Sunday, April 24, 2016

Silver in April

Ack, look how fast he's growing.  19 pounds this morning. 19!!!  He almost doesn't look like a puppy anymore, but has graduated to "young dog."

I've been taking him to "puppy play time," which Petco offers free several times a week to let puppies socialize with other puppies in a safe environment, with a trainer to help correct behavior and keep an eye on everything.  He loves it, and it's always interesting how if there's another Husky pup there, the two will gravitate right to each other.  My sister came with me to the last session, and she said Silver was both the handsomest puppy there, and the most regal.  He stands very proudly, in that classic show-dog stance.  I thought those dogs had to be taught that, but maybe some stand that way naturally?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966)

I was in the mood for some wackiness this past weekend, and that's exactly what this movie is:  wacky.  It's a light-hearted, quite zany WWII movie, with a cast I love:  James Coburn, Aldo Ray, Sergio Fantoni, and Dick Shawn.

The plot concerns an uptight by-the-book Captain Cash (Dick Shawn), ordered to take the remains of an exhausted company and capture the village of Valerno.  (This is set in 1943, in Sicily.)  The Italian soldiers there, under the command of Captain Oppo (Sergio Fantoni) are more than willing to surrender -- as long as they're allowed to have a festival that night first.  Naturally, Cash strenuously objects to this, but the offer of a peaceful surrender wins him over.  A gigantic village-wide wild party ensues that night.  The Italians get ready to surrender in the morning as promised, but things start going awry.  Things really go wrong with the Germans show up unexpectedly and capture the entire town.  Then the Italians and Americans have to work together before they're all executed at dawn.  This being a comedy, there's no doubt of the outcome, but it's how they beat the Germans that's so funny.

This movie isn't perfect.  The humor style isn't going to work for everyone.  And the festival drags and drags (though it's not without its moments).  On re-watches, I admit, I tend to skip right over that part. The section right after it, with everyone hung over and trying to deal with the aftermath and Major Pott and creating a fake battle is probably my favorite section, but I also love the whole end once the Germans occupy the town.  I mean you get Dick Shawn in drag, as just about the ugliest woman imaginable.  Makes me laugh and laugh.

James Coburn and Aldo Ray are, of course, my favorite parts of this movies.  They play Lt. Christian and Sgt. Rizzo, respectively.  They are hilarious without being outright silly, like some of the rest of the movie.  Aldo Ray gets to speak a bunch of Italian, which is awesome.  He spends a good portion of the movie in an Italian uniform that is too small for him (it'll stretch!), and that alone cracks me up.  I'm also extremely fond of Sergio Fantoni, who I know mostly as Captain Oriani from Von Ryan's Express.  He was one of my favorite characters in that movie, and I love him here too.  He's the perfect relaxed foil for uptight Captain Cash.

I spend a lot of this movie imagining some of this company hooking up in a couple years with Lt. Hanley and Sgt. Saunders in France.  Particularly as William Bryant is in this movie, as well as Kurt Kruger, and Horst Ebersberg, and Jay Novello.  It's hard not to think Combat! while watching this, as there's so many common denominators.

It also has an absolutely fabulous catchy main theme by Henry Mancini that I never tire of hearing:

Favorite parts:

The main title music
Lt. Christian translating Oppo's gesture.
The entire village brawl
The fake battle, particularly where Oppo shoots Christian and he refuses to fall down.
Capt. Cash in drag
Aldo Ray kidnapping Major Pott
When Major Pott flips his wig and starts spouting the most odd things

Friday, April 08, 2016

Sprinkler fun


Looks like Silver is far more interested in water than my previous Husky, who really never wanted to see water, ever.  This video was a couple days ago when it soared up over 90 degrees here.  The following day, it dropped to the 60's and was raining.  He was out playing in the rain, running back and forth repeatedly beneath the drips coming off the garage roof.  Think I'll pick him up a little wading pool for summer.

So far, he's been gaining about two pounds a week.  Yikes!  Growing fast.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Silver update

Silver is fascinated by the television.  I watched Randolph Scott Westerns all weekend, and Silver watched them with me. (Extra points for guessing which movie we're watching in this pic!)

