Thursday, April 29, 2010

 

As of May 1, 2010...

...Blogger will no longer allow FTP publishing. Updates to this blog can be found at http://moviesmomandme.blogspot.com. This section of the journal will also remain at in it's domain directory, so accessing links should not present a problem.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

 

Demetri Martin: Person

  1. Who's watched:  G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  I almost forgot about entering this DVD because its more or less permanent place is right by the DVD player. MFS sent this to me maybe two months ago, so, it's one of those post-Mom DVDs. I'm not sure whether she thought it was time for me to laugh, again, but that's what this DVD accomplished. I've watched it three times since she sent it. I've watched ALL the special features on this disc. I've looked up his show, Important Things (which is right now in repeat, but I still watch it, I need to be reminded of his attitude) on cable. I've watched episodes of that. This is one of my favorite types of humor: Droll, bizarre, outrageously unassuming, ridiculous...I LOVE this guy's take on the world, which, by the way, extends to his website (which is also VERY unassuming...there's almost nothing there and he appears white on white...hilarious in itself. His "music", his drawing, his skits, love 'em. This is one of the kinds of humor with which I was raised in my family. Watching Demetri Marin feels like coming home. And Laughing.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

 

Yentl

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1*
  3. Commentary:  This is the second movie I've bought since Mom died, strictly in memory of Mom, this time. This was one of her favorites. Although it didn't play on the cable channels often, I doubt that we ever missed a showing of it. There are many reasons she liked it: Its portrayal of a bright, gutsy young woman refusing to give up her dreams and desires in the face of a woman-stifling culture; its periodicity; its intriguing presentation of a woman who is so successful at masquerading as a man that she marries a woman who thinks she's an exceptional (because she's a woman) man (Mom has always loved gender-benders); the very messy, thus very realistic resolution. Although its not one of my favorites, I have to say that certain scenes have the power to mesmerize me, despite the outlandishness of the story. The movie wasn't released on video until this year, some months after Mom died. When I saw it at Costco I knew it was necessary for me to purchase it. And watch it, multiple times, I'm sure. In honor of Mom...and Momandme.

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The Women (2008)

  1. Who's watched:  G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  This is one of the few movies I've purchased since Mom died. It came out the Tuesday after she died. We'd talked about getting it so that we could compare it with the first version and looked forward to seeing it. I'd talked, the week before she died, about it's release coming up the next week. Thus, of course, I bought it.
      There are two critical schools of thought on this remake. The first is echoed in the link to the title of the movie above. The second is here, courtesy of The New York Times. The former expresses my sentiments, although not completely. Roger Ebert seems not to have watched either movie closely enough to realize that the remake actually follows the structure of the first one very closely. Some of the dialogue is even repeated. The resolution is completely different and the satire is toned down significantly so, yes, these are two "different" movies. And, I definitely missed the presence of the hats and the silly clothes that Sylvia wears in the first movie. I also missed the hilarious actress credit sequence from the first movie that wasn't even attempted in the second. I was curious to see what the producers of the remake would do with that. The second movie also explores the eternal mother character much better than the first, and I like the twist in the remake on the relationship between the mother and daughter. The first is much cattier, but the second portrays deeper friendships which would be trivialized by the catty fast talk of the first. Both movies, as well, have interesting fashion runway sequences. My preference is for the first. I prefer the context, love the fact that the movie switches to color for that sequence, and I love the clothes in the first movies' fashion sequence much better than the clothes in the second. I should have been born so that I could have been in my clothes-horse prime during the thirties through the early forties. For satiric dazzle I prefer the first movie. For emotional satisfaction I prefer the second. I'd love to know which my mother would have preferred. I will be keeping both movies.
      You'll notice that I categorized the first as a romance. It was. I can't categorize the second as such, because it isn't; unless you count romancing one's friends, and one's self, which is a clear slant of the second movie. Ah, what the hell; why not. It's a romance. Just not the usual kind.

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Thank You for Smoking

  1. Who's watched:  G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  I rented this, fell in love with it as the ultimate in political instruction and purchased a copy for myself as a reminder of what I'll be up against if I ever decide to enter into politics (which I may) and how to give as good as I get. Although this movie is, of course, a broad satire, it is also a case of a no holds barred portrayal of reality being the satire. It isn't that I haven't been aware that much of politics is froth...it's that this movie made me realize that one can't beat the influence of froth unless one understands it and, as well, is willing to occasionally decorate one's priorities with froth. And, no, Mom never watched it. I made the choice not to show it to her. I was concerned that the speaking was so fast and furious that she would get lost in the shuffle. I now think I may have underestimated her ability to understand the point of this movie, and enjoy it. Maybe I'll do better next life.

