Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Year in Review

I know this blog has become mostly inactive these last couple years.  A lot of that is because my time at home is limited compared to what it used to be, and in prioritizing what I need to do, this blog just hasn't been one of them.  At the same time, I also have not been watching nearly as many classic movies as I used to, so I feel there is little to write about over here.

However, I AM now active on my writing blog, which you can find at cimharas.com.  Originally, this blog was designed for my writing, but it transitioned into movie talk, and I ended up separating the two.  I write fantasy and science fiction, and I will begin publishing my novels this year.  If you're interested in finding out more, sign up for my monthly newsletter at cimharas.com.  

As 2022 comes to a close, I looked back over what I had seen this year.  I saw five movies in the theater, all big box-office type draws:  Spider-Man: No Way Home, Fantastic Beasts 3, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Top Gun: Maverick, and Avatar2Top Gun: Maverick was the most fun of all of those.  The second Doctor Strange movie was my least favorite, and I hate that I have to say that, as the movie involved some of my favorite characters. 

I watched well over 100 movies on streaming or DVD or blu-ray this past year.  The highlight movie there was Free Guy.  I mean, when I discovered it, I watched it six straight nights in a row.  Yeah.  Just a wee bit of love there.  Then I introduced it to family, who fell just as in love (I think they've since watched it more this past year than I have!) Definitely my favorite movie of the year.


Other standouts of the new-to-me films I saw - The Outfit (2022), The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), and The Beautician and the Beast (1997).  Now, there are three different movies for you!  Mark Rylance was outstanding in The Outfit.

The real viewing joys for me this year have come from watching series.  From older shows, I caught up on all three seasons of Daredevil and really enjoyed it.  The fact that Daredevil was going to show up on She-Hulk is what made me watch that series, and it was wacky, light, and fun, particularly that last episode.  A nice change of pace from the more serious shows.  I learned after the fact that breaking the fourth wall is something she did a lot in the comics, which then made the series even more fun.  Ms. Marvel also was surprisingly good, and I enjoyed it as well.  Rings of Power appears to be catching a lot of hate, but I don't get it.  My mom and I watched the series as it came out, and we both loved it.  We loved the characters, the plot, the visuals, the music.  It really worked for us, and we can't wait for season 2 to see more.

As much as I enjoyed those, the stand-out series this past year for me were Moon Knight, Kenobi, and Andor.  All three pushed just the right buttons and, if forced to rank them, I'd put them as 1- Andor, 2- Moon Knight, 3-Kenobi, all three shows are so head and shoulders above everything else, that they're just about tied for best entertainment of the year for me.  I'd watch any one of them any day of the week (and have, LOL).  They beat out everything else (except Free Guy!) this year.  I'll try to write up reviews of all three soon.


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Legends of Western Cinema 2022 - Tag

 It's time for Hamlette, Olivia, and Heidi's "Legends of Western Cinema Week."  And it opens with a tag.  Here are my answers...

1) Favorite western focused on a lone hero?
Cowboys & Aliens - yes, Jake Lonergan ends up with a lot of help, but he starts alone, ends alone, and does things his way and usually without informing anyone what he's doing throughout.  Epitome of a loner.

2) Favorite western focused on a group of compadres?
The Professionals

3) Favorite western with a female main character?
Cat Ballou - "Cat Ballou.  Cat Ballooo-ooo-ou." A movie I grew up with that never gets old.

4) Favorite western with a POC main character?
Silverado - Danny Glover as Mal is one of my favorite parts of this Western, and I adore his father and sister as well.

5) Favorite western with kids in it?
Big Jake - all right, only one kid, but I love little Jake and I can't think of any other Western right now with multiple kids in it that I like.

6) Favorite western set somewhere other than the United States?
Quigley Down Under - kind of the easy answer on this one, but it is such a good movie, hard not to jump right to it when asked.

7) Favorite "western" that doesn't fit the genre's dictionary definition?
Outland (1981) - "High Noon" in space, with Sean Connery as the marshal.  Been a fave of mine for years.

8) Favorite funny western?
The Frisco Kid - And just in time, a new blu-ray was recently released of this.  Can't wait to watch it again!

9) Favorite tragic/sad western?
Lonely are the Brave

10) Favorite western TV show?
Have Gun: Will Travel - nothing beats Paladin and the trouble he solves/gets into.

