Showing 1 - 10 of 168 posts found matching keyword: family

Mom and I continue watching Hallmark mystery movies. We've discovered that they're a uneven bunch, often relying on formula to overcome a lack of characterization and charisma. As an actor, it must be a good paycheck if you can get it.

We were big fans of the "Murder She Baked" series. Mom had read the books, and the actors had a rapport better than most of the comparables. Sadly, that series was canceled, and much of the cast moved on to other things. Specifically, these things.

89. (1528.) The Chronicle Mysteries: Recovered (2019)
Alison Sweeney, formerly Hannah the baker, here plays podcaster Alex who investigates an unsolved missing persons case. (Sound familiar? I have to wonder if the "Serial" podcast is getting a cut.) The missing person is played by the actress who played Hannah's sister, and Alex is romantically linked to the actor who played Hannah's sister's husband. It's really a head trip, which is good because the mystery is not. The ending is astonishingly bad.

93. (1532.) The Chronicle Mysteries: The Wrong Man (2019)
The Chronicle cast is back, this time with two mysteries. Alex is now editor of a newspaper and sets out to solve a crime involving dead lawyers and mobsters. Speaking of lawyers, Hannah the baker's mother's lawyer is now a farmer-turned-engineer. The resolution hinges on the improbably timely arrival of a piece of evidence and an unusually talkative stevedore. But if you can swallow the ending to the first one....

106. (1545.) The Chronicle Mysteries: Vines That Bind (2019)
There's a third one! As a favor to the newspaper gossip columnist, Hannah Alex travels to another state to solve a double murder in a vineyard that may have been committed by the daughter of the victim. Or his wife. His daughter! His wife! The guilty party is telegraphed far too early, so it felt like we spent most of the second half looking for red herrings. Bah.

Obviously, these are not the best that Hallmark has to offer. (Personally, I still like Darrow & Darrow.)

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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.

Beautiful Clouds: Polution's one redeeming feature

So that's good. And that's enough.

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Dad update: he's now in his third hospital in as many weeks.

First he had heart surgery in Atlanta to replace a malfunctioning mitral valve. He came home for a couple of days before shortness of breath took him to the emergency room in Newnan. They diagnosed him with atrial fibrillation, a relatively common complication, and sent him to Fayetteville to have a pacemaker installed.

Doctors say he should be fine. I agree. He's already proven that for a guy with a bad heart, Dad can really get around.

Meanwhile, this side-effects poster was on the wall of his third room:

Someone in hospital administration is an Osmosis Jones fan

A closer look reveals a very familiar "face."

This is why nurses wear gloves

EVEN IN HOSPITALS.

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I don't usually run movie posts back-to-back like this, but Dad's still his own part-time job. (There are only so many hours in a day, you know.) Add to that the fact that I've lost sleep because I left my phone and wallet in a Ted's Montana Grill yesterday, and, yeah, another movie review post is all you're getting.

97. (1536.) Night and the City (1950)
I found this hard to watch because I didn't sympathize with the protagonist at all. However, it has some pretty good cinematography, especially the shot of the protagonist caught by headlights in an alley as the mob closes in on him. Good noir.

98. (1537.) Hidden Figures (2016)
I'd categorize this as Bubblegum Biopic: a history of American popular culture punched up for mass consumption. (That's not an insult. My favorite musical, 1776 would fall in the same category.) I really enjoyed this, too. In hindsight, I'm glad it was nominated for an Academy Award so that more people will be encouraged to see it.

99. (1538.) Friendly Persuasion (1956)
Quakers! Civil War! Church Organs! Girls! Geese! If this sequential series of unrelated events was supposed to have a point, it went over my head. (*Someone* must have gotten it. It was nominated for Best Picture in '57. Quakers must have been a big Academy voting block back in the McCarthy era.)

100. (1539.) Destination Wedding (2018)
Recommended by friend Otto, this romantic comedy has only two roles, played by Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder as two mismatched, unlikable people destined for one another. Or not. Otto's right, it's got some funny in it, especially if you like the actors.

101. (1540.) Till the End of Time (1946)
Have you seen The Best Years of Our Lives? Yeah, this is that, but much more boring.

102. (1541.) Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974)
Have you seen Vanishing Point and Sugarland Express? Yeah, this is those. It's pretty good, actually.

103. (1542.) Outlaw Blues (1977)
Peter Fonda was the embodiment of 60s-70s counterculture on celluloid, here playing a felon who goes on the run from the law while simultaneously becoming the Next Big Thing in country music. It has its moments, in no small part thanks to Susan Saint James.

More to come.

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Oops. I missed a post on Saturday. Sorry. Dad's been in the hospital recovering from open heart surgery. He insisted to his surgeon that he'd be out of the hospital three days after his operation, but he's no Man of Steel.

Anyway, he's doing fine and is well on the road to (a regularly scheduled) recovery. Thanks to all who have offered "thoughts and prayers" for his well-being. Regular posting will resume soon.

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♫ "Movies. We get movies. We get sacks and sacks of movies!" ♫

77. (1516.) The Reluctant Debutante (1958)
It's always a little weird watching a movie that is clearly a strict adaptation of a stage play. They almost always make me wish I was seeing the show live. While the film is cute enough, I imagine live actors playing it out in real time would have given it the goosing it needed to really come alive.

78. (1517.) The Good Dinosaur (2015)
Every once in a while, Pixar releases a film whose mere existence appears to be a demonstration of some advance in their technical expertise. In Nemo it was "look what we can do with water!" In Brave it was "look what we can do with hair!" Here, it's "look what we can do with scenery!" It's the environmental scenery that steals every scene and is, frankly, the only real reason to watch this coming-of-age adventure story.

