Wednesday, November 15, 2006


The other night I watched Masterpiece Theater on PBS, playing a show starring Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison, a British policewoman investigating a death. The show was well done, but it had to be one of the most depressing programs I have ever seen. Name the depressing entity, and it had it: murder, teen pregnancy, possible incest, alcoholism, loneliness, death by cancer - and this was only part one. I can hardly wait to see what downers they put in part two. I kept waiting for a commercial to give us a break from the gloom, but, this being PBS, one never came.

I don't really understand why people are drawn to this kind of entertainment. I've never felt the need to look to entertainment to fulfill my quota of sad things, because I get enough of it at work. Don't get me wrong; neonatology is generally a happy specialty, and I don't deal with death and destruction everyday, but I see it enough that I don't need to see much more of it on TV or at the movies. Maybe people in other jobs feel the need to experience this stuff vicariously in their free time.

I also recently saw "Movin' Out", the Broadway style musical based on the songs of Billy Joel. I was expecting a musical play, but after the first few songs I stopped wondering when the speaking parts would come and realized it was a song and dance revue, almost a modern ballet. The band was tremendous, and I still enjoyed it, although if they hadn't put a two paragraph synopsis of the story in the program I wouldn't have been able to figure it out, except that it had something to do with love and war. (That's what I want to do for a second career: write two paragraph stories for Broadway shows and get paid a ton of money for it.) In an unwitting commentary on American sensibilities, the producers had no qualms about having the dancers simulate sex acts on stage but thought it necessary to omit the verse in "Captain Jack" that contains the word "masturbate."

I'll keep trying to find the perfect entertainment. Has anyone seen any good romantic comedies lately?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A not new movie, but a favorite at our house...Return to Me with David Duchovny and Minnie Driver...Helen Hunt, James Belushi and a great cast of familiar character actors. Thoroughly enjoyable on a chilly late fall evening, latte and popcorn optional.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Shinga said...

I want to see Movin' Out so much. That or 3 other musicals currently in London. I've tried everything - leaving papers around with the reviews highlighted, leaving torn out reviews on the fridge. I have practically sky-written that I want to go to these shows and that it would make a great holiday gift. My husand still doesn't get it.

I'm thinking of hiring a texting service to send him 10 hints a day about these shows.

No actual recommendations - I just enjoyed an opportunity to vent about this somewhere where people enjoy this. Not that my husband doesn't - he just forgets how much he enjoys them afterwards. Must stop whinging.

Regards - Shinga

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for some reason,i have watched'under the tuscan sun' over and over.i have enjoyed it so much.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Psyche said...

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10:06 PM  
Blogger Psyche said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Psyche said...

I'm a psychiatric social worker and also get my fill of downers at work. This is an old movie, but if you have netflix you can rent a Laurence Olivier movie called "A Little Romance" featuring Diane Lane in her first role as an American teen who falls for a French boy. They run away to Italy...more would ruin the film.

Apologies for the multiple deletes. I am not a spam robot, just a human making mistakes on the way to learning HTML.

10:21 PM  
Blogger NeoNurseChic said...

Billy Joel will only perform Captain Jack live in Philadelphia - guess that's the only city that didn't rake him over the coals for the lyrics. He did play it the last time I saw him last winter. Everybody sang along - of course.

Do love a good Billy Joel concert. :)

Entertainment? I don't like depressing things like that either. I tend to go for romantic comedies or Adam Sandler movies... It's about all my brain can handle after living my life. LOL

11:24 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Sorry, ND, there isn't too much decent out there anymore.

Unless you pick up a good book, I suppose.

Man, that's depressing, huh?

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My two favourite romantic comedies right now are 50 First Dates (Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore) and Sliding Doors (John Hannah and Gwyneth Paltrow).

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Under the tuscan sun is also a personal favorite of mine. That and Love Actually which is especially perfect during the holiday season. Recently saw Failure to Launch. Wasn't expecting much but kind of enjoyed it.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Pine Baroness said...

Finally a topic I know something about!

I am a movie freak but don't like stressful movies.
So here is my list of great romantic comedies:

Bell Book and Candle - Jimmy Stewart & Kim Novak
You've Got Mail
Pride & Prejudice - with Colin Firth
Bridget Jones' Diary
What Women Want - too funny!
50 First Dates was funny too.
and the all time best - An Affair to Remember

Don't forget the oldies - my 7 yr old son really got a kick out of Destry Rides Again a B&W western from 1939.