Friday, February 25, 2022

We Love Detectives Blogathon: Starsky & Hutch - Favorite Episodes

Starsky and Hutch
ran for four seasons from 1975-1979.  I was introduced to the show and fell instantly in love sometime in the mid-90s. I had almost all the episodes taped on VHS and re-watched them a lot.  Paul Michael Glaser as David Starsky and David Soul as Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson just have that perfect chemistry that makes their partnership as police detectives sparkle. Watching them banter, look out for each other, argue, insult each other's cars, care for each other, pull pranks on Captain Dobey, work with the always cool and smooth Huggy Bear, and outsmart the bad guys just never gets old.  

Hutch is still my favorite of the two, but it's impossible not to adore Starsky too.  They're true partners, and if you remove one, it would wreck what makes the show so great.

Some episodes are definitely showing their age (beyond the 70's clothes, scenery, and music) with how some subject matter is handled, but the majority of them hold up quite well.  And for me, the location filming of late 70's Los Angeles and surrounds is pure comfort food for me.  That's when I was a kid growing up there, so seeing places I used to drive by, seeing the particular look of the buildings, cars, homes, etc. as I remember them from growing up, supplies all the nostalgia and warms my heart.  Those were good times.

I recently re-watched the entire series, and as I did, I confirmed my favorite episodes.  Interestingly, all of these are my favorites from when I originally watched the show.  The order of ranking may have changed, but the episodes that first made an impression are me are still the ones to which I gravitate.

So, without further ado:

10. "Satan's Witches"

Starsky and Hutch head up to the mountains for a vacation, only to find the locals in a downright unfriendly mood.  This turns out to be because there's a nasty cult who has taken up residence in the woods and they're holding the local sheriff's daughter hostage.

So, this episode makes the list because of the first half.  The second half is... okay, and obviously necessary to deal with the actual plot stuff, but the first half is pure gold.  It's focus is the vacationing detectives.  You see, Hutch is comfortable in the outdoors and can't wait for this vacation; Starsky's a city boy out of his element and freaking out over literally everything... their dialogue and antics are an absolute riot.  If the entire episode had been nothing but this, it'd be my number one favorite.

9. "Fatal Charm"

AKA Starsky and Hutch meets Fatal Attraction.  Hutch has a one-night stand with a nurse, but things go south in a big hurry when she becomes ultra-obsessed with him... to the point of her trying to murder him when he rejects her. 

As if Psycho wasn't enough to discourage anyone from taking a shower... this episode adds to that.  Still, if you're going to have a dangerous stalker episode, this one is well-done, and the ending is tense. 

8. "The Fix"

Hutch's current girlfriend "belongs" to a mobster, and when he wants her back, he kidnaps Hutch.  When beating Hutch up fails to get him to talk, the bad guy (Robert Loggia) strings him out on heroin to get him to spill where she is hiding.  Starsky has to find and then get his partner off the drugs, while also catching the bad guys.  

Rough stuff, really, but watching Starsky and Huggy Bear help Hutch is always satisfying, 

7. "A Body Worth Guarding"

Starsky and Hutch are assigned bodyguard duty for a Russian ballerina targeted for assassination.  Hutch falls for her.

Okay, I admit.  I mostly love this episode for Hutch's singing, though the rest isn't bad.  When Hutch and Anna start to discover they have more in common than they think, and they arm wrestle is quite amusing too.  As is her calling Starsky "Starevsky."  Hutch's song used to be on youtube, but alas, that's long gone.  Now, I can only find the whole episode, though if this let me share it correctly, this video should cue up to his song.

6. "Shootout"

Starsky and Hutch head to a restaurant to grab dinner, only to find themselves in the middle of a hit on a mob boss.

Starsky gets shot!  Hutch has to out think the bad guys while in the middle of being held hostage.   Well done, tense, but with time to get to know a little bit about the other hostages.  Love it! Albert Paulsen is one of the hitmen, and I always enjoy seeing actors from Combat! pop up in this show.

5. "Survival"

To prevent Hutch from testifying, the bad guy has him run off the road in the hills, leaving Starsky to find his partner before the car crash or the bad guys do him in. 

