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Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Entries in dick cheney (165)

Tuesday
Apr042017

In Which A Dog Will Tear Us Apart Again

Wellness Dog

by DICK CHENEY

Love at First Bark
dir. Mike Rohl
Hallmark Channel

Despite the fact that she is starting her own business, Julia (Jana Kramer) thinks this is the time to adopt a dog. We never see exactly how much she pays for a german shepherd whose name is already King, but since it is Portland, OR we can assume it is in the $200-$300 range. I thought about adopting a cat last year and even a ten year old cat would have cost me $180 if I had not lost interest at that point.

Julia informs the dog trainer (Kevin McGarry of Saw 3D: The Final Chapter) that her approach to dog training will focus on the theme "All You Need Is Love." To her credit, she does attempt to give King regular walks around Portland, which looks suspiciously not like Portland. Not a single person has a tattoo, piercing or rides a bike, so unless Julia spends her time exclusively in a gated community, she actually lives in Vancouver but is simply ashamed of being Canadian.

Julia is an interior designer. She meets a woman at a dog park and goads her into hiring her to design her baby's nursery. The result of this first job for her fledging firm is based on the theme of a magical forest. In actuality, the only tree there looms like a Charlie Brown Christmas fir and we quickly realize that maybe Julia has bitten off more than she can chew.

This is a dog pun since disappointments soon emerge in Julia's relationship with King. These are the honest-to-God problems she has with her dog:

- He will not sleep in her bed (ew)

- He will only sit when she doesn't draw out the word in a weird way like "Siiiiit"

- He won't sleep when she gives him the easy-to-understand command, "Close your eyes"

King amazingly never poops or pees during Love at First Bark which is quite the achievement since my dogs poop and pee when they hear a loud noise or a Rachel Maddow monologue. Frustrated despite the fact that she is the new owner of a rescue dog who has not destroyed any of her furniture, Julia heads to the office of the dog trainer, whose name is Owen. Owen's dog training business, you will not be surprised to learn, has issues with interior decoration. The main problem is that he has about 600 pounds of filing, which made no sense to me, I mean is he keeping detailed records on dogs he trains? How many years is this going back?

Despite the fact that Owen apparently has dogs himself, we never see them during Love at First Bark. I guess he is shy about them and they just stay at home all day even though his business should really be quite dog-friendly. We also never see his apartment, he just shows up at Julia's place at like 10:30 at night. When they are about to kiss, King starts to bark, so I guess it was not really love at first bark, since she sends him home after that. Most guys I know would make themselves scarce after that kind of rejection but Owen's other options are limited since he apparently only dates clients.

During a training session on the mean streets of Portland, Owen almost runs into an ex-girlfriend. She has a very fetching poodle; he is so alarmed by the possibility of this encounter that he makes Julia turn around and ends the session prematurely. I suppose he sensed that King did not need much more training anyway.

Later on in Love at First Bark, Julia wakes up one day and King is beside her in bed. When I was in college I knew a girl who allowed a dog to sleep in her bed. She was always getting bacterial infections and she was like, "This is such a crazy mystery why am I getting these infections?!?" Ever since then there has seemed something very lonely about a woman with a dog, which is a sexist thing I am trying to work out in therapy.

Julia has a partner in her new design business, a woman named Sherry (Anna Van Hooft). Sherry is a huge dick to Julia now that she has this vague man in her life. She's always like, "Are you sure you just don't want to call him?" and "Owen's here!!!" She really gives a bad name to the entire concept of interior design with this childish bullshit. In the movie's climactic party she makes the weird choice of a pink dress that I am pretty sure Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman.

Julia really prioritizes her career over her relationship. Given that she is a mediocre designer, this maybe is not the best approach. A successful dog training business could probably provide for them both, although Owen has a college friend who is his glorified secretary. I was confused why she couldn't train dogs also. It is not particularly hard, do you know how tiny their brains are?

After she makes a weird bed space for King to sleep in, Julia gets the idea that she is going to convince this really rich woman to devote an entire room to her Pomeranian's birth. Julia calls this installation "a puppery." Since they could not afford to hire a pregnant dog (I think the adoption fee would be astronomical), the birth of the puppies happens off screen. Since they could not afford to hire puppies, we never see Pomeranian puppies. Times are tough in the TV movie business; Love at First Bark is roughly the equivalent of a watching a soft-core Cinemax thriller without any of the sex scenes.

