Showing 1 - 10 of 147 posts found matching keyword: mom
Saturday 18 July 2020
True story: Emma is my favorite Jane Austen novel, and I was really looking forward to the latest movie adaptation when it finally opened in my local theater the second weekend in March. (I've seen other adaptations, of course. The 1996 version is good enough that it almost made me like Gwyneth Paltrow.) However, the second week in March coincided with the arrival of COVID-19 and the global shutdown. That's right, this whole pandemic exists just to keep me from Emma. Curses!
Well, I finally fooled you, COVID-19.
126. (1780.) Emma. (2020)
Fifteen minutes into my rental, Mom asked me, "What is it you like so much about bitches?" She was referring to protagonist Emma Woodhouse, who at the start the novel is very unlikable indeed, something the movie leans into *hard*. (Some might say that she's not much better at the end. Those people are heartless monsters.) Mom also knows I just watched 6 seasons of Downton Abbey and developed a bit of a crush on Lady Mary Crawley, another character who always gets it her way. In response to her question, I replied, "I like women who are like my mother." We did not talk much for the rest of the movie.
The enjoyment of Jane Austen's story is Emma's journey of self-discovery through a series of misadventures and comic misunderstandings which the movie does perfectly. In fact, the movie does just about everything perfectly. If you can't get behind Miss Woodhouse and the rest of the amazing cast, you at least should be able to marvel at the lush, Technicolor-like cinematography and stunning Regency period outfits. (Oscars for everyone!)
If I have any complaint, it's that the relationship between Emma and her beau develops too quickly. (Austen's Emma is constructed more as a detective novel than a romance. All the clues are there the whole time, but nothing comes together until the end.) It's a minor quibble, and the modernization of the plot does nothing to damage an otherwise wonderful adaptation. (The Harry Potter movies disabused me of the notion that movies should be exact visual duplications of their source material. If you're going to adapt another piece of art, you need to bring something new to the table.)
I've been in such a foul humor lately, what with the eternal cycle of bad news, that it's truly an unexpected delight to have a distraction like this. While I've always highly recommended Emma, the novel, I can now do the same with Emma., the movie.
Friday 5 June 2020
Superman might not have time for movies, but I do. (Have you seen what's on television? I can only watch so much of that.)
First off, let's knock out these five at once:
58. (1712.) Mystery 101: An Education in Murder (2020)
61. (1715.) Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder (2020)
71. (1725.) Flower Shop Mystery: Dearly Depotted (2016)
75. (1729.) Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance (2020)
91. (1745.) Flower Shop Mystery: Mum's the Word (2016)
94. (1748.) Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Heist and Seek (2020)
There's not a whole lot to say about these individually. Most of them are fair to middling mysteries, nothing to write home about. Ruby Herring is still getting better with each installment, while Aurora Teagarden has given up on even acknowledging its red herrings. The others are good enough for watching with your mother when there aren't any game shows on.
74. (1728.) Comrade X (1940)
Imagine if they set a Cary Grant romantic comedy against the backdrop of the Communist revolution. It goes out of its way to intentionally misunderstand the revolution its satirizing — girls can't be boys! — but it does have its moments.
76. (1730.) Taxi Driver (1976)
I've been avoiding this for years because I thought I wouldn't like it, but I finally gave in... and discovered I was right. I felt slimy for watching. (Fuck Natural Born Killers. This is how you inspire murderers, as Hinkley Jr proved.) However, it does look and sound great. If any one movie is responsible for the feel of Fight Club, it's got to be this one. Probably not the best choice in the current political climate.
You drinkin' from me?
77. (1731.) Our Miss Brooks (1956)
Eve Arden and her radio/television show of the same name are great, but this film isn't. Ninety minutes is simply too long to sustain the man-hunter plot.
78. (1732.) Peter Rabbit (2018)
My Dad said he hated this because that rude rabbit Peter killed old man McGregor, which I really think says more about my father than this movie. I thought it was cute, especially thanks to the antics of the good bunnies, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.
More to come.
