Category Archives: Movies

Music & Movies

My cat hates YouTube. Whenever I search for a song for one of the music prompts he gets so mad. I try to be considerate of him, but sometimes I just have to play a snippet!


He judges me.

The other day, when I was in the middle of a series of weather-related migraines, I replied to a question about music by saying I could easily give it up. I was thinking that I mostly only listen to music in the car these days, and while that’s pleasant, it isn’t a necessity. I don’t usually play music at home because I’m writing there, and I like to write in silence.

But when my head was better I felt guilty about my answer because I enjoyed a whole bunch of tunes on Saturday. At game night, my friend had on an oldies station and all my favorites kept playing. It was incredible to listen to these great tunes from the 60s and 70s, some of which I hadn’t heard in years.

Also, I had forgotten about movies! I love movies, and music adds so much to a film. In fact, some of my favorite films are musicals! Here are some of my favorite songs from my favorite musicals:

Chicago (so hard to choose!)

Walk The Line (again, every song is so good)

Hair (watched this a million times!)

The Sound of Music (love this song, made even more poignant by the fact that he becomes a Nazi and betrays the family)

Fiddler on the Roof (I get more out of this every time I watch)

My Fair Lady (sexist, but still enjoyable)

Grease (so much fun!)

Mamma Mia (this is from the sequel, which was hilarious and sad)

Cabaret (scary but great)

The Lion King (best Disney film imo)

~*~

THW Movies

THW Music

FPQ23: I Burn Whole Cities

Fandango provocatively asks…

“How do you manage or deal with stress? Is there a specific strategy or approach that you’ve found to be particularly effective?”

My post title comes from the HBO show Game of Thrones where dragons have been known to release stress by destroying cities with fire. I am not a dragon, alas, though I have gotten vicarious pleasure especially during stressful times by reading A Song of Ice and Fire and from watching the show.

In general, I find that losing myself in a fantasy world of a novel or movie for a few hours is a great way to deal with stress. I do prefer movies over series, or series that have finished, because I don’t want to have to wait for the next season (and these days, that can be so unpredictable), which ends up leaving me at the mercy of people yapping online about the show and giving their predictions. Annoying!

Depending on what the stressful even was, I may wish to talk about it privately, with a daughter or a friend. I’m careful what I say to whom these days though, so as not to end up with more stress from the convo itself. I may write about the situation in a diary for my own clarification. I find the act of writing words on a page/screen to be therapeutic.

For immediate relief, deep breaths work. For a 24 hour period, repeating the mantra that “this too shall pass” helps a lot. If I can’t sleep, there’s always the Valium or Benadryl last resort. It’s really bad not to sleep because then I’ll feel even worse the next day, which will increase my stress. Cuddling my kitty and spending time alone at home usually helps me feel better.

Here are some stress management techniques that are supposed to help but do nothing for me:

1. Exercise. I know it’s good for me, but it makes everything hurt more and I end up with a (worse) headache.

2. Taking a vacation. Way out of my budget and I would be completely stressed about the money I spent.

3. Glass of wine. This is a migraine trigger about 50% of the time.

4. Music. This is tricky because a lot of songs pull up sad memories for me. I have to be careful about music. Plus, Gatsby doesn’t like it. Mostly I only listen in the car.

5. Sex. With a man? This was generally the cause of almost all my stress and giving it up has reduced my anxiety to nearly zero.

Dracarys! 🔥🔥🔥

Laura’s Music Challenge 13

It’s that time again, peeps! Join us for Laura’s music Monday and share some tunes. 🎶😀🎉

1. Post a video clip from a movie that involves dancing.

2. Post a video of a song that makes you think of medieval times.

3. Post a video of a song about sex.

Backstory

Alt title: Why Use One Word When 700 Are Available?

I wrote a prose poem about “who I am” that was really “where I’m from” a long time ago for a prompt, though I’m not sure if we called them prompts then. It might have been on Usenet, which we used to deride as a sewer, before every other form of social media became awful too. (I still think blogs are the best of the bunch.) The poem was short and not that deep, but then I pulled it up again and fleshed it out for another venue.

I’ve been thinking about Rory’s question (“who are you really?”). It’s a pretty easy question for most people to answer superficially. We generally give answers about who we are in relationship to other people. I’m a mom. I’m a wife, or not. I’m a good friend of so & so, a loyal employee of XYZ Company, yada. We’re plotting our position on axes of family and work, then friendships, maybe next our relationship to interests. I’m a fan of such and such sports team, rah! Or I love to garden, knit, read, write, pull the tails off little blind mice. Whatever.

