Movie Day!

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It is exceptionally rare for me to go see a movie in a theater.

It is even more rare for both boys to join me.

Yesterday though, we had to make it happen. We *had* to see Ted. Why? Well, we knew we would all enjoy the raunchy, Seth MacFarlane film. Yes, the humor is crude, but with often very intelligent and spot on cultural references that are quite hysterical.

References such as this classically horrible 1980s B movie:

Yes, that is Flash Gordon starring Sam Jones.

We know Sam Jones. His post-Hollywood life lead him to our area of the world and one of his sons is the same age as 15 and they played both baseball and football together before high school. Sam was one of the assistant coaches on the pop warner team. So we knew him as Coach Sam.

Apparently coach Sam couldn’t resist the call from Seth when he was creating Ted and got the idea to feature Flash Gordon in the movie. The main character (Mark Wahlberg) and his bear are strangely obsessed with the movie. Scenes from the flick “flash” across the screen at random points. But the kicker for us is that 2012 Sam plays himself in the movie! Yes, he’s in his 50s now and is a bit thicker all around than the 1980s version but the crack up is that they didn’t try to hide THAT…..but they did give him Flash Gordon blonde hair parted down the middle! We squealed with extra loud laughter whenever he was on screen.

I kept thinking “He has kids in jr high and high school – is this cool, or mortifying for them?!”

 

I suppose if you LIKE being depressed…..

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I like to be a contrarian sometimes. Sometimes? Oh hush.

The following four things receive HIGH HIGH HIGH Critical Acclaim. Oprah’s Book Club! Grammys! Oscars!

However, I will advise you that unless you WANT to run into the kitchen and swallow a bottle of anti-depressants with that bottle of vodka and slip away into the night…well….then you’d be doing yourself a favor to avoid them.

I’m fairly convinced that even the happiest, most plucky, glass ALWAYS full among us would be in danger of deep depression after exposure to what I think are the most soul sucking pieces of literary, film & musical drivel to be foisted on our senses.

Behold! Your sure fire cures for a severe case of joy:

Sarah McLachlan

There is no denying that she has a very lovely voice. Soothing perhaps….IF she used it for good. But, she uses it for evil. Depressing, go to sleep forever evil. In fairness, I *have* seen her live. And yes, she is JUST as bad on stage. Lordy girl – can you please sing/write SOMETHING with some pep? You can celebrate love and life you know.

Tell me you haven’t had your TV on sorta on auto-pilot, heard the opening strains of “In The Arms of An Angel”, seen the images of animals wasting away and though “GAH! No! Not AGAIN!” and wanted to gouge your eyes out?

Yeah, I don’t care WHAT she sings now. Like Pavlov’s dog, the sound of her voice makes me immediately feel sick in the pit of my stomach and tears well up. Thank you, but NO!

It’s a little easier to avoids books than it is to avoid music since radio stations can assault you and, as pointed out, TV commercials can jump up and bite you – but…..there is something about a depressing book that really insults you. First off – you all probably picked this one up thanks to Oprah, right? I know I did. That first year that she did her book club, I didn’t read anything unless she had recommended it. I was doing OK until this one popped up. What in the hell is appealing about a book where literally everyone dies at the end including the only couple of characters you might have liked? Or, if they are not literally dead, they might as well be because the way the ending is written it is clear that those still breathing wish quite deeply that they weren’t? Who writes this thinking a reader wants to spend several nights immersed in this? Isn’t a book supposed to be a way of ESCAPING reality? And a book takes time and EFFORT to read. A song is a mere 3 minutes of hell. A movie is over in 2-3 hours. A book? That’s usually several days of a few hours here and there depending on how long and how fast you read.

Of course, it is my own problem that I almost NEVER stop reading a really bad book. I stubbornly plug away to the end hoping against all evidence that things will turn around.

Yes, I *was* smart enough NOT to the movie adaptation of this horrible mess.

