Showing 1 - 10 of 131 posts found matching keyword: mom

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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♫ "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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Mom spotted this "not gross at all" product at the dollar store:

No, it's gross

She told me that she had to take a second glance at the "slimy and sticky" blurb. On first glance, she thought it said "scratch and sniff." She couldn't believe that anyone would want scratch and sniff poo.

It wasn't 30 minutes later when we found this on an endcap at Michaels:

I'm getting too old for this shit

I admit it; I scratched, and I sniffed. Do you want to smell my finger?

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Mother asked for a cake for Valentine's Day, but not just any cake. Instead of the family recipe pound cake that I made her for her birthday, she wanted the Classic Southern Pound Cake from Southern Living magazine.

I've been baking pound cakes for years. This shouldn't be so hard, I thought. That was my first mistake.

It tasted exactly how it looks

Pro Tip: When making a cake, make sure you use the right ingredients.

We have two identical, large yellow Tupperware containers, and they both have flour in them. One of them was the right one. I used the other.

They aren't the only flour containers in our pantry. The bread flour is in a third yellow Tupperware container, but that one is smaller. The cake flour — necessary for sponge cakes — is in a transparent container with its box top. Therefore it's only the containers for the self-rising and the all-purpose flours that look identical. One of these days, I'll remember to label them.

Anyway. As they say, if at first you add the wrong flour, try, try again.

It tastes better than it looks

I hate to admit it, but it really might be the best tasting pound cake I've ever made. Totally worth the trouble.

You're welcome, Mom.

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While out shopping, Mom said, "we should look and see what they have here that has the poo emoji on it." No! Bad mother! That's the opposite of what we should be doing.

My whole series of posts on this damn emoji shit is supposed to discourage through ridicule. If it is having the opposite effect, if I am somehow making poop emoji more desirable, I'll turn this blog right around, and no one will get any ice cream!

That said... I accidentally spotted this in Target last month. I'm serious. I was looking at the goods on the "As Seen on TV" aisle when I turned around and here was this, glaring at me with its many beady, dead eyes:

Joseph's amazing technicolor backpack

I found it so hard to believe that a caring parent would send their child off to elementary school with a bag of shit, I actually looked this one up online. I cut and paste the Accessory Innovations Emoji 16" Happens Kids' Backpack sales pitch:

Your favorite emoji has gotten a whole lot colorful. Your child will be able to rock this bag while still being themselves. With its bright colors your child will be sure to standout in the crowd.

That's some first class salesmanship right there. "Your child will be able to rock this bag while still being themselves" does sound way better than "your kid will look like the little shit he is." I tip my hat to you, Target.com. Kudos.

Or should I say "poo"-dos?

I call them Braces Poo, Space Poo, and Poo Who

"Poo"-dos it is.

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Movies, movies, movies!

197. (1426.) Doctor Strange (2016)
Doc Strange's origin story has a pretty simple plot (and a very flawed hero). It also has Benedict Cumberbatch, who almost succeeds in making his character likable. Almost.

198. (1427.) Hearts and Minds (1974)
This anti-Vietnam War documentary is about as anti-war as any movie ever. There was so much film footage of moments I'd only seen in stills, I felt like I was watching a history textbook come to life. For the record, I'm convinced. Let's get out of Vietnam.

200. (1429.) Trolls (2016)
I wanted to watch something special for my 200th movie in 2018. Instead, I watched Trolls. I shouldn't complain. I was a kid once. I can be marketed to. I saw The Care Bears Movie in a theater. (What can I say? I've always been a sucker for Grumpy Bear.)

201. (1430.) Ma and Pa Kettle (1949)
This is actually the second in the Ma and Pa Kettle series of movies about The Beverly Hillbillies the misadventures of some country folk adapting to life in the modern world. It's enjoyable, and it's easy to see why they went on to make The Beverly Hillbillies six more. (Almost completely unrelated trivia: There is an auto mechanic near my house that calls itself Maw and Paw Kettyle. They do good work.)

202. (1431.) Love Actually (2003)
I heard so much about this movie over the holiday season that I finally watched it on TBS. Even though Martin Freeman was in the opening credits, none of his scenes appear in the edited-for-television version, so I re-watched Mom's DVD (because she owns every Christmas movie). His scenes were, amusingly, the most honest and by far the best. In other words, don't watch this movie on TV.

203. (1432.) Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
I turned the channel to TCM to wash down all that Love. Here Barbara Stanwyck is a lifestyle columnist (a 1940's Martha Stewart) caught in her own web of lies when her boss insists she host a Christmas get-together with a war hero. Good stuff.

More to come.

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To be continued...

 

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