A Man Who Listens

Fifteen years ago, the Mel Gibson / Helen Hunt film, What Women Want, was released. The film is an entertaining look at what happens when a charming and seductive man named Nick experiences a freak accident. The morning after his accident, he realizes he has a new ability … he can hear the thoughts of women around him.

FROM: http://tiny.cc/69e3xx
FROM: http://tiny.cc/69e3xx

The movie presents an interesting dilemma. With the tag line “Finally … a man is listening” giving voice to the almost universal longing of women to have the listening ears of their men, it’s understandable this film was generally well received. Flip that scenario around and Gibson experiences why there are hazards in hearing a woman’s unfiltered innermost thoughts. Continue reading “A Man Who Listens”

Not So Honest Abe

When the ads began airing for the second season of TURИ:  Washington’s Spies, I decided to take some time out for an American History diversion. Since I hadn’t watched the first season (which aired beginning in April 2014), I wanted to view those episodes first and I’m still going through them. I may not catch up until season two goes to Netflix.Turn-AMCThe series has received generally favorable reviews. Critics on the rotten tomatoes website were mixed, offering a 52% favorable though the audience score (82%) was more impressive. Those ratings have gone up now that season two is in progress.

Continue reading “Not So Honest Abe”

Heroes Or Villains?

The trailer for the DC Comics superhero film, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a hot item this weekend. Watch the trailer here. As a one-time fan of both Batman (the Christian Bale film series from 2005-forward) and Superman (the George Reeves television series of the 1950s), I’m not particularly enthusiastic about forthcoming productions. For me, I want my superheroes to remain the way I remember them.superman batmanThe upcoming film was originally set to release in 2014 and then was delayed to be released this year but was once again pushed back, this time until 2016. The delays are puzzling and the story line has been, so far as I can tell, kept under wraps but the title is intriguing. Are Batman and Superman going to participate in the ultimate challenge and meet face to face in the UFC Octagon? Continue reading “Heroes Or Villains?”

What Does Cinderella Do?

Thanks to the recent release of Disney’s live-action movie, Cinderella, there’s been a resurgent popularity for the romantic fairy tale. In a February post, I mentioned my enthusiasm for the upcoming (at that time) movie and my eagerness to see it. (I’m hopeful to catch it this coming weekend.)
Unfortunately, from about the 1960s and forward, the Cinderella mythology fell out of favor because the feminist dogma unofficially rejected her as an undesirable sexist stereotype. Google “feminism and Cinderella” and numerous posts result, many of which attempt to provide a new take on this formerly discarded fairy tale heroine.
Continue reading “What Does Cinderella Do?”

A Call To Supper

We’re in the midst of Holy Week, that period stretching from Palm Sunday that culminates with Easter or Resurrection Sunday. This is an especially meaningful time for followers of Christ because we commemorate the sacrifices that led to the Cross and ultimately the victory of an empty tomb.holyweekOver the last six weeks as I’ve contemplated the biblical events, I’ve been aware of various television projects dealing with the Bible narratives. National Geographic recently aired its mini-series Killing Jesus. In 2013, the mini-series The Bible received generous praise, leading to its follow-up A.D. The Bible Continues which will air on Easter Sunday. There may be others. (I tend to avoid these productions anyway; in full disclosure, I have yet to view any of the aforementioned.) Continue reading “A Call To Supper”

A Tale of Elsa and Fred

In an earlier post, I referred to the film, The Sound of Music, which marks its fiftieth anniversary big screen release this month. Vanity Fair magazine‘s most recent issue notes the anniversary with an amusing interview of both Maria (Julie Andrews) and Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer). Having enjoyed friendship for these fifty years, the aging pair (she’s 79, he’s 85) reflect a genuine affection, exchanging what VF describes as the “well-worn patter of an old married couple.chris-maria

As someone who has watched the film multiple times, I found the VF feature enlightening. Never having delved any deeper into details about the film, I didn’t know Plummer’s antipathy for the film was so ingrained. Watching him on the screen in that film, I always assumed his general aloofness was the result of a director’s instructions for him to play the part that way. Reading the VF piece, I see now it was actually a reflection of Plummer’s overall distaste for the project! Continue reading “A Tale of Elsa and Fred”

Opening a Door . . . For Closure

Origins matter. Whether your family has lived in the same vicinity for 200 years or you’re part of the broad population that moves around every couple of years, wherever you “come from” is important. My own interest in origins feeds my love for genealogy.

