Friday, April 10, 2009

 

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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Thursday, April 09, 2009

 

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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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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Friday, March 09, 2007

 

Funny Lady

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  Mom like this one better than Funny Girl. I'm not sure which I like more. From my point of view, these two movies are completely different and this one almost doesn't, in my mind, qualify as a sequel to the first. Everything seems different about the Fanny Brice character Barbra Streisand plays in this one; so much so that her continued infatuation for Nicky Arnstein seems unbelievable. There are some splendid production numbers in this movie, Ben Vereen is incredible and James Caan is a huge surprise. We watched this on TCM during their "31 Days of Oscar" this year and Mom's eyes popped when she watched it. They're still popping...we've watched this movie a couple of times since I purchased it.

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Elizabeth

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  Yes, that's right, yet another "Elizabeth" movie, just as good and just as involving as the others. I almost feel as though I should have a category label of "elizabeth movies" or, perhaps, "english royals movies", as A Man for All Seasons definitely qualifies for the same category. Mom has already mentioned that she wants to see the movie The Queen, as well, and I suspect we will end up owning this one. So far, the only English Royals movie she's seen and in which she lost interest halfway through was Mrs. Brown, which I immensely enjoyed. She was so distracted through it, though, that I haven't yet considered purchasing it; although it has occurred to me to rent it again, run it by her once more and see how she likes it. Could be that this one is not "period" enough for Mom. Could also be that the movie about Elizabeth II will be the same kind of experience for her. We'll see.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

 

I, Claudius

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1* *2*
  3. Commentary:  My mother and I discovered this separately, together, many years ago when it first came out. I think we weren't even in the same state, but were in close touch and both of us mentioned it. Unfortunately, this version has no CC, and, whereas Mom had trouble with British accents at the time, now they wreak havoc upon her ears. But she remembers the story, loves watching it unfold again and loves the spectacle.
        Damned fine cast, by the way!

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

 

The World's Fastest Indian

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  I rented this movie out of dim curiosity because I enjoy Anthony Hopkins' work and like to see everything in which he acts. Lo and behold, I know this man. This man is my very extraordinary Chandler nephew and this is a portrait of what he will be like when he is middle aged and old. He is in his 20's, now, and is such a natural, as well as, now, well-trained and highly skilled inventor/repairer, and such an adventurer that it could be said that he does both in his sleep. Both Mom and I were astonished at this portrait and practically fell over each other exclaiming, "That's [nephew's name] in sixty or seventy years!" That's why we own this movie. And, yes, I recommended it to the nephew in question. I figured he'd get a kick out of seeing himself in the future.

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Jeremiah Johnson

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1* *2*
  3. Commentary:  This was the other movie I ordered for Mom's birthday. Truth is, I could only vaguely remember whether she had a marked interest in it. As it turns out, she did. When I cued it, she remembered, almost immediately, having seen it.
      "Oh," I said, "I hope it isn't one of those movies you only wanted to see once."
      "Oh, no," she replied, "I think I remembered liking this movie."
      She loved it, maybe even more than How the West Was Won. We saw the movies back to back and she even mentioned, regarding the portrayals of Native Americans, "Yes, now this seems more realistic."
      Since I'd never watched the entire movie, I settled down and was surprised, pleased and inspired. "Well, Mom, that's what I'd like to do, figure out how to be completely self-sufficient, in landscape similar to that."
      She looked at me approvingly. "I know what you mean," she said. "So would I. Even with all the problems and difficulties."
      I know we'll be watching this one again...probably every time I have multiple Abandoning Fantasies.

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Elizabeth I

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1* *2*
  3. Commentary:  See, also, commentary on Elizabeth R. Although I confessed to preferring, by a minor edge, Glenda Jackson's epic, truth is, it depends on my mood. They are both lush, but in this HBO production the lushness is almost touchable. The are both dramatic but, in this production, there is more emphasis on Elizabeth's emotional life. The curiosity, to me, is that Mirren's and Jackson's portrayals are side-by-side excellent and, rather than competing with one another, it is as though one fleshes out the other. Neither my mother nor I ever tire of watching either.
      Sidebar:  My mother prefers the hairstyles in this one.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

 

Searching for Bobby Fischer

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1*
  3. Commentary:  Just an absolute gem of a movie, from the casting of every part to the story. Quietly inspirational. Whenever we watch this movie Mom always sighs at the end and says, "That just makes me feel good about being alive." Ditto.

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Elizabeth R

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1* *2*
  3. Commentary:  Another one of our perennial BBC favorites. Believe it or not, our entire family first watched this on Guam during it's first run. I was reminded of it when my mother became entranced with HBO's recent offering Elizabeth I. It's hard to say which we prefer, although the BBC version has more compelling detail, and, of course, Glenda Jackson is the definitive Queen Elizabeth I, although Helen Mirren runs a very, very close second, and Jeremy Irons is my favorite, by a hair, for The Duke of Leichester.