My Rosie cat loves Silver and will rub on him and clean his head.  He's slowly learning to be gentle, as who can not be nice to a mama cat giving you love?  He's now licking her back, though he still wants to play, of course.  Puppy.  Also, when I brought him home, he was smaller than the cats.  He's now bigger.

Friday, March 25, 2016

100 Favorite Movies

Okay, so here's the list of my 100 favorite movies as of March 2016.  This list is grouped in five sections, with the top section being the can't-live-without-them movies, and the favorites-but-I-don't-need-to-watch-constantly at the bottom.  The movies are alphabetically listed within each section, cuz trying to rank them any other way was impossible.

1. 13th Warrior, The (1999)
2. 20,000 Leagues under the Sea (1954)
3. Aliens (1986)
4. Avatar (2009
5. Avengers, The (2012)
6. Battle of the Five Armies, The (2014)
7. Big Jake (1971)
8. Dirty Dozen, The (1967)
9. Empire Strikes Back, The (1980)
10. Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001)
11. Flight of the Phoenix, The (1965)
12. Force Awakens, The (2015)
13. Full Monty, The (1997)
14. Galaxy Quest (1999)
15. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
16. Hunt for Red October, The (1990)
17. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
18. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
19. Lone Ranger, The (2013)
20. Lonely are the Brave (1962)
21. Mask of Zorro, The (1998)
22. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
23. Untouchables, The (1987)
24. Wild Bunch, The (1969)
25. Wind and The Lion, The (1975)

26. 3:10 to Yuma (1957)
27. Adventures of Tin-Tin, The (2011)
28. Ben-Hur (1959)
29. Big Hero 6 (2014)
30. Casino Royale (2006)
31. Cat Ballou (1965)
32. Cowboys and Aliens (2011)
33. Crossed Swords (1977)
34. Dead Again (1991)
35. Desolation of Smaug, The (2013)
36. Diamonds are Forever (1971)
37. Die Hard (1988)
38. Epic (2013)
39. Fifth Element, The (1997)
40. For Greater Glory (2012)
41. Great Escape, The (1963)
42. It's a Mad Mad  Mad Mad World (1963)
43. Man from UNCLE, The (2015)
44. Postman (1997)
45. Rango (2011)
46. Shadow, The (1994)
47. Skyfall (2012)
48. Sons of Katie Elder, The (1965)
49. South Pacific (1958)
50. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

51. Dances with Wolves (1990)
52. Frisco Kid, The (1979)
53. Hercules (2014)
54. Horse Soldiers, The (1959)
55. Hour of the Gun (1967)
56. Island at the Top of the World (1974)
57. Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
58. LA Confidential (1997)
59. Open Range (2003)
60. Our Man Flint (1966)
61. Paint Your Wagon (1969)
62. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
63. Thunderball (1965)
64. Time After Time (1979)
65. Wyatt Earp (1994)

66. Alamo, The (1960)
67. Alvarez Kelly (1966)
68. Black Rain (1989)
69. Brassed Off (1996)
70. Dragonslayer (1981)
71. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
72. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
73. Jungle Book (1994)
74. Jurassic Park (1993)
75. Ladyhawke (1985)
76. Lockout (2012)
77. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
78. Return of the Jedi (1983)
79. Revenge of the Sith (2005)
80. Ride Lonesome (1959)
81. Road to Bali, The (1952)
82. Road to Rio, The (1947)
83. Rocketeer, The (1991)
84. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
85. Seven Percent Solution, The (1976)
86. Silverado (1985)
87. Star Wars (1977)
88. Vikings, The (1958)
89. Von Ryan's Express (1965)
90. Where Eagles Dare (1968)

91. Evita (1996)
92. Expendables 3 (2014)
93. Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)
94. San Francisco (1936)
95. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
96. Sunshine (2007)
97. Terminator (1984)
98. Time Machine (1960)
99. Titanic (1997)
100. Without a Clue (1988)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

100 Favorite Movies - breakdown

So, after Hamlette posted her list (s) and breakdown of her 100 favorite movies, I thought I'd copycat.  Between work and puppy there's not time for much else right now.

