30for30: Pop Life – Day Four

Law & Order: Criminal Intent | These days Dick Wolf’s storied franchise has ballooned to include spin-offs of weaker series, and copycat specials (Here’s looking at you Menendez Brothers). But once upon a time, at the peak of his creativity, Wolf replicated critical and commercial acclaim with Criminal Intent. The third iteration of his L&O installments, Criminal Intent solved heinous crimes while providing the perpetrator’s perspective.  A unique take garnered much success. Paired with actor Vincent D’Onofrio’s performance as Det. Bobby Goren, you had an addictive series.

 

What Lies Beneath | This supernatural thriller brought a haunting take on infidelity. When a professor’s wife experiences paranormal activity, she unearths more sinister truths from beyond the grave. Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford deliver memorable performances in a narrative that could be described as Stephen King writing How to Get Away With Murder.

 

the diary of alicia keys | The first album review I scribed was for Alicia’s sophomore album. An English project my sophomore year,  I remember excitedly comparing Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You” to the soulful Aretha Franklin, and how perfect “You Don’t Know My Name” executed the phone interlude. The album transitioned Alicia from a young R&B prodigy, to a contemporary soul songstress.

30for30: Pop Life – Day Three

Golden Girls | I was in middle school when my best friend introduced me to Dorothy, Blanche, Rose & Sophia. The 80s comedy that ran for seven seasons found a whole new audience with airings on Lifetime. In the early 2000s, the topics they tackled seemed normal as we had shows like Will & Grace, and lived under MTV’s peak. But in retrospect, a show with four-middle aged women as leads, in the late 80s, touching on everything from sexual harassment to assisted suicide, was groundbreaking. It paved the way for all the women who followed: Designing, Living Single and even Sex and the City. Plus it remains hilarious.

Home Alone | Kevin McCallister’s plight of being forgotten on the family trip was a 90s kid’s dream. A two-story mansion to oneself; no rules or older siblings reigning terror over you; and, all the ice cream one could devour. However today that scenario could have ended much worse. His parents would have definitely faced child neglect charges, not to mention the next door neighbor being questioned. And let’s not even touch the possibility that none of Kevin’s contraptions would foil the Sticky Bandits. Today the Home Alone franchise would be hella problematic.

21 | One of the biggest albums of the last decade, Adele’s sophomore project showcased the biggest unifier is unfortunately pain, and how one perseveres through adverse times. Written in ode to a devastating heartbreak, 21 dropped with such a universal force on the power of “Rolling in the Deep.” The searing send-off track was a far cry from the melancholy ballads of her debut. It allowed her to stretch her fan base. If “Deep” was a movement, than the subsequent single “Someone Like You” was a force that carried the album on the Billboard charts’ top 40 damn near two years after its release.

ELN: ‘Flash’ drags back as ‘This Is Us’ continues strong

The week of premieres continued with CW’s The Flash beginning its fourth season. I also made it through the best episode of This Is Us yet.

After season three’s lackluster run, viewers had been promised a fresh start as The Flash is “ reborn.” What we got was an average episode that could have been good, but faltered in its close. Continue reading →

30for30: Pop Life

Happy Endings | The short-lived comedy captured what I wanted my thirties to look like. Specifically Adam Pally’s depiction of Max, the gay slacker of the friends group. I identified with him more than any other character I had seen on television. He wasn’t a flamboyant, but he clearly operated in the games of playful reading and shade. I never saw a gay person portrayed so, normally. At it’s peak it was funnier than Modern Family in its prime. And it bolstered a great cast.

One Hour Photo | Everyone praised Robin Williams for his comedic insanity, but his dramatic roles captured something so opposite of his usual demeanor. His role as a lonely pharmacy photo attendant obsessed with a family carries a rather forgettable film. One of the rare times Williams was a villainous subject, it was eerily a peek into the darkness Williams seemed to struggle with outside the limelight.

Vol. II: 1990 – A New Decade | Soul II Soul captured the music scene with their unique blend of UK soul and hip-hop, and in 1990 their sophomore effort became the backdrop of my childhood. Many weekends were spent singing to every track – even the instrumentals. Top 3 tracks: “Missing You,” “Love Come Through” & “Get A