Showing posts with label Dads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dads. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Father's Day: Some Things To Do and Think About

I don't mean to scare you, but Father's Day is next Sunday.  Better start thinking about that card you need to send or that present you need to buy.

I know there are those of you out there who think Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and other so-called "holidays" are just Hallmark's way of getting us to buy those overpriced cards.  It all might have started that way, but I find these kinds of "holidays" to be an opportunity to take a break from our hectic Me-Me-Me lives and do something nice for those we love.

I mean, get real.  How often do you do or say something nice to your Dad just because you love him?

So there are two prongs to this day we call Father's Day.  Prong one, if your Dad is still around and Prong two, if he isn't.

If your Dad is still around and you love him, then Father's Day is a day to remind yourself of that and ask yourself, "What could I do today to show him how much I love him and how grateful I am for all he has done for me?"

My Dad once told me that I could never repay him for everything he had done for me (he was right), so when he asked me to do something for him, he expected that I wouldn't forget.  That I would do it. That was said to me, of course, after I had screwed up.  But even though I was young, I got it. OK, Dad, sounds like a deal.

So whether or not your Dad actually said something like that to you, like my Dad did, it's really true.  If you have children, you know what my Dad was talking about.  If you don't have them yet, then just think about what your Dad has done for you.  You can't repay him like for like, but you can certainly repay him by sharing yourself, by thanking him, by doing something special for him that he would like.

If your Dad has passed away, as mine has, then Father's Day is a day for memories.  It's a day to honor him by spending some time thinking of him and all that he did for you and what you two did together.

(I'm the big one with the bonnet)!

If you will indulge me a bit, I would like to share a few anecdotes about my Dad. 

I know I have written about him before ("What Makes a Great Father?"), so I hope I don't repeat myself (my kids accuse me of that all of the time), but here are some things I remember about my Dad (and I am going to apologize in advance for any sentimentality - and there will be some).

There were trips to the ice cream store and caramel apples (we actually called them taffy apples); cider and homemade donuts in the fall (my Dad made the donuts); my Dad would take me with him to the music store where we would listen to records together in those private rooms they had; when I was a teenager, he would always let me have the car to drive my friends around; and he bought me my first pair of high heels (my mother wanted to keep me about five years old for the rest of my life). 

So many memories....

  • "You can't afford NOT to buy it."  I think I have to blame my Dad for my lack of thriftiness. He himself was a bit of a spendthrift, according to my Mom.  When I would see something I liked and it was on sale, really marked down, my Dad would utter that phrase "You can't afford NOT to buy it." I think it was more him giving me permission than anything else, and he probably said that to himself, too, to justify his spending, but it felt good to have him want me to have something.  Likewise, my Dad also believed that if you didn't get that thing "you couldn't live without," even if you couldn't afford it, later when you had all of the money in the world, you would never find that one thing again and it would always bother you.  He was right about the former, but I think I need to work on the "can't live without it" part. 

  • My Dad played trumpet in a dance band for all of the years I can remember.  His band was actually hired to play at MY PROM!!!  I was mortified.  Who wants their parent at her prom?  Now this was 1966. We still wore long dresses and long gloves and our hair up (though things were starting to get psychedelic if my dress is any indication). 

I wish I still had those earrings!

And my Dad bought me these matching leather shoes (because I couldn't live without them)!

       This was also a time that was probably one or two years before high
       schools started hiring rock bands to play at their proms. At our prom, the
       band was one of those combos you would see playing down at the beach
       so the old folks could show off their foxtrots.  The music was pretty staid,
       and we kids still waltzed around in each other's arms. I didn't like my Dad
       being at my Prom, but I must say when my Dad got up
       to play a solo on "Wonderland by Night," I was very proud.

  • This might seem macabre, but one of my happiest memories now is when my Dad was dyingCertainly it's not a happy memory that he died nor was it happy at the time that he was dying, but what makes me happy now is that I was there in his last moments.  I knew my Dad was ill, but when my mother called to say my Dad was really bad, I left my job, my husband and my young children in California to go help my mother, who was 83 and all alone with my Dad at their home in Michigan, and I planned to stay there as long as I was needed.  When it became apparent that my Dad was about to leave us, but he was struggling and in pain, the hospice nurse said to me, "Sometimes the dying need permission to go."  I was alone at my Dad's bedside and said to him, "Daddy, you have been a wonderful father but we will be fine.  It's OK for you to go.  I love you very much."  And though he had been in a coma all of that time, he said, "I love you too."  I went for a walk in the snow and when I came back he was gone. I had heard his last words and they were words of love. So though I am sad to have lost my Dad, I am very happy that I was there with him at the end.