I have a thing for people trapped with time running out.  Throw in a WWII veteran who thinks the war is still going on and a smart kid who's a ham radio operator, the bad guy realizing he failed to kill Hutch in the crash and heading out to finish the job, and there's an awful lot going on in the episode.  I'm always amused when Michael Jackson (the talk show host, not the pop singer) is playing on Hutch's car radio.  His voice is so familiar from the past when my dad used to listen to him.

4. "The Psychic"

When a girl is kidnapped and held for ransom, and the traditional police methods end up failing, Starsky and Hutch convince a psychic to help them.

I love this one most for the "mad dash" scene, where Hutch has to sprint from payphone to payphone downtown at the whim of a psychotic kidnapper, but it's a solid episode.  The bad guys play for keeps, and the last half with time running out for the kidnapped girl is very tense.

3. "Gillian"

Hutch falls for Gillian, not knowing she's really working as a prostitute.  When she attempts to leave that life to start a new one with Hutch, the gangsters she works for refuse to let that happen.

Mike Kellin (another Combat! alum) and Sylvia Sidney (!) as his mother (!) are the bad guys in this, and I love that.  Doodles Weaver also has a small part, and it's a delight to see someone whose voice I grew up with (from all those Spike Jones records).  This is no spoiler, because everyone knows love stories on old episodic televisions series never end with a happily ever after.  It's just a given.  You couldn't tie your main character down back then.  This show is no exception, but it handles it really really well, and the fact that it's a relationship I really want to work out just makes the episode even better.  Starsky trying to protect Hutch is always a bonus.

2. "Vendetta"

Starsky and Hutch investigate some brutal beatings and murders, which leads to the bad guy responsible targeting Hutch and everything he loves.

Oh, how I love this episode.  A quite dark one, with twisted characters and unexpected violent moments.  The main bad guy, Arty Solkin (played by Stefan Gierasch), is an unlikely adversary on the surface, so full of weird quirks.  He's half-pathetic, half-threatening.  The actor does an absolutely fabulous job of bringing him to life and making Solkin feel real and original, more so than many characters throughout the show.  The unexpected moments shocked the heck out of me when I first saw this episode, one in particular.  

1. "Tap Dancing Her Way Right Back into Your Hearts"

Starsky and Hutch go undercover at a dance studio to stop a blackmail ring.

Perhaps an unlikely choice for number one, but it's the one I've watched more than any other.   I adore this episode.  I even used to have it on audio tape (taped off the video, LOL) and I used to listen to it in my car while driving.  I never did that with any other episodes from this show.  

It's got a lot of humor, which always appeals to me.  Starsky and Hutch undercover as a Latin dance instructor (Starsky) and a wealthy rancher taking dance lessons (Hutch) never ceases to amuse me.  The dialogue, the part when they foil a robbery at a grocery store while dressed in their undercover outfits, "no one can dip like Ramone," Hutch is ridiculously attractive in his Texas cattle rancher outfit, particularly the morning after, ahem.  Where "Vendetta" is super tense, this one is lighter and full of delightful silliness.  This episode simply makes me happy all the way around.

Other eps super close to making the top ten... "A Coffin for Starsky," "Murder at Sea," "Bloodbath," "The Game.," "Murder Ward," and "Deckwatch," 

This has been my entry to Hamlette's We Love Detectives Week blogathon

And now, we'll end on a video with funny clips from the show involving food.  Lots of the show's humor on display here... :-D


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

We Love Detectives Blogathon: Tag Answers

It's time for  Hamlette's "We Love Detective Week" over at Hamlette's Soliloquy.  We're kicking off the posts with some answers to her tag questions.


What's your favorite mystery with...

 1. ...a historical setting?
Enola Holmes (2020).  Enola Holmes surprised me by being super fun but also having heart.  I didn't expect to like Enola herself so much, but she is awesome, and I'd watch a sequel in a heartbeat.  Her story involves running away from home and her famous brothers to locate her missing mother in London.  Along the way, she solves the mystery of who is trying to kill a young nobleman.  If they ever decide to release this one on blu-ray instead of just leaving it on Netflix, I'd snap it up.  The costumes and scenery are lovely.

2. ...a modern setting?
Black Rain (1989) - Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia play NY detectives tasked with escorting a prisoner they caught back to Japan, only to lose him before they even exit the plane.  They team up with Japanese detective Ken Takakura to track down the prisoner and figure out what's going really going on.  Ridley Scott directs and it is a well-done, action-packed movie that mixes the mystery with the culture clash of America/Japan police procedures.

