Category Archives: Actors

Sunday’s Big Screen Adventure

I have felt a wee bit under the weather today so I spent most of the day in bed watching some movies. Now this is entertainment, but also educational. A great story is still a great story whether it’s on the written page or if it’s shown in theatres worldwide.

Some of today’s list included “The Matrix,”  “The Longest Yard,”  “Pitch Perfect,”  “Wanted” and “The Heat.” I think just before I retire for the evening, I shall watch “Pleasantville” or “The Bourne Identity.” I haven’t quite made up my mind yet.

Longest Yard A remake of the original that I find to be better. It’s my favorite Sandler movie and Burt Reynolds cinched it for me.

The MatrixThe original mind-blowing concept which makes us question our lives, our reality. The red or the blue pill… which is it?

The Heat

Sandra Bullock is one of my favorite actors. Combined with Melissa McCarthy and the F-Bomb dropped more times than I cared to count, I was amused. And yes, I know law enforcement officers like these characters. More amusement.

Wanted

Angelina Jolie, guns and the suspension of reality. An excellent combination. Jolie always makes a great flick. Have you seen Maleficient? Wow.

Pitch Perfect

I didn’t think I would like it the first time I saw it. Honest. However, it’s an infectious sort of cute and the tunes will bounce around my cranium for the next few days.

Each of these movies from some different genres have stars I enjoy and, like Calgon, they take me away. When you feel like crap on a cracker, away is very, very good.  On the morrow, I’ll be back, feeling better and writing something a bit more and “me.” Top of the evening to you all.

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Icing the Iron Horse

“For the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. When you look around, wouldn’t you consider it a privilege to associate yourself with such fine looking men as are standing in uniform in this ballpark today? That I may have been given a bad break, but I have an awful lot to live for. Thank you.”

~Lou Gehrig~

Photo Credit: Willie Zhang via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Willie Zhang via Compfight cc

Lou Gehrig was a gentle soul with a wicked sense of humor and was also a humble man. He was taken too young by a disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As Lou died pre-“me,” I never had the opportunity to meet the baseball legend. However my father did when he was with the Yankees during Spring Training in 1936 and 1937.

Pops was a pretty good player, but never actually played a game as a first baseman. The problem? Lou Gehrig, the “Iron Horse” himself.  Gehrig played 2,130 consecutive games – games where he was ejected (after receiving credit because he was already up to bat), injured (including being knocked unconscious), and ill.  But dad was in training with Lou (and Joe DiMaggio, Kemp Wicker, Frank Crosetti, Bill Dickie, Red Rolfe and other great Yanks) for two seasons before transferring to the minors.

Lou Gehrig impacted dad’s life quietly. He wanted to emulate the legend in many ways and Pops told me how Lou and Joe helped change his life not only on the diamond, but on the train rides to St. Petersburg, FL. Pops was a smoker on and off during his life. Trying to be “cool” like some of the other ball players, he was lighting a cigarette up on the train. Lou leaned over to my dad and instead of reading him the riot act, he softly explained to him, “If you keep that up, you’ll lose your wind.”

Dad kept in contact with Gehrig after leaving the Yankee organization and there is a letter tucked safely away written in 1938 or early 1939 (I can’t remember) to pops explaining Lou’s illness and that Eleanor, his wife, was taking care of him.

75 years after his death, Lou Gehrig seems to be finding himself in the spotlight again, not for his baseball prowess, but for the disease that took his life.  I’ve been watching the ice bucket challenges on social media to raise money and awareness for ALS. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease or just plain Gehrig’s disease.  ALS is a neurodegenerative ailment that is as debilitating as they come to the human body and someone with ALS does NOT have a good quality of life.  Gehrig died when he was just 37 years old. You don’t have to do the challenge to help a really worthy cause. To make a donation today:  http://www.alsa.org/

If you want a weekend in, check out a movie called “Pride of the Yankees” starring Gary Cooper as Gehrig as well as real members of the Yankee organization: Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel, Mark Koenig and Bill Dickey. This was my father’s all-time favorite movie – most likely because of the representation of Lou’s character. To find out more about my father’s friend, Lou Gehrig: http://www.lougehrig.com/about/bio.html

Neither dad nor Lou are here today to witness the ice bucket challenge. I personally think both are probably sitting in a dugout in Heaven looking down and wondering what we’re all doing. However, I just know that as silly as dad would think the concept is, he’d agree it’s a brilliant piece of marketing in bringing awareness and funding to ALS research.

