Genre Grandeur – Pine Barrens (Sopranos episode) – The Girl That Loved to Review

For this month’s Genre Grandeur I chose to relive my favorite episode of The Sopranos. Check it out over at MovieRob’s site!


darkFor this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Dark Comedies, here’s a review of Pine Barrens (Sopranos episode) by Sherise of The Girl That Loved to Review

Thanks again to Reut of Sweet Archives. for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Steven of Past Present Future TV and Film  We will be reviewing our favorite B&W films prior to 1990. Please get me your submissions by the 25th of August by sending them to b&  Try to think out of the box! Great choice Steven!

Let’s see what Sherise thought of this episode:


Dark Comedies: The Sopranos, “Pine Barrens”


I love dark comedies. It’s probably my favorite genre. I could have picked a million different ones to do, but instead the first thing that came to my mind was… a television show. A very specific episode that is branded into the…

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Trainwreck (2015)


I don’t normally go for comedies. They are almost always disappointing, But something about the combination of Judd Apatow, Bill Hader, and the seemingly more realistic representation of a modern day 20-something woman appealed to me. Trainwreck is directed by Apatow and written by suddenly super popular comedian Amy Schumer.
I’ve met Trainwrecks. Some of my best friends are Trainwrecks. I myself am not one, but I found the story of a commitment phobic young woman still relatable. I really enjoyed the small moments in the film, where the characters are talking about random stuff instead of anything that progresses the plot. Amy is funny in a way that manages to appeal to both men and women. She also turns out to be a pretty good actress, handling both the funny scenes as well as the more emotional ones.

Please go away Lebron, that's enough.
Please go away Lebron, that’s enough.

I laughed until I almost cried at the John Cena moments. He was hilarious and had good comedic timing. Tilda Swinton is great, but severely under utilized. The other big cameo, Lebron James, was nowhere near as successful for me. It was quite evident that Lebron is not an actor. And his scenes seemed to drag on and on (that Cleveland scene was not funny nor was the useless ‘intervention’). Bill Hader did well, but I was disappointed with him more so because of the script. He is a very funny guy, but in this film he has nothing to do. I know it’s Amy’s movie, but more from him would have made it funnier.

What I really didn’t like about the film was the message it seemed to impart. The message is that women are supposed to get married and have kids and if they don’t they are weird. Which seems strangely divergent from a lot of Amy’s jokes. Amy (it’s quite convenient that her character in the film shares her name) often makes fun of her sister and her perfect family life. But by the end of the film, when Amy changes her ways and becomes a cheerleader for Aaron (Bill Hader) it becomes obvious that motherhood/marriage is the only acceptable path for a woman. My boyfriend said the cheerleader scene is supposed to be about Amy proving she can take risks in order to be with Aaron. And this is true, but I don’t like the implication that because Amy wasn’t focused on pleasing a man and being a mother before that somehow she was a failure and broken. Amy seemed to have it pretty good, a good job and doing whatever she wanted. I think it’s good that the character grows and matures, but I think it is for the wrong reasons.
Trainwreck is better than most comedies, but it’s far from perfect. Trainwreck gets 7 John Cena asses out of 10.

Memorable Moments: Beatrix and Bill


The Kill Bill movies were my first introduction to Quentin Tarantino films when I was a relatively young girl. They still stand out as some of my favorite films from QT. Beatrix Kiddo is an amazing creation, the perfect female heroine. She is strong, both physically and mentally, she’s resilient, and she’s determined in her need for revenge. But she is very much human. She has moments where she doubts herself and her abilities. And every victory she has she really has to earn. She’s truly admirable and kick ass.

I love Kill Bill volume 2, especially the ending. I know a lot of people prefer the first film, it’s faster, more action driven. But I prefer the more emotional second film. Because it’s a little different than QT’s usual fare. There are still shocking, bloody scenes and terrific dialogue. But it’s all driven by the love/hate dynamic between Beatrix and Bill. I love the moments between Beatrix, Bill, and their daughter. They are sweet, tender, almost normal moments. There is a minimal use of music/score and nearly no action. The dialogue and the emotional power struggle of the characters dominates these scenes. I love how layered Bill and Beatrix’s interactions are. There’s this extreme hate, but also a lot of love, admiration, and respect between the two. This is largely because if the great script, but also Uma Thurman and David Carradine deliver amazing performances. The scenes feel so tense because the characters could kill each other at any moment. It’s edge of your seat film making created by dialogue instead of by action and score (as most films do).

