Category Archives: addictions

Sit-Com Stars in Hallmark Movie

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On another post, we had just been talking about 1989, when a few

of our favorite funny situation comedies originated. I could not

believe my ‘luck’ when I turned on the Hallmark Channel to find a

movie with a catchy title, “The Christmas Con.” There is an ensemble

cast of six famous actors from more than six situation comedies.

They show their talent and  versatility in this meaningful Hallmark

movie.

 

I will sketch the plot in, along with giving you the ‘who’s who’ of t.v.

series actors. If you are a fan of television trivia games, you may be

able to ‘keep up with me,’ in this essay about performers who have

been around television for years: one since 1982. Although the title

isn’t very pretty nor the story as simple as some Hallmark Christmas

movies are, it tells a meaningful story of hope and forgiveness.

 

There is a collection of outstanding, amusing actors who played

character parts in this story of ‘redemption.’ The movie has two

characters, an ex-convict who needs to change his way of dealing

with people, passing through his life ‘taking’ and never ‘giving.’ The

second character must face his addiction, he has to fall flat on his

face, embarrass himself, go to jail and then, find his way home.

 

The actor who plays the character of an alcoholic man, came from a

caring family, dramatic show, “Party of Five.”  My two daughters loved

the whole cast of this show. They would know this man who later left

this show to play an irascible red-headed doctor.  Although, you may

or may not,  have known the popular teenaged-cast of “Party of Five,”

he was, “Will Mc Corkle.” Then you may have seen him as the red haired

“pain in the butt” doctor from the serious show, “E.R.”  This character

was the head of the “E.R.” as, Dr. Archie Morris. “Archie” was disliked by

most everyone, (nurses and the E.R. hospital staff) which showed quite

a range of talent in this role played by Scott Grimes. It was nice to have

known him as a likable man in the first show, then respect his portrayal

of a ‘by the books’ doctor who sometimes went ‘head to head’ with John

Stamos, who played another type of character on “E.R.” Scott Grimes

went from “E.R.” to act in a few television movies, along with another

series, “Band of Brothers.”

Interestingly enough, Scott Richard Grimes made a ‘soft rock and roll’

album, (also described as  ‘popular rock’) called, “Sunset Boulevard.” He

wrote all of the songs and sang them, too. I have not checked this out

but it was favorably reviewed, in its genre.

 

Then there was the character of the  endearing ex-convict with a ‘heart

of gold,’ who plays Santa Claus, making a promise he nearly is unable to

keep for the son of the red-headed man. Scott Grime’s plays a father/

ex-husband who is unfortunately battling alcoholism. His son asks Santa

Claus to bring his mother and father back together again for Christmas.

 

Santa promises to bring this estranged father back ‘into the fold,’ becoming

part of the trio the boy considers his ‘family.’ The ex-con is played by Barry

Watson, who both my daughters had major ‘crushes’ on, while he was the

oldest son in a family of seven members being raised by a minister, known

as, “Seventh Heaven.” Barry Watson left “Seventh Heaven,” to battle in his

own personal ‘real life drama,’ Hodgkins Disease. My family, son included,

had Barry in our prayers for a few years. His attractive long-haired look in

the family show changed to a gaunt, bald look when he was interviewed

during this period of time. The producers allowed him to ‘spread his wings,’

by being behind the camera, in his writing plots and helping set up scenes.

 

There is a memorable scene, in The Christmas Con,” which paints a fairly

accurate picture of an A.A. meeting, where Scott Grimes’ meets Santa Claus,

out of costume. I feel capable of analyzing this subject, due to my own personal

experience of being married to an alcoholic, having attended one year of A.A.,

two years of Alanon, and taking my three children to Children of Alcoholics

meetings.

 

The man who is Santa/Barry’s best friend is played by, Jaleel White, who

portrayed the dorky, inept character named, “Steve Urkel,” in “Family

Matters.” His character has mended his ways of conniving and trying to

trick others, while also being a good and supportive friend to Barry’s

character. He gets to also romance Barry’s ‘sister,’ in the movie, using his

charming demeanor. He looks ‘nothing’ like Steve Urkel, has grown into

a handsome man.

 

John Ratzenberger’s in the cast of this Hallmark movie, playing a Grandpa,

and you know where he came from?  “Cheers,” where he was “Cliff Clavin,”

the mailman, the one who sometimes kept the bar stool warm for hours.

He was the stocky man’s (“Norm’s”) best friend, “where everyone knew

their names.” This series lasted from 1982 -1993. No wonder we felt these

actors were part of our family! John R. went on to make a few different

television movies, played guest character roles on shows and my ‘grandies’

love him in such familiar children’s animated films as the “Toy Story” series,

“Monsters, Inc.” and “Cars,” where he plays (‘voices’) a rusted-out truck.

 

Another familiar character, where you may wonder, “Where have I seen

this attractive black woman before?” She has a unique character part,

as a female preacher in a church.  By the end of the story, you realize this

does not exist. It is a boarded up church, having been condemned. The

recognizable woman, who you don’t immediately ‘place’ or figure out

where she came from, is  talk show hostess, Wendy Williams. She ends

up being a fantastic singer, when she is caroling with church folks in a

neighborhood. I felt she was the Guardian Angel for Barry’s ex-convict

character.

