Tag: Brigadoon

Underrated Movies

movie-clip-art11-287x300So a few weeks ago I wrote a story on movies I felt were overrated.  Now those were not necessarily bad movies I just didn’t think they were the amazing 5 stars everyone else seems to. The follow up naturally becomes what are underrated movies that deserve more playing time?

I actually struggled in coming up with a list because some of them seemed difficult to defend but I enjoyed them nonetheless.  Some might think how could I not be into the Godfather and like Sweet Home Alabama or The Blind Side? I can’t explain it.  I just do. So here are some underrated gems to check out by category:

Rom Coms that do the genre right- anyone knows I love a good romantic movie but they have been the scene of some truly horrific flops in the last 10 years.  Some that were unjustly ignored are:

IQ- a funny movie starring Meg Ryan, Tim Robbins and Walter Manthau about Einstein’s niece falling in love.  The banter between Einstein and his buddies is hilarious, the chemistry is right on.  Its available on netflix so check it out (many on this list are on netflix).

Sweet Home Alabama-  Predictable? yes.  do some of the jokes fall flat? yes, but I really enjoy this movie.  I LOVE Josh  Lucas.  He is super sexy and Patrick Demsey plays the other man with a lot of class.  They do not take the easy way out and make him a jerk.

Just Wright- A movie nobody saw with Queen Latifah and Common. The Queen is divine as a physical therapist tasked with helping an NBA player come back from an injury.  Yes, its predicable but you need some of that in this genre.  Its really a fairy tale with the prince charming a basketball player and Paula Patton as the somewhat evil stepsister (god-sister in this story . She’s a gold digger with a heart and boy is she pretty)

Return to Me- Similar to IQ this sweet love story of a girl who gets a heart transplant but then falls for the widower of the heart donor. Its sweet and how great to have a Hollywood romance where the character falls in love without the girl revealing a scar on her chest. A very clean simple movie with a great group of older actors playing the Irish/Italian family of the Minnie Driver character.

Better Off Dead- I can’t really defend this movie except to say that it makes me laugh every time.  A boy is infatuated with his girlfriend and then is dumped for the captain of the high school ski team. To get back he decides to ski the K-12.

Hijinks erupt with everything from Howard Cossell Japanese taxi drivers, animated burgers, a paper boy who wants his $2, a mother who boils bacon and makes goo for dinner and a brother who cuts out coupons from boxes before the cereal is eaten.  What can I say?  It just makes me laugh.

Drama’s that deserve  to be seen-

Marvin’s Room-  A gut wrenching drama with Meryl Streep, Dianne Keaton, Robert Deniro and Leonardo Dicaprio.  It reads like a good play. Two estranged sisters get back together when  one is diagnosed with cancer.  Dicaprio plays a teen with severe behavior and mental illness issues but it is done in a realistic way.   Every performance is good.  It felt like watching a real family.

Warrior- Not enough people saw this great sports/family movie.  The conceit is predictable.  We know the brothers will end up fighting against each other but the journey is so well done.  All the performances are great.  Tom Hardy is super hot and Nick Nolte is totally believable as the alcoholic father everyone has discounted.  The fight scenes are not overly long and the tension is built perfectly.  Great example of its genre.

Secret Life of Bees- Another movie with a strong ensemble cast that nobody saw.  Based on the bestselling novel by Su Monk Kidd tells the story of a little girl who runs away from home in 1964 South Carolina. She finds a new home with a family of black women that knew her mother and are beekeepers.  I loved the book and the movie.

Jane Eyre 1996- I have yet to dislike a version of this story (including the 2011 filming) but this one may be my favorite big screen adaptation.  Charlotte Ginsberg is the most plain Jane but that totally works for the character.  William Hurt is brooding and fun as Rochester even without a British accent.

The Blind Side- Obviously this film has its fans as it won an oscar for Sandra Bullock but amongst critics it is frequently chided as sentimental and even manipulative.  My answer to that is so what?  Hasn’t sentimentality always been an essential aspect to the movies? Even going back to Gone with the Wind or Mrs Minver.  If it is done well I enjoy a good hearted fable that helps encourage me to be a better person.

This story is of course about future super bowl winner Michael Oher and how he is adopted by the Tuohy family of Mississippi.  Its the kind of movie I want to watch when I’m having a bad day or feeling discouraged and I don’t think that is a bad thing.  Our society could use a little more hope and little less cynicism.

Children Movies You Might Have Missed

Winnie the Pooh Movie- Finally a movie designed for little, little kids.  Its short enough for them with a simple sweet story that I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic for.  I LOVE the music.  No winking humor for adults just an unabashed little kids movie (5 and under)

Holes- The first time I saw this movie I was blown away.  I called my family and said ‘you have to see it’.  They weren’t as impressed but I thought it was so creative.  Weaving a story of a kid sent to a desert camp to dig holes and an cowboy love story that ended badly leaving a curse on the entire family.  I still think it is brilliant.

Where the Wild Things Are- This movie has its fans and I admit it is one you either go with or don’t. I did.  When I saw it in the theater half of us thought it was amazing and half a big bore.  I loved its realistic depiction of a child, without any of the cloying sweetness of most Hollywood movies.  This is a real kid with tantrums and stubbornness.

Then he is given the chance to actually lead creatures, creatures that feature all of his good and bad traits and he realizes how hard it is. He gets a new empathy for his mother.  I loved the music, voice acting, the kid is a great actor (plus looks like my step-nephew).  Its different but I totally bought it.

