American Made: Kudos, Redhead From the Harry Potter Movies

The guy must really have gotten under self’s skin. She was there to see a Tom Cruise movie, but just one sentence floating into her ear and she recognized the voice. What? When did that happen? She’s only seen him in a handful of movies.

She doesn’t know his name (yet), but she knows he is from the Harry Potter movies. He’s not Rupert Grint, who has grown into a bull-shouldered man. No, this redhead is slender. He was in The Revenant and was as much a part of Leo di Caprio’s Oscar-winning performance as Tom Hardy’s. When we saw the bloody scalp, didn’t we want to just scream in outrage?

So, the slender redhead is in American Made, and he is perfect playing an American CIA cubicle guy who has one ace in the hole: the character played by Tom Cruise. And he is so thin, and so perfect in his bland American accent, he steals every scene. That’s hard to do with Cruise, whose killer charm is still there, in spades.

Kudos, redhead.

This morning, he was on some talk show (Good Morning, America?) with the cast of his new movie about Winnie-the-Pooh creator Christopher Robbins. He was sitting next to Margot Robbie (ravishing in a red dress). He was asked if he had read Winnie the Pooh as a child and he had only one answer: No. The interviewer seemed nonplussed and passed over him quickly (as who wouldn’t, when ravishing Margot Robbie is sitting right there?).

Stay tuned.

#amreading: HIS FINAL BATTLE, THE LAST MONTHS OF FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, by Joseph Lelyveld

Skimmed the last 50 or so pages of Submission. Fascinating, densely written. After the President of France is elected, there’s endless amounts of conjecture about Sharia Law. The last paragraph of the novel was brilliant.

And then she began the next book on her reading list, His Final Battle: The Last Months of Franklin Roosevelt. Self loves World War II history books.  A really good World War II history book can light up her life in a myriad ways. This one had her completely hooked, from page 1.

Self doesn’t know why, but she was completely ready for this book. Against the panoply of war is a sick man who just happens to be the President of the United States. The curtain came “down abruptly” on Franklin Roosevelt in the twelfth week of his fourth term, “on a balmy April afternoon in Warm Springs, Georgia.”

Roosevelt’s fourth term was “the third shortest presidential term” in U.S. history. Shortest was William Henry Harrison’s 32 days, and then the six weeks of Abraham Lincoln’s second term. Roosevelt was, to borrow a term from author Joseph Lelyveld, “plaintive” in his last months.

p. 12:

Mortality is the ultimate reason for feeling plaintive. In our waning hours, we get on with our tasks. Roosevelt was racing, as we all are, against time. If we want to take him in his full measure, we need to see him in his full context, in the round, not just as a dying man in what we may glibly call “denial,” but as an actor playing out his role, simply because he found no alternative; in that sense, a man touched by the heroic. Of all his responsibilities as the war headed into its climactic last year, calculating the date of his own terminus was not necessarily, in that clamorous time, the most pressing.

In other words, people, it’s not always about you. What a contrast to 45, who manages to make even hurricanes seem like personal affronts. 45 addressing the people of Puerto Rico: “Personally, I’m having a horrible day.” Not sure if he said this before or after he threw Brawny paper towels at a roomful of people. Self still doesn’t understand the significance of throwing paper towels to people who are recovering from what @RealRBHJr calls “Big Water”. (A joke, maybe?)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Readings of the Day: Waterloo/The Verge on GoTS7 Episode 6: “Beyond the Wall”

Self’s reading has been all over the map lately, from the Battle of Waterloo (Fantastic reading: Waterloo: the History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles) to reviews of the latest episode of Game of Thrones Season 7. Anyhoo, there’s only a few days left until the finale of the Game of Thrones 7th season, so the schizoid nature of self’s reading will soon cease.

First, the sentence from Waterloo. The narrative is now on 17 June 1815. A lot of men are dying or wounded, and Wellington gives the command to withdraw. This can only happen after the wounded are cleared from the battlefield. And since there are so many wounded, that operation takes some time.

p. 111: Wellington wanted the retreat done calmly and, as if to demonstrate his unconcern, he lay down in a pasture and put a newspaper over his face and pretended to sleep.


Self really enjoys the Game of Thrones Season 7 recaps on The Verge. Most of all, she likes Tasha’s breakdown of the first 18 minutes of Episode 6, Beyond the Wall:

I could have watched an entire episode that was just these Seven Samurai (give or take a few ablative redshirts, who the White Walkers and their pet dead-bear unerringly identified somehow as the ones to kill first) working out their grievances and expressing what’s important to them.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

MVP: “Beyond the Wall,” GoT 7:06

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“Beyond the Wall”: Game of Thrones, Season 7, Episode 6

MVP: The Hound

Because, seriously, the way he was front and center of all the fight scenes.

Self’s beloved Gendry was tucked safely out of harm’s way by his newfound bestie, Jon Snow. “Go run back to Eastwatch, Gendry!”

Points to the King of the North for doing his best to keep the last Baratheon Bastard alive until Season 8!

Best Lines:

Tormund/The Hound/Gendry/Tyrion

Most Heartstopping Moment: When she thought Tormund was going to be dragged through A HOLE IN THE ICE with white walkers grabbing his legs (Self thought they hated water???)