Elfreth's Alley FROM:  http://tiny.cc/zhi5ux
Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia PA FROM: http://tiny.cc/zhi5ux

It’s not just the ancestral names and faces who are fascinating but also the places from which they came. There are questions like, what is it that compels a family to uproot their lives in a certain locale and transport lock, stock and all possessions to another place to establish new roots? On the other hand, what drives other families to stay rooted in the same place over many generations?  Continue reading “Opening a Door . . . For Closure”

A Measure of Life

The obituary was glaringly spare … So-and-So was born in the community of Hither-and-Yon on Such-and-Such a date, beloved child of So-and-So-Mom and So-and-So-Dad, dear sibling of other So-and-So persons, several who predeceased So-and-So. Deceased leaves behind offspring and respective spouses plus more than a couple So-and-So grandchildren. The celebration of So-and-So’s life will occur under the direction of Here-and-There Funeral Services and in lieu of flowers, donations to This-and-That Charity will be gratefully received. (Names not used for privacy’s sake.)obituary_national_3

Notice anything missing? Perhaps because we knew So-and-So, it was immediately clear So-and-So’s former spouse of four decades failed to make the cut. The spouse with whom So-and-So had produced offspring was never mentioned. The spouse with whom So-and-So had adored and nurtured said offspring in a shared, loving home was seemingly non-existent – insofar as public records were concerned.

After more than forty years of marriage, divorce split this union … one whole suddenly became two parts, pieces, uh, wholes? Contradicting the “Gone but not forgotten” sentiment in the above image, So-and-So’s ex-spouse has been effectively purged, similar to a Soviet commissar, from official accounts. Continue reading “A Measure of Life”

There Will Be God In It

When I recently mentioned Vincent Van Gogh in my post about selfies, I decided to dig a little deeper into his life. I knew some of the usual details about his life … admittedly, most of it garnered from a long-ago viewing of the 1956 movie, Lust for Life, with Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn (as Van Gogh’s friend Paul Gauguin).Vincent-van-Gogh-brabant-etten-leur-zundertThe movie description talks about Van Gogh as the “archetypical tortured artistic genius.” This is not an appealing description (as I see it). Whenever the idea of a “tortured artistic genius” is suggested, I tend to assume the individual so described is likely a petulant child who’s never been taught to restrain him or herself. Though I very much appreciate talented artists, it seems to me they may get tagged with the adjective “tortured” so as to make their life stories more sensational. Continue reading “There Will Be God In It”

Home Before Midnight

In spite of the hype of the 2015 Oscars last evening, it wasn’t enough to lure me in. Don’t get me wrong. I love movies, especially the films with well-drawn characters and a sensitive story line. (I’m much less interested in films that go for cheap laughs and ugly or superficial relationships.) If I’m going to devote two hours to a film, I need to care about the characters on the screen.

The Oscars broadcast didn’t draw me in because, much as I love movies, I’m disinclined to care about and choose to watch the Hollywood glitterati preen and pose and suffer through the tedium of a inane questions asked and answered inanely.2015_1$largeimg215_Jan_2015_104948370

From some of the comments I heard today and the brief posts I read online, I think it was a blessing I didn’t watch … no need to witness the awkward moments – Neil Patrick Harris in a diaper or John Travolta imitating Joe Biden’s lecherous moves, nor to note the stunning absence of Joan Rivers’ mention during the In Memoriam tribute.

I did note the Best Supporting Actor award earned by J. K. Simmons, the recent face of Farmers Insurance commercials. (I suppose it goes without saying, his price per ad will be going up, right?) I also took a gander at the gowns this morning and watched Lady Gaga perform the Sound of Music medley, as well as the Vine video of Common appearing to ignore (diss, some suggested) Oprah. All in all, the twenty minutes I spent was preferable over the extended live production. Continue reading “Home Before Midnight”