3. ...a lone detective?
Murder, My Sweet (1944) - this was kind of a hard one, as almost all the movies I could think of have more than one detective, or partners, or a detective backed up by the police or his department, etc.  Finding one with just one was harder than I expected.  So, going with this one, which I love.  Dick Powell is the lone detective in over his head. 

4. ...a pair of sleuths?
The Nice Guys (2016) - Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling investigate a murder which leads into a conspiracy/cover up.  This film is written and directed by Shane Black, so that means it's full of witty dialogue, moments of unexpected violence, plot twists, and that it definitely earns its R rating.  Like Black's Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (which would be my second choice for this question), it is also highly amusing and makes me laugh a lot, but then, I'm also a fan of Shane Black's writing.

5. ...a professional/police detective?
L.A. Confidential (1997) - There are so many films that could have fit this category, but I'm going with one of my favorites.  This movie is so well done.  Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey knock it out of the park.  I have a thing for stories where characters come at the same problem from different directions, which is what happens here.  And when enemies ultimately join forces to take down the bad guys... I find that super satisfying.  Throw in a Jerry Goldsmith score and I'm in.

6. ...an amateur detective?
Five Card Stud (1968) - A Western mystery, with Dean Martin turning detective to uncover who is murdering the participants of a poker game that turned fatal.  I quite enjoy this movie.  The cast is great - Dean Martin, Robert Mitchum, Yaphet Kotto, Roddy McDowell - and it is neat to have a murder mystery unfold in a Western setting.

7. ...a young sleuth?
The Adventures of TinTin (2011) - Tin-Tin is technically a journalist, but, as the entire movie is about solving a mystery and he does a better job at detective work than most, it's my answer for this question.  After Tin-Tin purchases a model of a ship called the Unicorn, he gets more than he bargained for, and he rapidly finds his life threatened as he begins digging into the mystery of the the ship's history and everything that goes with it.  Fast-paced, witty, and super-fun.  It may be computer-animated, but the visuals are first-rate, as are the cast of Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, and Daniel Craig. 

8. ...an aging detective?
Falling Down (1993) - Robert Duvall is the aging police sergeant about to retire who investigates a series of crimes, tying them all together and tracking down Michael Douglas's rampaging character.  Robert Duvall never turns in a bad performance, and he's perfect here.  I love his scenes with his wife, and how he perseveres and figures out what's going on.  Michal Douglas is fun as the unlikely antagonist who takes the frustration of a Los Angeles traffic jam and turns it into a full-on rampage against the system, thinking he's the the good guy for righting the clear wrongs he sees around him.

9. ...a cozy feel?

I'm not sure what this one means, so I'm going with a movie that makes me feel cozy.  And that is Topper Returns (1941)Rolland Young reprises his role as Topper, but this time Joan Blondell is the ghost trying to solve the mystery of her own murder and save her friend in a rather creepy mansion.  Topper with Cary Grant and Constance Bennett may be more famous, but Topper Returns was my family's favorite.  We used to watch this movie over and over when I was young.  I haven't seen it in years now, but we still quote it.  "May I suggest, sir, that you break the glass?"

10. ...a shocking reveal?
Kiss Me Deadly (1955) - A favorite very dark noir film of mine, and I absolutely love the reveal of what Ralph Meeker's detective character has been pursuing without knowing it the entire time.  And that ending!!  *cackles in glee* - so much unexpected stuff, so freaky, so cool, so unexpected the first time you see the movie.  Love it, in fact I'm way overdue for a re-watch of this one.

So, there you have it.  Pop over to Hamlette's page to find links to the other entries in this blogathon.  I'll be posting an entry about my favorite police detectives later this week.

Friday, February 11, 2022

The Prisoner of Zenda (1979)

 I've wanted to see this film a long time, mostly to see Stuart Wilson play Rupert of Hentzau.  I discovered the full movie lurking on youtube, so took the opportunity finally to watch it.