We tell the world who we are in this multi-dimensional GPS system. Locate me here, in this spot: mom, ex-wife, legal secretary, poet, cat lover, Game of Thrones fan. This is me, right here. What if there are other humans occupying that position? I might have to refine it further. But does this actually even answer the question? Does this explain who I am? Do you know me from these factoids? Could you tell someone about the essence of me from my GPS position?

The other week I was playing a board game with some good friends I’ve known for a long time. It was called ImaginiFF. A question came up: “ImaginiFF Paula were a movie. Which movie would she be?” There were 5 random movies and then Doctor Zhivago, which was obviously correct in my mind for a variety of reasons. Everyone chose it, and this surprised me. I wouldn’t have expected them to know. But they did. And this made me unreasonably happy because most of the time I think people don’t even understand me at all, not even people to whom I’m closest. But I don’t think you would get the correct movie from a bunch of disparate facts about me; you’d have to spend years orbiting my weirdness.

Anyway, here is my GPS poem about who I am via where I’m from. I take the long way around.

Backstory

I am from the Big Apple, take a bite, glitter lights, lemon ice, museums, zoos, art and news, Coney Island hot dogs, Jones Beach sandy sweets, sharp shells stab soft carpet feet.

I am from the place where you pull the blinds, someone’s looking, where you smell your neighbor’s curry cooking, he makes you sweet tea with cardamom, next day Jamaican barbecue mon, the Filipinos have one record, sugar sugar aw honey honey, your father brings home Saturday pastries from the German bakery, “schwartzwalder kirschetorte,” it sounds funny, say it again, and the Japanese girl doesn’t know your words but can show you how to fold paper squares into gentle birds.

I am from the thorny Jersey berry bushes, blackpurple bursts against tanned sunfingers, slipping stones in backyard creek, crick, algae slick, willow fronds sweep redwood table pirate ship, hopscotch sidewalks toss a chip, Sunday French toast sausage brunch, leaves turning orangecrunch, rubber masks hiding smiles fake, the quickmelt of perfect crystal snowflakes.

I am from big city and small town, remain unclaimed, cheer for no team, believe in no crown, blood flows only down, I look out to starless airless zerodark, time past seems tissue-thin, walk back in, an afternoon of bubble toys, uncaring joy, turquoise dresses rhinestone sunlight, just once, golden flash, one more pass, because I am from a yard of girls with summerdrip popsicles, before the apple, before the crash.

I am from disconnect and strife, feudglue of life, mashed crookedly together, a puzzle I failed to see until I broke apart, alone, jagged on my own, and now I know why people stay, bicker low and graceless, get physical redangry splashwine in faces, because they can’t bear the abyss, yes, I missed, I get it all now, too late.

~*~

Z is for Zany [A2Z]

Zany, madcap, wacky, screwball, etc. are all great words to describe What’s Up Doc? This is a super hilarious romantic comedy from 1972, starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal. Madeline Kahn (RIP) costars brilliantly in the same kind of role she plays in Young Frankenstein: the OCD uptight fiancée who is made to appear less desirable than the manic pixie dream girl (before we called them that).

The movie opens in San Francisco and begins with four identical plaid suitcases. One belongs to Ryan’s Dr. Howard Bannister and contains special rocks he needs for a science conference. Another is filled with top-secret documents and belongs to “Mr. Smith.” A “Mr. Jones” is chasing after these documents. The third bag is filled with expensive jewelry. The last bag belongs to Barbra’s Judy Maxwell and contains clothing. Judy chases Howard around his hotel, both to try to find her bag and to score free meals.

At the same time, two hotel employees are attempting to steal the bag they believe has the jewelry, while Jones is trying to get the document bag. Everyone ends up with the wrong bag, of course! Howard’s fiancée is having trouble understanding why Judy keeps popping up all over the place. There is a rival for a science grant who tries to take advantage of Howard’s predicament. It’s all so wild!

Since it’s a romcom, there is a happy ending for Judy and Howard, yayyy. 💖

And with that, I am finished with the alphabloggery, thank Godzilla.

Y is for You [A2Z]

You’ve Got Mail is my favorite romantic comedy. It stars Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, both outstanding, and it’s written and directed by Nora Ephron. I love the build-up of conflicted feelings between Kathleen and Joe, who not only are business rivals but also are with other partners as the story opens. (Both sets of couples break up before K&J get together.) None of that can overcome their growing attraction toward each other though ~ and for quite a while it’s not a physical attraction, which is the best part to me. It’s a combination of an emotional and intellectual connection sustained in writing via chats.

I’m not gonna lie: it’s always been my preference/dream to find this with someone before meeting in person and discovering that it translates to physical chemistry as well. Probably this is why I was so magnetized by the idea of dating sites in the first place. But just like in this movie, most men are deceptive in chats; in real life, though, the ending doesn’t work out so happily ever after.

