“Steal a Pencil For Me” Review

I know that there are people that don’t like documentaries.  I know there are people that don’t like subtitled movies.  Conversely, I know that there are people that ONLY watch documentaries or movies with subtitles.  I am neither of these people.  I like all movies, and occasionally I find myself in the mood for a true story or something a bit more realistic than the CGI enhanced schlock that seems to be prevalent among today’s selection.sap-index1

I had recorded the movie Steal A Pencil For Me when it aired on my local PBS station a few months ago.  I hadn’t been in the mood, so to speak, for a story about two people in a German Concentration Camp.  Depressing movie, I thought.  Gritty subject matter, I figured.  Plus, I didn’t feel like crying as I was almost certain I would.

Well, the only part I got right was the crying.  What a moving story.  Two individuals meet in Holland at a mutual friend’s birthday party in the early 1940s.  She is 17, he is 27–and married.  His marriage is over, and both parties involved know it but agree to wait until after the war to get divorced.  Then Hitler invades Holland and their entire world is changed. Continue reading

I thought Pixar was for kids?!


I have the disk of all the Pixar short films.  (I’m sorry, but Geri’s Game is just freaking brilliant!) I’ve seen them all before, but it’s still fun to see them again.

Have you seen Tin Toy?  It’s the one with a new gift for a baby and he hides under the furniture with the rest of the toys that are afraid of the baby.  It’s a great little film, even won the academy award for best short film.

Can you blame the toys for being scared, though?  That is one seriously disturbing looking baby.  Its appearance is just darn creepy!  The oversized the diaper, the too-short arms, and the head!  With the skin!!  It’ll give me nightmares, that’s for sure.  Just plain weird!!!

A Fitting Eulogy and Must See Movie!

Fred Knittle

Fred Knittle

If you haven’t seen the movie Young At Heart yet, please run, don’t walk, to your nearest Blockbuster store or Netflix queue and grab it. It is a heart warming story about a choir consisting of seniors, average age is over 80, who tour while singing songs from The Clash or Sonic Youth or Coldplay, etc. It is a moving story of how you can’t let age stop you from enjoying things and how sometimes the community of peers you surround yourself with is what makes you stronger.

That being said, one of the stars of the movie, Fred Knittle, passed away this week.  He was such a comedian, and I will never think of the BeeGees again without remembering him toting his oxygen tank. A writeup on his passing was in USAToday and can be found here.  I have also copied excerpted text from Anthony Breznican’s article after the jump.  Once you see the movie, let me know what you think! Continue reading

I don’t hate Christmas. I just hate a Christmas STORY.

I know. I, a 30-something female that came of age in the 1980s, should love this flick.

I’m sorry. I just don’t.

Sure, Ralphie is cute in his dorkiness. Yes, when I bundle up for football games and cannot lower my arms to my sides we make reference to the snowsuit scene. I have seen this movie a hundred time–at least!–and have no desire to watch even a single second of the 24 hour TBS marathon every year.

Let’s talk logistics, to begin with. Ralphie says he wants a Red Ryder BB Gun 28 times throughout the course of the 93 minute movie. This means that roughly every 3 minutes and 19.2 seconds he is reiterating the phrase. Which 80% of the time is followed by the admonition of the closest adult regarding his ocular safety. Then there is his little brother. I don’t know about you, but if we didn’t eat we sat at the table until we either a)ate, or b)fell asleep. And if it was option b, we then had the same plate of food at the next meal until we ate it. None of this ‘show me how the piggy eats’ bullshit. Seriously, I wouldn’t have been able to sit down for a week from the tanning my hide would have received if I had tried to pull that off.

Then there is the concept.  I don’t care if someone triple dog dares me to do it, I am NOT sticking my tongue on a frozen telephone pole.  (Incidentally, the kid that played that role starred in another 80s classic I love, The Toy, before going on to star in porn flicks.  Go figure, there must have been a commodity for tongues that had been ripped to shreds because of freezing.)  Plus,when I was growing up, if I asked for something 28 times in 93 minutes, there wasn’t a chance in hell i’d get it because I’d been nagging so much.

I will stop now, and not go on.  Although I could that’s for certain.  I just had to vent.  This one movie is the sorce of 24 solid hours of programming on one station alone, which I honestly feel is about 23.9 hours too many.

A proud member of the non-conforming Christmas movie club

As I’m sure I have made clear, I am a pop culture junkie.  I love movies, the theater, television, books, and just about everything else that makes you believe a story.  Especially movies.  In a not-so-fantastic childhood I was able to escape my own life for hours at a time by living through the characters I saw on the screen.  Great 1950s musical stars, old Hollywood contract actresses, even the kooky Helen Hunt in Girls Just Want To Have Fun.  Great way of taking your mind off of things.

At no time is there a larger plethora of feel-good movies than during the holiday season.  From the classic Dr. Seuss to the lovely Charles Schultz, there are many to choose from.  (Side note: Did you know that the Charlie Brown Christmas show was originally an ad for Coca Cola?  They took that part out of the now-shown version.  Cracks me up.  Movie noted for maintaining the true meaning of Christmas was originally a 60-minute commercial.) I have my favorites, of course.  But there are a few that don’t exactly thrill me either.  I’ve never cared much for Christmas Vacation, for example.  I have never cared for the Nutcracker on Ice..  Things like that.

