Category Archives: Leonardo DiCaprio

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scams and Hoaxes

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This morning, Thursday 4/17/14, CBS News featured an interview of

someone who had preyed on innocent senior citizens. There are some

redeeming factors to the interview, though. This ‘con artist’ is

currently giving advice to those who are being ‘scammed,’ his victims.

The April AARP Magazine, that I have received and embraced, since

my fiftieth birthday, featured a more amusing take on the subject

matter, titled: “The Monkey Matisse and Other Great Hoaxes.” I

recommend reading the details of this, I am sure it is available

online, too. There were six stories that were quite amusing, with

the theme of fooling people, in the last fifty years.

The subject matter brought to mind one of my favorite movies of

all time, “Catch Me If You Can.” It is mainly due to 2 different

angles of the movie. One is that I enjoyed the period of time, (the

sities), the famous young man was able to ‘con’ his way into hospitals,

airlines and other professional fields. The character that Leonardo

Di Caprio plays is of that of a real life ‘con artist,’ Frank Abagnale,

Jr., who is currently a securities consultant. The character, who chases

him across American and catches him in Europe, is played by Tom Hanks.

Frank is ten years older than I, so his being able to portray a doctor

while in his twenties, along with a variety of roles, makes this movie

and story quite fascinating to me. I enjoyed the time he is an airline

pilot. During the period where I was growing up, many of my friends and

I thought it would be exciting to become an airline stewardess and ‘See

the world!’ In one famous scene, shown in “Catch Me If You Can’s”

advertising promotional campaign, Frank is walking down the hallway in

an international airport, with a few beautiful airline stewardesses on

his arms. (The current appropriate label would be ‘Flight Attendants.’)

He does fall in love with someone along the way, but while ‘running’ and

‘escaping’ from the law, he is not able to sustain an enduring relationship.

This man, Frank Abagnale, also appeared on one of my family’s favorite

television shows, “To Tell the Truth.” I remember the episode, (1977), along

with the interesting famous personalities who were ‘regulars.’ Some who

portrayed the four ‘judges’ were smoking on set, in the original 60’s time

period!

I felt this show, which ran from 1956 until 2001, was a great example of

how everyone is easily fooled by the outward appearance of someone. The

famous line which was sincerely spoken was, “My name is ______.”

The ‘bad’ outcome of how we can make mistakes in identifying an honest

person from a thief, though, is that elderly and young people are more

likely to become their ‘preys’ or victims.

I remember wearing proudly my American Airlines’s set of wings,

pinned on my jacket. Another time, proudly wearing United Airlines

wings, indicating I was a “stewardess in training.” This was in

the era that transporting children was either ‘free’ or reasonable

cost. Did you ever have a piece of memorabilia that was from a

vacation or travel, that means a lot to you?

My brothers also liked such little emblems of their participating

in such ‘pretend play,’ as in the case of wearing Sheriff’s badges

while touring the Wild West section of Cedar Point Amusement Park,

in Sandusky, Ohio.

The current ‘scammers’ are able through technology and hacking

devices, to not only get lists of senior citizens, but also contact

information.

The real example of a woman, on the CBS Today show, sent off large

checks, unfortunately, to help her grandchild. The caller, con artist,

listed fabricated identification and indicated the call receiver’s

grandson was incarcerated and needed money for a lawyer. The name of

the grandson, his hometown and an address were given to her. Sadly,

she lost quite a large amount of money, believing she was aiding her

family member.

This picture painted in the scenario indicates how high some people

‘fly’ to help and reach others, and how low some people ‘sink’ to

take advantage of caring elderly people. The story of Frank Abagnale

and this new person featured in the interview, trade their knowledge

for freedom. Phone scams are prevalent and the new guy in the interview

gave two important suggestions for aiding the ones being taken advantage

of:

1. Ask the caller some detail or fact about the family member that will

identify the real person’s identity. Something that would not be in the

public knowledge of that person. Not a job or occupation, these are

often easily acquired. A pet’s name, a special hobby or interest are

examples of personal information not available to most ‘hackers.’

2. Ask if you may contact your lawyer or another family member to

verify the validity of the story. I think this should always be true,

whether a phone or at the door salesperson.

“What are your references?” and “Please give me some phone numbers.”

The woman who gave away thousands of dollars to help her grandson

will not recover her money. No one is going to bail her out of the

‘jam’ she got herself into, but she shared her story and the criminal

who has participated in these hoaxes, shared his helpful tips.

If you spot or have a family member who is scammed, or wish to prevent

one that you have had a phone call or visit from someone, call your

local police authorities and here is an AARP online site to contact:

http://aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork

Anyone over fifty may be interested not only in the serious articles,

that include health concerns, financial advice column and political

impacts on the older American citizens but in the great interviews of

famous people. I love the covers of such famous people who now have

reached my fifty-plus age bracket as Kevin Costner, Susan Saranden and

the four handsome men from that fun movie, “Last Vegas.”

