Friday, December 20, 2019

As the pendulum swings.

Image from
For more than a year I have been swinging on a pendulum (creatively speaking) between an open floodgate of ideas drowning me with too many possibilities and a yawning void echoing the chirp of crickets. Back and forth. Back and forth. Floodgate. Void. Floodgate. Void.

At the beginning of this year I felt a pull to go to Scotland. Then it left. Then it came back. Then it left. So, when an opportunity to attend a writer's retreat in Scotland happened along, I grabbed it, hoping to shake something loose.

You see, one of my many floodgate ideas swirls around the experiences of a notable Scottish ancestor. I thought visiting her homeland would help me gain focus and maybe flesh out her story.

I spent three weeks in Scotland, and pardon my gushing, but I absolutely love that ancestral homeland! 

Nine days were spent with writers in workshops, conversations, and excursions. Hanging with other writers was a balm I've needed for a long time. Still, a story eluded me.

After the retreat, I journeyed east of Edinburgh to an area where my ancestor had lived, and spent several days exploring. I strolled along the coast of the North Sea, her favorite place, then hopped on a bus to her hometown. Surely I would feel a story there, right? But no muse met me... instead I had a disturbing experience and left disheartened. 

My husband joined me in Edinburgh after I was done with the retreat and my research. It was mid-August, so the Festival Fringe--"the world's largest arts festival"--was in full swing. Edinburgh exudes amazing creative energy during the festival. Still, a story eluded me.

We had a blast exploring and eating our way through the Scotland. (Haggis with "neeps and tatties" is delicious, ya'll!) Oh, and if you ever get the chance to go to The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, do it!

Liverpool, England was next on the agenda and we walked along the Royal Albert Dock where my ancestors sailed to America. Then onward to London, and a day trip to Chawton to see the home where Jane Austen lived and wrote. (If you read my previous post Jane Austen Binging this will not come as a surprise.) Still, a story eluded me.

Upon my return home, I went into a slump again. The void.

Then the pendulum swung towards the floodgate, but this time clarity shone upon one of the ideas and a story surfaced for a new screenplay... incorporating the aforementioned odd experience in my ancestor's hometown as a twist. I immediately opened Screenwriter and typed until the idea faded.

Now I am back in the void.

And that's okay.

Thanks to the supportive writers I met at the retreat, I am being patient. They encouraged me to relax about the process, and assured me that even if a story comes in fragments, I can write a fragment at a time until it all comes together.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Jane Austen Binging

Public Domain Image: Jane Austen
I've been binging on movies based on Jane Austen novels. It started with watching the six hour BBC mini-series of Pride and Prejudice (1995) with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, which then made me want to watch the two hour version (2005) with Keira Knightley playing the part of Elizabeth Bennet.

Since I was on a roll, I moved on to Sense and Sensibility (1995) starring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, and Alan Rickman, then watched the 2008 mini-series for comparison. Both are good, but I prefer the version with Emma Thompson.

With that name in mind, I went to Emma (1996) starring Gwyneth Paltrow in the lead role, followed by the 4-hour TV mini-series (Emma 2009).

But the binge didn't end there. I also watched Mansfield Park (1999) with Jonny Lee Miller as the best friend-turned-love interest, Edmund Bertram. (I watch the Elementary series with Johnny Lee portraying Sherlock Holmes, so it was fun to see him in such a different role!)

Does my husband mind all these supposed chick flicks? Not at all. In fact, a couple weeks ago when asked what movie he wanted to watch, he selected The Jane Austen Book Club (2007) and felt proud that he knew most of the stories they discussed... except for Northanger Abbey. I was unfamiliar with that one, too, at the time.

So, I downloaded a free app called "Serial Reader" that provides just a small portion of a classic book each day at a specified time, and I selected (you guessed it) Northanger Abbey. [This is a great way to read classic literature because it only takes about 10-15 minutes to read the day's portion, making it a bit easier to concentrate on and digest.] I'm approximately 81% through this one.

Then I stumbled across an interesting book: The Jane Austen Diet: Austen's Secrets to Food, Health, and Incandescent Happiness by Jane Austen, Bryan Kozlowski (Contributor). The Jane Austen Diet? I had to see what it was all about, and it turned out to be full of delightful nuggets. Who knew Jane Austen was a health guru! One thing for certain... she wouldn't advocate binging, so it's doubtful she would be flattered by our excessive viewing/reading of all things Jane.