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State of the Union

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  Ah! This movie is a buried treat! I knew nothing about it when I spotted it at Costco. The play from which it is adapted continues to be produced and, apparently, over the last few years, has been considered especially timely: check out this link for proof. I purchased it solely on the strength of it being yet another Tracy/Hepburn movie. When Mom and I enthusiastically cracked the case that afternoon and watched the movie, we were both blown away! Aside from the fact that I can't believe this movie isn't more well known, it's extremely timely. It talks about political and economic issues with which we are still struggling; it suggests the possibility of not only a European Union but a World Union with a World Currency; it discusses the problems of corporate industry and talks about the relationship between management and unions...and, of course, it deals heavily with political corruption by lobbyists and business. It's story line includes a sub-story which is a frank exploration of marriage versus mistresses and the "sacrifices" wives and husbands appear to be obliged to make when one of them becomes involved in politics. It is yet another one of Frank Capra's movies and is clearly identifiable as one. And, it was made in 1948!
      Mom and I were both wowed by this movie and wondered why it isn't considered among the Tracy/Hepburn classics, or among Capra's classics. We watched it multiple times before Mom died. I've watched it a couple of times since.

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Spanglish

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  This movie is purely Mom's delight. From the beginning, when the narrator begins to tell the story of what her mother means to her, my mother follows the movie all the way through. That's why I decided to purchase a copy one day when I saw it selling at the grocery store at a ridiculously cheap price. I enjoy it, too...even though my Adam Sandler fandom runs more to movies like Punch Drunk Love. It was fun for me to watch Mom watching this movie, though. She just beamed through the entire show. I think she identified strongly with Flor.

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Sister Wendy Collection

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1*
  3. Commentary:  Our collection consists of the following:  Aside from the comments in the Mention, above, you should know that the theme for the series casts a spell over me, as well. My mother never tired of watching these videos. Neither do I.

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Singin' in the Rain

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1*
  3. Commentary:  I don't care why critics think it's a great movie...I just love it. Every single moment of it; especially the dancing and singing in the rain and the dance sequences with Reynolds, Kelly and O'Connor. LOVE watching O'Connor and Kelly together. They both looked like they just "[Had]'ta Dance"! Mom loved this movie, too. The only reason we didn't own it before last year is that it showed on TCM so much that it seemed as though we didn't need to own it...until I ran across a copy of it on the cheap and decided it was time. Also, I consider this movie film art because of the way dance was translated to the screen.

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Sicko

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  I keep this movie as reference. I think it will come in particularly handy in the next few years. Mom and I both watched it. I think it bored Mom, especially since I insisted on watching all the special features which were, in many cases, more interesting than the movie. I care about this movie because I am one of Uninsured America. Since I was 22, I have ha medical insurance for only nine months out of my entire adult life. In addition, I earned my fighting chops defending my fully insured mother against the USA Medical-Industrial Complex, including the insurance industry. Shouldn't surprise you that I'm a fan of this movie.

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Sex and the City, The Movie

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1*
  3. Commentary:  My reaction to this movie is complicated.
    • I'm sure you've heard the following: "If you love the series, you'll love the movie." Not so. I agree that in order to become involved in the movie one has to be familiar with the series, but I love the series and the movie was a disappointment. I can see how my mother liked the movie. Aside from her reaction noted above, it was so colorful and splashed so broadly on such a huge canvas that it was kind of like watching a cartoon.
    • That having been said, I was deeply affected, after my mother's death, by the scenes involving Carrie's mourning of what she assumed to be the definitive death of her relationship with Mr. Big. These scenes tugged mercilessly at my heart. At one point, the week after the first group of visitors left, I would watch the series of scenes, from her phone dropping at the wedding site when she hears that John has decided not to come to the wedding, straight through to her finally arising from an emotionally drugged three day sleeping binge in Mexico and joining the rest of her friends, endlessly. I would weep uncontrollably throughout...then continue my own mourning, which while it didn't include constant sleep, did include loss of appetite, drawing of all drapes, extinguishing of all sources of light and a strict isolation from everything that implies the continuation of life. That part of the movie continues to tug at my heart. On bad days, I make it a point to watch that series of scenes, yet again.
    • I was completely disappointed in something about the movie, but I couldn't place my finger on what until MCS and MCNC came to visit in early spring and we watched the movie (they hadn't seen it). When MCS pronounced it, after having watched about a half hour of it, as "a bunch of privileged women buying things", I realized what bothered me about the movie: The hard-driven focus on fashion, which is so relentless that the story lines get lost in the shuffle. Although the series has a decent fashion thrust, it isn't relentless; nor does it obscure story lines and ideas. The movie, unfortunately, took the fashion/money thrust to the limit and, in doing so, limited the ability of the story lines to come through.
      I'll keep the movie, though, as a part of my SATC collection. I hope the company doesn't plan to do another, though. My hope is that they consider all loose ends tied up tight. Enough is, as this movie proves, more than enough.