79. (1518.) The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987)
As I watched this, the one thought that ran through my mind over and over, as if on a skipping record, was "Holy shit, someone thought this was a good enough idea that they paid money to have it made." Would I have thought it was awesome if I had seen it when I was 12? That I can't definitively say no bothers me immensely.

80. (1519.) Mid90s (2018)
Jonah Hill's directorial debut is similar to Ladybird and Eighth Grade in all the right ways. Amazon's A24 studio continues to collect auteurs making coming-of-age movies that feel like genuine biopics. Kudos.

83. (1522.) Tomorrowland (2015)
This movie was panned by critics for pacing issues and heavy-handed hectoring. I can see that. However, it nonetheless combines the best of director Brad Bird's imagination, affinity for retro sci-fi, and optimism. (Besides, I've always had a soft spot for female android tweens.) I found it very enjoyable.

Also: when you teleport, you'll need a Coke.

Drink Coke! (Tomorrowland)

84. (1523.) Book Club (2011)
This was Mom's pick, and I'm happy to report that it was a pleasant surprise. The all-star cast helped a lot, especially Candice Bergen.

More to come.

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Neither Mom nor I watch a lot of serialized television. I prefer stand-alone movies. She prefers going to bed with a mystery novel. We've found an overlapping sweet spot of entertainment that we both enjoy in the Hallmark Mysteries and Movies channel.

Most of the following are what used to be called "made for television movies," if that distinction has any meaning anymore in the modern landscape of streaming media. Most of them are based on series of books.

64. (1503.) Murder, She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery (2015)
We started by watching the misadventures of professional baker and amateur sleuth Hannah (Alison Sweeney). Mom had read and loved the books. The movies are cute, if heavier on the romance than the mysteries. Alas, Sweeney has moved on to other series and will bake no more murders.

65. (1504.) Site Unseen: An Emma Fielding Mystery (2017)
41. (1480.) Past Malice: An Emma Fielding Mystery (2018)
42. (1481.) Emma Fielding: More Bitter Than Death (2019)
Emma Fielding is the Indiana Jane of mystery fiction, an archaeologist who somehow spends more time chasing murderers than relics. On television, she's played by the botoxed face of Courtney Thorne-Smith of Melrose Place fame. I'm okay with these, but it's not my favorite series.

68. (1507.) Morning Show Mystery: Mortal Mishaps (2018)
69. (1508.) Morning Show Mystery: Murder on the Menu (2018)
70. (1509.) Morning Show Mysteries: A Murder in Mind (2019)
81. (1520.) Morning Show Mysteries: Countdown to Murder (2019)
82. (1521.) Morning Show Mysteries: Death by Design (2019)
These are based on books co-written by Al Roker about a morning-show celebrity whose entire social network appears to be filled with murderers. Holly Robinson Peete of 21 Jump Street has the lead opposite Rick Fox, who could probably be replaced by a block of wood without anyone noticing. I enjoy this series, partially because I like a bit of ethnic diversity in the otherwise lily-white Hallmark landscape and partially because I'm always able to solve them before the halfway point. (They make me feel smart, even though by design a toddler could likely put the clues together.)

85. (1524.) Darrow & Darrow (2017)
86. (1525.) Darrow & Darrow 2 (2018)
87. (1526.) Darrow & Darrow: Body of Evidence (2018)
Unquestionably my favorite of the Hallmark mystery bunch. The younger titular Darrow is Kimberly Williams-Paisley, who I had something of a crush on in the mid 90s in her pre-According to Jim appearances in Steve Martin's Father of the Bride remakes and the Relativity television series I watched with my girlfriend at the time. I could still watch her for hours, and I have.

So that's what my Mom and I do together — even when it isn't Mother's Day.

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Mom framed her cover appearance on the AJC and hung it in the kitchen.

She likes the fame. I like the Droste Effect. We're both very satisfied.

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Mom has now joined the ranks of such immortality as the 1990 announcement that Atlanta would host the Olympics, the 1946 Winecroft Hotel fire, and the 1915 lynching of Leo Frank. In other words, she's on the front page of today's The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

At least the back of her head is.

She's quite the attraction

There's a bit of a story to this picture. Mom was in Macon in the middle of last week with her sister. While my aunt was attending her business conference, Mom decided to venture into downtown Macon to see the sights. She was headed for the Tubman Museum, but when she saw a sign informing her that the lot she had parked in was reserved for the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, she decided that she had to go there instead.

She called me that evening to tell me an AJC reporter had taken her picture. He had singled her out for the honor because of Mom's unparalleled distinction of being the only person there. The hall, it seems, was in the middle of changing several exhibits, and Mom was the only patron in sight.

For the record, she enjoyed her visit to the hall, and has encouraged me to go next time I'm near Macon. Now that it's part of my family history, I just might. I hear it's on the verge of a revival.

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Mom woke me up early because she couldn't turn on the television. The cause? Dead batteries in the remote control.

Dad complained that his washing machine was leaking water all over this pantry floor. The problem? The intake hose, which he had connected himself, was too loose and was spraying water everywhere.

No wonder my brother excommunicated himself from the family.

In 2003, co-worker Jeff showed me a lighter he couldn't get to work. I took it from him and tried it myself. It was a joy buzzer. Jeff laughed at me and said, "I knew you'd fall for it. All anyone has to do is tell Walter that they can't do something, and he'll do it for them."

Jeff, wherever you are now, know that you're still right. I'm still a sucker.

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To be continued...

 

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