 

The last famous displaced series player, is the actress, Melissa Joan Hart.

You got to know her as a teenaged witch in “Sabrina the Teen Age Witch,”

if you had children in the 90’s. (This ran seven years, 1996-2003.) Along

with Melissa’s more current role on  the show, “Melissa and Joey.” In the

Family Channel show, she is a town councilwoman and Joey (Lawrence)

is playing her ‘stay at home’ Nanny/Housekeeper. Can you believe Joey

was on The Johnny Carson Show, singing at age 5 years old? He is NOT

in this Hallmark movie, but was in one with Melissa Joan Hart, a few

Christmases ago.

(Yes, the plot for “Melissa and Joey,” resembles the one of “Who’s the

Boss?”)

 

Melissa’s character believes in her brother, the man who has just been

released from prison. You don’t feel he was a dangerous criminal and

are sympathetic to his character. (He had been a ‘grifter’ or ‘con artist,’

hence the name of the movie…)

Melissa and Barry make a believably good sister and brother team.

Melissa Joan Hart debuted as the director of this movie, which is a

new position for her to be in.

 

When Jameel’s character meets Melissa, he shows his debonair side,

which eventually they become close and they make a ‘cute couple.’

Their characters go about playing the ‘normal’ fantasy of carrying out

Christmas routines, as they decorate Melissa’s house, listen to Santa/

Barry’s quandary. Both Jaleel’s buddy character and Melissa’s sister

character cheer for the miracle of fixing the nearly irreparable marriage

and family together again.

 

Yes, I told you part of the ending.

The journey makes it worth watching.

The cast of recognizable people who have become part of our ongoing

landscape of television. Those people who come into our living room,

visit and stay awhile. They become more familiar than big screen

actors.

There are a few ‘surprises’ and twisting turns leading you to the

expected and satisfying ending. I didn’t tell you anything you didn’t

know since almost all of these movies come out ‘safe and sound.’

 

Hopefully, instead you will want to watch this more. Since it is the

way they handle the simplistic story, how they fulfill their duties as

characters which will help you admire Scott Grimes, Jaleel White,

Barry Watson, Melissa Joan Hart, John Ratzenberger and Wendy

Williams. In my mind, this is an ‘All Star Cast’ of television experts.

 

This is a treat to see, savor and remember. It shows me Christmas is

a time for all possibilities imaginable to come true.

 

Diverse Snippets

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There are a few fantastic and interesting people who have shared their thoughts

recently in magazines, interviews and I wish to offer these as a ‘pick and choose’

post. I hope you will find something to give you something to ponder about and

may meet your own personal needs or concerns.

 

This will give you ‘food for thought:’

“Cooking demands attention, patience and above all,

a respect for the gifts of the earth. It is a form of

worship, a way of giving thanks.”

~ Judith B. Jones,

American cookbook author and editor.

 

The next one is concerning loss:

“The trick to adjusting to a life you never expected

is to allow yourself to have the emotions, to weave

them in with the positive and move on.”

~ Louise Bonnett-Rompersaud.

 

“Joy does not simply happen to us.

We have to choose joy and keep

choosing it everyday.”

~ Henri J.M. Nouwen

Dutch priest, professor and writer.

 

Feeling connected to humanity:

Anna Whiston Donaldson lost her son at age 12 years old.

He was playing in a creek bed, that was normally low, then

it swelled into a raging river. Jack had attended his second

day of 7th grade. His sister, Margaret, witnessed this horrible

event, running to get help, only 10 years old.

Quote:

“Over the next months, when all else was stripped away- most

of all, the flawed belief that living a simple, faithful life would

somehow protect us from pain- I found myself broken.

But it turned out, I was so broken that I was wide open to

receiving comfort in way I had not anticipated.”

~Anna Whiston-Donaldson’s book is called,

“Rare Bird” (Convergent books).

 

“28 Years; 28 Days,

Summary of Two Time Sequences”

by Robin O. Cochran

 

Two actresses have lived with challenges, one who has been 28 years

sober. This is the famous, Katey Sagal. You maybe able to detect her

very distinctive voice in commercials, but her most popular television

show may be considered ‘raunchy’ since she portrayed the Mom on the

show, “Married… With Children.” She also was memorable as Gemma,

in the show, “Sons of Anarchy.” I happened to really like her character

in the show she performed with John Ritter, “8 Simple Rules for Dating

My Teenage  Daughter.” One of the two ‘daughters’ character was played

by Kaley Cuoco. She was the one who made me laugh and had her ‘Dad’

(John Ritter) pulling his hair out. In the last t.v. show mentioned, Katey

Sagal played a smart, working mother who left the house in a nurse’s

uniform, hoping her husband would be able to rule the roost, while

she was gone. It is a funny series, which is well worth finding on a

DVD at the library. The late John Ritter captured both his daughters,

son and wife’s characters’ hearts and they all showed up at his funeral,

truly mourning their ‘father/husband figure’ friend. Katie shared her

sobriety on a CBS Sunday Morning Show, November 16, 2014. Her

husband and music, she feels saved her. She enjoys singing daily, along

with performing with bands. Katey is 60 years old, accomplishing much

and more to give in the future, too.