You know what, there are a lot of great movies out there:-)

11:23 AM  
Anonymous misha said...

well--here is one my hubby really liked----and he is 1. not a fan of the chick flick and 2. not a fan of J LO. Anyhoo--check out "An unfinished life" Also stars robert redford and morgan freeman. Fantastic book and pretty darn good movie with lovely scenery.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Tiffany said...

Yes, the other night my husband and I rented The Lake House with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. We really liked it even though it's confusing at first because they are 2 years apart. Just watch it!


2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched 'Prime Suspect 7', and here's why -

Helen Mirren is a terrific actress; I rarely miss anything she's in. She rarely disappoints. The TV critic for my local newspaper thinks she'll be nominated for an Emmy for her role in this.

I've seen previous Prime Suspects, so knew that they tend toward the darker side of life. Which is what London detectives who investigate murders would be exposed to, I assume. I also felt, and still feel, that the acting and writing of the series is excellent, better than most of what I catch on TV.

My only trouble with the show is that some of the characters have such heavy British accents, and use so much slang, that it's hard to figure out what they're saying. I could barely understand the Scottish actor playing the father of the murdered girl.

For something on the lighter side - how about the new movie 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan'.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Clark Bartram said...

V for Vendetta was funny and romantic.

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow ND, I wish my husband had your taste in entertainment! Masterpiece Theatre is generally my favorite thing on TV. But I had no interest in watching Prime Suspect, despite loving Helen Mirren. Just not my idea of enjoyable escape.

There is a new romantic comedy with Russell Crowe called A Good Year that I plan to see. It didn't get great reviews, but it seems romantic comedies rarely get decent reviews.

I recommend the new Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly. Mmmmm.


7:58 AM  
Blogger the granola said...

If it doesn't have to be a romantic comedy, try Second Hand Lions. It's a family movie, but that just means it pretty much crosses all age boundaries. It's a great feel good movie.

Here are some others, romantic comedies all:

In Good Company

If you like things a little odd, go for "Sunshine of the Spotless Mind".

1:49 AM  
Blogger the granola said...

Oh yeah, Casanova is a fun one too. And if you want to get a bit older, along the same lines is Don Juan Di Marco with Johnny Depp.

1:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please- if you want to see Movin Out so much, buy the tickets yourself and declare them your holiday gift. Gifts don't HAVE to be a surprise, and you don't have to be frustrated your husband isn't catching the hint. Can't really afford it? Just go by yourself. I spent a summer in London and attended about 15 theatre productions alone. You can often get a better seat that way anyway!

I have to totally agree with Neonatal Doc about entertainment full of misery. There is enough pain and misery in the world- I just don't understand why people add more to their psyche by way of 'entertainment' that is depressing. I personally think entertainment should at the very least provide a pleasant distraction or at best, uplift your spirits.

I might be extra picky, but I think there is a dearth of decent comedies out there. The last really funny movie I saw was Meet the Fockers. I also loved a British sitcom called Coupling, which I watched on DVD. Absolutely the funniest writing I can remember seeing. There is a French film from 2000 called The Closet (Le Placard) that I found laugh-out-loud funny. And for romance, the original Japanese Shall We Dance is among my top favorites, along with My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

10:49 AM  
Blogger neonataldoc said...

Thanks for all the suggestions. Many of them I've seen, but some I'll have to check out. Shinga, we men aren't too good at picking up on hints. If you want your husband to take you to Movin' Out, you'd better just tell him straight out. He might not get it otherwise.

7:45 PM  
Blogger overactive-imagination said...

I agree with the poster who put "The Lake House", I really enjoyed that movie but there wasn't much comedy toit.
I'm sure you've seen it but "How to lose a guy in 10 days" is a GREAT movie. Some of it is spit coke through your nose funny but it has a great plot. It's one of my favorites.
What are your suggestions?

6:07 PM  
Blogger neonataldoc said...

Dawn, one of my favorites is While You Were Sleeping. What's Up, Doc, is good, too.

9:47 PM  
Blogger The MSILF said...

Man, sure know what you mean about the people who watch those shows like CSI whatever...or reality TV. I always think what you said: crap, there's enough violence and hate and so on in the world. I don't want REALITY on my TV. I want escape.

For drama without really horrible things, how about Whale Rider, a movie that I really loved...serious, but beautiful too.

11:16 AM  

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