Also, you will get with your $15 dollars an AARP card that you may get

attached to your Walgreens or other ‘rewards’ cards. This reduces your

prescriptions, travel and restaurant costs from 1o% to 40%. I am not

employed by AARP, but would love to write a humorous column on dating

after fifty and how relationships reveal our hearts, from generation

to generation. Person to person, we all have needs, we are social

(for the most part) beings who like to help each other out…

One last horrible fact, presented on the CBS report, is that new

technology has allowed savvy people to ‘hack’ into systems. It can

actually invade our ‘Caller ID’ area of our phones. So, the woman

who was called, answered her phone to the scammer, thinking that

this was actually her grandson’s phone number being used!

I am off today and on my way to the eye surgeon for my four month

check up. My Fall optical appointment, with an optician, indicated I

had ‘high eye pressure’ again. I went to see Arena Eye Surgeons’

Dr. Pappas, in December. Now, I hope he will give me another ‘pass’

on the eyes since it has been only two years since I had holes

drilled into both my eyes, below the pupils, with laser surgery to

‘cure’ or temporarily relieve something called, “Narrow Eye Glaucoma.”

Remember to go to your eye doctors and ask them to do more than the

‘puff test.’ He or she can perform a more accurate test to detect ‘eye

degenerative disease.’

It is a shame that I am happy to take a day off to see the doctor!

Anything to get ‘away from work!’

I really wished I could have scheduled my eye exam, with extensive

testing on Good Friday. As in the case of many doctors, they are not

available due to their own personal or staff vacation time. Dr. Pappas

has Friday surgical scheduling in his Columbus office.

I will be possibly writing one more post, before Easter, but just

in case I don’t:

Have a blessed Easter, if you celebrate this holy day.

If not, have a wonderful weekend, my dear friends!

The Power of Determination

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A memoir led to the movie, “This Boy’s Life.” The movie came out,

to much critical acclaim, in 1993. It is well worth seeing all

over again, just to see how Leonardo DiCaprio began his career,

with such finesse and quality acting.

The movie tells the true life story of Tobias Wolff. The screenplay

was written by Robert Getchell. The movie was directed by Michael

Caton-Jones.

It all begins in the year, 1957, where a boy who is known to be

a troublemaker has been moved around a lot with a mother who has

her own issues. Toby is around the age of 13 years old. I could

relate to some of the subject matters, although I would have

only been two years old when the story begins.

Ellen Barkin plays a scattered woman with low self esteem, who

desperately loves her son, trying to always figure out ways

where they can be together. Her intent is for them to have a

good life. You can see how sincerely loving she is towards

her son, although you will probably wonder about her choices.

Their life has included a father who took off once Toby was

born, a boyfriend who is very controlling and then, an escape

from this bad situation.

They land in Seattle, Washington, with only a few suitcases

and even, despite Toby’s inquiring before leaving,

“Don’t you want to take the canned goods?”

His being accustomed to the packing and leaving sequence is

evident in that simple question.

A seemingly ‘perfect man’ comes along, playing a proper suitor.

The mother’s excited and so are her waitress friends. He is a

widower.

The ‘new guy’ displays some suave and sophisticated airs, like

lighting a woman’s cigarette, with a sweep of his arm and flash

of the lighter. Later on, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Toby,

imitates the ‘new guy’s’ tone of voice and flashy behaviors,

“to a T.”

While wooing the mother, played by Ellen Barkin, he is very

boastful of the town he is from called, “Concrete.”

I won’t tell you too many details, but Robert De Niro plays

the new stepfather who is jealous of his stepson. It becomes

apparent, when he marries her before taking her to his home,

to meet the three children, that he needed her in the role

of being a mother.

the mother to be there to take care of his own three children.

Once there, they find themselves in an attractive and well

kept house in the ‘boondocks.’ There is a moment where the

older son, Toby’s stepbrother, mentions that it is 40 miles

to get to school from their house in the country. His father,

who is argumentative and tyrannical in his behavior, argues

about this fact.

The true story is narrated by Tobias, Toby or as he wishes

people would call him, “Jack.” He gets in with the ‘wrong’

crowd, soon enough. There are moments where you cringe,

others where you feel the lyrical beauty in a story that

you just hope will turn out okay. It is a hauntingly and

painful story that unwinds until the credits roll, telling

you where each member of the family is (in 1993, when the

movie was released).

The carefully choreographed, spinning tale slowly unfolds

of a ‘punk’ or a rebel who realizes his only way out of

Concrete is to make it into Prep School. He takes his older

stepbrother’s advice, taking the admission test, fudging on

his ‘resume’ and actually getting a blank transcript where

he has the ability of using the old typewriter to fill in

the blanks.

This much you may have known from your first viewing of the

movie. I barely touched on the details that had faded in my

memory bank. This is a fascinating memoir which led to a

great movie of triumphing over obstacles. It is more than

any boy’s life, it is one of someone who had a rather horrific

childhood and overcame all the odds. I don’t think I grasped

the potential for death or realize that the harrowing escape

meant everything, when I saw, “This Boy’s Life,” for the first

time.

I highly recommend seeing this movie, if you haven’t seen it

in awhile! Or if you haven’t, If you would like to try an

engrossing and in the end, uplifting book or movie, borrow

“This Boy’s Life” from the library!

Let me know how you liked this, if you have seen it…