 

Wait until you hear the professionals, Katey Sagal has performed with

as a back up singer:

Gene Simmons

Molly Hatchet

Bob Dylan

Tanya Tucker

Bette Midler

Olivia Newton John

Katey’s remarkable musical career has included two albums:

“Well. . .” (1994)

“Room” (2004)

 

The  celebrity who went through a disaster marriage, not ever having

expected her husband to be so outwardly unfaithful, is Sandra Bullock.

How does she relate to Katie Sagal who has a wonderful partner in life?

She performed in the incredible movie, “28 Days.” Sandra’s character

is relatable in the difficult and gritty parts of having to choose to give up

her addiction. The message of it being important for the person to make

the choice, not the family is also a clear and meaningful one. This is one

of the main tenets or  principals of AA. The screenplay also shared and

showed some humorous, strange habits of an alcoholic.

Sandra Bullock’s performance and “28 Days” may not be considered as

significant (meaning it didn’t win awards) as “Leaving Las Vegas,” but it

really showed her acting “chops”. If you have been curious or had an

interest in this movie, you will find it engrossing. I had not seen it when it

came out, so it was a nice surprise to take it home from the library and

really dig into the ‘meat’ of the subject. Having been through an alcoholic

marriage and participated for almost two years in Al-Anon and AA meetings,

along with going through marriage counseling, I found the characters in the

AA meetings and in rehab’s behaviors realistic.

Usually ’28 days’ would not seem to encompass the enormity of this film’s

subject matter, but it definitely showed the ups and downs of this illness.

Having seen the movie, shortly after Katie Sagal’s interview, I appreciate

even more the magnitude of her ’28 years’ sober. Worthy of several ‘chips’

and major accomplishment in the fast-paced, pressurized life of acting.

 

On the Lighter Side:

I love the silly repetition of the 2014 song,

“Best Day of My Life,” by the group

American Authors.  Imbedded in their

lyrics are some deeper meanings:

“I howled at the moon with my friends

And then the sun came crashing in.”

(There are some ‘bridge’ humming sounds here.)

“But all the possibilities

No limits

Just epiphanies. . .”

 

May something here strike a chord or evoke an epiphany.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musical Eclectic Tastes: A Quartet of Choices

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When you hear this comment, “Life is sweet,” I bet you would not have pictured it

coming from Billy Idol. He showed gratitude for his family, roots and his fans. I was

in awe of the interview, felt I finally understood him. I remember when I first saw him,

on MTV, seeing his punk hair style and his sneer. I never was repelled by his appearance

and every one of his 14 major hits were beloved by me. I did not see him as ‘sinister’ or

mean looking but saw him as confident and defiant.

I am grateful that Billy Idol lived to reach age 58, which is what I am for another month.

I am so happy he is exploring a ‘comeback,’ which is not quite true, since he never left

the musical scene totally.

Billy Idol was born to middle class roots, in England. He respected his parents but he

could not follow their paths of being a professional, his mother was a nurse nor a

businessman selling power tools, like his father. Instead he decided to chase his dream

of being in a rock band. His comment, which is a little ‘explicit,’ but true of his tastes

goes like this, “If you cross rock and roll with punk rock, you get a cross-pollination

bastard type of music: mine!”

Bill Broad, Senior died in August, they had made peace and there was no animosity

between them. He had not financially supported his son, Billy, but he did love him.

It was mutual respect, shown in the interview, which captured my interest. Also, his

mentioning the power of what a teacher said to him, negatively, that impacted his

famous name, “Billy, why do you have to be so idle?” He just changed the spelling,

with a positive twist, becoming an ‘Idol’ in more than name only.

My favorite song is, “Eyes Without a Face,” since I could slow dance to this, while

thinking about its meaning. The other ones you will recognize, include:

“Rebel Yell”

“White Wedding”

“Dancing with Myself”

Re-make of “Money, Money” which he made his own a great rendition.

What happened to him during the 90’s?

He had a serious motorcycle accident in 1990.

This brought him down. Far down.

In 1994, he overdosed at a night club. This bad action on his part, saved his life, ultimately.

It brought him back on the path to recovery. It made him want to have purpose.

I will look forward to hearing new songs, since Billy Idol has always been in my eyes,

a True Showman.

 

 

Another person who has caught my interest lately, is Jenny Lewis. She is age 38, many of

you have already heard of her, let alone heard her unaware it was she delivering the music.

She has a fun style, light-hearted style of singing. She is familiar in many ways, since she

has been around for awhile. One recent radio song, “Just One of the Guys,” makes me smile.

It became a big hit almost instantly, according to a DJ on my way to Cleveland over Labor

Day weekend.

Her life has been all about music, being a ‘backstage daughter’ to a group that performed

in Las Vegas, “The Voyagers.”

When she was young, she was the cute, attractive girl who had her first kiss in a movie

called, “Wizard,” with Fred Savage. She admits, they were just kids and grew up together.