I had created a 100 favorite movie list in 2014.  So, I sat down last week and, without looking at the old list, wrote down a new one.  Then I compared the two.  70 movies were the same on both lists, so obviously, those went on the new 2016 list.  Then I had basically 60 other movie choices from both lists to review and see which ones would make the final list for this year.  It wasn't easy, because every one of these films is in the I Love This Movie category.  I love the 30 I left off the list as much as the 30 that made it on the list.  The only difference is mood.  If I wasn't in the mood to watch the movie Right This Second, I left it off.  Probably not the best way to do it, but I needed some extra criteria to fall back on, and that was easiest.  I've read through my list multiple times, and at the moment, it stands.

I'm going to post the breakdowns first, then post the list of movies tomorrow.

Actors with the most movies on my list:

10 - Harrison Ford
6 - Kevin Costner
4 - Andy Garcia
4 - Daniel Craig
4 - James Coburn
4 - John Wayne
4 - Orlando Bloom
3 - Antonio Banderas
3 - Johnny Depp
3 - Kirk Douglas
3 - Lee Marvin
3 - Sam Neill
3 - Sean Connery
3 - William Holden

No surprise that Harrison Ford tops the list.  Between the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies alone, he'd make top spot, but he's also made other movies I love.  Also no shock that Kevin Costner is so high up either, because I love Costner, and he has a particularly good set of movies he's made.  I was a wee bit surprised to see James Coburn up there.  But that surprise only lasted about 30 seconds, because he's also one of my favorite actors, though he tends to get taken for granted like all the actors who have been part of my movie-going experience since day one, and he's been in some great movies.  He actually had 5 movies here for awhile, but I sadly had to drop one off.

23 Action
8 Comedy
15 Drama
10 Fantasy
5 Musical
15 SciFi
4 War
20 Western

This breakdown seems right on par with what I like.  Deciding on a genre is a bit arbitrary, particularly as fantasy, SciFi, War, and Western are really all action films. (I did not put animated movies in an "animated" category, by the way, but ranked them in a genre as if they were a live action movie.)

Movies by Decade
2 from the 1930s
1 from the 1940s
12 from the 1950s
18 from the 1960s
9 from the 1970s
15 from the 1980s
18 from the 1990s
7 from the 2000s
18 from the 2010s

This is probably the most surprising breakdown, because there are sooooooo many movies from the '40s that I love... but they're just not on my current radar, so I had to drop them off the list for now.  Yes, my favorites are fickle  It's all dependent on my mood!  I'm also a bit surprised how many films I have from just the last 5 years.  Wow.  And I know the 2000s were the doldrums, but so interesting to see how that reflects in favorite movies.

And since Hamlette had the movie MPAA ratings, here's how that rolls out:

23 NR (not rated)
6 G
28 PG
28 PG-13
15 R

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I thought I'd call him Silver

This is Silver, my new Husky pup.  His fur is dark, but tipped with silver.  He glows in the sunlight, it's so cool.  He's seven weeks old and has already won my heart.  He's quiet, calm, affectionate, playful, and wants to be wherever I am.  Preferably on me, as you can tell from the above picture.  He thinks he's a lap dog.  The cats are like oh, one of these creatures again.  LOL.

So, in addition to movie reviews, there are now liable to be regular puppy reports.  Hope no one minds!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Grady (2006-2016)

(a picture from happier times)

I held him on my shoulders one last time tonight as I said goodbye and he purred in my ear.  I miss him so much, and my house feels utterly empty, but it was time.  Be at peace, my dear, dear Grady.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Of cats and journals

I used to write much more frequently about my life on this journal, and not just post a movie review now and again.  This blog started out as a writing blog, I have no real idea when, because I have twice deleted every single post I had here and started over, but I used to write a lot about things happening in my life.  Somewhere along the way, I stopped opening up, and I'm sorry for that.  I'm much more personable than I'm sure I come across, but I have trust issues.

