Two Movies in Two Days

If I had a fortune I’d spend all my time traveling to exotic places, but I don’t so I do the two next best things: read and go to movies. 

On Sunday my friend, Lee Ann, and I went to see La La Land. I’d had some reservations about the film based on feedback online. With the opening number all my doubts were erased. It’s a gorgeous film with fun music. 

Ryan Gosling is handsome and adorable, while Emma Stone melts my heart. No wonder it’s the odds on favorite to win best picture honors at the upcoming Oscars. Yes, the choreography is just so-so, and Gosling and Stone aren’t the greatest vocalists, but I left the theater with a smile on my lips and a desire to dance to my car. Lee Ann discouraged me from doing that.

On Monday all of our company returned to Indiana, and Studly Doright had to go to Orlando for work. Left all alone I was antsy after the active weekend, so I took myself to see the film, Lion. Another best picture nominee, Lion is by turns heartbreaking and hopeful. 

Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman perform beautifully in their respective roles as an adoptee from an Indian orphanage and his adoptive mom. The gorgeous Rooney Mara plays Dev’s love interest. But the scene stealer, without a bit of artifice in his performance, is Sunny Pawar who plays the young version of Patel’s character, Saroo. 

I’ve now seen three of the six best picture nominees. Including the two mentioned above I’ve seen Hidden Figures, not once but twice. I’ve no desire to see Hacksaw Ridge, but both Fences and Hell or High Water are still on my wish list. Who knows, maybe I’ll chase those down this weekend. Unless I win the lottery. If that happens, I’m hitting the road.

Peace, people.

What We Lost

Studly Doright was out of town much of last week. My days were busy, but my nights were long and empty without my favorite guy here to make sure the tv was set either on American Pickers or Sports Center. I find that I’m not nearly as fluent in the art of Remote Control Manipulation as Studly.

On Wednesday evening I took myself to see Hidden Figures, a film about the importance of a group of African American women as human computers at NASA in the early 1960’s, and the obstacles they faced while simply trying to do their jobs. 

Because they were Black, these women weren’t allowed to use any restrooms other than the one in their wing of the building, often necessitating long, frantic walks to take care of basic needs. Because they were Black, they couldn’t get coffee from the communal pot in their office. Because they were Black and female they weren’t allowed to sit in on critical meetings, even when their presence might have resulted in quicker solutions.

This is a good film, and it made me furious. It should make all of us furious. When I think of all we have lost as a nation because we refused to recognize the abilities, the talents, the intelligence of all people regardless of race or gender I want to scream. 

Who knows what diseases might have been cured, what inventions developed, if society hadn’t been so intent on excluding women in general and women of color in particular from full participation in society?

And what groups of people are we excluding now? What groups do we try to keep in their place? Oh, maybe there aren’t separate restrooms anymore, but our new commander-in-chief would love to discriminate against Mexican Americans and Muslim Americans. He treats women as chattel to be grabbed as needed. 

My rant is over, but this argument isn’t. Get pissed off. Don’t allow trump to segregate or alienate or exclude any group of people because of his fears, his insecurities. 

Now I’m going to master that damned remote control. If a group of women could figure out how to put men in space and safely bring them back to earth, I can surely figure out how to efficiently switch between multiple channels in order to avoid commercial interruptions.

Peace, people.

Whistle Stop Cafe

Studly Doright bought a new old motorcycle as a gift to himself for his upcoming birthday necessitating a quick trip to Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday evening. About 50 miles outside of Atlanta I saw a billboard for the Whistle Stop Cafe, made famous in Fannie Flagg’s novel, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and the film, Fried Green Tomatoes. 


I’ve read the book more than once, and I’ve seen the movie enough times to be able to quote entire lines of dialogue from memory, so being something of a kid I began an earnest campaign for us to make a side trip to the cafe on our return to Doright Manor on Saturday.

“Please, oh please, oh please can we visit? I want to yell ‘Towanda!’ at the top of my lungs and eat fried green tomatoes!”