Ray Donovan: Season 3, Episodes 1 and 2; The Kalamazoo and Ding


Congrats to Liev on his first Emmy nomination for Ray Donovan!

The first episode of this season worried me a bit, so I was waiting to post anything until the second episode, when I got a better feel for where the show is going this season.
I’m a little worried because I think Ann Biderman, the show’s creator, did a great job as showrunner for the first two seasons. She had a distinct vision and certain things about Ray, LA, and the Catholic Church molestation scandal that she wanted to explore. But apparently she went over budget both seasons, so Showtime fired her and brought on a new showrunner for season 3. I’m worried that as a result the show is becoming boring and mediocre as there is now a severe lack of creative energy that drove the first two seasons.
The worst thing about The Kalamazoo (episode 1) is that it is boring! What a terrible sin for a television show to commit. I’m a huge Ray Donovan fan and it really hurts me to say that. But I could anticipate all the beats of the episode before it even aired. Ezra dies. Ray’s separated from Abby. Ray hates Avi. It was all so predictable. Other than Abby rescuing that beautiful dog, that was somewhat surprising. Ray has virtually nothing to do, but look morose. And Ian McShane and Katie Holmes also had nothing to do. A very lackluster season opener.

Surprisingly my favorite moment so far.
Surprisingly my favorite moment so far.

Episode 2, Ding, was a mild improvement. The episode is largely about the characters enjoying punishment, self-inflicted or otherwise. Ray gets beat up, Terry gets stabbed, Bunchy gets verbally abused. Bunchy and his budding, abusive relationship with the Luchadora is very funny. I don’t know how believable it is, but it’s a nice twist for the character. Paige (Katie Holmes) and her duplicity was also a nice twist. As much as I love this show, the female characters have always been a major problem. They’re all bitchy and unlikeable. Paige is both these things, but I think there’s potential for her to be a great character. So far Katie Holmes is doing a great job. Superficial critique, but OMG I was shocked by how terrible her teeth look. Fix that shit Katie!
These two episodes of Ray Donovan get a 6/10.

Eddie Marsan as Terry Donovan.
Eddie Marsan as Terry Donovan.

• Mickey is a hero/pimp. Sounds about right.
• Terry in jail. How long can he survive?
• Andrew Finney (Ian McShane): “Kafka said in man’s struggle with the world, bet on the world. Do you agree?”
Ray: “No.”
Finney: “People like us, you bet on the man.”

• Ray’s coping method (screwing random chicks) hasn’t changed.
• Mickey is babysitter to bratty, Shirley Temple wannabe, Audrey (the daughter of a prostitute).
• In Terry’s absence, Bunchy is now manager of the gym. WTF, Bunchy can’t even hold down a job, now we’re supposed to believe he’s managing a business?
• Bridget is very upset that Ray isn’t around and blames her mother. Both Ray and Abby are being really shitty parents.
• Creepy Priest is creepy. He’s spying on the Donovans, trying to figure out what happened to the dead priest.
• Episode 1 ends unoriginally with the song “Hotel California.”
• SNAP meetings are taking place at the gym?! Bunchy is leading them?! WTF is going on here????????
• Ray: “I don’t call cops, Abbs, that’s your thing.” BURN!
• Avi has started his own business, wants Lena to be his partner.
• Damn, I like this Luchadora, she has a wicked attitude.

• Abby feeds her dog off of Ray’s diner plate. That simple action speaks volumes.

Childhood Films Blogathon

Me and my dog, Hunter.
Me and my dog, Hunter.

Let’s Go to the Movies has a great blogathon celebrating the films we loved when we were kids. I’m a 90’s kid, so my list is heavily influenced by that time and the Disney renaissance. Films were very important to me when I was a kid. I am an only child, so when I was very young I spent A LOT of time alone. Movies, and the characters within them, were essential to my childhood. When I think back on that time, I realize that movies were integral to developing my imagination and instilling in me resilience. The three films that influenced me the most are:

Don’t ask me why, but for some reason Sarabi was my favorite character (do you even know which character that is?!).

1) The Lion King

This was, and still is, my favorite Disney film. I grew up surrounded by animals, particularly cats, so of course the movie with lions would be my favorite. The sequel, Simba’s Pride, is also surprisingly good and I loved it as well. I remember running around pretending to be a lion. The animation of The Lion King is brilliant, it still looks great to this day (yes, I saw it in 3D a few years ago). I’ve always loved music and the soundtrack to this film is also amazing. I still listen to the music on my iPod. And yes, I cry every time Mufasa dies. I remember the day in high school English when my teacher dropped the bomb that The Lion King is basically Hamlet. It was earth shattering news for a class of 90’s kids.


