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Throwback TV Review: Fawlty Towers

Fawlty Towers (1975 and 1979) was a British television show written by then married John Cleese and Connie Booth. The show was about a hotel in England, the owners, its guests and the hilarious situations the owner (Cleese) would get himself into (mostly because he was a snob).

The show only had twelve episodes total, premiering in two six episode seasons. 

I honestly wish that they had made more episodes, because this is British humor at its best. The jokes are always a hit and who doesn’t love slap stick comedy with a tall, lanky and awkward man? Especially man that is exceptionally snobbish. 

Each character was terrific and all played off each other well. As smart as Connie Booth’s character was, she sure let Basil Fawlty (Cleese) wrap her into such hilarious and awkward situations.

Prunella Scales as Basil Fawlty’s wife is typical of not putting up with Fawlty’s crap. She always gives the guests at the hotel what they need, to Basil’s chagrin (he sees some of the guests as lower than others). 

Andrew Sachs as Manuel, is one of the funniest performances. He doesn’t understand nor speak English very well and that often gets him into trouble.

I highly recommend this show if you haven’t already seen it. 

My Trip to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida

All Photographs are taken and edited by me. 

I had the pleasure of “vacationing” at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure last week. I use the word vacation very loosely; I am absolutely exhausted. And all I could think of is the scooter tipping episode of South Park. Well played, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, well played.

Besides the scooter tipping, it really was a great time, and the Harry Potter parks are absolutely breathtaking. The amount of detail is impeccable. Even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan, you can appreciate the detail and hard work that went into these parks.

As a self-proclaimed film buff, it was fun for me to find some Easter eggs. I am not talking the obvious Hogwarts castle or the Jurassic Park entrance, I am talking the subtle references to films found in the New York side of Universal.

1. Mel’s Drive-In:

Okay, so this is probably one of the biggest landmarks in Universal. But I have to say, most people did not know (especially young kids) knew where this reference came from. And for those of you reading this article, it’s from American Graffiti.

2. Kitty Kat Club: 

Another ode to classic films is the Kitty Kat Club, or the Kit Kat Club used in Cabernet.

3. Stillman’s Gym:

Stillman’s gym is a real-life famous boxing gym in New York City, known for its unsanitary facilities and the famous boxers who trained there. However, this gym is also a reference to two classic films Somebody Up There Likes Me, the autobiographical film about famous boxer, Rocky Graziano. And was also host to a musical number in the film, Its Always Fair Weather.  

4. Louie’s and Genco Imports:


 

Louie’s and Genco Imports are references to the Godfather Trilogy. Scenes where the rise and murder of the mafia and corrupt police officers take place.

5. Hudson Street Home for Girls:


The Hudson Street is not only a home for girls, but is home to one of the most famous redheaded orphan, Annie. Hudson Street is a reference from the musical and movie, Annie.

6. Priscilla Hotel:

 

The Priscilla Hotel is home to the film Thoroughly Modern Millie. Millie moves into the hotel for single ladies in hopes to marry rich. Times never do change, do they?

7. Adrienne’s Pet Shop:

 

I stared at this for a long time, convinced that this was a definite reference to a film. I looked it up, and found out that this (although, a terrible reference) is a reference to the film Rocky. In the film, Rocky’s future wife Adrien works at a pet shop. I appreciate the effort, but her name is spelt incorrectly and the pet shop she work at was called J&M Tropical Fish. 

8. Embryo Books:

This reference is a tricky one. Embryo Books is actually a reference to an Audrey Hepburn musical, Funny Face. In the film, she is a book store clerk at an obscure bookstore, Embryo Concepts. Hepburn’s character is discovered by a fashion magazine photographer and is catapulted into the modeling industry with her unique, somewhat nerdy look.

9. Blues Mobile:

I know, just like Mel’s, I’m kind of cheating. But, this is a classic prop and, admittedly comes from one of my all-time favorite movies. The Blues Brothers, is a film based on a Saturday Night Live skit, and would have to be the best film to come out of SNL.

After visiting Universal and seeing all these references, I quickly came home to sit down and watch them. Next time you are in Universal, check out all the old references, I bet you can even spot some Jaws references in Harry Potter.

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!

Valentines Day is the one day of the year you are required to either do something nice for your loved one, or be reminded that you are still single. 

In my opinion, this day is awfully commercialized and quite frankly, you should not have one day or one reason to do something nice for your significant other. Furthermore, if you are single, don’t worry about it, and definitely don’t make others feel bad about being in love and being with their significant other (because they don’t care what you think anyways). Don’t be a hater.

