"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Saturday, February 28, 2009

SNMR 6.8: "Police Academy"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Police Academy" (1984, R, 96 minutes), starring Steve Guttenberg, Kim Cattrall, Bubba Smith, Leslie Easterbrook, George Gaines, G.W. Bailey, David Graf and Michael Winslow. The film was directed by Hugh Wilson.

PLOT SUMMARY: With the election of a new mayor, the Metropolitan Police Academy is now accepting anyone and everyone. So now a group of social misfits and losers decide to join the Academy for training. And are the results hilarious!

MY OPINION: It's hard to believe that this film came out in theaters nearly 25 years ago and is still one of the funniest movies made in that time. I hadn't watched this movie in about 12 years before this week and I enjoyed it tremendously. The ensemble cast is quirky and brilliant and you can't help but like these characters. They make a stereotypical and otherwise humdrum script much better. The sight gags are corny but still make you laugh. The podium sequence with Commandant Lassard (George Gaynes) is one of the signature sequences of the film.

I watched the 20th Anniversary DVD which includes excellent interviews with most of the cast. As with all good things Hollywood, these films got campier and more stupid with each sequel, but this film is the best of the bunch.

**** out of *****

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Thirty-one and done.

Boston area television, weather man icon Dick Albert, a 31 year veteran of WCVB-TV channel 5, gave his last weather forecast on Thursday night, riding off into the sunset of retirement.

Albert came to Boston in 1978 and became a fixture on the local airwaves, becoming affectionately known as 'Dickie' by friends and fans. He put his personal touches on the weather forecasts, making the weather report interesting, if not fun to watch.

Albert also made it a habit to visit kids in schools and share his weather knowledge with them. I can remember him visiting my classroom once. It was when I had Mr. Mancini for math and science. I was in the sixth grade, which would have been 1980-1981, I believe.


Thanks for the memories, Dickie. Have fun doing other stuff.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

81st Academy Awards

Well, It's Oscar time again and I, once again, offer you my guesses as to who the winners will be. My guesses are in BLUE, actual winners will be noted afterwards in RED italics.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
- NOMINATIONS BY CATEGORY - 81ST AWARDS -

BEST PICTURE: [presenter: Steven Spielberg]
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Frost/Nixon"
"Milk"
"The Reader"
"Slumdog Millionaire" **WINNER**

BEST DIRECTOR: [presenter: Reese Witherspoon]
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Frost/Nixon"
"Milk"
"The Reader"
"Slumdog Millionaire" **WINNER**

BEST ACTOR: [presenters: Brody, DeNiro, Douglas, Kingsley, Hopkins]
Richard Jenkins in "The Visitor"
Frank Langella in "Frost/Nixon"
Sean Penn in "Milk" **WINNER**
Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler"

BEST ACTRESS: [presenters: Cotillard, Berry, MacLaine, Kidman, Loren]
Anne Hathaway in "Rachel Getting Married"
Angelina Jolie in "Changeling"
Melissa Leo in "Frozen River"
Meryl Streep in "Doubt"
Kate Winslet in "The Reader" **WINNER**

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: [presenters: Walken, Grey, Arkin, Kline, Gooding Jr.]
Josh Brolin in "Milk"
Robert Downey Jr. in "Tropic Thunder"
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Doubt"
Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight" **WINNER**
Michael Shannon in "Revolutionary Road"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: [presenters: Swinton, Saint, Hawn, Goldberg, Huston]
Amy Adams in "Doubt"
Penélope Cruz in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" **WINNER**
Viola Davis in "Doubt"
Taraji P. Henson in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Marisa Tomei in "The Wrestler"

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: [presenters: Steve Martin & Tina Fey]
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Doubt"
"Frost/Nixon"
"The Reader"
"Slumdog Millionaire" **WINNER**

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: [presenters: Steve Martin & Tina Fey]
"Frozen River"
"Happy-Go-Lucky"
"In Bruges"
"Milk" **WINNER**
"WALL-E"

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: [presenters: Jennifer Aniston & Jack Black]
"Bolt"
"Kung Fu Panda"
"WALL-E" **WINNER**