You would think the Hallmark Channel audience would at least expect some heavy petting. I think Julia and Owen kissed maybe twice. No one got to second base. Meanwhile, the USA Network recently attempted to air Fifty Shades of Grey on broadcast television. It did not go well, but it was a lot hotter than Love at First Bark. Actually, the movie made a lot more sense as to why she would want to be with him, since now his sexual predilections were so much less extreme.

I would say take a pass on Love at First Bark unless you are really into German shepherds. Lynne wants to see this new entry in a series starring Candace Cameron Bure as a woman who runs a local social club examining historic homicides. Although Candace Cameron Bure's faith in God means she does not do anything on camera outside of chaste kisses with zero tongue, at least you know to expect that going in.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording and the former vice president of the United States.


Tuesday
Mar142017

In Which We Did It For Our Country Or A Woman

The Years After Kobe

by DICK CHENEY

Six
creators William Broyles, David Broyles & Harvey Weinstein
History Channel

You might not know it, but Harvey Weinstein is a patriot. The terrorist villain in Six, his ode to the great country some call the USA and other call 'Murica, is a vengeful American adherent to the religion of Islam called Michael Nasry (Dominic Adams). He is very upset that Navy SEAL Richard Taggart (Walton Goggins) killed his brother Omar during some godforsaken mission in Afghanistan. The show builds to a climactic scene where Michael confronts his brother's killer. "Omar was from Detroit, remember?" the evil villain states. "He loved the Lakers because of Kobe, that's what he told you." Fuck everything.

"I made a mistake," Goggins responds. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I didn't kill all you motherfuckers." This is the hero of our story.

Flashbacks make Goggins no more sympathetic. We never see his penis at all, but we do see him losing interest in his wife in the years previous to his Kobefrontation. At first when he comes home from a mission, he is excited to see her and pounds her gleefully in her car, which from all appearances is absolutely terrible for the environment. Then, after the next mission she picks him up after lunch with his fellow soldiers and he is like, "Give me one minute," and the prospect of having to wait is too much for her. They break up with a round of hate sex and it is suggested his alcoholism is a major impediment beyond the frequent absences.

When they learn of Rip's abduction while on nongovernmental security detail in Africa, his friends all desire to save him. Bear (Barry Sloane) is unable to conceive with his wife, has no money and also drinks heavily. Ricky (Juan Pablo Raza) cannot afford his daughter's private school and is losing touch with his wife (Nadine Velazquez) with whom he frequently cries during wintercourse. Alex (Kyle Schmid) sleeps with the waitress at Denny's during his off time and never sees his daughter. Can I take back what I said about Harvey Weinstein being a patriot?

None of SEAL Team Six's family members can reveal to their friends or families about the elite unit they represent. It came out that the men who killed Osama Bin Laden made an average of $54,000, which does not seem like a lot. However, military pensions are generally lucrative. When I was vice president, I only made $230,000, which was frankly not a lot either for the hours. When I went to Wendy's I frequently made the choice to opt for the 4 for 4.

Six consists of several deployments to Africa in order to find Walton Goggins' character. None of the fighting in the show makes these excursions seem particularly, exciting dramatic or fun. Bear, Ricky, and Alex are deployed against a terrorist group called Boko Harum, which has the virtue of not being particularly active anymore. Although they rape an entire coterie of Nigerian children, most of this is offscreen. During one outing, SEAL Team Six loses a member. His widow is not particularly enthused by the way the rest of the squad takes the death, which includes riding golf carts erractically and making a big scene at the man's wake.

William Broyles made an amazing show about the Vietnam War called China Beach. At the time Dana Delany was legitimately the most appealing woman in the Northern Hemisphere, and the show got a lot of mileage out of the moral uncertainty involved. With the way that war has changed, it is always easier for us to put such things out of our mind now. As the cost of waging war decreases, you would think the ease with which it is waged would go up. Six argues that this is not really true. The more we know of war, the more we come to hate it regardless of scope.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is the former vice president of the United States.


Tuesday
Feb212017

In Which Katherine Heigl Falls In Love With A Murderer

Knocked Down

by DICK CHENEY

Doubt
creators Joan Rater & Tony Phelan
CBS

"He's the first guy I feel like I could really talk to," Katherine Heigl explains to her mother, who is serving a life sentence since she was two years old. Her mother is very proud of Katherine Heigl, who has become a noted defense attorney. Why isn't anyone else proud of Katherine Heigl?