So no matter how you feel about Hallmark, in this hectic and crazy world we live in, we have Father's Day as a day to remind us about our Dads.  Let's do something nice for our Dads on Father's Day.  If Father's Day spurs us to take pause and think of our Dads, then thank you, Hallmark.  But if you really, really hate Hallmark, you don't have to buy a card.  You can make one or write a heartfelt letter of appreciation.


My Dad was a wonderful father.  I know I have talked about him many times on this blog, but I can't help it.  He was an inspiration, and I miss him very much and wish that he was still here now, especially now that I am of a certain age. He didn't drink so we couldn't have drinks together, but I would love to probe that brain of his now.  I realize that I don't really know very much about my Dad and what he thought about his life and all of that.  I do know he wanted to be a cowboy, he loved guns and big American cars, he could fix just about anything, he was very understanding when I had a problem and he had a curious mind.  Isn't it sad that we only really appreciate our parents once they are gone?

He was also very patriotic.  The red, white and blue motif was not an accident. I think that jacket was from the Olympics and the hat?...well, like I said, he wanted to be a cowboy.  The shirt and necktie?  A constant.  He was ever the gentleman which made it very easy to buy him Father's Day gifts.  Ties, a given, and cuff links, because he always wore French cuffs.

So memories are important on Father's Day.  They honor our Dads but they also bring comfort to us.  I enjoy thinking about my Dad and writing about him.  He deserves to be remembered.

If your Dad is still alive, Father's Day is a chance to thank your Dad, but we shouldn't just do that on Father's Day.  We should be aware of our loved ones every day of the year and look for opportunities to show them we love them, especially now in light of recent events.  In the blink of an eye, we could lose our loved ones, and we don't want to leave anything left unsaid. 

I share all of this with you because I don't want you to have any regrets.  Once they are gone, it's too late.  I would give anything to see my Dad again.

Since my Dad has passed away, I will spend the day thinking of him and remembering what a great Dad he was and how much he affected my life which in turn affected the next generation.

My parents were 72 when my son was born so he didn't have the opportunity to learn any lessons directly from his Granddaddy, but I have talked about my Dad so much that I hope some of it has rubbed off. 

One thing I know for sure is that my son, now the father of three, is a wonderful father.  So I like to think that something must have.


So next Sunday, Father's Day, if your Dad is no longer alive, spend the day thinking about him and what he meant to you and, if your Dad is still around, call him up and tell him something that will make him happy. 

Or better yet, why not just do it now?


Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday

for my review of

 "Love and Friendship"


 The Week in Reviews

(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)


and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before

 I Die Project."


If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Some Thoughts on Thoughtfulness (Rosy the Reviewer's "Happiness Trilogy, #2")

If I had to describe my Dad in one word, it would be "thoughtful."

Yes, he thought big thoughts, but that's not what I am really talking about here. 

What I am really talking about here is his thoughtfulness that made others happy.

Speaking of big thoughts, though, you can tell I am on a bit of a "big thoughts" bent with my "How Self Aware Are You...Really?" post of a couple of weeks ago and now this one.  I think I will do one on "Mindfulness" next to make a sort of "Happiness Trilogy," because, in my opinion, those three concepts - Self-Awareness, Thoughtfulness and Mindfulness - make up the three most important traits to lead to personal happiness and the happiness of those around you.

But anyway, back to my Dad.

(That's my nephew photo bombing my Dad's picture before anyone knew what photo bombing was!)

He was a deep thinker and endlessly curious. I would come staggering home at 2am after a night of doing stuff I wasn't supposed to, and my Dad would be up.  My mother tried to impose a curfew on me, but based on how disrespectful my older brother was to her, I, too, pushed the limits of her patience.  Unfortunately, my Dad and Mom did not present a united front so when she and I got into a fight about when I was supposed to be home, she left it to my Dad who eventually said to me, "Can you be home by 2am?"  I thought for a minute (not really.  I didn't think at all). I immediately said, "Sure, I can do that."

So back to my story. 