 

When you used to hear the song  for Toys-R-Us, there was a popular upbeat lift to the song,

with Jenny Lewis singing that she was a Toys-R-Us ‘kid.’

In her live shows, she likes to build rapport, she has a lyrical tone to her voice, reminiscent

to some of my all-time favorites like Carly Simon, Carole King and Joni Mitchell.

Jenny sings like popular and current,  beautiful voices found in Colbie Caillat and Ingrid

Michaelson.

In Jenny Lewis’ ‘wheelhouse,’ there will be one you will relate to. I liked “She’s Easy, But

She’s Not Me.” It is not the way you think of ‘easy,’ she is defining it as not very deep.

So Jenny is saying in her lyrics, ‘I may not be easy to understand but I am worth it.

The other girl may be easier to figure out; but she’s not Jenny.’

Her album, “The Voyager,” is worth a peek. Here are the two rcent girls

I recommend, “Colbie Caillat’s songs, “Bubbly” and “Try.”

I recommend, “Girls Chase Boys” and “The Way I Am.”

 

With the name of “Keb’ Mo,” you could possibly mistakenly picture a rapper or a

younger man, but this man is a three time Grammy winner who plays the Blues!

What inspired his newest album, at the age of 62? Marriage counseling! He and his

wife were going to therapy and he realized, while thinking on the way home from

a heavy session, how love is a struggle and you have to keep putting work into it.

In his deep thought, you can find his heartfelt passion for his wife. He feels that

love is important after all to fight for, continue but it is typical blues material,

when you hear that “Love hurts.” Marriage has been a ‘battle field’ subject matter

before but this man’s interpretation was ‘new’ and interesting to me.

Keb’ Mo and his wife, Robbie Brooks Moore live in Nashville. They participated

in an intense weekend of counseling. This became the theme for his new album,

“BLUESAmericana.”

He addresses commitment, love, pain, changes, and forgiveness. Relationship

‘stuff’ that he admits they had avoided for years, in an “AARP Magazine” article.

When Keb’ Mo started out singing, he used the name of Kevin Moore. He adopted

his bluesy stage name in his early 40’s to allow listeners to see his dedication to

the subject of the Blues. He is not changing hit style, just created a whole new

batch of songs with, “If Somebody Hurt You,” a gospel-driven tune with zappy

sound and divulging roots of pain.

In “Move” and “I’m Gonna Be Your Man,” you will see how love made him a

renewed and changed man, with upbeat tempo, good lyrics. These songs

include Moore playing a variety of guitars and includes some organ ‘grooves.’

Sam Chamon’s song, “That’s Alright,” will be familiar to you. The rest are all

new and exciting. I have to laugh at his attitude, when his wife worried what

“people might think.” He said so aptly, “Honey, this is not a business for caring

what people think!” Humor, gospel, upbeat, sad and you have Keb’ Mo’s music.

 

If you don’t know Patty Griffin, you need to listen to her! She has a relatively

new album called, “American Kid,” on New West Records. She is one you can

easily listen to again and again. I am confident, if you are like me, who embraces

a wide variety of musical tastes, you will enjoy this one! Patty is bluegrass and

country, a combination that is a pleasure to listen to.

You also have heard of her long-time boyfriend, Robert Plant. He is embracing

his “mountain roots,” while accompanying Patty Griffin on this album. Plant

co-wrote, “Highway Song” and added musical touches and arrangements to

“Ohio.” This is a great combination of two musical talents. (If you wish to

listen to Robert Plant check his popular songs, “Net Worth” and “Rainbow.”)

If you want to know a song that is unique and has a lot of character, try:

“Wild Old Dog.” It is about the sad story of someone dropping off a mangy

old dog on the side of the road. If he had turned around and looked at the

car leaving him behind, it may have reminded you of “Old Yeller,” Chuck

Yarborough, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, music critic fame says. No,

instead there is a different way of taking this song:

“He tore off running

Like we’d set him free

And just disappeared right in front of me.

God is a wild old dog.”

(Which reminds me of an English high school teacher, weirdly enough, who

had us write a poem about dogs and God.)

Can you believe this prolific artist, Patty Griffin, probably already has another

album out called, “Silver Bell?”

 

Dave Mason played with the group, Traffic. In 1967, the band was formed with

Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood. Dave is a songwriter/artist whose

song, “Only You Know and I Know,” for his newest album. In the old days, he

had written, “Feelin’ Alright” for Joe Cocker. What a great song that was!

He has played with Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix, among many other

legendary musician icons.

His group while recently featured on a talk show includes first name basis

singers, he introduced simply as, “Debby, Bonnie and Friends.”

Check out the songs, “Sad and Deep As You” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy.”

I enjoyed this philosophical perspective in his saying, (I did not use a tape

recorder, so this is the ‘essence’ of what I heard him say):

Quite simply, the songs are about human relations and that’s never going to

change. Colors change, seasons change, clothing styles and time passes.

This changes, that changes.

But leave that shirt in the closet long enough, it’ll become fashionable again.”

 

What are you listening to, lately?

