Tag Archives: movies

Fabulous Fridays: #52lists Project

This week’s list: List your favorite characters from books, movies, television, etc…

  • Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind
  • Rose DuWitt Bukater from Titanic
  • Darcy Rhone of Something Borrowed/Something Blue
  • Margaret Simon from Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
  • Farley Drexel Hatcher (aka “Fudge”) from Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge, Fudge-a-mania, and Double Fudge.
  • Jo Polniaczek from The Facts of Life
  • Blair Warner from The Facts of Life
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder (Specifically Melissa Gilbert’s version) from Little House on the Prairie.

Take Action: Find a common personality trait between all of your favorite characters. What is one character trait you admire?

I’d never really thought about it before until now because they sort of seem like a diverse group in my head. Still, when it comes right down to it all of them (except for maybe Fudge) are more than what they appear to be. At first glance, they seem stereotypical, but when you really get to know the characters, they are a lot deeper, stronger, and opinionated when you first meet them. They may be debutantes, superficial or classic tomboys, but there is always more to them than meets the eye and there is a part of me that has something in common with each one of them.

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Buy It, Borrow It, or Bag It: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone_Girl_(Flynn_novel)OK, I never claimed to be speedy at reading hot best-selling novels that are eventually made into movies during which Ben Affleck shows us his “full monty.” However, at the suggestion of my good friend and fellow author Sherri Wood Emmons, I finally got around to picking this one up…

While I assume that most of my BBB readers have read this book or seen the movie at this point, I don’t want to give any spoilers just in case. This book has a “Sixth Sense” quality to it. Remember that movie? If you were lucky enough to see it without anyone telling you everything about it, you were pleasantly surprised by the twist at the end. This book is is very similar. You spend a significant amount of the test coming up with your personal theories about the overarching mystery without every considering a more disturbing possibility than you ever thought imaginable. What begins as a seemingly open and shut thriller case, suddenly takes a strange turn into a complex character that is either brilliant or completely psychotic…and it’s a little hard to tell which.

I have never read Flynn’s work before and I don’t know that I will again. I have learned (the hard way) that sometimes when a writer comes up with something incredibly profound, it’s hard to live up to that same expectation every time. Still, kudos to her on this one. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to, but since enough time has passed, feel free to borrow it instead of buy it. It should be easily available at the library at this point…but do read it. Then check out the movie which I am pleased to say follows the storyline very well. Be prepared to finish feeling a little perplexed by the ending and let me know what you thought of it. I’m still trying to figure out what happened to the characters after the chapters ended.

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Fabulous Fridays: Favorite Christmas Specials

Is there anything better than a Christmas movie, cartoon, concert or special? I don’t think so and no matter how old I get, I will always tune in to see some of my favorites. Although watching a lot of them can leave you with a bit of holiday overload, it is the most wonderful time of the year so why not indulge? Here are a few of my favorites, listed from 10 to 1…what are some of yours?

CB    10. I want a dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown: While I love the original Peanuts holiday special, I can’t help enjoying Lucy and Linus’ little brother Rerun who is so desperate for a dog that he takes in Snoopy’s anorexic brother Spike for a while. Rerun is in Kindergarten, yet he talks like a 45-year-old investment broker and I always laugh out loud when he informs Linus that although he’s younger, he doesn’t suck his thumb or cling to a blanket for security. Without missing a beat Linus deadpans, “Hooray for you.” Classic stuff right there.

Mom for Christmas   9. A Mom For Christmas: Ahhhh the late ’80s and early ’90s. What’s not to love about Olivia Newton John playing a store mannequin who comes to life so that a young girl (who lost her own mother at the age of three) can have the experience of having a mother/daughter relationship for the holiday season. Of course you can practically see the end before the opening credits are finished, but you will still be on the edge of your seat trying to figure out how they will work out the obvious plot resolution.

 

Kranks     8. Christmas With the Kranks: Everyone has their cult classic favorite and in my household it’s Christmas with the Kranks. We have nearly all of the dialogue memorized and we have been known to haul out that movie regardless of the season. My youngest son can often be overheard muttering, “Do you know what I find odd? When an Irish pub serves fish tacos. I don’t get that and I have a little heartburn and I don’t think I’m going to do that again.”

 

7. Benji’s ChristBenjimas: This show was on Showtime back when cable was a novelty and I fell in love with this short but charming story in which the lovable mutt Benji ends up taking a field trip to Santa’s workshop. it is definitely a product of its time, but I remember watching it every time it was on to the point that my mother was so sick of it she threatened to ground me if she caught me watching it. LOL

 

 

santa    6. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town: In the same vein as Rudolph with the stop motion action, this cartoon is hard not to love. Who wouldn’t want to know the backstory of the jolly old elf himself? It was only recently that I realized that the late Mickey Rooney did the voice of Kris Kringle and since I am a fan of a lot of his movies, that was pretty exciting to know! If you have somehow missed this one, you really need to check it out!

