Sunday, April 25, 2010

Turner Classic Movies and Technicolor

Turner Classic Movies is airing some good movies today.  Right now I'm watching Road to Singapore with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.  Later I'll see The Best Years of Our Lives and Singing in the Rain.

Singing in the Rain is not my favorite Gene Kelly musical.  I actually like the title song better when I hear it in A Clockwork Orange.  But, Gene Kelly has quickly become my favorite singer/dancer.  I used to be a Fred Astaire fan until my boyfriend pointed out that he looks like a scrawny alien.  Then I realized that his dance routines are not nearly as exciting or athletic as Kelly's.  I also considered the fact that Kelly grew up in East Liberty.  Now I'm Kelly Krazy for life. 

My favorite movie of his is Anchors Aweigh.  I own it as part of a DVD 3-pack of movies that star Kelly and Frank Sinatra.  All three movies (the other two being Take Me Out to the Ball Game and On the Town) have basically the same plots and the same characters, but different settings.  Still, I'm in love with any movie that has singing and dancing and was shot in Technicolor. 

This week I watched a great movie that fits that description.  Turner Classic Movies showed The Red Shoes, a movie about a ballerina that is forced to choose between love or dance.  I'm not a fan of ballet, but the vivid colors and the characters made it worth watching.  It was a pleasant two hours and fifteen minutes.

I spent about that much time watching 8 1/2 at the Oaks Theater last Wednesday evening.  This is "a Fellini," which I'm sure the ten or so other patrons, draped in scarves and shawls, were excited to tell their friends about.  Also, I'm sure they were annoyed by my friends and I who were eating Sno-Caps, Sour Patch Kids and popcorn during the film.  Those crinkling cellophane sounds are an expected part of the movie-going experience, right? 

Well, as I settle in tonight for my mini TCM marathon, I probably won't be enjoying any of those candies.  Those are strictly movie theater fare.  I will, however, enjoy some great singing, dancing, and color.  Thank you, Technicolor! 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away--Go to Mars Instead!

Rain, rain, rain.  There has been a lot of it this week, both in the real world and on Mars (the Mars presented in Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles).  Here on Earth I was surprised to look out the windows of my office and see McDonald's bags and goals/nets from the practice fields flying past.  I thought I would end up in Oz, but the wind wasn't strong enough to send the window frame into the back of my head.  The 86 mph winds were followed by a short but powerful downpour.  The rain wasn't needed or wanted, at least by me.  The planet Mars, on the other hand, needed a drink. 

The rain on Mars was badly needed and prayed for by a man who wants to populate the red planet with lush, beautiful green trees.  Benjamin Driscoll is a self-proclaimed Johnny Appleseed--except he isn't planting just apple trees.  He wants all kinds of trees to grow on Mars.  Because breathing is just a bit difficult on Mars, he hopes that the trees will give him and other Americans coming to the planet more fresh air.  After riding around on his motorcycle and spreading some seeds, Driscoll experienced an ecstatic rainfall.  The trees grew and prospered.  Mars must have wanted them just as much as Driscoll.

I don't know how long these trees will last.  Will they still be verdant when I pick up my book tonight?  Will they still be standing by the last page (pg. 182, that is)?  I hope so.  Mars could use some greenery.  Come on Bradbury, you haven't disappointed me yet! 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Flamingoes, Flowers, and Friendship

My Easter vacation this year was two days off from work.  I celebrated by reading two Stephanie (of Full House) books and watching The Baby-Sitters Club movie twice. 

The Full House books were a lot of fun because I remember reading them when they were first released.  I can't remember if I related to the books on a personal level or was just entertained by them.  It was probably just entertainment; I never wrote for the school newspaper or was pursued by a group of popular girls.  The Flamingoes, the popular group in the Stephanie books, was like a sorority.  The members wore at least one pink item everyday and they all had one fingernail that was painted pink.  It sounds like the Pink Ladies to me.  If I was the leader of a pack of giggling girls, I would make them wear floral prints and wear floral-scented perfume.  I just love flowers. 

The Baby-Sitters Club movie is also about friendship (and flowers!), but on a much deeper level.  The friendships in the movie are more authentic and sweet than those in the Stephanie books.  I cry everytime I watch the movie, even when I watch it twice in the same day.  I cry when the club performs the brain rap for Claudia so she won't fail her science test.  I cry again when they celebrate Kristy's birthday in Mallory's parents' cabin.  And finally, I cry at the end of the movie when they present the greenhouse to Mrs. Haberman.  I should mention that this is one of only two movies that always make me cry--the other is William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.  In real life I could never handle the relationships presented in those movies. 

So, friendship has been the theme this week.  I wonder what it would have been like to belong to a group like the Flamingoes or the Baby-Sitters Club.  I wonder what they are doing now?!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Nostalgia--1990s

This week I have been listening to music created in the 1990s, my favorite decade.  I didn't set out to do this, but one thing led to another after I heard "Linger" by the Cranberries playing in a restaurant.  My short work week was filled with Sixpence None the Richer, the Cranberries, Ace of Base, Smashing Pumpkins, even Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer.  It was great because I never hear those bands anymore.  I'd say I should listen to the radio more often, but I'm definitely not willing to do that.  YouTube works fine.

The 1990s also influenced my choice of movies and TV shows this week.  I watched many episodes of Sister Sister and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.  Today's television shows just cannot compare with the ones I was watching in elementary and middle school.  Although my taste in music has moved beyond the 20th century, my taste in television never will.  Movies are a different story.  Every decade has great movies, except for maybe the 1970s.  But I did revisit one from 1993 that still scares me today:  The Good Son.  I was so excited to see it; Elijah Wood is one of my favorite actors.  It's great to see a child actor who is still successful and clean.  I think Macaulay Culkin is trying to straighten himself out--maybe he'll have a Robert Downey, Jr., comeback. 

I miss the phrase, "Hey, this is the 90s."  "Hey, this is the 2000s," doesn't cut it.  Maybe by 2020 I'll be looking back on the 2000s or 2010s with sweet nostalgia.  Until then I'll be humming "I Saw the Sign" and remembering how great everyone looked in neon.