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The Elephant Man

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  This is one of those movies that has a hypnotic effect on both of us; both the way it's filmed and the story. Every time we watch it we're galvanized into a discussion of the extraordinary possibilities inherent in the desire to survive, regardless of the difficulty.

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Friday, February 10, 2006

 

The Sound of Music

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  I actually asked Mom, when I noticed the 40th anniversary edition of this movie at Costco, if she wanted me to purchase a copy. Silly question. Although most of the songs are too catchy to be believed and I have good-but-not-quite-reverent memories of this movie, if she'd said "No" I would have heeded her request. Some years ago, when one of my nieces was much younger, this movie was her absolute favorite, always playing at her family's house to the point where I entered "The Sound of Music" overload and have yet to exit that state. I have to say, though, "watching" the movie while doing chores and tending to my mother is pleasant and my mother is thoroughly entertained, singing along, rocker-dancing, etc. As well, this edition includes the Biography channel program about the real Von Trapp family, which is enormously interesting, so much so that we found ourselves searching through movie scenes afterwards to compare fact with fiction.

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Forrest Gump

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  I'm not surprised this movie hasn't been mentioned in my journals. When I bought it I thought I remembered that Mom liked it. She may have, but had little patience for it this time around. I thought I had found it interesting. I did, but immediately after watching it for the first time in a long time, I decided it would be one I'd never enter in here and would sell back as soon as I had a few other movies to turn in. Then, I found myself going back to the movie, replaying particular scenes, looking forward to the well planned music score, watching Gary Sinese closely...and decided, hmmm, I'd better keep this one. It does remain one of the strangest movies ever made. Being a movie maven, this is a good enough reason for me to keep it. Who knows. The next time I play it "in front of" Mom, she might like it again.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

 

The Last Emperor

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1*
  3. Commentary:  This movie causes both Mom & me to swoon. I'm pleased we finally own a copy. It's a "mood movie" for me: When I'm in the mood to watch it, nothing can take it's place and when we didn't own it I hungered for it when I wanted to see it.

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De-lovely

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  Pure delight for both Mom and me. This is a keeper and one we'll watch frequently.

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

 

Funny Girl

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  Mom has never cared for Barbra Streisand, neither her voice nor her presence. I have always adored Barbra Streisand without question. Having said this, we both enjoyed this movie and Mom has a few other Barbra Streisand favorites, like Nuts and Yentl, neither of which we've yet collected. She also has a problem with Omar Shariff. She considers him overwhelming. I think he's great in this movie.

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Beyond the Sea

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1*
  3. Commentary:  I bought this sight unseen based on television previews. Although I don't have a fascination with Bobby Darin, I do have a fascination with the song of the movie title and I love watching Kevin Spacey do a tour de force. Mom enjoyed the fairy tale quality of the story, was pleasantly surprised at the constant introduction of the kid, but thought that the nasty marriage backstory could have been dumped. I thought Kate Bosworth was amazing as Sandra Dee.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

 

Postcards from the Edge

  1. Who's watched:  G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  This movie is one of four "Meryl Streep" movies I deliberately bought in a set, the other three being: Adaptation, Kramer vs. Kramer and Dancing at Lughnasa, . It does not contain one of my favorites, Sophie's Choice, but that'll come later. My favorite part of this movie is the CW video at the end, but there are many aspects of this film I enjoy, including the chemistry between Meryl Streep and Shirley MacClaine.
        This movie is distinguished in that it is the only movie I've ever watched with the commentary overdub.

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The Straight Story

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1* *2*
  3. Commentary:  Another absolute favorite. I discovered this movie playing on one of the independent film channels. The entire movie is perfectly luscious, including the music, and the photography. The acting is superb. It should be a Required Viewing film for anyone who cares for an Ancient One.
      The first time I viewed this film, I bought it lock stock and barrel. The second time, I was a little uneasy with what hit me as mawkishness in the act featuring the pregnant runaway and some of the Twin Brothers episode. On the third viewing, though, I was fine with everything. Ancient Ones are often mawkish. Sometimes thoughtfulness leads to a kind of mawkishness.
      My mother always identifies with the spirit of Alvin Straight, and loves the fact that this man was (and remains in character) an Iowan.