In the meantime, I discovered our local library has the DVD of Northanger Abbey... two versions, actually. I didn't even know it was made into a film, let alone more than one! Guess what we'll be watching after I finish the novel!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Take 40: The Music of Silence

Tuesday: My "take" on a film.

The Music of Silence (2017)

The Unforgettable True Story of Andrea Bocelli

I first became aware of Bocelli when he sang "Because We Believe" during the closing ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics held in Torino, Italy. I had recorded the program on VHS and watched that segment numerous times, his magnificent tenor voice touching my soul.

Since then, I've purchased many of his songs. They lift my spirit, soothe anxiety, inspire.

So imagine my delight to watch a film about his life... his journey with blindness, his struggles and triumphs, his family's love, support, and encouragement. And I learned how the title reflects his approach to singing, as he is taught...

Maestro (Antonio Banderas)
Silence is the most important and
the most difficult discipline.

With that, I will stop talking about the film and let you go watch it.

Movieclips Indie Trailer: The Music of Silence

Notes on Content:
  • No violence
  • A scene with implied sex, but nothing shown. No nudity.
  • No language issues (or it was so mild, I didn't notice).

Monday, June 10, 2019

Attitude makes a difference.

Monday: Dialogue, Lines, or Quotes

I posted a review of Walk. Ride. Rodeo. (2019) last week, and I continue to reflect on these wise words of dialogue.

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. I realize maybe I won't have control over every situation in my life. Maybe I don't get to make every decision. But when I wake up in the morning, I get to decide my attitude. Today is our day. And if that's the only decision I get to make that day... I better make it a good one.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Take 39: Walk. Ride. Rodeo.

Tuesday: My "take" on a film.

Two feet moved her body, but four feet moved her soul.

Amberley (Spencer Locke) feels most alive on a horse, and loves rodeo competition. She tells a friend...

Rodeo isn't something I do,
it's, really, it's who I am.

She dreams of competing at the National Finals Rodeo and it seems likely she will reach that goal, but with the flip of an F-150, she finds herself severely injured. Will she ever ride again?

Based on the true story of champion barrel racer Amberley Snyder, this movie inspires and uplifts. I love stories about people who strive to grow from adversity, determined to reach their dreams despite obstacles. Often they need to re-evaluate goals, and require an attitude adjustment.

At a particularly low point, Amberley's mother (portrayed by Missi Pyle) admonishes her...

Don't you give up! This chair will either be
your wings or it will be your anchor. You decide.

Walk. Ride. Rodeo. is quality film, available on Netflix. If you appreciate triumphant true stories, saddle up for this one.

Netflix Official Trailer: Walk. Ride. Rodeo.

Notes on content:
  • Rated PG, family friendly.
  • No sex, and no full nudity (two scenes contain a shirtless male).
  • Infrequent mild language.
  • Violent scene of the accident, and bloody wounds shown.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The woes of selecting seats.

Thursday: Point of View

As mentioned in the post Next...!, I went with my husband and son to see Avengers: Endgame (2019) the weekend it opened. When I learned it was three hours long, I dreaded it. That's a long time to sit in the theater. However, our air conditioner chose that weekend to go on the fritz with outdoor temps around 97°F, so (like I mentioned in Weather) I was happy to sit in the nice cool theater for three hours!

I gave it a thumbs up (plot holes, sure, but still entertaining), my husband gave it a thumb sideways, and my son gave it a thumbs down with an asterisk... *his view of the movie was tainted by his frustration with the seat occupant next to him... a wiggly toddler. Yes, toddler, who did everything except sit still while the parents ignored the child's behavior for the duration of the movie.

Made me think of a post I wrote several years ago, Outtake: Picking your seat. Here it is:

When we were kids, one of my brothers saw a man pulling at the back of his pants and quipped, "That guy must be going to the movies... he's picking his seat."

There are some theaters that make us select our seats when purchasing tickets. The first time we experienced this, it was not good. We selected our seats on the computer screen by looking for the green chairs (available) in the midst of the red (taken), but when we arrived inside the theater, we discovered that a huge guy filled not only his own seat, but also half of my husband's. And as I stepped over to my seat, I felt a slosh beneath my feet. A noisy child behind me had spilled an entire bottle of water (thankfully just water). I spent the duration of the movie trying to keep my feet dry.