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Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  I resisted placing this movie in our collection for some years, even though Mom insisted on watching it every time it came on TV and, I have to admit, I love the dancing, especially the "athletic" (as one critic called it) sequence involving the testosterone soaked brothers against suitors of the town vying for the affections of seven sprightly town maidens. Finally, winter before this last, I found it at Costco and brought it home for a weekend surprise. We watched the movie twice in a row, at Mom's request (and have watched it several times since). I was fascinated to discover that my mother's favorite dance sequence was the one done in the dead of winter while the seven brothers are chopping wood and bemoaning their singular (pun intended) fate. As she would watch that sequence, every time, she'd mention how much she liked it, her body would weave to the adagio accompaniment of the silken cowboy ballad and she'd swing her arm in an arc from her elbow each time an axe swung to a down beat. She loved the rest of the movie, as well, the Sabine Women sequence, in particular, and I loved watching her watch it. I will continue to love watching it and remembering the her high pleasure in the production.

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Savages

  1. Who's watched:  G
  2. Mentions:  *1* *2*
  3. Commentary:  I think I said everything that needs to be said about this film in the first of the Mentions. I am assigning it to the "caregiver" category, marginally, but I don't actually think of this as a caregiver's movie; even though most of the critics who watched it did. A lot of critics, I guess, haven't cared for elderly relatives and friends.

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Requiem for a Dream

  1. Who's watched:  G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  I had wanted to watch this movie ever since it came out and somehow never got the chance. I never mentioned it to anyone, but I thought of it often. When we joined a rental service I put it in my queue but there were always so many other, much lighter movies that I placed before it because, somehow, I knew this wasn't a film Mom would want to watch. Then, during the spring of 2008 when Mom was in the hospital an rehab, out of the blue MFS sent me a copy of this movie...even though I'm sure I never mentioned my interest in it to her...it's become, since, a symbol of our psychic link.
      This movie is frenetic, tragic and gorgeous, all at the same time. Ostensibly the story of what addiction (to a variety of "things", including dreams) can do to a person. It's wonderfully acted and so succinctly imagined, written, produced, directed and portrayed that, after one scene in which one of the characters sexually compromises herself for drugs, MFS told me she felt like she needed to take a shower after the scene. It's true: The movie throws the grime of desperation right through the screen at you. There's something in this movie to make anyone, everyone feel dirty. The desperation never lets up; it's like watching a family version of Titus Andronicus. Which, of course, thrills me. I don't know why I'm attracted to such spot-on portrayals of the dregs of life, but I am, and this one is a masterpiece. I've watched it three times since I've received it. I'll watch it again. I've even created the category of "tragedy" for it, because, oddly, despite my attraction to tragedy, except for some of the video adaptations of Shakespeare's plays, we have no other relentless tragedies. I think I held off while Mom was alive because I suspected that I wouldn't be able to watch them, much. I was right...but, (cackling deleriously and rubbing hands together) THE SCREEN IS MINE, ALL MINE, NOW...

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Persuasion

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  I picked this up because Mom and I so enjoyed the video versions of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility that we own and a friend told me that I'd probably like this version of the JA novel, too. I'm usually wary of friends recommending movies to me, but she was right. Mom and I both enjoyed this one. Film adaptations of Jane Austen and others' works can be disappointing; Mom and I have been disappointed before. This one isn't. I still prefer the books, but this movie and the other two JA adaptations we own bring the characters and environments to life.

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Legends of the Fall

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  I'm truly surprised that I never mentioned this movie in the journals because, after I'd first seen it, the year it was released, I was mesmerized by it and talked it up to everyone who would listen, rented it endlessly and forced relatives to watch it with me, etc. I've often tried to explain why this movie has such a hold over me. Luckily, Mom always enjoyed it, as she does most big country-spectacle-epics. The acting is poor to fair to good to very occasionally excellent (usually the minor characters ring in the excellence in acting); the story is, well, the father-son story at the base of it is reasonably interesting but predictable; but the whole business about bears and the fall...it resonates with my own interest in bears and the fact that I've always been unreasonably proud of being a fall baby and feel "special" because of that accident of birth timing. I tend to feel as though I am in a dream when I watch this movie. Weird, I know. But, I expect to unreasonably love this movie for the rest of my life. I was lucky that Mom enjoyed it, too, I think it was like reading a sprawling novel, for her, thus she indulged my need to watch this at least once a year, if not more.

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Ordinary People

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  I picked this up on a whim. The memory of Mary Tyler Moore's performance in this movie haunted me for years. Stunning. When I stumbled upon across a copy on the cheap I decided to purchase it. Mom didn't remember having seen it; perhaps she didn't; but she enjoyed it as a family tragedy that "works out in the end". Mainly, my interest is in MTMs performance, the story doesn't interest me, much, but her performance, I could watch certain scenes over and over again. And I have. And I will.

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Mrs. Brown

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1*
  3. Commentary:  Despite the unresounding reception Mom gave this film when we first watched it, after some extensive wrangling I finally obtained a copy of it, solely because I wanted to watch it again, and again, and probably again. After a second watching of it, Mom warmed to it. It's a subtle movie, restrained acting in display of a restrained household...which is part of its magic. Judi Densch and Billy Connolly are wonderful in it.

