Category Archives: Oldies but goodies

Second Star to the Right…

Last night, I introduced Thing 1 and Thing 2 to my favorite version of Peter Pan. The aptly named “Peter Pan,” released in 2003 stars Jeremy Sumpter in the pivotal role, with Rachel Hurd-Wood as Wendy Darling. Rounding out the cast are Jason Isaacs as Mr. Darling/Hook, Olivia Williams as Mrs. Darling and Lynn Redgrave as Aunt Millicent. I won’t bore you with a plot run down because if you haven’t watched or read any version Peter Pan, you may have just crawled out from under a rock.

dvd picThe two unknown, young actors slipped into their roles and solidly possessed them. Formerly suffering from a cartoon or female interpretation, Peter Pan finally gets a fresh actor to peel back the layers of the only boy who will never grow old. This film gleans closer to J.M. Barrie’s book and Peter is not as carefree as he pretends to be. His cocky smile and mischievous nature coupled with his messy hair and dirty hands lend to the boy’s adventurous nature. But the film isn’t Peter’s story…it is Wendy’s.


In this version, Wendy is on the cusp of becoming a Victorian woman, forced out of sword fights and story-telling and into her own room. So when she sees the handsome boy, offering her adventures, luring her from the window, it is in her nature to hesitate and be responsible.“Forget them, Wendy. Forget them all. Come with me where you’ll never, never have to worry about grown up things again,” Peter whispers into Wendy’s ear. Her expression is one of enchantment and wonder. Who wouldn’t want to have to leave their troubles all behind?


Wendy and her brothers, clad in only their pajamas, fly off to Neverland, in its full Technicolor glory. Thing 1 thought the colors were over-the-top until she was reminded that it was an imaginary land that was run by a boy who flew. Suddenly, cotton candy colored clouds made sense. (all hail the alliteration!)


Peter Pan’s nemesis, Hook, takes on a much more adult role in this version. He is old and bitter. That said, he is the one who ultimately discovers Peter’s secret…but I’ll get to that in a few paragraphs.


Throw in a fabulously jealous Tinkerbell, Lost Boys who are lovable but clueless and Tick-Tock, and the storyline follows pretty closely to the cartoon Disney version, with the exception of Wendy. On the precipice of becoming an adult, she is head over heels with Peter. For all of her feelings toward the boy, he resistant to admit anything on his part:


   Wendy: I think you have, Peter. And I daresay you’ve felt it yourself. For something… or… someone?

   Peter: Never. Even the sound of it offends me.

[Wendy tries to touch his face, and he jumps away]

   Peter: Why do you have to spoil everything? We have fun, don’t we? I taught you to fly and to fight. What more could there be?

   Wendy: There is so much more.

   Peter: What? What else is there?

   Wendy: I don’t know. I guess it becomes clearer when you grow up.

   Peter: Well, I will not grow up. You cannot make me! I will banish you like Tinkerbell.


   Peter: Then go home. Go home and grow up. And take your feelings with you!


And with this, Peter Pan is distinctly not a cartoon. He is a selfish boy who wants it his own way or none at all. Wendy finds herself in Hook’s company and he is more than ready to treat her as an equal, in the form of Red Hand Jane, the pirate storyteller.
When Wendy, her brothers and the Lost Boys are captured by Hook and Peter comes to their rescue, we are given another glimpse into Peter.


   Captain Hook: She was leaving you, Pan! Your Wendy was leaving you. Why should she stay? What have you to offer? You are incomplete. Let us     now take a peep into the future, shall we? ‘Tis the fair Wendy. She’s in her nursery. The window is shut.

   Peter: I’ll open it.

   Captain Hook: I’m afraid the window is barred.

   Peter: I’ll call out her name!

   Captain Hook: She can’t hear you…

   Peter: No!

   Captain Hook: She can’t see you.

   Peter: Wendy!

   Captain Hook: She’s forgotten all about you.

   Peter: Stop! Please! Stop it!


The irony of Hook telling Peter that Wendy would forget—just like Peter had coached Wendy before they flew away. Unlike the neatly wrapped cartoon version, Peter deflates before the viewers. And with a pop of revelation, you realize: he loves her.