I would come teetering in at 2am and there my Dad would be working on his lesson.  He was a Christian Scientist and they have readings, also known as "lessons," that they are supposed to do every day. He was up late doing that, because my Dad was also a guy who always had several jobs.  There was his regular job, the one where he gave his paycheck to my Mom to run the household, and then there were his other part-time jobs where the money he earned from those was his to spend on his gun collection, cars, trumpets, whatever he was into at the time.

My Dad was also a night owl, so he would come home from his part-time extra job, probably have a snack (he used to love Ritz crackers and cheese and to amuse me he would line them up on the edge of the kitchen counter and then flick them one by one off the counter and into his mouth and then laugh), watch a little TV and then do his lesson.  So it was not unusual for him to be up at 2am, even though he had to be at his regular job by 8am the next morning, and in summer, when school was out, it was not unusual for me to come home that late.  Hey, I was a kid with a kid's agenda!

When I would arrive home smelling of smoke ("Oh, no, I don't smoke but some of my friends do.  Must have gotten on my clothes from them!"), and god knows what else, my Dad and I would invariably get into a discussion about religion or something I was interested in at the moment.  Though he had strong opinions about things, he was also very curious about what other people thought.

But anyway, long story short, that's not the kind of thoughtfulness I am talking about here.  I am talking about those little things we do that show we care about other people's feelings and that we are thinking of them.

My Dad was the most thoughtful person I have ever met, and I like to think that I am also a thoughtful person.  If so, I learned from the Master.

For example, if I gave my Dad a present, such as a shirt or a tie, he would be sure to wear it the next day to show me that he liked it.  Weeks or months later, he would remind me of how much he liked that shirt or tie by saying so or sending me a picture of him wearing it.

(Here he is showing off the BBQ apron sent to him by his granddaughter.  He always wanted to be a cowboy.  Don't you love the oven mitt?  It's a gun!)

He also would remember what I liked. 

If we were "window-shopping," a favorite past-time for middle-class families in the 50's and 60's when we actually had department stores downtown in our smaller towns, and I pointed out something l really liked, it would show up later as a birthday present or special surprise.

(He bought me that coat, hat and muff back in 1968 before we were enlightened about fur - I think he bought me that pink princess phone too!).

One time when my parents went on their usual Sunday drive, and I was old enough to be left home alone (because I HATED those Sunday drives), I decided to make them a special surprise dinner to have ready for them when they got home. I was probably eleven or twelve. I went through my mother's cookbooks and found some recipes that looked like I could manage them and made a three course meal complete with fancy silverware and cloth napkins.  I think I made something like baked eggs with spam as a starter, fish sticks for the main course and Jello for dessert.  Whatever, it wasn't very good, but my parents were surprised and ate it with relish (or pretended to).  Later, I found a $5.00 "tip" under my Dad's napkin.

When I was sick, he would come home from work, sit on the edge of my bed and ask me what I needed.  In a sad little squeaky voice, as pitiful as I could manage, I would say, "A milkshake" and he would either make me one or go down to Miller's Ice Cream and get me one.

I would also get these late night yearnings for a snack when my Dad and I were watching TV together, "but I didn't know what I wanted."  My Dad would quiz me and I would say, "No, not that.  No, not that," so then he would whip up something that he would make up and it would be just right, not so much because that was just the thing I wanted but because even as a young girl, I knew he was taking the time and trouble to make me happy.

That, to me, is what thoughtfulness really is. 

It's taking the time and trouble to do something nice for someone else, and it's also acknowledging, after the fact, when someone does something nice for you. 

How often do we go out of our way for others?  How often do we break a sweat and mess up our schedules to help someone or just to do something to make them happy?  And how often do we acknowledge it when someone does that for us?

Now I know you could make a case that I was one spoiled little girl, and in some ways, I guess I was.  But my Dad enjoyed making people happy, and I got that.  I grew up to be a person who wanted to emulate that thoughtfulness.  I never took any of it for granted.  I wanted to be like him.

You can imagine my shock, though, when I left home and discovered that not everyone was as thoughtful as my Dad! 

So as I ponder this whole issue of thoughtfulness, I have come up with some ways to be thoughtful (feel free to add your own):

  • After a party or dinner at a friends house, it's thoughtful to call, email (or heaven forbid) write a thank-you note to thank your host for a lovely time.

  • If you stay at a friend's house, it's thoughtful to come bearing gifts or splurge on a nice meal (or both) and write a heart-felt email or (there it is again) thank-you note when you get home.

