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What I Learned This Week – 6/22/14

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This week I was searching online for a picture of a thin male actor with shaggy blond hair in his 20’s I could use for some inspiration for a character in one of my novels. I tried Shaggy Rogers, but he is too animated. I tried to look up Disney actors, but they were all too buff or Zach Efron. I ran across a picture of Devon Sawa. I thought he might be perfect, if only I could find a picture of him a little older.

This week I learned that Devon Sawa grew up and got buff.

Devon Sawa before

Devon Sawa before

Devon Sawa Now

Devon Sawa now

Of all pictures of him on the Internet, he is skinny and young, or older, with muscles and tattoos. Not that that is a bad thing! It just isn’t what I was interested in for my character.

I also found out that Devon Sawa still acts! I just assumed, as happens to many teen heartthrobs, that after Night of the Twisters and Final Destination, he went off to college or something and never came back.

Apparently one of his more notable recent acting jobs was on The CW’s Nikita. I noticed that while he still keeps some of his young Devon sweetness, mostly he is all muscles and action now. He even got his gap-toothed smile fixed, which totally changes how he looks and talks. (It makes me a little sad.)

This leads us into the second thing I learned this week: The CW’s Nikita is a really good show.

I looked for it on Netflix, and IT WAS THERE! That NEVER happens!

I just started watching it this week. It actually aired from 2010-2013. Dang. It appears I found it about 6 months too late.

There have been a lot of previous versions of stories about Nikita. Just the ones I am aware of are:

La Femme Nikita (movie 1990) French

Single White Female (movie 1992) English remake starring Bridget Fonda

La Femme Nikita (USA Network TV Series 1997-2001) starring Peta Wilson

My asbestos friend totally loves the USA TV series La Femme Nikita. She doesn’t write about entertainment on her blog, as I do. But if she did, she totally would have written about that show by now. I have never watched it.

Devon Sawa doesn’t show up until the fifth episode on CW’s Nikita. By the time I got through the first four episodes, I was hooked.

I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to follow the black ops type plots, or that I wouldn’t like the characters. I was worried there would be nothing for me to like about it.

I was wrong.

The plots seem to be simplified, for people like me. I hate that they feel “dumbed-down”, but I like that I can watch it at 3:00AM and still follow the action with a cloudy brain and bleary eyes .

I don’t really like or hate Maggie Q, the actress who plays Nikita. But I love Shane West. I love Devon Sawa. And I was sooo pleasantly surprised to discover that Melinda Clarke (Julie Cooper-Nichol-Cooper-Atwood, herself!) is a regular in the cast. (Thank you, McG!) Clarke is sooo under-appreciated. She is under-used in the episodes I have watched so far, but I have a feeling that may change.

There is an actress named Lyndsy Fonseca who has a very big part as Alex. She is kind of a double agent. She has hair so amazing I start watching her hair and forget to listen to the dialogue. She looked familiar, but I didn’t know from where. When I looked it up, to my surprise, she played the “daughter” on How I Met Your Mother! The poor daughter who was stuck on the couch for eight years listening to Ted’s rambling story.

Lyndsy Fonseca as Alex on Nikita

Lyndsy Fonseca as Alex on Nikita Photo:


Fonseca is really good on Nikita. She can do more than just stare into a camera and look bored.

The show is a lot about missions and training and revenge. But as it is the CW, there are lots of hot guys with their shirts off who care more about the women around them than they let on.


Shane West performance as Michael, Nikita’s mentor, enemy, ally, love interest mesmerizes me. Admitted, so far his part mostly involves a lot of brooding. But there is a great scene where he finds out Nikita is alive after believing that she is dead. The emotions that cross his face are great. In real life, his boss would pick up on that in a moment and kill him for having feelings for her (but we will ignore such realism;).

I got to Season 1, Episode 9, One Way. It is the first time we see Michael and Nikita working together, side by side. I was so enthralled that I literally had to tear myself away from the TV and go to work. It was brutal, having to wait 8 hours to watch the final 10 minutes of the episode. I forgot my cell phone at home, so I could not even cheat and watch it on my lunch [half] hour! Then I came home and could not tear myself away from watching Nikita to go to bed. I blame the Netflix feature that automatically starts the next episode when the one you are watching has not yet reached the end of the credits.

So, ya. Now I have to watch all four seasons. I love the act of binge watching, but it really f’s up my life.

And, oh ya, I also found the body type I wanted for my story character:

Shane West

Shane West

Oh, and I am spending time dodging Facebook messages from my former high school classmates who want my address to send me an invite to our 20 year class reunion. We haven’t had any reunions before, why start now?

And, they totally must not read my blog. >:) [Insert evil laugh here.]

Best Tornado Movies (& TV Episodes)

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I am scared, yet fascinated by tornadoes. I own a weather radio so I can be the first one on the block into my basement. I have reoccurring dreams about tornadoes.

Starring Bruce Campbell* and Ernie Hudson. This was a made-for-TV movie on FOX. It is low-budget and filled with tornado movie clichés, like the scientific equipment that will solve the mysteries of tornadoes once and for all, if only they could get it in the path of the Big One. Also the cliché that an old person must die in the tornado. In Tornado!, that unlucky soul is grandpa. This movie is enjoyably watchable because of Campbell and Hudson. Hudson is the likeable and naive scientist. Campbell is a storm chaser who gets to flirt with the blond leggy government agent and punch out a douchebag weatherman. Classic Bruce Campbell.

Night of The Twisters

Starring John Schneider and a pre-Final Destination Devon Sawa. This was a made-for-TV movie for the Family Channel. Night of the Twisters follows a group of kids who must navigate a night full of tornadoes while trying to reunite with their parents. It features a subplot of the dysfunctional family nature. Sawa’s character feels alienated by his step-father Schneider who only cares about athletics and winning. By the end of the night (and the movie), son has earned step-father’s respect. The token storm chaser who arrives in town just in time for all the excitement finds love. In this movie, they say goodbye to grandma.

Where The Heart Is**

Starring Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd. Natalie Portman has a baby at Wal-mart. ‘Nuf said. The tornado hits the trailer Novalee (Portman) lives in several years later. The tornado kills Novalee’s mother figure. I have read the book, and I must say the movie follows the book very closely, with the exception of Novalee’s unlucky number. I really think they cast the role of Forney all wrong. I do not like the actor who plays him at all.
WKRP in Cincinnati – Episode “Tornado”

I truly love the episode where the tornado hits Cincinnati. Following the “tornadoes always hit trailer parks” cliché (which I love, because I lived in one), Johnny Fever (Howard Hessman) relates a story about being in a trailer in a tornado with his mom when he was a boy. Andy Travis (Gary Sandy) gets to kiss Jennifer (Loni Anderson). You get to see one of Mr. Carlson’s (Gordon Jump) truly sweet moments when he talks a little girl into the safety of her basement just in the nick of time.

Now, you might notice the omission of the big budget theatrical release Twister. That is because it sucks. One flying cow does not a tornado movie make.

* Not to name drop, but I have met Bruce Campbell in person–twice. And he knows the late husband of my mom’s former best friend.

** I had my own Where The Heart Is moment one night. It was probably spring 2000, and I was leaving Wal-Mart after having just bought a grill for my apartment. As I walked to my car, the tornado sirens for Madison Township (where I currently was) went off. The sky to the southwest was absolutely black. I got in my car and headed for home. I had to stop for a red light and I watched the dark sky in my review mirror. I told myself that if I saw the roof of the Kmart just behind me fly off, I was going to run the light. I ended up going to my mom’s nearby apartment instead, because I got scared and didn’t want to drive home in that storm.

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