that she so richly deserves. As far as I'm concerned, she should be on par with the likes of Sheryl Crow at this point. Wait, I take that back. I kind of think she's better than Sheryl Crow, so she should be even more successful. Though, as correct as I am, this is just my opinion. Look, wherever it comes from, whatever genre it is, good music is good music, and Blink the Brightest is full of that. So, you know, just go buy the thing.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

For the Love of Levi

Greetings Pups,

Despite the fact that I spend a lot of time on this blog discussing entertainment industry related things, I have to admit that, when I move past the artistic aspects, there is much about it that I despise. Probably the thing that bothers me the most is the people. I know I do not know them, but you can tell a lot about a person based on what they show you. And a lot of those Hollywood types and such have shown me a lot of not good things. Sad, isn't it? But every so often, someone comes along that you can't not love and admire. Yeah, that's right. I am so passionate about my enjoyment of this particular person that I am using a double negative, and I don't even care. Who is this phenomenal specimen of humanity? Why, it's Zachary Levi! And he's the best. Actor, singer, philanthropist, but not the obnoxious kind, and a self proclaimed nerd. No, really, he embraces that. I actually can't believe it took me so long to do one of my tributes for him, but I do have a lot of things to say about him. Very good things. Off we go.

Zachary Levi Pugh (yes, Pugh is his actual last name) was born in Louisiana to Darrell and Susan, and he has two sisters named Sarah and Shekinah. One is older and one is younger, and no, I don't know which is which, but they only give you so much info on the internet these days. Anyway, right off the bat, we can see he was being blessed. Sure, God made him a middle child, which has been known to make people go all Jan Brady psycho on the world, but He also made him the only boy. So he was special! Seriously, though, when he was young the family uprooted to California and, at about the age of six, Zac began to get into some theater acting, as you do. Now I'll guess that, since he didn't do anything major in the entertainment industry, that I know of anyway, until his adulthood, his parents were wise enough to opt out of the whole making him a child star thing. GOOD IDEA, Mom and Dad. Don't get me wrong. I may have enjoyed seeing him in, I don't know, a Cheerios commercial or something at nine years old, but I think that all of Zac's fans can agree that he was worth the wait.

Now the first mainstream success for Zac came in 2002 on a show called Less Than Perfect, which was one of those series that lasted for several years, whilst somewhat flying under the radar. That's a little disappointing, because the show was actually very good, as was the cast. Zac got to share the screen with Sara Rue, Sherri Shepherd, Andy Dick, Eric Roberts and Andrea Parker. Now if any of you read my retrospective about The Pretender, you'll know how much I adore Andrea Parker. Now for some reason, Zac always struck me as someone who may have been a fan of The Pretender as well, which makes me think that he got really excited at the prospect of working with Miss Parker. But I'm just speculating on that. Anyway, on Less Than Perfect, Zac played a guy named Kip Steadman, who was kind of the bad guy-ish, but not really. He was more like a fun and funny villain, which is the best kind. Sorry, I have to bring up Andrea Parker again, but since her character of Lydia and his character were kind of partners in crime, I have to point out what great chemistry they had. And where Zac is concerned, you can really see all the potential he had, which would eventually help when he had to become the leading man. Speaking of which . . .

About a year after the four season run of Less Than Perfect, Zac's career really took off when he was cast as the titular character in a show called Chuck. If you don't know, Chuck is about Chuck Bartowski, a guy who is very smart but not so ambitious anymore. He works in an electronics store called Buy More but is inadvertently brought into the world of spies. Now I could go into a detailed explanation on the series, but it may take too long. Besides, this show is one that needs to be watched, rather than explained. And it's worth it. Chuck can be considered an action/comedy, which I imagine can be hard to do. It did develop a very loyal fan base, much thanks due to Zac and yet another great cast, which included Yvonne Strahovski, Joshua Gomez, Sarah Lancaster and, the man, Adam Baldwin. All the fantastic things that went into this series led to a good, five year run, which ended in 2012. Thanks for the memories. And for making me want to eat A LOT of Subway.