It's a comedy.  It's Peter Sellers... which tells you all you need to know.  I'm not a particular fan of either, so I'm not the audience for this film.  This isn't a good movie, but neither is it terrible.  The humor is forced and dated, and, alas, I didn't laugh once.  Though I did smile at the owl/chicken disguised calls for help.  Peter Sellers was annoying as Rupert the king, and it was very hard to understand his dialogue.  He was much better as the straight Sidney Frewin (this version's equivalent of Rudolf Rassendyll).  Frewin is a hansom cab driver, which ended up being an intriguing switch.  I did like that Frewin made no attempt to sound like the king while masquerading as him.  He simply didn't speak at all, nodding or mumbling single words instead.  It was refreshing to have the character admit there is no way he could truly impersonate the king.  I also liked that when it came to defending himself, he chose a whip instead of a sword, availing himself of his hansom cab experience.  I really dug that change.  It made for some cool moments in the end fight.  Those moments elevated the movie.

Another thing I liked was the location filming in Austria.  The countryside, castles, and cities were all beautiful.

As for Stuart Wilson, he was my favorite part of the movie, naturally, but even his part was done no favors by the comedy format.  He laughs constantly, in a most annoying manner throughout.  It was over the top and detracted from the character.  I would really like to have seen Stuart Wilson given the chance to play Rupert of Hentzau in a serious version.  If he did well in this version, he would have totally rocked a serious version of Prisoner of Zenda.

Crazy laugh aside, he was handsome and reckless and fearless, as Rupert is supposed to be.  And, of course, I was looking forward to watching him sword fight, as Stuart Wilson is an excellent swordsman.  I was not disappointed.  The movie had Rupert rather inexplicably switch sides in the ending and become a good guy (!).  I approved, however, because it meant Rupert got to fight Michael instead of Frewin.  Michael was played by Jeremy Kemp, another actor quite capable in the sword fighting realm (he plays the bad guy in The Seven-Percent Solution, which has one of my favorite sword fights in it - on top of a train).  The fight between Michael and Rupert was the best part of the movie.  An enthusiastic, fast, brawling duel with swords.  More please!  

The movie concludes with Rudolf heading off to London to continue his dissolute idle layabout routine to his heart's content, while Frewin, former hansom cab driver, marries Princess Flavia and becomes the new king in his place.  In this movie, that change worked well.

I was also amused when John Rhys-Davies showed up with a quick uncredited role as a palace guard with one line of dialogue.  There's no mistaking that voice (or look) anywhere!  

All in all, mostly a waste of time, though it had some moments of promise, and some nice changes to the story that it, unfortunately, didn't quite capitalize on, and some nice fighting at the end.

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Happy Birthday, John Williams!

Today marks John William's 90th birthday.  He has produced some of the finest scores and musical moments over his prolific career.  To celebrate, I'm sharing one of my all-time favorite cues.  This is one of those sublime cues that soars and crescendos with all the beauty and emotion a composer can pack into a short cue.  The first half builds and lets the choir carry the power until the horns come in and really kick off the goosebumps.  The second half of the cue is gentler, but when the string section takes over the melody, it's still stirring and full of emotion.  I never tire of hearing John William's genius at work in the composition of this cue.

This is "You are the Pan" from John William's 1991 score to Hook.

Monday, January 17, 2022

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

I first saw this movie in 2020, at the recommendation of a friend, and loved it.  It stuck with me and I've been waiting for it to reappear on Prime so I could watch it again.  I found it's back the other night, so dove in immediately.


While The Seven-Percent Solution remains my favorite Sherlock Holmes film, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes now takes second place.  It ticks all the boxes of what I personally look for.  I must have an off-center idea of who Sherlock Holmes is, as what I think of as non-mainstream portrayals satisfy me the most.  What surprises me is that it took me this long to discover this movie.  

The basic plot involves Holmes and Watson taking on the case of a woman suffering amnesia after an attempt on her life.  As her memory returns, she hires them to find her missing husband.  Of course, a lot more is at stake than a missing person.  The mystery takes them to Scotland, involves the Loch Ness monster, state secrets, spies, and Queen Victoria. 

Things that stand out for me about this version.  

1. Holmes often seems to be portrayed as stern, even cranky a lot of times.  This Holmes, played by Robert Stephens, is neither.  Serious, yes, but he's also good-natured and outright witty.  He's probably the only serious version of Holmes who makes me laugh.  Given this movie is co-written and directed by Billy Wilder, Sherlock being witty should hardly be a surprise.  Wilder's dialogue is always a joy.  All of the writing is sharp in this.