So I think if theaters (and airlines) insist on people selecting their seats at time of ticket purchase, they need to provide detailed information on the screen. The seat map should indicate things such as:

Row F Seat 14 - Reeks of cheap perfume.

Row C Seat 6 - Crying child.

Row M Seat 12 - Addicted to texting.

Row S Seat 4 - Hasn't bathed in a week.

Row P Seats 7, 8, 9, 10 - Talkative group.

Row N Seats 12 & 13 - Needs to get a room.

Row G Seat 3 - Flatulent Freddy.

When you select seats, what information do you wish the chart included?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A favorite movie added to Netflix

The Bishop's Wife (1947) is my favorite Christmas movie, so I am thrilled to discover it is now available streaming on Netflix.

I have the DVD, but I want readers to know about the Netflix option, in case someone wants to see it.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Don't spoil the adventure.

Monday: Dialogue, Lines, or Quotes

I sense a creative wave approaching and due to my tendency to analyze ideas to death, I need this reminder:
Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt)
We're on the brink of adventure, children. Don't spoil it with too many questions.

For my review of Mary Poppins Returns (2018) click here.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Thank you! Reflection for the 2019 A to Z Challenge.

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary Reflections badge

To borrow from an old commercial, "Thanks, I needed that!"

I just finished my fifth consecutive April A to Z Challenge. I almost didn't participate this year, and registered just a few days prior to April even though I was still unsure about committing.

The problem was... I felt disheartened about film industry standards (a problem I face in my quest for quality films) and wondered why do I watch movies? 

Those thoughts led to my theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...  a theme I needed.

Writing posts that focused on why helped me tremendously, plus reader comments and movie suggestions rekindled my enthusiasm for watching films and for blogging.

"Thanks! I needed that!"

Now for the nuts and bolts of the Reflection Post:

This is the first year I used the master list. I mean actually used, not just for signing up. The Google sheet was such a valuable tool, I'm kicking myself for not taking advantage of it in the past.

I copied the list and then tweaked it to my liking. Having my own copy allowed me to:
  • Delete duplicate blog registrations
  • Delete blogs that weren't actually doing the challenge, or I couldn't find their A to Z posts
  • Hide blogs that I visited and didn't plan to return to (topic didn't interest me, blog page difficult to read...)
  • Color code blogs
Next year I want to:
  • Have my posts ready before April
  • Link up on other social media (I might even reactivate the FB account I closed four years ago!)
  • Visit more blogs (I visited a lot this year, but if my posts are ready I can visit more next year!)
  • Leave comments on more blogs
I've already selected a theme (out of my list of 19 ideas) for next year's challenge and I need to watch a whole lot of movies between now and then.

Thanks to this challenge, I'm up for that!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Zillion reasons.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Zillion reasons. image

I have a zillion reasons for watching movies. That's an exaggeration, of course... but I was surprised at how many reasons I came up with for the challenge... far more than the 26 posted.

And it's a good thing I can come up with a zillion reasons to watch movies because it seems there are a zillion movies to watch!

Wait, if I count the list of films I want to watch based on your recommendations during this A to Z Challenge... make that a zillion and thirty-five.

I better get busy.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Y Ending Day

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Y Ending Day

If it's a day of the week that ends with Y, that's a good reason to watch a movie, right? But especially Tuesday! Many theaters offer big discounts on Tuesdays. Some offer $5.00 admission all day Tuesday, any show, any time slot.

I have friends who go to the cinema every Tuesday because of the discount. A sister-in-law goes to the movie theater every Friday.

We usually watch movies (whether at home, or the cinema) during the weekend, Friday or Saturday. Because of our schedules, my husband and I haven't taken advantage of Tuesday deals... yet (maybe when he retires).

If we watch a movie on a Sunday, we watch it in our home and select an uplifting one.

Which day(s) of the week do you watch movies?

Saturday, April 27, 2019

X off a list.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

X off a list.

Sometimes I watch a movie to cross it off a list. Not in a negative way, like X-ing out a chore, but in a positive way, like an accomplishment, or to keep track of what I've already watched on the list.

I've been a list-maker since childhood. Lists, charts, and tables. When it comes to movies, I have multiple lists. For example:
  • Movies for my next Binge Time
  • Films to research for future A to Z themes 
    • (Numerous lists within that list!)
  • Wanna Watch
    • Recommended by friends/family/readers
  • Might be good 

Some I gathered from other sources:

Many titles from the above lists go on one or more of these:
  • Movies to borrow from the library
  • Found on Hulu
  • Found on Netflix
  • Found on Amazon Prime

And for those I haven't found:
  • Keep an eye open for these movies

So, yeah, sometimes I watch movies to X it off a list!

