Everything Will Be All Right in the End

…if it is not all right, then it is not yet the end. (Sonny, Dev Patel)

Daily Prompt:  Silver Screen – Take a quote from your favorite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write!

the-best-exotic-marigold-hotel

I really have come to loathe the word “favorite” because it is so limiting.  There is no one single movie that is my favorite, but there are many that I like for a lot of very different reasons.  The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the movie I watched most recently, which was last night on Netflix.  It stars Judi Dench.  That in itself is reason enough to see it.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel follows a group of British retirees who decide to “outsource” their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past. (from Rotten Tomatoes)

Evelyn (pronounced Eve’ -lin) has so many quotable lines it was impossible to choose only one.  So here’s a few of the best.

The only real failure is the failure to try, and the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment, as we all must.

Initially you’re overwhelmed. But gradually you realize it’s like a wave. Resist, and you’ll be knocked over. Dive into it, and you’ll swim out the other side.

There is no past that we can bring back by longing for it. Only a present that builds and creates itself as the past withdraws.

Great acting, beautiful scenes of India, some funny stuff and some wonderful ah-hah moments for several of the characters.  Predictable?  I suppose so.  But thoroughly enjoyable anyway.

Where Do We Go Now (the Movie)

where do we go now

Where Do We Go Now is a great movie to watch if you like foreign films and don’t mind reading sub-titles through the whole thing.  Or if you understand Arabic.  (I’m assuming that’s the language they are speaking in this small village in Lebanon.)  Sub-titles don’t bother me at all (since I’m slowly going deaf) especially when it comes to making out some of the dialogue in movies.  So I almost always turn on the English sub-titles even when the movie is in English.  Otherwise I’ll have the volume up loud enough to break other people’s ear drums.

I suppose in part this movie is a sort of light-hearted exploration of religious tension. The setting is a small village where a church and a mosque stand side by side and the villagers are either Muslims or Christians.  And half the time I had no idea which was which.  Their country is in turmoil with fighting amongst religious zealots, so there is the potential for violence in their small community.

The women are tired of losing sons, husbands and fathers in previous flare-ups and decide to join together to try to distract their men from fighting.  They fake a miracle, destroy the only television in the village so no one can watch the news, hire some scantily clad Eastern European strippers, spend a day baking with drugs so that all the men at one point end up stoned.  There’s a lot of funny stuff.  But there’s also some harsh scenes, some romance, a tragedy, and some great music.

The over all message I think is simply to show us that war is futile.  All the fighting ultimately solves nothing.   It’s possible and preferable to peacefully co-exist despite our differences.  Yes, all those things we already know but find so hard to put into practice.

Sweet Land, the Movie

SweetLand

Let us hope that we are preceded in this world by a love story.  That’s a rather beautiful sentiment, isn’t it?

This is the synopsis from IMDb:

When Lars Torviks grandmother Inge dies in 2004, he is faced with a decision to sell the family farm on which she lived since 1920, or cling to the legacy of the land. Seeking advice, he turns to the memory of Inge and the stories that she passed on to him.

Inge arrives in Minnesota in 1920 to marry a young Norwegian farmer named Olaf. Her German heritage and lack of official immigration papers make her an object of suspicion in the small town, and she and Olaf are forbidden to marry. Alone and adrift, Inge goes to live with the family of Olafs friend and neighbor Frandsen and his wife Brownie, where she learns the English language, American ways, and a hard-won independence.

Inge and Olaf slowly come to know each other, and against the backdrop of endless farmland and cathedral skies they fall in love, a man and a woman united by the elemental forces of nature. Still unable to marry, they live together openly, despite the scorn of the neighbors and the disapproval of the local minister. But when his friend Frandsens farm is threatened by foreclosure, Olaf takes a stand, and the community unites around the young couple, finally accepting Inge as one of their own. 

I also read, after watching the movie, that most of the Norwegian and German (which of course sounded fine to me) was made up by the actors during filming and is complete gibberish with terrible accents.  I guess that’s why there’s no sub-titles for those parts!  And if you’re paying any kind of attention at all you will notice that Inge and Olaf harvest a gigantic field of corn and when they get it back to the barn it turns into wheat.

Oh well.  It’s a love story.  The details don’t really matter.  I think Elizabeth Reaser is amazing in this. You can skip to part four for the trailer, because if you play all six parts of this YouTube video, you won’t have time to watch the actual movie!  I’m still going to recommend it though.  It isn’t perfect, but there are beautiful scenes that will stay with you for a long time.

