Wednesday, March 31, 2021

What makes a great book... (work-in-progress, ALWAYS)

I will continue to re-write this until I am better able to articulate what I think.


A good book is a book that is difficult to read sometimes (& not because of vocabulary or grammar) that then rewards you at the end.

A great book makes you want to read it again, no matter how difficult it was.  And a fantastic book actually gets BETTER as you read it again.

To me, the worst type of book or story is one that makes me struggle through it, only to find disappointment and despair at the end of it.

Replace "book" with "story" or even "TV show" or "movie"...

And this is not necessary, but my own personal criteria is that I PREFER something that makes me feel GOOD and not BAD afterward.

Credit to Matt K's friend Matt H for saying something similar to this that I have tweaked for my own purpose:
If something makes me feel sad or something afterward, then I still consider it to be a "good" book (as in, well-constructed, definitely has merits, and perhaps meets its goal of affecting the reader, has made me feel something) but I would vastly prefer to feel good; and to me, a GREAT book makes me feel a positive emotion--especially one such as HOPEFUL.  Triumphant is good, too.  :)

Whether or not art should/has to/doesn't have to/etc. "Send messages" or not is another subject to be discussed...though I'm afraid to tackle it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Musicals to watch : KEEP UPDATED!

Musicals to watch (already have):
-Show Boat (Howard Keel, Ava Gardner, Kathryn Grayson)  - not particularly looking forward to this one
-You'll Never Get Rich (Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, 1941)
-Call Me Madam (Donald O'Connor, George Sanders, ETHEL MERMAN, Vera-Ellen) -- should at least be entertaining...though I'm not really a huge fan of Ethel Merman (!)
-Holiday Inn (Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby) -- the OTHER Christmas musical?  I should at least see it, even if I will probably always be biased in favor of White Christmas over it
-Sweeney Todd

Musicals to re-watch:
-The Belle of New York (Fred Astaire, Vera-Ellen) -- this was pretty bad, but some of the dances were good
- Mary Poppins -- it's been awhile

Re-watched recently:
-The Sound of Music --So...what to say about this one, that hasn't already been said?  Grandiose, but somehow...disappointing and a little disjointed.  The definitive version...but I want to see it live sometime.  It can't be as grandiose, but maybe it would be more cohesive?

-Anchors Aweigh (Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, Jose Iturbi)  Just as I remember...a little silly but maybe my 3rd or 4th favorite from Gene Kelly.  I think the songs and dances are better than in On the Town, actually.   Production values seemed very high; lovely colors.  Some of the songs are plot-related, some aren't.  Some have reasons for the characters to sing and/or dance, some don't.

-On the Town (Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Vera-Ellen, Ann Miller, Betty Garrett, Jules Munshin)--not as great as I remember...probably my 5th favorite of Gene Kelly's, though I think it's considered his 2nd or 3rd best.  The ballet, while much easier to follow and less artistic than the one in An American in kinda boring.  I still like it fine, but the replacement dancers, both keep the focus on the main couple...but they distract me from them a little, too.  It seemed a little cheap-looking, too, though that's probably not a fair criticism artistically or anything.  I haven't seen or listened to the original stage version so maybe some of the problems I have with this one comes from the adaptation from stage to screen, since some of the songs seem...silly, and a little random.  They're all plot or character-related though.

-An American in Paris (Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Georges Guetary, Nina Foch) My 2nd favorite, originally more of a hit than Singin' in the Rain.  Although the ballet is long and a little weird, it's still interesting.  And the production values in this one must have been pretty high; definitely had a bigger budget.  Songs are better quality and most are integrated in to the plot, though a couple give a reason for the character to sing (because they are a nightclub act or pianist, etc.) 

-It's Always Fair Weather (Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Dan Dailey, Michael Kidd, Dolores Grey) Although maybe a little lower-quality, and lower-budget, and maybe looks a little cheap (and some cuts just couldn't be restored in the DVD release?) I think the plot on this one is good, and the theme gets me a little bit.  The numbers are good, but mostly not GREAT.  Used a split-screen (partially for novelty value I think and not that well-done...not sure if that was just the technology at the time or if it was just not done well) and Gene Kelly's rollerblades (also more for novelty and maybe not for quality dancing--though I have to admit, some of it is pretty impressive.  Definitely still entertaining). My 3rd or 4th favorite (currently neck-and-neck with Anchors Aweigh.  This one wins plot-wise, but Anchors Aweigh has better quality dances and songs, IMHO).

-Kismet (Howard Keel):  Only available in a set with other stuff I don't really want...?); Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory, Volume 3 (Hit the Deck/Deep in My Heart/Kismet/Nancy Goes to Rio/Two Weeks with Love/Broadway Melody of 1936/Broadway Melody of 1938/Born to Dance/Lady Be Good)--honestly not great.  Howard Keel is in great voice but everything else is pretty bleh. Vic Damone is a terrible actor.

