A few weeks ago, I went on a jolly Christmas binge and watched several holiday romantic comedies. I even wrote about my reactions on Medium. One prevalent theme was the glorification of rustic simplicity. So often, our protagonist can’t find love until he or she leaves a city and heads for the countryside.
Usually the departure is an impetuousone ~ or a complete accident. The protagonist doesn’t even realize they’ve been rushed, overworked, rude, cynical, etc., until they find themselves forced to relax in some charming small town where everyone is kind and helpful and filled with generosity. The message is relentlessly hammered home that city life is bad and rural life is paradise.
This theme annoyed me. I say people are the same everywhere and you can find nice folks in cities as well as bullies in small towns. I should know: I went to high school in a crappy little suburb and had to deal with a lot of jerks. Not to discountthe idea that there are mean people in cities! But according to the holiday romcoms, not only are cities bereft of any holiday spirit, but also you can’t find love until you leave. 🙄
I guess those scriptwriters never heard of “Silver Bells.” 🎶💕
Sandmanjazz has shared a fun challenge! Want to join in? I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I’m still playing.
Last week at my daughter’s we watched Last Christmas, which I had wanted to see for a while. I adore Emilia Clarke (Daenerys in GOT) and also Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians). It also had Michelle Yeoh as the shop owner, and she was hilarious. The movie started out in an interesting way, but then became boring in the middle. However! It turned into a mystery with a fab twist. OMG. I was not expecting that at all, and the ending made the whole movie wonderful. It’s now my favorite Christmas movie! 🎄
We also watched 12 Dates of Christmas, which was cute, but predictable. Think Groundhog Day with eggnog and cookies. I enjoyed Four Christmases some years ago ~ Reese Witherspoon is always a treat. I know I’ve seen other holiday movies, but my mind is a blank right now.
I’m really digging these Dog Days prompts! Today Fandango asks about our favorite TV shows. This is likely to be a long meander, so buckle up.
I don’t watch “shows” these days; I find them a huge bore and I’m not in the mood to try the old stuff I’ve missed, even if everyone says it’s great. Meh. (However, there are a couple new recommendations I may check out.) When I watch “television,” I’m inclined to view a movie. I want a good story, finished in a couple hours, not something dragging on and on, boring me to bits or compelling me to binge-watch an entire season until I’m screen-dazed. The other day I watched An American Pickle and it was great. Love Seth Rogan. There are other movies I would like to watch too.
Television news and news shows are the absolute worst, in my opinion. So boring! I read the news, probably too often, and that is enough. Next worst are documentaries, history, and “reality” shows. Ick! I will watch non-fiction though, if it’s focused on science or animals. Still, fiction is where it’s at for me, same as in reading.
But back in the day, I definitely had favorite shows. When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of game shows. Shocker, eh? I’d watch any, but my favorites were Match Game, Hollywood Squares, $20,000 Pyramid (this had different amounts for the title at different times), and The Price Is Right. Oh, when I was a really little kid, I enjoyed Let’s Make A Deal. I also liked I Dream of Jeannie, That Girl, The Brady Bunch, Eight Is Enough, and One Day at a Time. The first two in that list were romantic comedies and the last three focused on close family relationships. Those themes have always appealed to me. None of these shows, however, appeal to me today although the themes in general still do. Whenever I try to rewatch an ep, I totally cringe. As far as the game shows, probably only Pyramid would be fun for me these days. The rest? Cringe City. Everyone likes Jeopardy, and I do too, but it can be a bore.
My mom and I watched cheesy scary movies together (Creature Feature) and also got hooked on Dallas and Falcon Crest. Later, I enjoyed Cheers after Shelley Long left and then I loved Frasier. That show was just so witty and hilarious. My ex and I watched LA Law and that was fun. Next came Sopranos (hilarious!), Six Feet Under (focused on relationships), Breaking Bad (relationships and immensely interesting twists and turns, plus FUNNY), and Game of Thrones. I was surprised at my love for GOT, but when something is good it’s good, regardless of genre. It had romance, drama, murder, dragons, adventure, etc. etc. Everything!
1. Today I’m taking the last entry from my previous post (“Folsom Prison Blues”) and using the theme of feeling stuck (a word in FBP’s lyrics). One of my favorite songs, “Hotel California,” also has a trapped theme. It’s by the Eagles. Initially the narrator feels welcome at the HC, but eventually realizes there is no escape. The song includes the line this could be heaven or this could be hell.
2. The 2019 movie Vivarium (starring Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots) also switches from the idea of something that seems great to the realization that it’s horrible. A young couple go to look at their possible dream home with an estate agent. He disappears and the couple is left stranded in a maze of horror. They are forced to raise a baby who may be some kind of demon from hell (or an alien).
3. Speaking of hellish homes, I present We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. What’s going on here? Is this creepy family dead or alive? I enjoyed this psychological horror story very much. I also love a story told by an unreliable narrator. The novel has two sisters as main characters.
