Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Suburban Mom's Pop Culture Week: Potter, Entourage, thirtysomething, Time Traveler's Wife

I've been mired in the doldrums of mid-summer amid inclimate, rainy days, bickering kids and having to take one of those kids to multiple appointments intended to rid her left ankle of pain. Amid that, here's what I've been consuming in the pop culture this week:


-- I took my twin 10-year-olds to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince soon after it opened nationwide. Had we not all read the book, we would've given it an unequivocal thumbs up, enthusiastically so. But given that we did read the book, it was hard not to be irritated by many of the changes made in the film version, including in the pivotal scene at the end where Harry was supposed to be immobilized by a spell, at least he was in the J.K. Rowling version. The way it played out in the film made Harry look wimpy.

That being said, I think that upon a second viewing -- when it comes out on DVD -- the kids and I will be more able to fully embrace the movie as the well done, two-plus hours of stylistic fantasy that it is. The teen actors are believable and many elicited emotions (laughter, tears) from yours truly, as well as from many other members of the audience in the theater.

-- Finally saw Hancock On Demand over the weekend with The Spouse. (Milk, which I got from Netflix about a week-and-a-half ago, is still sitting next to the TV.) It wasn't bad, but I'm a Will Smith fan so I'm predisposed to liking him. However I thought the "romantic" twist was silly and not well thought out. It could've easily played out better as a straight super-hero epic and been perfectly fine as an action hero flick without it.


-- I had an imaginary question mark lingering over my head after the recent episode of Entourage, where everything seemed to be unfolding re-al-ly, re-al-ly, sl-o-w-ly. Terrain that's already been trod is being revisited, which is growing tedious. Plus, I, frankly, could care less about Ari's business partner's extra-marital fling, though I find it interesting that Ari himself, to the best of my recollection, has not strayed from "Mrs. Ari."

I'm planning to stick with da boys throughout the season, although I'm starting to believe that this slow motion, underwater feeling I get when I watch the HBO show isn't going to go away any time soon.

-- Post-All Star Game Boston Red Sox games have been depressing, y'all. Now the Sox have fallen out of first place in the AL East, replaced by the Evil Empire. It's sad, yes, but I'm of the mind that the Sox fare better when they're underdogs as opposed to the top dogs. It's what kept Sox fans going through an 86 year championship drought.

-- I'm going to write about this subject AT EXTREME LENGTH soon, but I've been spending time traveling back to the year of 1987 with Keds, enormous shoulder pads, cassette tapes, Reagan and in which there was no internet, no cell phones, no e-mail, no BlackBerries, no On Demand. Why? I've been screening the first season of thirtysomething on DVD (goes on sale next month) in preparation for a column or two. I, a long time fan of the show, am in Michael and Hope Steadman heaven.


-- I finished Half-Blood Prince and then polished off Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but couldn't put away my box of tissues (the end of the both of those books make me snivel), because I started re-reading The Time Traveler's Wife. (The film based on this book comes out next month.) It's almost like reading it for the first time because it's been so long since I first cracked it open. After the past season of Lost, which featured mucho time traveling, the whole notion of moving back and forth through time now seems old hat.

-- For some reason I've recently found myself coveting recipes in Martha Stewart Living Magazine which have inspired me to stray from my food rut (a rut inspired by the aforementioned kids, two of whom rarely eat anything I make). I've been gazing at the recipes, the photos of what the food I prepare will never look like and hoping that when I present the food to the picky eaters, they'll be won over by the beauty and delectable aromas. Then I serve a Stewart meal -- shrimp, chorizo and veggies on a skewer over a bed of saffron rice (it was my idea to use saffron rice) -- and at least one kid requested a grilled cheese instead. This is the reason why my trying to cook anything from a lifestyle magazines tends to depress me.

What's your week of pop culture look like?

Image credit: Barnes & Noble.

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