Now, aside from a few appearances here and there, Less Than Perfect and Chuck were the main roles in Zac's television career. So, let's move on to the films. Yeah, this part may prove difficult for me since some of his choices of roles may have been a bit, let's say, questionable. I mean, he was in movies like Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (meh), Big Momma's House 2 (yeah, no) and something called Wieners (Oh, come on!). But in amongst all of those, Zac did manage to do some really good films. One of them was Spiral, a 2007 psychological thriller that I really enjoyed, and another was Shades of Ray. I actually did a review of that movie, and, if you read that, you'll know that I thought very, very highly of it. Seriously, it should be seen by one and all. And, of course, we all know about the Disney film, Tangled, wherein he voiced the character of Flynn Ryder/Eugene Fitzherbert. Hey, remember how I said that Zac calls himself a nerd? Well, he also calls himself a "Dis-Nerd" Yeah, my apologies for using that if he, or anyone else, has copyrighted it, but it is, for real, one of the best words I have ever heard. Oh, and it's in this one that we get to hear what a great singer he is. He even got to sing "I See the Light" at the Oscars with Mandy Moore. Don't worry, Zac, you didn't look nervous at all. Right. The most recent thing he has done combined his television and film work in a TV movie called Remember Sunday, in which he starred with Alexis Bledel. It was a tearjerker, alright, but also very inspiring. Yeah, it was one of those Hallmark movies, so really what did we expect. And it seemed to fit Zac perfectly, while letting him show some good range as the talented actor that he is.

All of that, basically, covers his career. But what of his personal life and other things that define this man? Well, as it happens, Zachary Levi was raised in a Christian home, and it appears he has held on to those beliefs to this day. How refreshing. Despite being in Hollywood, despite the criticisms and even despite backlash from people who were once fans, he hasn't turned his back on this. He most likely knows that what all of those people think of him really does not matter. And he certainly has had overwhelming support from so many of his true admirers, including his Chuck co-star, Adam Baldwin, who is apparently also a Christian. Wow, we're just everywhere, aren't we? So, Zac clearly has a very good heart, and nowhere is this more evident than the work he does with Operation Smile, a wonderful organization that provides reconstructive surgery for children. I saw him give a speech at their 2011 Smile Gala, and it was so heartwarming. He has such a genuine way about him, especially where this is concerned, and since I see so little sincerity coming from a lot of celebrities these days, I love to see someone who truly seems to care about the people he is helping to affect.

So what does the future now hold for Zachary Levi? Well, he's going to be in the upcoming Thor sequel. Sweet. And I'm guessing that, since he has his Nerd Machine website, he will continue to do video game . . . stuff. Yeah, I didn't mention that before because I am not really a video game person. And I'm not certain how I feel about a man in his thirties being so into them. Not that I'm judging, since you guys all know that I still watch cartoons and whatnot. So, hey, whatever supers your Mario, my friend. (Again, if I am copyright infringing with that joke, my apologies!) Now what I personally am hoping that he will do next goes back to my mention of Tangled, wherein I spoke of his singing. I absolutely want him to record and release an album. That would just make me giddy, and I would totally write a song for him to sing. I may or may not have already written a song or two about him, but let's not talk about that right now, okay? Now Zac actually has delved into the world of a recording artist when, also in 2010, he sang a lovely duet called "Terrified" with Katherine McPhee. Thank you. More please. It's obvious that Zac does enjoy singing, so here's hoping and praying that a full on album is something he will someday do. Soon. Not that I'm impatient or anything.

