Archive for the ‘Films’ category

Smoking

March 15, 2018

So i have been watching the mini-series “The Crown” on Netflix. In the past few weeks I have watched all of season 1 and yesterday I started in on season 2. This is the story of Queen Elizabeth II from the time when she becomes the Queen of England back in the early 50’s It’s a great show and I love watching it.

But here’s the thing. They’ve done a great job of displaying what it was like to be in England in the 1950’s. What struck me was that everyone was smoking all the time. The first few episodes had Winston Churchill smoking a cigar all the time. There was hardly a time that he didn’t have a cigar in his hand. Winston was played by John Lithgow (he really did a great job, btw) and I read that he got quite sick from all the smoking that he had to do during the filming.

Princess Margaret was constantly smoking. There was hardly a time on screen when she didn’t have a butt in her fingers. However, Queen Elizabeth did not smoke. I kept expecting her to tell Margaret to put the butt down.

So the picture tells the story that even our doctors were selling tobacco. Amazing and it wasn’t that long ago.

We seem to have forgotten how it was like back in the day before smoking became so odious. I remember one of the engineers I worked with who constantly smoked at work. His computer terminal was a sickly yellow instead of the usual white.

There were cigarette vending machines at work and in bars and restaurants. It took a long time to get to where we are today. We had to suffer through smoking/non-smoking sections on airplanes. We now have smoke-free environments on aircraft, at work and anywhere else the public might visit.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

Joe

The Leisure Seekers: A Novel

February 25, 2018

Leisure SeekerOne of the books that I am currently reading is “The Leisure Seeker: A Novel” by Michael Zadorian. This is a story of an aging couple (John and Ella) that go on one last road trip in their motor home. They are traveling along the old rte 66 from Michigan to Los Angeles.

I discovered this novel while watching the coming attractions a couple of weeks ago while seeing “The Darkest Hour”. The trailer was for a film of the same name. It stars Donald Sutherland and Hellen Mirren. So I saw that the film was based on a novel and I thought for once I would read the book before I saw the film. Besides, the film isn’t in theaters yet.  We’ll probably get to see the film eventually.

So here’s the story line. John and Ella are in their 80’s. John is suffering from Alzheimer’s and Ella from cancer. They decide to take one last road trip in their motor home they call the “Leisure Seeker”. They load up and hit the road. They start in Michigan and head for California on the old Rte 66.

The book is in the voice of Ella. She speaks of the anguish of dealing with a loved on who is suffering from dementia/Alzheimer’s. I feel your pain.

They try and stay on rte 66 but sometimes that is not possible. So occasionally that are forced to use the insterstate. You miss so much on the interstate.

They have a cell phone but it was turned off. John and Ella’s grown children gave them the phone but they turned off and put in the glove box to be used only in an emergency.

So far I have read as far as Texas. I keep flipping back to the other books that I am reading (“Leonardo” and “Maestros and Their Music”). I’ll probably finish all three at the same time.

I’ve got to stop reading the NY Time Book Review. It just adds to my reading list.

The Crown

December 17, 2017

The CrownA couple of nights ago Paula and I started watching the TV series “The Crown” on Netflix. We’re not doing it at break neck speed but we are moving along. We saw S1E1 on Friday and S1E2 last night. Eight more episodes for season 1.

“The Crown” is the story of reign of Queen Elizabeth II in England.

Okay, we’re hooked. S1E1 starts off with marriage of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Phillip. Phillip never knew what hit him.

A couple of comments. John Lithgow is superb in his portrayal of Winston Churchill. Great image of Winston taking a bath and smoking a cigar. There sure was a lot of smoking going on. Smoking surely killed King George VI. It seems that everyone took baths. Showers must have been an American invention. It took almost another twenty years for scientists to convince people that tobacco kills.

This is the second movie that we’ve seen in recent years about the British Monarchy. In 2010, we saw Colin Firth play King George VI in “The Kings Speech“. That movie received four Oscars including Best Actor for Firth and Best Picture.