I’m sure you can guess the ending because you’ve seen it before. But do yourself a favor and watch this version and its conclusion. If you’re hit hard in the feels like Thing 1 and Thing 2 were, you’ll agree P.J. Hogan did a wonderful job directing.

Three Broke Models…The Original Bachelorettes

So Thing 1 and I try to catch a classic film once a month. Last month, “How to Marry a Millionaire” graced our “we-are-the-last-family-to-not-own-a-huge-flat-screen” television. I cringe to admit that I’ve never watched a Marilyn Monroe film all the way through. She’s such and icon, a historical enigma, and so I figured this would be good break-in. Thing 2 hopped on the opposite couch and joined in for the Cinemascope wonder. Take it away, Wikipedia:


“The film stars Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, and Lauren Bacall as three gold diggers, along with William Powell, David Wayne, Rory Calhoun, and Cameron Mitchell. Betty Grable received top billing in the screen credits but Marilyn Monroe’s name was first in all advertising, including the trailer.”

How To Marry a Millionaire

Of course, these ladies are all models by trade. The film jumps in like a good book, in the middle of a plot, where Schatze (Lauren Bacall) rents a penthouse from a man on the run from the IRS. Pola (Marilyn Monroe) and Loco (Betty Grable) are her lucky roommates. They sit on the balcony and get down to the nitty gritty of how one of them needs to marry a millionaire. Simply put, it’s a business deal. Snag a rich guy, live the life of luxury. Easy.


Not so much. Fantastic clips show furniture disappearing, pawned to pay for groceries. Schatze simply explains it away to her target. I mean, who wouldn’t agree with a knock-out living in a penthouse that she sent her furniture for cleaning?


Schatze finds herself pestered by Tom, a man who paid for the groceries when Loco “forgot” her wallet. Schatze wants none of his attentions, as he isn’t who she is hunting. She’s a woman on a mission and turns down his offer of marriage, clueless to the fact he is a multimillionaire.


Pola is the comedic relief and Marilyn did a great job of portraying the extremely nearsighted model who hates to wear her glasses because, “Men aren’t attentive to girls who wear glasses.” She falls for a grifter and ends up on a wrong plane due to her lack of eyewear, where she meets “quite a strudel” sitting next to her. It was a pleasure to hear that line delivered in typical, breathy Marilyn style.

How To Marry A Millionaire 3

Loco tries to find her millionaire, but ends up head over heels for a poor, yet ruggedly handsome forest ranger. Her storyline is almost boring and both of the spawn and I agree that her acting was somewhat flat.


Pola and Loco both end up getting hitched to their men over the weekend. Maybe in 1953, it there were wedding chapels everywhere. They both come back to the penthouse, where Schatze is about to marry her millionaire, a man twice her age. And just before the ceremony, she announces that she can’t go through with it because…she’s in love with Tom, the grocery dude. Tom happens to be at the wedding and so they get hitched on the spot.


The film ends up at a burger joint, all three couples at the counter. Schatze jokes with the other two men about their net worth, which are tiny. Tom pipes up and says he’s worth 200 million, which everyone takes as a joke—until he pulls out a $1,000 bill and tells the chef to keep the change.


Do they even make $1,000 bills? Yes…yes, they did!


If you have a couple of hours to kill, this is a decent classic. I would not put it in the realm of “Roman Holiday” or “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” but it’s worth a single watch, especially for Marilyn Monroe’s silly role.


As, a LOVELY footnote, Wikipedia as says: “In 2007, Nicole Kidman bought the rights to “How to Marry a Millionaire” under her production company Blossom Films, and is set to produce and possibly star in a remake.” Well, maybe it’s just taking a long time to cast the film…

Jareth Found Waldo Before It Was Cool.

Who can resist a Jim Henson movie starring David Bowie? Apparently my sister can. But I was (and still am) mesmerized by the 1986 movie “Labyrinth.”