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: [presenters: Jennifer Aniston & Jack Black]
"Lavatory - Lovestory"
"Oktapodi"
"Presto"
"This Way Up"
"La Maison en Petits Cubes" **WINNER**

ART DIRECTION: [presenters: Daniel Craig & Sarah Jessica Parker]
"Changeling"
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" **WINNER**
"The Dark Knight"
"The Duchess"
"Revolutionary Road"

COSTUME DESIGN: [presenters: Daniel Craig & Sarah Jessica Parker]
"Australia"
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Duchess" **WINNER**
"Milk"
"Revolutionary Road"

MAKE UP: [presenters: Daniel Craig & Sarah Jessica Parker]
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" **WINNER**
"The Dark Knight"
"Hellboy II: The Golden Army"

CINEMATOGRAPHY: [presenters: Natalie Portman & Ben Stiller]
"Changeling"
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Dark Knight"
"The Reader"
"Slumdog Millionaire" **WINNER**

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: [presenter: Bill Mohr]
"The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)"
"Encounters at the End of the World"
"The Garden"
"Man on Wire" **WINNER**
"Trouble the Water"

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT: [presenter: Bill Mohr]
"The Conscience of Nhem En"
"The Final Inch"
"Smile Pinki" **WINNER**
"The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306"

FILM EDITING: [presenter: Will Smith]
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Dark Knight"
"Frost/Nixon"
"Milk"
"Slumdog Millionaire" **WINNER**

VISUAL EFFECTS: [presenter: Will Smith]
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" **WINNER**
"The Dark Knight"
"Iron Man"

SOUND EDITING: [presenter: Will Smith]
"The Dark Knight" **WINNER**
"Iron Man"
"Slumdog Millionaire"
"WALL-E"
"Wanted"

SOUND MIXING: [presenter: Will Smith]
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Dark Knight"
"Slumdog Millionaire" **WINNER**
"WALL-E"
"Wanted"

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: [presenters: Liam Neeson and Freda Pinto]
"The Baader Meinhof Complex" - Germany
"The Class" - France
"Departures" - Japan **WINNER**
"Revanche" - Austria
"Waltz with Bashir" - Israel

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: [presenters: Alicia Keys and Zac Efron]
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Defiance"
"Milk"
"Slumdog Millionaire" **WINNER**
"WALL-E"

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: [presenters: Alicia Keys and Zac Efron]
"Down to Earth" from "WALL-E"
"Jai Ho" from "Slumdog Millionaire" **WINNER**
"O Saya" from "Slumdog Millionaire"

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: [presenters: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Janusz Kaminski]
"Auf der Strecke (On the Line)"
"Manon on the Asphalt"
"New Boy"
"The Pig"
"Spielzeugland (Toyland)" **WINNER**

HIRSHHOLT HUMANITARIAN AWARD: [presenter: Eddie Murphy]
Jerry Lewis **WINNER**

SCIENCE & TECHNICAL AWARDS: [hostess: Jessica Biel]

IN MEMORIAM: [presenter: Queen Latifah]

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

SNMR 6.7: "Speed"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Speed" (1994, R, 116 minutes), starring Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper, Jeff Daniels, Joe Morton and Alan Ruck. The film was directed by Jan DeBont.

PLOT SUMMARY: Disgruntled, retired ex-cop Harry Payne (Hopper) has it in for LAPD Jack Traven (Reeves) after he foils Payne's elevator job, ruining two years of planning. Now the bomber forces Traven to take on a new challenge: he must prevent a bomb from going off on a city bus by ensuring that the bus doesn't go slower than 50 MPH.

MY OPINION: I sort of remember that when this movie came out fifteen years ago that it got all kinds of negative press and bad reviews from the movie critics.
I even thought this movie sounded stupid when I first heard about it. Turns out this movie was right up there near the top of action movies made in the early-mid 1990's.
Maybe Keanu Reeves is not the best actor in the world, but his performance in this movie is good. This movie catapulted Sandra Bullock to fame as an actress, and she was actually reasonably good-looking in this movie - not that you care about stuff like that. Jeff Daniels turns in his usual solid performance. However, Dennis Hopper makes this great action movie even better with his likable bad guy.