Studly, being the patient man he is grumbled something like, “Hmmmph.”

I took that to mean, “Certainly, sweetheart, whatever makes you happy!”

Of course he was driving in Atlanta traffic at the time, so my interpretation might’ve been off by a word or two.

We spent the night in Atlanta, picked up the motorcycle, which happily met Studly’s expectations, at 10 a.m., and then plugged the address for the Whistle Stop Cafe in Juliette, GA, into the GPS. 

Juliette is about 55 miles south and slightly east of Atlanta, nestled in the gently rolling farmland and forests of southeastern  Georgia. Turning into its main street felt like stepping back in time.


Studly and I arrived just in time for lunch. That’s his “new” ’72 Yamaha R5 in the photo.


For an appetizer we had the famous fried green tomatoes. So delicious!


The cafe isn’t large, so be prepared to wait for a table should you ever visit. Studly and I sat at the horseshoe shaped lunch counter. 

He had fried chicken and I ordered grilled catfish and a glass of sweet tea. Both meals were seasoned and cooked to perfection. The prices were reasonable as well.


I kept expecting Idgy and Ruth to come strolling in the door.


After lunch I wandered around main street for a bit, but I knew Studly was eager to get his purchase home to see if it would run. I did buy a brand new Brighton bag, retail price $145 that I bought for ten dollars before we started home to Doright Manor. That was my Towanda moment. Here’s Kathy Bates with hers:

https://youtu.be/lx0z9FjxP-Y

Peace, people!

Whisky Tango Foxtrot Meets Tarzan

 

Tina Fey
 
Saturday evening Studly Doright and I stayed in to watch a movie on On Demand. He’d played golf all day in 100° heat, and couldn’t muster the energy to wade through noisy theater crowds to see the new Tarzan movie, but promised we could go on Sunday.

After perusing the On Demand offerings we quickly settled on Whisky Tango Foxtrot, starring Tina Fey. Based on a true story, WTF follows the exploits of war correspondent Kim Barker, played by Fey, who risks life and limb to get her stories on camera while embedded with Marines in Afghanistan. In the film Barker befriends fellow reporter and rival, Tanya Vanderpoel, played by Margot Robbie. 

Studly and I enjoyed the movie which didn’t do terribly well at the box office. WTF was gritty fare, not Fey’s normal comedy genre, although there were amusing scenes. Billy Bob Thornton is good as the officer in charge of the Marines who comes to show grudging respect for Fey’s character.

On Sunday afternoon Studly kept his promise and took me into Tallahassee to see the newest rendition of the Tarzan saga, in 3D no less. I believe I’ve written about Tarzan’s influence on my young life. Having spent many a Sunday morning in front of a black and white TV watching Johnny Weismuller wrestle lions and alligators, I felt like I’d been raised by apes, as well. So I was eager to see how this version stacked up.

I already had a mad crush on the newest Tarzan, Alexander Skarsgård of True Blood fame, but could he pull off the role of Lord Greystoke/King of the Apes? Oh yes. Ohhhh yes. (Excuse me while I fan myself vigorously) 

(Okay, I’m back) The rest of the cast was well chosen. Samuel L. Jackson and Cristoph Waltz were both major players. I didn’t know the young woman who played Jane; although, she looked so familiar. Where had I seen her before? 

Throughout the film I pondered that question. Whoever she was her character was the perfect match for Tarzan. Strong-willed and witty, she held her own against the bad guys, led by Waltz’s character.

When we returned to Doright Manor I googled the cast for Tarzan and realized why Jane looked so familiar. We’d just watched her in Whisky Tango Foxtrot the night before. The lovely and spunky Margot Robbie was Tarzan’s Jane. 

