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Posts Tagged ‘movies’

The first time I watched The Wizard of Oz in color I was angry and amazed at the same time.  I was around ten years old.  We didn’t have color television till I hit double-digits.  I was angry because I knew that movie as black and white.  I didn’t know anything about sepia or technicolor.  So it altered my whole schema.

I was amazed because it changed my perception of the world.  I didn’t always distinguish between reality and fantasy very well and so this color shift was just amazing for my mind.  Not that my world was in sepia tone, but yes, I think we tend to color our memories so the movie made perfect sense to me.

We watched The Wizard of Oz on the big screen last year and I cried like I do watching it on the television.  I didn’t care that there were people who could see me crying. 

I am thankful for The Wizard of Oz.  It opened my world to fantasies and the world of possibilities and it has done the same for my sons.

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I caught the last hour or so of Kramer vs Kramer tonight.  Good Lord.  The movie came out in 1979 and I’ve watched it I don’t know how many times yet still it makes me CRY LIKE A BABY!

Dustin Hoffman is so amazing in this movie.  The scene in the park when he tells Billy that he’s so lucky because he gets to go live with Mommy breaks my heart.  When Billy asks if he’ll still kiss him goodnight and he says he won’t be able to do that anymore.  Tears, down the side of my face.  Then the scene when they make breakfast and they show how they got a routine with the french toast…sob fest.

Joanna as she comes to pick Billy up and she says how she should have painted clouds in Billy’s room so he would feel like he was home…”I realized he already is home”.  The smile on Ted’s face that peaks through Joanna’s hair as she says she’s not going to take him is awesome.

This movie struck such a chord in the country at the time and it stuck with me for decades.  Divorce was becoming common at the time but to have the child be with the father was groundbreaking.  The court testimony was so riveting, still is.  When Ted wonders why mothers are naturally better…why can’t a father do all of that.  Anyway, he says it better.  He had a script.  Both performances, and Billy’s performance, were wonderfully nuanced.  It is one of my favorite movies, but I do tend to only watch it when I need a good cry.

I love that oxymoron.  There is such truth in it.  Sometimes you just really need to cry.  I could use a good cry tonight, but I came into the movie so late I only wept a little.  I could throw in another tearjerker (Terms of Endearment anyone?) and bawl my eyes out.  Or I could fold laundry.  That could make me cry too!

I realized watching Kramer vs Kramer tonight that this may be where I developed the habit of painting murals on bedroom walls.  Why not use the walls in your house as space for art?  Might as well enjoy the space you are living in each day.  And like Ted and Billy, I love french toast for breakfast.

Might go look for another movie.  A tearjerker.  Have myself a good cry.

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Our lunch would be cooked by Chris and probably involve spaghetti.  I watched The Best of Christopher Walken on Saturday Night Live tonight and the man is simply hysterical.  Even with a crap sketch, Walken gives a classic performance.  My favorite skit on SNL with him is one called “The Continental”.   “It’s time to meet The Continental!”  I know he played the character more than once and if memory serves, in one of the skits, I think he loses it a wee bit.

Someone on youtube has cut together ten minutes of Christopher saying “is more cowbell”.  We are quite fascinated by this man.  I loved him in The Dead Zone.  Obviously his classic scene in Pulp FictionSleepy Hollow.  Love all of his work. As the dad in Blast from the Past-he just makes sense in that role.  I would love to see him on stage.  And I love when he dances.

Some quotes attributed to him from IMDb that are interesting…

“I never was a big fan of school, to tell you the truth. I never had kids, but I suspect if I did, I wouldn’t encourage them to go to school. I never liked it myself. I was always grateful for being taught to read. I figured that once that had been done for me, that’s the big thing. A little bit of adding, subtracting, multiplying, that sort of thing. And you have to learn to write, at least a letter. But beyond that, I think people are over-educated. I think education will come if you want it. I read what I want to read, so that’s what I know about. You can’t know everything, so you should concentrate on what you’re interested in. The whole concept of general education-I think it makes for vague minds.”

“I use punctuation, but I finish the sentence and put [in] a period but it’s not necessarily where somebody else would. I think everybody should talk the way they want. You go to school and you all sit there and all learn to do the same thing. I guess it’s necessary but it’s too bad also, in a way. Kids, you know, get kind of restrained in a lot of ways. I probably wouldn’t get a job as an English teacher.”

I would LOVE him as an English teacher.  Could you imagine how entertaining The Turn of the Screw could be if taught to you by Chris?  I might finally like that book!  I don’t know that people are over-educated, I think we may put too much emphasis on the need for degrees.  I like the idea of learning about what you are interested in and pursuing that for the fun of it.  I believe in that idea.  I love learning about different stuff.  I plan on learning the rest of my life and I do try to instill this love of learning in my sons.  They do feel restrained in school which is why hubby and I take them on grand adventures.

