Tag Archives: The Sound of Music

My Top Ten Movies or, Why People Who Watch Films Can’t Count

22 Nov
Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator

Image by xrrr via Flickr

Okay, I’d better start by admitting that there are actually fourteen on the list.  I did manage to rate them but I couldn’t leave out the last four; I can’t hurt their feelings, I’m afraid.  And yes, I know celluloid/digital things don’t have feelings…I suppose my anthropomorphism* of them comes from the same logic that led me to never say in my mind the code of the padlock to the outside bin cupboard in case identity thieves or secret government agencies read my mind** and accessed my shredded documents and potato peelings.  I only stopped doing it when it occurred to me that if the government has the power to read minds then they could probably get past a three-for-a-pound padlock without too much difficulty.  It was about that time I also decided to stop wearing the foil hat.

The List:

  • Terminator & Terminator 2 – T1 because it’s the greatest love story ever told (don’t scoff – Kyle came across time for Sarah: how many of you men out there can say you’ve done that for the missus?) and T2 because it’s the story of a mother’s love and redemption.  The fact that there’s loads of violence is simply a fortunate coincidence.  I never watched a violent movie until I saw T1: we were newlyweds living in a flat in Jo’burg and my brother and his girlfriend came to stay, bringing movies that had blood and guts but no romance, I thought, including Mad Max (if ever there was a prescient name for Mr Gibson, that’s it) and The Terminator.  I didn’t want to watch any of them but I was a new hostess and soppy in love with the Hub back then, and allowed myself to be persuaded.  I’m so glad I did.  I was glued to the screen (my brother’s a great practical joker) and I have loved T1 ever since.
  • Love Actually – what’s not to love, actually?  Great ensemble cast, interwoven characters, humour, pathos, the best wedding scene in the history of film, and Hugh Grant calling Margaret Thatcher ‘a saucy minx’. 
  • It’s A Wonderful Life – the best Christmas film ever made.  We made the boys watch it with us one Christmas Day.  Tory Boy protested loudly right up to the first five minutes in (particularly that it was in black & white), and then became engrossed in the film and outraged at George Bailey’s rotten luck and unfair shake at the world.  I’ve only ever seen him that indignant over a scratched dvd, so it was quite a conversion.
  • Forrest Gump & Field Of Dreams – I’ve read both of the books on which the films were based and much prefer the movies.  Forrest, Forrest Gump is an ‘idiot savant’*** and gets to hump a lot and Shoeless Joe Jackson is no Ray Liotta.  Mind you, neither is Ray Liotta these days: have you seen his face?  Euggh.  Why people have plastic surgery thinking it will fix growing old is beyond me.   
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol – the best Christmas film ever made: ‘Light the lamp, not the rat!  Light the lamp, not the rat!’  Brilliant!
  • Signs – M. Night Shyamalammmmm is a genius and I hope one day to be able to shake his hand and ask him, ‘How do you pronounce your surname?’  This film is the most scared I like to be, and it terrifies me every time I watch it even though I know the ending.  Which makes me about as bright as that dog who attacks his own leg:
  • The Last of the Mohicans – the one with Daniel Day Lewis.  It’s the only film in which I ever thought he was attractive; I guess I must like my men with long hair and wearing smelly moccasins.  We drove 100kms to watch this on our tenth wedding anniversary.  Mum babysat Tory Boy and we went for a meal and a movie.  I didn’t want to see it but the Hub was desperate, it was on its last week in cinemas, and I was still somewhat in love.  Of course, it was Terminator 1 all over again, but without the annoying sibling.  I once watched it on M-Net three times in one week.
  • You’ve Got Mail – the best three little words ever (I’ve been married a long time).
  • The Sound of Music – singing nuns and singing Nazis?  You’d have to be daft not to love it.
  • Moulin Rouge – any film that contains an Elephant Love Medley and an unconscious Argentinian gets my vote.
  • The Santa Clause – the best Christmas film ever made.  I love it.  Are you sensing a pattern?  All of these Christmas movies bang on about the spirit of Christmas and the true meaning of Christmas without once mentioning the story of Christmas.  But hey, that’s Christmas for you.
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat – Donny Osmond.  Sigh.
  • The Untouchables – Kevin Costner in a mac and Sean Connery in the worst Irish accent ever, plus a fabulous soundtrack.  I love it.