Ponyo-  A weird but delightful animated movie from Hayao Miyazaki who made Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.  Both of those are better movies but this one is more like My Friend Totoro and is designed for little kids. The story is simple but the images are so creative and the basic idea so dazzling that the kids have room to write some of their own story.  It is about a little boy that adopts a gold fish that is the daughter of the great sea wizard.  The ocean begins to search for the adorable Ponyo and everything begins.

Classics You Should See-

Talk of the Town- At its release this movie was nominated for Oscars but I doubt many have seen it.  Certainly Cary Grant’s other comedies such as Bringing Up Baby and His Girl Friday (both wonderful) are more popular but I love Talk of the Town . It has Jean Arthur who plays the high school crush of town good-for-nothing Grant who has been framed by a union for a fire that killed a man.

Knowing the jury is rigged Grant escapes from prison and seeks refuge at Arthur’s summer home which is soon to be occupied by a potential supreme court nominee played by Ronald Coleman.  Justice vs mercy is amazingly mixed in with some great slapstick.  I laugh my head off at this movie and think about philosophy at the same time.  A rare combination.

Brigadoon- The Gene Kelly musical most people haven’t seen.  Lerner and Loewe’s broadway musical comes to life about a town that ages only one day every hundred years.  Kelly and his friend stumble upon the town on a hunting trip and meet the lovely Cyd Charisse.   Some great songs such as Almost Like Being in Love, There but for you go I, Waitin for my Dearie and other great music and dancing.

Lili- A movie most people probably haven’t seen but a sweet fairy tale with amazing dancing.  Its the story of a girl named Lili played by Leslie Caron who stumbles upon a circus in a small town who agree to give her a job as a magicians assistant.  Young, she botches the first night and runs away in distress.  To her surprise she stumbles upon a puppet show and the puppets start to speak to her.

She agrees to be the MC for the puppet show but gets so lost in the illusion that she doesn’t remember who is behind the scenes. Could it be jaded carnival operator who is bitter about his career in dance going down the tubes because of an injury? You will have to see! The dancing is magnificent and like I said it is a gem.

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Skinny, Skinny, Skinny

Today I have a bit of an upset stomach so I am not going to the gym but never fear I will be right back at it tomorrow!  The last 2 weeks have been some of my most consistent and hard working during this fitness quest.   It really helps to have a goal and getting ready for this open water swim is a huge challenge.  At least I read yesterday that the water is warmer than usual-70 degrees, oh la la!

Currently I am working on the most boring project for work.  It involves looking at a spreadsheet with 27,000 items and identifying what branch the item belongs to.  Sometimes this requires my looking up the monument or national park to see what area it is in.  (On the plus side, I am now somewhat of an expert on the national parks, even obscure ones!).

To keep from falling asleep I have a movie on as background noise.  Today I’m watching Brigadoon with Gene Kelly and and Cyd Cherise.  Its not the greatest musical but I enjoy it. It has beautiful dancing and a few of the songs are catchy.

The thing that shocked me while watching is how insanely skinny Cherise is.  In fact, all the women are uber-skinny- made more so by restrictive corsets. It reminds me of the famous scene from Gone with the Wind when Scarlet is upset over not being able to corset her waist at 18 inches after having a baby!

so skinny!

Does anyone else think she looks ridiculous with such a tiny waist and large bust?  Maybe that seems like the cliched response of a fat girl but honestly! The only thing I can think in her defense is that she was a ballet dancer and they are always very skinny.

The sad part is we still set such insane standards.  For instance, the other day I was watching Big Bang Theory and Kaley Cuoco’s character Penny is upset when Sheldon guesses that she weighs 120 lbs.  Let’s say she is 5 ft 7, 120 would still be well under the body mass index produced by the insurance industry.

By all competent medical diagnosis 120 should be considered skinny, even underweight, but on the show she is horrified to be labeled as a fat 120. I even read some articles that listed Kaley as a ‘curvy’ member of Hollywood young.  Please!  If she is curvy than no wonder so many people are turning to eating disorders. What do we all have to be below 100 lbs to be considered skinny? Crazy!

To see the clip go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ2pG8fNH9s.  They won’t let me embed it.

Hollywood doesn't think this is skinny

The problem with words like ‘skinny’ is they have no real diagnostic value.  They can mean whatever you want and so using such a vague term as a goal for change is dangerous.  If skinny is your goal it will literally never be good enough.  You will never be skinny enough.

I would love to say that the images and skinny messaging promoted by Hollywood doesn’t affect me- that I am strong and know it is garbage.  I do see the flaws but I am not invulnerable to the feelings of longing for a body I will never have and an image that will never happen.  I don’t know anybody that is perfectly confident all the time and doesn’t on occasion wish for a seemingly better, more attractive body.  When those moments come, the images sent out by Hollywood can do damage to my self-esteem and confidence.  I am not immune to such feelings. Are you? Luckily, I am wise enough and strong enough to pick myself up and start telling myself the right kind of messages.

Perhaps I am thinking of this topic because I have been exercising like a maniac and yet my bi-weekly weigh-in yesterday I had lost no weight.  Obviously this was a disappointment but I know that I have become healthier in the last 20 days.  My swim times are faster, my weight repetitions and amounts are more, and I feel enthusiastic and happy.   The skinniness may not come along but I have to remember that being skinny is a mirage of a goal.  Being healthy is real.  Finishing my race on the 13th is a real goal, and I know I can do it- skinny or not!

What do you think about the illusion of getting skinny?  What are your goals for fitness and weight loss and how does the images presented by Hollywood or fashion impact you?