A Simple Verse

 
“Oh captain, my captain…”  ~Robin Williams~
 
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It’s been a few days since the startling news Robin Williams, actor and comedic genius, took his own life. I debated writing about this as so many other people have shared their thoughts and feelings on this subject and my thoughts align with many. However, I wanted to focus on something about Robin that left an everlasting impression – “Dead Poets Society.”
 
 
Robin Williams made many movies throughout his career. From “Good Morning Vietnam” to “Good Will Hunting” to “Mrs. Doubtfire” and others, but DPS was bar none the one to make me think, to stretch my limits and to make me seize the day.
 
 
There are many lines in the movie that speak to me, but this scene is brilliant beyond description. It is absolutely, positively brilliant.
 
 
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
 
 
I know what Robin’s verse was for me and now I find myself wondering how I shall answer that question. I pray it’s with a shout and echoes across generations, but if it falls with a subtle whisper, I just pray it’s heard.

6 Degrees of Seperation?

Nine million terrorists in the world and I gotta kill one with feet smaller than my sister.”

~John McClane~

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My most humble and sincere apologies to everyone.  It’s been hard (literally and figuratively) to sit my butt at the keyboard and converse with you about one of my true loves… writing. I have been ill for a little bit and with the fairly frequent weekend visits to Dallas, TX, I’ve just been pretty wiped out.  The upside to this is I have been watching movie after movie after movie because laying in bed, there’s not much else to do. In the past couple of weeks, I have seen over thirty on DVD. I thought I would take a moment to share a couple of finer moments with you.

Becoming Jane must be seen with Pride and Prejudice – back to back and in that order.  I have also decided to add Jane Austen’s residence to my bucket list of places to visit.

Speaking of The Bucket List, I don’t know if I recommend watching it while sick in bed. It’s a tremendous movie. I love Jack Nicholson’s movies overall and realistically I should have paired the Bucket with another of his I enjoy, As Good as It Gets with Helen Hunt. Of course, this reminds me, if you haven’t seen Prizzi’s Honor co-starring Kathleen Turner, do so. You will thank me later. (It’s much snappier and crisper than the more modern / similar Mr. & Mrs. Smith)

There was also the “tear-fest” that ensued when watching Fried Green Tomatoes, Beaches, The Time Traveller’s Wife, and The Lake House in a marathon session one afternoon. Gads. I’m such a girl sometimes. Fried Green Tomatoes is one of my favorite performances by Kathy Bates. I got a first taste of her acting abilities in Stephen King’s Misery and in it’s own 6-Degrees of Separation, she also starred with Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt. But Bates’ diversity of characterization is amazing. If you haven’t seen her in The Blind Side, it’s a total turn-around from Misery and her role as Mama in The Water Boy still has me rolling after all these years.

Ah… the Water Boy. Adam Sandler. I did take in a double-feature one night when I couldn’t sleep. I had to watch Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, a hero story all in its own. I’ll admit it. I’m not a huge Sandler fan. But there is no denying the comedic timing and talent he possesses.

But the heroism didn’t end there. O.M.G. Fantastic 4, The Green Hornet, X-Men, Daredevil and Elektra came into play. I know. I know. A lot of people weren’t at all impressed with the last two, but I have a thing for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner (remember Alias???) And because I’m a huge fan of action movies… those led into a Lethal Weapon marathon that just makes me smile. I mean, forget the weirdness of Mel Gibson as he’s aged and the divorce settlement with his ex. At the end of the day, the man is a hell of an Oscar-winning actor, producer and director. Plus, he has those blue, blue eyes.

Another actor with some pretty blue eyes (and also a fellow Texan) is Matthew McConaughey. Yeah. I did it. I watched four of his movies as well. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch and Fool’s Gold. I haven’t had a chance to see his fairy-dust, chest-beating performance yet in The Wolf of Wall Street, but I’m sure that’s coming soon.

