While I don't watch broadcast television, I do buy movies and a select few TV series on DVD as rewards for meeting my writing goals. I also swap them with friends as reciprocal gifts for birthdays and the holidays, which is fun because we don't tell each other in advance what we're swapping.
The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds was one of my rewards for finishing my last novel, and features Sandra as a demanding NY Publishing senior editor about to be deported back to Canada, and Ryan as the male assistant she strong-arms into becoming her fiance. I'm generally not a fan of films that portraying powerful women as demanding, heartless harpies from hell because it caters to misogynistic attitudes, but I like Sandra's movies, and as I expected she plays her role as smart and funny versus offensive and insulting. The screenwriters also did a nice job with the back story that actually supports her characterization.
Most of the story takes place in Alaska, during a visit to meet Reynolds's family, and gets pretty goofy at times, but there's enough drama to keep it from becoming utterly silly. Betty White (who plays Reynolds's 90 y.o. grandma) obviously had the best time with this project; she practically steals every scene she's in. The logical but realistic end wrapped up the movie neatly without sending my blood sugar through the roof or ticking me off, something that tends to be a problem for me with romantic comedies. I wonder, though, does Ryan Reynolds have a lazy eye, or maybe is a tiny bit cross-eyed? There were a couple of times during the movie that I swear, his right eye just didn't seem to be staying in sync with the left. Anyway, see the official trailer here.
Chuck Season One: This was a birthday swap gift that I received from a friend who (thanks to me) is now completely hooked on Burn Notice. I think I'm hooked on Chuck now, too; if you're looking for pure farce, you don't get much better than this. Chuck is a computer repair tech/geek/lonely guy who works at a big electronics chain store. He lives with his sister, he got kicked out of college, and he's basically every poor slob who could never get a date in high school. All that changes when via synaptic download Chuck accidentally becomes the government's most valuable intelligence asset.
The characters really make this show, and Adam Baldwin, who plays one of Chuck's handlers, is really priceless as brutal/humorless gung-ho patriot. He deadpans so well that I swear, every time the guy raises a steely brow I crack up. I'm charmed most by Zachary Levi, though, who plays the title role and in every episode grabs your heart with his awkward but sweet and surprisingly deep portrayal of the character; a true prince with principles and a pocket protector.
What I'll be watching over the holidays:
Castle Season One -- Another swap gift, one that came in for Christmas (our theme was favorite on-screen genres, and my pal got the SyFy Channel's Dune and Children of Dune mini-series in return from me.)
I'm a bit nervous about this one. I rarely watch movies or shows about writers because (inevitably, I suppose) they never get it right, or they make us into some idiotic variation of the wonderfully rich, helpfully curious old gal author from Murder, She Wrote (yeah, there's some heavy-duty realism for you.) About every ten years one comes along (ala Author! Author! with Al Pacino, Impromptu with Judy Davis, and Finding Forrester with Sean Connery) that is entertaining, but mostly I avoid them.
That said, I think Castle might be okay for three reasons: 1)It stars Nathan Fillion, who I think is an amazing actor, 2) Nathan plays a mystery author, one genre I don't consider personal territory, and 3) I got my friend (a devoted SF-hater) hooked on Frank Herbert enough to ask to borrow the first book, so this is like swap karma. I'll let you know how it goes, but in the meantime, here's the trailer for season one.