The plot revolves around Sarah William’s (played by young Jennifer Connelly) quest to reach the center of an enormous otherworldly maze to rescue her infant brother Toby, who has been kidnapped by Jareth, the Goblin King (played by aforementioned Mr. Bowie). It is rated PG.

waldoSarah Williams’ favorite motto is: “It’s not fair!” And you are required to pronounce the last word with two syllables. As a fifteen-year-old with an actress as a mother, a toddler brother and a strict stepmother, drama is inherent as she straddles the line between adolescence desperately wanting to be an adult. So when she is forced to babysit her brother (how unfa-ir!), Sarah wishes him away in classic, theatrical fashion. Cue the equally spectacular Goblin King.


Let’s just take a moment to appreciate his hair…and eyeshadow.

labyrinthSo Sarah tells said Goblin King that (wait for it…) it’s not fa-ir he absconded with Toby. So, the benevolent king of the Underground reorders time and gives her thirteen hours to solve the Labyrinth and save her brother.


Sarah’s cockiness and sass is reminiscent of someone I know, who will remain nameless. “Piece of cake!” Not so much. The Labyrinth is alive, flexing to the will of its master, and the king is not about to let his muse off the hook. He throws in goblins on cleaning machines, the Bog of Eternal Stench, and a magical peach.


The ballroom scene makes fanfiction stories explode with gobbledygook. That said, it is the pivotal point of the plot (all hail alliteration!). And what girl doesn’t dream of a masquerade? Okay, okay, so there are creepy masks, but it is all an elaborate attempt to steer Sarah away from the Labyrinth’s solution. Besides, the Goblin King’s ruffled shirt and Sarah’s gown and hair are magnificent!

ballroomWithout fancy CGI, the writers and filmmakers develop Sarah’s character as she fights for her brother, from brooding teenager to eventual heroine. Ultimately, Sarah stops claiming that it is not fair, as she accepts the world she was forced into, as a consequence of her actions.


Personally, I recommend this movie to all ages. I cut my teeth on Jim Henson (The Muppet Show and The Dark Crystal), although it might prove scary to more sensitive children with the scene with a snake and the often brooding Goblin King. Both Thing 1 and Thing 2 adore this movie, from the plot to the puppets to the songs. But then again, we are raising nerdlings.

A Game of “Charade”

Continuing on our Audrey Hepburn bend, Thing 1 and I perused “Charade” last week. So the Wikipedia explanation is lengthy, so let’s turn to IMDB for the condensed version:

220px-Charade_movieposter“Regina Lambert (Audrey Hepburn) returns to Paris from a ski holiday in Switzerland to find that her husband has been murdered. She is later told by CIA agent Hamilton Bartholemew that Charles Lambert was one of five men who stole $250,000 in gold from the U.S. government during World War II, and the government wants it back. The money was not found among his possessions, and Regina can shed no light on its whereabouts. Later that day she is visited by Peter Joshua (Carey Grant), whom she had met briefly while on holiday. When her husband’s former partners in crime, who were double-crossed by Charles, start calling her looking for the money, Peter offers to help find it. Thus begins an elaborate charade in which nothing is what it seems to be.”




We really didn’t know what to expect other than cute outfits and cheeky one-liners. The beginning was confusing because I never wore outfits like that when I went snow skiing. It was an interesting conversation to have with Thing 1 – the gravity of divorce for that generation. Sure it was more socially acceptable, but still carried a big ol’ black mark, as indicated by the conversation.


Oh yes, this movie is rated PG and is recommended for anyone older than ten years. No swearing, a smidge of violence and a couple of non-graphic dead bodies.


The plot started twisting and turning once Reggie returned to Paris, along with the beautiful 1963 Technicolor street scenes. See?


If you haven’t seen the movie, I can’t say much because the plot twists abound! Even Thing 1 and I were leaning forward, scooching closer to the television screen, whispering our suspicions back and forth to each other. Then BOOM! Plot twist! What?! Suddenly, like an old Batman version:

batman words

Plot bunnies scurried around, crashing into each other like an Easter event gone wrong or running off different directions. No wonder people thought Alfred Hitchcock was involved!
The ending made both of us laugh out loud…so punny. But it’s a spoiler, so you won’t hear it from me. I will say that it was our favorite line from the entire film. Pull it up on Netflix! “Charade” is one you won’t regret!