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Monday, February 21, 2005

 

The Motorcycle Diaries

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1*
  3. Commentary:  Although this movie is a very recent purchase, Mom and I have already watched it twice. I had planned on watching it alone, first, guessing that it may be a quiet, subtle road movie that would be disappointing to someone (like my mother) whose preference is for action road movies. Mom noticed the box, though, read the back and wanted to see it immediately because it mentioned traveling through Latin America, which is something my mother has always wanted to do. She was surprised at the shape of the movie but enjoyed it anyway. The next night, last night, she discovered the box, yet, again, read the back again, and insisted on watching the movie again as though she hadn't yet seen it. Afterwards, I insisted that we watch the short interview with Alberto Granado, which we both enjoyed. As the interview closed, my mother said, "He's still dancing," with pleasure and approval.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

 

The Life of Emile Zola

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  My mother has no memory of this movie, although it was she who recommended it to me, back in the days when I was reading obscure 'biographies' like Mika Waltari's The Egyptian. I had to haunt art movie theaters for it and was magnetized by Muni's performance in parts of this movie much as I was by Robert De Niro's stirring scene in Once Upon a Time in America.
        I got the thing on sale, ridiculous price. I think it was the only copy. Otherwise, I would not thought to have purchased it. It's been quite a while, since before I went to Seattle, that I've seen the movie, so it exists larger than movie-life for me. It'll be interesting to see it again.

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Sunday, February 13, 2005

 

Amadeus

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1*
  3. Commentary:  This is one of our Spectacle Movies, sort of like Gone with the Wind. It's too lavish and bright to watch often, but it makes a great dessert. It's one of those movies where we often catch ourselves saying, during the viewing, "Oh, yeah, I forgot about that! I love that!"

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Gandhi

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  I'll bet we've seen this movie, on cable, at least four times. When we notice it, anywhere, commercials or not, we watch it. We forget it between being seredipitiously reminded, though. It is a movie that fascinates us at several levels, though.

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Patton

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1*
  3. Commentary:  Mom doesn't remember this movie from watching to watching, but, each viewing rivets her, nonetheless. Her memory of WWII and her service in the Navy snap to attention in frequent spasms throughout the movie.
        Me? It's one of my all time favorites, not just for performance, or other film-making qualities, but I often think of this movie when I meditate on the subject of Conflict.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

 

The Spencer Tracy Legacy

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  Both my mother and I found Kathryn Hepburn's participation in this project especially revealing, and the letter she wrote to "Spence" after his death especially touching.
      This video is a part of the Tracy/Hepburn Collection.

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Monday, February 07, 2005

 

Ray

  1. Who's watched:  Neither of us has seen this one
  2. Mentions:  None
  3. Commentary:  This is one of only two dvds I've intentionally bought without viewing the presentation.
        The other was The Mosquito Coast and, being a Peter Weir movie, I was destined to own it whether I liked it or not. It is my least favorite, so far, of all the Peter Weir films I've seen. I consider Master and Commander more worth another watch than this one.
        Anyway, I bought this one strictly from seeing Jamie Foxx on Inside the Actors Studio a couple of Sunday's ago. Mom and I both watched that episode and when I told her last week I'd bought the movie, she was pleased. But, we haven't yet seen it. I can't wait.
        We finally watched the movie. Jamie Foxx's performence is dazzling, the music is good, the story is fairly interesting. We've only seen it once. I've kept it because of the "Hit the Road Jack" sequence and some of the other music, but, well, I don't know when we'll watch it again.

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Lawrence of Arabia

  1. Who's watched:  M & G
  2. Mentions:  *1*
  3. Commentary:  We even had, the second time we watched it, a Watching Lawrence of Arabia party. Very successful.
        Both my mother and I are surprised at the things we learn about my father knowing that this movie was one of his two favorite movies, the other being Khartoum. He and I saw Khartoum together, a very memorable event, one I'll probably remember as though I'm going through it when I'm old and mentally creative. It happened in Honolulu, probably 1966, the year the movie came out, and involved a long evening stroll along the Ala Wai.
        I have, however, had no desire to see that one again. Lawrence of Arabia, though, sometimes I put the disc in and zone out on it for a half hour or so. My mother doesn't do this, but she enjoys the movie.

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Sunday, February 06, 2005

 

Born on the Fourth of July

  1. Who's watched: G [M was in the room looking at the TV for awhile, but not watching...she evetually napped.]
  2. Mentions: *1*
  3. Commentary: It was on sale, I thought, sight unseen, I'd be glad I owned it...what can I say?!? I'm glad I watched it. It was one of the last few in a long line of Vietnam War movies (including the obscure) I make it a point to watch. I thought I'd want to watch this one more than once. Not really. I would have liked to have seen it when it first came out and Tom Cruise wasn't Tom Cruise. I think I would have appreciated his performance more. For some reason, as I watched this, I was continually reminded of Risky Business. I kept having to remind myself that it is based in 'truth' because it was acted for melodrama, which was distracting to the story. I doubt that I'll ever watch it again. I may pass it off to someone.

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American Splendor

  1. Who's watched: M & G, both more than once
  2. Mentions: *1* *2*
  3. Commentary: Mom 'caught' me watching this the afternoon I purchased it when she was napping. I was surprised that she was as seduced by it as I am.

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