Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Big Sick and The War Movie

I went to two movies this past week, selecting them based on reviews. One was okay and the other one I walked out on after the first hour.

The Big Sick is a "true" story about a male comedian and his girlfriend, and relies on the cultural contrast between an American girl and a Pakistani boy who meet, date, and fall in love. The story is well-told and moves along nicely, but the language always detracts from my enjoyment of any film, and this film has filthy language.

Dunkirk is also a "true" story about soldiers needing to be evacuated from war. It tells three different stories at the same time, which is probably the biggest fault with the film. Trying to blend three stories into one is always tricky, but there are ways to do it that are seamless; in this film, however, there is no blending. It's challenging to leave the continuity of the narrative up to the viewer to make happen, and I found it distracting at first, and then just plain annoying. About an hour in, I told my movie buddy I was going to leave -- and she, the one who never walks out of a movie, left with me, sharing the same complaints that I had about the film.

I know that these two films will be considered for awards nominations, but while The Big Sick could maybe be an award-winner because most people overlook the foul language, I would be greatly disappointed if Dunkirk won any awards because it's just not that good.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


I love reading and finish about a book a day – sometimes, 2 books a day, depending on what else is going on. When I find an author whose style is pleasing, I read several of his/her books. Lately, I’ve been astounded at the poor editing displayed in the books I read, from lots of ticky-tacky things to major errors. Here are some of my favorites:

Off of: it’s either off or it’s on, but never of
Towards: there is no s on toward, or backward, or forward
Till: this means to cultivate the ground or to have a money drawer. The “short way” to write until is ‘til, but the word is short enough to use as it is.
Farther/further: if it’s distance, it’s farther; if it means taking an idea to the next level, it’s further.
As of yet: it’s just yet

There are many more examples I could point out, but these are the most commonly misused words I’ve encountered in the past week.

Yeah, I know: I need to get a life!


The engine light came on in the RAV, followed by the “skid” light, and the cruise control light was blinking. Worried that this must mean something dire, I took my RAV into my favorite auto service center and said, “What’s up with this?” The technician opened the hood and there was the problem: rats!
Rats have been under the hood, storing dog food they’ve stolen from the bag of food in the garage. They’ve also nibbled on a variety of wires, knocking out sensors and causing the various lights to come on. Not sure how far into the wiring harness they have gnawed, but the tech says that sometimes, the rats win and I end up with a very big repair bill.

I’ve left the RAV there as it’s a two-day process to repair. A friend will pick me up tomorrow and take me to my car as the dealer has promised to have it repaired for me for the weekend. After I pick up my car, I’m going to get myself to the big box hardware store and get some rat killer!!

UPDATE: I went to the lumberyards and bought a sonic wave thingy that's supposed to scare the rats out of the garage. In case that doesn't work (I'm a pragmatist), I also got some rat bait and some out-and-out rat killer pellets. I'm going to use all 3 and see what happens. The dog food is in the trash, so that's not there to tempt the rats to stay. I'm actually going to put the pellets under the hood of my car as that's where the rats took the dog food for snack time.

We'll see what happens. Meanwhile, I have to keep Daisy out of the garage as she forages for the rats -- and I want to see them die from poisoning, not my dog.

Thursday, July 13, 2017


There is a very sweet movie playing, Maudie, starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, that I recommend for its simple story told with complexity in the acting. Maudie is plagued by what appears to be severe arthritis, and because of her physical difference, she keeps to herself. When a notice is posted on a bulletin board asking for a woman to become a man’s housekeeper, Maudie responds to the post by walking 7 miles from town to a small cabin where Everett lives. Everett doubts that Maudie is physically able to be his housekeeper, but she is tenacious and he offers her the job.

Everett is anti-social to the extreme, but Maudie’s gentle presence slowly works its way through his tough exterior and they form a bond that benefits both. When, however, Everett wants to become physically intimate, Maudie says “no.” If Everett will marry her, Maudie will grant him husbandly intimacy, but she’s too proud to be taken advantage of by a man’s basic human needs. Eventually Everett gives in and marries Maudie, and the story of their relationship takes a turn.

Maudie paints simple, colorful rustic scenes of what she sees around her. One day, a passerby stops at the cabin and offers to buy some of Maudie’s art. Maudie is shrewd and asks for $5 per painting, which the woman gladly pays. As the story evolves, Maudie’s paintings become more popular and there is even a news feature done on her and her artwork. Life for the couple settles in and moves on. Maudie’s health deteriorates, but still she paints and takes care of Everett, but surprisingly, he also takes care of her. Their story is sweet, gritty, and unnecessarily cruel, but quite engaging, and is based on the life story of a real Maudie.

I recommend this film for the older crowd because I’m not sure younger people will watch long enough for the story to emerge and grow. The acting is first-rate and really sells the story. Sally Hawkins completely catches the peculiarity of her character, Maudie, and Ethan Hawke deftly captures the frustration and isolation of his character, which is mirrored by the environment in which they live, Nova Scotia. Together, these two actors make the movie work and it is a film worth seeing.

*there is a biography of Maudie Lewis on Wikipedia that provides more details of her, her marriage to Everett, and her painting.

Monday, June 26, 2017

My Favorite Things

My favorite time of the day begins about 2 pm, when the dogs and I go into my bed to read. They cuddle up next to me and I take a full cuppa joe with me, so we have our routine down pat. Me and my Kindle and my best friends. It doesn't get much better than that!