Carole Mallory's blog consists of movie and book reviews and commentary on Hollywood. Mallory is an actress who portrayed a Stepford Wife in the original film and appeared in other movies such as Looking for Mr. Goodbar. A former supermodel, her writings are published in The Huffington Post and Hollywood's The Wrap. Her book reviews are published in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Norman Mailer was her mentor. Upon his death she sold her collection of writings with his edits to Harvard University.
If you ever wondered what the inner workings are behind the scenes of the various shopping networks, Shoplandia is for you. A raucous novel resplendent with anecdotes about the machinations of the always striving-to-get-ahead employees of one of our nation's leading capitalistic ventures brought into your home. Today no one has to go to a mall and be malled. No one has to go into a big city to "go shopping." No one has to go to the corner store to pick an item up. With a click of one's TV control, one can shop endlessly for almost everything under this sun and its rays shining all over Europe, Asia, Africa, le monde entier. This home shopping experience is powerful. And so it James Breslin's novel, Shoplandia.
Breslin has been an employee of QVC for 17 years and now steps forward as an author to reveal the secrets of this monstrous capitalistic venture. He writes with wit and a terrific eye for snappy revealing dialogue. He is always aware not to add too many details or too much description to make his point. Chapters address the famous personalities, the gymnastic enthusiasts, the beauty experts, the stars greying at the temples, the inebriated athletes, the motivational speakers as one faux pas happens after the next. Breslin is not mean-spirited; rather he is insightful in his remembrances of things past.
As a new production assistant at Shoplandia, Jake Meecham soon realizes that all the star-studded guests are eager to cash in on the riches at the end of the American Dream of a rainbow. The cast of characters are written with talent and verve by Breslin. And as one laughs through this short and rapid read, one recalls the bonds that form in the work place that often reflect those bonds we have formed within our own family.
While I must say one of the channels I truly hate to watch is anything to do with home shopping, but I have been humbled by a dear friend who allowed me to help her become sober. She had a gambling addiction during which she would drink to the point of drunkenness and shop on QVC till her credit cards dropped. Alas, after getting sober, she lost weight and could no longer wear these garments and gave them to me. And so I have learned to become grateful to home shopping sur le television and also because of James Breslin's delightful novel that has made some semblance of sense out of this bizarre fascination with which our nation is obsessed.
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Seated amidst an audience of mini people, I wondered what I was doing at this screening. When I put on my 3D glasses and sat back to munch my popcorn, I was pleasantly surprised by the stellar cast of voices and the terrific soundtrack. But alas, the plot is a cookie-cutter repeat of The Little Engine That Could. Still, it was enjoyable, as the special effects are fun and I found myself truly feeling that these cars, fire trucks, ambulances were people of sorts and had hearts. And heart is what this film is about.
In the end the audience applauded as I left, eager to see the first episode of Ray Donovan.
But I did not regret my experience to be a member of the audience of the citizens of tomorrow. The color is bold and the star power in the voices carries this Disney wonder. We have the voices of Ed Harris as Blade Ranger, Julie Bowen as Lil' Dipper, Hal Holbrook as Mayday, Terry Hatcher as Dottie, Stacey Keach as Skipper, Cedric the Entertainer as Leadbottom, Anne Meara as Winnie (as in Winnebago), Jerry Stiller as Harvey to name a few of the stars.
The plot is simple. Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook), learns his plane is damaged and he may never fly again. Out of frustration and sheer courage, he joins the fire, rescue and rescue helicopter team, the Smoke jumpers. This film features a dynamic crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from massive fires. Dusty is launched into the world of aerial firefighting and learns about becoming a real hero.
Aw shucks. I had a good time and your little tots will, too. I am pleased these great actors got a paycheck out of Hollywood, but I would have preferred to see their faces in an African Queen, On the Waterfront or Lawrence of Arabia. But Disney is not into these kinds of films. However, if you are, watch the latest TV installment of let's say, Ray Donovan, instead, and save your loot and leave Planes, Fire and Rescue to the tots.