 

Movie Opinions Vary

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It all comes down to trusting the reviewer, I feel. So, I am going to tell you about

several movies I was discouraged about, disinterested in or would not recommend

to a friend. I used to really like getting Siskel and Ebert’s annual movie review books.

My father knew how I liked to study and read about current movies, along with

looking up older ones, too. This was a guaranteed Christmas book for several years

in a row, along with a few others from my parents. I still have “S & E’s” final review

compilation from the last year they were both alive together.

 

I wish I could ask them what they think about, “Gone Girl.”

 

I went to see the movie last night that had been given ‘rave reviews.’ Which is why

I started this post using the suggestion either you have come to know me and would

believe me.  Or you may wish to still try one of these movies. They are not all from

2014, but no endings or many surprises will be revealed.  I feel knowing some of the

facts still won’t necessitate my having to give you a *Spoiler Alert.*

 

My youngest daughter and I went to see the movie, “Gone Girl.” We paid an exorbitant

amount of $9.75 each for this. I could not wait until it came to our local Strand Theatre

which is showing two family shows and one that I am not familiar with. On the “CBS

Sunday Morning Show,” yesterday they featured the author, Gillian Flynn, along with

Ben Affleck and the director, David Fincher. The author emphasized she would still

continue writing but felt this was her ‘shining moment.’ She was enthusiastic with her

having her book on the Best Seller List since 2012. Ms. Flynn was pleased  with the

excellent director and outstanding cast following her  script/screenplay. It was exciting

to listen to her confidence. It is always nice when someone’s life falls into place. It gives

every writer hope for their own being well-received. She had other books do well, but

this movie is something she felt possibly would be her “best” book in her entire life.

I started getting  ‘pumped up’ for later that evening.

 

I left the library and waited until my youngest daughter called, since she had gone

into Martini’s Restaurant to work. Knowing if it were ‘slow,’ she would be ‘cut from

the floor.’ (Server slang for being sent home with lack of tables to wait on.)

 

We met in the middle, she driving from east side of Columbus, my heading south

from Delaware. I expected the snacks to be priced high, so I put a candy bar and a

bag of Smart Pop, Cheddar Cheese flavored, in my purse. I NEVER do this to the

local movie theater. I don’t feel any twinges of conscience for this action at the Rave

Cineplex. We did not make the matinee show, which would have been only $5.

We started chattering, as we ‘hit the ladies’ room’ before entering the theater. Then we

watched a slew of advertisements for television shows on the big screen. We saw several

good promotions for Diet Coke and movies that were coming soon. We did not see any

trailers for the next two on our October list, (“The Judge” and “The Best of Me.”)

 

I will say that as we left “Gone Girl,” someone told us it was exactly like the book. If you

loved or liked the book, go ahead and watch this movie. If you did not read the book nor

know the plot, I recommend you stop, look it up, and think about how you want to feel

after you leave the theater. We both, (Felicia is 28 years old and I am 58), felt it was

depressing, had no redeeming value nor were any of the three main characters ones

we cared about.  Yes, that includes Ben Affleck!   We liked the character of the female

police officer in charge of the investigation of the missing woman, we also got teary-

eyed, because there is a very nice sister of Ben Affleck’s character.

 

We compared this to the overwhelmingly sad and horrible feelings we felt when we

finished the movie, “Prisoners.” Again, that movie had great actors and actresses, Hugh

Jackman and Terrence Howard included.  If you enjoyed that particular movie, then

you may enjoy this one. (But I will wonder if you would please tell us WHY you liked it?

in the comments’ section.)

 

Another movie we had watched, so excited because of the leading male actors and the

(again) positive reviews was Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie, “The Wolf of  Wall Street.”

We were so thankful we picked that out of the Redbox, which cost only $1 plus tax.

We watched the beginning, really liking the characters, including the inept one, Jonah

Hill, who is usually funny. By the middle of this long, seedy, and terrible movie with

excessive (but not amusing) debauchery happening, we resorted to fast-forwarding

it to the end.  You really would not be exaggerating if you said you needed to take a

shower afterwards. We hoped to find some redeeming value. If you know the true story

behind this one, you will know there is a slightly ‘good’ ending.

 

It was NOTHING like the pleasant plot with some amoral acts, but mainly fun pranks

while major laws were being broken in, “Catch Me If You Can.” In “The Wolf of Wall Street”

movie, laws are broken, which isn’t what upset us. My youngest daughter and I hated the

fact Leonardo DiCaprio’s character claims, while narrating scenes, when he saw his future

wife, he said he fell in love with her and would treasure her always. His character and

Jonah Hill’s character both went overboard on drugs and prostitutes. (All of this was

included in the advertisements or movie trailers, but we had hoped it would be BEFORE

he got married and had a child with the woman  he claimed was ‘the love of his life.’)

 

I am not going to be a fan who recommends, “Saving Mr. Banks,” either. The title is

misleading, the age group I would suggest seeing this is far higher than 10-12 year

olds. It is like “Bambi,” with its ‘out of the blue’ death and attempted suicide scenes.