2.  Christopher Lee as Mycroft Holmes is highly amusing.  I love him sternly warning Sherlock off the case, and how that simply provokes Sherlock to dive in deeper.  Of course, if he just told his brother what was going on up front... sure, he'd be divulging national secrets, but he would have saved himself a lot of headaches and Sherlock a lot of heartache.  Of course, we'd also have no movie. (It also fits with his rigid stubbornness in this film not to say anything.)

3.  Miklos Rozsa's score is beautiful, and the theme for Gabrielle is lovely and haunting.

4.  Parasols and their uses.

5.  On location castles. 

6.  Mrs. Hudson is wonderful.  I love her long-suffering cry of "what have I done this time?"

7.  The epilogue, and how Watson doesn't even attempt to stop Holmes, because he knows.

I understand that this movie influenced the Benedict Cumberbatch series, and I can see that.  This is one I need to pick up on blu-ray so I'm not dependent on Prime's schedule to watch it again.

Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 in review

This was a strange, memorable year, filled in equal parts with wonder and horror.  So many amazing things happened this year and, yet, that was balanced by the awfulness of the state of the world.  Yin and Yang.  

As for movies, I saw exactly one movie in the theater this year.  That was Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.  I loved it, and it shot immediately into the top five of my favorite Marvel films.  

Seeing only one theatrical release taught me I really didn't miss going to the theater as much as I thought I would.  Now, a big part of that is that nothing was released this year that I really wanted to see, other than Shang-Chi.  I suspect 2022 will bring out more movies I'm genuinely interested in, but we'll see.  

At home, either on DVD, blu-ray, or streaming services, I watched over 130 movies.  Slightly less than half of those were new-to-me movies; the rest were re-watches.

Favorite new-to-me movies:

1. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) - fun and beautiful, with characters and a storyline I loved
2. Patton (1970) - not at all what I was expecting, and I loved it so much I watched it twice in a row.
3. Capricorn One (1977) - not sure how I never saw this one previously, but it was a good conspiracy theory movie that I really enjoyed.  I did not expect Telly Savalas to be so much fun.  He stole all his scenes.
4. Romeo and Juliet (2015 2-part series) - this one took a few liberties with the story and characters, but those changes enriched and helped make the story even better.  I was not expecting to enjoy this so much
5. The 300 Spartans (1962) - because, reasons


1. Futureworld (1976) - why oh why was this made??  After how good Westworld is, to turn this clunker out?  And that dream sequence... what the?????
2. Prometheus  (2012) - one of the very few movies I wish I could unsee.  Except for the part in the beginning where Michael Fassbender imitates Lawrence of Arabia, which was great.  I should have realized it was going to attempt to explain things and steered well clear.  I love Alien and Aliens, but this was pretty much the opposite of what I would have wanted for a prequel.

Best movie-viewing was running through a host of dystopian films.  I'd seen them all previously, but in light of where the world currently is, they were even more frightening than in the past.  Rollerball (1975) was my unexpected favorite, but also, surprisingly, the most terrifyingly realistic of all of them.  Why?  Because its future is ruled by large corporations, because of the censorship and how very few think for themselves, because individuality has been wiped out, and, most importantly, because the people have willingly given up their freedoms for security and comfort and they think that was the right choice to make.  Gee, none of that resonates right now, not at all.  *shudders*

Favorite tv series was the incomparable WandaVision, which currently tops all other Marvel movie/shows for me.  Brilliant, wonderful, satisfying.

I only picked up a couple new-to-me film scores this years.  Come Away by John Debney and Cliffs of Freedom by George Kallis are the two I've been listening to regularly, as they're part of the playlist for my new novel.

Favorite song from 2021 is off the new Duran Duran album.  The rest of the album did nothing for me, but I purchased this one immediately.

However, my favorite new-to-me song of the year is an older song, the Eagles "Waiting in the Weeds."  I'm not ordinarily a slow-song type girl, but this one is on its way to becoming my favorite song of all time.  It kept me sane this year whenever things got too bad.  (Runner-up song was Aerosmith's "Livin' on the Edge," which I also fell in love with.  Weird Al's parody "Livin' in the Fridge" is priceless.)

And so, 2021 draws to a close.  Good-bye!  Bring on the 2022!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

The Fandom Tag

I'm stealing this from Hamlette, even though I wasn't tagged, cuz it looked like a lot of fun.  I'm also not tagging anyone for the same reason... I'm just a backdoor tag-answerer.


