That Time of Year

is upon us.

I can’t help but to think that the best way to live is to love. To believe in love like a little kid believes in Santa Claus is all that we have left; right? Unless you buy the whole bible-thumper lifestyle; hook, line, and sinker. To live for love is to be true to whatever makes us different. Period. Just off, and awkward, and weird. I like being all of the above. It’s what makes us…. I love these movies because they’re so real. The only way to see the beauty in life is to open up the jar and let the world in. You have to see people to know them, and you have to know them to appreciate them. 

To see, you have to open your eyes. To believe, you have to open your heart. To know, you have to leap, and to appreciate, you have to first understand. It’s a vicious, wondrous cycle. It’s hard to explain how to be a human being, but at least I tried. It’s more than I can say for anyone who ever mouth-spanked their waitress over pickles on a burger.

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The Top Ten Movies You’ve never Seen; Or…

Have Forgotten (altogether).

No. 10= Big Fish

I rarely meet someone who has watched this flick, let alone, someone who likes it. As for those who actually GET IT…fewer, still. We are a rare breed, those who watch a movie to infer the contents of the soul(s) behind it. This was a movie about a young man who told tall tales about a mostly imagined life (as seen from the point of view of his very cynical and over-worked, modernized son). This was a tale told to remind us how great our fathers and grandfathers were. To teach a generation of decomposing values how our mothers waited and our fathers fought. How hard and how epic was the journey of life when it still meant making a climb or two. It’s visually stunning with exceptional dialogue, and a hero we can’t help but to love. Watch and enjoy.

No. 9= The Ringer

Yeah, it might be a bit cliche, and it’s definitely the ONLY format movie you’ll see on this list (same storyline….insert character name; here…type of bullshit), but it’s got something beautiful to say. The Ringer reminds me why I like the Farrelly Brothers so much. The characters aren’t perfect, but you’ve got to love them. The realism of those offbeat people who waltz into your life insisting you take notice of a world you hardly ever see, are the most beautiful of our gifts, here.

No. 8= Vanilla Sky

Yes. I know I’m the only person on Earth who liked that movie. Guys who wanted to get into my pants have occasionally pretended, but it’s easy to tell when that happens…usually. Hear me out. I love Vanilla Sky for a couple of reasons. The first is that the preview set me up. I didn’t expect a single effing thing that happened, aside from her driving off the bridge. I’m  a writer. I enjoy a good old-fashioned mindfuck every now and then. It’s why I write…or play chess…or fiddle with Pandora, just to see what they’ll make me listen to, based solely on the masses. The other reason, is the dialogue. Yes, they all talk like writers (which I generally loathe), but they all are writers and agents, so it fits…for once. The writers want the agents to pull for them; the agents want the writers to think they are witty enough to sell them. It’s a fake world to begin with, except the one real thing; love. Hence; the tagline (title of the original Spanish Indie flick, by the way): “Open Your Eyes”. This is funny…it’s a good seguay for the next one.

No. 7= American Beauty

Call me dumb, if ya want…I call me young. I certainly didn’t see this little spin on Romeo and Juliet (with the fathers as the dead people) coming. It was a great little switch for me and it sort of paved the way for me to be this independent thinker type. I said it before and I’ll say it again…if I didn’t see it coming; I’m impressed.

No. 6= Prime

Uma Thurman has always looked like an alien to me…sorry. She has this face you want to send to its home planet. Nonetheless, I respect her as an actress. There was the leap from daft looking cover girl to Pulp Fiction, plus the fact that she rocked the bride in Kill Bill(s). Then, she dates this hot young guy in a romantic comedy where (wait for it….SPOILER ALERT!)

Nah, I’m messing with you. Watch the movie, already. I’m not a dick.

No. 5= Nothing But Trouble

Man, was that movie fun. John Candy, Chevy Chase, Demi Moore (when she was still cute, before the boob job slutty stuff), a couple of other 80’s funny people… It was good stuff. Way out of the ordinary, unpredictable, random cast. Just a really fun story. I loved that movie, purely for its inherent weirdness.

No. 4= It Happened One Night

Okay, so it’s a classic. Does ANYone born after 1965 remember why?? I highly doubt it. If you ever catch TCM; you’ll see the stage set for everything that came after. This movie is the reason I hate modern comedy. It’s a farce of a copy of something real, at this point. When you make a copy, it will always be flawed, and I see why.

No. 3= The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

If I were terribly biased, all seven of Wes Anderson’s movies would have been on this list, simply by default. I picked this one because it was my first, and because I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this movie. I sat there, watching it, wondering (for two hours) if it was worth my time. I almost turned it of fifteen times; but something compelled me to watch. I guess it was akin to the thing that keeps the horrible (but naked), big-breasted, blond actress stamped firmly to the floor in a bad horror flick a second too long, except that I wasn’t murdered. At the end of the movie, I immediately rewound it (yes; VHS; I was poor) and watched the whole thing over again. I was in love with that style of movie-making from the get-go.

