Saturday, March 26, 2011

1968 - Oliver!

Thank you, Netflix, for this synopsis:

"Director Carol Reed's lively musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale stars Mark Lester as the titular orphan who escapes the workhouse and is taken under the wing of wily pickpocket Fagin (Ron Moody).  Befriended by the crafty Artful Dodger (Jack Wild) and resented by brutish bill Sikes (Oliver Reed), Oliver navigates his way through 19th-century London in this highly touted film that captured six Oscars, including Best Picture."

Well, you all know I love me a musical...and, after spending the day doing my grocery shopping, going to Home Depot and Ace Hardware, stripping the beds, washing the sheets, remaking the beds, and raking leaves - I decided to have a little me time and watch Oliver.  Let's just leave off the pretentious little exclamation point off the title, now shall we?

Anyhow, I sit down with the DVD and away we go.  I am immediately lost.  Now, I realize that I'm not a mental giant (as my former husband loved to point out on a regular basis), but I can usually follow your average film.  Yet, here I sat, completely and utterly without a clue.  From the high horse that only a seasoned film critic can mount, I shook my head, snorted, and made all sorts of rather guttural noises.  Whatever happened to character development?  Who are these people?  What on earth are they doing?  Am I just supposed to know, instinctively, what's going on???

This film is 2 hours and 26 minutes long.  About an hour and 15 minutes into it, I got the distinct feeling that we were wrapping things up.  Major characters were getting killed off.  Music was crescendoing.   You get the idea.  It was at this point that I figured out Mr. Netflix's secret - this was a 2-sided DVD, and I started with side 2.

So, my dearest reader, I watched the last half of the Best Picture Winner for 1968.

I take back all of the snide comments and most of the snorts.  Obviously, it would be colossally unfair of me to rate this; and now that I know who dies, I really am not in the mood to watch side 1.

Let's just say, if you like musicals, go ahead and watch it.  Just don't give away the beginning, I haven't seen it.  

Friday, March 25, 2011

2006 - The Departed

Here we are, once again, with a Netflix summary:

"To take down South Boston's Irish Mafia, the police send in one of their own to infiltrate the underworld, not realizing the syndicate has done likewise in Martin Scorsese's multiple Oscar-winning crime thriller.  While an undercover cop (Leonardo DiCaprio) curries favor with mob kingpin (Jack Nicholson), a career criminal (Matt Damon) rise through the police ranks.  But both sides soon discover there's a mole among them."

Matt Damon - Love.  Jack Nicholson - Love.  Mark Wahlberg - LOVE.   Leonardo DiCaprio - sorta Love.  This movie - eh.

At 2 1/2 hours, it was long.  Very long.  In fact, halfway through I went on to see if there were any new single men in my area, and when I went back to the film, I didn't feel like I'd missed much.

A lot of people got shot in the head, so there was a substantial amount of blood spatter.  There was a lot of cussing and a lot of vibrating cell phones shimmying across tables dramatically.

I thought it was a good film, but not a great film.  I'm surprised it won the Oscar; I guess someone thought it was Scorsese's turn.  It had a plot, it had action, but I didn't really care one way or the other how it ended up.  You pretty much guess everyone dies in the end, and they do.  I like a little more surprise for my Oscar buck.

See it if you want to, but don't blame me if you end up going online halfway through, like I did.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

1938 - You Can't Take It With You

And here we go!  It's Oscar time!

The Oscars came about in 1928, and we've been handing out little gold men with reckless abandon ever since.  There were a couple years where the awards were combined, but we are still looking at 80+ movies.  Watch the films in order, you say?  Well, I've put a good deal of thought into this, and have come up with a profoundly accurate way of reviewing the "Best Picture" Oscar winners.  I've plugged them into my Netflix queue in completely random fashion, and we will review them as they show up.

I won't be rating them with a number as we did in last year's blog - so I'll go with a recommendation of "Gotta See It," "See It If You Want," and "Don't Bother."