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Mongol

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  One of the advantages, for Mom & me, of subscribing to a DVD rental service was (and remains) the availability of foreign films. Slowly, because of my interest in films from everywhere, if they're good, she learned to handle foreign language films with subtitles. Our favorites, though, were the sweeping epics that communicate mostly without language. This movie became one of our favorites in 2008. You'd think, because it is mostly about conflict, sometimes bloody, short on specific cultural information, etc., we would have found it boring. Quite the opposite. Mom loved the scene-after-scene sprawl of the steppes. I loved the mythical ambience of the film.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

 

Katherine Hepburn 100th Anniversary Collection

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  The Collection contains the following movies:
    The Corn is Green
    Morning Glory
    Sylvia Scarlett
    Undercurrent
    Without Love
      Of these, Mom's favorite was the first. Neither of us was particularly thrilled with the middle three, although we both thought it was appropriate that Hepburn, at one point in her career, played a woman who masqueraded as a boy. Mom liked the last more than me. I was disappointed because it was one of the few Tracy/Hepburn movies I hadn't seen and the description intrigued me...but, I don't know, their chemistry seemed off in this film, as though they were having a long personal argument underneath the script. It was distracting. Mom really liked the character that Hepburn played in this movie, which didn't surprise me...I think Mom imagined herself as "that type".

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John Adams

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1*
  3. Commentary:  Yet another one of those teaching videos, for Mom. The Mention says it all. Yes, we made it through the entire series before she died. Yes, she was shocked and intrigued at the vaccination and breast cancer episodes; worthy of pauses and further discussion between us. During the breast cancer surgery (which wasn't completely displayed), she speculated, aloud, how lucky MCS (who is a breast cancer survivor) was that "we" weren't living during "those days". The surprising aspect of this was that my mother remembered that MCS had breast cancer, several years ago.

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The Jane Austen Book Club

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  This is a delightful pastiche of a movie with some very good ensemble acting and an interesting interlinkage of romantic stories that simply captured us. Look, especially, at Lynn Redgrave's performance as the mother of one of the characters. Brave and brilliant! I've watched this movie several times on my own, as well as the special features, because it, well, it feels good to watch it.

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Inside the Actors Studio: Johnny Depp

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  With this commentary, I'm instituting the habit of attaching specific interview video clips from YouTube to the interviews (yes, I'll be going back and doing the same for other interview subjects covered here). Again, interview well enjoyed by both of us.

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Inside the Actors Studio: Robin Williams

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  See Inside the Actors Studio mentions
  3. Commentary:  Unfortunately, the Bravo TV site no longer keeps tabs on all the episodes through all the years, so it looks as though I'll be reverting to YouTube for title links from now on, which is actually better, in this case, anyway. I didn't, above, only because the link I used includes some interesting information about this interview. However, if you're curious, here and here are links to two excerpts from this delightful, entertaining interview. Once you get over to YouTube you'll notice that there are several other video clips from this interview. I recommend all of them. Mom and I viewed this several times. We never tired (and I never tire) of it.

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Inside the Actors Stuido: Leading Men

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none specific to this DVD
  3. Commentary:  Although I remember the two of us delving into this DVD set soon after in arrived, I have no memory of three of the interviews [Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Sean Penn (YouTube clips linked to names)] and only a vague memory of one, Russell Crowe's (no YouTube clip of this). Hard to imagine that I spaced so much of these episodes, as I'm sure both of us enjoyed all of them...but, I received this sometime in 2008 and can only imagine that my concentration level was severely hampered by everything that was going on during Mom's last year of life. At any rate, the link connected to the title, above, gives a good overview of each interview...and writing this reminds me that I need and want to watch these episodes again!

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Iron Man

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1*
  3. Commentary:  My initial interest in this movie was that Robert Downey, Jr., plays the title character. I've never been disappointed with his work, even loved and admired some of it, and I couldn't imagine him playing a super hero. "Must really need the money," I thought, but I went for it, anyway. Perfect casting, I decided, just perfect, and good super hero story, too, good enough for me to want to own it after having rented it (and, I don't have a yen to own many super hero movies, although I try to watch as many as possible). Even though I purchased this movie some weeks before Mom's death and we both watched it (she wasn't thrilled with it), after Mom's death I found myself watching this movie several times...introducing it to relatives then watching it more on my own. I can't explain why, but it has provided me with inexplicable comfort since my mother's death. And, LOVE the suit...

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Into the Wild

  1. Who's watched:  G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  Mom never saw this movie. I suspect she would have found it interesting, but I don't know, for sure. I'm basing my guess on her reaction to Grizzly Man, which was highly favorable and of which I'm surprised we never sought a copy. Anyway, I bought the movie on the cheap because I've always harbored a desire to take off and attempt to live "in the wild" and was curious about this movie, even though much of my reading about it had forewarned me that Christopher McCandless' journey was probably more about mental/spiritual/emotional/social (take your pick) illness than anything else and that he headed "Into the Wild" frighteningly unprepared, despite himself. Some have speculated that the movie is irresponsible. Thus, any leaning toward a romantic viewing of this film had been cleared before I watched it. Still, I enjoyed the story of what this man did, even though the movie is not completely clear on the brain chemistry or social environment behind his character and choice. It's a highly romantic retelling which, opposing the critics, I find appropriate. Despite this man's talent for personal tragedy, watching the movie has a tendency to allow me to (dangerously, I suppose) consider that, well, maybe someday...with quite a bit more preparation than an idea, I can assure you...