No. 2= The Dark Crystal

I can’t really explain it. Just watch and, either you get it, or you don’t. It’s weird; I’ll grant you, but it does have a way of morphing into (at least) slight obsession; so look out. It’s Henson at his best, truly.

No. 1= (drum roll; please…)  Harold and Maude

Again, it’s hard to describe. I lost myself somewhere in between the Cat Stevens soundtrack and a teenager’s obsession with death mixed with the oddest love affair I have ever seen. The thing about Harold and Maude; you see; is a grand lesson in not taking life too seriously.

Stay tuned…guilty pleasures might rear their ugly heads in a day or two. And, again, thank you for reading.

I know I’m always ranting about crappy movies, but, seriously???

Who in the hell thought it would be okay to make a movie with this title: ‘Abraham Lincoln; Vampire Killer’? What empty, soulless, money-hungry demon of Hollywood said, “I know, let’s just go ahead and admit to the world that we have no stories left in us.”?

I mean, should I even go on? This is pitiful on so many levels. I do plan to watch the remake of ‘The Three Stooges’, just because I can appreciate the Farrelly Brothers’ sense of respect for the trio. I didn’t watch ‘Footloose’ (which felt like blasphemy). This, however, goes way too far. If they need decent writers, I would be happy to help them out with a screenplay. In fact, I have a project in mind, that might sell without turning a historical figure into Buffy (Kristy Swanson or Sarah Michelle Gellar; take your pick; they both sucked), for God’s sake.

I might as well start at the beginning. I went to see ‘The Dicatator’ tonight (Sacha Baron Cohen is our Peter Sellers; he is the funniest man alive). Mixed in with the regular previews for movies that make a tiny bit of sense, was this visually stunning preview for a movie with Abraham Lincoln. I thought it was going to be about John Wilkes Boothe, or the Civil War, so I thought I might watch it. Then, the title flashed…

I hope they sick him on Twilight, so we can kill two horrible ideas with one top-grossing stone.

“Hump Day”

Of course, I always thought the term was pretty funny, as a kid, in a pre-pubescent, dirty-ish way. (Insert Peter Griffin laugh, here), ahh “hump day”. Now, I get so thrilled when Wednesday is over. The week shortens, immediately, in my mind. I breathe a sigh of welcome relief. Only a couple more days to go, until Friday night.

In fact, Wednesday is almost like a mini Friday night for me. I let my hair down and start to unwind in anticipation of the lazy couple of days with my daughter and her dad.

Clocking in on Monday, the week stretches ahead of you, like an endless wind tunnel of horror. A faulty one (much like the very pricey “Big Dig”, fellow New Englanders), who might hurl chunks of your hard-earned tax money at you for your efforts.

Clocking out on Wednesday, the week narrows down to a big backyard with the evening fireflies dancing a scene of Sugar Plum Fairies around  the beatific three-year-old who welcomes them to her ranks. Yes, folks, your ‘hump day’ is my glimpse at freedom. For a couple of sun-filled, windowless days, anyhow.

TV: The Modern Mom’s Understudy

How often do you plop your kid(s) in front of the television with a favorite show or movie to keep them occupied while you get stuff done (dinners cooked, dishes washed, laundry folded, and what-have-you)? Don’t feel bad. I’m rather guilty of it, myself. I’m pretty quick to turn on some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, just so I can start supper. It only works for so long, though, until my daughter is back up and under my feet where I can’t cross the kitchen without tripping over or stepping on her. If I’m trying to write; well; TV only holds up for about 47 seconds, or so. I basically have to leave the house to do this.

I’m starting to get really concerned, however, about the actual amount of television she is watching and (particularly these days, as I was of the “television rots your brain” era) what sordid scenes she’s exposed to. It can’t be a healthy amount, or helpful for her mind and self-esteem. It’s enough to make me think that I need to change these practices, altogether. Perhaps the answer is to involve her, more,  in my chores and obligations. It would serve to keep her out of harm’s way, teach her how to accomplish basic household tasks, and build up her confidence while allowing the two of us to spend more time together.

Hmmm…methinks there will be a follow-up to this blog. It’s time to implement some of these thoughts to improve the quality of our lives and our relationship. I’m going to start now, and I’ll write more next Monday on this particular topic. Meanwhile, I want you other Moms and Dads to think twice before automatically sitting your kid(s) down in front of the TV every time you need a few minutes of peace. After all, we can’t always substitute their favorite characters for our own presence.