Actually, her boyfriend is. "You fight like most people breathe," Billy (Steven Pasquale) explains to her over dinner. He has just been released from prison on bail, but Katherine Heigl still finds something attractive about this pediatric surgeon, who is going to be convicted of a murder he committed twenty-four years earlier in Gramercy Park. He is really proud of Katherine Heigl: her education, after all, is considerable. She made it through four years of NYU without killing herself, and then headed uptown to Columbia for her law degree. It taught her, somewhere along the line, that it was OK to make love to her client. "We are the lucky ones," she muses in a private moment.

Katherine Heigl has everything she could ever want, yet people still don't want to watch her. At times she looks like a skeleton riding a bike through New York City in Doubt, the new show from the married Grey's Anatomy producers Joan Rater and Tony Phelan; she resembles a muppet when she is in the courtroom and her lips come together just so. Dulé Hill just looks at her like, "Why am I on this show?"

I guess it all comes back to when Katherine Heigl started saying bad things about Judd Apatow and how much Knocked Up sucked. It did suck, but maybe it was supposed to? 2007 was a very confusing year for a lot of people. Perhaps it was not the best idea to cast Ms. Heigl in a show that is exactly like Grey's Anatomy. "Travel's not my thing," she explains to her boyfriend at dinner, in an attempt to become even more unlikable to her target audience.

Men gave up on Katherine Heigl when she savagely turned on Seth Rogen, causing him to retreat into his office where he smoked so much pot that he drove other people out of the building. Women could still have a chance of liking Katherine Heigl, but Doubt gives them so many reasons not to do so. Personally, I love Katherine Heigl. Did you know that Katherine Heigl has two adopted children in real life, and is dating a murderer in not real life? "It's not going to be easy to explain the coincidence of the cat scratch to the jury!" someone bleats in the background.

In order to discover the reasons why Katherine Heigl's unpopularity has led to such low ratings, it behooved me to research the cause of Katherine Heigl's unpopularity with her key audience. This resulted in a somewhat combative conversation with my wife Lynne, which I have reproduced below to the best of my memory.

ME (DC): Do you think Katherine Heigl uses a loofah?

LYNNE: I don't believe she can actually ride a bike. That's probably a stunt double.

DC: Did you feel betrayed when she left Grey's Anatomy?

LYNNE: Not really, I mean, she was an actress on a TV show.

DC: Do you think Katherine Heigl smells like gasoline and Head & Shoulders?

LYNNE: They were still rolling out the credits on this show fifteen minutes in. Is that Omar Epps?

DC: No. Do you think people who travel don't like people who don't travel?

LYNNE: I don't understand the question.

To be fair, Doubt's questionable command of civil procedure renders the show essentially an extended fantasy sequence. In one of the show's key subplots, another attorney (Laverne Cox) wins the trial of a deranged man who pushed a woman in front of a subway. Afterwards, she commiserates with her associate (Dreama Walker), who exclaims, "Our client is on his way to a mental institution and we're supposed to be celebrating?" Where did she want a murderer to go, vacation?

Are you maybe starting to get the same sense that I am, that at one point Shonda Rimes killed a dude and the point of all these hour-long shows is to slowly legitimize murder in the eyes of the public until she confesses to Oprah and everyone is like, well, Viola Davis killed several people and continued a fruitful teaching career in a top tier law school, so you're fine Shonda?

But back to Katherine Heigl, the only subject really worth writing about. I have devised some suggestions for Katherine Heigl, so that she can resume her rightful career as a serious television and film star. My first thought was that she should do a role with an accent. Katherine Heigl with a southern accent would be just darling. If she can't do an accent, than she should stop dieting down to fit preconceived stereotypes about how leading ladies should look and play the role of a woman who is almost permanently pregnant. Gentile pregnant women are very sympathetic.

Anyway, it is kind of sad that Doubt is such a mess. I think part of the problem is that the show is photographed and scored like every other Shonda Rimes show. It just comes across feeling so generic at this point. Plus Katherine Heigl's outfits are not so exciting in this. She wears a lot of sweaters and the ensuing sexual milieu is extremely dated. I understand she is a powerful attorney in this diegesis, but she's already making love to her client, so keeping up appearances otherwise is maybe a misguided use of resources.

Dulé Hill and Katherine Heigl have a lot of chemistry. It would have been great fun to see them taking off their clothes, and I think that is where Doubt was eventually going down the road, but we'll never know now because the show is doing such garbage ratings. That's a shame, because I would have really enjoyed seeing their bodies press together. It would have sounded like a car wash.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

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