Are You Not Entertained?

Here begins a new monthly series of the music, books, and films I’ve watched.

The Best I’ve Heard 

During my life, I have wished several times for Chrissie Hynde‘s voice from The Pretenders. She sounds just as good as she did 30 years ago. Have you seen this London concert? Guitarist James Walbourne is impressive!

I developed a finer appreciation for Willie Nelson‘s songwriting legacy after watching The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for music on a Sunday evening.

WILLIE NELSON GERSHWIN AWARD

What I’ve Read 

I Am Malala:  How the Taliban invaded Pakistan in 2007, and her subsequent shot in the head because she dared to go to school. My students will be reading this soon. Will they appreciate their free education afterwards? We shall see.

SiddharthaThis 1922 slender novel is a jewel. Under the Mango tree by the river, Siddhartha returns to a state of innocence and achieves enlightenment. Hermann Hesse shares the wisdom that speaks to Buddhists, Christians, and non-conformists alike.

BrooklynI didn’t like the prose much and thought it a boring read. Many movie buffs loved the film. This could be one of those rare times when the film is better than the book.

Some of the Movies I’ve Seen 

The Missing (2003) 3/5. If Ron had left out the witch Indian, I would have found it believable.

Thirteen Days (2000) 3/5.  Let’s hope Kevin Costner never attempts a Boston accent again.

The Intern (2015) 2/5. Weak Script. DeNiro is charming, and Anne is pretty and annoying.

The Fog of War (2003) 5/5. An outstanding documentary. A retrospective account from a key player of the events from the 20th century. The Philip Glass score is a bonus.

Until They Sail (1957). 3.5/5. A smoldering love exists between Simmons and Newman? Didn’t work so well for me.

 The Sting (1973) 4.5/5. Paul Newman’s Gondorff hustling Lonnegan in the train car is one fantastic scene.

Let’s talk. 

57 thoughts on “Are You Not Entertained?

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    1. Hi Michael–well, I wasn’t too keen about the Intern. DeNiro was affable and pleasant but if I were a male around the age of 30 I’d be a little annoyed that I was portrayed as a boy in a hoodie who only cares about playing video games. DeNiro is the fairy godfather, here, fixing everyone in a saintly fashion.

    1. Ahhh, so I’m not the only one! It felt flat for me. It’s not that I was expecting a faced paced adventure, but it lacked any spark or held much controversy/conflicts for me. I did enjoy the boat ride over, however.

  1. You squeezed a lot into one month, Cindy, I’m impressed. I haven’t read any of the books, but I do like The Pretenders a great deal. As for the films, I actually quite enjoyed The Missing, in an average-film kind of way, but I always think The Sting was a film of its time, and seems stagey and contrived on later viewings. Of the others, I have only seen Thirteen Days, which I didn’t much care for.
    This is a good feature, even if it makes me feel like I have been neglecting my cultural input!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Hiya, Pete! Thanks for your comments. I always slot reading an hour or two before sleeping. Some nights I only get two pages in and I’m out. Anyway, just watched The Sting the other night and loved it all over again. Seems like fellow bloggers like to do a recap and I thought I would join in and share random stuff that affected me one way or the other. I liked The Missing a lot–that scene with the boyfriend baking in the hide was intense and shocking. I liked young Evan Rachel Wood and I enjoyed Tommy Lee Jones and Cate who can do no wrong. The scenery–my area of the world so fun to watch. It was entertaining.

  2. new music i like——–florence and the machine: how big how blue how beautiful…david bowie: blackstar suede:night thoughts,adele: 24, morrissey: world peace is none of your business, keith richards: crosseyed heart, andrea bocelli: cinema

    1. Hi there, Bill. I can see why you are listening to Florence! She has a soulful, Celtic voice–thanks for the hipster tip there–I hadn’t heard of her or this new album.

      I’ll pass on Adele. Haven’t listened to Richards Crosseyed Heart (great name) and Bocelli is always uplifting.

