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Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Mystery of the 13th Guest – Movie 133 of 365

The Mystery of the 13th Guest 1943If there is a will there is going to be disgruntled relatives. As is the case with The Mystery of the 13th Guest. There are multiple versions of this movie, I watched the 1943 version.  Our crotchety dearly departed Grandpa Morgan, invites all his relatives to dinner.  There he tells them that he’s not long for this world and is entrusting his will to his then eight year old granddaughter Marie.  On her 21st birthday she is to return to the house and read the will and thereby receive her reward.

Dutifully she returns on her 21st birthday and does as she is told but instead of a reward she is electrocuted and placed in the same chair she occupied 13 years before.  Now her mysterious death needs to be solved before the body count rises.  And why can’t anyone remember who was in the 13th chair?

This was actually a pretty intriguing little mystery with a lot more twist and turns than your normal whodunit of the time period.  And also never knowing who may be electrocuted next kept you a bit on the edge of your seat.  Just goes to show you don’t need a lot of overt violence to make a movie interesting.

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Posted by on June 24, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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The Emperor Jones – Movie 132 of 365

The Emperor Jones 1933Yes, I’ve dived back into the old movie pool this time with legendary black actor Paul Robeson.  Probably many of my generation has never heard of him and up until this point I’ve really only heard him sing the song Old Man River.  But Hulu now has the Criterion Collection of old great movies so I decided to watch The Emperor Jones, one of those movies I’ve always heard about but never seen.

The Emperor Jones, based on the Eugene O’Neill play is about Brutus Jones, a bit of a tall-taler, okay he’s more con man and charlatan but loveable somewhat.  He’s a train porter but dreams of being bigger.  And through some shady deals he becomes so but with it comes trouble.  After killing a man during a dice game brawl Jones is sent to jail at hard labor.  One day, Jones kills a guard and escapes on a ship.  After jumping ship he ends up on an island.  Now the people of this island are easily fooled by the likes of Brutus Jones and with some clever dealing, fast talking and outright bullying,  next thing you know he’s risen to be Emperor Jones, ruler.

Everything works for a while but you know power can go to your head and Emperor Jones doesn’t realize there is only so far you can push people before they push back. And push back they do eventually which sends the Emperor Jones running for his life.

I liked the movie despite it’s problems.  First being that apparently almost half of it is new material not in the original play.  Second, a completely excessive use of the N-word by both whites and blacks in the movie.  We not talking Django Unchained level, but a lot.  And yes it’s 1933 but it felt at some point the director didn’t think Robeson could portray his superiority complex without frequent use of the word.  A piece of trivia is that the word was removed from the version that went to black theaters at the time.  I think that shows they knew it wasn’t necessary. But despite that its still worth a watching, if for no other reason the singing and Paul Robeson facing his demons near the end of the feature.

I couldn’t find a clip from Emperor Jones but this is Old Man River sung by Robeson in Showboat to give you an idea of this man’s talent. Only the first 1:54 of this is necessary, then other people start singing and dilute Robeson’s greatness.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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Letter Never Sent

1424959_62542792This morning’s theme song is insisting on being Letter Never Sent by R.E.M.  It’s not a bad song in fact it’s one of my favorites. It’s just I knew immediately why it popped in my head this morning.  I am feeling guilty.  On my desk is a letter, or more appropriately a card, never sent.  It’s a sympathy card that like most cards I purchase, I fully meant to send but then my ferret brain takes over and suddenly a week later I realize I haven’t and it feels all kinds of inappropriate in mailing it now.  It’s not like I didn’t want to send it, my heart broke so completely over the subject of the card’s passing. It’s just that now will I just be reopening wounds, will I seem even more insensitive sending it late than not at all?