It is a forced movie, with wonderful acting by Emma Thompson playing P.L. Travers

and Tom Hanks, as Walt Disney. The scenes of P.L. Travers’ childhood are immensely

tragic. You wonder what kept her going through her life, motivating her to write such

great books. My favorite character is the chauffeur played by Paul Giamatti. I think my

fellow blogger, “Belsbror,” mentioned this months ago, taking his daughter to it and

getting up to leave before it ended.

 

I watched the awful “August: Osage County” movie on Friday, having been on a long

library ‘wait list.’ Again, like “Saving Mr. Banks” and “The Wolf on Wall Street,” this

was nominated for Academy Awards for Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep, along with

“Best Picture of the Year.” If you enjoy Tennessee Williams’ plays and movies, some

which have been entertaining but very dramatic and highly emotional, then you are

in for a ‘treat.’ This was the style of the writing by Tracy Letts, who won a Pulitzer

Prize in 2008 for the book. Otherwise, I guess I had hoped it would be like a country

edition of “On Golden Pond.” That movie had dramatic performances but I actually

liked a couple of the crotchety characters. I did not relate or like ANY of the main

characters, especially disliked Meryl Streep’s character, who has cancer. I felt the

audience should at least feel sympathetic towards her (but I didn’t). My favorite

character was the unassuming Native American, played by Missy Upham, who is

hired to be the family’s housekeeper. In a mean comment, during the course of

the movie, Meryl Streep’s character calls her an “Injun.”

 

I may have to tell you in this conclusion, that I am not a fan of the “Twilight” movies,

along with the “Hunger Games” books or movies. My good friend, Diane S. and I

got up and left during the premiere of the first “Hunger Games.” She had a daughter,

at the time, ‘stuck’ in Africa for almost 4 years. She had been trying to adopt a boy

who she had fallen in love with as a baby, when she was a volunteer there. When the

12 year old African American character gets shot by another young person, in the

first movie, Diane burst into tears. I have never seen it nor the other ones since then.

It is a shame, since I do like the main character’s actress, Jennifer Lawrence. I would

highly recommend you see her in the complex but funny movie, “Silver Linings Playlist.”

or the dark and realistic movie she is in called, “Winter’s Bone.” Also, she does well in

the Oscar nominated movie, “American Hustle.”

 

It makes me think of the melancholy song, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” sung by

Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes in 1972. (More recently performed by the group,

“Simply Red,” in 2009.) You know some of my opinions but we may have to agree

to disagree, on some of my negative reviews of some ‘popular’ movies. If you wish to

give your opinions, I do embrace freedom of speech and do not like censorship.

Please let us know about any or all of the above movies, which I could not find any

redeeming qualities. I am discouraged by this discovery, believe me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look Where They Started…

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In the fifty years since the soap opera, “Another World,” was first

filmed, there have been a half dozen of major actors and actresses

whose acting talents sprang from there. The soap opera began on

May 4, 1964. It remained a popular culture favorite from 1964 until it

filmed its last show in 1999. It had a ‘good run’ of thirty-five years.

I found this interesting entertainment news in my AARP News Bulletin.

I receive this every month, along with the “AARP Magazine.”

I like the way the article phrases this: “A lot of now-famous

stars cut their acting teeth on the show.”

I am not sure if you have ever watched this soap opera, if you did,

these names won’t be quite the same surprise as they were to me! I

was, during my college years, addicted to “The Young and the Restless”

and a short half hour soap opera called, “Ryan’s Hope.” I see a few

of those actors and actresses in Hallmark movies and playing character

roles in movies and television shows.

Here are the Alumni’s from “Another World:”

Morgan Freeman played “Dr. Roy Bingham,” a fine architect in the

fictional town of “Bay City” where the soap opera takes place,

from 1982-1984.

Morgan’s most notable, Academy Award nominated role was in “Driving

Miss Daisy,” which was filmed in 1989. I enjoy him in all of his roles.

He has been recently in “Last Vegas” with the other three iconic legends.

Morgan plays Johnny Depp’s mentor in, “Transcendence,” at age 76!

Brad Pitt played “Chris,” a high school basketball player in 1987. He

played in his ‘breakout’ role (let’s fact it, as a shirtless ‘hunk’

in, “Thelma and Louise,” in 1991. At age 50, Brad was the producer,

along with played the role of an abolitionist-carpenter in, “12 Years

a Slave.”

Kyra Sedgwick, played murder-for-hire victim, “Julia Shearer”, from 1982

until 1983. She has been in several movies, along with her role as the

lead on a police force, “The Closer,” on television. My favorite movie

with Kyra is, “Something to Talk About,” where she plays Julia Roberts’

sister. They have very similar facial details like their beautiful eyes

and smiles. Wile 48 years old, she plays along side of Sylvester

Stallone in “Reach Me.” It is a ‘feel good’ Indie film, getting a lot

of critical acclaim and notice. (She is also in “Door to Door,” with

William H. Macy, check this movie out, later in the list…)

Kelsey Grammer was in “Another World,” as an emergency room physician

named, “Dr. Conrad,” from 1984 until 1985. There are several shows that

I remember on television with him, but mainly his role in “Frasier,”

is my favorite. He is 59, in his character role of a human villain,

“Harold Attinger,” in “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

William H. Macy, played “Frank Fisk,” for the year of 1982. He is one

of my favorites in the movie made for television, “Door to Door.”

