Category Archives: Movies

Another World

[Begun Friday past: ]

I am not turning on the TV till this evening.  I spent most of the past two days allowing myself to surf the tube: the limited stations we get with our basic cable, which you have to have to get any reception here in Winona, because of the bluffs. I am down – nay, flattened – with a virus, onset early Wed. morning. This hardly ever happens to me, and I’m a little out of my element. Of course I have several books/magazines I could be reading, but nnnooooh, my brain would rather veg out. So I started flipping channels.

If you’ve been “grounded” for any reason, you probably know about this:  daytime television is one of the strangest places on the planet. You have your soap operas, your game shows, your talk shows, your day-court shows, and your Dr. shows (Oz, Phil). And now thanks to Decades, we are treated once again to such gems as Donna Reed and Petticoat Junction. MeTV gives us Saved by the Bell, and Mama’s Family, which I didn’t watch, and Matlock and Diagnosis Murder, which I did. There are two or three channels full of all manner of Westerns (who knew there that many of them?). I saw a Gunsmoke and a Wild Wild West. Can’t recall where I ran into Real Stories of the Highway Patrol, but I’d much rather watch Broderick Crawford (Highway Patrol, late 50s)!

It’s probably just as well we don’t get any of the Movie channels.

There are a few bright spots – I can always watch an episode of I Love Lucy or M*A*S*H, and Laugh-in is still a hoot, but one a day is plenty. And for some reason I can still watch Dick Cavett… he was one classy interviewer. PBS has some episodes of Home Fires, one of my favorites, Last of the Summer Wine (for Clyde), plus cooking shows, some Rick Steves travel, some crafts like origami, and Paint This with Gary Yarnell, that I would watch any old time.

What do you do with your down time if you’re laid up for a while?

 

 

My Favorite Maverick

, I don’t usually watch the Oscars, but decided to tune in Sunday night about 8:00. It’s fun to see all the gorgeous gowns (or non-gowns) and the antics of the host, et al. – like Jodie Foster blaming her crutches on Meryl Streep (they were reportedly due to a skiing accident). And this year I was curious to see what would transpire as a result of the “Time’s Up” movement.

But for me Frances McDormand, who won Best Actor for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, stole the show. She played the glamour game to a point, wearing a long dress and little if any make-up or jewelry. And Sunday night she was all business: “So I’m hyperventilating a little bit. So if I fall over, pick me up ‘cause I’ve got some things to say…”

After setting down Oscar on the floor beside her, she continued:  “And now I want to get some perspective. If I may be so honored, to have all the female nominees nominated in every category stand with me in this room tonight. Meryl, if you do, everyone else will… Ok, look around… ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell, and projects we need financed. Don’t talk to us about it tonight. Invite us into your office in a couple days or you can come to ours, whichever suits you best, and we’ll tell you all about them.”

From Variety.com: “She finished her speech by calling for contractually mandated inclusion across films: ‘I have two words to leave with you tonight: inclusion rider.’ Specifically, an inclusion rider is a clause in the contract of the top line talent on a film that requires a diverse crew to be hired around them.”  The article  continues with McDormand’s comments about how “trending” differs from what is really happening in Hollywood.

Frances McDormand has become my role model, and I plan to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, plus any of her other films I haven’t yet seen. She is my new favorite maverick. (Try and forget the Sarah Palin image that just entered your mind. I was going to call F.M. my favorite “renegade”, till I checked my definitions.)

Who is your favorite maverick, renegade, or iconoclast? 

Red Carpet Time

I’m not much of a movie-goer – too cheap and too fussy. I prefer to wait until movies come around on the small screen; if it’s dreadful I can turn it off and not feel badly about wasting time and money.  It it’s good, I can watch it again!

That’s just one of the reasons that I don’t pay too much attention to the Oscars. Most years I haven’t seen any of the nominees.  In addition, I’m still not over the 1977 Oscars in which not only did Network win for Best Picture over All The President’s Men but Faye Dunaway won Best Actress beating out Liv Ullmann in Face to Face. Faye Dunaway.  I’ll pause for dramatic effect.

So I doubt I’ll be watching the festivities this weekend. I’ve actually seen one of the movies this year as YA chose it for our Christmas morning movie; The Shape of Water isn’t something that I would nominate but since I haven’t seen any of the other movies this year, I guess I shouldn’t judge.

Do you have a favorite movie? Oscar winner or not.

Decades

One of the worst things about being sick is the lack of energy.  For me, this translates into watching more tv than usual, which is difficult for me because at any given minute, I can’t find anything worth my time.  I detest reality tv – all of it.  I also don’t like shows in which competitors are thrown off (which is all the dancing shows, lots of the cooking shows and the grand-daddy of them all: Survivor.  I don’t like most cop shows – too dark and intense.  Ixnay on most situation comedies and sports doesn’t do it for me either.

If you tally this up, about the only tv left is nostalgia tv… those couple of stations that are re-running shows from “the good ole days”.   Perry Mason, Barney Miller, Andy Griffth, even MacGyver – I’ll watch these any time instead of American Ninja Warrior or Judge Judy.

In addition to the couple of already existing channels, there’s another one that has shown up the last couple of months. They caught my eye last week with the made-for-tv Perry Mason movies and a lot of old Dick Cavett shows from the 80s.  I ended up watching Perry Mason ALL weekend.  They also run Laugh-in, Wonder Woman, Gunsmoke and even Kung Fu, which I haven’t seen for decades.

So why am I willing to watch all these old shows again? Do I yearn for my youth? Am I too old-fashioned for today’s tv trends?

Book or Movie?

When I work on the eggs, I need my background noise to be something that doesn’t distract me. I choose TV or movies that I know well, so that I can listen to them but not be tempted to look up too often.  This past weekend that meant binge-watching the made-for-TV Perry Mason movies that were showing on the Decades channel.

I love Raymond Burr and the Perry Mason character so it was pleasant to see many of the movies again. As I watched them back to back, I began to think about the films versus the books by Earle Stanley Gardner.  The original Perry Mason series in the 50s and 60s were based on the books, but the made-for-TV movies were pure fiction.

If a movie is made of a book, I usually try to read the book first – I like to know what the author wrote (vs. what a director wants me to see) and have my own pictures in my head before I end up at the cinema. Every now and then this strategy goes awry. When The Martian was coming out on the big screen, I knew that Matt Damon was the star so when I read the book, I did have him in my mind’s eye.  However, the book is SO good that I have no intention of ever seeing the movie; I don’t want my inner vision spoiled. I wish I had done this a few other times (Shining Through by Susan Isaacs – do yourself a favor and skip the movie). I never went to see The Desolation of Smaug and I probably won’t be going to see A Wrinkle in Time.

What’s your favorite book to movie?

Alas, Poor Yorick

Went to Hamlet tonight at the Park Square Theatre. It wasn’t very full so the theatre manager invited everyone to “upgrade” their seat for free – we ended up sitting center stage, fourth row.  It was a very good performance with intriguing casting (Horatio and Polonius were female) and a fascinating set.  It was set in more modern times and although the final scene was done with the traditional rapiers, when Hamlet kills Polonius in Act 3, he uses a gun. The only disconcerting part of the evening was that the director re-arranged a few scenes (and cut Rosencrantz and Guildenstern).  Not a big issue but for someone who knows the play well, moving some of the speeches around is noticeable to say the least.  Anyway, I would highly recommend it.

What was the last thing you saw in a theatre (play, movie, musical, sing-a-long)?