How I Spent My Weekend

Just to give you some background into my mental state – or lack thereof – this weekend, I’ve been given a great opportunity to contribute to a book of essays that will be published later this spring. I’ll share more about the project as the publication date grows closer, but what is relevant to tonight’s story is that my essays were due yesterday.  That deadline – when added to the pesky little detail of my full-time job – meant that I was awake and writing until 2 or 3 in the morning most nights last week.

So what did I want to do when the weekend hit? 

Nothing.

Actually, that’s a lie.  I really, really wanted to sleep.

Then I wanted to do nothing.

So, if sleeping, watching TV and going to the movies are the standards by which my weekend should be measured, I ROCKED it!  Here’s a rundown of the entertainment I happily consumed over the last 48 hours:

  • First, my DVR got quite a workout this week.  Beyond the normally recorded shows (Supernatural, Modern Family, Merlin to name a few), I also taped a few one-offs that I watched on Saturday:
    • Today’s 60th Anniversary:  What can I say?  I’m a sucker for news archives, Tom Brokaw and watching Jane Pauley’s hairstyles through the years. 
    • One Life to Live series finale:  It would be harsh to say I was once a soap opera addict. (Not inaccurate mind you; just harsh.)  I adored this show when I was in college, and while I haven’t caught an episode in more than a decade, it was nice to witness its swan song.  While just another cancelled TV show to some, it is easy to forget that the program has been on the air for 44 years and many of the cast and crew have been on the show and working together for nearly that entire tenure. 

I thought it was pretty remarkable how one program marked a milestone and keeps going strong while on the same day another program ended and marked one more step (All My Children, Guiding Light, As the World Turns) toward the extinction of an entire television industry.

  • The Descendants:   I’ve heard amazing things about this movie, but have to admit I was a little underwhelmed.  Clooney was wonderful in a complicated role that required he not fall back on his smirk and charm.   The actors playing his daughters and his father-in-law were also very talented.  The problem was that the movie was incredibly uneven.  For every strong performance, there were weaknesses like the subplot about a real estate purchase, Sid the loser boyfriend who deserved to get punched harder and more often and the caricature best friends Kai and Mark.  When Kai started to cry, it was so forced and unrealistic that I wondered whether it was supposed to be a put-on.  I’m still not sure.

 

  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy:  This movie made me feel dumb.  There’s just no other way to say it.  It took the first hour of the movie for me to figure out the plot, and I wasn’t entirely sure who the bad guy was until he took a bullet to the brain in the last five minutes.  Now, while the story was unintelligible, the performances were terrific.  Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Benedict Cumberbatch were fascinating.  When I go back and READ the John LeCarre novel this movie was based on (which is probably the only way to understand this story), I’ll be able to put faces to their characters.

 

Finally, let’s have a moment of silence for my DVD player which breathed its last this weekend.  In the middle of the season 3 finale of The West Wing (Mark Harmon’s secret service agent was still alive…), the machine just up and quit.  I might have minded more but for the fact that I was already DVRing the second episode of Downton Abbey, the season finale of Leverage and watching The Golden Globes.

I think I’ll make it through the night.

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