Category Archives: Movies

It’s Statuette Time

One of my close friends is a big fan of the Oscars.  I think I’ve mentioned that every year when the list comes out, she makes a copy, checks of which movies she has seen and then spends the next month or so trying to fill in the blanks by watching as many as she can.  I love her dearly but just cannot bring myself to join her in this mania; I’ve thought for years that the film industry is the most insecure industry – the amount of self-adulation in the way of awards that it needs amazes me.

But because she’s a friend, I did click open the announcement today of what films will be up for Oscars this year.  It’s no surprise that I haven’t seen any of them (I quit reading when we got down to costumes) since I haven’t been to a movie theatre since December of 2019.  However it was a surprise that I had only heard of two of them.  I’ve noticed “My Octopus Teacher” on Netflix and I did read a YouTube review of “Mulan” but none of the other movies in any category even rang a small bell.  Normally I’ve heard of a lot of Oscar nominees because I’ve seen the commercials on TV but not this past year.

Did these movies come out in theatres?  If so, who went to see them?  Have they all been out on TV on subscription channels (of which YA and I have only Disney+, because it’s free right now)?  Have other people heard of these films and I’m just more clueless than usual?  Do we even need Oscars this year?

Have you seen any of the nominees for this year?  Will you?  Anything you think the Academy has overlooked?

A Watery Surprise

For many years, I was a Marvel / DC movie fan.  Not a rapid fan, mind you, but enough of a fan to watch the movies.  And not enough of a fan to pay money for those movies…. that’s another story.  The last few years have soured me however.  I never could keep the X-Men timeline straight and the movies became darker and darker.  When I started to see spoilers about who would die in the last big Avenger extravaganza, I decided it was time to take a pass. 

Over the weekend, I was surfing around the on-demand movies and saw the Aquaman had once again jumped to the top of the list.  I turned it on with a little trepidation, telling myself that I could always just turn it off – not like I had and expensive ticket stub in my pocket or a full tub of popcorn on my lap.

It was a classic underdog good guy against bad guys who just seem to be bad because they can. Aquaman’s human name is Arthur, which was a bit endearing, and I managed to suspend all sense of reality.

But the big surprise was the lead female character, Mera.  She was intelligent, strong, driven and a magnificent warrior.  In every fight scene (and there were many) she held her own and in fact, saved Aquaman at one point.  Never did she scream, faint, shrink back behind the hero or need to be rescued by him.  Towards the end of the final battle, she is the one who plants a whopper kiss on him, not the other way around.   The only other female character (Arthur’s mother) was also fabulous – a warrior queen who made the ultimate sacrifice for her family.

It’s too bad that there were only two of these splendid characters.  The rest of the movie was fairly predictable, although it had a few minutes of wry humor here and there.  It was entirely because of the two women that I can say I enjoyed the overall film. 

Tell me about your favorite women movie characters!

Holes

I’m not a critical movie watcher.  You’ll guess this when I tell you that my favorites include How to Steal a Million Dollars, Sneakers, Laura, People Will Talk, Dial M for Murder, Sahara, Hopscotch, Moonstruck….  If you can find any pattern here, let me know.

Last week I came across Ghostbusters (the original) and although I wouldn’t call it a favorite, I like it enough to watch it again.  About 2/3 of the way through the movie, Bill Murray’s character shows up for a date at the apartment of the Sigourney Weaver character.  She has been taken over by an evil spirit and is waiting for the “key master”.  Bill Murray calls his ghostbuster colleague and during the conversation he says “I’ve got her whacked up with 300 cc of Thorazine”.  I’ve heard the line before in previous viewings but never thought much about it.  Now I’m thinking “why does this guy have Thorazine on him to go on a date”?  (And, of course, he’s a psychologist, so where would he even GET Thorazine?)

This made me think about other plot holes that I’ve willfully ignored over the years.  In To Catch a Thief, Cary Grant gets dropped off at the beach club at Cannes in swim trunks.  How does he get home with no clothing, no shoes, no money?

In Sneakers, all the bad guys are hanging out at their fake company in the middle of the night but for some reason the head bad guy isn’t hanging out in his office (which the good guys are breaking into).  Why?

