On Newlyweds: The First Year

Is anyone else watching this series on Bravo? Basically Newlyweds follows the first year of matrimony of four different couples. Sounds kind of fun, and it is as times, but it seems like they purposefully chose irritating people to film.

Couple 1: Kathryn and John

I cannot stand greedy people. Kathryn is all right, but every sentence out of her husband’s mouth is about money. Did they just get married so he could get a check from everyone he knows and then judge them on how much they spent?

Couple 2: Kim and Alaska

Wow. Kim says she comes from Alaska’s rib so she should be subservient to the man in the relationship. Is it 1913 or 2013? I respect their religious views, but not when it’s used to create a master/slave relationship.

Couple 3: Tina and Tarz

Half of the drama is about Tina’s Indian father not approving of Aryan Tarz. He never will, there’s not much to happen here. Also, if Tarz is asked what’s more important, having a kid or work, and he honestly doesn’t know, then that probably means work.

Couple 4: Jeff and Blair

Just way too cutesy. They seem great and all, but I’ve never gotten going on and on and on about someone being the moon and stars and whatever. We get it, you love each other, you got married, now you’re going to fight for the rest of the season.

This is a cynical Elliot Arthur Cross signing off.

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On free paperback giveaway

To celebrate the release of my young adult book Tanglewood Road, JMS Books is giving away the proof copy of the book. This is the first printing that the publisher OKs before it goes on sale, so very much a one of a kind item. The contest runs until the end of June and you can enter to win at Goodreads.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross wishing you good luck.

On Arrested Development season 4

I am nearly done with the series after a wonderful marathon Sunday and decided to take a break to enjoy and savor the last few episodes. Arrested Development season 4 is a brilliantly crafted/performed experience. I have been howling through the episodes, nearly in tears. Watch this series.

It’s as if the brilliant Mitch Hurwitz said, “Here are the few ideas we had planned for season four, and here’s the material readying the series to move into the movie realm.”  Characters flow in and out of each other’s stories in such a fun way that it begs you to rewatch the season.

And for those who say it’s only 15 episodes, each episode is ten minutes longer than the Fox ones were. Do the math, and it’s like we got a whole 22 ep. season.

I’m impressed the entire guest cast came back, especially the tour de force performance of Andy Richter as quintuplets in multiple episodes, and the new characters. Liza Minnelli and Henry Wrinkler should be promoted to series regulars, as they are clearly the biggest characters outside of the Bluth/Funke family. And how great are those flashbacks with Kristen Wiig, Seth Rogen, and Max Winkler (Henry’s son playing a younger version of himself).

I will finish the season up slowly over the next few days, and then I will start it all over again. What do you all think? I’m eager to hear if the masses agree with me or not.

This is a pleased Elliot Arthur Cross wishing you happy viewing.

On Tanglewood Road’s release

My YA horror book Tanglewood Road is now available as an e-book from JMS Books (and major retailers during the upcoming week) and a paperback from Amazon.

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Blurb: Cody Langdon moves to Florida to start over after a failed suicide attempt. His mom hopes the change in scenery will do him more good than the medication he refuses to take, but Cody hates the sweltering summer heat and the loneliness of living in a state without any friends.

With several weeks to go until school begins, Cody sulks alone in the house while his mom works. Refusing to acclimatize himself to his new surroundings, he insists on wearing his usual black clothing and cranks the air conditioning all day.

The odd thing is, Cody hasn’t seen a single sign of life since his arrival on Tanglewood Road. The lawns are well-kept, cars are parked in the driveways, and trash is put out once a week, but Cody has never actually seen anyone living on the street. Slowly, his thoughts spiral into obsession and paranoia. Where is everyone?

Then Cody stumbles upon a support group for those who have survived demonic attacks. The posts online only strengthen Cody’s resolve when he learns about a murderous demon who has long stalked Southwest Florida. Has this same demon set up residence on Tanglewood Road, or is Cody’s cabin fever getting the best of him?

On House at the End of the Street

For some reason I skipped over this one when it came out, but caught it the other night on Netflix, and I’m glad I did. House on the End of the Street (why’d they dropped the ‘The’ from the front?) is about a blonde teen moving into a new home with her single mother and discovering shenanigans next door, where a few brutal murders were committed four years before.

Cons: The secondary characters weren’t utilized very well. Could have had a higher body count. The ending comes a little from left field, but is too reminiscent of Sleepaway Camp. I wanted to see Max Theriot decked out. What was up with the main character’s dad? Was he abusive, just absent, dead? Mentioned a few times but I didn’t really get it.

Pros: The cast is wonderful. Jennifer Lawrence is going to be one of the biggest superstars in the world. X-Men and Hunger Games? She’s fantastic. And of course Max Theriot, who I adore from Bates Motel, turned in a tour de force performance here. I cared about the characters, rooted for some even. There were some fun surprises and twists. Nolan Gerard Funk (seen recently on Glee) appears as the perfect boy next door/asshole rapist and demonstrates fine abs.

So overall, it didn’t reinvent the wheel, but it was a fine horror film with some fun moments and great characters. Not highly recommended, but recommended.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross playing PS3 instead of writing. Why must I keep distracting myself from work?

On Bates Motel episode 10

The Bates Motel season finale, “Midnight,” aired last night, and did not disappoint. There is so much set up for the next season and I’m thankful that they’re already plotting the episodes out and will be casting soon. Bring on season 2.

Cons: I don’t want to wait months for season 2!

Pros: Great pacing, loved getting more backstory on Norma, and Nestor Carbonell kicked ass as always. If you’re familiar with Psycho lore, Norman poisoned his mother and her lover. Could Sheriff Romero end up being that lover? Time will tell.

We say goodbye to Keegan Connor Tracy. I loved the actress and hated the character, so perhaps we’ll get some imagined images of her next season. Speaking of hallucinations, illusionNorma was perfectly handled. Norman sees her mother with a tight bun and an old black dress, just as the film series did. There’s a great disconnect between the imagined Mother and the actual Norma and Vera Farmiga did an excellent job.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross hoping season two doesn’t jump the shark.

On Cochran’s Victory

I wanted to give myself a few days before reviewing Cochran’s unanimous win Sunday night. Where would I place him in my winners ranking? I’m going to go with around spot 10 to 15.

What was wrong with that jury? Brenda to Dawn: “Take your teeth out and I’ll vote for you.” Dawn takes her teeth out and Brenda votes for Cochran. Okay, so Dawn was way over the top emotional most of the time, she also was well-like half the time and people came to her with their strategies, which she used to eliminate them. The jury wanted to give the million bucks to Eddie, who had no clue what was happening the entire season and wasn’t even that good in challenges.

And Sherri kept her profession a secret, ran the dominant early alliance, planned on taking unlikeable Shamar and then Philip to the end, jumped ship during the merge, and didn’t anger anyone too much. That’s a lot better than many finalists in Survivor history.

Best player who didn’t win the season: Corinne! What a powerhouse, she nearly turned everything around and dominated the game.  If she wasn’t playing with paranoid Dawn, it probably would have worked.

That said, Cochran deserved his victory. Great underdog story and a strategic player. And just when I was hoping for a season without any returning players, rumors are swirling that next season (Blood Vs. Water) will be old contestants and their loved ones competing.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross hoping the season after that will be all newbies. Is that too much to ask for?