Lack of Sleep and Shiny Eyes

I apologize. These past couple of weeks snuck up on me. Honestly, I haven’t been sleeping well. I know there are all sorts of suggestions, but it segues into the post for this week. And it all started when Thing 1’s dog barked in the middle of the night. As I roamed the house, those little doggie eyes caught a glint of light and reflected back at me in the dark. A bit freaky, but I thought of a movie where the light reflects “just right” and make you wonder: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

At this point, some of you are wondering if my lack of sleep is messing with my head. It is. But the title above was made into a cult classic, sci-fi movie: Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott in 1982. It’s rated “R,” but it has very little foul language and lot of non-gory violence (hey, it’s basically sci-fi cops vs. robbers). Regrettably, it does have a dash of nudity. A dash, people, nothing remotely close to the current PG-13 movies in regards to nudity OR swearing.

blade_runner_posterSynopsis: The film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in November 2019, in which genetically engineered replicants, which are visually indistinguishable from adult humans, are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation as well as by other “mega-corporations” around the world. The use of replicants on Earth is banned and they are exclusively utilized for dangerous or menial work on off-world colonies. Replicants who defy the ban and return to Earth are hunted down and killed (“retired”) by special police operatives known as “Blade Runners”. The plot focuses on a group of recently escaped replicants hiding in Los Angeles and the burnt-out expert Blade Runner, Rick “Deckard” (Harrison Ford), who reluctantly agrees to take on one more assignment to hunt them down. (thanks Wikipedia!)

2019?! That’s less than four years away! Feeling old aside, hello Harrison Ford and Sean Young! Add in Daryl Hannah, Rutger Hauer, E. Emmet Walsh and Edward James Olmos and my geeky self settles into a sigh of sci-fi bliss.

I’m a big one for cinematography…not CGI. The art of how a director captures scenes, pulls the viewer into the moment, sells me on a film. Ridley Scott is a master at his art; how many of us jerked in terror/surprise during Aliens or felt the dust settle in Gladiator? Blade Runner is simultaneously beautiful and dark. Everything about “his” L.A. is dirty, busy and shadowed, punched with harsh fluorescent lighting.

A haggard looking Deckard is D.O.N.E. with replicant work, when he takes on his last assignment. His clothes are dirty and his self is as unkept as his apartment. The only bright spot in his life comes in the form of Rachael, a stunning replicant assistant to Mr. Tyrell himself. It is in Rachael that Deckard questions his hard and fast lines about replicants as he falls in love with the thing he hates and hunts to destroy.

Blade-Runner-2(See those shiny eyes?)

Although Blade Runner is gritty and dark, literally and figuratively, however, ends allegorically about the meaning of life. In the end, a dove is released, a symbol of God’s Holy Spirit, but I’m not willing to stretch the symbol to suggest that meaning.

There have always been rumors of a sequel, but recently, Ridley Scott himself has been adding fuel to the fire. And Harrison Ford will come back?! Just give me a moment to catch my breath, I’m verklempt.


Killer Crocs, Man!

While the fam and I were out on a family adventure over the weekend, we stayed at a hotel. During this hotel visit, I had the misfortune of watching “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” I should’ve realized it was a bad idea when the word “God” is pluralized in the title.


Here’s a description of the movie from Wikipedia:

Exodus: Gods and Kings is a 2014 biblically-inspired epic film directed by Ridley Scott. It was written by Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine and Steven Zaillian. The film stars Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, María Valverde, Sigourney Weaver, Ghassan Massoud, Golshifteh Farahani and Ben Kingsley. It is a loose interpretation of the story of the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt as led by Moses and related in the Book of Exodus.”


A loose interpretation? That’s generous at best.


I’ll admit that I didn’t see the first 1/3 of the film, but I highly doubt it would sway my review. I found myself plopped into a scene with Moses and a little British boy. They were arguing and it was painful to realize that this little boy (who sounded like he was from “Another Brick in the Wall” Pink Floyd song) represented God and/or His messenger.


