There are few men today, who are truly a gentleman, a real man’s man. James Garner was one of those men. I grew up watching re-runs of The Rockford Files and Maverick on TV and fell in love. He was charming, he was funny, he was handsome, he was generous and hardworking. I always had a bit of a crush on him.
He was unique in that he appeared to seamlessly transition between TV and film in a time where actors simply did one or the other. I loved him as Doris Day’s husband in The Thrill of it All, he was hysterical! They partnered again in Move Over, Darling. He played opposite Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria. He was a cowboy, a detective, a comedian, a gentleman. He has played many characters, there are numerous films that I love him in, but one might be more special than all the others to me: Murphy’s Romance.
There was something about this movie that just captivated me. It was my Birthday movie of choice this year. Mr. Michie put up the vintage projection screen for me and we ate cake in the dark and watched Murphy’s Romance. I love that movie! It has everything: Sally Field, Carole King singing the theme song, the cowboy element and it had James Garner, who you just fell in love with as the movie went on.
The world lost a gentleman this week and I was sure saddened to hear it.
I have long been a fan of This American Life. An episode aired at the end of the May that I missed and as I have been catching up with some podcasts here and there, I listened to it this morning. It was called: “Is That What I Look Like?”. In the third act, entitled the “Blunder Years”, Ira Glass talks to Molly Ringwald and what it was like to sit down with her 10 year old daughter and watch The Breakfast Club together for the first time.
I was still a little kid when this movie came out. It wasn’t until my early teens that I saw it. And, I got it! That was the magic, one of the many magic things about John Hughes, he got it. I think that there is a piece of us that identifies with each of the characters. There was always something in one of this films that you could identify with, you knew these characters, they were believable. They were your family, your friends, your neighbours. He understood teen angst and not in the whiny way that is mostly portrayed like today, but the real angst, where you are just trying to make it and you know there has to be something better out there than High School. It is a movie that I think all teenagers should see.
I remember a few years ago, Mr. Michie showed it to one of his Media classes and they had never seen it! I was shocked! This is a move that should be in your film viewing repertoire! I was an 80’s girl, to this day, that collection of John Hughes films are some of my favorite. If they are on TV, I have to stop and watch it.
Growing up, The Breakfast Club, somehow always seemed to be on TBS at least once a month. I would get home late from babysitting, my sister would get in from waitressing and we would sit down, get a snack to unwind, talk about our evenings and watch The Breakfast Club. To this day, we still randomly yell lines out to each other. Sometimes, all we need is one line, one word to sum up a situation, we get the rest, we have the unspoken language of sisters to fill in the blanks.
I can’t imagine how nerve-wracking and awkward and scary and slightly exciting, it must have been for Molly Ringwald to sit next to her daughter and watch this film. A little girl on the cusp of becoming a teen, the things you wonder if she knows about, if she doesn’t you would like to keep it that way, for as long as possible. It was insightful for Molly Ringwald, her daughter’s take on it and to which character she identifies with. The styles may have changed, the hair, the clothes, the time period, but to this day, I think that this is not a dated film, it is still poignant today.
I enjoyed listening to it, while cleaning the kitchen and I thought you might too:
It’s Wednesday, the middle of the week and it has just been crawling by. Work is keeping me busy, getting all the studio spaces ready for next year, placing orders and tying up any loose ends. But, I feel that I should be farther in the week than just Wednesday. I’m ready. I’m ready for my summer to begin. I’m ready for that sweet taste of freedom.
I came across this video while reading the news this morning before I left to catch the train. It made me smile. It makes you just want to DANCE! And as it is Wednesday and we are 1/2 way through the week, I think that calls for dancing. I dare you to try and sit still while watching this. I couldn’t, my feet were tapping, my head was bobbing, there might even have been a “jazz hands” moment or two, but I’ll just keep that one to myself.
Friday has come at last and I am so happy! My Birthday is this weekend and we are going to start celebrating tonight, with dinner from Five Guys and watching a good movie on our vintage projection screen for Friday the 13th. I’m voting for The Goonies or maybe Sixteen Candles.
We’re gonna make my birthday cake tonight and tomorrow I want to get up early, grab some coffee and walk through Regent’s Park, one of my favorite parks in London. I want to stroll around when it is still peaceful and the zoo animals are just waking up. We are going to visit the new Folk Art Exhibition at the Tate Britain and maybe grab a bite out.