There are so many letters and notes I wish I had sent but didn’t.  I wish I had kept up correspondence with my maternal grandmother while she was alive, maybe then I would’ve recognized the dementia earlier, although in reality it still probably wouldn’t have stopped the cancer.  Letters to the woman I adore with all my heart and consider my second mother, but I know I get so much more from her correspondence than she does from mine so I feel selfish in starting the conversation.  I email at least two people every morning and every night, one person I try to email a few times a week but usually only succeed in doing it maybe once.  It used to be at least three people but… well as much as I don’t want it to, there is a small part of me that still hurts about that.  And there are probably ten more people who I wish I could do the same thing with but not sure what I would say to them, what would they really want  to know?  Okay that started another song in my head, Good Advices, also by R.E.M.  “who are you going to call for, what do you have to say…

My mother got the letter writing bug last year and started occasionally putting notes in with her weekly coupon mailings to me.  I’ve kept every one.  Some of it was the same things we talked on the phone about but it somehow was much funnier in writing.  Maybe cause we weren’t talking over each other trying to condense a week’s worth of experiences into an hour phone call.  Now she’s got it into her head that she wants to get online.  I’ve delayed it so far by telling her she needs to take a library course first then try it on their computers.  It’s funny how now I feel so protective of her, like she did with me all those years ago.  But once she gets on I know she’ll become addicted.  I guess I’ll have to add her my daily good morning emails as well.

So I still don’t know what I’m going to do about the sympathy card, maybe I’ll just get a blank card and send an apology for not being there like I so wanted to be. Maybe I’ll pick up one for my second mother as well; if only I could make it half as special looking as the ones she sends me.  There are many letters I need to write, those to reach out, to reconnect, to tell someone all the things I feel inside, but they are not ready to hear yet, although I’m sure they already know.  I wish I had sent my dad a letter to tell him how much I loved his writing and a half a dozen other words never spoken through our mostly silent phone conversations.

I don’t know what’s missing, I guess just guts. Because I have tons of stamps, paper, and pens. There are a thousand letters in my head, rustling, waiting, but never sent.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2013 in introspective, Writing

 

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Fangirl Friday – Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Object of my obsession Jeffrey Dean Morgan – April 22, 1966

My favorite creations: John Winchester – Supernatural, Clay – Losers,  Comedian – Watchmen

jeffrey_dean_morgan_907dd78c14d277ba28f29c9936ad1a6d39Jeffrey Dean Morgan is one of those actors that you don’t really notice until you do.  Then you can’t take your eyes off of him.  I first saw him in one of my favorite “zombie” movies.  Dead and Breakfast.  He played the small town sheriff having to deal with the fact the residents of his quiet little town had been possessed by a demon curse.  I remembered him but the oddness of the film (line-dancing zombies) meant I really didn’t pay attention.  Fast forward a bunch of years to The Losers.  I noticed then.  Noticed so much that I completely missed Chris Evans as …. Yes I missed Chris Evans, that should say a lot, considering he was pretty much playing a geek and that’s one of my types.  But back to Mr. Morgan. He’s got that easy coolness about him combined with that slightly grizzled appearance that brings up daddy issues you didn’t know you had.  And he’s only like 5 years older than me.

winchesterfamily

Sam, John, and Dean Winchester on Supernatural

Speaking of daddy issues, Supernatural.  Despite the good looks of Moose, I mean Sam, and Dean Winchester, the thing I was looking forward to when this year we finally decided to watch the series from the beginning  was Jeffrey Dean as their Papa, John.  As any Supernatural fan will tell you, to love the Winchesters requires a willingness to have your heart broken, over and over and over again.  And Mr. Morgan does it in spades on this show with great subtlety on his part.  You never doubt that he is the patriarch even though, in reality, he is only 12 and 16 years older than the actors playing his sons.  He’s just so very…manly for lack of a better word.

I think TV shows are my favorite vehicle  for seeing Mr. Morgan because you get to see him really develop a character.  This also may be because nearly everything I’ve seen him in on the big screen he’s been part of an ensemble cast.  Of course now the current series he’s on (Magic City) is on paid cable or paid streaming. But from the previews a girl may just have to spend her lunch money to see it.  Wonder if Papa Winchester can lend a girl a few bucks?

Couldn’t find a non-spoilerific clip of Magic City, so instead one of my favorite not heartbreaking scenes from Season 1 of Supernatural.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in Fangirl Friday

 

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I’m a little behind

filmFor various reasons even though this is the 172nd day of the year there are only 131 (not counting rewatches) movie reviews up.  Fear not faithful readers, I have still been dutifully watching a movie a day,  I’m just behind on the reviews.  Now I did try and convince myself of several short-cut ways I could catch up but so far none of them have had the appeal.  But I will catch up…eventually… before the end of the year.  I fully intend on publishing movie review 365 before the ball drops on Times Square  on December 31st.  Just bear with me.  Besides I have so many good movies I want to tell you about, and more than a few to warn you away from.

