Showing 1 - 10 of 51 posts found matching keyword: dear diary
There's been not much else to do lately other than watch movies.
27. (1681.) Naughty Marietta (1935)
In this musical romantic comedy in the vein of Taming of the Shew, opera-singing Marietta (not her real name) is "naughty" in the same sense as a headstrong child, not a burlesque dancer. I only figured that out once I realized they were all singing that high-falutin' opera stuff. (Opera fans don't care for titties.)
29. (1683.) Girls Trip (2017)
Stealing every scene and delivering all the laughs, Tiffany Haddish deserves her status as breakout star in this, an otherwise unremarkable raunchy sex comedy. Which is not to say that it's bad. Raunchy sex comedies by their very nature aren't trying to break new ground in cinema. The genre is dependable comfort food, much like Coca-Cola for the eyes.
What's that, you say? You think a disposable cup in a street scene isn't intentional product placement? Ok, fine. How about this?
30. (1684.) Pygmalion (1938)
Once upon a time, my father, discovering I hadn't seen My Fair Lady, said, "Aw, just tell everyone it's a remake of Pygmalion." Now that I've finally seen Pygmalion, holy shit. It's exactly the same film, minus the songs. I always thought Rex Harrison was a dick in My Fair Lady, but that's not his fault; it's the part. Sorry, Rex.
31. (1685.) Manhattan (1979)
An utterly beautiful movie better watched with the sound off. Woody Allen goes out of his way to make his own life miserable in almost all of his movies, and he doubles down here, dating a child and sleeping with his best friend's mistress. Yeah, that's going to end well.
32. (1686.) The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017)
I suspect that the reason Ryan Reynolds' roguish charm works in this film is due in no small part to Samuel Jackson doing his best to one-up him. They seem like they're having fun, and that's often infectious for the audience.
34. (1688.) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
While I really appreciated the cynical comedy in this, it's the ending that really sticks with you. Is this a Shakespearean comedy, or a tragedy cut off just before the fine act? A good conversation piece.
More to come.
I was watching LEGO Masters (on Fox!) when this was shown on the screen for like, a whole 5 seconds, and I. Lost. My. Mind!
That's Captain Carrot on national broadcast television!
I can see you sitting there shaking your head. No, obviously it's not the real Captain Carrot. He lives on Earth-C-Minus with the rest of his heroic Zoo Crew. And of course, Captain Carrot is a boy. (The original Roger Rabbit, in fact!) But still. On national television!
Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew was the first comic book that I collected. The concept was created for DC Comics in 1982 by Roy Thomas and Scott Shaw! with half an eye toward developing a Saturday morning cartoon. The cartoon never materialized, so the genius of a super hero league of funny animals remains visualized only by comics aficionados of a certain age.
I was so excited when I saw my first hero on TV but I didn't know who to tell. Who do I know who would be giddy to see Captain Carrot? We're a very niche group, and I assure you that you don't really want us at your parties. So I'm doing what those of us who were raised as the first Internet Generation do in these situations I'm blogging about my thrilling experience.
You're welcome, Internet.
Rush Limbaugh announced earlier this week he has "advanced" lung cancer. I'm not sure how advanced. Maybe his doctors don't know. So far as I can tell, he's been a talking tumor for years.
True story: in the 1990s, I considered myself a pretty hard-core conservative. My father had always resented authority of any sort, and I had accepted his libertarian philosophy. In a nutshell, I figured that anything that infringed on the rights of anyone was bad. It was Rush Limbaugh who changed my mind.
I don't remember the exact moment or quote, but it was sometime after the Clinton impeachment, probably the early days of Bush Jr's first term, definitely before Limbaugh outed himself as a racist on ESPN. Day after day, Limbaugh was on the air, drunk on the sound of his own voice. Though he claimed to be a great champion for reason, he constantly vilified and dehumanized the people he didn't agree with using insulting terms like "moron" and "libtard."
It was while listening to caller after caller parrot Rush's demeaning talking points railing against political correctness and anything else that he disagreed with ("mega dittos, Rush!"), I realized that I didn't enjoy listening to them. To any of them. These were, theoretically, the people who I shared ideology with. Did everyone who believed these things act this way? Was this how I wanted my friends to act? Was it how I wanted to act? The obvious answer was no.
