Archive for movie

since i had to take back “a room with a view” to the library…

Dancing, plotting, love.

Sisters in society.

Winter movie time.


It has been months since my last viewing of “Pride and Prejudice” (the non-300 minute one), and there I was stuck on the sofa with a dreamy half-smile on my face again.  So much fun to watch although I clearly know how this one will end.

And I am obviously not the only one who takes a pleased satisfaction in the tale of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy–a quick search for the movie at the library turned up a shocking number of retellings of/sequels to/novels inspired by Pride and Prejudice.  Is it witty repartee?  The headstrong girl?  The tidy ending?  Who knows?

While I know that I have read Austen’s Persuasion an unhealthy number of times, I really don’t know if I have ever read P& P.  I suppose that this holiday season I should bust the Austen out–maybe a more pleasant (if not as readable) choice than last year’s Christmas selection, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


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because you share a love so big,

I now pronounce you frog and pig!

Last week, while I was recovering from the sure-to-be-not-last Dread Illness of the season, little e. did whatever she wanted to around the house.  She footpainted in the sunporch.  She changed clothes 11 times a day.  She ate nothing but yogurt. One late morning found me prostrate on the living room floor and watching “The Muppets Take Manhattan” with little e. sitting on my feet.

Ah, the muppets.  I used to listen to the movie soundtrack albums over and over when I was little on my red ladybug record player.  And while my kids do get a kick out of the muppets’ antics, they spend a fair amount of time puzzled by the creatures.  “Why are there so many of them?  Why do their mouths move so strangely?  Mommy!  That monster scares me!”  And so on and so forth.

Well, we all know that puppets can be spooky, but I wasn’t prepared for the spookiness of realizing that “The Muppets Take Manhattan” is quite a dated film. Yes, it isn’t just Miss Piggy’s secretary chic apparel and awesome make up, but those are awfully distracting indeed.

It’s just an ’80s kind of film–amnesia, a big splashy wedding, and celebrity cameos that anyone under the age of 30 would be hard pressed to identify.  I spent a good chunk of the movie wondering in my fever induced haze if that was really Brooke Shields (hard to tell without those close-ups of her Latisse eyelashes) and how I would like to watch a slow motion morphing of Joan Rivers from her shop clerk character to today’s, uh, character.  I did, however, very much like Gregory Hines as the cute roller skater wannabe (“Keep the skates. Keep the skates. I don’t use ’em anyway; I just like to run around in shorts.”).

Obviously, I know that whenever you step into the territory of things that you used to like as a child, there are land mines all around you.  Your kids hate it!  You have to leave the room after 10 minutes yourself!  You realize what you made your poor parents sit through and immediately call and apologize!  “The Muppets Take Manhattan” didn’t descend to this level by any stretch but merely left me feeling like a very, very old 1980s carbon-dated dinosaur.  And that doesn’t make one want to get up off of the living room floor.

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movie night!

Somebody had this list up on the computer when I went to check email, and it wasn’t me so that’s all I’m saying.  The combination of currently reading To Kill a Mockingbird and seeing “Roman Holiday” on the list sent me scrambling to the Durham County Library website to see what other Gregory Peck movies they have in their collection.  If only I didn’t have to wait another hour until they open up…

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midway between the past and present

On the way to the coast last weekend, we had to stop for breakfast 45 minutes into the trip somewhere around Knightdale.  (Ahhhhhh, the joys of traveling with small children…)  Pulling back onto 64, I spotted this sign for the shopping center that we had been in:

Last fall W and I went to the NC Museum of Art to see an outdoor screening of the film “Moving Midway” which is about a family’s decision to move their ancestral plantation home and delves into their past and the past of race relations in the South.  The old house is slowly moved so as to make room for a new shopping center which is, you guessed it, “Shoppes at Midway Plantation.”  (And why, oh why, do developers insist on spelling it “shoppes”?  Put lipstick on a pig, and it’s still a pig.)

Horrified/amused/bemused, I realized that our Chick-fil-a breakfast was part of the crass new world that was foretold in the movie.  We were just one part of the streaming flood of people plunking down their hard-earned dollars for a piece of nameless, bland, safe suburbia on our way to somewhere else. Thank you, Midway, for anchoring us for one brief moment as we made our flight to the coast.

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the brumbies ride again

I was lucky enough (or maybe from Will’s perspective, unlucky enough) to catch the second half of what was maybe my favorite movie as a kid, “The Man from Snowy River” on amc the other night.

I still love this movie.  I still get excited when Jim takes off over the cliff in pursuit of the wild horse mob.  I still smile when Clancy mutters at the end, “The man from Snowy River.”  Even Will grudgingly admitted that the music in the movie is stirring and the Australian scenery makes you want to book a ticket on Qantas posthaste.

What I love best about this movie is not Kirk Douglas’s interloping presence but is its relatively simple plot that picks up on major themes in storytelling–being orphaned, living honorably, old love triangles, the snooty daughter, becoming a “man” (whatever that really means), riding horses…  OK, so that last one is hardly a universal theme, and it probably held more allure for me as an 8 year old girl, but it is still breathtaking to watch the Brumby mob streak across the open fields with the pristine mountains in the background.

Apparently the movie is based on an 1890 Banjo Paterson (think “Waltzing Matilda”) poem that is usefully also titled, “The Man from Snowy River,” and the movie does a reasonable job of honoring the poem.  None of this makes me particularly want to delve into more of  Mr. Paterson’s poetry or go ride a horse for that matter, but I was so happy to watch this bit of my childhood–an overall quiet, beautiful, and inoffensive movie.

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