Film always makes me feel better (whether or not it’s a holiday). But there are some films I would recommend you not watch on this day. Purely for the sheer fact that they are terrible movies, a total misrepresentation of love or the science disputes it.

1. The Twilight Saga (2008-2012)

These films portray a sickening manipulation, control and stalking in the guise of love.

2. Fifty Shades of Gray (2015)

Twilight is the reason we are plagued with Fifty Shades of Gray.

3. Titanic (1997)

Jack could have fit on that door with Rose.

However, there are other films that are (in my opinion) fantastic films about love, break ups and everything in between. There are way more films that are great representations, but for now, here are few:

1. Annie Hall (1977)

This is a film that shows us opposites attract, but they can certainly lose their magnetism after awhile. Little idiosyncrasies become painful annoyances. The film shows us that although it’s hard to go through relationships, it’s necessary to learn and grow from them, other than dwelling and obsessing over them.

2. (500) Days of Summer (2009)
This film shows us that there are always warning signs in relationships, and we can be so blind to them, only realizing those signs after the relationship.

3. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

It’s true, male and females cannot just be friends. Just ask Harry and Sally.

4. Casablanca (1942)

The ultimate sign of love and the age old statement: “If you love something set it free.”

5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

This film is a priceless example of: if you knew how terrible the ending would be, would you still do it? Do the good times completely outweigh the horrible times?

6. The Princess Bride (1987)

Classic fantasy film that shows us true love conquers all – except for a nice MLT.

9. West Side Story (1961)

This film is classic for all times; that no matter where a person comes from, what they look like and the prejudice they may face – love is always more powerful than hate.

These films show us that people and love are not perfect but, it’s worth the heartache.

Book Recommendation: ‘So, Anyways…’ by John Cleese

I am a HUGE Monty Python fan. British humor is make-your-stomach-hurt, pee-your-pants good.

For Christmas, I received one of the founders of the group’s autobiography, John Cleese’s ‘So, Anyways…’. Cleese writes about his childhood, schooling and his anxiety-ridden mother. 

I love the book for his honest and carefree style of writing. I relate a lot to how he originally went to school for law – and ended up loving writing comedy and performing. Where he ended up essentially fell into his lap.

There’s still hope for me yet!

If you love Monty Python, read how one of the founders grew up and provided us with Silly Walks and Fawlty Towers.

Happy Groundhog Day!

As we pray for no more winter weather today, don’t forget that Bill Murray lived this day over and over again. In the film that almost wasn’t made, Groundhog Day.

Let us reflect that Bill Murray relived this day to our amusement and that he obviously has an issue with small animals that begin with the letter ‘g’.

Podcast Recommendation: You Must Remember This

As a lover of first century Hollywood, this podcast is fulfills my ever-growing knowledge and excitement of historical Hollywood.

You Must Remember This is a podcast about the scandals, mysterys, feuds and forgotten histories of first century Hollywood.

I have just started to tune in, and I love it. My particular favorite right now is Blacklist. Blacklist is about communism in Hollywood and history and scandals that link them together.

If you enjoy history and old Hollywood, check it out!

Podcast Recommendation: We Hate Movies

As I was perusing through Reddit one day, I came across a list of Film Podcasts that someone had posted. I had been looking for something to listen to in the car and at work, so I decided to check out some of the podcasts.

I turned on We Hate Movies and subscribed instantly. The podcast is a comedy podcast where four guys watch terrible films and then make fun of them. They go through the film in it’s entirety and make hilarious comments on how terrible the film is.

Think of watching a terrible movie with your friends, doesn’t the hilarious commentary make the film better?

That is this podcast.

If you love to hate terrible movies and need a laugh or two, tune into We Hate Movies.

Podcast Recommendation: The Handmaid’s Tale

I love true crime stories and as I was listening to one podcast, they advertised for another story-driven podcast. Intrigued, I tuned in. 

Imagine a little girl sitting by the old radio in the 1930s anxiously waiting for a radio broadcast such as The Lone Ranger.

That’s me.

The podcast is called Secrets, Crimes & Audiotapes produced by Wondery. They produce story-driven podcasts. Each episode is a continuation of the previous, think television show seasons. Once they conclude one story, they do another.

The one story I have been sucked into is The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the novel of the same name written by Margaret Atwood.

The story is a dystopian future where women are stripped of all their rights and are only used for one sole purpose: procreation.

I cannot decide if I am so hooked because of current events, but in any case, this story is riveting.

Download this podcast and listen in the car, at work or at home. You will not be disappointed.

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