Are you a list-maker, too?

Friday, April 26, 2019


Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Weather image

Yes, weather is another reason I watch movies, but more-so since moving to Arizona. The scorching heat drives us indoors, and into the arms of movies. (Yet another way I use movies to Escape!)

I especially like going to the theater in the summer because they crank the air conditioning real cool and we don't have to pay the electric bill! (Well, maybe in the ticket price.) We are on a program with the electric company to minimize use of power between 3 to 6 pm, so our A/C doesn't run much--if at all--during those hours. That's a great time to head for a matinee rather than sit in our stuffy house.

Of course, we can't afford to go to the cinema every day, and even once a week would bite our pocketbook, but I can fantasize, right?

Last summer I spent two separate weeks tending grandkids. We watched a lot of movies, I tell ya. It was too hot to play outside. (Don't worry, we also read books and played games.)

I'm grateful for your movie suggestions during this challenge because I'll watch a bunch for my scheduled movie binge day in May (my reward for getting through April), and then... comes... summer. ☀️☀️☀️

What movies would you watch if cooped-up indoors?

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Visual Storytelling

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Visual Storytelling

I love visual storytelling, especially motion pictures. Don't get me wrong, I love paintings, photos, and other forms of visual storytelling, but there is something about pictures in motion that grabs me. So... another reason I watch movies: because I want to see the story. It might be a story I heard, or a book I read, but I like to see it, too!

I can hear the groans.... The movie is never as good as the book! ... They butchered my favorite story! ... So I saved today's image for this moment...

In a post titled Hints for watching movie remakes, I share several how-to's for enjoying movies made from familiar stories (books, previously-made movies). Due to length, I won't re-post it here. You can follow the link if interested.

Films have a combination of images, music, sound effects, dialogue, and motion. Mighty fine visual storytelling! And that's a big reason why I watch movies.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Understanding image

Technically, this isn't a reason I watch movies--I don't purposely seek movies with the intent to comprehend something--but it's a welcome bonus. I appreciate when movies help me understand cultures, situations, events, outlooks.

In Leonard Matlin's book 151 Best Movies You've Never Seen, he writes, "I don't think any medium is more powerful than film in fostering our understanding of different cultures and creating empathy for people we might never meet." (p. 133)

I love that about movies!

Do you?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Movieclips Classic Trailers: The Bishop's Wife (1947)
My favorite Christmas movie and favorite trailer.

Is there an Oscar for Best Original Trailer? I nominate the one for The Bishop's Wife. I didn't see it in the theater, of course, since I wasn't born yet, but it's my favorite trailer... unusual and clever.

As described in the video, a trailer is "one of those little films you see at your theater which shows you scenes from some big picture that's coming soon" ... well, those little films often give me a reason to watch movies.

Selecting a movie based on its preview is not a perfect system, of course. Sometimes the trailer is better than the movie, or misleads, or reveals too much.

Which brings me to Studio C's spoof on trailers. I've shared this before, but it's worth sharing again... Movie Trailer That Spoils Everything

Still, I find movie previews helpful, and usually watch the trailer before watching the film. If the trailer looks good, I want to watch the movie.

How about you?

Monday, April 22, 2019


Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

A few screenplays from my bookshelf.

Another reason I watch movies? Screenwriting research. I analyze films... What works? What doesn't? How did it flow? What structure did they follow? Did that element enhance the story? 

I also study screenplays. If a movie, for instance, contains flashbacks and flash-forwards yet didn't lose me, I want to see how it was written! When a film tickles my funny bone, I read that screenwriter's work. If I feel drawn to multiple movies written by the same person, I study her writing style (I'm looking at you, Nora Ephron).

Watching and reading movies helps improve my screenwriting skills.

Who wrote the screenplay for your favorite film?

Saturday, April 20, 2019


Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Reviews image

I watch some films to write reviews for ClearPlay, a company that provides legal filtering for movies. I've used their filters for most of the twenty years they've been in business, so when they asked me (three years ago) to write reviews for them, I was thrilled!