However, I was NOT smart enough to remember how Oprah had burned me. Because years later when I inherited Jacqueline’s collection of novels which included a fair amount of Oprah Book Club selections, I got suckered again:

Holy hell in a hand basket! First you spend over 100 pages reading about how FABULOUS this family thinks they are…then it all goes downhill from there and one by one they are all exposed to be the shells of human beings that they are. No hope. No learning. No growing. Just mind numbing depravity & self destruction. Again – why the ever loving heck did I read this until the end? Ok, read is generous – I skimmed. But…ugh!

As often as I have marveled at how amazing it is that JK Rowling walked around with the Harry Potter stories in her head, wafting around in her over-sized imaginary glands until she could get them all out on paper – I feel deeply SORRY for authors who carry around tales like those two! I mean, really, how did THEY get through life with the ability to even crack a half-assed smile?

But then – we come – to THE biggest waste of time EVER – which won it’s industry’s highest possible honor (WHY WHY WHY?):

To quote Elaine from Seinfeld : “That movie SUCKS!”

Pretty much, yep.

So in conclusion – if you find out that someone plans on watching The English Patient after spending the day reading The House of Sand and Fog and listening to Sarah McLachlan CD’s…..just go ahead and call the suicide hotline on their behalf. They will thank you later.

 

It’s the weekend, time to par-tay!

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Oh yes, there will be dancing!

Can you believe that I nearly reached the age of 45 before going to a Bar Mitzvah Service? I didn’t have any Jewish friends until high school which was too late of course. Older son knew one boy and was invited to the service but only the boy’s friends were invited, not the friend’s parents (makes sense, I hardly knew them) Tomorrow, SportsBoy and I will attend the service and luncheon and then party for a boy we’ve known since they were both 5. They have played both baseball and football (sob!) together and attended elementary school together.  In fact, if the team had won last weekend (sob!), they would have been playing tomorrow without their kicker since he is tomorrow’s honoree. So it was a slight silver lining when the team lost (sob) to know that we could be there for our friend for all of the events of the day, not just the evening party. In fact, it has given us something to look forward to since it will be the first Saturday without a game (Sob! Ok, I’ll stop :-)) Many of his teammates will be there as well as his coach so it will be a very nice transition into Thanksgiving week.

And oh yeah, this family hosts some downright fantastic parties so you know we will be having FUN. I’m looking forward to a rare night out with SweetPrince who will join me for the evening portion. We so rarely get nights out together and shoot – we had one last week and now this! Downright spoiled I tell ya!!

I also think I will be the only female this weekend NOT swooning over New Moon and Edward and….BARF! I am SOOO the mom of boys – these books and movies are of ZERO interest to me! In fact, much like SB who gags when the girls he knows in school or online start in with the Twilight talk, I tend to change the channel really quickly and/or skip over anything related to the series. Thankfully there is a somewhat testosterone laden movie for the boys opening this weekend – Blind Side – we’ll be checking that out on Sunday.

Oh, but I will swoon just a bit – Adam Lambert’s CD has been shipped to me!! I may have it as early as today, possibly tomorrow. It’s official release is Monday and he is performing at the American Music Awards on Sunday night. THEN I shall swoon. And then SB will roll his eyes and make gagging sounds at ME, but HEY, what are moms for if not to torture their teenagers?

February is the Monday of months

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What is it about February? How can shortest month in calendar days also be the longest? I’ve been ready since the weekend to change all my computer themes to March! How can there still be another week??

It’s getting busy around here again. Well, busy being relative of course since its never really NOT eh? Little League games start tomorrow. Should be more fun finally – coach from hell moved out of town (yay!!) Which reminds me that I DID have a story for my Friday post! The Worst Thing Ever for me was when the LL coach busted me for writing about him on my blog! Which he was not supposed to SEE (dammit) and when he did I just about died from embarrassment.

Pop Warner gearing up for registration. Board meeting tonight which makes for a very very long day and then online sign ups will start with the first in person day in two weeks. One. More. Year.