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Holiday Inn

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  This was one of the last Christmas movies we purchased before Mom's death. I'd often wanted a copy of it because Mom had fond, though vague, memories of it. The version we purchased included the black-and-white and color editions. Although there are several b&w movies I'd refuse to watch in color, It's a Wonderful Life, for instance, or High Noon (yee gads, what a horrible idea, High Noon in color), the usual Tracy/Hepburn movies, Miracle on 34th Street (the original one), I have to say, I like this one in color better than the b&w version, although, in it's favor, that's the version we watched first. I gave Mom a choice and she chose color first. This edition contains a special feature which documents the colorization process. Once I understood how it's done, the idea didn't seem quite so disgusting. But, I still want my Now, Voyager in black & white.

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Gladiator

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1* *2* *3*
  3. Commentary:  As covered in one of the above Mentions, this movie was suggested by MFS. I was surprised at how much Mom loved it. I enjoy it, too. It's yet another spectacle movie for me (I should create a "spectacle" category, shouldn't I...I think I will, then add to it later) and I love a variety of the acting performances in this movie, particularly (but not solely) Richard Harris as Marcus Aurelius. Before he ever says anything in the movie his acting makes many aspects of Marcus Aurelius' character clear. We watched this movie on TV several times, in "to-fit-your-screen" format, before I finally purchased it. Much better in widescreen. On a whim, I watched the movie last night. I continue to find it supremely entertaining; and, as well, now that Mom's dead, surprisingly emotional, specifically at the end when Juba says, as he buries Maximus' personal idols, "I will see you again, but not yet." If you have any interest in this movie, I urge you to click into the link to the title of the movie, above, which will send you to a thorough and compelling critique of the historicity of the movie. Believe me, despite the astonishing number of historical inaccuracies in the movie, the critique renders watching the movie even more enjoyable.

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Earth: The Biography

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  This is another spectacular BBC series that charts the evolution of the earth. Fascinating. We watched in when it broke on TV then decided we had to have it for reviewing. We watched it, in its entirety, a couple of times before Mom died.

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Dead Poets' Society

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  Although Mom and I regularly watched all kinds of teaching movies, this is one of only a few we have in our collection. It's also a late comer, although both Mom and I saw it, both on TV and in the theaters, at least a few times before we bought it. It excites Mom to watch this movie, as it does all well done teaching movies. I like it because it's a Peter Weir production (so, we were destined to own it) and because it's done so well. Every time we watched this movie Mom would say, "This just makes me want to get back to the classroom," an work her arms as though she was revving herself up for a dash to the nearest school.

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The Corporation

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  I purchased this DVD while Mom was in rehab in 2008, so it's definitely a late-comer to our library. I'd rented it and was so pleased with the movie and the accompanying website (linked above to the title) that I decided to purchase it. I was sure that Mom wouldn't be interested in watching it and hadn't planned to run it for her but I'd accidentally left the jacket on the coffee table next to her rocker. When she came home she noticed and asked about it. I gave her a little enthusiastic review, than told her I wasn't sure she'd be interested in it, but she wanted to "give it a try". Much to my surprise, she really enjoyed it. It was one of those videos which we occasionally paused to discuss points and issues. She never watched it more than once, it wasn't one of those for her, but, well, suffice it to say this movie taught me never to underestimate my mother's interest in anything, always check, first.

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Touched by an Angel

  1. Who's watched:  M & G, ad infinitum
  2. Mentions:  *1* *2* *3* *4* *5* *6* *7*
  3. Commentary:  For the most complete coverage of this series in our lives, best for you to click into the first Mention, above. Otherwise, suffice it to say that, as of this date, I still haven't been able to watch any of the episodes of this series (as I haven't since my mother's death), but refuse to pass these DVDs on to someone else.

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City of Angels

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1*
  3. Commentary:  Yes, Mom and I watched this movie a long time ago, when it first came out in video. Remembering how Mom enjoyed it (whether or not she believed in angels, I never asked her this, despite her interest in this movie and the Touched by an Angel series), when I noticed it on TV during our channel surfing episodes, if nothing else looked more interesting to her, I'd click into it. I watched the entire movie once. Although I was (an remain) impressed with the visualization of how the angels in the movie exist on earth, since I'd seen Wings of Desire long prior to watching this movie, became interested in this movie because I enjoyed the former and was sorely disappointed that the remake was sooooo much different than the movie upon which it was based, after my first watching, I subsequently paid little attention to it, except, I must mention, the panoramic shots of angels, which I continued to admire.
        Then, Mom died, and, well, the rest of the story of my relationship to this movie and why I decided to purchase a copy of it is contained in the link up there in the Mentions section. And, yes, I'm still embarrassed by my late-realized attraction to certain scenes in this movie. It is, for instance, with some chagrin that I'm labeling (below) this movie in the "spiritual" category. Objectively, it's not, really, but I have to say, reluctantly, that the effect of the angel-vision scenes on me after my mother's death is emotional-spiritual (probably the "emotional" aspect is more important than the "spiritual" aspect).