In the years since, I've tried to be a better person and not condemn everyone who disagrees with me. (I know, I know. I said I've tried, not that I had succeeded.) I now believe that an unwavering obsession with political ideology is never as important as the people that ideology is supposed to serve. I believe in the facts, even when they are inconvenient. And unlike the President of the United States who used last night's Constitutionally-mandated State of the Union address to award Rush the Presidential Medal of Freedom for constantly blowing smoke up his ass, I've decided that the world would be a better place without anyone who abuses others the way that Rush Limbaugh does from his radio pulpit.
So thanks for helping on the road to self-improvement, Rush. Smoke one more cigar for me!
I've seen pictures of my younger self posed in pajamas in front of the refrigerator, but I have distinct memories of only three New Year's Eves in my life.
The first was spent at my uncle's mother's house with my older cousins. It was the 80s, and I barely made it to midnight to drink my non-alcoholic cider before I fell asleep. I probably wasn't 10 years old, but I do remember feeling, perhaps for the first time, like I was a real adult.
The second was while working as a waiter at Chili's in the mid-90s. The restaurant closed at midnight that evening, so the manager on duty brought some champagne for all of us who had to close (my favorite shift). I didn't finish my glass. It wasn't the first bubbly I'd had, but it did cement my opinion that I do not like it. Alcohol isn't my bag, baby.
The third was twenty years ago tonight: New Year's Eve 1999. Mom came from Scottsdale to Athens, and we had dinner at the 24-hour Shoney's restaurant Trey was working in. He had the overnight shift, so Mom and I went back to the house (on Big Oak Circle) to watch fireworks and waited for the Y2K bug to end civilization as we knew it. Good times.
Half a lifetime later, I'm planning on celebrating the calendar change tonight with my favorite pastime: playing video games. I probably won't be making any indelible memories, but I will start the new year while having a good time. Isn't that what New Year's Eve is really about?
November wasn't only about pies and movies!
When I was a kid, my favorite Christmas decoration was a pair of legs painted on plywood mounted to the top of a chimney. They were connected to a windshield wiper motor and kicked, like Santa was stuck face down. It was a good gag.
Cue earlier last month when Mom said that she wanted a new Christmas yard decoration. She was looking at lit Santa Claus blow molds like she had on her door as a child, but when she tried to convey the idea, all I could think of were those kicking legs.
I didn't manage the same level of technical innovation, but I think I got the nostalgia angle right.
Kind of looks like a bit of Photoshop there, doesn't it? Here it is a little closer.
My next door neighbor seems to like it. He's already asked where we bought it so that he could get one of his own. Mom had to let him down easy. This Santa stands alone.
Two years ago, I helped my mother with invitations and other aspects of preparing for her 50th high school class reunion. Part of that included developing art and layout.
The reason I mention that now is this placard recently spotted in the local public library:
That's my design at the top of that flyer, presumably taken from the reunion website.
It's kind of cool to see something that I had a hand in placed in a cultural archive. I'm immortal!
Last night while behind the wheel dodging deer and listening to DJ patter, I was inspired to consider what my oldest memory might be. They say that the average person's memories begin at the age of three. That might be about right for me, too.
I remember that the master bedroom in our house in Stone Mountain had green carpet and a split level with black railing along the single step separating the bed from the sitting room/attached bath. (What can I say? It was the late 70s when even builders had bad taste.) I recall looking up through the bars of the railing at my mother in bed with my baby brother. I must have been about three years old.
Is it a real memory? I think so. It seems to me that most of what I remember of my childhood comes from pictures and videos my family took. Birthdays, Halloween, Christmas, all of these are things I remember secondhand from pictures and film, seen again much after the fact. To the best of my knowledge, no such pictures were taken through iron bars at my mother and brother in bed.
If that's not my oldest memory, I'm not sure what is. Playing with Kenner Star Wars toys in my sandbox? Going with my neighbors to see Raiders of the Lost Ark? Listening to Joan Jett's I Love Rock 'n Roll record? My memories after 1981 get very good. Those are real, but they aren't my earliest.
Honestly, I don't think about the past much. It's a habit I've cultivated. Most of what I do remember is the unpleasant stuff, so it's best to avoid it. Live in the present, knowwhatimean?
What? I skipped a post again? Dammit.