A couple of other movies that bear seeing for too many reasons to list here are The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Water for Elephants and Eat, Pray, Love.  Each of these is based on an amazing book and the screenwriters did a fabulous job of transferring the critical elements of each story to the screen. (And yes, I finally watched EPL because of the number of references to it “Raj” makes in the hit TV show “The Big Bang Theory.”

So tonight… I shall sit and devour yet another movie. I’m torn as my choices are becoming fewer and further between. Most of my DVD collection is in Dallas so I’m making due with what’s left here in town for now. On another trip down there, I will have to pick up another 50 or so.

I shall leave you to your own devices while I snuggle up in bed with Bruce Willis. It’s a Die Hard kind of night. Yippie-ki-yay, mother…….

What’s Better Than Smart A$$

“Some feel that to court a woman in one’s employ is nothing more than a serpentine effort to transform a lady into a whore.”  ~ Leopold, from “Kate & Leopold” (2001)

In today’s world, it’s so easy to come up with a crass comment or put-down; however, there is something to be said about thinking one’s words through in order to have the most impact. The aforementioned quote from “Kate and Leopold” is a prime example of setting someone in their place without specifically calling someone names or challenging them directly. It’s beautifully written and something to think about next time you wish to utilize the art of “speechfare.”

Related side note: Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman are a perfect casting combination and make for a lovely couple in this movie. Liev Schreiber, who subsequently worked with Jackman in the 2009 movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine – starts off as a cad and becomes completely likeable. This movie has some brilliant cinematography, sharp and snappy writing and Jackman’s charm makes this a romantic comedy worth checking out.

The Silver Reunion and 1988

25 years ago (not to the day) I graduated from High School in the middle of BFE. I enjoyed school for the most part. I wasn’t part of any particular crowd – had friends in all the crowds which was a good, good thing. We had the jocks, the preps, the geeks / nerds, the stoners, the … wait… hang on… I feel like that scene in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off when Ed Rooney’s secretary Grace says, “Oh, he’s very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads – they all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude.”  But I digress…. 

This weekend is my 25th reunion weekend and I’m not going / didn’t go. 
Please don’t feel sorry for me. 
I don’t want to go.
Friday night was extended Beer 30 at a local bar, with a pre-bar before-hand. (Like really?)
There was a fund-raising walk early this morning, which I can’t do right now, Wonderland Park this afternoon (about 100 degrees out) and then dinner at the Wolflin House tonight. I’m sorry, but really none of that interests me. I don’t drink. I’d do the walk if I were able. I spent the day helping mom, which is MUCH more important than spending time at Wonderland, and Wolflin House was something like $30-$40 a head (I’m broke.)
But beyond that, I’d probably be bitching about the food and want to leave early anyway. Why? A lot of the people I really wanted to see couldn’t make the reunion. There may be a few here to see, but overall. I just don’t care. Is that just wrong of me? I don’t know. 

However, I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about some cool things about 1988. Here are my top three favorite movies and songs from 1988. 


Die Hard – Yeah. In 1988 I developed a major crush on Bruce Willis.  He was charming in “Moonlighting,” but this movie did it for me. I’ll probably be a lifelong fan. He’s better looking now, not a bad actor and I’ll forgive the divorce with Demi Moore. She’s flaky anyway. 

BIG – Released in 1988 as well, Tom Hanks pulled off a fun movie (I believe it was shot in one of my all time favorite stores, FAO Schwartz.)  My children enjoyed seeing it when they were younger as well. I dare say this movie is timeless.

Cocktail – With Tom Cruise before he went Bat Shit Crazy, what 80’s girl didn’t have a crush on him. As a side note… in ’89 I got into a shit ton of trouble by accidentally playing the Beach Boy’s “Kokomo” released from this soundtrack on the air. Wrong song for the wrong format. My bad. I’m truly sorry. 


Speaking of favorite tunes from ’88…

It was number 2 on the Billboard Top 100 from 1988, but it’s my favorite song from that year. INXS‘ “Need You Tonight.” Michael Hutchence had a voice to die for and I can remember wearing out two… count them TWO cassette tapes in my car.  A lot of Friday nights were spent cruising around town while listening to INXS’s album, “Kick.” While I love all of their work, it was possibly their best. 