About the only redeeming part of the entire movie was the visual effects of the plagues, but even they were flawed. The plague of water to blood was caused by…trained crocodiles? Really?! So, then that set up the frogs fleeing the Nile (because the crocs couldn’t get to all the water). It’s just a convenient excuse that sets up plagues, one caused by another (flies are because stuff dies). CGI is wonderful to show the infestation, but I was already put off by the lack of God and remained ambivalent throughout the entire plagues.


Until the death of the first born. My writer’s brain has always toyed with the story of the plagues: the smell after water turning to blood and the livestock dying. Personally, especially after I became a mom and Thing 1 had a health scare as a one-month old, I envisioned the death plague very similar to Ridley Scott’s portrayal. The sound of weeping and utter despair filling the night was the sole highlight for me because the film was finally spot on.


Then back to disappointment. Thing 2 was mad that the cloud of fire wasn’t shown. Moses chucks his sword into the Red Sea (after he loses his directions and prays behind a rock to God and leaves before an answer because apparently Moses ain’t got time for that). The water “kind of” goes down. I just taught this same Sunday School lesson earlier this year and the Israelites walked on dry land, Ridley. They didn’t wade through hip high water. Cue a dramatic meeting of Moses and Ramses in front of a looming wave (and don’t forget the swelling music) before they both are washed away by said wave. Blah. Whatever. Moses ends up sitting on a beach where Aaron finds him and they give each other bro head nods. “Sup?”


Don’t watch this movie if you don’t want to make yourself crazy because it’s “loosely” interpreted from the Bible. It’s less than loose – the character names happen to coincide. Watch this movie if you want a lesson on Egyptian eyeliner. And how to train killer crocodiles.

exWhere do you buy your kohl?!

The Epic Great Race

The Great Race is one of those films that your parents or grandparents saw and tell you, “You HAVE to watch this!” And you say you will and never quite get to it. Lemme tell you…


                            watch the great race


I saw this movie for the first time back when I was in high school. I tried so hard not to like the slapstick comedy, fascinate over Natalie Wood’s outfits, giggle at the pugs…Oh the pugs!




Let me go backwards a bit and give you the synopsis. Released in 1965, the white-suited and quintessential hero, appropriately named “The Great Leslie,” is played by Tony Curtis. He convinces auto makers that a race from New York to Paris will boost auto sales. He is accompanied by his stoic “man,” Hezekiah, in a race against his mustached, dressed-in-black, arch-rival, Professor Fate. Professor Fate (Jack Lemmon) has his own sidekick, Max (Peter Falk), and they vow to beat Leslie to the finish line. Everything about the characters is over-the-top.




The theatrical feminist, Maggie Dubois, is played by the beautiful Natalie Wood. She bullies a newspaper into hiring her to cover the race (read: her shrill voice and silly antics = bullies). When her car breaks down, Leslie offers her a ride. Thus, he ends up hauling her around the rest of the race.


I never thought my girls would like this movie. It’s too “everything” for them: too many musicals, too much silliness, too many costume changes for Maggie Dubois. I was so very wrong. When given the opportunity, both Thing 1 and Thing 2 gladly pop in the DVD and let ‘er rip. There isn’t any age that wouldn’t enjoy this movie and its unbridled fun.


If you happen to be a fan of Laurel and Hardy or the Three Stooges, then you will undoubtedly adore The Great Race.


                                   natalie wood

Golightly, I Say!

Tiffanys opener

This year, I finally watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I’d heard about this classic throughout my life, along with listening to songs of the same title and reading debates on the official Tiffany Blue color. After taking a class at Mount Hermon by James Scott Bell on his “write from the middle” approach, I thought to myself that those classics must have something that I need to learn! Besides, what’s the point of watching JSB compare Casablanca to Lethal Weapon if I can’t learn the techniques and use them?


Cue up the Netflix account and start the movie! I had no idea what to expect – no inkling of the plot or setting, or even the characters’ names. The intro and slow music made me skeptical, but I was determined. Something was to be gleaned! I needed to find the magic bean!