Did you watch the Academy Awards? I had so much fun Sunday night twittering and face-booking about it with my friends across the country. It was like one big viewing party! So rare to have an event like that be live in all time zones – usually we left coasters have to avoid anything online until the show ends for us in order to keep from having things spoiled by our yappy east coast friends. I have no idea why I enjoy the show so much given that I almost *never* see movies that are nominated until well after. I guess it’s just always a good show. Not sure about Hugh Jackman hosting. I loved that he sang and danced (most seemed to hate the production numbers, but I liked them), but I missed the wit of someone like Jon Stewart or Billy Crystal. I think it is better to have a comedian who can provide ongoing quips and reactions throughout the show. Anyway, all that mattered to me was that the one movie I saw and adored was Milk and it won in the writing and Best Actor categories so I was thrilled. I was actually *shocked* that Sean Penn won since the buzz leading in had been all about Mickey Rourke.  I was biased since I only saw the one movie but I liked how it was put by someone who saw both The Wrestler and Milk back to back on the Sat night before the ceremony:  “Mickey played a fictional version of himself. Sean acted his ass off to play Harvey Milk.” That description goes along with what Robert Deniro said while introducing Sean as a nominee Sunday night:

“How did he do it?” fellow Oscar winner Robert De Niro wondered in introducing Penn. “How for so many years did he get all those jobs playing straight men?”



Movie Review – Hotel For Dogs

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Thanks to my SweetPrince who works for Petco, SportsBoy and I got to attend a local VIP screening of  Hotel For Dogs. they gave us free popcorn, soda, and candy plus some cool swag (tote bag, calendar, t shirt & book). It was pretty cool! The movie is very sweet. Predictable of course, but we enjoyed it. The main characters are a brother and sister played by Emma Roberts and Jake T Austin. Emma is Julia Robert’s niece and oh yes, she has the Robert’s family dazzling smile! Jake stars as the youngest brother on the Wizards of Waverly Place on Disney (one of SB’s favorite shows) and we both got a good laugh out of one line in the movie when Emma’s character tells Jake “Wow, you really ARE a wizard!” Of course you needed to know his TV persona to get that little joke 🙂 Don Cheadle plays their social services counselor and I just love him. Lisa Kudrow does a very funny turn as their utterly ridiculous foster mom and it really made me miss seeing her every week when Friends was on.

The main message in this movie though is all about shelter dogs. Before our viewing started a representative from Pedigree foods talked about how many dogs end up in shelters each year (4 million). Pedigree has partnered with Petco with their adoption program and is donating $1 per movie ticket sold (up to $250k) to the Petco Foundation.  He said that 60% of the dogs in the movie were shelter dogs and that many of them ended up adopted by the cast and crew. The dogs really steal the movie.

Perfect for kids – nothing overly scary or too too sad at all and even the tense moments are over fast enough and of course everything ends up perfectly happy at the end 🙂

SportsBoy and I give it two paws up. (ha. ha. ha. yeah, had to go for the obvious pun there. Sorry.)

I figured out what this blog is!

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It’s a Pensieve! Created as a place to put down my thoughts on life and, more recently, to document memories.

Can you tell I am reading Harry Potter? Yes, one of the last to do so, I know. I’ve just finished books 4 and 5.  The routine is that SportsBoy and I read the book, then watch the movie and do a compare/contrast. And he is taking this *seriously*! I finished book 4 the other day and he would NOT let me start 5 without seeing the movie first! He even went so far as to hide book 5 from me. Stinker!! Now it’s the same thing with 6.

I must say that Goblet of Fire was a very poor representaiton of the book. Of course it would be as the book was more than 600 pages. Order of the Pheonix was nearly 900!! The movies have to cut out so so much, and IMHO, TOO much. The wonder of these books is in the details.The little moments that all weave together from tale to tale. But I was truly irritated at the end of Goblet of Fire at the HUGE details left off or changed!! It had not been that bad with the first 3 at all. So we will see how the 5th movie can stand up. I hear they did perhaps split this one up? They had to I would think! I have lots of tv switching chores to do today, but I will get that movie so we can watch it. I want to read #6!!