Come to think of it, there was another heartstopping moment, that she learned about on Twitter via spoiler, but she did not expect to worry that Tormund might die, so she’ll give the Heartstopping Moment Award to Tormund.

Self forgets everything said back at Winterfell. Oh! Brienne spoke. And she was honorable and doomed. Revealing her distrust of Littlefinger to Sansa? Not perhaps the best idea.

Arya’s collection of creepy Fun-House faces: probably a B. Sansa registered the requisite shock, but the mask (Frey’s?) looked like self’s neighborhood costume shop Halloween latex. To Arya’s overall affect this episode: also a B.

Sansa gets an A because the poor dear was so worried that her own sister might carve off her face. No one deserves to endure that kind of fear. No one. Not even Sansa.

A+ Wight: The one dragging the sword across the ice

B+ Wight: The captive wight; for sending the alarm, despite having half its jaw torn off by The Hound

Gendry’s buzzcut finally revealed its utility in this episode: it is easier to tell who he is, with hood down and buzzcut.

Also, the man does NOT run like a penguin. Do viewers understand the mechanics of running through snow? He did the best he could, considering he had never seen snow before and was probably falling into snow drifts and slipping and sliding and what-not.

Hmmm, what else?

Oh yes. The wounds on Jon Snow’s torso: they looked exceedingly fresh. And he looked very pale, almost corpse-like. Jon Snow’s wounds = B+

Gendry collapsing right in front of the Wall: YES! A+ !!!!

Ser Davos being the first of the rescuers to reach Gendry: All the FEELZ! A++

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Game of Thrones, Season 7 Episode 2: Minutiae, As Usual

If you still haven’t seen Season 7 Episode 2, then obviously SPOILER ALERT

Gendry did not show his lovely face, but almost every second of screen time was a reminder. D & D love messing with us! Just cut it out, you two!

Here’s a list of times when self couldn’t help thinking of The Last Baratheon:

  • Dragonstone war room. Many, many things happened in this room. Such as: Stannis. Such as Stannis and Melisandre on the map table. Such as Gendry’s first meeting with his uncle Stannis grabbing his face and saying, “Half Robert and half lowborn.” Remember poor Gendry’s look of bewilderment?
  • Melisandre. She took Gendry from Arya! We will never forget the leeches. Never.
  • The conversation between Dany and Varys: Almost every sentence had the word Baratheon in it. This has got to be foreshadowing, right? Since both Cersei and Danys seemed to sneer every time they made reference to King Robert, self thinks Gendry is pretty smart to stay out of sight and under the radar. Keep rowing, Gendry!
  • Not only was the word Baratheon sprinkled liberally throughout the convo, Varys also brought up his concern for the common people. And we all know Gendry is a commoner. (Varys knows about Gendry! Oh my Lord! Mebbe he is Gendry’s Secret Protector!)
  • Cersei going with Qyburn to the crypts where he unveils a fantastic dragon-killing machine, forged by “the finest blacksmiths.” You say blacksmith, self thinks Gendry!
  • Arya bumping into Hot Pie. The missing member of this threesome was very much in the room, even though neither Arya nor Hot Pie ever mentioned his name.
  • Someone tracking Arya in the woods. That could be Gendry! He’s hiding behind a tree, observing Arya (100% wishful thinking. Again.) Self wonders if Hot Pie and Gendry ever get to share a scene; mebbe Hot Pie brings up the fact that he’d just seen Arya?

Moving on.

Wins:

  • That sea battle was so kickass!
  • Yara. Just, more Yara. Yara putting her legs on the table. That moment when she realizes all is lost, and gets a really determined look on her face. Gemma Whalen is fanta-ma-tas-tic! Self knows this because she has seen Gemma in RL and she is such an itty bitty thing. This actress projects huge.
  • Olenna Tyrell, always a scene stealer.
  • Varys. Loved his conversation with Dany.
  • Cersei. Lena Headey, you are such a queen!
  • Jon almost strangling Littlefinger. More!
  • Hot Pie. Good at any time, but especially good at dropping Easter Eggs.
  • Theon abandoning ship. It is so perfectly in character. Plus, his backstory (and continuing evolution) is fascinating.

Fails:

  • Ser Jorah. Just got itchy looking at him. Fast forward over the “cure.” You’ll know it’s over when Sam stops retching.
  • Surprisingly, the absolute bulk of Nymeria. She looked like she’d wandered in from a Ray Harryhausen movie.
  • Euron’s grand entrance. Hey, this isn’t Scaramouche!

Meh:

  • Missandei/Grey Worm. She just can’t get excited about these two. Although Grey Worm is pretty fabulous, especially from the back. Three cheers for D & D, finally showing us what the character’s hiding beneath all that armour.
  • Tyene Sands’ long hair. This character is going to die, and all self could think was: Why did she decide to grow out her hair? Somehow, self can’t get past it.