Saturday 4 April 2020
So, when I took down my Santa Claus decoration for Christmas, I left two anchoring poles embedded in the front yard. Rather than let me pull them out, Mother insisted that I create more decorations for other holidays.
Turns out, I've got nothing else to do.
Introducing my Easter Bunny:
Here's another beside the front door for better scale.
I'm already working on the next piece. (I had to brave a trip to Michael's, where only 10 customers are allowed inside at a time, to pick up some blue paint.) I'll show it off when I get closer to July.
Wednesday 29 January 2020
Tuesday 31 December 2019
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?
Friday 27 December 2019
For Christmas, I gave my mother the gift you give someone who has everything: a cold.
Maybe she'll forgive me by next Christmas.
Wednesday 18 December 2019
Friend Randy complained when my last movie post promised eleven movies and only delivered five. I correct that omission here.
198. (1637.) Terms of Endearment (1983)
Several times during the movie (which is surprisingly more of a comedy than a tragedy), I asked myself "Why am I still watching this." I don't have an answer. The acting is good, yes (in fact, the cast is phenomenal), but the subject matter really isn't that engaging to me. Whatever. Just not my thing.
Except for the Coke.
Spoiler: Teddy is not careful.
199. (1638.) Smithereens (1982)
More my thing, at least in spirit. The actual story — a girl constantly making the wrong decisions in life — wasn't particularly captivating for a whole two hours, but the "indie" (read: cheap) filmmaking style was immersive, like these were real, heavily flawed, people. Felt like a Warhol film.
200. (1639.) I Am a Thief (1934)
A detective mystery (with a little romance) set on a train. Thin and lightly contrived, but still a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
201. (1640.) Downton Abbey (2019)
I told Mom I wanted to go to the movies, and she said she wanted to go, too, so long as we saw this. So we did. I'd never seen an episode and can't believe they are all as good as the film was. Mom assures me they are. I was particularly thankful for the recap the theater ran in front of the actual film so that I had at least an inkling of who the houseful of players were. The most impressive thing about the plot is the incredibly low-stakes plot. There have been many, many dramas that have managed to do far less with much more.
(Sidenote: Mom and I weren't the only two in attendance. A couple of rows in front of us were three people who, it turned out, were watching the film again in anticipation of a vacation to visit the filming location, Highclere Castle.)
202. (1641.) In a Lonely Place (1950)
Is Bogart a murderer or just a bad guy? Is he aware of his own flaws? Is he deserving of love? Overall, a great noir movie. (There's a running gag in the movie about Bogart's screenwriter character having not read the book he's turning into a movie. Apparently, that was the case for this movie and the book it's based on. Meta!)
203. (1642.) Image Makers: The Adventures of America's Pioneer Cinematographers (2019)
TCM closed their month-long salute to cinematographers with this documentary highlighting the accomplishments of some of the best film has to offer. As a film buff, I found it engrossing, especially the anecdotes about the early days of Hollywood.
More to come.
Friday 6 December 2019
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.
Thursday 28 November 2019
My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner 2019:
It's not just the first apple pie I've ever made from scratch, it's the first pie I've ever attempted. Turned out well, too. The recipe came from the Better Homes and Gardens Complete Step-By-Step Cookbook (1978). An oldie but a goody.
I'll have to raise the bar next year, but in the meantime, my next goal is gingerbread men for Christmas. I'll keep you posted.
ADDENDUM 1: I used Honeycrisp apples. Mom already had some Honeycrisp she wasn't enjoying as eating apples, so into the pie they went despite Friend Robin (and the recipe) calling for Granny Smith. (In fairness to the recipe, Honeycrisp wasn't introduced to the market until 1991, so it would have been real odd for a 1978 cookbook to recommend them.)
ADDENDUM 2: Leaving dinner, my aunt Kelley asked for "a small slice" to take home with her. As I started cutting what I considered a small slice, she shouted, "Not that small!" The piece that she ended up taking was not what I would call small, but I guess Kelley knows what she's doing. She's the lawyer, after all.
Sunday 17 November 2019
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!