Can a straight girl fall in love with a gay man? Oh, a dead one at that?

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Because I am head over heels right now with Harvey Milk:

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Ok, well to be honest about the new love of my life, this is the version I fell for tonight:

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Photo by Greg Hefner

::swoon::  <thunk>

OK, I’m back now. Can you tell I just saw Milk? Have you seen it? GO! NOW!

(Clearly anyone who has read my site before knows how I feel about gay rights. This movie was not putting me out of my comfort zone in the least. But I sure do HOPE that some minds be stretched by it. One man walked out at the beginning. Otherwise the half full theatre never moved)

I was only 13 when he died. I have…a very vague memory of hearing the news of the shooting. I *know* that I had zero knowledge that he was gay, or his significance in the political arena. Yes, this movie is a dramatic representation of his years in California leading up to his assasination. But if it is even 50% accurate then this was man was so amazingly heroic. The fact that he made those tape recordings to document his activism in the event he was killed…he knew. And he kept on fighting. Given how long it takes to make and release a movie, there is no way they knew how appropos the timing of it’s release would be.

The passage of Prop 8 in California has put gay rights back on the map nationally. I’ve documented that a bit already and talked about how I think it will end up being a good thing in the long run for the movement. Well, in this movie Harvey says much the same thing as he loses election after election and across the nation Anita Bryant leads her charge against gay rights one state at a time. With each loss in another state, the Milk just works harder to get the message out.  Finally it all converges around him. He wins his state supervisor seat and the fight comes to California with the truly insane Prop 6 trying to oust all gay teachers. Milk challenged the state senator sposoring the bill to debates. He called on all gays to come out and identify themselves so that straight voters would realize that yes, they DO know gay people which would hopefully put a familiar human face to the cause. “Never blend in” was his rallying cry. Never blend in. Oh, do I believe in that! I’ve been asked in my own life as I sit here in GOP-land why I have ‘outed’ myself in the community as a Democrat. I usually shrug it off saying “I am what I am and why should I hide it?”  I think I will now answer with “never blend in” 🙂 During a conversation with the state senator sponsoring Prop 6, the senator says “the voters are with me” and Milk responds “For now they are. But when they realize that they know us, they will change their minds.” I love that he went on the road to debate this. Into (gasp!) “Orange fucking County” and his campaign worker said it – the least friendly county in the state. Oh yippee – where I grew up! But hey, 30 years ago my state did the right thing and voted down Prop 6. And for that moment in the movie when they celebrate it, I felt good about it again.

Beyond the Prop 8 connection though, there is another theme weaving through the movie that has a real life parallel with this year. You see, Milk was a community organizer as it’s finest. One who saw the needs of his surrounding area and stepped into the leadership roll to meet those needs. He rebuilt a neighborhood nearly single handedly. The self annointed “Mayor of Castro.” He used that as a launching pad into politics and was very open about the changes he wanted made once he got into office. He equated his movement with the larger Civil Rights movement for racial equality and he reached out to anyone who needed to feel like an “us” and not a “them”. He inspired people across the country. He was the first member of his social minority group to rise to elected office. In the film, the final words he speaks into his tape recorder are “You gotta give ’em hope.” Where have we heard that before? Think of the audacity 🙂

I am not sure why the gay rights movement tugs at my soul the way it does. I really don’t know, nor does it matter I suppose. All I know is that I felt myself getting hot with anger every time Anita Bryant or anyone arguing against gay rights was on the movie screen. I know that my heart was singing with joy when he won his election and then when they showed the celebration at the defeat of Prop 6. And I know my face was wet with tears as the showed the candelight march after his death, and that those tears turned to sobs when the credits finally showed the real Harvey Milk on screen. Because I realized that I am just hopelessly in love with a dead, gay man and all he did and all he fought for.

Go see the movie. Please.