4. One of my favorite romcoms, 27 Dresses, features two sisters dealing with their romances. They are first of all in love with the same man (for a while) and second must untangle themselves from various deceptions. It’s a funny and sweet film.
5. “Alice’s Restaurant” repeats the lyric 27 glossy photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one to be used as evidence against us. Those were pictures of the heap of trash that the narrator and a friend illegally added to on Thanksgiving. This is a war protest song by Arlo Guthrie about the Vietnam draft, among other things.
6. My Trashy Romance is a fun story about a trash collector who falls for a librarian. Initially, they hit it off, but she discovers something that upsets her, so she breaks up with him. But does he win her back? This witty novel is written by my real-life friend Terry Black.
Okay, that’s it for my second six degrees / blog Carnelli post and I will continue on at some future date…
I found this fun prompt, though I didn’t have time to reply on Tuesday. We are to list which three movies best sum up our taste in movies and why.
Analyze This. This is a 1999 comedy directed by Harold Ramis and stars Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro. It’s a spoof of mafia films but also has a serious storyline, like the Sopranos TV show. Even on a recent rewatch, I cracked up. It basically has all the things I love: humor, violence, the mob, psychiatrist jokes, Robert De Niro, etc. I almost feel like I’m cheating to include this movie, since it perfectly illustrates the kind of comedy I adore, plus it has the mafia. There are better mafia movies ~ I’d probably choose Goodfellas as my all-time favorite, but since I’m limited to three, I will combine laughs with the mob to showcase my tastes.
27 Dresses. Obviously, I have to include a romcom in my list! This one is perfection because it’s actually two romcoms in one, plus it has sisters. I love stories with sisters (and no, they are not mixed up twins). The storyline also involves two parallel themes of deceptive identity, which keeps the tension high, and everything is resolved at the end as love conquers all. This movie is simply the epitome of a romcom, giving us the identity issue a la You’ve Got Mail (another super fave) but sans the emotional infidelity. It was hard not to choose WHMS, which I love, but it has some elements that make it less than perfect for me, such as the hero being a player off and on.
Chicago. I love love love musicals and this one is fabulous! Every character is brilliant, the songs are wonderful, and the dancing is tops. I can watch it over and over again. There are other great musicals, of course, but this one encompasses everything. I admit I am partial to Catherine Zeta-Jones ~ loved her since I first saw her in Zorro ~ and Queen Latifah is excellent as the prison warden. Plus, Richard Gere costars as a devious, clever attorney, and he is just so good (have been a fan of his ever since I first saw him in American Gigolo). Renee Zellweger also stars and she isn’t usually a favorite of mine, except in this. Other top musical contenders are Walk the Line, Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, and My Fair Lady.
Doesn’t this list make it seem as though I’m not into dramas? Untrue! I love a good drama, but there isn’t a particular one that sums up dramas for me. Doctor Zhivago is wonderful, but it stands alone rather than being a type. Same goes for The Dark Knight, which imo isn’t representative of superhero movies, since I don’t generally care for them. I enjoy some science fiction, but it has to be character-driven like the original Star Trek (I liked the films with the actors from the original series). I’m not a big fan of screwball stuff or movies that are all action. There are exceptions ~ I liked San Andreas and I enjoy the Bond flicks.
I found this fun challenge at Sandmanjazz. As I did with the books (not the bingo, but the 30 days), I’m going to do these movies in blocks. So instead of a post a day for 30 days, I’ll have 6 posts total. Here’s my fifth set of films…
21. You’ve Got Mail and 27 Dresses are tied for my favorite romcoms… and they both make me want to fall in love. They have that standard romance novel trope of mistaken identity, but I’m not tired of it. Unlike other tropes (switching places, time travel, misunderstood eavesdropping, etc.), mistaken identity stories still appeal to me. You fall in love with someone, not knowing who they really are, but when the truth is finally revealed, you love them even more. Why I like this the best, idk. Probably some freudian thing…
22. Fantasy-world films, like most sci-fi, do not normally appeal to me. But there are always exceptions. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’s was a fantasy film I loved.
23. Risky Business means a lot to me. Weird, right? I have nothing in common with any of those characters. But I knew people like them. The idea that Joel’s hard work meant nothing to the Princeton recruiter, but setting the dude up with a hooker got him in… well, that just sums up our effed-up values as a society, doesn’t it? Even I go ooh Ivy League to this day until I step back for a second and remind myself of (waves arms) everything.
24. I don’t normally care about directors ~ I like what I like. But Rob Reiner and Martin Scorsese happened to have directed a large number of my faves. Since I’ve already mentioned a few of RR’s films (WHMS, Alex & Emma), I will give Marty a shout-out here. Goodfellas is in my top 5 favorite films of all time, and it’s a Scorsese-directed flick. I do rewatch it frequently. Don’t forget After Hours though, a super weird dark comedy with no mafia characters. It is also one of Marty’s and I love it.