1.  Include the graphic somewhere in your post!
2.  Answer the questions!
3.  Tag two fellow fandom fanatics!


What’s the first fandom you remember becoming a part of?  

Star Wars in 1977.  Oh, there were television shows before that I now know had groups of fans, but at the time, I thought they were just something my own family loved and watched.  There was no sense of fandom.  It was only when Star Wars came out that I personally became aware of how many fans there were out there for the movie. 

What’s the newest fandom you’ve come to enjoy? 
Queen.  I mean I've always liked a few of their songs (and that they had a Roger Taylor who was also a drummer, just like my Roger Taylor from Duran Duran), but it wasn't until Bohemian Rhapsody came out that I truly became a fan, learned all about the band, bought various albums and a Queen hoodie to wear, discovered all kinds of new-to-me songs, etc.  John Deacon's my favorite band member.

What’s a fandom guaranteed to give you feels? 
My music fandoms:  Opera and orchestral soundtracks.  Nothing hits my emotions harder or faster than an opera or soundtrack I love.  (ie: 2:50-4:30 from this cue...)

What’s a guilty pleasure fandom of yours? 
Nah, I don't feel guilty for loving something.  If something made me truly feel guilty, I wouldn't enjoy it.
What’s the weirdest fandom you’ve heard of/are a part of? 
I really don't know any weird fandoms, soooooo, not sure how to answer this.

Favorite popular/widely-known fandom? 
MCU.  The Marvel movies (and now WandaVision in the series area) have given me so much pleasure over the years.  Spending time with most of these characters just makes me exceedingly happy.  Even the movies that aren't my personal favorites are still very well done.
Favorite bookish fandom? 
The Atlantis Grail series by Vera Nazarian.  It's the only book series for which I joined a FB group in order to follow and talk about the stories/characters with other like-minded fans.  I binge-read the entire series in 4 or 5 days.  The author just released a novella about one of the main characters, and I devoured that in an afternoon.
What do you consider your ‘homebase,’ a fandom you can always come back to? 
Duran Duran.  They say that what you obsess over in your teen/high school years is what you will always go back to, and so far, I've found that's pretty true.  The movies I loved then, and more importantly, the music.  Growing up in a classical-music-only household, living through the Duran Duran craze changed my life.  No internet back then, so I really had to rely on friends who were also obsessed fans to bring me the latest magazines, watch MTV at their houses to catch the videos, etc.  My first completed novel was a Duran Duran adventure novel (a la the Beatles Help!), so the band was instrumental (hah!) in getting me to reach The End on a long writing project.   So yeah, the band members and their songs and their 80's videos will always put me in a happy, homebase comfort zone.

What’s a fandom you know all about…but aren’t actually into it? 
Harry Potter.  I've read the books, seen the movies, but the series really doesn't do anything for me.  I like the characters, but don't love them.  I even donated all my copies of the books to the library cuz I knew I'd never re-read them.
Which fandom has the best characters? 
Combat! (1962-1965).  Saunders, Hanley, Kirby, Caje, Littlejohn, Doc, Billy, even all the secondary and guest characters represent, hands-down, the best set of characters.
Name your all-time favorite ship. 
That darned "ship" question.   I hate this question cuz I just don't "ship" characters.
However, I don't know if they're my all-time favorite, but Nick and Nora Charles are just meant to be.

What’s a fandom you’re curious about joining

And there we have it.  Feel free to play along if you haven't been tagged and want to join in on sharing your favorite fandoms!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

We Love Pirates Week Party -- Blog Tag!

 Hamlette is hosting the We Love Pirates Week.  Check out the link for lots of fun stuff, including a giveaway, some quizzes, and lots of other reviews, etc.

Here are my answers to her tag questions:
1.  What are your favorite pirate movies or books?
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
The Adventures of Tin-Tin (2011)
Cutthroat Island (1995)
The Black Swan (1942)
Captain Blood (1935) 
2.  Who are your favorite fictional pirates?
1. Red Rackham (Daniel Craig, The Adventures of Tin-Tin, 2011)
2. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, 2003)
3. Morgan Adams (Geena Davis, Cutthroat Island, 1995)
4. Jamie Boy (Tyrone Power, The Black Swan, 1942)
3.  What do you like best about pirate stories? (Themes, costumes, aesthetic, etc.)
Sword fights!  The Ships! The costumes!  Sword fights!  Floggings!  Walking the plank!  Treasure and maps to said treasure.  Did I mention sword fights?