To me, You’ve Got Mail is simply perfect, the epitome of a romcom. The best of the best. I only wish I could have saved it for last, but there’s one day left…

W is for When [A2Z]

When Harry Met Sally is one of my all-time favorite movies. I love the characters and the humor. Once again, I think Rob Reiner does an excellent job of directing. I used to list WHMS as my favorite romcom, but now I don’t, even though I still adore the film and rewatch it yearly.

Harry and Sally meet right when they’re graduating college at University of Chicago and share a ride to New York City. They get to know each other a little on this trip, and dislike each other, arguing continuously about the nature of relationships between men and women. Over the next decade, they bump into one another repeatedly in various venues as they attach and detach from other partners.

There’s so much wonderful humor and profound insight about the complexities of relationships here, not to mention fabulous quotes. I treasure the supporting cast as well ~ in fact, when I rewatch the movie now, it’s the instant spark between Marie and Jess that really affects me.

I know the on-again, off-again, passionate drama between Harry and Sally and his crazy run through the streets of Manhattan on NYE is what makes this movie such a beautiful piece of art, but but but…

When Marie (Carrie Fisher, RIP) and Jess hit it off immediately, jump into that taxi, and spend the rest of their lives together without all the BS… that gets to me. I mean, Harry and Sally had to keep sleeping with other people (and in Harry’s case marry one) before they finally figured out hey duhhh we’re right for each other. But Jess and Marie don’t have to hurt each other to love each other.

I like that. Of course I get that the smooth path doesn’t make an interesting movie. But I still like it!

V is for Valley [A2Z]

Valley Girl is a cute romcom starring Deborah Foreman and Nicholas Cage. It’s essentially a conflict between social class and peer groups. Julie is part of the upper middle class “Galleria” crowd, all about being popular at her high school, dating a football player, looking cute at all times, etc. Randy is an edgy Hollywood dude, part of the tougher L.A. scene “over the hill,” and shunned by Julie’s friends after he crashes into their world one night.

Though the movie is about high school kids and can seem silly at times (not to mention dated now), it still has the universal theme regarding choices we make, even as adults, and how difficult it is to step away from our social group and their expectations and prejudices.

Late Night Quick Draw

Late Night Quick Draw ~ sorry for the oopsy. Rory seems to have deleted or rescheduled his post. Maybe it will magically reappear later. Copy pasta the questions at your own risk!

Season 1

Describe yourself in 7 words?

Funny, serious, organized, reliable, introverted, poetic, neurotic.

What do you find funny?

Yer mom.

Favourite Food?

Cookies.

Favourite Tipple?

Constant Comment black & orange tea.

Favourite Ice Cream Flavour?

Cookie dough.

Currently Reading?

The Essex Serpent.

Last Film you saw [Cinema/DVD]?

While You Were Sleeping.

Favourite Comfort Food?

Cookies.

Ideal Breakfast?

Cookies.

Favourite Music Genre?

Classic rock.

Best Holiday you have had?

Portland with my daughter.

Holiday destination you would love to see?

New Mexico might be nice.

What’s your favourite animal?

Favourite Game?

Ticket to Ride.

Favourite sport [Take part in/watch]?

Meh.

Most Favourite Nursery Rhyme Growing Up?

Pop Goes the Weasel.

Favourite Colour?

Turquoise.

What would be your perfect day?

Assuming I can’t go back in time, just a pain-free, stress-free day would be nice.

T is for Train [A2Z]

While You Were Sleeping is a sweet romcom starring Sandra Bullock, one of my favorite actors. “Train” comes from the fact that Sandra plays Lucy, an employee of the CTA who works at the booth where people drop their tokens before boarding. She’s a single gal (with an adorable cat, natch) who fantasizes about one particular handsome man who passes by each morning. He’s always perfectly dressed in a suit and coat, and Lucy imagines herself to be in love with him.

On Christmas morning, the handsome man is mugged and pushed onto the train tracks. Lucy leaves her booth and runs out to help; she rolls him away from the oncoming train. He’s unconscious, and when he wakes up in the hospital, he has amnesia.

Due to a mumbling misunderstanding, the hospital staff believes Lucy is the man’s fiancée. When his family shows up, Lucy is introduced not only as his fiancée but also as the person who saved his life. She is overwhelmed with their gratitude and the mistaken identity farce rolls on.

But then the handsome man’s charming and adorable brother arrives.

Sandra is so great here. I just love her. I also loved her in Miss Congeniality, but I couldn’t use that as one of my romcoms unfortunately because although MC has the happy ending, I did watch MC2, which shows Sandra’s character and her man from MC1 breaking up. Too sad! Not that I didn’t love MC2 too, mind you. But it was one of those girl power movies, which are great in their own right. Sandra also rocks those. She’s fabulous in everything. 💖