25. A film that inspired me? Hmm. Hidden Figures was pretty inspiring, not that I could relate to it personally, since I don’t struggle for anything because lazy. If it’s difficult, I give up. But I appreciate how others keep fighting for their dreams.
I found this fun challenge at Sandmanjazz. As I did with the books (not the bingo, but the 30 days), I’m going to do these movies in blocks. So instead of a post a day for 30 days, I’ll have 6 posts total. Here’s my fourth set of films…
16. Life of Pi has a number in the title and is a great film besides (haven’t read the book). I recommend seeing it in 3D.
17. Not a huge fan of animated films, but I did enjoy The Lion King and also Frozen. The music made them standouts. 🎶
18. A movie I think about a lot is When Harry Met Sally. It seems so romantic but in fact is full of drama and angst. The relationship between Jess and Marie (side characters) is actually closer to my ideal.
19. Her is set in the future and while it’s not my favorite film, it certainly was intriguing regarding the nature of relationships.
20. Blade Runner was scary (also set in the future). I loved it!
I found this fun challenge at Sandmanjazz. As I did with the books (not the bingo, but the 30 days), I’m going to do these movies in blocks. So instead of a post a day for 30 days, I’ll have 6 posts total. Here’s my third set of films…
11. Every romcom makes me silently cheer with happiness when things work out. You’ve Got Mail is a great example of this.
12. The Hotel Budapest was confusing imo.
13. Underthe Tuscan Sun gave me a craving to visit Italy. And whenever I see Hugh Grant on the screen, I’d like to travel to England…
14. Generally, I won’t watch sports movies, but I loved Moneyball (about baseball). It helped that Brad Pitt starred.
15. Philomena was an incredibly sad movie, but super great. Of course! Judi Dench stars in it.
I found this fun challenge at Sandmanjazz. As I did with the books (not the bingo, but the 30 days), I’m going to do these movies in blocks. So instead of a post a day for 30 days, I’ll have 6 posts total. Here’s my first set of films…
1. The first movie I remember seeing in a cinema was The Sound of Music. I was about 5 years old. I loved it then and I love it now. Wonderful music. Julie Andrews was spectacular. ❤️🎶
2. I didn’t watch films on repeat as a child. We saw movies once each and then walked back 5 miles in the snow to huddle in front of our black and white television.
3. A film that makes me LOL to this day is My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It’s hysterical!
4. The Big Short begins with “the” and is an excellent movie besides. I just adore Steve Carell. (Not in Space Force though. I really wanted to like it, but meh.)
5. I always say Alex & Emma is underrated. It’s a super funny movie about writer’s block… and it’s also a romcom. I pretty much love any movie with Kate Hudson.
Dr. Tanya asks us to list 5 movies we love to watch over and over again. Funny, but I love the 5 movies she chose! I’d watch any of them again (and I have, especially The Devil Wears Prada and You’ve Got Mail), but I will choose 5 different ones to make this fun. There are so many good films!
Young Frankenstein. Omg, this film is hilarious! I try to watch it every year around Halloween (though I missed in 2019, so I definitely will have to view it this fall). Such a great flick with a fantastic cast.
Risky Business. This one has a special place in my heart. It’s set in the Chicago area, which is where I saw it the first time. I played hooky from a class and went to see it alone. Absolutely loved it. The entire theater erupted in screams when Joel said, “Looks like… UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS!” The music from Tangerine Dream and Talking Heads is great too.
Chicago. Speaking of Chicago! I adore this musical… and musicals in general (could be my whole list really). Not sure if this is my fave musical of all time, but it’s the one I pick lately when I want to watch/listen again. It’s just so freaking excellent. Who knew Richard Gere could sing? Right? What’s interesting is I can’t stand Renee Zellweger in anything else. Nothing. She’s so annoying. But this I love.
Goodfellas. Got to get my mob props in here somewhere. This is the best mob movie, I think. I’ve seen many and will always stop on a dime and rewatch this if I happen to run across it. Doesn’t matter where it is in progress either. Also, I own it and can simply view the whole thing anytime. Such an excellent flick. A perfectly told story.
When Harry Met Sally. I go back and forth about my favorite love story and ultimately I do believe this is it (at least today anyway!). First, the Harry/Sally love story is far from “perfect,” which, in a way, just makes it that much better. They are imperfect people who behave in cringeworthy ways… like um actual humans. You’re like ugh no don’t say that, don’t do that. But they do and things get more tangled up. Second, while Harry/Sally are messing up their love life, we have the two secondary characters, Jesse and Marie, engaged in a truly perfect love story, so that’s cool. Third, there are so many funny scenes and quotable lines from this movie… it just stays with me. In fact, I want to watch it again soon!