This icy fortress of despair that we are currently occupying is enough to drive me insane. Only the harsh, frigid and ever-dismal winter months could lead me to watch the Miss America pageant and the Golden Globes in their entirety (more on that later) out of soul-crushing boredom. What is there to look forward to in the foreseeable future? As I was working on this column, I scoured the Internet for some sign of hope. This was all I could find: Friday is National Hugging Day.
Is there any sentiment more simultaneously sweet and skeevy than the offer of "free hugs?" Hugs are nice but nobody wants one that is unauthorized. I personally want to steer clear of someone that is extending the offer for free hugs, advertising via T-shirt or cardboard sign, and I advise my readers to do the same. However, if the hug is solicited, by all means oblige in the name of National Hugging Day. I think we could all use a good snuggle when Western New York is at its most bleak.
DRINK OF THE WEEK
It is National Hot Tea Month. Huzzah.
One more boozy hot tea drink because it is, after all, National Hot Tea Month. To make Blueberry Tea, you will need 3/4 oz. Grand Marnier, 3/4 oz. amaretto, orange pekoe tea and an orange wheel to use as a garnish. Pour the Grand Marnier and amaretto into a preheated brandy snifter. Fill the snifter two-thirds of the way to the top with orange pekoe tea. Garnish with an orange wheel and stir. (Recipe found via Google search on about.com).
In the Coen brothers' latest film, a fearless, no-nonsense little lady (Hailee Steinfeld) embarks on a quest to catch her father's killer with the help of a U.S. marshal (Jeff Bridges).
The verdict: Equal parts hearfelt and hilarious, the film's three stars are what truly make it great. Bridges continues to prove that he's worth all of the fuss and Academy Awards in his role as a salty, drunken curmudgeon, fortified with "true grit" but sometimes too boozy to sit upright in his saddle. Matt Damon is also amusing as Bridges' foil, Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (pronounced "LaBeef," which never failed to be funny each time Bridges uttered it in contempt) fumbling his way through his own hunt for Tom Chaney. The real breakout star, however, is tough-as-nails Hailee Steinfeld who proved she can hold her own and even steal scenes away from some of Hollywood's biggest stars. Why "True Grit" didn't get any love from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, I will never understand; hopefully the Academy Awards will at least give Hailee the nomination she deserves.
Recommended for: Coen brothers fans with reasonable expectations (and by that, I mean expect it to be great but not quite as good as "The Big Lebowski").
"True Grit" is now showing at the Dunkirk Movieplex.
WHAT REALLY GRINDS MY GEARS
Hollywood, stop crying about the Golden Globes. What a bunch of sissies! The best part about Ricky Gervais's relentless zingers was his timing: he dished them out as he was introducing the next presenter, leaving the star struggling to come up with a worthy retort on the spot. I imagine those ones filing complaints about Gervais are the actors who weren't so quick on their feet. Of course, other celebrities simply do not like jokes. I was not shocked to see that Angelina Jolie has no sense of humor as we were treated to one obnoxious reaction shot after another of her looking glamorous and bored. She barely cracked a smile throughout the entire show, instead concentrating on furiously reapplying her lip gloss and adjusting Brad Pitt's tie. She was a lot more fun when she was wearing vials of blood around her neck.
Fifty years ago today, JFK's inauguration was held, and at 9:30 p.m., HBO will show a new documentary about the president, "A President to Remember: In the Company of John F. Kennedy," with Alec Baldwin. After The History Channel refused to air their Kennedy miniseries starring Katie Holmes and Greg Kinnear, the show was shopped around to several other networks, including HBO, with no luck. If the Kennedy family gives this one the OK and is protesting the other one, we can logically conclude that this HBO documentary must be far less juicy and therefore, less worth watching.
NBC's new sitcom "Perfect Couples" will premiere at 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Basically, it's about three different couples, each with their own issues. Two noteworthy stars: Mary Elizabeth Ellis, who plays "The Waitress" on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and is Charlie Day's wife in real life; and Olivia Munn, who, according to the ever-reliable tabloid Life & Style, is allegedly having a text message affair with Justin Timberlake while he is still dating Jessica Biel. Escandalo!
CBS's inexplicably long-running show "Medium" will conclude on Friday at 8 p.m. I don't know if anyone actually watches "Medium," but the woman upon which the show is based, Allison Dubois, was on a recent episode of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" (season finale is just a handful of hours away, at 10 p.m. on Bravo) entitled "The Dinner Party From Hell." Dubois, who appeared to be a raving lunatic severely lacking in social graces, derailed Camille Grammer's dinner party almost singlehandedly by verbally attacking several guests and creeping everyone out whilst maniacally puffing on an electronic cigarette. Keep this in mind while drawing up your dinner party guest list - it might be best for Dubois's invitation to get lost in the mail.
Here are two potentially epic TV movies for the weekend. Brace yourself for the Apocalypse on Saturday, with "Category 7: The End of the World" on at 7 p.m. on SyFy, starring Randy Quaid, Gina Gershon and Shannen Doherty. "Mean Girls 2," the made-for-TV sequel to the 2004 Lindsay Lohan classic, will be on ABC Family on Sunday at 8 p.m. Tim Meadows is the only actor to reprise his role from the original movie.
This week at 41 West, there will be live music by Us from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday, couples bowling on Saturday (details and sign up at the bar) and also Saturday, live music by Second Time Around with Jody McCoy from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The Dunkirk Moose will hold Monte Carlo night from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday with live music by the Rabbit Foot Band, beer, food, fun and gambling to benefit The Pet Pantry, Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse and Veterans Park, and Dunkirk Little League. Call 366-5322 for tickets.
Folksy cover band Clear Blue Sky will perform at the 21 East Bookstore and Cafe on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m., with all proceeds to benefit Literacy Volunteers.
On Saturday at the Cassadaga American Legion, there will be live music by Lazy Susan from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Call the Legion at 595-3145 to learn more.
The Roger Tory Peterson Institute's new exhibit "Fossils!" opens Saturday in Jamestown, including dinosaurs, such as the Triceratops and T. Rex, and the Randolph Mammoth. According to recent reports, Japanese scientists intend to bring back the woolly mammoth within the next five years using frozen DNA. Hopefully their experiment will turn out better than it did in "Jurassic Park."
On Saturday at Cockaigne Ski Resort in Cherry Creek, after two races, there will be a Southern Tier Brewing Party from 4 to 8 p.m.
GET OUT OF TOWN
Fredonia indie rockers Longitude are playing the Ninth Ward at Babeville in Buffalo on Saturday. The band has been on a two-week tour of upstate New York and this is the homecoming show. For more information, visit their website: longitude.tumblr.com.
Johnny Lucas, Beach Parade, Becca Ryskalczyk, All Them Witches and Farnsworth are also scheduled to play. The show is all ages and the cover is $7. The doors open at 7 p.m.
The Ninth Ward at Babeville is located at 341 Delaware Ave. Remember that this is winter so be sure to check both the weather and with the venue before heading out to any shows.
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Drop her a line at email@example.com