In closing, self would just like to say that the reddit user who, a few weeks ago, posted a blow-by-blow of Season 7 (since taken down) was correct in every little plot detail. Here’s what he said about Gendry’s return: it happens in Episode 5. And Arya and Gendry don’t meet until the final episode of Season 7.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Game of Thrones Season 7 Ep. 1: Fashion and Other Minutiae

Wins:

  • Cersei’s leather top
  • Snow. Hard, blowing snow. When Sandor buries the family. Repentance!
  • Wun Wun is a wight!
  • Arya’s eyebrows are still the best!
  • Squirrel on a stick — campfire gourmet!
  • Dany’s lone walk across the beach — I kept expecting Gendry to pop up, but other than that, it was a great moment.
  • Brienne, as always, in any scene, kills.

Fails:

  • Knowing Sam’s poop/slop-like-poop scene was coming (from perusing last night’s Twitter feeds), I avoided looking at the screen just at this moment.
  • Euron rigged up with clothes more be-fitting a rock star than a warrior. He’s too pretty-looking.
  • GoT loves profanity but for some reason last night’s seemed (and I am including Cersei’s cold-blooded speech which seemed strangely empty, vacuous, BLANK, even with her use of the “c” word) pretty limp. Or perhaps I was just in a bad mood because I had watched vid of Gendry x Arya: “Pull your cock out and take a piss” and that, methinks, is an excellent use of another “c” word.

Meh:

  • Ed Sheeran needs a spray tan. Other than that, his moment with Arya was the sweetest of the episode.
  • Podric as the new Gendry: I’ll take what I can get.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Three Days, Three Movies

Self has been so starved for movies.

In a prevous life, she’d be in her local cine-plex every other day.

The past couple of years, though, unless she feels really driven, she’ll go months without seeing a movie.

Here are some of the ways she shows her movie geek street cred:

Oxford, UK: She gave up seeing the Ashmolean in favor of watching Captain America (In all fairness, the movie theatre was so conveniently situated: just across from Gloucester Green)

London: She walked — walked — in full summer heat, from Russell Square to Shaftesbury Avenue, simply to watch X-Men in the Odeon.

Fort Bragg, CA: She went during a lull in a storm. The movie? Kingsmen, with Colin Firth. When she came out of the movie, the wind was blowing flat out. Self thought she was going to be swept into the ocean.

Now, in the past four days, she has seen three movies:

  • Band Aid
  • Beatriz at Dinner
  • Wonder Woman

Sorry to say, she nearly fell asleep during the action sequences at the end of Wonder Woman. But woke right up again when she saw, in the closing credits, the name of her friend’s daughter:

DIRECTED BY PATTY JENKINS

Of the movies she’s seen so far this summer, her favorite would be Beatriz at Dinner. For Connie Britton and John Lithgow’s performances.

Today, she’s going to see The Book of Henry, even though it hasn’t gotten good reviews. She loves Naomi Watts, even though she’s been so under-used by Hollywood lately.

A long time ago, self met a Mills College student at one of her San Francisco readings. Chatting with the young woman after the reading, the student revealed she made money by working part-time as an exotic dancer. And self happened to mention how much she liked Naomi Watts (What’s the connection to exotic dancing? Nothing), and the young woman said even though Watts had turned 40, if the young woman were a man, she’d definitely consider her hot.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Focus: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 14 June 2017

The bokeh that resulted give the lights of the city a magical quality and creates a unique look for a heavily photographed location.

— David W., The Daily Post

Self had to look up the definition of “bokeh”, here.

Last night, self saw “Tristan and Yseult” at Shakespeare’s Globe. Such a beautiful, high-energy production, Emma Rice’s last as Director at the Globe.

Audience Leaving the Globe After “Tristan and Yseult”: Tuesday, 13 June 2017

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Leaving Shakespeare’s Globe after a performance of “Tristan and Yseult,” Tuesday 13 June 2017

Going home, over London Bridge, she snapped this shot of Big Ben:

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London Bridge Last Night, Around 10 p.m.

And this one of the London Eye:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

BATH: Magnificent Order

And self does mean magnificent.

The Royal Crescent in Bath takes her breath away. Even after seeing it for the third or fourth time.

The shape is an ellipsis cut in half. Who thought of this curved shape? So perfect. It’s almost mystical.

The architect (whose name self immediately forgot) was inspired, according to the guide on the walking tour, by the Roman Coliseum (which is itself elliptical. Really? Self never knew!)

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Royal Crescent

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Royal Crescent No. 1 (Royal Crescent Museum): Self is so happy that this woman came out of the entrance just as self was getting ready to take this shot.

Self had been on the Grand Parade, many times. But she never looked over the bridge to the river below. She finally did, yesterday, and — GAH! Rapids! Who would have thought?

Only after looking at the river for several moments did she realize that the gulls were walking on the edge of the top rapids. Grand illusion! And there are kayaks over there!

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The River Avon from the Grand Parade

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

ORDER: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 7 June 2017

ORDER: “Neat, tidy objects and spaces.”

Monet’s garden at Giverny has a profusion of flowers but it’s the individual blossoms that really show you nature’s genius for order.

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Giverney: May 2017

The flower is ready for its close-up:

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Finally, I. M. Pei’s magnificent pyramid at the Louvre:

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Fabulous: I. M. Pei’s audacity

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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