But I used to write posts like this one.  I'm glad I wrote that one, because I can't remember dates to save my life.  I rarely remember when birthdays are, even birthdays of people I care about (and my best intentions at writing things like that down are usually a failure).  And that post tells me Grady entered my life on Aug 4th of 2006, and I wouldn't have known that otherwise.

It's now March 2016, and Grady is dying.  His kidneys are failing, something I'm familiar with in cats, as I lost my beloved Sidney to kidney failure as well.  Sidney was quick and unexpected.  I still have some time left with Grady.  Not that long I suspect, but he's still doing well enough that I can spend long hours holding him on my lap or shoulders or sitting outside in the sun with him, when he's not still prowling around the backyard searching for lizards.  He's on my lap right now as I write this, needing to be close as much as I need him close.

There's only been a few years of my life where I haven't had cats (the college years, cuz dorms don't allow cats, of course.)  I got my first cat when I was eight months old.  Moxie was eight weeks old.  We grew up together, and she slept with me every night (except for when my sister and I got hamsters and the cage was in my room, and Moxie gave me the cold shoulder and flat out ignored me for two weeks, which completely devastated me) until I lost her to cancer when she and I were 13.  She wasn't our only cat.  We've always had at least two others at any given time, but Moxie had claimed me the day she came home with us, and we were inseparable at night, and she will always have that special place of "first."

There have been many cats since, because life without being surrounded by cats isn't worth living.  I've got a carved stone on my wall that says "This house owned and operated solely for the comfort and convenience of the cats."  Couldn't be more true.  If I run out of food, I just go hungry.  If I run out of cat food, I'm on my way to the store immediately.

I have three others right now too, all girls, all rescues:  Rosie and Elanor (mom and daughter), and Madera.  They're all lovely, but there's always an undeniable favorite, and since I lost Kit, that's been Grady.  Grady's special.  I will enjoy every minute of these last weeks or days together with him.

A couple weeks ago, I also lost a good friend unexpectedly.  The memorial was this past weekend.  It was a good memorial, celebrating her life, but she was a musician, and the flute choir she participated in played a few selections.  Which one did they end on?  The theme from Legends of the Fall.  By James Horner. Which undid me instantly, in a way the speeches and photos couldn't.  Still hard to believe she's gone.

I'm watching movies (mostly Oscar Isaac movies right now), but if the choice is writing up a review, or curling up on the couch with my cat... Grady wins.  So, I'm around, but my heart's not in posting much at the moment.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Happy Tag

From Hamlette... Things in various categories that make me happy.

The Secret Ways by Alistair MacLean
Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle
Anything by H.G. Wells
Han Solo and the Lost Legacy by Brian Daley
The Plastic Abyss by Kate Wilhelm
Four Ways to Forgiveness by Ursula K. LeGuin

taci (Italian for shut up or be quiet)
parapluie (French for umbrella)

The Force Awakens (2015)
The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
The 13th Warrior (1999)
For Greater Glory (2012)
The Lone Ranger (2013)
The Dirty Dozen (1967)

Ponderosa Pines (their bark smells like vanilla, only better)
The Sierra Mountains
fresh rain on concrete/asphalt
laundry drying
fresh cut grass
homemade bread baking

"Run for It" from Lonely are the Brave by Jerry Goldsmith
"Cristeros" from For Greater Glory by James Horner
"The Resistance" from The Force Awakens by John Williams
"Wild Boys" Duran Duran
"Nume custode e vindice" from Aida by Giuseppe Verdi
"Eri tu che macchiavi quell'anima" from Un Ballo in Maschera by Giuseppe Verdi
"The 1960's; The Turbulent Years" from Nixon by John Williams

Cats - cats curled up next to me at night, riding on my shoulders, greeting me at the door when I come home, bugging me to feed them, sprawled on my lap, purring, the way they come running on the double when called.  Cats cats cats.
hot black tea
Duran Duran
driving stick shift
The Star Wars universe