Most people would guess this would be my number one pick from 1988. Surprise, it’s my number two. It fell on Billboard’s Top 100 at number 19. Def Leppard – “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” The other song that made the charts in ’88 was “Love Bites.”  Hysteria was released in 1987 and it was a monster album for the band. It’s not my favorite song on the album. That would actually be “Love and Affection.” However… on the flip side (album) of “Sugar”, the band re-recorded one of my all time faves – “I Wanna Be Your Hero.” Awesome stuff that is. 

The third pick is very, very hard from me because music fuels my soul. I was in radio at an early age and will probably always have some part in the industry. There were SO MANY good songs and groups that I could say all the rest of them, but I will do my best to pick one and only one for number three. I’m trying to pick from George Michael, Guns and Roses, Van Halen, Whitney Houston, Foreigner, Cher, Sting, Richard Marx, Debbie Gibson, Rick Astley… Wow… lots to choose from. 

However, this last spot will go to the Bangles – “Hazy Shade of Winter.” Billboard’s Top 100 logged them at number 35. However, there’s something about this song that haunts me. I scrolled up and down the list of songs and knew the words and melodies to almost all of them. I always came back to this one. 

“Hazy Shade of Winter” was written by Paul Simon of Simon and Garfunkel in 1966 so you know automatically you have a master of the craft of songwriting taking care of business. Combined with the feminine harmonics of the Bangles, it comes together beautifully. It has staying power and will outlive me, just on lyrics alone. 



A HAZY SHADE OF WINTER
Time, time, time
See what’s become of me
While I looked around for my possibilities
I was so hard to please
But look around
Leaves are brown
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter
Hear the Salvation Army band
Down by the riverside’s
Bound to be a better ride
Than what you’ve got planned
Carry your cup in your hand
And look around you
Leaves are brown, now
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter
Hang on to your hopes, my friend
That’s an easy thing to say
But if your hopes should pass away
Simply pretend
That you can build them again
Look around
The grass is high
The fields are ripe
It’s the springtime of my life
Seasons change with the scenery
Weaving time in a tapestry
Won’t you stop and remember me
At any convenient time?
Funny how my memory skips
Looking over manuscripts
Of unpublished rhyme
Drinking my vodka and lime
I look around
Leaves are brown
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter
Look around
Leaves are brown
There’s a patch of snow on the ground
Look around
Leaves are brown
There’s a patch of snow on the ground






Avatar Trilogy

“Man is always inclined to be intolerant towards the thing, or person, he hasn’t taken the time adequately to understand…”
Robert Brown

The first time I saw Avatar, I got sucked in by the visuals. Good Heavens… the visuals!!!

The second time I saw Avatar, I watched it for the story which was actually kind of soggy for me. It was more or less a  politically correct denunciation of US imperialism, nature exploitation, cowboys and indians violence, and the rest in a story of US campaign to exterminate the natives of a planet for its minerals.  It was about intolerance and greed (which inherently should make a good storyline, but it felt wishy-washy at best.)It’s all rather “Dances with Wolves” set in outer space. And yes, being the woman that I am, I appeciated James Cameron’s ability to throw a love story in the mix. Thank you, James!

The casting… superb. There really isn’t another word for it.  Sam Worthington, Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver could not have been better choices and I’m hoping that they will come back in the sequel.

Sequel?

Oh yes…. Avatar is the first of a trilogy –  most likely an award winning trilogy that will take plenty of time and money to produce.

You see, the concept for the 2009 blockbuster Avatar started in 1994 with an 80 page treatment for the film. It grew to a screenplay and a multi-million dollar venture that has grossed more than two BILLION (yes, with a B) dollars and brought home three academy awards for Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction.

For those looking for Titanic releases from movie mogul, James Cameron, in another genre, your wait will be a long one. Mr. Cameron has no outward desire to do anything but continue the Avatar storyline. “I’m making ‘Avatar 2,’ ‘Avatar 3,’ maybe ‘Avatar 4,'” Cameron revealed during an interview about the Chinese film industry. “I’m not going to produce other people’s movies for them. I’m not interested in taking scripts.”

With the long wait for Avatar, don’t hold your breath for the next in the trilogy. The earliest we might see any sign of life is going to be 2014, but more realistically it will be 2016. If the sequels are anything like the original, I think they will be well worth the wait.