Having an assignment for reviews is wonderful because it stretches me to see films I normally wouldn't watch and yet turn out to be really good. For example, when asked to review I Kill Giants (2017), I cringed a little. Aimed at a young audience and categorized as fantasy and thriller, I was certain I wouldn't enjoy it. But I was oh so wrong... what an engaging, complex story!

(For the ClearPlay reviews I've written, click here or on the correlating tab at the top of the page.)

I also write movie reviews for this blog, usually spotlighting quality films I come across. Click on the My "Take" tab above (or click here) for links to those. I'm painfully aware of my neglect in posting reviews on here... maybe I should give myself an assignment and deadline!

(Note: ClearPlay does not ask me to or pay me to promote their product on this blog.)

Friday, April 19, 2019

Quest for Quality Films

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Quest for Quality Films image

I'm on a quest to promote quality films. The Reel Focus blog description reads, "An advocate for raising the bar rather than pushing the envelope."

I applaud filmmakers who raise the bar on quality. Their films entertain, inform, enlighten. They are hard-hitting, cutting-edge, powerful... without assaulting our senses. In contrast, filmmakers who push the envelope strive to go beyond standards of decency.

Within the "About Me" section on the sidebar, you'll find that I "decided to quit complaining about film content, get off my duff and find ways to promote decency in films." 

This blog is one way I promote such films. I watch movies, searching for quality, with the intention of spotlighting them here.

Have you found a quality film lately? Please share!

Thursday, April 18, 2019


Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Popcorn image

Pavlov's dog theory (stimulus triggers behavior) works two directions for me when it comes to motion pictures. Sometimes (not always, thankfully) watching a movie makes me crave popcorn, other times I'm hungry for popcorn, so I watch a movie.

As I mentioned in the post "A stand for concessionsI usually avoid the popcorn at theaters because it's too dry, salty, and the oil makes me nauseous. So, if I'm hungry for popcorn, that means I want to watch a flick at home and nibble (okay, scarf) on my delicious homemade pan-popped kernels of yumminess.

Now I'm hungry for popcorn... so it must be time to watch a movie!

What's your favorite movie snack?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences [Public domain]

The Academy Awards mesmerized me as a child. The glitz! The glamour! If the award show was a platform for political agendas, I was blissfully unaware.

Later, I went through a long period of disgruntlement and ignored the show for years... until technology allowed me to record it. I can fast forward through the chunks that don't interest me and get to the best parts... who gets the Oscars, of course, but my favorite sections are the presentation of nominees accompanied by film clips.

Unlike trailers with their broad overview of the films, the Oscar clips for best and supporting actors/actresses focus on specific scenes, usually with dialogue between two people. That intimate focus helps me connect to the characters. By the end of the show, I usually have a reason to watch some of the Oscar nominated films that previously hadn't been on my must-see radar.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019


Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Next...! image

When the next installment of a likeable movie comes out, I want to watch it. I'm aware that the sequel(s) might disappoint, but I still want to see. And once in a while I like the sequel as well as, if not better than, the original! For instance, I like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) better than Vol.1 (2014); my favorite Indiana Jones movie is the third installment, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989); and Back to the Future Part III (1990) ranks right up there with the first.

Sometimes I fall behind on watching sequels (so many movies, so little time!). My husband and son recently sat me down to watch Thor: Ragnarok (2017), then a couple days later showed me the Complete MCU Recap; Everything You Need to Know Before Avengers: Infinity War (on YouTube), followed by (you guessed it) Avengers: Infinity War (2018)... because they want me to go with them when the next installment, Avengers: Endgamereleases soon (April 26).

By the way, the abundant humor in Thor: Ragnarok makes it my favorite Marvel movie (yep, more than any of the prior).

Which sequel do you favor more than the original?

Monday, April 15, 2019


Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Mood image

Sometimes I watch a movie simply because I'm in the mood to watch a movie, and moods definitely influence my selections. I might feel like streaming a movie at home, other times I'm in the mood to see one at the cinema. And if you read the previous post--Laughter--you won't be surprised that I often watch movies to elevate my mood.

Certain movie moods hit me during holidays:

  • Valentine's Day in February calls for romantic movies. (Sing it... 🎵 "I'm in the mood for love simply because you're near me..." ♪)
  • In July I'm in the mood for patriotic movies. 
  • Halloween movies in October (not horror, but fun ones geared for kids... that's the level of fright I can handle). 
  • The day after Thanksgiving through the end of December I'm always in the mood for Christmas movies.