List of musicals I need to get:

-Anything Goes (Frank Sinatra & Ethel Merman, recording of a TV thing?)
-You Were Never Lovelier (Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, 1942) -- maybe watch the other one with the two of them first
-High Society (Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly - Louis Armstrong)
-For Me & My Gal (Gene Kelly, Judy Garland)
-The King & I (Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner)
-The Pirate (Gene Kelly, Judy Garland)
-Summer Stock (Gene Kelly, Judy Garland)
-Take Me Out to the Ball Game (Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Betty Garrett...)
-Cover Girl (Gene Kelly, Rita Hayworth)
-Camelot (Broadway version and Special Edition of Movie version)
-Cinderella (Have newest one with Brandy; need Julie Andrews TV version and Lesley Ann Warren versions)
-Finian's Rainbow
-Snoopy, Come Home
-Had a bunch at Barnes & Noble...
-A Star is Born?

Others to get
-The Rescuers Down Under
-Alice in Wonderland?
-Little Mermaid?
-Peter Pan?
-Lady & the Tramp?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Paula on cosmetics

What I don't agree with is mostly her opinions on cosmetics (vs her opinions on skincare).  Paula doesn't like eye shadows, lipsticks, or blushes (or really ANY makeup) with shimmer, and she only likes very neutral/natural colors.  She believes a dimensional matte finish is best.  So, she has a very obvious bias--but that bias IS stated in her "explanation of reviews," and it also explains how and why she rates certain products a certain way.  It's important to see what her criteria for a good product are.  She doesn't deny that her bias does influence her rating of a product, and it isn't as though she only gives good ratings to items that have ONLY neutral colors.  As long as the product has good application/quality, she still gives it a good rating unless she thinks there are absolutely no good colors; or will limit her criticism to noting that all the shades are shimmery or too "unnatural" looking.  The only thing to watch out for is that she may rate something GOOD (a very good rating, symbol:  a smiley face) but may not make it a "Paula's Pick" (best rating, symbol:  check mark + smiley face) if the shade range doesn't include ANY or very very few matte options, so if you don't mind, or WANT shimmer, then you need to make sure to also look at her "smiley face" ratings as well as the Paula's Picks.

She DOES have her own line of skincare products (which is somewhat a point against her) but she also highly recommends a ton of products from other brands, so she definitely doesn't exclusively promote her own line, which I think is a major point in her favor.  (And this is only anecdotal evidence, but I've tried a substantial amount of her products and have been very satisfied with the results.  Nothing too dramatic, since my skin is basically normal-to-moderately oily with occasional breakouts; my biggest concern is blackheads on my nose (so I don't have any serious conditions), but overall my skin has looked and felt better since I started using her line.)

She also doesn't believe that high-end cosmetics are in any way better than drugstore ones (or rather, that they're all basically the same and there are good products in both areas, so why spend more when you don't have to?). There, I think, she is somewhat wrong.   I compared a L'Oreal Infallible e/s with an Armani ETK one, and though the texture, quality, and application was the same, the color of the Armani had a lot more depth/complexity, and had more dimension (more unique, with some of that color-changing quality).  Oddly enough it wasn't really the quality of the powder itself though, just the color.  I found somewhat the same thing with lipsticks...color, more than application, was the difference.  Finding a the perfect shade, with the perfect amount of opaqueness or sheerness, with the right texture and application, and the best wear and feel, sometimes requires more options than are available in the drugstore (though I think the drugstore lines have been improving lately, and might soon be enough).  And in some cases, I've found that a high-end lipstick feels a bit more creamy/luxurious, and so has a better texture and feel. (Of course, high-end brands usually also look nicer and more luxurious packaging-wise; but that's not as important to me).  I am more willing to spend on makeup than on skincare.

The difference, for me, with skincare, is that I've also tried some high-end moisturizers (La Mer and Koh Gen Do, for example) and haven't found that the expensive ones are any better.  If anything, the fragrance in the La Mer ones just made my nose itch and my skin stayed basically the same.  I tried the La Mer ones before I even looked at Paula's reviews, and just wasn't impressed (and I really, REALLY wished/wanted to be impressed; I was kinda hoping these would be HG material)!  Again, only anecdotal evidence.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Possible Future Topics--For my reference

Possible future topics

Old Vs. New: Jesus Christ Superstar

Must discuss BEFORE Joseph movie?
random close ups.
HS tapes--Kara C's dad did as good a job at least!

Song by song comparison

character: head to head

Bias: What I saw first, nostalgia

Other Old Vs New:
-Music Man
-Bye Bye Birdie
-Spamalot vs Monty Python the the Holy Grail----this one will be difficult to impossible. Not quite apples to oranges but something like...
-R&H Cinderellas (3! Julie Andrews, Lesley Ann Warren...Brandy.)

Best stage-to-screen adaptations
-Music Man (original)

-My Fair Lady?

-not sure: Kiss Me Kate...West Side Story?...

R&H: Oklahoma--so much cut from stage to screen. Hard to compare.
Sound of Music--scale! (same with JCS? Not quite...? nothing with which to compare Sound of Music movie)

Originally meant for screen
-Mary Poppins
-Singing in the Rain
-Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Friday, May 15, 2015

Mine Mine Mine
and another Mob Song - Savages

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2000 Followers Giveaway from Diary of a Makeup Geek!

I've been wanting to try products from Charlotte Tilbury!  Have you?  If so, go here!

She has a lovely generous giveaway and a great blog!