      1. We just saw Morrissey in December. It is so much fun to go to concerts in Lima because the whole audience sings along with every song. I was screaming my head off with the rest of them. I have to say Morrissey is my #1 favorite pop star…his writing, his singing, his politics…and his autobiography was amazing, as were those of keith richards and ray davies. I am also a fan of Chrissie Hynde. I love singers who do odd little things in the way they end musical phrases. Im not fond of the type of music Adele sings, but she might be the only honest one of her lind left in the business. For english pop-soul, I greatly perfer, Duffy, if only her firstalbum, great songs and she sounds like dusty Springfield. Have you ever heard suede? they were my favorite band of the 90’s and are now making a strong comeback.If you havent heard them, try their first and second albums, suede and Dog man Star.

        1. I have heard of Suede but can’t say as any songs or album come to mind, so I will check out your suggestions. How cool for you and your wife to see Morrissey in December! I can imagine you singing with gusto and am happy for you. Lima sounds like a cool place.

      2. Her cover of ‘You’ve Got The Love’ from the first album is phenomenal too. She’s one of my favourite ‘new’ UK artists, and I have both of her CD releases. I love the way she harmonizes with herself.

        This one’s pretty good as well!

  3. Willie Nelson is a truly great and original singer and songwriter, with possibly the most honest voice in all of music. It’s hard to believe his guitar Trigger is nearly as old as I am!

    1. Trigger looks like its pushing 60–in the video of the concert, Willie played a song at the end and he was using Trigger–holes in the face and all! I agree his voice is ageless and his twine pure. I had forgotten how many great songs he had written and gave away so others could become stars in their own right. A great man.

  4. Hi Cindy, where to start… i love all kinds of music, and your right on .about voices.. Chrissie has a voice like a fine bourbon 🙂 . love me some Florence as well. and your movies, ahh the sting was awesome, although i havent seen it in years. its in my wheelhouse. and id love to go see the intern, but ill wait till its on cd. i am curious about Brooklyn ..time will tell 🙂 thanks for sharing, always fun (and educational) to see whats going on in your world.

  5. I agree with your musical taste (also Florence and the Machine mentioned.)
    I loved the Sting and saw it many times in the early days but my favorite time was when it played at the Palace, piano player included the ragtime music and there was an intermission with more. 🙂
    My youngest daughter liked the movie, “Brooklyn.” She and I enjoyed the Martian and Spectre. I liked the movie, “In My Eyes.” I think I have this 2014 indy film which won film festival awards. A young girl “sees” and “feels” a young man’s life through each other’s experiences, eventually seeing each other when something horrible happens to the young woman. 4.5 of 5 ☆s.

  6. I Am Malala and Siddhartha sound like something I’d be interested in reading. I watched Brooklyn movie yesterday, can’t say I loved it but it’s decent for what it was. Great post Cindy!

  7. Great recap! I’m glad you’re gonna be doing this every month. I LOVE Brooklyn as a film, but not sure I’d enjoy the book. Btw, I overheard someone said the book version of PPZ was meh but he enjoyed the movie immensely. Well I haven’t read it yet but I LOVE the movie, I just had a blast writing the review.

  8. Hi, Cindy:

    Like this new idea!

    Chrissy Hynde is quite good. Still think Annie Lennox has a wider ranged and better set of pipes.

    If you have the time. Check around Nextflix, Anazon or even You Tube for ‘The Missiles of October’.
    A better, made for television film (ABC~1974) about the Cuban Missile Crisis. With William Devane as JFK and Martin Sheen as Bobby Kennedy. As they referee the Joint Chiefs and Secretary General of the UN.

    And you can never go wrong with ‘The Sting’!

    1. Hi Kevin, thanks for your suggestions. I have always liked Martin Sheen and bet this television version would be better. Anne Lennox is a buttery smooth pure singer, no argument from me! I like the rock, edgy-twang of Chrissie’s style.

      1. Martin Sheen (Ramon Esteves) nails Bobby Kennedy’s young, naive hot head. But Devane walks away with a very believable JFK. Accent and all.

        Reading: Look for a favorite of mine. Tom Wolfe’s ‘Radical Chic & Mau Mauing The Flak Catchers’ from 1971 . A slender tome that humorously lays bare the organization, mindset and awkward logic of the liberal left.

        Also. Anything by ‘The National Lampoon’ and early ‘Rolling Stone’ editor, P.J. O’Rourke.

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