In Sahara, the bad guy is about to blow up his solar energy plant and is escaping in his helicopter.  His henchman is left behind and instead of wondering why his boss has abandoned him and trying to get away from the plant, he’s still trying to throw Matthew McConaughey off the tower. Why?

In Dial M for Murder, Ray Milland says to Swann (the man he wants to murder his wife) that they only attended college together for a year, since Milland started during Swann’s final year.  Then Milland pulls a photo off the wall, saying it’s a reunion photo and it shows Milland and Swann sitting at a table together.  Why would they be at the same reunion if they were not in the same class?

Obviously these plot holes don’t keep me from watching these movies (repeatedly); I guess I get more from the movies than the logic of plot.  But I do wonder how many plot holes I’ve missed over the years.

Do plot holes bother you?  Can you watch something after you caught an error?

Casting Call

Well, we have had non-stop national drama for the past four years,  and I am so looking forward to a respite.  I was imagining the other day what political figures I would cast in plays by Shakespeare, imagining who on the national scene would make a good Lear, Lady Macbeth, or Beatrice. The possibilities are endless and amusing, so go to it, Baboons!

 What roles would you cast current national or international political figures in plays, movies, musicals, or operas? Don’t limit yourself to Shakespeare.  What are your favorite  political dramas or comedies?

It’s a Mystery

You all know that I turn the tv on for background and comfort; I rarely watch anything “new”.  In the last few weeks, I’ve turned even more to my oldies but goodies.  Not sure if it’s the weather or the holidays being over or even 2021 being a buzz-kill for the time being.

So I’ve been happy that a couple of movies that I really like have been available on demand through my cable company.  The World of Henry Orient is one and two old Agatha Christie’s as well: Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun.  Knowing that these won’t be around forever on demand, I’ve been watching them quite a bit, as if I can fill myself up with them before they’re gone.  Yesterday, I not only watched all three of these while I was working in my studio, I followed them up by watching Murder on the Orient Express (the old one), which I actually own.  I love Agatha Christie, although she breaks one of my “rules”; she almost always leaves out one or two necessary clues for the reader to figure out the mystery. 

YA came into my studio while Death on the Nile was playing and she commented that I should know the whole movie by heart by now.  She might be right – I can do most of the dialog right along with the actors.  One of my favorite scenes contains this bit:

  • Hercule Poirot: Do not allow evil into your heart, it will make a home there.
  • Jacqueline de Bellfort:  If love can’t live there, evil will do just as well.

So melodramatic – I love it.  I’ve searched for a couple other Agatha Christie movies with the library – can’t wait for those either. 

Tell me a movie you’ve watched more than once.  Way more than once??

Legal Eagles

I read with relief and joy the Friday decision of the Supreme  Court to dismiss the Texas suit to invalidate Biden’s win.  I know the suit was doomed from its inception,  but a person worries about these things (or at least I do).

I don’t have any lawyers in my immediate family,  although my paternal grandfather had two uncles and a cousin who were lawyers and judges.  I have always enjoyed  court room dramas, and I sometimes enjoy doing expert witness testimony in real life. It is interesting to see the games and maneuvers that occur to settle things.

I suppose that Gregory  Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch is the most wonderful exemplar of a good attorney.  I have fortunately not needed much personal legal help aside from wills and such.

What are your favorite court room dramas?  What are your experiences  in court and with lawyers? 

The Chess Gambit

Several baboons responded on Tuesday to a comment about the 6-part Netflix mini-series called The Queen’s Gambit. It’s based on a book by Walter Tevis (who is also author of three other books which became movies: The Hustler, The Color of Money and The Man Who Fell to Earth).

Apparently chess sets have been flying off the shelves, both in-store and online. I have located our set here, a Christmas gift years ago from son Joel. I’ve never really taken to chess – though Husband has tried to teach me, I never thought I had enough…  desire, mental acuity, or stamina to be a competitive player.

Because of this movie, I’ve become aware that women have been serious chess players for centuries first documented during the Middle Ages – this from Wikipedia:    “Chess games between men and women were a common theme of European art[2][3] and literature in the fourteenth through 18th centuries.” By the 19th Century, the field was dominated by men, and “during the 20th century, female players made significant progress in breaking male dominance on the game.” The first female International Grandmaster was Nona Gaprindashvilli, who received the title in 1978.