Jane Fonda is Peace and Love

Yesterday it snowed and melted and snowed some more.  When I drove home from work the roads were icy, dry, and icy again.  Mostly the ice was at stop lights and around road curves of course, so the going was slow.  And it unnerved me just enough to decide venturing out again, even three or four blocks to go out for something to eat, just wasn’t worth it.  Never mind sliding into someones bumper from behind, I don’t want to slip and fall on my butt in a parking lot either.

So what to do with a quiet couple of after-work hours (before reading myself into oblivion) while W watches sports on tv?  By the way, I’m not totally out of the sports loop.  I’m cheering for the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.  And no, I haven’t watched a game yet, but when it’s closer to the end I’ll probably get sucked in like everybody else.  If there’s a contest for world’s worst sports fan, I’m a contender.  Meanwhile, time to check out new arrivals on Netflix.

And this is the delightful movie I decided to watch;  Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding, starring –


Chace Crawford (Cole), Elizabeth Olsen (Zoe), Jane Fonda (Grace), Catherine Keener (Diane), Jeffery Dean Morgan (Jude), Marissa O’Donnell (Tara) and Nat Wolff (Jake).  Do I pay attention, or what??

The story is predictable (not just somewhat contrived) fun, with great casting.  I cannot imagine anyone but Jane Fonda as the beautiful Grace, stuck in the ’60’s forever.  Diane is an uptight New York City lawyer whose equally uptight lawyer husband tells her he wants a divorce.  She packs up her teenage kids and goes off to visit her estranged (for 20 years) hippie mother at her farmhouse in the countryside near Woodstock.  It turns into a summer adventure of romance (for all three of them).  They attend a war protest and a music festival, participate in some moon howling, learn a few family secrets, and make some very clichéd self discoveries.

Perfect.  I wanted some mindless diversion, and this delivered. I don’t care that the movie got less than rave reviews – every movie doesn’t have to be some powerful statement about some controversial event.  Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding is harmless fun with a delightfully happy ending.  Good for the hippie soul.

J is for Jabberwocky

J is also for Johnny Depp, and his inspired version of Jabberwocky in the Alice in Wonderland movie.

Jabberwocky, the unedited version, by Lewis Carroll

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

I love the poem (most poems make exactly this much sense to me) and I love that movie, and what can I say about Johnny Depp that hasn’t already been said?  Probably by me?

We’ve had a perfectly beamish day, picking up a mimsy new filing cabinet at uffish old Wal-Mart and then galumphing back home to put it together.  My magical housekeeping fervor continues.  Callooh callay, this vorpal stack of papers is finally going to get filed!  I expect to feel quite brillig once it’s all done.

Snow White and the Huntsman Movie Night

On Tuesday night I was all set to watch this movie after work, but the DVD wouldn’t play!  So I had to take it back and exchange it for another one.  The customer service person told me it was possible they got a ‘bad batch’ of the movie, and if the exchanged one also didn’t work, my next move should be to take it back to a different store where they were more likely to have a ‘good batch’.  At that point I began to question how much I really needed to see the damned thing.  I mean the movie sleeve shows an angst ridden Kristen Stewart looking glum, Chalize Theron all poised and gorgeously, wickedly evil, and a hatchet wielding Chris Hemsworth ready to kill somebody.  Or something.  That part isn’t clear.  But really, I already know the story, right?

Well not really.  The second DVD worked just fine, and I was pleasantly surprised by some of the delightful twists and turns as I watched it last night.  But here’s the most delightful thing of all – Kristen Stewart.  Give the girl kudos for this one.  She is good.  And she almost smiles a couple of times.  Even though she sees her dead father with a bloody knife embedded in his heart and is locked up in the north tower of the castle for half  of her young life, escapes to the perils of the dark forest, and has her life saved by one of the dwarves when he sacrifices his own for her.  Then there’s the small matter of her heart being a big part of the wicked queens quest for immortality.  There is not a lot to smile about.

I love the fact that it’s not the prince who breaks the poisoned apple spell.  If that’s a spoiler, sorry.  And the ending isn’t exactly happily ever after either, but you get the feeling that it’s a definite possibility.

And then there’s this – beautiful and haunting music to go with a rather sad part.

 

Maybe you won’t be blown away by this movie as the sleeve suggests, but I don’t think you’ll be unmoved by it either.  There’s some incredibly beautiful bits and some excellent special effects.  For lots of reasons,  I want to watch it all over again.

You Don’t Become A Hero by Being Normal

Yesterday I went to see the first 3-D movie of my life.  It was one of those spur of the moment things to decide to go at all and a last-minute decision as to which show to see.

So suddenly there we were, crazy glasses on, watching ParaNorman with things jumping off the screen into our faces.

There were some scary gruesome bits, so it might not be suitable for the very young, but kids quickly get to the age where they think it’s fun to be grossed out by ghosts and zombies.  It’s a great bold story with a strong moral lesson.  I don’t think it’s just for kids.