And here endeth my tribute. Did I gush? Yes. What about it? Look, I really can't say enough good things about Zachary Levi. He is something very special, and I would even go so far as to say he is a treasure to this world. He is a talented, intelligent, brave and loving man, to say the least, and, frankly, he makes my heart smile. That's not any easy thing to do with me. What with all the negativity coming out of the entertainment industry these days, it so wonderful to have someone who can truly be admired and respected. Whatever he chooses to do in his life, both professionally and personally, I pray that God will continue to bless him in it. God has certainly already used him to bless us.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Monday, June 3, 2013

Top Ten ALF Episodes

Greetings Pups,

I love ALF. There. I said it, and I am not ashamed of it. It seems, though, that people just do not understand, or even care to understand, the oeuvre of ALF, both the character and the show. And they certainly don't appreciate the whole thing. I've even heard people say the show and its style of comedy was unrealistic. Really? These must be the same people who accused the BRITISH Beatles of being un-American. Sigh. Well, those folks aside, my childhood was filled with watching this hilarious show, and it has most definitely carried itself into my adulthood, thanks to reruns and DVDs. It seems only fitting for me to devote a top ten list to my favorite episodes. But I guess I'll be nice and give a little synopsis of the show. This shouldn't take long.

One night, an Alien Life Form aka Alf (get it), aka Gordon Shumway, as we would eventually find out is his real name, crash lands into the garage of the Southern California family, the Tanners. They consisted of Willie, the kind of nerdy father; Kate, the 'why is this hot woman married to that nerd?' mother; Lynn, their sometimes insecure but sweet teenage daughter; and Brian, the kid that every show has whether they want it or not. At first, they are a bit stunned, naturally, but after the events of the pilot episode, they opt to let him stay, because . . . why the heck not? He's fun and furry. And from a planet called Melmac. Not to say Alf didn't come with problems, though. First off, they constantly had to hide him from the public, especially their nosy neighbors, Trevor and Raquel Ochmanek. Though, over the years, a ton of people do eventually get to meet him, including the Ochmaneks' nephew, Jake. He also breaks, like, everything in their house. Even blew up the kitchen once (P.S. That was SWEEEEET! And yet, not sweet enough to make the list.) Oh, and they also had to keep him from eating their cat, Lucky. Because he eats cats. Yeah, I'm guessing PETA just loved this show. And so for four years, all kinds of hijinks ensued. And they were fabulous. I think that's plenty of back story, since I am probably going to be very detailed and spoiler-y on this list. So, warning. Now let's go.

#10. "True Colors" (Season 4) - As much as I love ALF, I can admit that, by the fourth season, the show was losing its steam a bit. But there were a few gems during that last year, and this one is my favorite. So Lynn is taking an art class, and, as an artist, she's kind of meh. It seems she has the talent, but not the creativity, if that makes sense. But guess who does have creativity? Right, Alf. So he starts painting . . . with food. After slipping one of his works into Lynn's bag, her teacher sees it and praises it, leading Alf to believe that he is an artistic genius. But things may not always be as they appear. Creepy teacher alert! What I love about this one is how pretentious Alf gets when he starts considering himself an artist. Even as an artist myself, I don't deny that this can happen to people. And it sucks. Rent, anyone?

#9. "Somewhere Over the Rerun aka The Ballad of Gilligan's Island" (Season 2) - I've had a few TV show addictions in my life. Therefore, I refuse to judge Alf when he becomes obsessed with Gilligan's Island. Okay, I can judge a little on his choice of show. Anyway, he becomes so obsessed that he builds a lagoon in the backyard . . . in one night! Yeah, that's right. A three foot alien built a giant lagoon in one night. So, all you construction workers, house builders and landscapers, up yours with your "We'll be done in two weeks" nonsense. But the real story begins when Alf falls asleep and dreams that he is on Gilligan's Island, with original cast members and all! But he quickly realizes that living there may not be all it was cracked up to be. It could have been worse for him, though. He could have been stuck on the island from Lost. Wow, I bet Sawyer's head would have exploded with all the nicknames he could have thought up for that little guy. Oh, and by the way, watch Alf's hair when the show starts as he drills a hole into a coconut. His bangs looks fabulous!