But the one movie that I absolutely cannot stand is It’s a Wonderful Life. Continue reading

Top 25 Documentary Films

I’ve done movie lists before, from the top 1001 all time to the top 100 modern day must see movies.  This is the first list of documentaries that I have seen.  Interestingly enough, only one or two of them appear on the other two lists.  Many of these are in my Blockbuster queue, ironically enough!

Again, I have marked the ones I have seen and have some of my comments next to a few.  I’m really not surprised with what showed up, most of them are very well known.  The only exception is #19 which was never released and is only available for educational purposes to schools and the like.  I also wish that Mad Hot Ballroom had made the list, but alas no such luck.  And I understand, it was a great film, but not quite the same caliber as the ones listed below.  Oh well.  The complete list of IDA’s “25 Best Documentaries” is included below:

25. “Woodstock,” directed by Michael Wadleigh Continue reading

Denial is a wonderful thing!

So Thursday, I was home from work by 1pm.  Went through a box of Kleenex.  Friday, no job to go to, went to lunch with an old friend and dinner with a former coworker.  We were supposed to be at dinner to talk about the big hooplah the prior weekend, but given the recent events had other things to discuss.

Saturday, I had to wait for the cable guy.  While waiting, I called B to see if she could meet me in 30 minutes to go clean out my desk.  Thirty minutes, fifty, same thing, right? We got to the office around 11.  I was so thankful she came with me, as I knew that not only physically I would have a lot to clean up and distribute around as I work on a lot of stuff I didn’t want to just leave out, but it would be easier if she could help.

It took about 15 minutes to clean up my personal stuff, no brainer.  But we were there for two hours Continue reading

100 Modern Day Must-See Movies

Okay, this is more to my liking.  A while ago I had this post which showed my unbeknownst lack of movie knowledge.  The following is another list of the top 100 by Entertainment Weekly, with the caveat that it had to be released after 1983.  MUCH more to my style, as thus far I have a 63% viewing rate.  Not so big on some of the action/guns-‘n-gore movies, so that puts a bit of a damper on it..  Again, those I’ve seen have been marked.  I’m not sure how much I agree with the list, though.   I do find it interesting that there are quite a few Oscar winners not on here, and I’m not so sure that I would have put some of these on the list, but who am I to sit and contemplate the top 100.  Let someone else do the work, and I’ll make my own snarky comments!  Oh, and again, anything that has a year ending in an 8 will probably show up as 8) .  Anyone know how to get around that?

100 New Movie Classics:

100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)  [Yeah, just no interest in seeing this one.]
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
97. Glory (1989)
96. Far From Heaven (2002)
95. In the Mood for Love (2001) Continue reading

1001 Must See Movies

So evidently this list has been making the rounds lately.  I’m surprised that I haven’t seen more of them, as much of a movie hog as I am.  Anyway, here’s the list, which dates up to early 2003.  I’ve marked the ones I’ve seen. Kind of shocking to me that I haven’t seen more, to tell you the truth.  But I managed a decent 40%, considering I wasn’t even alive for a little more than half of them.  Also surprised at how many of the musicals from the 1940s-1960s I haven’t seen, given that I love that genre (Howard Keel, Gene Kelly, loved ’em all!).  But it gives me quite a bit more to enjoy in the future!!!  (Update June 22: Hee!  Evidently any year that ends in an 8 shows up as 8).  Funny!

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Continue reading

Answers for “There is NO WAY to choose just ten!”

  1. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
  2. Reality Bites
  3. The Untouchables
  4. Muriel’s Wedding
  5. Love Actually
  6. PCU
  7. So I Married An Axe Murderer
  8. Empire Records
  9. Spaceballs
  10. Real Genius
  11. Willow
  12. Outsiders
  13. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  14. Better off Dead
  15. Auntie Mame
  16. Eddie and the Cruisers
  17. The Cutting Edge
  18. The Incredible Shrinking Woman
  19. Elf
  20. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
  21. Grosse Point Blank
  22. The Fifth Element
  23. Amelie
  24. Blow Dry
  25. Waitress
  26. Josie and the Pussycats
  27. Varsity Blues
  28. The Skulls
  29. Sister Act 2
  30. Regarding Henry
  31. She’s All That
  32. Emmit Otter’s Jug Band Christmas
  33. The Lake House
  34. Barefoot in the Park
  35. Chasing Amy
  36. Dodgeball
  37. Music & Lyrics
  38. The Muppet Movie
  39. Mystic Pizza
  40. Saved
  41. Bend It Like Beckham
  42. Can’t Buy Me Love
  43. 10 Things I Hate About You
  44. The Goonies
  45. Three Amigos
  46. The Birdcage
  47. Toy Soldiers

*Yes, I changed the date of publication to 01.01.2001 so that it wouldn’t show on the home page!