SOS

You probably have a list of films that you’ve always meant to see but have somehow slipped by; for me those have included Julia and Julia (about an amateur cook/blogger and chef Julia Child), The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (about memories? I still haven’t seen it) and until recently, Mamma Mia (a musical featuring ABBA songs). Well, the latter film is off my list of Mean To See and onto a new one: Worst Movies I’ve Ever Suffered Through.

MERYL STREEP MM

Mamma Mia is appallingly over-acted, ineptly sung, gaudy (and not in a good way), hideously costumed, nonsensically written, and is almost enough to put an unsuspecting person off the catchy, joyful sing-along tunes of the Swedish pop group, ABBA, forever.

I should have know better when the opening scene was a jaw-dropper (and not in a good way): three 30-something twenty-year olds screeching out a melody I can only assume once made sense while dancing (allegedly) in the Greek countryside. Why Greek? Good question.

The mystifying setting and the stupefying use of Greek people and culture as a backdrop to the nonsense should have at least provided some distraction from the stupidity of the plot, but no, it was just another cringeworthy element of a movie that was so full of cringe that I was almost a crumpled ball of skin by its end.

Sure, Meryl Streep soldiers her way through, flinging her arms about during musical numbers in a touching display of misplaced trust in the director, who surely drugged all the actors. Directing the group dance scenes must have involved mass hypnosis. “Make it big! Make it CAMPY!” Cringe.

The less said about Pierce Brosnan’s acting and “singing”, the better. And I should be clear: this is not a production that joins the ranks of movies so bad they are good. This one is just bad.

mamma mia awful

Here’s an image I can’t unsee: once-distinguished actors Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, and Stellan Skarsgård.

To be fair, there was one highlight. Despite a winter cold that causes me to croak so alarmingly that it frightens the new puppy, I did start to sing along to the song “Super Trouper”, which awakened said puppy. She leapt to her feet and ran to me, sat and stared as if she’d never been so enchanted. “Super trouper lights are gonna find me, Shining like the sun!” I croaked loudly to my enraptured Holly pup. She crawled into my lap and we had a moment.

Super trouper beams are gonna blind me

But I won’t feel blue
Like I always do
Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you!

ABBA, why didn’t you sue?

Staff Picks

Prompt: Movies


Dear Wednesday,

For a birthday treat as a child, I was allowed to invite six of my closest companions to go and see Disney’s 1001 Dalmations. What with one thing and another we arrived so late to the theater that the only seats left to accommodate us all sitting together were in the front row.

Wow.

There are drug-free psychedelic experiences to be had all around us if you let them happen! Have you ever bit into a pepper so hot that your eyes rolled back and you saw stars and almost lost consciousness? Psychedelia! Have you ever donned scuba gear and plunged into deep water only to discover that you didn’t know any more which way was up or down or left or right and felt like you were likely to die in a floating, gravity free world just like the one you left when you were born? Bad trip! Have you ever laid flat on your back in the countryside on a clear night and seen so many stars that they suddenly envelop your body and spirit and you drift into concurrent significance and insignificance? Woot!

Or just stare at a chunk of Romanesco for awhile, and see if that doesn’t pry the lid off the top of your head and allow delicious madness to creep in. Cheap thrills!

romanesco

In the spirit of madness and movies, may I now present a few of my favourite cartoons related to that theme?

cartoon movie popcorn

cartoon movie shoelaces

cartoon movie heads


Peace, love, and fractal vegetables,

~~FP

Movie Review from Memory: Giant [Repost]

Prompt: Review

giant-movie

I saw the movie Giant quite awhile after it was first released in the mid 1950s, and I watched it on TV with commercials, which gave my family and I the opportunity to to get a snack, go to the bathroom, or look out the window and wonder how stars hang in the sky, though none of us did that.

The move was in black and white, or that could just have been our TV at the time.

Without reading the IMDB summary, I will give my review by memory, and my memory sucks. But here we go: Giant, as I remember it.

It was about oil, and possibly ranching, and took place in a very dusty Texas. Rock Hudson was in it, and the alleged teen idol, James Dean, who died young. Rock Hudson played manly parts in films, which is in no way inconsistent with the fact that he was gay, but no one knew it at the time, except for Elizabeth Taylor, and really, it was no one’s business. Do you share your sexual proclivities with everyone you meet?

Elizabeth Taylor was, as usual, a luminous beauty, and the cause of conflict between the establishment type, Rock, and the rebel, James Dean. They struck oil on their land, and I remember that as a very exciting scene!– which might be on YouTube; but Rock and James had a terrible, violent disagreement, which led to their estrangement.