#8. "Promises, Promises" (Season 3) - I have been known to frequently have infatuations with older men, so I felt the plight of Lynn when she brought home a date to her parents, who happened to be an older, British(?) guy named Eddie. Kate and Willie do not approve, because he's older. Well, that's their excuse, but I think it's because this guy has the job of a "substitute novelist", which is someone who signs books for other authors who aren't there to do it themselves. Okay? Well, those who can, write, and those who can't, forge. Long story short, Kate and Willie say no dating, Lynn does it anyway, Alf finds out and spills the beans, Lynn gets mad at Alf, and then he spends the episode trying to get her to forgive him. It may not seem like much, but the jokes are really good in this one. And take notice of a guy named Randy. I won't say why he's there, but, trust, he's pretty hilarious.

#7. "Don't It Make Your Brown Eyes Blue" (Season 1) - Here's another episode about Lynn and a boy. She gets a crush on a guy named Scott, who is in a band and is storing their equipment in the Tanners' garage. But the crushing doesn't stop there, because Alf has apparently developed a crush on Lynn. Just go with it. This brings up a bit of a side plot, wherein Alf confides in Kate that he has a crush on someone and Kate assumes it's her. When she tells this to Willie, his reaction is to laugh hysterically. Really? I'll assume he's laughing because it's Alf who has the crush, since, if it was a good looking, human man having a crush on his gorgeous wife who is way out of his league, he would not be laughing. He would be very concerned. Anyway, best thing that happens here is that Alf decides to write a song for Lynn, which morphs into a rock video. And it is the best music video of the 80's!!! For reals.

#6. "La Cucaracha" (Season 1) - Alien bugs. They can be scary. I can admit that. Here, though, our alien bug brings the laughs. So, whilst Alf is cleaning out his spaceship, a Melmacian cockroach escapes in the house. And it has blue eyes. Sweet. Anyway, they spray it with bug spray, but then it gets bigger. They spray it again, and it gets bigger, which makes them conclude that they should stop spraying it. Kate and the kids flee to her mother's house, leaving Willie and Alf to deal with Rodney. Yes, Brian names the cockroach. So do they defeat the evil Rodney? Of course, they do. This is season one out of four. But I won't tell you how they do it. That is classic.

#5. "My Back Pages" (Season 3) - In an attempt to acquire his own room in the attic, Alf begins to rummage through it and all its contents. Those include a lot of stuff from Willie and Kate's past, specifically, the era of the 60's. They find some film of their time at Woodstock, which causes Willie to reminisce further about his college days and his roommate. After a conversation with Alf that kind of troubles Willie, he has a dream about his past, but the roommate he spoke of has been replaced by, you guessed it, Alf. Well, the roommate's nickname was Snout, after all. And we all know about Alf's nose. I actually really liked how they did the dream sequences, and I really like seeing Alf as a hippie.

#4. "Can I Get a Witness?" (Season 2) - Someone broke the Ochmaneks' window by throwing a football through it! Oh, no! Of course, Alf is the obvious and only suspect. He denies that he did it and demands a trial. You guys all know how I love some good courtroom drama. Courtroom comedy, in this case, even better. Yeah, we get Alf wearing a suit and being a lawyer. Eat your heart out, Jack McCoy. So this is, technically, your basic "Let's have family court!" episode, which I think other sitcoms have done, but they do it really well here. So much that you start to believe that Alf really isn't guilty, despite his destructive past. Are we right? Sorry, no spoilers on this one.