In my defense, I've been busy these past few days. As you know, I've been supervising Dad's medications and dog-sitting Rambo and Scarlett (and trying to make July not jealous). Also, there have been issues with our commercial rental property, including an AC failure and an (unrelated) fallen tree that damaged the roof and destroyed the gutter over the back door that has a bad tendency to flood. Add to those that I have an end-of-July deadline on a coding project. And I helped one friend build some shelves and another fix her cable system. And my own ISP was down for most of Friday and Saturday. And I've been trying to find time to write more. And and and and.
But that's all just excuses.
On the up side, I did just recently discover that my phone takes great panoramic photos, a feature which I have been using exclusively to take photos of clouds.
So that's good. And that's enough.
Where were we? Oh, yes. Movies!
88. (1527.) My Man Godfrey (1936)
William Powell plays William Powell as a down-on-his-luck fellow in the Depression who lands a job as butler to a family of rich cads. Very entertaining. (It's easy to see why William Powell was Cary Grant's mother's favorite actor.)
91. (1530.) Ruby Herring Mysteries: Silent Witness (2019)
Someone got the breakdown of a typical Hallmark Movies and Mystery channel movie... and shot it as-is. The result, as you might expect, is average.
90. (1529.) Moana (2016)
Catchy songs! Not much else to say. Are all Disney animated films so bland? I think the answer is yes. That's why you have to get kids watching while they're so young.
92. (1531.) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
Watches like a marketing exercise in "How to squeeze more blood out of the Harry Potter franchise." This is only the second movie I've ever seen in said franchise, and frankly, that's two too many.
94. (1533.) The Trip to Bountiful (1985)
I really think I watched this character study of an old woman coming to terms with living in the imaginary past in a civics class in 1989. It's not my usual cup of tea, but it's well done.
95. (1534.) The Chocolate War (1988)
I can best describe this as A Separate Peace done right. I've read that the ending differs from the book, but it's about as dark as "Hollywood" can manage. (I was the right age for this in 1988. Why hadn't I seen it before? Was I too busy watching old ladies visit Bountiful, Texas?)
96. (1535.) Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
This much maligned sci-fi Christmas film is much maligned for a reason (low budget, bad acting, bat-shit crazy story...). But it was clearly made to entertain children, like television's Batman of the same era. Watched through that prism, its flaws are forgivable (and its imagination, laudable). I chuckled at the intentionally camp sensibilities more than once, especially when Santa Claus escapes an air lock shaped like a chimney without further explanation.
More to come.
In 1996, I was in the mood to watch a sad movie, so I asked my co-workers at the Chili's in Toco Hills for a recommendation I could take to the Blockbuster Video across the parking lot. Their suggestion was Two Moon Junction. I don't have a great memory of that film, but I do remember ultimately being disappointed by it. It was sad enough, I guess, but not in any poignant way. It's no The English Patient. (Which is just as well. I hated The English Patient.)
That's really the thing about movie reviews: it doesn't matter so much whether a critic likes or doesn't like something, it matters whether you and the critic like the same things. Therein lies the value of a film critic.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution used to have a critic named Eleanor Ringel. (She still writes criticism for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Why the Atlanta Business Chronicle runs movie reviews is another question altogether.) Ringel has long been my favorite critic because I know that anything she likes, I'll hate, and vice versa. She has the anti-Walter's taste in film. For example, she hates The Incredibles and loves Avengers: Infinity War. That's just wrong. Wrong, but useful. Compare Ringel to Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers, who earned his reputation by giving any blockbuster summer movie a great pull quote to use for their marketing. That's not useful.
Anyone who is capable of separating what they like from why they like it can be a critic. Sadly, that's too high a bar for most. I mean, it's fine if you like Aquaman, but you have to be able to explain why for anyone else to find value in your subjective opinion. "It was a fun thrill ride" is not a helpful blurb if my idea of fun is an episode of NOVA about the construction of medieval cathedrals and yours is watching idiots eat Tide PODS® on YouTube.
For going on 8 years now, I've been obsessively tracking on this site the movies I watch. I do that mostly for my own benefit, though I do try to put what I've watched into some context of why I did or did not enjoy it. If that helps anyone else find a movie to watch, great. But stay away from Two Moon Junction. It's not good.