Monthly Archives: May 2011

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Portal”

Dear Frank,

As you may be aware, another battle in the “are video games art?” war was kicked off this week thanks to Charlie Brooker, a guy you might have seen on British comedy shows (if you’re me and you’ll watch anything with Martin Freeman in it). He posted a column describing certain video games as the type of “intelligent entertainment” currently being shunned by “Hollywood.” Despite the fact that putting the entirety of Hollywood up on a pedestal of shame is starting to get stale (even when it’s earned), Brooker makes a solid point, mostly because one of the games he points to is Portal 2, an interactive puzzle adventure game created by Valve.

Frank, you’re probably a bit aware of the Portal franchise, seeing as you are a worldly man of intellect who does not eschew so-called “low brow” mediums. (I am basing this entirely on your recent promise of a recap of the Smallville series finale.) But let me explain what happens in Portal in a way that will make sense to a non-video game enthusiast, because while I won’t say I’ve played a lot of video games, Portal and Portal 2 may be two of the best I’ve ever played. Read the rest of this entry


Liz Tells Frank Who Catherine Tate (The New Boss of “The Office”?) Is

Dear Frank,

According to the Hollywood Reporter, British comedian Catherine Tate, who’s one of the half-dozen or so candidates guest-starring in The Office season finale airing tonight, is NBC’s top choice to fill the gap left by Steve Carell’s departure. I LOVE Catherine Tate, so I’m in a happy place right now, but it appears that many people are not familiar with her, which is a shame, so let’s fix this, shall we?

Basic deal, Frank: Catherine Tate’s like a British Tina Fey, except that she not only had a long-running comedy series (and with her name in the title), but has proved her abilities as a dramatic actress in a wide range of roles. I’ll admit that I didn’t really become familiar with Catherine Tate until after her first appearance on Doctor Who (I chalk this up to my general preference for British drama over British comedy) but I’ve since come to respect her as possibly one of the funniest women in the world. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Zardoz”

Dear Frank,

There are times when I am well-versed in the media we’re discussing when I sit down to watch it, and times when I am not. This is the latter. Here is literally all I know about this movie: It is called Zardoz, and Sean Connery is in it, and I think it was made in the 70s. I have NO IDEA what is about to happen to me, and to be completely honest I’m a little nervous.

And okay, I just paused a minute in because WHAT THE FUCK. I think I’m going to be saying that a lot, based on this first minute. Some disembodied head wearing a towel is saying that his name is Zardoz and he’s a fake god and this movie might take place in “a possible future.” Was this the first movie ever made that took place in the future, and the filmmakers were nervous that no one would understand that it took place in the future and so they slapped this bit onto the beginning? ONLY POSSIBLE EXPLANATION.


Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Hugh Jackman, In Performance”

Dear Frank,

There are people in this world, people of great maturity and inner strength, who have never fallen victim to that most embarrassing of diseases: the celebrity crush. I have never been, and likely never will be, one of those people. Granted, my crushes have evolved from adolescence; while I still heartily admire actors today, I do not fantasize about Joshua Jackson or Idris Elba or Chris Helmsworth’s abs interrupting my 9th grade biology class and whisking me away from “all this.”

But when I went home this weekend for an impromptu Mother’s Day visit, and was told that we had tickets to see Hugh Jackman sing and dance at the Curran Theater, I did, in fact, plotz.

I’ve never told you about a stage show before, Frank, largely because to capture the magic of live performance is a near-impossible task. (Also, I don’t go to see enough plays.) However, the beauty of what Hugh Jackman did on stage Saturday night is that many elements of it were drawn from his previous work; thus, I can at least give you a bare-bones recap of what happened with a little help from YouTube. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”

Dear Frank,

This one is for the ladies. Not the young ladies, but the feisty old dames. Frank, the best thing about being female is that we have taken back the post-childbearing years; when I’m in my sunset years, I am looking forward to being a wise-cracking dame. Not like in an Adam Sandler movie; like in Downton Abbey.

Or like in E.L. Konigsberg’s The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, one of my favorite children’s books (in fact, the copy I re-read last week was my childhood copy, which I’d brought to LA with me years ago, which should tell you something), and I can’t believe you’ve never read it, Frank! Because this is very much a story with limited appeal — today, a tale of two children living inside an art museum would struggle for mainstream acceptance, due largely to the lack of Wii and hoverboards — but Frank, you are classy! Read the rest of this entry

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