Back on the home front:  It wasn’t that I thought women in general wouldn’t be good at chess, just me. I am willing to rethink that and, with a long and at-home winter facing me, I think I just might take another stab at chess. I will, however, need to do a quick room-arrange to accommodate a table where we can leave a chess board up. And wouldn’t it be fun to paint our own chess board right on some old table?   

Here’s a puzzle:  Imagine you’ve decided you need a chess set and there are none to be had in all the land. By what art or craft would you create the board?

What found objects around the house could stand in for the various pieces – pawns, rooks, bishops, knights, king, queen ?

OR:

Because you may be home-bound for several weeks (or months), what other sort of learning might you tackle, that you would otherwise not have attempted?

Holding The Line

In my world/head, I don’t play holiday music or turn on holiday movies until the day after Thanksgiving, although every few years I might listen to holiday music in the car on the way home from Thanksgiving dinner.  This rule is mostly just to keep the Christmas/Solstice season within some kind of boundaries.  I think 5-6 weeks is plenty of celebration – no need for it to spill out into October and early November. 

So I was surprised to come home from picking up pizza yesterday to hear holiday music playing.  Loudly.  As we sat down to our pizza, I gave YA grief about playing Christmas songs.  Without missing a beat, she said “oh please – you’ve been doing holiday stuff since March”.   I have to admit that she is correct.  In the spring, when we all thought covid would be history by this time, I was expecting to be extremely busy at work, with all my spring programs bumping into the fall.  Since this was my mindset, I figured I should get all my Solstice stuff done early, so I wouldn’t be stressing out about it in October and November.  I did all my cards, my egg ornaments and my calendars in the spring.  I also worked on the family gift throughout the summer.  The last week I’ve done what I consider my “last-minute” stuff: the newsletter, wrapping, labels, cookie selection, etc. 

I consider all this holiday prep, but not holiday celebration.  No music or movies for me yet.  But I’m all ready for next Friday…. all my holidays movies are in a separate bin so I can get to them fast and YA’s “Alexa” will be on call every day (and I’ve finally figured out how to get her to play Radio Heartland). 

Will you be celebrating this year?  When will you start?

Mrs Pollifax: Spy

I just saw a headline (yes, big enough to warrant a headline) that the tv series Friends is doing a reunion show in the spring.  I never saw an entire episode of Friends when it was originally airing – the bits I did see didn’t make me want to tune in.  But between what other people talk about and all the various commercials, I know enough that I’m thinking an enjoyable reunion show almost 20 years after the fact will be hard to pull off.  I’m sure I’ll be passing.

But there are a few bits of entertainment that I would like to have seen more of —  Mrs. Polifax, Spy for one.  There are boatloads of Mrs Pollifax books by Dorothy Gilman but just two movies.  The first one came out in 1971 with Rosalind Russell and Darren McGavin.  It’s clever and a bit silly, but just what I need every now and then.  Rosalind Russell was perfect but a follow-up was never made.  Then in 1999 Angela Lansbury starred in The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax.  Good enough to waste a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon but that was about it; she was too old for the part and the movie took itself much too seriously.  It really just felt like an episode of Murder She Wrote

The 1971 version is currently available on Amazon Prime and I will admit that I’ve watched it several times since March.  I wish that Rosalind Russell had made a few more of them!

Anything that you would have like to see more of (or read more of)?

RIP Sir Sean

I knew it was coming but seeing the headline that Sean Connery had passed away still hit me hard.  I was only three when he played his first leading movie role in Darby O’Gill and the Little People but I remember seeing it in theatres when I was about eight and I was stricken.  I’m pretty sure I’ve seen everything he has starred in, good and bad.  I even watched Zardoz on purpose because he starred in it. 

As you can imagine, he was THE James Bond as far as I’m concerned.  I do like most of the others but Sean will always embody Bond for me.  I know the movies are seriously outdated at this point (well, what isn’t these days?) but I will still watch one if I come across it while channel surfing.

In fact, I’ve just gotten a notification that Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure in DVD has arrived for me at my library.  I’m not sure if I’ve seen it before, but I’ll be especially watching for Sean Connery playing one of the bad guys.  Then hopefully I can find a few more of his supportive roles in the next few weeks.

Any Sean Connery movies you’ve seen?  Anybody else who you’ve seen (or read) all their work?