And, we shall just take it from there. I don’t want anything too planned out, just something fun and simple. I also want to carve out a little time this weekend to finish my Copenhagen posts and one or two other things that have been on the back burner!
The sun is out today, I was lucky and got to have my Friday meeting out on the balcony. So over business, I could work on my tan. Life is good! Here’s to Fridays and Birthdays and THE WEEKEND! Long may it last!
You were my Little Princess, where I dreamed of living in the attic with you as my bedmate and having secret parties with our gorgeous neighbor, Cesar Romero, who would regale us with magical tales of India.
You were my Heidi. I dreamed of sleeping in your hay loft that was warmed by the fire below and walking through the alps with you and your little goats, Schwanli and Baerli. Stopping by a meadow stream to feast on bread and cheese out of our lunch pails.
You were my Bobby-Soxer, who I watched dreamily as you fell head over heels for Cary Grant and the gorgeous Myrna Loy starred as your sister.
You were my favorite drink to order out at dinner on special occasions! I still make “Shirley Temple’s”, your never too old for a couple of cherries in your beverage!
You were kind, intelligent, talented, a diplomat, a breast cancer survivor; you were “Little Miss Bright Eyes” and you will be missed.
Last night while I was doing a few things, I turned on the TV and Places in the Heartwas on one of the movie channels. It is just such an outstanding movie! As always, Sally Field is amazing!
Whenever I watch that movie and see them picking cotton it always reminds me of three things: driving to the beach, my fourth grade science teacher and a colleague at my first “real” job. Firstly, it reminds me of that long awaited trip to the beach. When you knew a whole week of fun awaited you. When I grew up in the South, cotton was still a staple. I can remember going to the beach in the Summer and taking the back roads, you would drive by fields of what appeared to be snow covered flats of land, the cotton bolls bursting open revealing the delicate cotton candy fluff that waits inside.
Secondly, I will always associate it with my fourth grade science teacher, Mrs. S.. She told us a story about picking cotton when she was a small girl of 7. We were studying plant life and one thing led to another she shared this story with us. She would stay with her grandparents every year during the later part of Summer. They had a farm and one of their main crops was cotton.
She was fascinated by it and wanted to try her hand at picking. Her grandmother warned her against it. Explaining to her that her little hands were too delicate for the hard cotton boll because it would slice into her fingers like a knife. Still, she persisted. Her grandmother finally relented and made her, her own little cotton picking apron and bag. She rose early and went out to the field with her grandfather. It was fun at first, but it didn’t take long before her fingers got their first deep cut. The cotton boll shaving through her gentle little 7 year old fingers.
By the time her day was done, Mrs. S.’s hands were red raw, gashed here and there and swollen. Her grandmother made her soak them in a hot bowl of water with epsom salts, applied ointment to them and gingerly wrapper her tiny hands in bandages. To this day, her hands still bear the mark of her first and last cotton picking session.
Cotton picking also brings to mind a wonderful woman I used to work with at my first “real” job. I worked in a department store in High School one year to save Christmas money. One of the ladies I worked with was a Southerner through and through.
Her family hadn’t come from much and her mother picked cotton to earn extra money. Now, they say that you don’t remember things under a certain age. I don’t hold with that philosophy. Neither did my co-worker. She was only 3, but she can remember vividly what it was like to be out in the fields with her mother.
She was a small child during the 1930’s and at that time the baby of the family. Her mother took her to the fields with her. Her mama would dress in long sleeved blouses and wear a bonnet to keep the sun off of her face. She would dress my co-worker similarly and once in the field she would place her in an old wooden peach crate and would sit it at the end of the row. When she had picked her way through, she would move her to the next row, so she could keep an eye on her as she worked.
My co-worker would nap, or play with her dolls or watch her mother. She could remember it like it was yesterday. I love how their stories had intertwined. From one generation to the next and the next, cotton still played a part in so many people’s lives. We all bring a different piece of thread to the tapestry to make up the whole.
We first saw/heard the Alabama Shakes on Jools Holland’s Hootenanny! A New Year’s tradition in our house, if we are at home, we watch it. I liked them. We watched The Silver Linings Playbook this weekend and they are featured on the soundtrack. Now, I can’t get the song out of my head. This is riding in your car with the windows rolled down kinda music, drinking a cold beer at a party kinda music, hanging out on your couch kinda music. It’s just good!
I am so excited! I get to go on a welding course tonight for school, so I can learn how to use the arc welder and the mig welder! My Dad has already given me a blow-by-blow of how each one works (I don’t know what he doesn’t know!) and I am tres excited to start making some sparks fly.
