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'Puzzle' is Well Made, but a Few Pieces are Missing

MOVIE REVIEW
Based on the film Rompecabezas, Puzzle is one of those little-known independent films that sneaks into theaters with little to no fanfare, although the fact that it is being promoted “from the producer of Little Miss Sunshine” should help it get noticed somewhat. Puzzle is a quiet, little film about a woman who discovers that jigsaw puzzles are the key to changing her life. While the subject matter doesn’t sound all that exciting, the film really isn’t about puzzles but instead about one finding their voice, or so it appears. It’s also a message film that has its own agenda expecting the audience to agree with the choices of the main character and applaud her “brave” behavior. Frankly, it just feels manipulative.

Directed by Marc Turtletaub, Puzzle’s most impactful scene comes within the first few minutes. We see Agnes (Kelly MacDonald) cleaning up the house and they decorating it for a birthday party. Then we see her serving appetizers while being ignored by the guests. …

ABC to Debut 'The Proposal' This June

The Proposal TV series
"Mike" and the 10 women hopint to steal his heart in The Proposal. (ABC)

 TV 

With the great success that ABC has had over the years with its Bachelor franchise, it’s not hard to wonder why the network keeps pumping out more of the same type of game show-ish reality TV series. What is hard to fathom is why we keep tuning in. In this day and age where women are fighting back and exposing the bad behavior from the likes of Harvey Weinstein to Bill Cosby, why are any of these shows still relevant?

In the 1960's - 1970's, shows like The Dating Game were cute. Strangers were set up on a blind date/trip that was chaperoned. Later in the 1980's, shows like Love Connection created a similar dating concept show but without providing chaperons. Today, shows like The Bachelor actually encourage contestants to “get it on” so to speak. Almost all the women who appear on The Bachelor say that they really want to find the love of their life and apparently to them the best way to do that is to compete with dozens of other women wanting the same thing. While we know that some of these women go on the show just to promote themselves, others are genuine in their desires. In reality though, these women are willingly used as pawns to make money for the network. They are often treated bad by the other contestants and humiliated on national television. And still we watch. Why? Is it just harmless fun or have we trivialized the institution of marriage where it no longer means anything?

Next month, ABC unveils The Proposal to the mix. Here, ten women will compete for the “chance to find love” with a mystery man which is set up similar to the Miss America Pageant. In an effort to whittle down the (probably) large number of applicants, these ten women were selected by a “blue-ribbon panel of matchmakers” says ABC in today’s press release. They are competing to win the attention of “Mike,” a police officer from Bakersfield, California who will propose to one of them by the end of the premiere of the show.

According to ABC, each episode will parade “10 eligible dates competing in four pageant-style rounds to win the heart of a mystery man or woman whose identity is concealed from them. The male or female daters will attempt to woo the mystery suitor with their words in a first impressions round; bare their souls in a beachwear round; answer the mystery suitor’s most pressing romantic questions; and strive to receive a seal of approval from the mystery suitor’s most trusted family member in the final round.” The woman won’t know who the man is until she is the sole survivor and receives a “romantic proposal.”

As a surprise to no one, The Proposal is by the creator of The Bachelor franchise (which includes The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise and Bachelor Winter Games) and FOX’s reboot of Love Connection. The new show is hosted by former NFL quarterback Jesse Palmer. As the "bachelor" for Season 5 of the series, he apparently has the skills needed to host the show.

The Proposal debuts on Monday, June 18 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC. Will you watch? Why or why not?

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