And there you have it.****  Now, what does my list say about me?  It says that I have an obsession with Christmas, I love musicals and violence is fun.  It says I like Kevin Costner, Tom Hanks, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rizzo the Rat i.e. I don’t have a type.  Therefore, my favourite all-time film would be a violent musical about Christmas, starring the thinking woman’s beefcake rodent.

*a word used deliberately to dispel the recent rumour that my readers are all better read than I am

**not as nutty as it sounds; there’s not much in there

***I use inverted commas because I’m quoting from the book.  I’m not sure in this pc world of ours if this term is still in use; though I have to say this is one time I’m in favour of political correctness because it’s a horrible way to describe someone.  If anyone knows another term, I’d appreciate you leaving a comment letting me know, and I’ll change it.

****Not quite: I desperately wanted to include Scrooged but a Top Ten stretched to sixteen and starring four Christmas films was a step too far, I’m afraid.  Carol Kane’s kicking fairy will have to go on another list: Mythical Film Creatures or, Why I Don’t Have Any Friends.

Now tell me about your favourite movies, please.  I’d love to know*****.

*****In case I missed a good ‘un.

Donny Still Makes My Heart Go Pitter-Pat

4 Aug

I have been shocked at how her parents have neglected my niece’s education; nay, appalled. Casual conversation between the Hub and the niece revealed that she had not – I barely know how to express it; I’m overcome. Just give me a moment…the niece had reached the age of eight without ever seeing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It gets worse: she had never seen or heard of The Wizard Of Oz. I thought every person in the western hemisphere had seen both of those films. Several times. At least. Though if it was averaged out, there’s probably some Scrooge in Stockport (naming no Hub names) who has only seen each film once and an enlightened wife in the same general area who has seen them 732 times and needs to replace her worn-out videos with brand-spanking new dvds if anyone’s listening.

The Hub and I huddled together and conspired to fix the deficit. It’s too late for the poor nephew; once you turn thirteen that’s it: musicals are seriously un-cool, as is saying the phrase ‘seriously un-cool’; but the niece is young enough not to be seriously impaired by her lack of musical knowledge, and we have had three girly nights in a row making good on parental neglect: The Wizard Of Oz to set the bar, followed by Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. One film starts with a death and a celebratory song and has a child go off with three strange men; the other has the scariest nose in the ugliest suit I have ever seen and is guaranteed to give her nightmares about taking sweets from strangers, as well as making her think that offing the missus can be jolly good fun. I can’t believe she has never seen them.

I followed it up with The Sound Of Music – singing and Nazis; I might has well have put on Cabaret, old chum. She enjoyed them all but my stocks were running low because so many musicals are not suitable for eight year olds. I’m beginning to think that no musicals are suitable for eight year olds. Moulin Rouge – prostitutes and TB. Chicago – adultery, murder, miscarriages of justice. Even the seemingly innocuous early musicals are seething masses of misery: ‘Seven Brides For Seven Brothers – kidnap, domestic slavery and liars, anyone?

Fortunately, she missed nasty undercurrents such as Dorothy the Opium Eater because she was too busy plastering me in make-up and seventeen colours of nail polish. When she gets her first Academy Award (TrademarkCopyrightLegalBlahBlahBlah) she had better thank her Auntie Tilly for starting her on the road to success (but leave out the bit about how she covered me in so many layers of foundation, when I stood up my face was too heavy for my body and I fell head-first into the carpet, undoing all her good work).