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The Blue Planet

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  This is another excellent series produced by the same people who brought us Planet Earth. I have a preference for nature shows that explore water environments and this one stacks up very well. Unlike March of the Penguins, it lives up to its hype, even if you're a regular watcher of the variety of channels that frequently host animal and geographical specials. While I have tended, over the years, to become a bit jaded in the company of Animal-Vegetable-Mineral programs, seeing as how we view so many of them, this one, like Planet Earth, engages me, every episode, every time, and, because of my sub- an unconscious veering toward water videos, adds an extra "dreamy" dimension for me.

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The Buster Keaton Collection

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  none
  3. Commentary:  This collection includes: Free and Easy; Spite Marriage; The Cameraman. Mom actually got bored with these movies during the first one we watched; I'm not sure which one that was. I however, was blown away by Buster Keaton and didn't much care whether or not I liked any of the stories (I didn't particularly care for the story behind Spite Marriage); I was much too engaged by Keaton's look and technique. I'd have to say, though, if pushed, that my favorite is The Cameraman. Although I'm not usually a fan of silent film parody, watching the romance in this movie reminded me of some of the silly incidents that boys in our neighborhood displayed when they were smitten with one or another of us sisters or our girlfriends.

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Ben Hur

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  We acquired this movie just before last Easter when I was on a mission to obtain every jesus/bible related that we didn't already own. I didn't know whether she'd ever seen this movie, but she was up for it when I mentioned it to her and was immediately enraptured in it's sprawl. She's also, of course, a big fan of over-the-top drama of the period in which this was made. So am I, depending, and this movie didn't disappoint me, but, I have to say, The Ten Commandments is still my preferred movie spectacle film.

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The Belle of Amherst

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  Decades ago, when this show debuted on PBS, Mom and I watched it separately, then together during a serendipitous visit when it was being aired again, and, as well, during one of those watchings I recorded it off the TV and we listened to it many times. Over the last year the desire to listen to it, again, came up between us and I couldn't find the old casette tape, so I scoured the internet and found a copy of the original video production. We watched it at least twice before Mom died. We enjoyed it as much as we did the first time around. Definitely a shared-favorite! We both felt that Julie Harris did a wonderful job of portraying a highly self-possessed, talented wordsmith of a woman who wasn't so much shy as a joyful loner.

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Aguirre, The Wrath of God

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1* *2*
  3. Commentary:  My mother's interest in this movie was a big surprise for me. I didn't expect her to enjoy it because it is subtitled, it portrays a brutal episode in history and Werner Herzog spared no one and nothing in making this movie, but she was mesmerized by it. Unfortunately, the only copy we were able to obtain was one that had been "formatted for your screen"...big problem with this movie, since it depends on panoramic scenes, especially in the beginning, but I don't think my mother notice or cared. I will probably keep tabs on versions of this movie an replace my copy with a widescreen version at some time in the future.

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American Girl Movie Collection

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1* *2*
  3. Commentary:  Although the "Mentions" are only for one movie, we watched all four with just about equal pleasure: Kit Kittredge; Felicity; Samantha; Molly. Although I'm sure there are excellent reasons to critique the movies, we just sat back an enjoye them. Mom's favorite was Kit Kittredge, the one that takes place during the Great Depression of the 1930s; at least, this is the movie that elicited the most enthusiastic response from her, possibly because she was a child during that period. My favorite was Felicity, the one that takes place just prior to the American Revolution. I understand yet another American Girl movie has been released, Chrissa. If Mom was still alive I don't think I'd be collecting this one because there is no obvious historical context and it looks like a highly moral 'tween version of Mean Girls. Much of the draw, for Mom an me, of this series, was the historical context.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

 

I further thinned the movie collection today.

    This batch will be donated to the local library.
    You can see, along the right, what movies I decided to dump. The real story, though, is contained in the movies I added to the dump pile then found myself pulling back because I wasn't as ready to let them go as I thought:

The Bible:  This movie hasn't yet been written up. It's one of those we bought while Mom was on Hospice. I was sure I wouldn't be interested in seeing this one again until I looked over the pictures on the back of the case and remembered Mom's reactions to some of the vignettes. Good memories. I want to watch this one again, at least once, before deciding whether to releasing it.
Update 4/3/09:  I polished off a watching of this one this morning and have decided that the library gets it. Too much scenery chewing. There is one interesting scene toward the end when Abraham and Isaac are wondering the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham is agonizing over his god's command to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, as well as the necessity of obeying his god "in all things", but the scene wasn't interesting enough for me to consider keeping the movie.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 1st - 4th Seasons:  My reaction to letting go of this one surprised me. I took it off the shelf with no problem. Then, while I was diligently marking it as "no longer owned", I remembered the incident in which the police were called because we were watching back-to-back episodes of this series for several hours with the sound on high, so Mom could hear it...and apparently irritated the hell out of one of our neighbors. The memory made me laugh out loud...then I wept from realizing how much I missed our movie watching escapades. This'll have to wait for thinning until later.