 4.  If you were going to play a pirate on the stage or screen, what would your costume look like?
Any of Morgan Adam's outfits.  I love her costumes and I covet those boots.
5.  What pirate ship would you like to serve on?
The Morning Star, Morgan Adam's ship in Cutthroat Island.
6.  Any favorite sea shanties or pirate songs?
Many!   I particularly love "A Rovin'" and "Early in the Morning," which is the Drunken Sailor song.  Also, of course, Yo Ho Yo Ho a Pirate's Life for me!

7.  Have you ever participated in International Talk Like a Pirate Day?
Passingly, with a quick arrrr if somebody reminds me of what day it is.
8.  Would you like to go sailing on a real tall ship?
Only if I was shanghaied.  And I would jump ship in Tahiti or somewhere in the South Pacific first chance I got.  Submarines are my thing.  Not overly fond of being on top of the waves.
9.  Have you ever learned anything about real pirates, or do you tend to stick to the fictional kind?
Yes.  I'll stick with the fictional ones, thank you.
10.  Why is the rum gone?

Silver drank it all.


Monday, January 18, 2021

2020 - Favorite Films

I thought I'd send 2020 on its way with a list of the 5 new-to-me movies I most enjoyed last year.  Interestingly, these are all new movies.  That's rather unusual. I watched a fair amount of classic movies last year, but none grabbed me.

5. Terminator: Dark Fate

I'd wanted to see this one when it came out, but just never had a chance to make it to the theater.  I watched it on Amazon Prime and loved it.  Yes, its plot is basically Terminator all over again, but that didn't bother me.  This movie is a direct sequel to Terminator 2, disregarding all those other movies, and I loved that.  It came back to the characters and situations I loved about the first two movies.  Having Linda Hamilton back was awesome.  She rocked.  So did Arnold.  But most of all, I have discovered Mackenzie Davis.  I adored her!  She was wonderful, and she made the movie for me.

4. Frozen 2

One of the very few movies I saw in the theater last year, when it came to the discount theater.  No one in my family liked this one but me.  They love the first movie.  I had the opposite reaction.  I like the first one, but don't love it.  This is the one that spoke to me and really hit my sweet spot points.  I loved the songs more, I loved the characters more, I loved the plot, the scenery, basically everything...  This one just works for me.  I can't say I was much of an Anna fan before, but here, her arc was amazing, and I was so happy with where she ended up.  

3. Onward

This Pixar movie was so much fun, not at all what the previews seemed to make it out to be about.  I loved all the characters, really related to the sibling relationship, and cried at the end.  This one goes up high on my personal favorites list of Pixar films.

2. 1917

Another of the few movies seen in the theater, and one I saw more than once in the theater.  I loved everything about this movie.  So well-done, so powerful, so moving, and the score is my favorite score I bought last year.  

1.  Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

This movie is my favorite movie of last year, and I know, that seems absolutely crazy.  This is not a movie I suspect anyone who knows me would think I would watch, let alone love so much I've watched it multiple times.  It's my most re-watched movie last year.  Whenever I needed a pick-me-up, I put this on.  There are so many reasons this shouldn't have worked for me.  I'm not a Will Ferrell fan.  I'm not a modern music fan.  I'm not even a Rachel McAdams fan.  Nor a Pierce Brosnan fan.  But this movie is magic.  This movie is gold.  Are there a few moments of crude humor I could have done without?  Yeah... but they didn't detract enough to matter.  I loved Will Ferrell and loved Rachel McAdams.  They were perfect and wonderful together, and who thought I'd ever love Will Ferrell in anything?  The songs are great, and it was freaking WEEKS before I could get Ja Ja Ding Dong or Double Trouble out of my head.  Probably just mentioning them here is going to get them stuck all over again.  Biggest earworms of last year.  The movie was uplifting in just the way I needed in the middle of 2020, and I will continue revisiting this movie whenever I need something happy to watch.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

November 1st

Well, we've reached November.  Here's an update in pictures...

We had gorgeous fall color here...


Until the first, early snow of the season killed all the color....

I adopted two kittens, a pair of siblings



Sleeping kittens

And I lost my 16-year-old Elanor to kidney failure.

Elanor on right, Jack (her brother) on left

Life goes on.
Tonio is a shoulder cat! Yay!