Are you in the mood for a movie? Based on your current mood, what movie would you select?

Saturday, April 13, 2019


Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Wikimedia Commons

Comedy is my favorite genre. I promised in the "E" post (Escape) I would reveal my genre preference when I got to the letter "L" ... so there you have it. I love laughing! Negative thoughts plague me more than I want to admit, and laughter is a natural anti-depressant. "Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)..." well, because I need laughter.

Ironically, searching for a decent comedy nowadays can put me in a deep blue funk. The quality of comedy films has diminished over recent decades. Too many rely on moronic raunchy humor, as though written by middle-schoolers yucking it up in the locker room. I like most comedy styles--satire, irony, wit, pratfalls, sight gags, slapstick, farce, highbrow, deadpan--but not raunch.

If you have any recommendations for fun humorous films, please share!

And feel free to laugh at these photos of me (circa 1979).

Friday, April 12, 2019

Killing Time

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

In-flight movies help me kill time... and also distract my attention away from the uncomfortable crowded seating. (Hey, that's another way I use movies to escape!)

I watched The Notebook (2004) during a flight and felt silly bawling my eyes out, surrounded by strangers. Sheepishly looking around, I saw numerous sobbing passengers and exchanged compassionate, understanding, glances as we wiped our tears. So, leaning across the aisle, I commiserated, "You too?" The guy nodded affirmation.

I've watched many a movie while in the air, but none as memorable.

Time flies with films in-flight.

On a side note... The above image contains a shot from Flawless (2007), and it so happens I wrote a review of that film during my very first A to Z Challenge! (Click here for the review.)

What do you do when you want (or need) to kill some time?

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Junket - Film Promotions

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Junket - Film Promotions
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Kid Theater with Tom Hanks

When an actor does guest appearances on talk shows to promote a new movie, that's part of the film junket. I don't watch talk shows often, but when I do, I enjoy the celebrity interviews... sometimes they give me another reason to watch the upcoming movie!

The above video is my favorite junket interview of all time... Tom Hanks promoting Bridge of Spies (2015) on the Tonight Show. Granted, Tom Hanks is one of my favorite stars so there's a good chance I would have watched the movie anyway, but this hilarious promotion definitely sealed the deal.

Do you follow any talks shows regularly? Which one(s)? Do celebrity interviews help you decide whether or not you will watch the movie?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Invitations image
"Wanna watch a movie with me?" Invitations from friends or family (especially grandchildren) give me another reason to watch movies. 

A granddaughter contacts me through Hangouts, "Grandma, have you seen [her latest most favorite movie] yet?" Even if we don't have a chance to view it together, I still watch it so we can discuss our favorite scenes.

And remember how much I enjoy movie Date Night? It's twice the fun when another couple invite us on a "double date" to the cinema, or when we gather at someone's home to watch a movie with a bunch of friends. In fact, some movies hit me as funnier while watching with the "gang".

I invite you to share your latest most favorite movie. What was your favorite scene?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Hullabaloo or Hoopla

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Hullabaloo or Hoopla image

Everyone's talking about it. Friends rave about it. Sometimes I watch a movie just to see what all the fuss is about!

Some films deserve the hullabaloo and others, well... not so much.

Usually films surrounded by a lot of hoopla let me down when I finally see them. That might be because the buzz built my expectations too high. On the flip side, sometimes negative chatter about a movie gives me such low expectations that I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I like it!

How about you? Do water-cooler discussions of a movie persuade you to see it? 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Guerdon (reward)

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Guerdon (reward) image

"You can watch a movie as soon as you complete this task!" That's what I tell myself when I procrastinate a dreaded chore, or when I tackle a hefty project.

Movie-time motivates me. So does food... (if you followed my 2017 A to Z posts about Food in Film, this comes as no surprise)... but I digress...

Some undertakings (like the April A to Z Challenge) need a bigger reward than one movie. I'm talking movie binge day! I might include some of the films you've mentioned in comments this month!  

What's your favorite guerdon? What do you reward yourself with after finishing a big task?

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Favorite Star

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Favorite Star image

My father's favorite actor was John Wayne. If The Duke was in the movie, dad watched it, and to him they all bore the same title: "John Wayne Movie." (Movie memories with Dad.)

I haven't reached the point where I watch everything my favorite stars are in, but there are some who definitely draw me to see their films. For the sake of length, I'll share only two...