  • Likewise, if friends stay with you, hopefully you have a room they can stay in. It's thoughtful to have the same amenities in the room that they might find in a hotel (without the room charge, of course!) - along with the clean linens and towels, bottled water, some snacks, robes, a place to hang their clothes, scented candle, anything you think would make them feel at home.

  • Remembering someone's birthday is a given, but birthday and Valentine's cards are almost a thing of the past as are Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and any other holiday where once sending a greeting card was common.  I know many of us castigate the greeting card world for its commerciality, but I know I love receiving cards from friends and loved ones reminding me they are out there and thinking of me. 

  • And it is especially thoughtful to write something heartfelt and personal on the card.  When I send out Christmas cards, I eschew the practice of bringing everyone up-to-date on the accomplishments of my family, but rather, I remind that person of a happy time we have had together or what that person has meant to me.  Likewise with birthday cards.

  • The same goes for presents. It's easy for us to get our presents from Amazon and that's fine.  But it's also a bit impersonal.  It's not like the old days when we went downtown and shopped for just the right thing.  Now we can choose something online and with one-click it's on it's way.  We're done. But adding a personal note takes away the impersonal aspect and reminds our friends and loved ones that we are thinking of them in a very personal way.

  • And when you receive a present, it's thoughtful to not only thank the sender right after you receive the gift, but it makes the person feel really good when you thank him or her later.  "You know, I really love that sweater you gave me for my birthday last year.  I wear it all of the time."

But thoughtfulness doesn't just pertain to gifts and cards.

It's keeping up with the details of the lives of your friends and family and following up:  "How did that test go?" - "How is your mother doing?" - "Did you really kill your boss?"

When you know someone is having a hard time, it's human nature to not know what to do and to not talk about it.  However, we all want to be acknowledged and even saying something comforting can be thoughtful.  If you can do more, then do more.  Reaching out is probably the most thoughtful thing we can do...and sometimes the hardest.

My Dad used to say that you show love when you do something you don't really want to do, but you do it anyway and expect nothing in return.

I think that also falls into the thoughtfulness category.

Being thoughtful is something the animals can't do.  It's a human thing.  We are all capable of it.  But we often don't do it because our lives are hectic, and let's face it, being thoughtful takes time and effort.  It takes work!

But what we maybe don't realize is that it doesn't take much to show thoughtfulness and that little thing might just be the little thing that someone needs to make his or her day:  getting an unexpected thank you note, getting an unexpected phone call or email that says "I was just thinking about you" or sending someone a little gift "just because."  Those things make people happy and when people are happy it's a better world out there. (I recently received a hand-written thank you note for a small spontaneous gift I had given a friend.  It made my day).

We have the opportunity for little acts of thoughtfulness every day. 
Holding the door open at the mall for a woman with a stroller; helping someone with their bags at the supermarket; babysitting so our friend or loved one can have a break; taking someone to the airport; picking up the check at lunch; emptying the dishwasher without being asked, so your wife doesn't have to (thanks, Hubby); not giving the finger to someone who cuts us off in traffic. 

It's all about being aware of what's going on around us and seeing the opportunity to do something thoughtful.

Years ago, when I was all alone at Victoria Station on my first trip to London hauling a couple of huge suitcases down some stairs to catch a train (this was before I got the message about traveling with huge suitcases), a young woman saw that I was struggling and anxious and grabbed one of my suitcases and helped me onto the train.  She didn't make a big deal out of it.  She helped me and then took her seat. But I have never forgotten her.

Another time when my marriage was falling apart and I was at the airport traveling back to my parents' house with my barely two-year-old son, it was obvious I was having a hard time managing him and my bags and a woman carried my bag and accompanied me to my gate.  And on the plane my son's seat was my lap. The passengers around us could tell I was in bad shape and played endless games of "high fiving" with my son as he ran up and down the aisle. I know, I was one of those passengers with a kid which goes to show, you never know what hell someone might be going through. I have never forgotten those people and those acts of kindness.

One last thing and, hang on, it's a bit of a rant.  Hey, it's Tuesday.  That's what I do.

Being thoughtful also means being thoughtful before we tear into someone. 