Tonight I put on Joseph but she got bored with it and cleared off, leaving Donny and me alone. I was relieved: Donny Osmond is the only heart throb of my early years who still makes me weak at the knees (so long as I don’t see him in flares; flares make me nauseous). He is the only famous person who, if I ever meet him, will have to wipe the drool from chin. I hope for his sake he never meets me. However, I carry a spare pack of hankies on the off-chance. I’m not one to spit in the face of fate. Here he is, doing what he does best:

The Sound Of Music

18 Jan

Apologies if I owe you a reply to an email; I have been incredibly busy all week and I have not had time to write, but I have not forgotten you.  I have been busy because my house is to be re-wired tomorrow; I may have mentioned it.  We will be without electricity all day so, as Captain von Trapp might say, ‘My fellow bloggers, I shall not see you again for a very long time.’  Forty-eight hours is a long time in the blogosphere – if I don’t post every day you will forget me and move on to a more reliable housewife.

It has been a long road getting here: a man called at my house before Christmas to survey it.  Despite the fact that he couldn’t move for decorations, huge trees, and the thirty-seven gifts I was wrapping when he called, he seemed to think a little shuffle around was all that was needed for the electricians to get on with their work.   I trusted him (it was Christmas and he was Scouse, after all), thinking the only problem might be the room my backside takes up: how do I solve a problem like my rear?  I did a little clearing and then forgot about it until the engineer called the Friday before our due date.

Not a nice man.  He walked around my house with a disapproving nose, peering into cupboards to see if we had storage space, and tut-tutting the whole time.  He even went up the loft ladders, which must have sixteen, going on seventeen steps, then pulled up short: ‘There’s no way we can do this on Monday.’   Granted, you could climb every mountain in Britain and not be qualified to find your way around the detritus of fourteen years that chokes my under-roof area, but it’s not that bad.  Though I did once get trapped in one gap for an hour before the Hub came to look for me, wanting his dinner; but that was a long time ago and he has blown up many balloons since then in an effort to keep me sweet.

I begged the engineer not to write us off until I had tried to get rid of some my favourite things, and he graciously gave me a few days.  I spent the whole of last weekend Freecycling, or Freegling, as it is now: the subsidiary Brit arm fell out with the Yank parent arm about its lack of understanding about how things work here, and declared its independence.  No recycling with that over-the-pond heckling! was the cry.  Whatever.  All I know is, people quickly collected three old vacuum cleaners, PC World’s entire back-catalogue of broken computers, and even a lonely stoat fur I found in the corner over the bath where the birds nest.  I was happy to say so long, farewell to it all. 

The engineer did not return, but the surveyor and the head electrician appeared on Tuesday.  They both seemed to think the job could be done tomorrow, but the loft was still a cause for concern because every card, drawing, sentimental tat  and hand-made gift ever given to us by the boys lay in boxes right over the area needed for access.  So it was back up in the loft for me and broken toys, broken appliances, old clothes, bedding and an idle vice went the way of their former housemates.  Why would anyone want such crap?  I really don’t understand it, I thought, as I lamented each departure.

Now the loft is as clear as it is ever going to be; the house is as uncluttered as the moment before the van with our furniture arrived fourteen years ago; and I have confidence that it will be a go tomorrow. 

Amazing!  I had just typed that last full stop when the electrician called, inspected and told me it is a go – what a nice man.  It was music to my ears.  I must have done something good.

Tomorrow will be as easy as do-re-mi: all I have to do is get up; make, eat and clean up after breakfast; shower & dress; put everything, including drawers full of clothes and tvs which are blocking access, on the beds, tables and chairs; prepare a flask of tea and sandwiches for lunch; and take out tomorrow’s already prepared dinner from the freezer…all by eight a.m., when ten burly men will arrive to rip my house apart and put it back together again in time for tea.

Here’s to a happy, dustsheet-covered day.  See you on Wednesday!

 

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