2) Aladdin

I grew up in the 90’s, a great time for Disney studios, so it isn’t surprising that two of their films are on my list. As a little girl, I had a lot of Barbie dolls and Sailor Moon dolls. I also had a Jasmine doll that came with a great Rajah stuffy (cats again). So I had all these girl dolls and the only male one I had was Aladdin. So he was a huge part of the soap opera-esque stories I would invent as a kid. He was frustrating though because his head would always fall off. Pop, and it would come off. He was a strangely jointed doll. The story of Aladdin appealed to me because I found the locale of India to be beautiful and very different from anything I knew. Again, the music in this Disney film is great. And Jafar has always been my favorite Disney villain, he is so delightfully evil.


3) The Land Before Time

My last influential film is surprisingly not from Disney. I don’t actual know what studio it’s from. But anyways this movie, and its sequels, was HUGE for me.
One of my earliest memories is sitting on our old fold-out couch when I was sick one night and watching it with my parents. My parents broke up when I was four so it’s pretty much the only memory I have of all of us together. I loved dinosaurs so much as a kid and The Land Before Time is why. It had a huge influence on my imagination. I had a huge amount of dinosaur toys that I used to parade around in a herd. Every toy had a name and a distinct personality. I remember even using an old dinosaur slipper as a toy (I only ever had one slipper for some reason).

When I look back it’s amazing for me to see the impact movies have had on me from very early on in my life. They fed my imagination when I had no other stimulation. I guess it isn’t so surprising that I’m a movie blogger now. What are your favorite childhood movies?

My Second Liebster Award/Ray Donovan is Tonight!!! AKA I’ve Been Slacking on My Blog Lately, But Someone Still Thinks I’m Awesome

The clip up there is one of my favorite moments on televison. Anyways, Drew over at Drew’s Movie Reviews recently gave me my second Liebster award! Thanks so much Drew, it still amazes that people actually read and enjoy my blog. Drew has a great blog filled with movie reviews and weekly movie quotes.
So here are my answers to Drew’s questions:
1) Can you wiggle your ears? I just tried and the answer is no, I cannot.
2) Do you watch any web series? If so, what’s your favorite one? No, but shout out to my favorite Youtube channel CineFix which is about, you guessed it, movies.
3) What is the first movie you remember watching in the theaters? I’m not sure, I think it was possibly Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. But my most memorable experience was years later when I saw LOTR: The Return of the King with my mother. She’s not a big fan of the trilogy, but she likes the costumes and Liv Tyler. So we’re watching the movie, I’m loving it, she’s not, and then halfway through the power goes out. We sit there for half an hour in the dark. My mom’s bitching, saying she’s not gonna come back and sit through the movie all over again. The theater people are starting to hand out free tickets to see the movie another time when, bam! The lights come back on and we get to watch the rest of the movie. I was thrilled, my mom was not.
4) Do you prefer 3D or 2D movies or are you indifferent? Don’t really care, but I haven’t ever seen a 3D movie that wowed me or where the 3D seemed essential.
5) Do/Did you play any sports? Which ones? Nope, but I would love to play more tennis (someone be my partner!)
6) What is your favorite card game? Desert Rummy! My boyfriend and I played that a lot last summer.
7) What is your favorite board game? Monopoly, especially on my Disney themed board.
8) What is your favorite video game? Ooooh, really tough question. Batman: Arkham Asylum has my favorite video game story, really excellent. But I love the Tomb Raider games, I love playing as Lara Croft. These days I’m playing GTA V which is really excellent, great story and game play.
9) If you had a time machine and could go back in time without consequence of messing up the future, where and when would you visit and why? It’s really hard for me to choose, but I would go France prior to the French Revolution, when Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI (is that 16?) ruled. The opulence, the dresses, I love all of it. It would be great to see Versailles during that time.
10) Do you have a motto or mantra? No, but I like “Kindness is magic” from Ricky Gervais’s show, Derek. It’s probably something I should practice a little more.
11) What is your favorite thing about blogging or being a blogger? Simply feeling heard. I don’t really get to discuss my love of movies much in my day to day life, so here I can unleash all that passion with people who understand.