I know we all observe things and have stuff happen to us that makes us want to vent and to tell people off, but when we do that, how is that really helping anything?  It might make us feel better for the moment, but in the end, is it making the world a better place? If it is done constructively, yes, we have the power to change things, but sadly, most of us don't think of constructive criticism when we are angry.  Things can escalate quickly into a sad drama.

And when we feel the need to correct our friends and loved ones by venting, we run the risk of losing those relationships.  Is it really worth it to make our points?

I know we live hectic, crazy lives, but being thoughtful of others speaks to our highest selves.  If we lose that, we lose the best part of what makes us human.

If you need an incentive, think of this:  What a wonderful world it would be if everyone was looking for opportunities to be thoughtful.

And that's the reason I wrote this blog post.

That's the kind of world I want to live in and the world I want my grandchildren to grow up in. 

I thank my Dad for his example.

As part of my effort to practice self-awareness and my planned "Happiness Trilogy," (stay tuned for the "Mindfulness" segment - I know you can't wait), I plan to look for ways to be thoughtful every day.  It has to start somewhere.

Won't you join me?

What thoughtful gestures do you appreciate or remember?

Thanks for Reading!

See you Friday
for my review of the new movie



The Week in Reviews

 (What to See or Read and What to Avoid)


 and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before

 I Die Project."




If you enjoyed this post, feel free to copy and paste or click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at

Friday, June 13, 2014

What My Father Said and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "A Million Ways to Die in the West" and DVDs "Still Mine," "In Secret" and "Not Fade Away" as well as Rob Lowe's new book, the new Tom Douglas restaurant Tanakasan and the touring company of the musical "Once."]

But First

Father's Day is Sunday so I thought I would talk about my Dad. 


I have written about him before (in my blog "What Makes a Great Father"), but since I have been in touch with some of my childhood friends and they have remembered him fondly, it reminded me once again what an interesting Dad I had and what an all around great guy he was.
And he said some cool things.
First of all, I titled this "What My Father Said."
The first thing he said was, "Don't call me Father." Well, he never actually said it like that, but we never called my Dad "Father." 

He didn't like that.  He thought there was only one "Father," and if you are religious, you know who that is.  My Dad was a religious guy, but in a more spiritual way, not your "I know the one and only way" kind of religious guy.  No, we didn't call him "Father," we called him Daddy.  My mother called him that too, but let's not go there.  And my kids called him Granddaddy.


He was your company man who worked 8-5, handed over his paycheck to his stay-at-home wife and was forced to retire when he turned 65.  They handed him a watch and said sayonara. 
I don't think he liked that, because even when he was working full-time, he worked two and three extra jobs to have money to spend on his hobbies (guns, cars, his trumpets, and to indulge his children, which he did).  His part-time jobs included running a bowling alley (I remember him trying to show me how to bowl and I dropped the ball on his foot but nary a curse word ensued), working in a men's clothing store, working in a bakery and his real passion, playing trumpet in a dance band.
When he retired, he kept working and playing in that band until he died at 83.
What I remember most are some of the things he said:
Imagine that!
Until the day he died, he had a huge curiosity about everything. He was very opinionated, but he also entertained other points of view.  And despite hardships and disappointments in his life, he was always positive and upbeat and was still interested in life.  He would tell me about something he had read that amused or intrigued him and he would say, "Imagine that!"
You can do anything.
I had a brother, and my Dad and brother did guy things like working on and racing cars, target shooting, watching sports, but I never felt less than because I was a girl.  My Dad was just as interested in what I was doing.  He bought me my first pair of heels when my mother balked, and he gave me a budget so I could buy my own clothes.  He also encouraged my dreams to become an actress.
Love is doing something for someone that you don't want to do but you do it anyway and expect nothing in return.
That was the mantra.  Self sacrifice.  You do it even if you don't want to.  You don't forget things.  You get there on time.  You go the extra mile.  You break a sweat.  You do it because you said you would.  That's love.  That's how I was brought up.
He said a lot of other things, too, like how he always wanted to be a cowboy and education would solve the problem of crime...I could go on and on.

It's funny, though, the things you retain. 

My Dad would shake his head when trying to pull out of the driveway.  He was always amazed that there wouldn't be a car around for miles until he had to pull out of the driveway. Then a car would come along just at that moment so he had to stop.  I thought of him today in the parking lot at the gym.  I was the only one in the parking lot and was pulling out of my space and along comes ONE car so I had to stop as it passed. He was right about that.  It happens a lot. Now that I have planted this seed, you will see for yourself he was right.  As he used to say, "It never fails."
He also loved Maureen O'Hara.