White Christmas     5. White Christmas: This is another movie that (aside from the title) doesn’t beat you over the head with the holiday. There are really only two references to Christmas in the movie and what you get in between is a treat of song and dance numbers including “Sisters,” “Counting My Blessings,” and my personal favorite, “Choreography.” When I was a kid, I always wanted one of those long red velvet dresses that the main women wore but obviously, I never got one! LOL

 

It's_A_Wonderful_Life    4. It’s a Wonderful Life: I debated about putting this movie on the list because technically, it’s not a Christmas movie…it’s only associated with the holiday because that’s when we get to see it. It’s plot connection to Christmas is nominal at best. However, Frank Capra’s classic sends a powerful message about how every person matters and even the smallest gesture has an impact on the world. It took me over 20 years to see that movie all the way through (I kept falling asleep) but hands down, one of the best movies ever made!

 

Ebony     3. A Diva’s Christmas Carol: Everything about Vanessa Williams playing “Ebony” Scrooge sounds wrong…until you realize that it is a modern retelling that actually works. Once upon a time, Ebony was part of a hot girl group but when one of her hard-partying band members (Marley) died in a car crash, she becomes a selfish solo act with no regard for anyone or anything other than the almighty dollar. Her long suffering assistant (and former lover) Bob Cratchet has his own set of problems which include a young son plagued by a mysterious illness. The ghosts make their appearances and Ebony of course has a change of heart, so while the plot line is familiar, this song does not remain the same!

miracle-on-34th-st     2. Miracle on 34th Street: “Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to” is at the heart of this story about a Macy’s “float fill-in” who turns out to be the real St. Nick. Starring the elegant Maureen O’Hara and a young Natalie Wood, I first saw this movie when I was 12 and it quickly went to the top of my all-time favorites list.

 

Rudolph    1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: At 50 years old, this misfit still hits the right note! I have watched Rudolph every year of my life, save for one when something went wrong and I missed the first 20 minutes of it. Needless to say, I didn’t let my mother live it down. I was always fascinated with the stop-action Rankin and Bass cartoons and there is just something so nostalgic about this one that never goes out of style.

 

That’s it for me…let me know your favorites in the comments and I will be back next week! Until then, keep rockin’!

J-

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Fabulous Fridays: My favorite cult movies

Everyone has a movie that they are inexplicably connected to…and most likely you are not alone. Cult films are a unique breed of cinematic achievement in which the actual movie is less-than-Oscar-worthy, but over time the fans create a following that over time, dubs the movie a “classic.” So…in honor of all of the cult classics out there, I present my favorites:

RHPS      Obvious Honorable Mention:  The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This is the movie that started it all. Were there any cult movies BEFORE this one? While I believe RHPS deserves a place on anyone’s list, if I am truly honest, the be-all and end-all of cult movies leaves me a little cold. I like the concept, but I’m not a horror movie person. I never subscribed to the British fascination with men in drag and aside from the “Time Warp” and “Hot Patootie/Bless My Soul” I can do without it.

 

Newsies-Poster    Number 5. Newsies. I remember going to see this at the theater during its original run when I was younger and being unimpressed. The film features a very pre-Batman Christian Bale and Ann Margaret and I thought it had a bit of an Annie-esque quality. I hadn’t realized that the show gained a cult following, until I heard that someone brought it to Broadway, but I would love to go to a midnight show and see the audience singing to “I’m the King of New York.”

 

The Wall     Number 4. The Wall. Pink Floyd’s grand concept film played every weekend at the Eastgate General Cinema theater for I don’t know how long. I was never permitted to be out so late at night so I did not get to experience it in the theater setting. I was suck with MTV’s eventual commercial-filled presentation and a VHS tape.

 

Led Zeppelin - The Song Remains The Same DVD (1976)    Number 3: The Song Remains the Same. Led Zeppelin’s epic concert film from the Houses of the Holy tour was a must see on my teenage itinerary. I’m too young to remember this ever being shown in the late-night runs, but I have been told that it was. My first experience with it was during MTV’s Led Zeppelin weekend in the fall of 1985. I fell in love with the band, the music and everything even though I would learn in time that there was better footage of the band in existence. I love the inclusion of the fantasy sequences highlighting the band’s “inner personalities.”

 

Christmas with the Kranks     Number 2: Christmas with the Kranks. Now, I admit-most people would not consider this a “cult” movie…but if you were around my house from Thanksgiving to Christmas, you would realize that this particular film has achieved that status for no other reason than we seem to watch it every day, we can quote the dialogue and we seem incapable of turning it off if we happen by it on TV. Though it may only have a following of a select few at the moment…it’s only a matter of time before the Kranks hit it big!