In that movie, he plays an inspiring man with an indomitable spirit,

who has Cerebral Palsy. He also plays a rather hapless ‘would be’

kidnapper in that strange movie, “Fargo.” His ability to become a

variety of characters is amazing, if you ever wish to see his long

list of movies and ‘resume!’

At age 64, William portrays the head of the dysfunctional family

on the television show, “Shameless.”

*I am weird, but like the television show, “Fargo,” with Billy Bob

Thornton, by the way.*

Although, definitely NOT AARP material, Lindsay Lohan, was discovered

on “Another World,” in her role as a mischievous teen, “Alexandra”

or “Alli” Fowler, (1996-97). My family enjoyed her in the remake film

of “The Parent Trap, 1998. She has portrayed Elizabeth Taylor in a

television movie and recently was in one of my posts about Garrison

Keillor, in “A Prairie Home Companion.” She is probably equally famous

as Justin Bieber, in her crazy antics, partially due to addictions.

She is at age 27 star of a reality TV show, “Lindsay,” about her post-

rehab life. One of my personal favorite Lindsay Lohan movies is with

Jane Fonda, called, “Georgia Rule.” She has talent and will overcome

her problems, which I do believe stem from family, biology, and money.

Have you ever been a fan of a soap opera?

If not, were you a fan of any of the night time ones, like “Dynasty,”

“Falcon Crest,” “Dallas,” “Knot’s Landing,” “Brothers and Sisters,”

or any newer ones, like “Nashville?” I am a fan of Sunday’s “Revenge”

and also, do sometimes watch “Parenthood.” They consider them “serials.”

Slurred Speech

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The Dark Side of Comedy

While laughing and coming up with a wide selection of old time shows

that were either variety and/or talk shows, we came upon a somber

moment. My coworkers and I had listed The Jackie Gleason Show, which

included a funny character named, “Crazy Guggenheim.” We had also talked

about how many of the talk show ‘hosts’ or ‘hostesses’ held cigarettes

in their fingers or had a amber colored beverage in their glasses.

Who doesn’t remember Dean Martin, for example, having a drink in

his hand?

By the way, Frank Fontaine portrayed Crazy Guggenheim on both the

Jackie Gleason and Jack Benny shows. He died of 58 years old, about

to donate a check for heart disease studies. His heart attack was

a shock to those who loved him. He knew how to sing well, having

filled a whole album of the songs he sang, while Jackie G. portrayed

his famous alter ego, “Joe the Bartender.” Frank F. was famous for

his slurred speeches, his drunken behavior and his bug-eyed look

and facial expressions.

We thought that it was interesting how times ‘had changed’ and

decided there were “pro’s” and “con’s” to the past.

Let me insert a famous line from the movie, “A Night at the Opera,”

(1935):

“Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and

necking in the parlor.”

This line was spoken by Groucho Marx, in his portrayal of the film’s

character, Otis B. Driftwood.

We know now that famous people are just like us, in many ways.

We also realize that, although there were “Time” and “Newsweek”

magazines trying to bring to the forefront of the population,

the downfalls of alcohol, drugs, gambling and smoking, there were

many disregarding the after effects, side effects and we did not

have such a stigma attached to these ‘bad’ habits. Two of us at my

lunch table on Thursday, became rather sad and quiet. They were

reflecting on recalled deaths of family members due to smoking and

cancer. One of us had experienced abusive, “mean drunks” for parents.

We decided that addictions, such as these, are still not considered

as ‘big of a deal.’ Society, in some ways, continues to ‘brush them

under the table.’

Even the subject of rehabilitation has had its lighter comedic film

moments. People either laugh, due to the antics and situations that

don’t seem real or out of being uncomfortable. It is hard to explain

why we laugh when someone runs into a wall, falls off a roof, or

trips and does a pratfall.

Treatment for the addictions, in the form of actually facing that

these ARE diseases, is important. Still, we felt a little sad

about the fun we had, when young and felt ‘invincible’ and our

lives, for the most part, had been impermeable to the aging

results of sometimes almost impossible challenges.

Slurred speech, in the ways a person sometimes cannot help it,

while in persons who have had a stroke, live with the challenge

of disabilities and speech delays are NOT FUNNY! We would not

laugh, hopefully, when someone has a speech ‘impediment!’

We still felt a little ambiguous, as we thought back upon the

variety of comedy skits that made us roar with uncontrollable

laughter. Melvin admitted to sometimes, while in the armed

forces, being drunk and thinking it was funny when his buddies

and he pulled pranks while drunk. It is considered a serious

offense, and if caught, these days, you could be court-martialed!

Melvin remarked, that in the ‘old war stories’ of the past, often

there would be stories of men ‘letting off steam.’ We also agreed

that the Viet Nam war movies, seemed to include a prevalent use

of drugs.