The script is suspenseful and well written. Rookie director Jan DeBont manages the cast fairly well. The special effects are well done, too. There's only one scene that I found unrealistic, even though it looks cool when you're watching it. That's the scene where the bus jumps the 50+ foot gap in the highway. No way.

The edition I watched has some informative special features on disc two.

Still a gripper after all these years.

**** out of *****

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Making plans is the easy part.

Finding a way to pay for those plans to become reality is another matter entirely.

But find a way I must, and soon.

A general timetable I've established in my mind that will help define these plans and reach these goals- or at least some of the more immedaite ones, anyway.

Discipline it will require.

Admittedly that's a skill I tend not to possess at times.

Or if I do indeed possess that certain skill, I've currently misplaced it.

Wouldn't say I've lost it all together, but some might venture down that path.

Sacrifice certain things I must in order to accomplish these lofty goals. The good news is they are attainable. All of them.

Sure, there are risks involved, but nothing worthwhile comes cheaply or easily (most of the time, anyway...)

Now where'd I put that discipline??

----

Oh stop worrying. NONE of these plans even remotely considers my quitting blogging. I'm not going anywhere anytime soon.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

SNMR 6.6: "When Harry Met Sally"

In honor of Valentine's Day and hopeful romantics everywhere (like me), tonight's SNMR feature is "When Harry Met Sally" (1989, R, 96 minutes), starring Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby. The film was directed by Rob Reiner.

PLOT SUMMARY: Harry Burns (Crystal) and Sally Albright (Ryan) drive together from Chicago to New York upon graduating from College in 1977. Over the next twelve years, chance meetings and an eventual friendship turn into something more.

MY OPINION: Oh, please don't even tell me I ruined the ending for you with my brief little synopsis up there. Hard to believe that this movie was released 20 years ago this July. Also hard to believe that this movie was only nominated for one Academy Award (1990, Best Original Screenplay). Consider that this film has become the standard for Romantic Comedies, the film that all other Romantic Comedies since, have been or will be compared. I even went to the theater this week and watched a movie (likely to be reviewed at some point by me in this space) that had shades of this movie in it.

The acting is top-notch and so is the screenplay; with so many quotable lines (and you know you know them, too.) Crystal is at his comic best and Ryan plays the perfect straight foil counterpart. Even Carrie Fisher (forever seen by me as Princess Leia Organa, no matter what film she's in) and the late Bruno Kirby are great as the best friends.

The music soundtrack, arranged by Mark Shaiman and songs performed by Harry Connick, Jr., adds depth to the film. This movie vaulted Ryan to super stardom and helped cement Rob Reiner as one of the best directors of this or any era.

I've seen this movie dozens of times over the years and it is still an enjoyable experience. Timeless, powerful films will do that for you.

***** out of *****

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Friday, February 13, 2009

too much time on my hands

I called out of work today. I've got the flu bug that's been going around. My temperature was 100.3 F this morning and 100.9 F as of 30 seconds ago. I've been generally sore and listless all day. Bored too. I've been resting off and on all day and intermittently playing on the computer.

My being ill though has afforded me the time to get into this old television series, which I picked up about a month ago. I remember when it was on regular television (the USA network, I think) but as usual for me, never got interested in it. How fascinating that I'm considering this an "old" television series, when it just came out a mere dozen years ago.

One of the reasons I bought the series is because some of my faithful blog commenters have said that if I liked "ALIAS" then I'd be sure to like this series, too. They even said that this series is better than "ALIAS" was.

That remains to be seen. After the first disc, La Femme Nikita holds much promise to at least be as good as "ALIAS" was.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

The big 2-0-0.



Today marks the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday. As you know, Mr. Lincoln is my favorite President in American history. Sometimes I wonder how the history of our country would be different if Lincoln had not been assassinated. If Lincoln's reconstruction plan had been put into effect, how would the racial climate in this country have differed in the years and decades after the Civil War (or War Between the States if you're from the South) from what we know happened from the history books? Good questions all, and ones for which we'll never know the answer.

