Category Archives: Movies

Camp Baskerville

As many of you know, I am fond of Sherlock Holmes stories. Not the first fictional detective, he is the most popular and has the honor (sometimes dubious) of having been written as a character more times by authors NOT his original author than any other character.  Sherlock also holds the Guinness World Record as the “most portrayed movie character” – more than 70 actors in more than 200 films!

 

So I was intrigued when I learned that Park Square Theatre was doing The Hound of the Baskervilles this summer.  From looking at the website I could see that Holmes and Watson would be played by women and it didn’t look like it was being billed as a serious production.  A woman playing Sherlock didn’t bother me; if Ghostbusters and Dr. Who can be women, why not the most famous fictional detective.

Park Square is known for occasionally messing with your expectations but I was really unprepared for the audacity of the production, the sheer silliness. There were just five actors; if you’ve ever read or seen Baskerville, you know there are many more characters than that.  Normally this bugs me a little when actors play multiple roles, but I quickly got over it and in fact, they used it for comic fodder.  At one point towards the end, the actor playing Lestrade and Henry Baskerville did a “half and half”, turning from one side to the other – hysterical.

There was a lot of laughter; a few times so much so that I needed to wipe my eyes. Of all the different ways that I have seen or read Holmes, I have never experienced him as “camp” and I loved it.

If you have the chance, the production is playing for another week or so and I highly recommend it.. ESPECIALLY if you’re a Holmes fan.

When have you ever laughed until you’ve cried?

 

Wasp Woman

There are lots of retro tv stations these days and they do seem to occasionally be scraping the bottom of the barrel to fill their programming slots.  Yesterday afternoon I found an old movie that I had never heard of – The Wasp Woman.  And now I know why.  It was truly dreadful – a poor premise, scenes that didn’t connect to each other, sad special effects and outrageously bad acting.  It was one of those movies that is so bad that you can’t look away.

The head of a cosmetics company finds a bizarre scientist who is using wasp royal jelly to create a fountain of youth.  After testing it for just a few days on one cat, they start testing it on the company head. She also secretly injects herself with more serum late at night.  Of course, the cat turns into a wasp and then the woman intermittently turns into a waspish creature, but only at night.  She doesn’t remember these episodes (although you’d think she’s be tipped off by the blood that ought to be all over her clothing) and is eventually killed by being shoved off the balcony of the tall cosmetics company building.

I’m still not sure why I kept watching, perhaps a fascination with the reality that something so terrible actually made its way onto film.

If you turned into an animal/human hybrid at night, what animal would you be?  Or what is the worst movie you’ve ever seen?

Loincloths `R Us

After a really busy week, I spent half of Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday binge-watching Tarzan. So here’s my question.  If Tarzan was raised by apes, who do not wear clothing, why does he wear a loin cloth?  When he was a child, who sewed that loin cloth?  When he returns to Africa after his stint in England, what tailor does he go to, to get his loin cloth?  OK, I guess that’s three questions.

What’s your favorite piece of comfort clothing?

 

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.