It would be fun to learn with Chris about any topic.  Referring back to his quote, and not having kids, I think he would have been an extremely interesting parent.  Imagine himwith his own kid…”So he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide something. His ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable hunk of metal up my ass two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.” (Pulp Fiction)

If the quotes on IMDb are accurate, he has a down-to-earth way of living life and I would enjoy that same lifestyle if I could.  Except with my family.  I’m more interested in people than he is.  He probably wouldn’t talk much during the lunch.  But supposedly he’s a good cook so at least the eats would be good.

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Fine.  We may have come late to the party, but Marvel’s The Avengers was awesome.

Chris Hemsworth is simply beautiful and I love Thor.

The man knows how work a cape.  I have not been keeping up to date on my Marvel movies (still have yet to see either Iron Man or Captain America), but The Avengers was scripted so that it didn’t matter that I tend to be more of a DC gal.

There is nothing I could write about the movie that has not probably already been written.  Samuel L. Jackson-fabulous.  Robert Downey, Jr.-been a fan since 1985.  All of the heroes were phenomenal as they should be.  That was expected.  My favorite part was watching my sons.

Younger son was fighting sleep the whole time but never lost the look of awe that was on his face.  It was an experience of the magic of movies.  I watched as his eyes widened and he reacted with pure joy at so many moments.  He laughed, giggled, and said whoa almost as frequently as Joey Lawrence.

Older son was showing off how much he was in the know.  One of the heroes would do some amazing feat and he would quietly say “classic Hulk” or “classic Iron Man”.  His confidence in being familiar with these characters showed how much he has grown from the days of Nick Jr.

My sons have joined the ranks of millions who turn to these superheroes for continuity and symbolism in their lives.  Very patriotic as well, and not just Captain America.  All of the superheroes always bring out the feeling of Americana in me.  Stan Lee made his cameo, funny one-liners abounded, and all was right in the world.

While vengeance is a tricky line to walk in real life, in the movies, it’s simple.  You avenge a wrongdoing.  The Avengers sparked the imaginations of my sons.  Just as Superman did back in 1978 for me.

 

Hulk, smash.

 

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I’ve begun a work cycle that involves working 9am-9pm four days a week so I haven’t spent a ton of time with my sons this week.  It only lasts for five weeks and it happens maybe once a year so you do what you have to do.  They are with Daddy or someone who adores them so I don’t feel badly about that, but today was the first half-day Friday of the season and I wanted some cuddle time.  I reminded the boys that I don’t like being away from them and that I miss them.  I told them I do give them a kiss once I get home.  Older son started crying and I asked what was wrong.  He said it wasn’t because of me working (nice blow to the mommy ego…) but because he watched Charlotte’s Web today at school.

He was proud of himself because he kept it in at school.  He said he didn’t want to be embarrassed so he had held it in till he got home and just needed to let it out now.  I told him I was proud of him for two reasons.  First, he analyzed the situation, determined what outcome he wanted to achieve, and applied the behavior he needed to in order to achieve it.  Second, I was proud of him that he cried about Charlotte’s Web

I hope my sons never lose the ability to express and show their emotions, whether it be over a movie, song, book, or life event.  It’s not healthy to not cry when you feel the need to do it,  Some days I intentionally watch a cry-fest movie so I can have a good cry.  You know all the classics that work.  Toy Story 3 is the most recent addition for an immediate cry.  Actually, any Pixar movie gets me to cry. 

Here’s to crying over Charlotte’s Web.

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I’ve had two discussions this week about plots, or more specifically remakes that use the same exact plot and why do we need them in the world?  It’s a fun topic and in the end, every show has been a rerun since the theater of the ancient Greeks.  The roots of every story, play, movie, or television show can be found in Greek theater.

But I still love a good debate so…

For me, plays are meant to be a unique event each time because they are performed live and each performance will have slight variations due to a different audience and another day of life experience for the actors adding new dimensions to the performance, subtle though they may be.  I look at film versions of plays in a similar manner.  Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet is unique from Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet and from Ethan Hawke’s Hamlet.  (I don’t even consider Mel Gibson’s in the conversation as I did not care for it at all).  Each is approached from the roots of theater yet captured on film.  Each film includes distinct performances by the actors and a distinct interpretation by the director, as well as very intentional scenic and musical choices.  I glean something different from each one.

I think that You’ve Got Mail is a unique film from The Shop Around the Corner, the film that inspired the adaptation.  It also acknowledges the original, gives a tip of the hat if you will, within the film.  The sign on the Fox Bookstore building says “just around the corner” and they make references to mail…letters.  If you know the film The Shop Around the Corner, you’ll pick up on these wink wink, nudge nudge references.  If you don’t, they don’t stick out as out of place.

I don’t understand the need for remakes (I don’t care what you call them) if they only are a remaking of an original film without bringing anything new to the table.  The shot by shot remake of Psycho…why did we need that?  Hitchcock’s is perfect, no need to redo it.  I remembered how perfect on Mother’s Day when Encore Suspense treated us to a 24 hour marathon of it.

Arthur, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, why do we need to remake them when the originals were fabulous?  Give me a new twist at least.  And changing the gender of a character doesn’t count…just changes pronouns.  Scream could have been just another slasher flick in the tradition of the classics that changed the genre in the late 70s and early 80s, but it did something new in acknowledging the pedigree that bore it.  That made it original.

Another recent revamp was made by two of my favorites, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp.  But Willy Wonka will always be visualized in my mind as Gene Wilder in a fabulous purple velvet coat.  I have a brown velvet coat that I call my Willy Wonka coat.  🙂  I will watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and embrace it as an individual movie because of my love of Tim and Johnny, but Gene Wilder will always be  Willy Wonka.  Their latest, Dark Shadows, has yet to be seen, so I cannot comment yet.

Are these amazingly fine lines to be drawing in the sand?  Yep.  I wonder though as I reflect if I haven’t noticed a wee bit of a trend.  When a film is adapted from a book or play, I’m far more open to seeing a new version of it.  Perhaps because for me I always approach a film version of a book or play with some skepticism since I’ve already got my own version of it in my mind’s eye.  It don’t expect it to live up to my expectations and so I am sometimes pleasantly surprised.  A remake of a story that was originally intended for film I am less flexible about because if it was written for film, it was intended to be a finite and finished product.  A play is meant to be produced over and over just as a book can be read over and over.

Now some might ask me what I think about The Three Stooges movie.  I’m fine with it-I haven’t seen it yet but my hubby and sons did and they gave it their own Three Stooges approval.  First, it incorporated the concept of short films, another wink wink, nudge nudge example.  Second, even with the original Three Stooges, there were four different groupings of them (Moe and Larry with Curly, Shemp, Joe, or Curly Joe and the original trio was Larry, Moe and Shemp to begin with but without the name Three Stooges).  They were always the same characters but in different short films, a different situation.

In the end, we keep repeating and remaking these stories on stage or screen because we will never finish exploring the human condition and the human existence.  We are egotistical by nature.  We also are a social creature and we feel better after sitting in a dark room together with a bunch of strangers watching ourselves and examining how we handle this thing called life, reruns and all.

 

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I want to have lunch with the younger generation.  I want them to turn off their cell phones and not text while we’re having this lunch.  That will be the biggest challenge-to convince them that they don’t have to be connected for the hour we would spend eating together.  I worry about them.  What do they talk about?  What do they text?

The classic films are lost…the movies today are okay, don’t get me wrong.  Still, do they know that the movies of today wouldn’t be possible without the classics that came before them?  The filming of yesteryear set the tone for so many of the accomplishments made in film-making today.  I think back to Song of the South and Mary Poppins…putting people into animation.  This made Who Framed Roger Rabbit possible-putting animation into live-action.  The classic musicals created so many cultural moments.  Singin’ in the Rain, Hello Dolly, Brigadoon, On the Town.

Even classic children’s literature is falling to the wayside.  My sons have read only one American Tall Tale in school.  I make sure at home that they read a variety of Tall Tales.  We also read Aesop’s Fables, Hans Christian Andersen.  Of course, we’re still in our Grimm phase.  We read “Little Snow White” last night.  The text is full of such rich words and vibrant images.  These pieces of literature help children develop their imaginations and learn about the basics of crafting a story.

Music is different too.  I know, I know, I sound like that stereotypical old person (no, I’m not old…) “back in my day” but I’m serious.  Someone said to me recently that in a class about the history of rock he had just learned about a band called The Queen or something like that.  I said do you mean Queen?  He said, yeah, yeah, that’s the name.  Now obviously I’m biased about that particular band, but how does one get to their 20s and not know Queen?  Or the major shifts in music and how each change brought about new genres.  Why do youngins need to take a class to learn this stuff?  I suppose the radio is no longer in existence in their worlds…did “Radio Gaga” and “Video Killed the Radio Star” really come to pass?

I know there are cycles to culture.  I know the pendulum will swing back again.  I know it’s ironic that I’m posting this on the internet, one of the causes in this shift.  Why and how do they feel the need to be connected all the time?  I have survived for so long without being connected 24/7.  Yet so often I sit with people of the younger generation who cannot turn off their phone or tablet or the soon-to-be archaic laptop.  Radios don’t matter, they have 8,000 songs programmed on the teeny-tiny player.

If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend of someone younger than 25, take them somewhere and make them disconnect.  Help them experience life with a person and not an electronic device.  I’m battling right now with my sons.  They are obsessed with the telly and on-demand.  They can’t get enough of the computer and online video games (based on the shows from the telly).  It’s ridiculous.  They get so angry when I say no.  So I say no more frequently.  When they don’t get angry anymore, I won’t have to say no as much.

Tomorrow night is the Earth Hour at 8:30pm.  Turn off your lights, phones, tablets, computers, any and all electronic devices and devices charged by electricity.  Talk to each other.  Laugh with each other.  Tell ghost stories.  Inspire each other.  Sing “Hello Dolly” or “Dream On” or “Radio Gaga”.  Go ahead, sing it with the clapping.  Or go for “We Will Rock You” with the clap/clap/stomp.  Go for it.  Turn off everything and be connected the old-fashioned way.

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