Pee Wee's Playhouse, 1st & 2nd Seasons:  Of all the DVDs, I thought this was going to be an easy dump, because, although I loved this series when it was running in the 80's and Mom loved it as a break between serious movies, especially on days when she was feeling a little frisky, and, besides, it prompted her to talk about teaching, it can easily become irritating to watch. But, again, the memories trumped my ability to let it go.

The Robe:  This is another one of those Bible movies that hasn't yet been written up. I'm not sure if it will be. As I held the movie in my hands, ready to drop it into the box, I remembered a curious bit of narration, courtesy of the centurion character Richard Burton plays, at the beginning of the movie in which he states that there are only four types of Roman citizens, anymore: Politicians, patricians, centurions and slaves. Hmmm...I thought, I ought to watch that movie again, especially since I never saw the whole thing.
Update 4/2/09:  I watched it last night and it's back in the donation box. The narrative I remembered actually said that, at the time, there were more slaves in Rome than citizens...still provocative, but I'll remember that. Otherwise, it's one of those Bible spectacles that, in light of the much more gritty shows in either of the two Bible Collections I'm retaining, it's too overwrought and glitzy AND not enough overwrought and glitzy for me. How so? It doesn't come close to matching the deliciously over-the-top melodramatics of The Ten Commandments, my all time favorite outrageous fictionalization of Bible stories.

Spellbound:  The memories of Mom and me spelling the words as the movie played cinched me keeping this one a while longer.

The Story of Ruth:  Again, another Bible movie that I haven't yet written up and that Mom saw, a couple of times, but that I was too busy to pay it much attention. I need to watch this one before I let it go. It was one of Mom's favorites. I wonder if I can guess why when I watch it.
Update 4/2/09:  [See The Robe, above.] I also watched this movie last night and, although I find its 1960 Bible Movie smoothness irritating, the story is interesting, informative and it fits fairly nicely into the Bible Story Collections that I'm keeping (for the time being, anyway). I also like the ending genealogical recap which connects Ruth and Boaz to the House of David: Ruth and Boaz begat Obed, who begat Jesse, who begat David (who, by the way, begat Solomon). It is frequently a story's trajectory to (an from) the House of David that recommends it to the Abrahamic God story tradition. One of the reasons I find many of these videoed stories so interesting is that they easily clarify biblical ancestry and land movement among Abrahamic populations.

    Frankly, I thought I'd be able to get rid of more movies, but I discovered that there were quite a few movies that I liked at least as well as Mom, if not more, and, in more cases than I expected, the memories of watching the movies with Mom made it impossible for me to yet pass them on to others.
    Oh well. Maybe another day. In the meantime, I managed to gather all the movies into one area, which is good, and clean off a few more shelves in the bargain.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

 

No More Movies for Mom

    As you may already know, my mother died on December 8, 2008, at approximately 0709. Thus, she and I won't be pleasuring together in movies, anymore. However, over the last year of her life we continued to collect and watch DVDs, so there remain several to enter, here, which I'll be doing throughout the coming months. As well, there is one movie I bought after her death specifically because I knew Mom was interested in seeing it, I wanted to see it, as well, and I want to enter it and guess at what her reactions to the movie would have been. I'll designate which one this is when I post.
    Just so you aren't confused, despite my mother's death I continue to post at The Mom & Me Journals dot Net. If you're curious about what I could possibly have to say, now, that my mother is dead, click over and take a look.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

 

The Queen

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  I bought this movie sight unseen, the day it was released, based strictly on Mom's (and, now, my) love of stories about English Royals and my admiration for Helen Mirren. One of my best purchases to date! Mom and I so loved the movie that we watched it twice the day it arrived, then again the next day. We (almost) endlessly discussed details of the movie, including: The appearance of the stag, that it was actually a 15 pointer and wondered if odd numbered points were excluded when rating a rack; the importance of Diana as an icon; the likelihood that the portrayal of Prince Charles was accurate; the difficulty of being a monarch in today's world, depending on where one lives; the history of the political significance of the English monarchy and whether it would outlive this century; Queen Elizabeth II's dogs; the ick factor of lamb stew, especially when it's cold; Mirren's astonishing range, considering her performance in Elizabeth I and The Queen; and many other aspects of the movie.
      Yet another movie we'll watch over and over and over.

