Category Archives: Movies

It’s Movie Time

Photo Credit:  Wikimedia Commons

One of my close friends, Pat, is an Oscars fan. As soon as the list of nominees comes out every year, she works hard to make sure she has seen all the nominees (in the best picture category – not every category) before the Oscars.  I’ve been getting updates since the list came out of what she’s seen.  She has a pretty good track record; most years she manages to see them all by the time of the ceremony.

I’m the opposite, since I rarely go to the movies. In fact, this year, I have only seen one nominee – Klaus, an animated Christmas film which I didn’t have to leave the house to see as it was a Netflix release (it was very good).  Reviews are not usually worth my notice; if I want to see something, I see it, not matter what the reviewers say.  I can’t ever recall a time when I left a movie screening saying “gosh, I should have listened to the reviews.”

Every now and then I do look, including the Doctor Doolittle reviews this month.  There is always a certain amount of trepidation on my part when Hollywood decides to tackle a beloved book, especially a beloved children’s book.  I’ve seen the trailers and I know that the movie bears very little resemblance to the book.  While I can’t stomach this in, say, Wrinkle in Time (one of my favorite books of all time), it may not be a deal breaker for Doctor Doolittle or even Little Women.  Both have been made into movies multiples times so I feel like the water is already completely muddied.  The newest Doolittle venture has not gotten great reviews but I don’t think that will stop me.  Dare I admit that Robert Downey Jr. is the main reason I will probably go see this movie this weekend?

Do you have an actor/actress who will entice you to see a film? Or one who will keep you out of the movie theatre?

Among Us?

Fun news this week. Astronaut Helen Sharman, one of the first seven Britons to travel to space, has come out as pro-alien lifeform.

“There are so many billions of stars out there in the universe that there must be all sorts of different forms of life.  Will they be like you and me, made up of carbon and nitrogen? Maybe not.”

Shades of Carl Sagan’s Contact.  And as if that isn’t spectacular enough, she went on to say”

“It’s possible they’re here right now and we simply can’t see them.”

This of course brings to mind the scene from Men in Black in which Will Smith says he was sure his third grade teacher was an alien:

Anybody you are sure is an alien?

Calendar Cuties

I just received the December 5th edition of the Rock County Star Herald, my home town newspaper. I was delighted to read a story about Generations, the local senior citizens center. The center started an ambitious campaign to raise 2 million dollars for a  building for senior activities which will provide meals and social activities for community seniors as well as for residents of all ages in the low income housing tower to which it will be connected.

The newest fund raiser is a calendar featuring,  each month,  a local  senior posed in a scene from an iconic movie. Costumes were borrowed from the local community theatre company, and a local photographer volunteered to take the photos. So, on the front page of the paper, there she was, Neva, the mother of one of my high school classmates, posed like Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music,  clad in that black dress with the white apron, standing in front of a mountain in the middle of the alpine meadow with her arms held out, ready to belt out The Hills are Alive.  George, director of Generations and a retired horticulturalist, posed as Forrest Gump sitting on the bench with a suitcase and a box of chocolates.

They got the idea from the Winona Friendship Center. It seems like they had a great deal of fun doing it. They are making plans for next year’s calendar.

What iconic film scene/character  would you like to pose as for such a calendar?

Read It or See It?

In ye olden days, the LGMS was my radio anchor, beginning at home through my morning drive time. After the show’s demise, I did Trial Balloon at home and in the morning hours of work.  But since then, I haven’t really found a radio show that strikes my fancy and have drifted away from radio to…  I know this will be shocking for some of you… books.  The first hour or so in the morning, I listen to an audiobook and then in the car, books on CDs.  I sometimes run out of books on CDs and so spend some time browsing the audio shelves at the library.  This leads to some interesting results, sometimes fabulous, sometimes not so much.

I’ve admitted here before that I like the Hallmark Mystery Movies, so last week, while browsing, my eye was caught by the first Aurora Teagarden mystery sitting on the audio shelf. I had been a little curious about the books, especially since my favorite character left the series; I was curious if the movies were true to the books.   So I was a little surprised right off the bat that while most of the characters bear the same names, most of them did not bear the description or personalities.  The most disappointing was the main character, Ro.  In the book she doesn’t have any drive to solve the mysteries and in the final chapters is rescued by the men in the story.  This is completely different from the movies, in which Ro is rabid about solving the mystery and it is her ingenuity that not only solves the crimes but saves her life (and often the man’s) in the end.

This made me think about the few instances in which the movie better than the book.  So rare.  Princess Bride, Romancing the Stone, Julie & Julia, Clue, Bladerunner.

There might be more but for my determination not to see movies when I have adored the book. I don’t want Hollywood messing with the pictures in my mind’s eye (Wrinkle in Time, The Martian, Uprooted, ANY of the Louise Penny books).  And, of course, the number of movies much worse than their books is legend.  Including Legend!

When were you last surprised about how a book turned out when adapted to the big screen?

Scary Bears!

Today is the anniversary of the premiere in 1974 of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”,  It was a great plan to premiere it on the day before Halloween.  I have never been a great fan of scary movies, but I remember liking the Alfred Hitchcock show and the Twilight Zone, sometimes. I like scary books better.  The stories don’t have to be so graphic like the scenes in movies. I think that our reading and imagining  brains are better at scaring us than just gore on the screen.

The last best scary book I read was The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It is a vampire book that keeps a constant sense of suspense, but with very understated violence.  It is also a book about books. Dracula, in this one, is a real book lover with a special penchant for librarians and historians. What could be scarier?!

Tell about your favorite scary movie, story, music, or book.

OK!

Today is the anniversary of the shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone,  AZ between the Earp brothers  and the Clanton gang.  None of these were real solid citizens, but this “battle” haunts us to this day with cowboy legend. I loved movie westerns growing up.  Having Native friends has tempered this somewhat.  I was surprised to hear that one of Husband’s Native colleagues likes nothing better than to vegetate and watch westerns while lying in bed.

Virgil Earp was supposedly the real hero in this incident but Wyatt got all the credit about it because he wrote a book about it. This seems unfair to me, but I never had any siblings. I wonder what Virgil thought about it?

What is your favorite western movie or novel?    How are things with you and your siblings?

On Your Toes

Today in 1581, the first ballet was performed in Paris. It had been commissioned by Catherine De Medici  and was called “Ballet Comique de la Reine”.  I love ballet, and so do our children. Both studied dance for many years.

The only ballets that  I have seen in live performance were by the Winnipeg Ballet, which is a very fine company.  We saw them perform Giselle and The Firebird.  We sometimes saw dancers from the company wandering the halls of our psychology department as they went to appointments to manage their eating disorders with one of our professors, an unfortunate side effect for some dancers.

What is your favorite ballet? Tell about your experiences with dance.