#3. "Turkey In the Straw" (Season 3)/ "Someone To Watch Over Me" (Season 2) - I decided to do a tie here, because I just couldn't decide between these two great two parter episodes. The first, in case you couldn't tell, is a Thanksgiving episode. After Alf eats the Tanners' turkey (raw!), they are forced to have dinner at the Ochmaneks' house with their wacky relatives. In the meantime, Alf is visited by a homeless man named Flakey Pete. Because it's the 1920's and all hobos have fun nicknames! Anyway, Pete, who is played by David Ogden Stiers, is determined to turn Alf into the Alien Task Force to get some money. But a friendship strikes up between Alf and Pete and eventually the Tanners, so second thoughts are had, and we may just get a happy ending here. My second pick centers around a neighborhood watch being formed after a series of break-ins. Willie is elected as the leader, but soon, Alf takes over, pretending to be Willie over the CB. He quickly annoys all the neighbors into quitting, but he still wants to do the job. After spotting a burglar trying to get into the Ochmanek's house, again, he goes there in an attempt to stop him. And this event leads us to the second half, which is even better than the first. So much that I can't even fully get into it. Just check it out. And keep an eye out for Iola from Mama's Family in a very different role from that one.

#2. "Mother and Child" (Season 1) - Two words can explain why this episode is so fantastic - Anne Meara. Oh, yeah. In her illustrious career as a funny lady, this is one of the best things she ever did. No lie! Here, she plays Dorothy, Kate's overbearing mother, who comes to stay with the Tanners for "just a little while". Needless to say, Alf is upset about being forced to stay in the garage throughout her visit, so Kate and Willie decide to introduce Alf to Dorothy, but they want to do it their way. Nope. Alf sits up in the kitchen at night to surprise Dorothy, to say the least. Her reaction is priceless, easily one of the best reactions I've ever seen. Now Anne Meara made several appearances on the show as Grandma Dorothy, and the relationship, such as it was, between her and Alf ended up being one of the best things about the series. But this episode was a phenomenal introduction to that great story.

#1. "Superstition" (Season 3) - Over the span of this series, we learn a lot of interesting things about Alf's home planet of Melmac. But what we get here is the absolute best. The episode starts with Alf sauteing Junebugs. What! At least, it's not the cat. They all smell something burning, and it is Brian's history book, which Alf put in the oven to dry after he knocked it into a fish tank. Yeah. Turns out, on Melmac, if you burn a history book, you get seven years of bad luck, followed by seven years of really bad luck. This is because if you burn a history book, you (and I'm quoting this) cheat future generations out of knowledge of the past. What makes that statement even better is Willie's response in which he says "That's rather deep for a planet whose motto is 'Are you going to finish that sandwich?'" Brilliant. They all try to get rid of Alf's supposed bad luck, but he says the only way is the Bibliocide Ritual. Bibliocide? Oh, he killed a book. I get it. In this ritual, the guilty party must ask for atonement, standing in the light of a green full moon, whilst he and five other people wear meat. Yep, meat. I mean, what else would they have to wear, really? Jake Ochmanek says they should do this, substituting the green full moon for a regular full moon looked at the through the lenses of green sunglasses. First, do they even make those? And second, is this the first and only fashion accessory themed deus ex machina in history? So they all agree to take part in this. I won't tell you exactly what happens in this ritual, what Alf has to say and everyone's reaction to what he has to say, because you really need to see it for yourself. It's subtle, yet hilarious. The best kind of comedy.

Yeah, I do love ALF. I know a lot of people have been quite critical of this show over the years, and I usually don't mind people being critical of things. Heck, I'm critical of things. But, really, if you are complaining because a show about a fluffy alien living with a family cannot be taken seriously, you are totally missing the point. Just let this series be what it was and still is - fun! And, in my opinion, it still holds up today. Now you can get the DVDs or you can still catch reruns on The Hub channel. So watch it again or for the first time. The laughs will come. I guarantee.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Katy Perry: Part of Me - Documentary Review

Greetings Pups,

Okay, let's just get this out of the way. I am not a Katy Perry fan. Never have been, probably never will be. Now do I like a couple of her songs? Sure. I don't deny anyone if they do something good, but it's obvious that the only ones I like are the songs in which she does not include some kind of gimmick. So not very many. Still, I put this documentary on my Netflix queue, because I thought "Why not?" I guess if I want to be taken seriously as a critic at all, I'll have to watch things that I'm probably not going to like. That's when things can get tragic, or fun, if you're lucky. Plus, my curiosity was piqued about how this film might affect my feelings about Miss Perry. I thought it would either make me like her a little a bit or not like her even more. Surprisingly, it kind of did neither. So she didn't gain any ground with me, but, then again, she didn't lose any. Anyway, let's get to the film.