So, we are starting tonight with the winner for 1938 - "You Can't Take It With You".  Our summary, courtesy of Netflix:

"In this Frank Capra classic, Tony (James Stewart) and Alice (Jean Arthur) meet and fall in love.  But things are far from rosy:  he's the son of a millionaire, and she and her wacky family live in a house that's in the way of the senior Kirby's construction project.  Will an office building literally stand in the way of true love?  The movie, adapted from a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, delivers the answer."

Wake the kids and phone the neighbors.  In my expansive career as a movie search hound/reviewer, I've made a scientific discovery, such has not been seen since the apple fell on Newton's head.  I have determined that there are, in fact, two different types of time.  One is " theoretical running time".  Netflix tells you this number, so that you may know how long the film will last.  The other is "actual running time",  which is how much time you FEEL has passed while watching the movie.

In this particular case, the "theoretical running time" is 2 hours, 6 minutes.  The "actual running time" is 14 hours, 38 minutes.  I swear to allah, this was the longest flippin' movie I've ever seen.   I actually got up not one, not two, but FOUR times to check the time counter on the DVD player to see HOW MUCH FRICKIN' LONGER I had to watch this.

Best Picture, 1938?  Wow.  What a cinematic desert 1938 must have been.  The incredibly sad part was watching James Stewart just standing around, leaning in doorways and looking either amused or downtrodden for the bulk of his screen time.  What a waste of the man I have always considered to be the perfect actor.

I say, Don't See It.  I wish us better luck next time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Welcome one, welcome all, to our redesigned blog.

So I decided to take the advice of 2 of my dear friends.  One said my blog was pretty dull this year, and the other said that I should write about whatever I darned well pleased.  I agree with them both.  Hence a completely irrational decision to blend their seemingly contradictory opinions together.

I will continue the self-improvement programs, but they will not be the main focus of each post.  We will also be obtaining, viewing and reviewing all the "Best Picture" Oscar winners; there are around 83, if I recall correctly.  We are fortunate in that Mr. Netflix has well over 90% of them.  We are equally fortunate that none of the films are made by James Toback...I don't think I could go there again.

The best part is that you, dear reader, will not have to read any more "gee, this is what I did today" posts.  And I don't have to WRITE any more "gee, this is what I did today" posts.  It's a win-win.

I already have, in my hot little hands, 2 movies.  I'm quite excited.  Quite quite quite.  It's going to be a movie weekend at the Sweet Bachelorette Pad.

Can I get a woot woot?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hold That Thought.

Watch this space for the most amazing, stupendous, brain-sizzling, earth-shattering, totally tubular announcement which is so awesome, you may pee a little when you read it!

But not tonight, and probably not tomorrow, because the Biggest Loser is on Tuesday nights.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Is the Microwave Half Full, or Half Empty?

Good news:  I now have a microwave.

Bad news:  My counter space, which was negligible to begin with, has just been reduced by a few more precious square feet.

Good news:  I'm tentatively dipping my toe in the dating pool.

Bad news:  My son does not approve.  He caught me e-mailing someone I met on, and told me, "You know, you don't know anything about that guy."  I told him to go put his shoes on and get ready for school.  It's like living with the Pope.

Good news:  We are settling in nicely at the Sweet Bachelorette Pad.

Bad news:  I live in terror of the "first bill" from the water and power companies, having not paid those kinds of bills in 8 years - I'm having nightmares about how much they might be.  They should be arriving soon.  I'll keep you posted.  Donations gladly accepted.

Good news:  My grocery bill has plummeted, now that I'm cooking for 2.

Bad news:  My gas bill hasn't, as we are back to weekly cello lessons, which is 60 miles a week in additional driving.

Good news:  Life is good.

Bad news:  Nope, no bad news there.

So, how have you been?

Saturday, March 5, 2011


So, a reader and friend of mine says to me, not so long ago - "Tina, your blog this year blows.  Go back to reviewing movies.  You are boring me."  She added a few other nice words to soften the edges, but that's the gist of it.  When coming up with this year's topic, I had seriously considered reviewing every Oscar Best Picture winner; and since I'm a movie addict, it's very tempting to pull the rip cord. 