I think we all know what is coming next, there is only one great welding, dancing, based in the great city of Pittsburgh movie that I know of, cue Flashdance:
Hope you have a very happy Monday, wherever you may be today!
Mr. Michie is on a school trip this evening to the Globe Theatre, so I was on my own for dinner. I didn’t feel hungry today at work, so I skipped lunch and sat on a bench in the sunshine and read a delicious book.
I love reading and with my traveling too and from work at the moment, I am reading about a book a week. So, my reading pile is getting smaller and smaller, but I have plenty of books on my wish list that I want to get, so I will have more than enough books to keep me occupied.
I decided to get dinner out, since I was on my own. I ordered my food, found a table downstairs where I could sit and be. I listened to the great music that was blasting out of their speakers, read a couple pages of my book and munched away on my fries and cheeseburger.
I looked around, there were a few other people eating alone, but most people were with a partner or in a group. It’s funny that you seem to adopt a certain attitude when eating alone, you read something (I was, as I was almost at the end of a heart racing chapter in the political thriller, I’m reading), you play with your phone, you stare into space, you just eat and eat and don’t come up for air, only staring at your food. I saw all these things as I observed the people around me.
There is a certain vibe that it isn’t okay to eat alone, that something must be wrong if you are eating dinner alone, somehow you can swing it for breakfast and lunch, but dinner has different connotations. It made me think of Hope Floats, a great Sandra Bullock movie.
There is a scene where Sandra Bullock’s character, who is newly separated from her cheating husband an has moved back home to live with her mama, eats dinner alone at the local diner. Here, she encounters and old flame/friend in Harry Connick Jr., who is also eating alone. He tells her dining alone isn’t for sissies, you have to be made of some pretty stern stuff to do that, and the trick is to remain mysterious, like the choice is yours. And to really throw them off, you should order some dessert.
This scene always makes me smile. I am perfectly happy with me, with my own company. I would never judge someone for eating dinner alone, yet as I sat there tonight, it was interesting to see the looks I was getting for being alone as well as the other loners, we were looked at with a twinge of pity.
In so many ways, in society today, we are alone. Technology is a wonderful thing, but it keeps others at a distance in many respects. Yet, if you play with your phone or your laptop, you look all “official”, you look like you are working, too busy to stop and eat with someone, you are eating and working on the go, and that is okay, but to simply come and sit down, to be alright with you, eat your meal at a moderate pace and just be, there must be something odd about you. Or, at least that is how I felt tonight, it only toughened my resolve to just sit and “be” and gave me, pardon the pun, food for thought!
Mr. Michie took me to see a movie this weekend that I have been waiting to see for awhile now: The Way, Way Back.
It gave more than I even expected it too. Not, that I felt at any point either before seeing it or during, that I would walk away and not enjoy it, these coming-of-age tales are close to my heart. I already knew I would love it, the writers (Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, two extremely funny and talented guys), the cast, composed of many actors who I truly admire, the soundtrack, the location. I felt as if I was on Duncan’s (the protagonist’s) journey with him.
I never thought that I would think of Steve Carell as an asshole, a part he played well. Maybe it was more real because I could never imagine him having any of those traits outside of this role, so possibly, you could envisage him enjoying playing someone more sinister, he was into the role and you as the voyeur completely believed it. You hung in this disbelief watching this man emotionally torture a 15 year-old kid, when he himself was the one with all the issues.
Steve Carell’s character drives them to his beach house in an old restored station wagon. We used to have a station wagon for a little while when I was growing up and I have to tell you, the way, way back, was my favourite place to sit. You watched the world from a whole different vantage point back there. You also existed in your own world back there, as if there was some kind of magical barrier between you and everyone else in the car.
I felt for Duncan, there was no way that you could watch this movie and not cheer him on, through everything that was thrown at him. You might not have had this particular struggle but everyone has had their own teenage crap they went through, everyone has walked that road into adulthood, some are still on it. We all bring different things to the table.
In the end, I left with a smile on my face. As Owen tells Duncan, “You’ve got to go your own way”. You have to blaze your own trail, that is the only way that you will truly find out who it is that you are meant to be and that is a path that I don’t think stops after your teenage years, you have to keep blazing that trail because our decisions and the way we choose to handle a situation continues to evolve the path that we are on.
If you can, go see The Way, Way Back, it will be worth it, I promise you!