He was a short order cook, a Mr. Fixit, a musician (he could play anything), a philosopher, a movie lover, a joke teller and a gentleman.  And he almost always wore a hat and a tie and wing-tipped Florsheims.

I wrote this letter to my Dad for Father's Day in 1968 when I was 20 years old.

I think it tells it all.
(Thanks, Mom, for saving everything and reminding me that even though I was young, I appreciated my Dad and wanted him to know it. I am so glad I did).
Here is what it said:

"My Dad"

1.  My Dad can whip up exotic snacks on three minutes notice.
2.  My Dad makes dreams come true:
     a.  like canopy beds
     b.  princess phones
     c.  fox muffs
     d.  little furry poodles named Caniche
     e.  sleek white sports cars
3.  My Dad sits up watching the late show, the late-late show, the late-late-late show...and falls asleep during the first one.
4.  My Dad writes books and builds super race cars
5.  My Dad drives souped-up cars so his daughter will have a groovy car to drive around town and impress high school boys
6.  My Dad knows just what to say when I am sad or happy
7.  My Dad is encouraging in my moments of uncertainty
8.  My Dad is a spiritual example because he lives his life according to what he believes
9.   My Dad tells funny jokes
10. My Dad is a combination actor-psychiatrist-hippy-comedian-guidance counselor

And because of all these things I certainly am proud that you are my Dad.

All my love on this Father's Day,


The muff and the car.

The furry poodle named Caniche.

I am glad I wrote that letter. 

I also told him again over the years what he meant to me. 
And I am glad that despite the fact that I lived thousands of miles away for most of my adult life, I was there at my Dad's side when he died.  And that I was able to say to him once again how I felt.
If you have a Dad who is still around who was a good Dad, don't forget to tell him how much you care and how grateful you are for all he has done for you.  And don't wait for Father's Day.  You won't regret it.
Share your Dad stories. 
Sunday is Father's Day!

Now on to
The Week in Reviews

***In Theatres Now***
A sheepish sheep farmer hates the Wild West of the 1850's.
I talk about this all of the time, but sometimes the preview of a movie contains all of the good bits (and the preview for this is very funny, which is how I found myself in the movie theatre watching it this week).   As I started watching this film, I was thinking I had been sucked in once again. I probably only chuckled a couple of times in the first half.  But I warmed to the second half and realized amidst all of the fart jokes, the diarrhea, the politically incorrect stuff and the just plain dumb, there was a sweetness here.  The story itself actually saved it, believe it or not.
Seth McFarlane, who tanked so miserably as host of the Academy Awards a couple of years ago, plays Albert, a cowardly sheep farmer who does all he can to avoid the various ways one can die.  You die at the fair, you die at the doctor's office, you die in the saloon.  After an ill-fated gun battle where Albert appears to be a coward,  his girlfriend, Louise (Amanda Seifried) breaks up with him for the mustachioed Foy played by "what-can't-this-guy-do" Neil Patrick Harris.  Albert plans to leave town until he meets up with Anna (Charlize Theron), who tries to help him win back Louise.  Unknown to Albert, Anna is the wife of notorious gunslinger Clinch Leatherwood (Liam Neeson) and all hell will break loose when he comes to town looking for his wife.
There were some funny sight gags such as Christopher Lloyd appearing with his "Back to the Future" car and Gilbert Gottfried as Abraham Lincoln, and the scene where some Native Americans capture him and plan to kill him until they realize he can speak their language is funny.  They ask him how he knows  their language and he says he was a nerd and didn't have anything to do except read and learn languages.

Giovanni Ribisi and Sarah Silverman are amusing as a Christian couple saving themselves for marriage though she is a prostitute.
If you can get through some of the really gross stuff, there are some laughs to be had, but the strength here is Charlize as Anna and the sweetness of the love story.
I saw Ewen McGregor's name in the credits as "Cowboy at Fair" so if you go, see if you can spot him.  I am still trying to figure out who he was.
Rosy the Reviewer says...totally aimed at the 18-39 male demographic but did I laugh?  A couple of times. You have to get through a lot of bad jokes to get to the good ones.  

I told Hubby this is the last time I let him decide which movie we go to see.  I am starting to get a reputation for reviewing silly puerile comedies.  I am a serious critic of serious films.  I am.