Katy Perry: Part of Me is pretty much fifty percent documentary and fifty percent concert movie, the latter of which was apparently in 3D, if you saw it in the theater. There's not a ton to be said about the concert footage, other than that it's a Katy Perry concert. That's about it, but that was probably the point. All of it was a bit over the top, for my taste, like she was overcompensating for something. I do understand that when people pay as much money as they probably do they want a big show, and that's what they got. I personally could get more entertainment at a concert that consists of Tori Amos and her piano, but again, that's just my preference. Katy Perry fans, on the other hand, clearly want more. Oh, yeah, about her fans. Many years ago as I watched I Love the 80's on VH1 and they were talking about Madonna, a comedian said that he could not have hated Madonna more, and he could not have hated her fans more. That statement reminded me of this. Basically, if you hate Katy Perry because you think she's annoying, DO NOT watch this film! Because you'll probably be driven to insanity by her fans. I get that they like her, but some lines should not be crossed. Even I, as a young girl and a major fan of, let's say, New Kids on the Block, knew better. I was never a squealer, for example. I never said that I would one day be married to one of them. Perhaps, that was because I never wanted footage of myself saying such things to be featured on a show like E! True Hollywood Story. Think ahead, children, think ahead.

Okay, it looks like in that last paragraph I went from discussing the live performance aspect to the documentary style sections, so let's just full on get to that. Again, the documentary part can be divided into two things as well, half being behind the scenes of the tour stuff, the other half being Katy's back story, though it does all blend together more easily. The tour footage is pretty much what you'd expect, for the most part, up until we get to her breakup with Russell Brand. Yeah, how do you like that? She starts the movie married, and by the end, not so much. Kidding aside, I suppose I do have to admire her for being open about that, since she was obviously devastated, and for taking the stage for her fans despite her being in tears up until her show started. It says something about a person who is loyal to those who helped make her successful. If I do have to make one big criticism about the performances, though, it would be this. If you are going to sing a song in your movie, particularly a song as famous as "Hey, Jude", learn the words. Yeah, we saw you looking down at the lyrics, Katy. Seriously?

Now the rest of the doc was probably the most interesting, sort of, as we follow Katy on her musical journey from childhood to present day. I actually already knew about what this movie showed concerning her upbringing, specifically her Christian upbringing. I also knew that she basically turned her back on it in order to achieve fame, fortune and, in her mind, artistic liberation. Like, U2 style. Yeah, bad news, Katy. You can maintain a Christian life whilst expressing yourself artistically. I do it everyday. Just saying. Moving on.

We also get some stories from her early days in L.A. where she started working with Glen Ballard, of all people. And here I thought that whole thing with him and Alanis Morissette was just a fluke. But, apparently, if you just walk up to his house, knock on the door and say, "I'm a songwriter, and I've got songs" he'll invite you in for a listen. If I would have known I could do that when I was twenty, I totally would have. Anyway, we then move on to her work with producers and songwriters, The Matrix, which didn't work out that great, and her being moved around to different record companies, until she finally gets to the fame for which we all know her. And that's it.

So is this a good documentary? Well, if you're a fan, you'll love it. If you're not so much, you might get some entertainment out of it, but that could be a stretch. If you hate her and her music, don't even bother, unless you want to hate her more. Like I said, this movie had little effect on me. I don't hate Katy Perry; I'm just not a fan. This really didn't change my opinion of her that much, in either direction. I mean, she's there. Katy Perry exists, and so does this documentary. That's about it.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer