Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood’

I am loving the replies and responses I’m getting from a couple of faithful followers!  This is such a good brain game – although I believe Smith Magazine does not consider this project a game!  Their (Smith Magazine) website is an encyclopedia of Six Word Memoirs.  They have categories, contests, archives and more.  After I publish our reader’s memoirs, I thought I would post a few from their Best Six Word Memoirs of the Week.

Falling Leaves

1. Falling leaves make for slippery roads – Susan

2. Ghost!? Kidding!….Ummm What was thaaat? – Laura

3.  Guests brought pot, hostess couldn’t stir – Me

4. Enough with the campaign adverts already! – Susan

5. I am addicted to my I-Pad – Lynne

6. Trying to empty freezer for cookies – Susan

7. Beginning to look lots like Halloween – Susan

8.  High last night, hung over today – Me


And so from the experts (their contributors) at Smith Magazine, here are some of the memoirs deemed best of the week:

1. Let toddler take you for a walk

2. Give all grudges a proper burial

3. Seeing familiar milestones in changing landscapes

4. Inhaling this moment : My favorite drug!

5. Practice being bored, it builds character

Aren’t those great?  I strongly suggest visiting the web site, people from all over the world sign in and send in Memoirs!  

Our challenge for next week is HALLOWEN HORROR STORIES IN SIX WORDS!  But of course if you’d rather send in a random thought or act or anything else, you know it’s fine with me and will be published the following week!

Oh Horrors!

Oh Horrors!

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English: Studio publicity portrait of the Amer...

English: Studio publicity portrait of the American actress Elizabeth Taylor. Français : Portrait publicitaire pris en studio de l’actrice américaine Elizabeth Taylor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As always I have an opinion I’m more than happy to share with you all about movies, the good ones and the bad ones.  I agree with the comments my nephew, Justin, left for me on Facebook. He was upset about the obvious politics that must go into the choices for Best Picture!  So here are 10 more what I call questionable Best Picture Award winning films.

  1. 1966 – A Man For All Seasons  – This was a very good choice and Hollywood loves a good period piece, BUT complex emotional roller coaster of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?and the commanding and outstanding performances of both Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton should not have been overlooked!
  2. 1960 – The Apartment – I love this movie and who doesn’t love Shirley MacLain and Jack Lemon?  I’ve watched it many times which attests to its ability to transcend decades…but once again a powerful drama enriched with the likes of Burt Lancaster portraying the lead character, Elmer Gantry* should have propelled this movie to the head of the class!
  3. 1956 – Around the World In 80 Days – This is a repeat from yesterday because shame on me, I forgot to mention Giant,* one of the very few movies, the amazing James Dean starred in and he alone, not to mention Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson should have brought this picture to win the BP award.
  4. 1951 – American in Paris  Oh yes Gene Kelly is fabulous in this movie but when Hollywood makes a movie around the star’s talent which is other than acting as it was in this particular film, the movie becomes a vehicle for the dancing. So while others were watching the animation dancing with Gene and believe me I truly admire his choreography and performance, I was watching A Streetcar Named Desire*  with Marlon Brando and Vivian Leigh give the world a stellar performances in a movie that over the years continues to rank among the Top Ten Best Movies ever.
  5. 1961 – West Side Story – A charming, lively, fast-paced adaptation of a very successful Broadway show.  The music lives on and although it dealt with race issues early on, it was no Judgement at Nuremberg!*
  6. 1958 – Gigi – Not my favorite movie just my favorite word as many of my regular readers know this is what my adorable grandchildren call me.  How could Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman and Burl Ives NOT have taken Cat On A Hot Tin Roof* to the winner’s circle?
  7. 1997 – Titanic – Don’t even go there…really?? L.A. Confidential* was a great story with several surprise twists and turns with excellent actors.
  8. 1964 – My Fair Lady – Again a wonderful movie with fine acting and singing yet again an adaptation of a Broadway play and it beat Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb* – Peter Sellers and George C. Scott hit a home run with this iconic film.
  9. 1980 – Ordinary People – This was a very good movie and deeply moving as it explored the dysfunction brought on in a family torn apart by the death of a child.  However, the plot is not original and it forced the likes of Raging Bull *and The Elephant Man *into the loser’s corner. What a shame!
  10. 1994 – Forrest Gump –  Entertaining to some degree, too long and I swear if Tom Hanks had not starred in it, it would never have gotten this far.  Pulp Fiction* was the stroke of genius by Quentin Tarantino with John Travolta and Uma Thurman.

Well that’s it folks, my 10 more worst Best Picture picks.  What do you think? Please do leave us your picks!  Oooh that reminds me I promised one of my readers to include his erudite comment and observation:  ” …1981, where Chariots of Fire beat out Reds, On Golden Pond, Atlantic City and Raiders of the Lost Ark, possibly belongs in that category as well.”

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Once again I find myself in the odd position of NOT loving a movie that has many admirers.  Two nights ago we saw The Sessions featuring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy and cameo appearance by Rhea Perlman.  It is the poignant story (true) of a young man afflicted with polio since childhood.  He spends most of his life in an iron lung with respites of a few hours on a gurney  with a portable respirator.  He can only move his head although he is not totally paralyzed, he cannot move any other part of his body because polio affects all his muscles. Although his life is limited, his mind is not.  Mark (John Hawkes) is a college graduate, a devout Catholic and a virgin.  He knows the odds of his life span and has decided he should experience sex before he dies.  Oddly enough he chooses the parish priest (William H. Macy) as his confidante and looks to him for guidance.  If that in itself isn’t a bit of a stretch (hey I’m Catholic, I know!), even with long wavy (à la California) hair and suntan, not for a minute did Macy appear to be a priest to me.  Sorry 😦

John Hawkes and Helen Hunt give outstanding performances; Hopefully, the movie isn’t too small to eliminate Hawkes from an Oscar nomination.  He can only use facial expressions and his voice to convey every emotion and yet he is as compelling in this role as he was in Martha Marcy May Marlene , as the sinister cult leader and the sensitive, complex merchant in Deadwood.  My friend, Nancy, summed up the excellence of Hunt’s performance by noting just how amazingly comfortable and at ease Helen is with her own body.  She was nakedly natural and naturally naked, skillfully playing the complex role of sex surrogate, wife, therapist and mother.

English: John Hawkes in 2009.

English: John Hawkes in 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) 

The screenplay is based on the autobiographical writings of Mark O’Brian. And this is where and why I think the movie didn’t  ring entirely  true for me. I believe the story was probably significantly enhanced by Hollywood, or it wouldn’t have gotten made. I suspect most of the facts are accurate however  it is through the performances of highly-skilled, beautiful actors and deliberate casting that the facts have been interpreted.  I know I sound like a pessimist but quite frankly, I seriously doubt that Mark’s life was populated with aides and therapists the likes of Helen Hunt, Moon BloodGood and Annika Marks.  Additionally I feel that the odds are not likely to be in his favor that all three beautiful women fell in love with him.  If in fact, the real Mark O’Brian was that compelling then unfortunately the script did not allow us to glimpse that magnetic personality.  

Mark was a poet, an artist in his mind, trapped in a body that allowed him to express himself only through his words.  He suffered from grandiose romantic misapprehensions, reflected in his inappropriate  but possibly also naive behavior.  First he proposes marriage to his home health aide – what was he thinking??  Later on predictably he falls for his sex therapist. 

Fortunately the story has a happy but ultimately sad ending.  I may be a spoiler but I’m stopping here.

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Cary Grant

Cary Grant (Photo credit: twm1340)

I just walked into my apartment after having dinner with  a dear friend who told me all about her wonderfully romantic vacation.  My husband had left the TV on in the den and of course it was tuned to  ONE OF THE ONLY TWO stations he watches – TCM (Turner Classic Movies).  

And what did I see? OMG I had the good fortune to walk in on the last scene of An Affair to Remember!!!! OMG (again) that scene just rips your heart out and then puts it back in its appropriate place…

Cary Grant was beyond gorgeous in this movie.  Perfectly groomed, hair with a part as straight as I-95, impeccably dressed in his own clothes always sporting French cuffs and there he is pacing nervously around Deborah Kerr‘s living room.  She is posed and poised on the couch dressed in red (after all it is Christmas) and a red coverlet covers her lower body.  Well I’m crying as soon as he starts carrying on about how he never went to the Empire State Building  and she plays it so cool yet conveying through some facial expressions the tumult of emotions at play in her mind and heart.

Tears are dropping down my cheeks and I know that the crescendo of this emotional scene has yet to unfold but it definitely on its way.  The shawl, the confession of waiting and waiting, the deep looks exchanged between the two former lovers….He moves to the door and in true Hollywood pull-at-your-heartstrings style, he stops and turns for one last look.

And then slowly in perfect timing, he explains to Terry why he didn’t take money for the painting…I’m bawling now, sobbing at each passing moment.  The climax is heartfelt and Nickie’s face is a road map of discovery, pain, realization and heartbreak.

What movies make you cry? I have some more, but I think An Affair to Remember is my all-time-guaranteed-to-make-you-cry movie.   Would love to hear from some of my readers which movies cause their eyes to fill up!

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English: Costco in Moncton, New Brunswick

The Discount-if-you-want-to-buy-large store

Just like Hollywood, I think I figured out a way to make one good idea into two!  LOL LOL, seriously but not too seriously.  I had started my blog post last week with what I’m about to write.  At that time I realized I was going way too deep into my day up to the point of my cousins arrival and not adhering to my title and topic.  I had saved the draft and my intention was to post this the next day.  Well we all know what the road to hell is paved with, now don’t we??   Or is that the seed of yet another blog post about the origin and meaning of well-known and often soon-to-be-obscure phrases?  We’ll see…. But back to the back story of last Friday’s visit with familigia and our subsequent dinner.

My day started out early enough, I had my list written from the night before. Where to go, in what order as well groceries needed.  However, I had also promised a friend to go to his new house twice to open up the door for  deliveries AND I would have to pick my husband up from the train.  AND I wanted to make some gazpacho before my cousins arrived.  I figured they wouldn’t want to go to the beach today, having just returned from Cape May and they would probably stay for dinner.  It was such a hot day, cold gazpacho sounded just right for tonight.

Ah but the best laid plans of mice and men (and yet another little catchphrase!)…. Too many phone calls to get out of the house really early but OK, I’m finally on my way and first stop is the dry cleaners to pick up clothes I need for Sunday.  Oh dear, the dry cleaning will not be in till later this afternoon.  Mmmmm  okay I’l come back later.  Then to Laurie’s vegetable & fruit stand to pick up the ingredients for the gazpacho and snag a couple of peaches too and maybe a few ears of corn – mission accomplished.  Next to Aldi‘s to pick up some staples; park the car, lock it walk to entry, oh I forgot my shopping bags.  A minor delay but nothing to worry about, I flew around the store grabbing what I needed and rushed out.  I just finished putting the bags in the car and my cell phone rings and it is the friend telling me that Lord & Taylor did NOT call him a half hour prior to delivery (so he would be able to alert me) but rather they were waiting at the house.  This turned out to be not so inconvenient because if I went to his house now, I could then go to The Lillagaard to drop off the refrigerated stuff.  I meet the driver and he has only 2 chairs!  That seemed odd for a dining room and especially one whose owner is an interior decorator.  But I signed for them, proceeded to drop off the refrigerated stuff and called him informing deed was done, and why only two chairs?  Answer – apparently, L&T goofed up the delivery.  Oh and by the way, would I be around on Monday for the Target delivery?

Back in the car and off to Starbucks for some well-needed caffeine and a cup of Pike’s for Pete upon his arrival and per his request.  Off to   Costco,  noting the gas price of $3.35 per gallon whereas two weeks ago it was $3.15!  I made a really quick trip through the mega discount-if-you-buy-giant-size store picking up what I needed for Sunday’s tea service.  I still have one more grocery store to go to but decide I should call Peter and see where he is.  Well,  apparently he is and has been waiting at the station to be picked up. So I step on the gas as I wheel out of the Costco parking lot and thereby cause the tray with his cup of coffee  to tip.  It’s an interesting maneuver to be driving, talking on the phone and trying to retrieve a full cup of coffee from the floor of the passenger side.  Of course I got coffee on my pants. I must have a full body magnetic field because food and drink stains are consistently drawn to me.  At home in Manhattan, I believe I am personally responsible for sending at least Korean children to college.

I picked him up and we did NOT go home or Pass Go and collect $200.  We went back to Neptune and to Wegman’s where the two of us set off  in different directions in order to shop twice as quickly.  Time was not on my side!!! I happened to pass the International aisle and the Goya bean display caught my eye.  Mmmm maybe I should make my hot summer night stand-by-Tuna Fennel Cannellini  Bean salad.  Last words heard as we left the store, “I wonder if I have enough gin at home?” Hey I don’t check everything!

Of course Peter didn’t have enough gin! So leaving me at home to begin chopping, peeling, dicing, and  juicing in the course of making gazpacho, Peter left to go out and buy some gin.  Which turned out to be helpful to me because now he could drop off the rest of the refrigerated stuff at the hotel.  And then my dear friend, Susan called.  I believe  she will read this so now she’ll know why I sort of rushed her off the phone and said, “Call me Sunday night when you get home!”

I don’t think it was much more than 10 minutes later that my cousins arrived and I realized I needed tomato juice.  Funny how some things go together!  I called Peter and asked him to pick it up, knowing full well, this would never be done without another phone call.  After quickly greeting my guests, I excused myself to the kitchen to try and get this gazpacho underway.  

If you’re wondering what happened after that and did not read the previous blog post, here’s the link;


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Doris Day

Doris Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Can you believe it?  Doris Day is 88 years old!!! Oh my…. No one has heard from or seen Doris Day for about 40 years.  Once she gave up making movies, she became a bit of recluse in California.

She devoted her life to rescuing animals.  She gave possibly the first-ever-since-retirement interview to NPR.  I heard the interview on the radio Monday.  Yes, she still sounds like Doris Day.

She described to the interviewer how she altered her house to accommodate her ever-growing menagerie of animals.  Presently, she has 6 dogs and about 10 cats.  The cats have their own wing of the house with lots of glass including a glass ceiling so that they can see the trees, the birds and according to Ms. Day they (the cats) love the sound of rain.

TCM, which contrary to what our cable company believes IS the ONLY channel we seem to be able to get on the den’s TV.  I know that sounds peculiar but that seems to be what happens….EXCEPT for when the weather is clear, we are able to access MSNBC.  OK, I digress…

Back to TCM; The Turner Classic Movie station released a DVD collection of five of her early films to honor one of Hollywood’s biggest box-office stars and Masterworks, in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies Network released a new 2-disk CD set.  Doris, herself, curated the album.

Her movies have been featured for the last 3 nights on TCM and I’ve seen the serious side of Doris Day in movies such as Midnight Lace and Storm Warning-quite different from the smiling, singing, sweetheart who frolicked through those 50’s-60’s romantic comedies.  Actually, I’m thankful that tonight they are showing the few dramas she made because I can only stomach so much syrupy slosh.

Happy Birthday Doris!

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Red Tails, Tuskagee Air Men, fighter pilots, George Lucas,

Red Tail Airplane

Can you imagine yourself sitting in the cockpit of a P-47, a refurbished hand-me-down plane?  Better yet, imagine you’re piloting this plane as it soars, dips, twists and dodges strafing bullets.  Well if you can’t imagine it, then head to your local movie theater and watch RED TAILS.  In the first 10 minutes of the film, you WILL feel like you’ve been flying, swooping down to attack a German munitions train.

The special effects  are worthy of a blog post of their own, however, this writer doesn’t have the technical knowledge or background to speak intelligently on the subject.  All I can tell you is that they are phenomenal and the movie credits  list no less than 100 digital artists.

It took George Lucas, that Hollywood icon, twenty years to produce this film about a story begging to be told.  And it was about time!  Thank you George!


The dialogue is lame and wooden BUT the battle scenes are spectacular, thanks to those 100+ digital artists.  The main story line is between two pilots, the squadron leader and the reckless hotshot.  Much like Maverick and Ice Man in Top Gun. The script is highly predictable with way too obvious foreshadowing.

There are a lot of good actors in this film, however unfortunately their characters are as complex as cardboard game pieces stating the obvious. Their lives are never fleshed out and we never learn any of their back stories.  Even the make up of the squadron is formulaic: There is the alcohol abuser son trying desperately to please Daddy, , a testosterone – charged ladies man and daredevil,  a devoutly religious good boy, and the eager fresh meat new recruit.  Almost as typical as a reality TV show cast.

For those of you too young to “get” the title of this blog,…There was a very popular song in the 1950’s entitled, Red Sails in the Sunset  and the 332nd fighter group aka the Red Tails always took off at sunrise.

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Well after 35 weeks of exploring the conspiracy theory, COUP D’ETAT, I did wonder how I could keep Conspiracy Theory Wednesday an ongoing segment of my blog.  I never thought it would be easy UNTIL I thought about the Tea Party and some of the strange and wondrous ideas it embraces.  A quick Google search revealed a bunch of articles written on that very subject and written by people far more educated and knowledgeable than me and published in well-known and respected magazines and newspapers.

Let’s see how far I can go with this, maybe only a couple weeks… we’ll have to see how it plays out.  I don’t know if I have any readers who identify with the Tea Party and partially that’s because I, like everyone else I personally know, thinks they’re a fringe group of crazies, that the whole idea of the movement  is ludicrous and they can be laughed off. NOT-that’s a dangerous attitude on my part and others.  So maybe posting the articles will be helpful to everyone, believers and non-believers alike.  Because up to this point, the only tea parties I like to go to serve Black Oolong or Lemon Ginger AND scones with clotted cream.

Here’s one from Newsweek published in February ’10.  I won’t know what you think unless you comment or send me an email.

Tea Party Movement Is Full of Conspiracy Theories – Newsweek.

Tea Party, fringe politics, Republicans,

Welcome to the Mad Hatter's Tea Party

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George Clooney. Castle Vechio, Italy,

Run George Run

YUP that’s right – the title is a spoiler so if you don’t want to know anymore about the movie STOP READING now.

So here we have a thinner, trimmer George Clooney and unless he had a body double (duh!) he also showed off some very visible Pecs and Lats.  He bears the same sad, detached and tired demeanor that was characteristic of  Michael Clayton.  These characters are haunted men,   weighted down under the heavy cloak of their misdeeds and sleepless over their sins.  Was it all done in the line of duty? Duty?? We’re not talking about a soldier in the defense of his nation – we’re talking about MONEY, mercenaries if you will, a gun for hire, well  Mr. Clark kills, I don’t think an actual death was part of Michael Clayton’s job description.

Anyway the travelogue is beautiful as Mister Butterfly flits through Sweden and Rome and into the hills of Tuscany.  And the butterfly thing – what was that all about?  Were we supposed to see the softer side of this killer?  From cold-blooded murderer to lepidoperist all in an afternoon.  He even had a butterfly tatttoo!

This isn’t going to be a long review, the movie was long enough or so it seemed.  And why did it seem that way? Because it practically felt that it was being shot in real time. It moved ever so slowly.  I thought it was too slow and then I thought maybe this was the way movies used to be made, you know with the long shots and no cuts and not made up of hundreds of sound bytes.  This question is still up in the air.

Basically we watch Clooney kill a few people, get shot at by a few people and see how he forms an ego-manical sexual liason with a prostitute.

Edward Clark, a/k/a Mister Butterfly to those  from whom he is hiding his real identity, is a loner, a man who turns to a whore for sexual solace and ends up caring for her (??) – that’s debatable since he was prepared to shoot her during their picnic.  He suspects everyone and well he should because this character is the perfect exemplification of the cliche:  What goes around comes around. He can trust no one – even his boss (?) tells him not to make friends.

Following a tried and true and time-worn story line;  we see the bad guy who wants to get out of the game and wants NOT to be alone anymore so he picks a woman definitely below his own intellect but one who either satisfies him sexually or feeds into his own lack of self-esteem so he doesn’t deserve any better – does this sound like Paul Newman in The Hustler?

Anyway Clooney’s fate is sealed-Hollywood does not want to send the message that is okay to kill people and get away with it.  They stopped doing that when they stopped making John Wayne and Gary Cooper westerns.

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