Scheir M’s Viewing List

8/24/09

Not viewing Season 3 of Mad Men. It’s on darned HD and I’m not. So it’s got me thinking, “What would Don Draper do if his favorite show moved to HD?” He’d smoke a pack of cigarettes, pick up a new girl and a new identity, do a couple of push ups, change his shirt, order a drink, and shake it off, that’s what! Just think, if his favorite show moved to HD, then he’d have had to wait almost 40 years for the DVD to come out, and that really sucks.

defiance5/13/09

Leave it to me to go see a Holocaust movie on Mother’s Day.

The Mother’s Day hook is that I went by myself (nice!), to the Schwartz Center in Dover, a place where I’m guaranteed to see some people I know who will inevitably invite me to join them. This movie was no different, as I was able to enjoy it sitting beside my neighbor, Sarah Hastings.

That aside, the movie was Defiance, based on the true story of the Bielski brothers and the community of Jews that joined them to hide from the Nazis in the forests of Belarus from 1941-1944.

The themes of the movie were many–revenge, survival, hope against hope, ordinary life in extraordinary circumstances, and certainly all the dilemmas of applying utilitarian arguments in unreasonable regimes. Most striking, I think, was the parallel of this story with that of the Old Testament exodus–a people, repressed by an unfair foreign leader, flees to a wilderness where its faith and endurance is challenged, and its hope for deliverance into a promised land is wrought with doubt and human frailty.

At one point, a rabbi in the group is leading services. He prays for this blessing, “Lord, choose for yourself another people.” For me, as a person of faith, this prayer is chilling. But watching a portrayal of a people on the fringe of genocide, it seems understandable.

As horrifying as the Holocaust is, I wonder, what is it that God was doing in allowing it? What does such a course of events tell us about God and His relationship with people? Can He be trusted?

The ending of the movie, like the outcome of so many survivor stories, certainly sheds light on these questions. Still they are hard questions, which I, for one, am hard-pressed right now to decide.

a-room-with-a-view4/9/09

I’ve said more than once that all I really want in a movie or book is for the guy and the girl to get together. So, in the spirit of Bridget Jones’ Pride & Prejudice fandom, I’ve drowned my sorrows of late in two of my favorite romantic productions, Andrew Davies’ adaptation of A Room With A View and Adrian Shergold’s adaptation of Persuasion, both from 2007.

Highlights include George Emerson telling Lucy Honeychurch (spoiler warning!!), “You like me…I think you love me…How could I insult you? I think you’re wonderful!” Or Lucy telling Mr. Emerson, “I don’t think I’m the marrying kind of girl,” and him telling Lucy, “Rubbish! You’ve chucked the other fellow because you’re in love with George!” And who couldn’t love super-tall, super-serious Captain Wentworth, with this long-awaited confession of love for Anne Elliot–“It is for you that I think and plan.”

As far as I’m concerned, they’re the perfect pick-me-up on an all too practical sort of day. Call me shallow, but I don’t care. I can’t be deep on every front.

3/27/09

spamalotHad a great time last night at Spamalot, which has made a 5-day stop at the Dupont Theatre in Wilmington, DE. Hilarious! The Monty Python material was familiar, but not so that the guy in the seat next to me (not Craig, the other guy) could recite it along with the performers. There was a catapulting cow, a trojan rabbit, and a vicious head-taking-offing killer bunny. My favorite part was the knights who say “Nee” who turned into the knights who say “Ecke ecke ecke…Paging Dr. Kildare. Dr. Kildare, I need an MRI and an EKG for the CEO of AIG who’s an SOB.”

Did I mention that Richard Chamberlain was starring as King Arthur? But from where we sat he looked so…short. He sure could tap dance, though, even if it was just his faithful servant Patsy clapping 2 coconuts together.

3/15/09

Just watched the 1948 version of The Three Musketeers, starring Gene Kelly, Vincent Price, June Allyson, and Lana Turner. Loved the swordfights and the horses running at full tilt. Seems that the moviemakers wanted to make a fun comedy, then realized that there was a lot more story that needed to be crammed in, so the first hour or so has a very different feel than the rest of the film. It’s fun viewing with the children, as Lady de Winter became known to all of us as ‘the bad girl’–thank goodness they didn’t show beheadings back in ’48.

I’ve never read Dumas’ book, but I think it’s going on the summer reading list. Now that I know the sketchy who’s who it shouldn’t be so daunting. I have a feeling, though, that it takes a little longer than 5 seconds for D’Artagnan and Constance to fall in love in the literary version; the movie had the quickest courtship of all time. Oh, that impetuous D’Artagnan…

3/5/09

jimmy-barrett Could have sworn that was Patrick Fischler (Jimmy Barrett from Season 2 of Mad Men) on Lost last night. So it was, playing Dharma security guy, Phil.

I guess all roads really do lead to Don Draper.

3/2/09

2 entries–I guess it was a big viewing day yesterday.

Watched a neat program called The Linguists on TiVo; it appeared on my local PBS station on Friday. If you can check for it on your local schedule, then I would recommend it. The Linguists, which was an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival, features two academic language experts travelling to Siberia, Bolivia, and India in search of near-extinct languages and the very small number of people who still continue to speak them. When a language dies, the folk wisdom, folk remedies, and cultural history of its speakers die with it. And languages are dying out–at the rate of one every two weeks, according to the program. Hard to imagine. The documentary was a great complement to My Father’s Paradise, a family history/memoir in which the scholarly documentation of the neo-Aramaic language plays a prominent role.

The snows came last night, plus we wanted to have a family shift of gears from the grouchfest that was being put on in our basement by the seasonally affected neighborhood children, so we sat down and watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind with the kids. Loved, loved, loved it. What an arc to that film! Mystery, foreboding, David vs. Goliath, tension, obsession, opposition, transcendance. So minimal, but so moving. I saw it once on TV and some bowdlerizing editor had cut the scene where Roy uproots the bushes and chucks them into the kitchen window. Travesty! I love it especially when the giant spacecraft gives a musical nod to Jaws. Maybe I’m a sucker for all things ’70’s, but this one was a joy to see. Makes me want to name my next dog ‘Barry.’

2/23/09

The snoozerific 81st Annual Academy Awards brought us the most unexpected line in any Oscar acceptance speech, uttered by teary, sincere, non-native English speaker and Best Animated Short winner, Kunio Kato: “Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto.” The Styx boys must be awfully proud today.

The big pay-off of the night was that I scored the most correct guesses on our family’s Oscar Ballot contest. I win a bag of jelly beans…which I will share with the group.

I’d like to thank my husband and children for everything, especially for all their incorrect answers that helped me come out on top. You don’t know how much this means.

2/20/09

Spent the evening watching as much as I could stand of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

It’s a painfully slow, ridiculously boring portrayal of Jesse and the gang, starring a mumbly Brad Pitt and a normally enchanting, but here uncomfortably stalker-ish, Casey Affleck.

Any movie with more than one outlaw-in-a-tin-tub scene needs more than Brad Pitt to keep it moving. Don’t bother with this one.

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