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Planet Earth

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  Don't tell me you're suprised we purchased this series! Thank the gods, the version with David Attenborough was available. Although we watched the series on TV when it aired on Discovery at the beginning of April (and immediately pre-ordered it), both of us had problems with Sigourney Weaver's narration. I didn't say anything until Mom spoke up and said, "That woman sounds like an old-time school marm! Couldn't they get someone better?!?"
      Yes, they could and did.
      Even if you're a veteran of animal and nature shows, as many Ancient Ones and their caregivers are, this series is a stunner. The addition of the three episode "Planet Earth-The Future" is oddly intriguing, since it involves interviews with died in the wool Greens and those who take issue with all the propositions included in the current global warming hysteria (yes, it is an hysteria, even if it turns out to be reliable), as a well as a smattering of people who are depressed by the realities inherent in trying to get humans to cooperate across the board in changing the ways we live on our planet.
      I noticed that the script is, first, a little contradictory. In one place it mentions that glacial movement is the most devastating eroder of landscape. Then, in another episode, it states that moving water is. Granted, they both states of H2O, but their different states and properties have vastly different impacts upon the land. I vote for glacial movement. As well, I'm not sure how long this series was in development from the very beginning, but it inaccurately states, in the forest section, that a redwood is the largest living organism on Earth. A few years ago it was discovered that a mushroom was, in fact, the largest living organism. Truth is, we'll probably discover something that's even larger, one of these days.
        Nonetheless, this series is a stunner. We watched it again tonight (which is last night, now). I know we'll watch it again. And again.

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Northern Exposure 6th Season

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None specific to this season
  3. Commentary:  We now have completed our collection of Northern Exposure seasons. This last season was, for many people, the most confusing. It's definitely the season I love the most, because of the many, many dream and fantasy sequences. I remember when this season first aired. Lots of people were put off by the appearance of the new doctor and his wife. The show stayed on its wide, every winding track, though, and the final episode was a credit to the entire series.
        This is not Mom's favorite season, because she has trouble following all the dream and fantasy sequences. She watched it through like the moose-trooper she is, though, and I'm sure we'll watch all these episodes again and again.

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The Godfather

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  This is a movie I've avoided purchasing for a long time, even though Mom and I enjoy watching it every time it appears on TV, whether uninterrupted by commercials and uncut or otherwise. It is, plain and simple, riveting. However, for some reason I could never bring myself to pay for it. Finally, I noticed what looked like a relatively unplayed copy of it at my favorite trade-in movie store really cheap (I later discovered that Costco was selling it cheap, by then, too, although not as cheap as the copy I purchased) and decided, yeah, we should have it.
      Good choice. As soon as Mom hears the theme music, she settles back in her rocker with a subtle smile, as though someone is preparing to read her a Dickens novel cover to cover.

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Cheers for Miss Bishop

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  We first saw this movie on TCM one evening about a month before I ordered it. Mom became so involved in it that she visibly cried at the end, and she doesn't cry easily. It's extremely idealistic. I can well imagine, although Mom didn't become (and had no intention of becoming) a spinster teacher, her attitudes toward teaching and education were much the same as portrayed in this movie. As well, I couldn't help but recall the line in Mona Lisa Smile in which the president of Wellesley, in 1953, states that higher education for women was unheard of a century ago. This movie accurately states that it was well heard of, which I already knew, anyway. Watching this movie in view of Mona Lisa Smile reminded me to be ever ready to reflect on the fact that, just as the 1950's clearly rewrote women's history according to its dictates for women, all history is rewritten, by era, according to what we want to see in it and get out of it. Made me wonder, too, as I have before, if this glitch in Mona Lisa Smile was intended or inadvertent. You'd think Julia Roberts' character, considering her championing of women's education, would have been aware of the presidents' blatant and incorrect reinterpretation of history and would have made some mention of this.
        I found this movie so charming and so much fun as far as watching Mom watch it that first we rented it, then, when Mom yet again, sobbed at the end of the movie, I decided we had to have a copy. I ran across it in the A2ZCDS.com remastered version at my favorite local movie trade-in store and snatched it up. Not a good copy, though; not nearly as clear, visually or audibly, as the copy we saw on TV. I'm going to hunt for a better copy. I notice TCM has one on sale...hopefully, it will be the same as the one they broadcast. So, eventually this one will go back to where I purchased it; but not before I obtain a better copy of it. We've watched it twice since I've purchased it and I'm sure it will become one of our most watched movies.

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Bobby

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  This movie was given to us by a friend who is interested in politics, clearly remembers the 1960's (better than me, actually, since I went through a somewhat different 60's experience on Guam) and was sure she'd love the movie. She picked it up at Costco, where it was being sold with a free copy of a biography of RFK. She was completely disappointed in the movie, although not in the book, but said she wouldn't read it again and passed that off to us, too.
      Mom only sat through half the movie. I watched all of it. I understand what Estevez did in the movie and think he accomplished his goal, but I also understand why the critics were so divided on this movie. If I'd rented the movie, I'd've made a mental note not to buy it, even though many of its moments have stuck with me. I felt cheated that a lot of it was fictionalized...it seemed to me their was little to no reason to do this. However, I also found the vignettes involving and many of the performances excellent (I especially liked the vignette with Helen Hunt and Martin Sheen). Interesting and effective splicing of actual newsreel footage, too, although, frankly, The Queen does this better and more effectively.
        I don't think this is a movie that, on a second attempt at watching, Mom would discover she enjoyed. It isn't one I expect to watch again soon. I may add it to our ever expanding pile of movies for trade-in. I'll probably read the book, although I may not get around to it until after Mom dies.

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