 

jesus-christ-superstar-1974-film-soundtrack       Number 1. Jesus Christ Superstar. What’s the buzz about this movie? Well aside from being the Greatest Story Ever Told, JCS rocks! Like many of the others on my list, it only found its following in the late night show, but I am fairly convinced that the main character is OK with getting his audience wherever he can. (Isn’t that the whole point of the show anyway?) I loved the 1970’s movie, have seen Ted Neely and Carl Anderson reprise their iconic roles on stage and I own a number of updated versions of the show as well. The O2 performance from 2012 is very impressive…but I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the original flick. “Everything’s all right…yes, everything’s all right…”

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Behind the Scenes of Fifteen Minutes of Fame Pt. 4

   People are always surprised to hear that I can’t write to music. I guess they figure that as a musician, it would only be natural for me to surround myself with tunes but in actuality-its distracting. I get too into what I am listening to and the next thing you know I am up singing and dancing and then I can’t get anything done. ha ha. Occasionally I can listen to classical or instrumental because that is more of a “soundscape” but that’s about it. 

     However, when I was writing FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME, there were a number of songs that inspired the plot line, set the rhythm and tempo as I wrote certain scenes or that were going through my head as I wrote MonAmi’s lyrics. I’ve never told anyone what some of these songs were, but I thought it might be fun for readers to learn the lyrical backstory of FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME. this is hardly an inclusive list…but it will give you all a little more insight into what was going on in my head at the time: 

cher     “Perfection” by Cher: It seems that I heard this song about the same time that the idea for FMoF came into my head. I liked the desperation that this song evokes and that no matter what you do, no matter how big you get, it will never be enough. Favorite lyric: “Worked so hard…made a name…but the loneliness inside stays the same…”

 

nickelback_point     “Rockstar” by Nickelback: I originally wanted a snipped of the lyrics inside FMoF and I still need to do some research on the legalities of that, but the refrain of this song pretty much sums up how Megan feels about becoming an entertainer and just how far she would go to get there. Favorite lyric: “I’m gonna change this life for fortune and fame, I’d even cut my hair and change my name…” 

Ozzy-Osbourne-ozzy-osbourne-1204855_1024_768     “Shot in the Dark” by Ozzy Osbourne: This choice probably makes no sense to anyone who isn’t me, but the pacing of this tune was the driving force of a certain scene and I literally found myself listening to it in order to mark out certain actions. Favorite lyric: “But just like the wounded, and when it’s too late…they’ll remember, they’ll surrender…Never a care for the people who hate, underestimate me now…”

 

Meat loaf     “Not a Dry Eye in the House” Meat Loaf: Meat’s songs provide the perfect fodder for writing material because they all sound like musical numbers. Unlike a traditional ballad, most of his tunes always seem like they are trying to propel a story along. While I am sure there were several of his that helped me out along the way. This one stands out. Favorite lyric: “It was almost like a movie, those nights we touched the stars, time stood still for you now it’s sad enough to make you cry.” 

Celine     “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion: Ah, the mighty Jim Steinman! I can spot one of his opuses at 40 paces because they are longer than long and seem to repeat choruses more than necessary. Meat Loaf eventually covered this one as well, but I like Celine’s version better. However I must confess, both videos inspired a scene in the book. Favorite lyric: “When you see me like this…when I see you like that…we see just what we want to see…it’s all coming back to me…”

“I Drove All Night” by Celine Dion. OK, for the record, it’s not her voice that gets Celine Dion a double shot on this list…it is truly the lyrics, which in this case were written by Cyndi Lauper. This is an awesome road song and something to get the inspiration going when you need to get through a scene. Favorite Lyric: “I think about you when the night is cold and dark….nobody moves me the way that you do…nothing erases this feeling between me and you…”

Rocky 4      “There’s No Easy Way Out” by Survivor: I watched a lot of montage scenes to create Megan’s transformation into MonAmi because they are always backed up by a clever little song that somehow encapsulates the feelings and emotions of the main character. Rocky montages are some of the best in terms of pacing. Favorite lyric: “Some things are worth fighting for…some feelings never die…I’m not asking for another chance…I just want to know why?” 

 GOLDENEARING12     “Radar Love” by Golden Earring: This is my stamina song. If I need a burst of energy, this is the song I turn to in order to get me through. It’s long enough to help you think and has a driving beat that makes you want to keep going. It’s almost impossible to pick a favorite lyric on this one, but if I had to…I would have to say, “When she gets lonely and the longing is to much…she sends a cable coming in from above…we don’t need a phone at all.” 

Bon Jovi - Livin' On A Prayer 1     “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi: It’s no secret that JBJ somewhat inspired the character of MonAmi. I wanted to base her on someone I admire rather than a train wreck, but I also wanted her to go through the hell of the music industry and somehow come through it even when there were people who wondered if she could/would. Bon Jovi as a band had similar problems in their career. When you get to be so big, your career can be like a machine that gets on top of you and nearly crushes you. Favorite lyric: “We gotta hold on, ready or not…you live for the fight when that’s all that you’ve got.” 

 

 

 

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