Tom Hanks - I've been a fan since the early 80s when he was on the television series Bosom Buddies, and I've seen most of his films. Such a versatile actor!

Sandra Bullock - She wasn't on my radar until I watched Speed (1994), and I've seen a majority of her work since.
  • On a side note... A few years ago while we were on vacation and dining at a quaint eatery, Sandra Bullock walked in and sat at a table near us. She was as nice as I always imagined she would be. (We learned she owns a home in that area, so out of respect for her privacy I won't mention the location.)
Who is your favorite star?

Friday, April 5, 2019


Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Escape! image

My head gets full of chatter. Worries, nonsense, grocery lists, to-dos, don't forgets. So, sometimes movies provide an escape.

Picture a monkey in my brain making all kinds of monkey noises -- EE OO OO EE OO. The movie starts and the monkey becomes distracted -- Huh? Oooo Oooo Oooo -- the chatter stops. Lost in a story. Quiet settles over the jungle of my brain. AAAAaaaahhhh.

When you need to escape into a movie, which genre(s) do you turn to? (I'll reveal my genre preference in the letter L post.)

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Date Night

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Date Night image
Dinner and a movie... an ordinary date, yes, but I like it! There's something about sitting in the theater with my husband, looking over at him to see his reaction to a scene, laughing with him, holding hands, sharing popcorn... *sigh*.

This will date us (pun intended) but as a newly-engaged couple we searched the entertainment section of the newspaper to see what was playing at the theaters and selected The Villain (1979). Neither of us had heard of The Villain but it starred Kirk Douglas which meant it had to be good, right? We expected a typical western and felt stunned when the opening scene revealed it was a comedy! Oh my goodness, we laughed so hard throughout the movie we hurt by the end.

We've been married almost 40 years and we continue to date. We try to include a variety of activities (bowling, browsing museums, strolling through a botanical garden) but the majority of the time when one of us asks the other, "What would you like to do for date night?" the answer is, "Go to a movie!"

Do you have a memorable movie date night (good or bad)?

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...


Movieclips Trailers: War Horse (2011)

Sometimes it's the cinematography in a trailer that convinces me a movie is worth seeing.

The first time I consciously made a decision to watch a movie based solely on the cinematography was while watching the trailer for War Horse. I initially had no interest in the movie, but the trailer revealed visually stunning scenes that gave me goosebumps. One moment in particular--a shot of the horse's eye reflects an image of a girl--sealed the deal. I whispered to my husband, "I don't care what the story's about, I want to see that movie!"

(That image is at approximately 1:28 in the above clip.)

If someone wants to feast their eyes upon beautiful pictures in motion, which movie would you recommend?

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Binge Time

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Binge Time image

My husband and I enjoy an occasional movie binge time when we plop ourselves in front of the television and watch film after film after film.

I like to go to the library and check out a stack of DVDs for binging, and, of course, streaming movies on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime add endless possibilities!

Binge time is great for viewing unfamiliar flicks because if one is a boring dud (or two or three, for that matter), no worries because we can just abandon it and move on to (hopefully) a better one.

The day after Thanksgiving is our favorite day for movie binging, but there are other times throughout the year that seem to call out for such an occasion... a day to get swallowed up in movies.

Do you have a traditional binge time? What kinds of movies do you like to binge on?

Monday, April 1, 2019


Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Why I watch movies (as if I need a reason)...

Amusement image

Don't scoff, and please don't revoke my film degree, but one of the main reasons I watch movies is for sheer amusement. I want entertained. It's that plain and simple.

Edward Zwick (producer, writer, director) said, "As a filmmaker, I want to entertain people first and foremost. If out of that comes a greater awareness and understanding of a time or a circumstance, then the hope is that change can happen."

Agreed. As a viewer, I want amused--entertained--first and foremost, and if I become enlightened in the process, well, that is a delightful and appreciated bonus.

How about you... do you watch movies for amusement?

Monday, February 4, 2019

Still here!

Yep, I'm still here. Blogging has become sporadic and I hope to get back to it soon. (Actually... all of my creative projects have been sporadic the last many months.)

And yet... an idea sprouted for another screenplay, so I've started the research for that, too.

In the meantime, you can check out the reviews I've written for ClearPlay. They are listed alphabetically first, then listed in order of publication (with the most recent on top). You can find those here, or click on the tab above labeled: My ClearPlay Movie Reviews.