Tarzan, the film, was fun. Tarzan, the man, was hot. And Margot Robbie, it seems, is everywhere. See WTF. See Tarzan

 

Alexander Skarsgård

   

Unnerving

I’d just left Chicken Salad Chick where I’d enjoyed the Cranberry Kelly and a side of grape salad. The day, sunshiny and Forida-perfect, insisted that I take a stroll and pop into the shops in a strip mall on Market Street in Tallahassee.

With no agenda, no cash, and all my credit cards gone to live with a bunch of nasty thieves, I truly was merely window shopping. 

I was dressed casually–cropped jeans and a soft white tshirt, flip flops. As I headed back to my car I saw a well-dressed woman walking toward me on the sidewalk. I smiled. I always smile, I can’t help it. 

She began laughing. Not a happy laugh, an insulting laugh, like, “Lady, who do you think you are?”

As she passed, close enough to touch, she looked me up and down. Now I’m wondering if I have food on my face (it wouldn’t be the first time) or a breast exposed (it could happen) or perhaps I’ve developed a unicorn type appendage between my eyes (not likely, but might be worth a snicker).

As soon as I got to my car I flipped the visor down to check my image in the mirror. Ok, I’m no beauty, but I couldn’t see a thing to laugh about. Well, my hair was a bit Dumb and Dumber-ish, but still….

I needed to stop at a grocery store for a couple of items on my way home, so once I entered the store I made a beeline for the ladies room. Again, America’s Next Top Model isn’t going to be calling any time soon, but I looked like an average 59-year-old grandmother with a touch of hippie grunge.

So why did this stranger feel the need to laugh at me? I want to track her down and ask. Why does it bother me that she laughed? Insecurity? Curiosity? 

Regardless, it was unnerving. Like that Denzel Washington movie, “Fallen,” where the devil keeps possessing different people, jumping from one host to another, singing The Rolling Stones’ Time is on My Side.

https://g.co/kgs/OnH8N
Hope she wasn’t possessed! That seems a good spot to end this. 

Peace, people!

Paying a Debt

It took me a second to understand this picture–why would anyone desecrate the headstone on Susan B. Anthony’s grave?   But then I realized the stickers said, “I voted today” and I smiled. Please use your right to vote. Become informed, and speak your mind come Election Day. Don’t ignore this gift that women like Susan B. Anthony fought to give us.

  
And if you haven’t seen the film, Suffragette, detailing the hardships British women endured in order to be allowed to vote, I highly recommend it. 

  

Love the Name You’re With

Written in response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt:

Say Your Name

Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

The story of my first name, Leslie, hinges upon the story of my middle name, D’Aun

My mother had a close friend whose daughter was named D’Aun, (pronounced Dee Awn). Mom was enamored of the name, but didn’t want to infringe on the friend’s daughter’s name. And I suppose that might’ve been awkward.

“D’Aun, stop that right now!”

“But Mommy, I’m not doing anything!”

“Not you, D’Aun–D’Aun!”

So rather than deal with the confusion and the imagined penalty of name theft Mom elected to find a first name to precede the name D’Aun. Apparently that was no easy task. Many names were considered and subsequently discarded.

Then as my mom’s due date drew near her mother, (my Nanny), found my name while reading a book. The heroine was Leslie. And that name seemed to fit well with D’Aun. 

I’ve always believed the book Nanny was reading was Giant by Edna Ferber. It was published in 1952, and I was born in ’56, so the timing would’ve been right.

In the film version of Giant, Leslie is played by Elizabeth Taylor, so that only adds to my certainty that I am the character’s namesake. I mean, just look at her and then look at me! Or not.

  
The pronunciation of our names is different, though. Having only seen the name in print my Nanny believed Leslie was pronounced with a soft “s” sound, whereas in the film it’s a “z” sound.

Oh, that friend of Mom’s with the daughter named D’Aun–I don’t recall ever having met her. As is often the case friends from those early years drift away and are never heard from again. They could’ve left D’Aun as my first name and no one would’ve cared. 