You Might Have Missed
And Some You Should Be Glad You Did
(I see the bad ones so you don't have to)


Still Mine (2012)


Eighty+ year old Craig Morrison (James Cromwell) clashes with the local bureaucracy when he tries to build a house to accommodate his failing wife, Irene (Genevieve Bujold).

It's based on a true story and set in New Brunswick, Canada, but it's the same old story of trying to get something done and "the man" holds you down.  Who knew Canadians were as bad as we are about such things?

Craig's wife is clearly losing it and eventually falls down the stairs, so he decides he must build a single story home.  He doesn't have any money but he has land and knows how to build.  What he didn't know was the hoops he would have to jump through to satisfy the local planning commission.  Craig doesn't do well with authority so ends up in court.

Cromwell (remember him in "Babe?") does curmudgeons very well, and Bujold lets her age show, which is refreshing.  (I still remember her luminous beauty  in her big breakthrough movie "Anne of a Thousand Days" in1969).

There is a theme here that aging can be a bitch, but also include enduring, meaningful love. Craig and Irene are still in love. Those tender moments are the best moments of the film.

This is a small indie film dealing with aging.  It's a Canadian film, which explains its existence somewhat.  I doubt a film like this would even be produced in the U.S.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Predictable and a bit draggy at times, but there is gorgeous New Brunswick locales and the story is aimed at mature adults, which mature adults will enjoy. 

In Secret (2013)

Screen version of Emile Zola's 1867 novel "Therese Raquin," it tells the tale of a sexually repressed young woman, Therese, played by Elisabeth Olsen, forced into a marriage to her egocentric cousin by her Aunt (Jessica Lange).

And we all know what happens to 19th century young women who are sexually repressed and unhappily married when they meet up with young, handsome men.  In this case, it's Oscar Isaac who is more well known for this year's "Inside Llewyn Davis."

What the hell was going on in the 19th century? Sexual repression and illicit affairs certainly seemed to be themes in those days. Think Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina.  And things don't usually work out well, because the 19th century was all about paying for your sins too.

I couldn't help but think Theodore Dreiser took his "American Tragedy" from this plot (the movie version was "A Place in the Sun").  The "tragedy" is very similar in both books.  If you see it, see if you agree.

Isaac is a new leading man.  He seemed to come out of nowhere with "Inside Llewyn Davis," and now he has five projects in the offing.

And Jessica Lange has gone from ingénue (remember the 1976 version of "King Kong?") to diabolical (American Horror Story).  Here she plays an overprotective mother and domineering Aunt to perfection.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like bodice-ripping costume dramas based on literary classics, you will like this.

The Monuments Men (2014)

An unlikely group of men are tasked to find the great art of Europe that has been stolen by the Nazis during WWII.

We've got George Clooney as Frank Stokes leading the charge here with Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham, to you and me) and Jean Dujardin (Academy Award winner for "The Artist"), all experts in some area of art and architecture helping him protect and return Europe's art to their rightful owners, mostly the Jewish people who were rousted from their homes and persecuted.  It's not an easy task because the Germans are on the run and destroying everything as they go.  They have hidden many of the items and our heroes are tasked to find them.

Based on a book of the same name by Robert Edsel, George Clooney wrote the screenplay (with Grant Heslov) and directed this story of a little known part of WW II. 

Hitler had been an art student so at least appreciated the great works, though it appeared he wanted them all to himself. He didn't much care for modern art, considering it degenerate so he had art such as Picasso and Klee destroyed .  Hitler dreamed of a Fuhrer Museum with all of the great works in one place for his personal enjoyment.  He was certainly a megalomaniac of the highest order.

Many critics were not kind to this film, but I found it intelligent, fascinating, humorous and inspiring. Perhaps critics were disappointed that this was not a war movie in the classic sense.  There are no battle scenes per se though there are tense situations and some casualties from our group of heroes. But saving the world's art is as important as saving lives.  Without art, we lose what it is to be human - our human expression.

These men were true heroes because as Frank Stokes says in the film: "You can wipe out an entire generation, you can burn their homes to the ground and somehow they'll still find their way back. But if you destroy their history, you destroy their achievements and it's as if they never existed. That's what Hitler wants and that's exactly what we are fighting for."
Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are looking for a war movie like "Saving Private Ryan," you will be disappointed.  But if you like intelligent dramas with humor and substance that glorifies art, you will like this.

