Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Major Letdowns: A Real Julie and Julia Situation

Don't you hate it when you get really excited about something and then it turns out kind of "meh"? That is such a pain! It bothers me so much, that if I start to get too excited about a new movie or book that's coming out, I try and tell myself to dial it back it bit, that it won't be as good as I think. Well, that's happened to me a few times lately, with a couple of different things.

Please note that the plot line referenced by the right side is okay, while the plot line referenced by the left side is rubbish
(i.e., a bad made-for-TV movie).

1. Once Upon a Time. I really wanted to like this show. It's the one where the former doctor from House is a private investigator who ends up charged with helping all the fairy tale characters figure out they're trapped in this time-space warp in Maine. The premise seemed cool, and I'm a big fan of fairy tale/folklore study (Maria Tatar has my dream job). But it is not that great. In fact, even though some parts are pretty entertaining, others are just plain annoying, specifically the fairy tale part, i.e., half the show. If you ever read or saw the movie Julie and Julia (sorry, Amy Adams!) you know what I'm talking about. When literally half of a thing is pretty terrible, the rest of it just doesn't seem worth it.

2. In the Next Room. I saw this play on Monday night and was very excited because I had heard so many good things about it. It's a comedy that takes place in the home of an early 20th century doctor who uses "the next room" as his medical office where he treats women by massaging their lady parts with a vibrating implement, specifically to loosen the "congestion" in the uterus. (Apparently this was a real thing.) So, as it seemed to be both a sex comedy AND a comedy of manners, I expected it to be pretty good. And the first act was; it cracked me up. The second act, however, went down a different road entirely, allowing for long-winded monologues on mother-child love and spousal intimacy. Let's just say that mess got real serious real fast, and I was not in the mood. Anyway, if it still sounds neat to you, you can check it out this week at Horizon Theatre (although the show is put on by Synchronicity). I wouldn't say don't check it out; I would just say be aware that it's not all jokes and vibrators.

3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I just finished this audio book that was a dual history on some of the most prolific cells in scientific research today and the woman (mostly forgotten by history) from whom they came. For the most part, the book was very interesting, gave me a lot to think about, and told me a number of things that I didn't know. I was really bothered, however, by the way the author, Rebecca Skloot, inserted herself into the story. I mean, I understand why she did it. In the course of her research, she ended up befriending Henrietta Lack's only living daughter and becoming very close to her. Subsequently, she ended up including a lot about the time she and the daughter spent searching for the material to write the book, and all of that definitely could have been left out (e.g., I don't spend a lot of time to describing to you my drive over to the library from which I borrowed this audio book). I just feel as though she got so close to the story, she could only see what was important to her, not what might be important to the reader. The book was okay, but if you aren't that interested, the Henrietta Lacks wiki should suffice.

What shows/books/movies have you felt let down by lately? Or better yet, what has not let you down? I'm clearly looking at all the wrong stuff.


  1. How's the new Zooey D tv show? I haven't hear much about it, but I thought the first ep was funny...

  2. Don't even get John started on Rebecca Skloot. We didn't read the book, but all of the interviews/promotion she did turned John super sour on the whole thing. (I think it was more the way she kept commenting on how "special" these cells are, when they really aren't. At least to scientists.)

  3. "Are You Kidding?": I like New Girl a lot. I think it is ridiculous in a festive way. Some people think Zooey D is too ridiculous and that girls like that are not real. I disagree. Girls like that are my friends and they make me laugh.

    Shannon: I am going to purposely ask John his opinion on R. Skloot/H. Lacks tomorrow at lunch.