That’s it for my Liebster post, you can go check out my post from May to see who I nominated then and some random facts about me. It just seems too soon for me to nominate more people right now.
Ray Donovan Season 1 Half-assed Review
The third season of Ray Donovan premieres tonight!!!!! I am so excited to see what Ray and new addition, Ian Mcshane get up to this season.
So I managed to re-watch the first season recently. Admittedly the show starts off a little faulty; so many characters to introduce at lightning speed. But around episode 9 the show goes from pretty good to amazing, edge of your seat tension. I love the dramatic action that occurs near the end of the season. In part because it has some surprising twists and turns. But I really love that the action serves to further show the audience who these characters actually are. Because that’s the real strength of the show: the acting and the characters. It’s an amazing ensemble cast that works best when they can bounce off each other, for instance in a locked up gym with three brothers and a pedophile priest. My favorite episode, possibly of the whole show, is episode 11 “Bucky Fuckin’ Dent.” The other great thing about the show is that there are real consequences for everything that happens. That’s what Season 2 is all about, the consequences of all the characters’ actions at the end of Season 1. Here’s a post I did last year that sums up the end of Season 2:
Liev and Jon Voight are two of the best actors around and their confrontations are incredibly compelling, especially when the audience finally learns why Ray hates his father so much. I love the show because I love Live, but I also love Ray and can somewhat relate to him. His troubled relationship with his father, as well as his struggle to be the best man he can be are very relatable issues.

Tune in to Showtime for Ray Donovan Season 3 starting tonight!

Praise Xenu! Tom Cruise Appreciation Post

Today is Tom Cruise’s fifty-third birthday so in celebration I’ve put together this post. Despite the title there will be no discussion on Scientology. This post is to praise Tom for his amazing contributions to cinema, his love of films, and his incredible work ethic.

Tom is a unique, truly amazing person. He has had a 30 year+ career with 41 movies to date, with no sign of stopping. The way Tom lives his life and the fact that he does his own stunts makes him almost like a real life superhero. Not only is he a great actor, but he excels at anything he puts his mind to. For instance, when he did The Color of Money he acquired the skills of a pro pool player.
One of the things that I love the most about Tom is that, in every role he does you can see his love of film shining through. This is one of the busiest guys on the planet and he still watches one film a day. I’m lucky if I watch one a week. Cruise produces many of his own films, including the Mission Impossible films. Tom has been instrumental in how the franchise has been molded and from the start he specifically wanted a different director for each film, so that each one would have a unique artistic vison and to keep them fresh. Tom is undeniably the world’s biggest movie star (heck there’s even Tom Cruise day in Japan). Screenwriter Ken Miyamoto has said Tom “has the best reputation in the industry, by far. He works his ass off and has this utter positive energy that he brings to the development phase, the set, and beyond. He’s the hardest working actor in the industry (and most that have worked with him have said so) and he’s known as one of the nicest actors to work with.” Actually, Tom is the LAST great movie star. (Please go read this great article to see more on why:

Tom may at first appear to be a one note actor. A novice, casual film goer may think he only does action films and jumps on couches. But even the briefest glance at his career will show that he is so much more than that.




Rain Man




















Tom believes “We take responsibility for our own lives and we create our own lives.” That is most definitely true as his career and life are definitely of his own making, formed by his ambitions and desire to succeed. So, happy birthday Tom! Keep doing you.

Ray Donovan: Season 1, Episodes 7 and 8; New Birthday and Bridget

All you really need to know is this happens:

Liev Schreiber nude Ray Donovan

No, no, I kid. I am definitely behind on my Ray Donovan viewing, so I doubt I’ll be all caught up by July 12th, when the third season premieres. But I’m giving it my best. I’m also trying out a new theme, so let me know what you think.
These two episodes focus largely on the two Bridgets in Ray’s life: his daughter and his dead sister, who still looms large in Ray’s mind. Young Bridget is engaging in a Romeo and Juliet-esque relationship with Marvin. Ray believes that Marvin is dangerous and a bad influence. And it turns out he’s right when Marvin grabs Bridget and forcefully demands a blowjob since, and I quote, “My moms got murdered ‘cause of the money your dad gave her to buy me. So pipe me, bitch.” Luckily Bridget runs away, more scared than anything. Ray retaliates by grabbing Marvin and driving away with him. Bridget is understandably upset by this since last episode Ray nearly shot Mickey in front of her. Bridget thinks there is a good possibility that Ray will kill Marvin. Ray does stick a gun in Marvin’s mouth, but he doesn’t pull the trigger. Instead he takes him back to his former home in Compton and leaves Marvin there.