Tiffanys gracious

Here’s the synopsis: “Based on Truman Capote’s novella, this is the story of a young, jet- setting woman in New York City who meets a young man when he moves into her apartment building. He is being kept by a wealthy, older woman, but wants to be a writer. She is working as a high-priced escort and searching for a rich, older man to marry. The opening scene has her window-shopping at Tiffany’s at six in the morning, after being up all night on a date.”


And when the dialog starts, it’s cunning and machine-gun paced. When I finally figured out that Holly was a call-girl and Paul/Fred was a Boy Toy, it was more of an “Oh! This-makes-more-sense-now!” moment. Neither dress in skimpy clothes or flinging themselves at their “marks.” As a matter of fact, these two dress to the nines (with the exception of Holly’s long nightshirt and Paul’s shirtless shot). Breakfast at Tiffany’s manages to be funny without being racy or explicit.

Tiffanys masks

I liked the movie so much, that I invited Thing 1 (14 years old) to watch it with me. To my surprise, she loved it as much as I did. That being said, I understand that some of my readers don’t want to subject their teens to movies with smoking, drinking/partying and exposure to the oldest profession. The only other sexual reference was a fully clad stripper. Thing 1 and I discussed the fact that Holly and Paul/Fred were paid and the lack of love in that type of arrangement. I used that mark as a jump-off for conversation as to how the Bible says that sex is only for marriage.


“Just look at how hollow these two end up,” was my point.

score for mom

I’d recommend this movie for 14 year olds and up with the clear disclaimer on the main character’s occupations. And you’d need a heart of stone not to love Cat.

Tiffanys cat

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November




“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” – V


V for Vendetta is one of my all-time favorite flicks. For an actor (Hugo Weaving) to represent a character behind a mask so thoroughly by movement and voice alone, without the benefit of facial expressions, is nothing short of amazing. Evey Hammond is played by Natalie Portman and once her hair comes off, the actress shines.


It opened in 2006 and was written by the (then) Wachowski brothers. It is rated “R” for violence and language. I do NOT recommend this movie to anyone younger than 18 for the following reasons:

  1. The brutal fight scenes are just that – violent and bloody.
  2. A scene with crude language preceding an attempted sexual assault on a female. It is thwarted, but may be uncomfortable for some.
  3. The almost desperate need for the director/writers to glorify the gay and lesbian characters. Their sub-stories of persecution, while convincingly told, detract from the story itself which is about freedom from a tyrannical government.
  4. The language rating is warranted. The f-bomb is dropped.

doge v for vendetta

The government in the film is totalitarian. This fictional government lacks no heavy-handed tactics: they murder dissenters, quash all freedom of religion and use prisoners for medical experiments. *Please, reader, brush up on your world history and see that these tactics have actually been used and are still used by governments extracting absolute control.*


“God is in the rain.” One of the most pivotal quotes from the film, it is just a string of simple words that makes for a good quote. God is omnipotent and omniscient. You can’t limit Him to the rain. And in the same breath, the movie characters use His name in vain. Even the priest with a penchant for young girls drops the f-bomb. Irony abounds.

V apron

Expect a payload of violence in this film: the foiled rape scene (no skin showed), grisly mass grave shot with some naked bodies, and an amazing slow-mo sword/knife versus bullets fight…just to name a few. Lots more, but some of the choreography for the fight scenes is breathtaking. This is a movie about one man starting a revolution by means of revenge.


There has never (and I use that word with every bit of its meaning) been an onscreen kiss that has been so impeccable than the one between Evey and V. It is concise; the gravity of the meaning of the kiss to a man behind a mask that she has never laid eyes on, staggering.


The over-all points I took away from the film were multi-faceted but are narrowed down to one quote from the movie:


“Behind this mask there is more than just flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea… and ideas are bulletproof.” – V


This character was tortured by the government, didn’t die and succumbed to his idea of revenge. Eventually, his idea changed. Evey realized that her idea is freedom from oppression. I watched the movie and felt my own ideas stir within (read: I’m in possession of neither fireworks nor Guy Fawkes masks).

v fireworks

“Are you, like, a crazy person?” – Evey

“I am quite sure they will say so.” – V

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