The series stars Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth and Matt Smith as Prince Phillip. Foy is known for appearance in “Season of the Witch”. Smith is probably best known for his appearance as the eleventh “Dr Who” on the BBC. Episode 1 is in 1947 when Prince Philip renounces his Greek and Danish titles and proceeds to marry Elizabeth.

Episode 2 jumps forward to 1952 when Elizabeth and Phillip are off touring the African countryside in Kenya when Elizabeth’s father King George dies. Oh my, things get intense. So the aides keep telling her that the “Crown” comes first.

Other thoughts.

The movie shows King George having surgery to remove his diseased lung at Buckingham Palace. Kings don’t go to the hospital, the hospital comes to them. They also show the embalming being done at Buckingham.

Here’s an interesting piece in the San Diego Union-Tribune about fact checking the series. Interesting read. Click here.

PS.

Quick update on Mary. She has been able to go to church on the last two Sundays. Her memory is failing fast. She couldn’t remember the church that she goes to. Everyone was happy to see her. We did lunch at the Gaffey Street Diner. Diner has improved. Waitress gave me extra bacon. I told her that she was my new favorite waitress.

Wonder Woman

July 7, 2017

Wonder WomanLast night was date night. We hired a baby sitter for Mary and went to see “Wonder Woman“. The cost for our baby sitter was three times as much as the price to see the movie. Here’s a link to the official trailer.

The movie stars Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Chris Pine as the dashing pilot/spy Steve Trevor. The film was directed by Patty Jenkins. It is interesting that the film was directed by a woman. And she is the first woman to direct a live-action film with a budget of over $100 million.

Okay, first and foremost this movie was about a half hour longer than it needed to be. Run time is about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Butt getting sore and beginning to wonder when the big finale scene is going to start.

So here’s the basic story. Trevor’s plane crashes into the sea off the coast of Amazon Island and Diana saves him from certain death by drowning. Steve Trevor tells Diana about the war that is raging in the outside world. The war is WWI of course. Interestingly, the comic book version, the war is WW2. The first battle is between the Amazons and the Germans who are chasing Trevor on Amazon Island. Seeing as this is a PG-13, movie there is little blood spilled. Soldiers get shot but don’t seem to bleed very much.

There’s an amusing scene early in the movie where Steve is recovering from his wounds in a hot tub somewhere on the island. Then Steve gets out of the tub and stands there buck naked in all his glory for Diana to see. The look on her face says that she has probably never seen a naked man before. Oh my… Luckily for the kiddies present, the scene is back lit and you can’t actually see Trevor’s (ahem) equipment.

So Amazon Island is located somewhere off the coast of Italy or maybe Greece. Think warm blue Caribbean waters. So Princess Diana begins to discover her super powers. And then Steve persuades her to go with him back to England. The two of them find a small fishing boat and set sail for England.

So the pair arrive in London after a brief voyage. Steve helps Diana get some new clothes that would meet the approval of the Londoners of the era. Anyways, to make a long story short, the pair manage to make it to the battlefield in France where Wonder Woman proceeds to kick serious ass. The film has some real nasty German baddies that get their comeuppance. And finally, we get to the finale battle between Wonder Woman and the evil lord Ares. And of course, you know who wins that battle.

Overall, it was a fun film though a little bit on the long side. We stopped at KFC’s drive thru to pick up some fried chicken for our dinner. Going out to an actual restaurant would be nice, but tick tock.

 

Don’t Bogart that Joint, My Friend

November 10, 2016

So it seems that California and Massachusetts voters have approved a ballot measure legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. So that brought to mind the title of this blog post. So what exactly does that mean? How does one “bogart” a joint? Is is it a good thing or bad thing. Read on and I shall explain.

The term “bogart” is a reference to the actor, Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957). Bogart (the actor) was known for his performances in movies like Casablanca, The Big Sleep, and The Maltese Falcon. Click here for his complete filmography. In Casablanca, Bogart always seemed to have a cigarette in his mouth. Take a look at the trailer and you will see what I mean. By the way, Bogart died of esophageal cancer in 1957.