But I do have to deal with the rather pressing issue of MARCH.  March is well underway and I haven't been able to determine which program to do this month.  You may find it hard to believe, given the quality of my writing, but I actually do spend a good number of hours in "prep time" doing research, etc on my topic BEFORE I start the program in question....and, thanks to my lack of internet, my March research is out the window.  Plus - I am behind.  I detest being behind.

So, with your kind permission, I am writing off the month of March.  I highly encourage you to improve yourselves this month, and I will join you soon.

And, for the luvva PETE, who decides that they should do a SELF-IMPROVEMENT blog when they are in the middle of a DIVORCE???!!!!!  What kind of psychotic IDIOT thinks that is a good idea?  While I do not spend my days obsessing over the details of my divorce - what will happen, will happen, and thank God, at least it will be over with eventually - it still creeps into my mind over the course of the day.  A slug crawled onto my hand once when I was picking lettuce.  That's how my divorce feels. 

My internet connection...let's talk about that.  I moved into this house on President's Day weekend, and the soonest I could schedule my internet hookup was the following Friday, the 25th.  Since all my neighbors have secured connections, I couldn't "borrow" any airtime to communicate with you all.  Bummer.  Anyhow, my ISP says that they will be at my house between 10 and 12 on Friday, thank you and have a nice day.  I'm thinking, "wow - a 2-hour window!  Awesome!"  So I showed up at my house at 9:50 and waited.  And waited.

At 12:20, I placed a rather crisp phone call to Mr. ISP.  Hellooo?  Where are you?  The response:

"OOOHHHH, we had some additional work to do in your area, so we've rescheduled you for Monday.  See you then."  (Yes, he actually said "ohhhh" like that.)

Well, no, you will NOT see me then, because I will be in California.  And evidently Mr. ISP doesn't have a phone that dials OUT, because a PHONE CALL to let me know they weren't coming was simply not an option.

Being the benevolent soul I am, I rescheduled my appointment with Mr. India Call Center for Wednesday and hung up on  him.  I was so empowered, I could have single-handedly lifted the corner of my house.

And yes, Mr. Internet did show up on Wednesday.  All is well.  Oh, and I have 20 TV channels.  You probably didn't know that there was such a package, but there's as sad as it sounds.  But at least I can watch the news, and Little House on the Prairie is on when I get home from work.  I can shop from home and watch not one, but two channels in Spanish.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Excuses, Excuses.

I know what you are thinking..."Geesh, she goes like 2 weeks without blogging, then she gets back online, and she still doesn't post...what a SLACKER!"

Well, I had to go to the eye doctor today and my eyes are dilated.  I can't really see the screen, and in fact I've got my eyes all squinted up and my head turned to the side to try and avoid the glare.  I'd bet good money I look like Robert DeNiro right now.  Are you talkin' ta ME?

So, I'm going to sign off now, because I frankly can't see what I'm typing.  Not that this will really affect the quality or interest factor of my writing....but it's rather painful.

Self-improvement begins again tomorrow, I swear.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

She's baaa-aaack.

Well, well, well.  I finally am back amongst the living.  My internet connection went live this morning.  You may recall that is was supposed to get hooked up last Friday.  There's a story there.

What have I been up to, you ask?  Well, here we go:

1.  I moved into a new house
2.  I got sick
3.  I took my son to Disneyland
4.  I tried to get my internet hooked up and failed
5.  I tried to get my internet hooked up and succeeded.

What have I NOT been up to, you ask?

1.  Crunches.

We are now in March, I am off the hook - no more crunches necessary.  We are already into March by 2 days, which means we are BEHIND on our self-improvement goal for the month.  Heavy sigh.

I have so many stories to spin for you, dearest reader, I don't even know where to begin.  So I won't.  I will use my days away as filler for dead time over the next month.

I must go now and familiarize myself with this month's project - I'm sure you already have, right?  Right.