There was a time in my life when I wished to have that romantic sounding moniker. D’Aun! I imagined in high school how much different my life might be as a D’Aun! But plain old Leslie suits me. I don’t think any other would fit me quite as well.

Peace, people!

  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/say-your-name/

Zombies and Jane Austen

I just finished watching the film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Having read the novels, both Jane Austen’s original Pride and Prejudice as well as Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel upon which the movie was based, I was prepared for just about anything.

Seldom do I find that a film adaptation of a novel meets my expectations. In my mind I’ve already cast the main characters and imagined how certain scenes from the book will play out. Only the Harry Potter films had lived up to my expectations, until this film. 

The casting was perfect. Elizabeth Bennett, played by Lily James, was absolutely breathtaking as a kick ass zombie fighter. She could most likely play the pianoforte, as well, but that is beside the point.  Did I mention she is gorgeous?

Her Mr. Darcy, (Sam Riley) is as gifted in zombie slaying as he is clueless in matters of love. He’s pretty easy on the eyes, as well. 

The real heartthrob, though, is played by Douglas Booth in the role of Mr. Bingley. I might’ve swooned when he first was introduced to the Bennett sisters. Pretty sure I swooned. And I have unexplained drool on the bodice of my sweater.

The film is not a faithful play by play of either of the books. Thank goodness! Gone are the endless paragraphs of conversation and description. In their place are action and movement. 

Is it perfect? No. For one thing there was my least favorite plot device–an opening narrative that almost tarried too long. I had to remind myself that most viewers wouldn’t have read the novels and would need this background. 

A great deal from both books was omitted. I would have liked some of it included, such as the part from Grahame-Smith’s novel in which Elizabeth’s friend slowly becomes a zombie while living in a country parsonage. 

Another license was taken in introducing a twist to Mr. Wickham’s character. I won’t give that one away, but it was clever and added a whole new dimension to the story.

Best of all the film had a great deal of humor; although, I might’ve been the only one who was giggling. I did hear the man two seats over laugh once, whereas, I laughed a great deal. Hope I was supposed to.

  
I highly recommend Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. This time, I mean the film.

Peace, people!

Hair and Makeup of the Apocalypse 

 I am a huge fan of young adult post-apocalyptic novels. The fascination is most likely a result of too much imagination and too little adventure in my real life. Some of these novels, like The Hunger Games and the Divergent series, have been turned into succesful motion pictures.

 

Based on the success of those film adaptations I was pumped about seeing The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. The novel had everything I wanted in an end of the world novel: a strong female protagonist, a stud muffin with identity issues, and a rival male to make life even more interesting. Add in evil aliens and this book had it all. 

Chloë Grace Moretz, the film’s star, is a gorgeous young woman, and a decent actress. Her performance in If I Stay was sweet. 

Both of the young suitors are handsome and earnest. Alex Roe plays the dishy, yet severely conflicted guy, and Nick Robinson’s character is the former high school athlete turned soldier who realizes he should have paid more attention to Chloë’s character back before the Others invaded.

So why did the film fall flat? There are a couple of easy answers to that question. First, the screenplay watered down parts of the novel, condensing instead of expounding. 

In addition, the main character was portrayed much differently in the book than in the movie. In the book she was a bit of a geek, shy and not in the party crowd. In the film she’s more of a girly-girl and actually has a shot at landing the high school quarterback.

But my main beef with the film revolves around Chloë’s character’s perfect hair and makeup at the height of the apocalypse. Yes, there were scenes when she appeared disheveled and besmudged. But, in the final scene, when her tiny band of humans is on the run from the bad guys from outer space, there she sits with freshly washed hair and perfectly applied makeup–right down to the soft green eye shadow highlighting her pretty eyes.

 

There was far too much of the girl on the left and too little of the one on the right to make this film believable.
 
I call foul. Foul, I say! 
Still, the novel was good, as was the sequel. I’ll buy the third installment upon its release, but the movies won’t get any more of my hard-earned money.

Peace, people!