Around this time it is also Ray’s sister’s birthday. That combined with his recent trip to Boston mean that his sister weighs heavy on Ray’s mind. Why did she kill herself? Was it in some way Mickey’s fault? Did Ray fail her? Could he have somehow saved her from herself? These are all the questions that go through Ray’s mind. His sister is the Bridget that Ray feels he failed, the one he lost. So he is determined to not fuck up with his daughter. But his heavy handed parenting inevitably alienates him from his daughter. She screams that she hates him and that he’s an animal.

But by the end of the episode the two reconcile in a very sweet moment. Ray reveals that he believes his sister killed herself because she was pregnant and that Ray is only trying to protect his daughter from a similar incident. In one of my favorite moments from the show the father and daughter sing Cat Stevens’s “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out.” As the show progresses Ray’s relationship with his daughter becomes extremely integral to understanding Ray, so this moment becomes very important.


• Ray heads to Boston to find the ever elusive Sully (played by the wonderful James Woods). Ray runs the gauntlet (i.e. getting beaten up, told repeatedly that Sully is dead, confronting Sully’s mom) until he finally meets with the man. Ray offers Sully an escape from the US (and hiding) in exchange for killing Mickey. Sully accepts the offer.
• “Amen motherfucker.” Sean’s awesome Priest action film Black Mass that Mickey was a ‘consultant’ on.
• Mickey successfully blackmails Sean: Mickey’s silence in exchange for a screenplay deal and basically whatever Mickey wants.
• Abby tells Marvin that she is there for him and he can talk to her in the aftermath of his mother’s death. But it turns out she really just wants info on Ray. She can be so sleazy, it is such a low moment for her.
• Re-Konn, Marvin’s adopted dad, seems like a pretty good guy, if somewhat misguided. To cheer Marvin up, Re-Konn decides its Marvin’s “new birthday,” the beginning of his new life.
• Marvin and Bridget make an interesting duet of “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone.”

• Abby and Deb (Ezra’s mistress), get drunk and go shopping. Abby has the genius idea of stealing some hideous shoes. Inevitably Abby gets caught and Ray bails her out.
• Ray torches a house and tortures Bunchy’s realtor until he gets Bunchy’s money back. Ray doesn’t give it to Bunchy though, instead keeping it safe so that Bunchy doesn’t fuck it up again. As Ray says, “I’ve always taken care of you Bunchy, and I always will.”
• In order to “reclaim her body” after the blowjob incident Bridget gets her belly button pierced (against Ray’s rules).
• The brothers Donovan mourn their sister’s death over whiskey shots and Shakespeare. This is in contrast to Mickey, who doesn’t even remember his dead daughter’s birthday. He does cry about it near the end, somewhat redeeming himself. Just a little.

• Mickey meets some blonde chick at a spa. She’s only attracted to him because she thinks he’s some big shot. Mickey is disappointed that she can’t twerk. Mickey asks for a blow job and the woman causally remarks, “You’d have to put a gun to my head.” Being the romantic guy that he is, Mick obliges, holding a gun to her and saying, “Suck it.” The woman freaks out, Mickey feels bad. As she storms off he tells her, “You think I could stick my dick in you?! With your white ass and fake tits?!?!”
• Frances shows up at Terry’s with a black eye. So, naturally, he goes and beats up her husband because “you don’t hit women.” Despite this chivalry, Terry breaks up with Frances since he can’t commit ‘adultery.’
• Lena is engaged in a “mid-life crisis, fuck a lesbian thing.” Lena does not have feelings. Lena punches out the woman who suddenly dumped her. LENA WINS EVERYTHING.
• Interestingly, Terry and Bunchy reminisce about dislocating their sister’s shoulders (kind of creepy, especially how funny they think it is). But Ray is confused, all this time he had thought it had been Mickey. Maybe Mickey isn’t as bad as Ray thinks?

• Ray gets drunk and is feeling in love with Abby, “I love you Abbs, I’ll buy you whatever you want.”
“What I want, you can’t give me…emotional honesty.”
• Terry goes to Church to confess his sins. The priest is very understanding and tells Terry that he is too hard on yourself. He also says, “You know Terry, everyone needs love.”
• Bunchy waits outside the Church for Terry. While sitting there he sees a bunch of boys with a priest. Bunchy looks quite shocked, is he having another flashback to his past?
• One of my favorite Ray quotes: “Some things in life you can’t take back, some things change you forever.”