But until then here is a list of the movies I’ve watched and not yet reviewed to whet your appetite.

132. The Emperor Jones
133. The Mystery of the 13th Guest
134. Medium Raw
135. Clash of Empires
136. Jack Reacher
137. Storage 24
138. Wolf of New York
139. The Dead Undead
140. Fish in a Barrel
141. The Intruders
142. Hard Times
143. Hoodwinked Too!
144. The Living Ghost
145. Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection
146. The Black Sleep
147. Primer
148. Jawbreaker
149. M
150. Night of the Living Dead: Reanimation
151. The Legend of God’s Gun
152. Dahmer

153. Pitch Perfect
154. Gangster Squad
155. Mama
156. The Invisible Man
157. It Came from Outer Space
158. Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin
159. Convict 762
160. Battleship Potemkin
161. Purification
162. Doctor X
163. Sexy Beast
164. Rise of the Zombies
165. She Done Him Wrong
166. Patrick 1.5
167. The Day
168. A Tragedy at Midnight
169. Bulldog Jack
170. Eyes Wide Open
171. American Breakdown

Add to that as well the rewatches of the original King Kong and The Day the Earth Stood Still and that’s a lot of movie watching. Just thought I’d let you know. Reviews shall return shortly, I promise.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Happy Birthday Bob Bailey!

Bob Bailey 4I am a fangirl of varied interests and one of my favorite is Old Time Radio programs.  Thanks to podcasts and archive.org I possess more old time radio programs than a person probably should.  Dragnet, Sherlock Holmes, X-minus One, Suspense… I love so many shows.  After a few months of listening to show after show I began to develop favorite voice actors as well.  Today would’ve been the one hundredth birthday of the great Bob Bailey.  Mostly know for his stint as Your’s Truly, Johnny Dollar, he will always be George Valentine of Let George Do It to me.  What started out as a program about a slightly bumbling comic private detective for hire quickly, thankfully, turned into one of the better hard-boiled series in OTR.

Here is an episode to enjoy.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2013 in Fandom

 

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What’s your theme song?

Most mornings I wake up with some song or another in my head.  It serves most times as the theme song for the day. This morning I woke up to Better Now by Collective Soul.  The universe is a bit of a joker because this morning I felt anything but better.  My allergies have been in overdrive causing me to cough so much that stomach acid has joined in.  Yeah it feels as bad as it sounds.  Add to that a pounding headache that seems in rhythm with the hammering rehab project next door and better is not even on the list of the first one hundred words I would use to describe my morning.

But I believe all my morning songs happen for a reason and I had to ask myself, am I better now than say a year ago.  Most definitely, because I would have dragged myself into work first thing this morning after working a late night because I was so afraid of losing the job that I inevitably lost anyway.  My stomach would be in knots as I did the work of two or three people and tried to coax a quickly failing printer to not die just yet.  There were many things I did actually like about my job, but the hours and the stress were going to kill me.

So am I better than say six months ago?  Well the constant unexplained weight gain, not so much.  But the fact that more than one person has found me attractive and pursuable inspite said weight gain is a bonus of huge proportions.  Also I haven’t been nearly as depressed as I have been.  Barring the current episode I can’t remember my last major depressive episode, and I think I’m coping with this one pretty well.   As a result, I’ve actually been a bit more social than I have been in years and becoming re-involved with things I had pushed aside for work.  Making a decent amount of money from Fiverr and offline freelance gigs is helping my mood as well.  So better now?  I guess the answer would be yes.

Now this song is a friend of mine’s theme song.  We have had several discussions of theme songs, occasionally swapping daily themes.  I don’t have a current theme song.  My day’s have them, my stories and the characters in them usually have more than one, but I haven’t had one in years.  My old theme song used to be Achin’ to Be by The Replacements but it doesn’t really fit me anymore I think.  So I’m still on the hunt for a new one.  I’ll know it when I hear it.

So do you have a theme song?  If so, what is it?

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2013 in introspective, Music

 

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