Another reference to “bogarting” a joint can be found in the movie, “Easy Rider”, starring Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholoson. Here’s a clip.

And finally, here is the link to the song “Don’t Bogart that Joint” by the Fraternity of Man. A veritable one hit wonder.

Date Night

April 24, 2016

Jungle BookSaturday was date night. We really needed to get out without Mom even if only for a couple of hours.

So, we went to see the movie “The Jungle Book“. I guess we are getting cheap in our old age. Jungle Book was available in iMax 3D, Regular 3D and old plain 2D. 2D was $7 a person for Seniors. iMax was $17. We did the old fashioned 2D. Characters were voiced by Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken and many more fine actors and actresses.

The film is rated PG and rightly so. There are parts that are pretty violent and might be a bit scary for little kids. I wouldn’t take a kid to see it under the  age of 8 or 9.

We loved it. We went to a 4:45 showing and there were a lot of families with kids in the theater. I particularly liked Baloo voiced by Bill Murray where he starts singing the “Bare Necessities”. We also liked the scenes with King Louie.

Here’s the Bill Murray version from Youtube. I will be playing this tune at Lodge in a couple of weeks.

When you compare this version with earlier versions you can readily see how far the animation technology has come. This film was filmed completely in Los Angeles.

I would give the film 8.5 stars out of 10. We loved it.

And by the way, you can download the Kindle version of the Rudyard Kipling Book from Amazon for $.99. What a deal.

Now for dinner part of date night. We had hoped to try the Hopsaint Brewery restaurant in Torrance. Saturday night was not a good time. We couldn’t even find a parking space. We’ll try another time when it might be less busy.

We came up with a plan B. We decided to go to the “San Franciscan” in Torrance. I was itching to have a good steak. We don’t have a barbeque grill at our place (forbidden my HOA). It was busy too, but at least we found a parking space. Had to wait 20 minutes for a table.

I had a 9 oz Filet Mignon. Paula had something called a “Drunken Sam”. The menu descrbes it as

“Filet mignon, pan fried in burgundy wine and brandy. Served atop fried eggplant and topped with an Ortega chile and jack cheese”

I had a taste. It was very good. Paula cleaned her plate. This is not fancy and the decor is rather plain but food is excellent. This is our place to go to when we have a hunger for steak.

Date Night

March 31, 2016

zootopiaFinally, we had the chance to have another date night last night. Paula and I went to see Zootopia at the Terraces. We went to the 4:30 pm show for  $4 each for seniors. Price for regular folks was $6. Sometimes it’s just fun to go to a kids movie without the kids. Zootopia was no exception. There were many jokes that were clearly aimed at the grown-ups in the audience.

Zootopia is the story of a young rabbit who goes into the big city of Zootopia to become a rookie cop. The rabbit named Judy Hopps doesn’t want to stay on the carrot farm with her parents anymore.

So rookie Officer Hopps joins forces with a cynical con artist fox named Nick Wilde to solve a sinister conspiracy in the great city of Zootopia.

They do a really great scene where the pair goes to the DMV (Department of Mammal Vehicles) to look up a license plate. Of course the clerks at the DMV are all sloths. They work so slowly. What a hoot. Wonder where they got that idea?

Good film, take the kids too. Runs about an hour and a half.

20160331_020800030_iOSSo we were done with the movie by 6:30 pm. Time for dinner. Date night dinners are a chance for us to unwind and talk about how things are going with Mary’s care without her listening.

We decided that it had been a long time since we’ve had Chinese food. So we decided to try the PV Palace on PCH in Lomita. Restaurant was pretty much empty when we arrived. Decent service. We had Mu Shu Pork, Shrimp Fried Rice, and Kung Pao Scallops. All very tasty. The waiter even filled the Mu Shu pancakes for us. We both had a glass of chardonnay. Plenty left over for lunch tomorrow.

Today we are off to the storage locker to clean out a few more boxes of junk (or treasures).