Who can forget Crazy Guggenheim’s humorous lines, his leaning

into a person, while breathing out his alcoholic breath? Who

cannot forget when there have been famous movies, with drunken

scenes, sometimes with innocent types of sloppy behaviors?

Who can forget the drunken orgies in “Animal House?”

Who has seen and enjoyed some teenaged or college-aged

movies (or personal memories) where it was very funny being

drunk or being around people who were high?

Who did not laugh (if they are above 40 years old) at Cheech

and Chong’s movie, “Up in Smoke?”

Adding, “Arthur,” with Dudley Moore and The Benny Hill Show,

to the mix, we had international connections of drinking in

movies and television shows.

I have seen Doris Day, Sandra Dee, Humphrey Bogard, Elizabeth

Taylor, Richard Burton and other classic actors and actresses

who have done scenes where they portrayed alcoholics. Some

were quite dramatic and serious roles with “mean” and “sloppy”

drunken roles as their focus. Yet, some were fun ‘romp’ movies

where the drunks were silly.

A lot of comedies include either drugs, alcohol or addictions,

going over the top in their portrayals.

There are also famous movies with the dark and angry side of

the picture:

“Days of Wine and Roses” and “Leaving Las Vegas” come to mind.

We have moved forward in some ways, then stepped back, too.

After all, we still have three “Hangover” movies…

I still will watch comedy sketches with the Saturday Night

Live crew, some who are great at making me laugh, acting

silly while stumbling around and falling down drunk.

Carry On

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Isn’t it marvelous when a burden is lifted from your

shoulders? When you know that everything is finally

going to be all right. I have three grown children who

when they are ‘down’ or have worries, I feel some of

that empathetic worry, myself.

On my way to work, I heard the band, Kansas, singing a

song straight to my heart. It was such an appropriate

song for this first day of freedom from worry for one

of my loved ones! This progressive rock band’s single,

an oldie but goodie, begins like this:

“Carry on, my wayward son,

There’ll be peace when you are done.

Lay your weary head to rest,

Don’t you cry no more.”

(Written by Kerry Livgren, 1976.)

One of my children no longer has to feel like there

isn’t closure in a personal situation. I am so happy that

I will be walking around, sighing in relief, possibly this

could have been noticeable to others, had they been working

in my area today.

I wanted to write a poem expressing this wondrous feeling

of joy and weightlessness, floating around the atmosphere…

but I just couldn’t write poetry today.

Instead I thought of a list, one that would have life’s

irritations and burdens included. Where you, as readers,

may choose one that really had an impact on your life.

A time when it was very challenging to put one foot

before the other one, making moving forward an almost

impossible task.

Here are a few feelings you may relate to, have had

experiences with and have made it through to “the

other side.”

Unfinished business.

Disappointments.

Life’s Abrupt Changes.

Long-Distant Move.

Major Transition.

Debilitating Illness or Disease.

Unresolved Issues.

Disaster.

Death of Loved One(s.)

Death of Friend(s).

Death of a Beloved Pet.

A Series of Uncontrollable Events.

Divorce.

Fire.

Break up/ heart break.

Piles of bills and debt.

Suicide Attempt.

Anorexia/Bulimia.

Alcoholism.

Addiction.

Troubles.

In my family member’s case, something had been left

opened for years, festering, lasting longer than it

deserved to. It had a ‘hold’ on my loved one, who was

dwelling on it and not really enjoying life as much as

they should have been. Closure was reached last night!

Hurray! Yippee!

The more recent American indie band, Fun, put out a great

lively song called, “Carry On,” (2012). The lyrics were

written by a combination of the band members and producer.

Nate Reuss, Andrew Dost, Jack Antonoff and Jeff Bhosker.

Another song with the name of “Carry On,” performed by

the legendary band of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, was

written in 1991,by Stephen Stills. It is meaningfully

written about relationships.

Although the Disney movie, “Frozen,” won for the song,

“Let It Go,” I chose this song because my grandkids love

to belt it out, both boys and girls alike! It gets very

grand at one point, where you need to raise your voice!

This can be very exhilarating and liberating. This helps

to remove any cobwebs that are caught in your mind. It

could raise your spirits considerably. The power in the

words of this song, can alleviate some of your pain and

heartache.

I think the act of singing, while driving down the road,

particularly, can make you feel ‘free’ of sadness.

“Let It Go,” was written by the husband and wife team of

Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, sung by Idina

Menzel. There also is a Demi Lovato cover of the same

song.

In conclusion, music lifts our spirits. Other things

can be chosen depending on your individual tastes and

interests to help release the ‘angst.’

Some very serious problems can not be handled simply by

engaging in walks in parks. That is something for me that

helps me unwind and think. I like to see nature and its

wonder, and sometimes it relieves my temporary depression

by knowing I am but a small part of a greater world.

Meditation can remove the rocks in the way on your journey

through life. Seeking counseling can help you to have a

neutral party to listen, absorb your pains and anger, then

help by gently guiding you to a safer, saner existence.

When was the time you felt heavy in spirit, dragged down so

low it was hard to be motivated to do daily chore? Do you

mind sharing it? If not, please share techniques that helped

you and this will encourage someone, maybe even today, to

be able to…

“Carry on.”