Getting to Know Stephanie Plum

I’m halfway through book three in Janet Evanovich’s great long mystery series starring Stephanie Plum.  This is one of the reviews from Amazon on the book that started it all:

Stephanie Plum is so smart, so honest, and so funny that her narrative charm could drive a documentary on termites. But this tough gal from New Jersey, an unemployed discount lingerie buyer, has a much more interesting story to tell: She has to say that her Miata has been repossessed and that she’s so poor at the moment that she just drank her last bottle of beer for breakfast. She has to say that her only chance out of her present rut is her repugnant cousin Vinnie and his bail-bond business. She has to say that she blackmailed Vinnie into giving her a bail-bond recovery job worth $10,000 (for a murder suspect), even though she doesn’t own a gun and has never apprehended a person in her life. And she has to say that the guy she has to get, Joe Morelli, is the same creep who charmed away her teenage virginity behind the pastry case in the Trenton bakery where she worked after school.

If that hard-luck story doesn’t sound compelling enough, Stephanie’s several unsuccessful attempts at pulling in Joe make a downright hilarious and suspenseful tale of murder and deceit. Along the way, several more outlandish (but unrelentingly real) characters join the story, including Benito Ramirez, a champion boxer who seems to be following Stephanie Plum wherever she goes.

Janet Evanovich shares an authentic feel for the streets of Trenton in her debut mystery (she developed her talents in a string of romance novels before creating Ms. Plum), and her tough, frank, and funny first-person narrator offers a winning mix of vulgarity and sensitivity. Evanovich is certainly among the best of the new voices to emerge in the mystery field of the 1990s. –Patrick O’Kelle

Even though I’m not an avid mystery fan, the story was great and written with large doses of humour.  I haven’t seen the movie, but I like the trailer.

There’s lots of controversy over the casting, (isn’t there always?) but it all looks good to me, no doubt because I haven’t yet reached book twenty in the series with indelible character sketches branded on my brain.  Maybe I’ll never get that far.  But the journey to this point has been a lot of fun.

Mini Movie Marathon

Two days off = five movies.  Is that better or worse than an entire trilogy in less than a week?  As in, more or less productive?  Or not productive at all?

Maybe I’m stock piling ideas for my book that I keep thinking I should write but at this rate won’t start until I’m 90.  I did get other things done.  I DO know how to work the pause button.

It all started with The Importance of Being Earnest.  I guess the rest of the cast was good, but it’s hard for me to take my eyes off Colin Firth.  And that’s why I saw him trying really hard to keep a straight face in some of the more ridiculous scenes.  Reese Witherspoon can do a British accent.  Although since I’m not British I could be completely wrong about that, but it sounded fine to me.

Then good old Netflix suggested I might like Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky.  This was a little more intense.  The revolutionary dissonances of Igor’s work versus Coco’s radical ideas in women’s fashion.  So of course they hit it off, but the relationship was doomed.

 Wings of the Dove was also about a doomed relationship, and it’s all Helena Bonham Carter’s character’s fault.  She wanted it all, and in movies that usually means you end up disappointed.

So – from London to Paris to Venice to Tuscany and Shadows In the Sun.  And another kind of love story altogether.  This movie was more about the love of writing and the fear that can paralyze a writer when he thinks he might have nothing left to say.

Well they should all just sit down and watch more movies.  Tons of ideas there.

Giancarlo Giannini as Father Moretti was delightful. So was Joshua Jackson, but only when he forgot to slick back his hair with grease.  Yuck.  And the beautiful scenery will make you want to book a flight to Italy and never come home.  Unless of course you live there already, in which case, gawd I envy you.

As good as all of these were, The Young Victoria turned out to be the best of all of them.  You’d think by the time I got around to this one I’d be all sapped out, but nope.  Emily Blunt is a perfect young Victoria and Rupert Friend is an excellent Prince Albert.  I think there were sparks.

If I’d seen movies like this in school I might have had a better appreciation for politics and history.  Well, that’s debatable.  I might have wanted to meet Rupert Friend.

The next thing I’m going to tackle is a thousand page novel.  Going to sleep and to work can be such annoying interruptions.

Pirate Radio

Why have I never seen this movie before?  Where have I been?  Under a rock?  How did I miss “The Boat That Rocked“?  Great soundtrack (’60s Rock and Roll), amazing group of actors (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Chirs O’Dowd), exciting story, lots of fun!

When it was over, because it’s impossible to get too much Chris O’Dowd, I started watching “The IT Crowd” tv series in which he was one of the main stars.  And I actually laughed out loud.  A lot.

Either these shows are both excellent bits of entertainment or I’ve been living alone too long and Netflix has become my only friend.  Oh well.  Good times.