This is a sweeping epic spanning many long years, though I only remember the beginning and the end, in which everyone had aged. So Elizabeth, Rock, and James were all made up to look old, which never really works.

So, if you like sweeping epics, movie idols in movies (and who doesn’t?), a woman in the middle and the cause of conflict yet again, and interesting makeup decisions, be sure to catch the movie Giant.

Update:

Ok, it was in colour, not black and white.

Trivia, courtesy of IMBD:

The lead character, Jett Rink [played by James Dean], was based upon the life of Texas oilman Glenn H. McCarthy (1907-88), an Irish immigrant who would later be associated with a symbol of opulence in Houston, Texas: the Shamrock Hotel, which opened on St. Patrick’s Day, 1949. Author Edna Ferber met McCarthy when she was a guest at his Houston, Texas, Shamrock Hotel (known as the Shamrock Hilton after 1955), the fictional Emperador Hotel in both the book and the film.


  • Original Prompt Giant, October 30, 2016

The Big-Vu [Repost]

Prompt: Regret

popcorn drawing

When they re-opened the Big-Vu drive-in movie theater, by the turn-off to the organic farm, people of all ages lined up in their automobiles to gain entry, park their vehicles in tidy rows in front of a massive screen, open the driver’s side window to allow placement of a speaker, and fetch popcorn and pop at the Snack Shack located in the centre of the lot.

The movie was Rocky II, which no one really enjoyed. The enjoyment was in sharing the novelty with neighbours and friends, and strangers too. Parents brought their kids already dressed in flannel pyjamas, ready to tuck into bed when they got home. Young couples snuggled and hugged and did what they dared. Jerry Plankton and his date, Dorito Samuelson, kept their seat belts on as they watched the film, happy to be able to discuss its merits and flaws in a normal, conversational tone without upsetting other movie-goers.

When the weather changed and the wind came up, and there was a smattering of rain and sleet, many patrons started up their cars again, and idled them as they felt the heat from the vents chase away the chill.

If you rushed to the Snack Shack to use the washroom, you could smell the exhaust fumes in the air. There was a line-up at the Snack Shack toilet, and no shelter from the rain, so Dorito Samuelson got wet. When she got back to Jerry’s Chrysler, she asked him to put the heat on, but gas was expensive, so he gave her a blanket instead.

Dorito Samuelson died that spring, of pneumonia. She was survived by her son Drago (Barbara) and two grandchildren, and would be missed by the Bridge and Optimist Clubs. There was no way to connect her death with the drive-in movie, but Jerry Plankton did anyway, and he regretted not turning on the car heater that night.

He wasn’t sorry when the Big-Vu drive-in theater closed again, after only eight weeks. Its time had come and gone, just like Dorito Samuelson’s.


Movie Review from Memory: Giant

Prompt: Giant

giant-movie

I saw the movie Giant quite awhile after it was first released in 1956, and I watched it on TV with commercials, which gave all of us the opportunity to to get a snack, go to the bathroom, or look out the window and wonder how stars hang in the sky, though no one did that.

The move was in black and white, or that could just have been our TV at the time.

Without reading the IMDB summary, I will give my review by memory, and my memory sucks. But here we go: Giant, as I remember it.

It was about oil, and possibly ranching, and took place in a very dusty Texas. Rock Hudson was in it, and the alleged teen idol, James Dean, who died young. Rock Hudson played manly parts in films, which is in no way inconsistent with the fact that he was gay, but no one knew it at the time, except for Elizabeth Taylor, and really, it was no one’s business. Do you share your sexual proclivities with everyone you meet?

Elizabeth Taylor was, as usual, a luminous beauty, and the cause of conflict between the establishment type, Rock, and the rebel, James Dean. They struck oil on their land, and I remember that as a very exciting scene!– which might be on YouTube; but Rock and James had a terrible, violent disagreement, which led to their estrangement.

This is a sweeping epic spanning many long years, though I only remember the beginning and the end, in which everyone had aged. So Elizabeth, Rock, and James were all made up to look old, which never really works.

So, if you like sweeping epics, movie idols in movies (and who doesn’t?), a woman in the middle and the cause of conflict yet again, and interesting makeup decisions, be sure to catch the movie Giant.

Ok, it was in colour, not black and white.

Trivia, courtesy of IMBD:

The lead character, Jett Rink [played by James Dean], was based upon the life of Texas oilman Glenn H. McCarthy (1907-88), an Irish immigrant who would later be associated with a symbol of opulence in Houston, Texas: the Shamrock Hotel, which opened on St. Patrick’s Day, 1949. Author Edna Ferber met McCarthy when she was a guest at his Houston, Texas, Shamrock Hotel (known as the Shamrock Hilton after 1955), the fictional Emperador Hotel in both the book and the film.