Not Fade Away (2012)

It's the 1960's, just after The Beatles and the Rolling Stones invaded.  What do teenage boys do?  They start a band.

Baby Boomers rejoice. 

This film is the soundtrack of your youth, and it has all of those little touches you will remember: the films, the politics, the TV shows, the teenage angst, that will remind you of growing up in the 60's.

Our hero, Douglas (John Magaro) is a nerdy New Jersey kid hanging out with his nerdy New Jersey friends until they are swept up by the music of the Rolling Stones and the Beatles and realize that singing in a band will get them some girls.  Douglas goes off to college and grows his hair long, much to the consternation of his father (James Gandolfini in one of his last roles).  He and his friends are swept up in rock and roll fever and decide to head to L.A. to make it big -- just like every other young band in those days.

Father and son clash and many of us did with our parents then over our hair, our clothes, our politics, our music, but father and son come to an understanding in a poignant moment between Douglas and his Dad, Pat, made even more bittersweet knowing that Gandolfini didn't have much time left in real life.

Writer-Director David Chase, who created "The Sopranos," couldn't get much farther away from that than he does here, but he does a great job of capturing what it was like coming of age in those times.  He should.  In his 60's, he is one of us.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you liked "Almost Famous," you will like this.   And if you are a Baby Boomer, you will LOVE this.  See it with your kids and grandkids so they can see what they missed.


***Book of the Week***


Love Life by Rob Lowe (2014)

This is Rob's second book, which brings you up to date since his first one  "Stories I Only Tell My Friends" published in 2011.
It must be 80's month for me.  Last week I reviewer Jason Priestley's memoir and now it' Rob Lowe, both 80's teen heart throbs.

Though Lowe brings you up to date with his stint on "The West Wing" and his great performance in "Behind the Candelabra," this memoir feels more like a "And then I did this" sort of thing.  He gives his opinion on acting, tells some tales about people he has worked with, weighs in on child rearing and the empty nest, talks about his sobriety and what life is like now for an aging teen idol.  He takes himself quite seriously.
Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are a huge Rob Lowe fan, you will probably enjoy this, but if you read his first book or you  are not much of a fan, you can probably skip this one.

***Restaurant of the Week***

This is the latest in Tom Douglas's Seattle restaurant empire.

It is best described as Asian fusion and the food is thoroughly enjoyable, though the venue itself is rather noisy and industrial.

The rice cakes, the wedge salad with ginger-miso dressing and avocado and the Dungeness crab foo young were to die for.  I would go back just for those.

Service was excellent, though we were there on a Sunday at an "unfashionable" time (5pm), so it's difficult to say what it would be like if the place was full.

It's part of "Assembly Hall," a Melrose Market sort of place sharing the building with the Via Apartments, a plant shop, a take out market and a bike store.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Delicious and different addition to the Seattle dining scene.
***Musical Theatre of the Week***

First there was the movie and the Academy Award winning song ("Falling Slowly") and then there was the Tony Award winning musical.

To recap, two lonely musicians meet in Dublin and share their music and a bittersweet connection.

As I watched this musical  version, I couldn't help but wonder if the Broadway show was lost in translation from the movie or if this touring version was lost in translation from the Broadway show or a combination of both.

I recently saw a play on the West End in London and was struck by the incredible production values and talent I saw and it made me wonder if all of the touring versions I see of the Broadway shows are of the same caliber.  Since I don't have the funds to go see the shows on Broadway and then compare those with the touring companies, I will never know.
But I can say that "Once, a New Musical" was a disappointment compared to the excitement I felt watching the movie in 2006.  The singing and acting was fine, but giving this small film the "musical treatment" detracted from the intimacy and poignancy of the original film.  I just didn't feel anything at the end.
Can you take an 85 minute movie and add another hour to it and come out with something as lovely as the original?  I'm not sure.  The music was much the same, which means that the extra minutes included stage business, dancing and extra dialogue and characters.  I plan to watch the movie again to see what I think now that I have seen the play.  Maybe I won't like the movie as much now.  Who knows?
Rosy the Reviewer says...see it, but just don't expect it to be the film.


(Me on the Red Carpet - LOL)


That's it for this week.
See you Tuesday for

"Today is the First Day of the Rest of My Life"

and, if you can,  don't forget to

thank your Dad on Sunday (and every day)!


Thanks for reading!

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