Oh, yeah. This guy was born 200 years ago today too. I only mention him because if I don't, American Guy probably will (make some remark about it, like he's done before.)

-----

Left work early today, I did. Not feeling too great, I am. Fever, chills and all that. I feel a nap coming on. Perhaps I'll fall asleep to a good movie.

Like Ahhhhnold, though, I'll be back.


And so I am. Back that is. K wasn't too happy with me when I informed her that I won't be taking V and M this weekend, due to my bout with feverish symptoms today.

I might not go to work tomorrow, depending on how I feel in the morning. The problem there is that, while I have the sick-time available to me, there's so much I won't get done that will be staring me in the face come Monday.

No, I don't get President's Day off, either. Wish I did.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The big 4-0.

Yeah, my turn is coming in four months or so...you want to fight about it?

But this post isn't about me. Really.

One of my favorite actresses turns 40 today. Can you guess who??


Duh.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Willpower I have not

Took a vacation day today, I did, ostensibly to get some stuff done that I never seem to get done during the work day or when the kids are around. We'll see how much I actually accomplish.

Met K this morning at the Wal-Mart in Amherst, NH to give her back the kids for the school week. Now that V is in the middle school I normally drop them off on Sunday evening, since her school day begins earlier than M's does. Today, however V is not going to school as she's had an up-and-down temperature this weekend, peaking at 100.4 last night. When K and I do meet on Monday mornings to do the kid exchange, it's usually at the hospital when K's shift is over. But today I had to return some things I bought for my dad at Wal-Mart over the weekend that he decided he didn't want, or more precisely because I got the wrong things.

While looking for something else, which I didn't find, I managed to locate a few other things I've wanted to get to replace stuff that broke. I went to a few stores looking for another something I didn't find and while there "happened" to wander past their selection of DVDs. Most of the time, willpower I have not, when I see movies for $4.99 each that I don't have. Today was one of those days, I'm afraid.

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Rusty Nail

Lemme introduce to y'all, my nephew, who decided to join the wonderful world of blogging after I twisted his arm and held a gun to his head.

Naaah, I'm just kidding. The other day we were talking about movies we like and I told him about my blogs, that I do a weekly movie review on this blog and about BIG Screen and he thought he'd give it a try. Blogging, that is. Not movie reviews. Not yet, anyway.

So do me a favor and check out his blog and leave a comment or three. Remember what it was like for you when you first started your blog. ((You wanted people to read and leave comments!!! Duh.))

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

SNMR 6.5: "The Devil & Daniel Webster"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "The Devil & Daniel Webster" (1941, NR, 106 minutes, B&W), starring Edward Arnold, Walter Huston, James Craig, Anne Shirley, Simone Simon, Jane Darwell and Gene Lockhart. The film was directed by William Dieterle. This film won an Oscar in 1942 and was nominated for one other award.

PLOT SUMMARY: Jabez Stone is a New Hampshire farmer who has run into a string of bad luck. He'd be willing to sell his soul to the devil for a chance at a better life for himself and his family. Wouldn't you know it, the devil was listening! Stone meets 'Mr. Scratch,' who promises Jabez seven years of good luck and good fortune. Will Jabez realize what he's done in time? If he does, who can save him from the devil's clutches?

MY OPINION: This is a decent, if largely forgotten film. That's unfortunate because the performances are good, even by James Craig (Jabez) whose character becomes more annoying as the film progresses. Throughout the film I was trying to place where I've seen Edward Arnold (Daniel Webster) before and didn't figure it out until near the end (He was in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."). The script, based on the short story by Stephen Vincent Benet, aside from a few lulls, is well written. The only disappointing thing about this movie is the choppy picture and sound on the DVD, which really ought to be cleaned up.

There was to be a remake of this movie in 2001, called Shortcut to Happiness, but due to a dispute wasn't finished until 2007. Even then it was in limited release and disappeared quickly after that. This version has never been released to DVD, despite starring Alec Baldwin, Anthony Hopkins and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

All in all, this is a good little movie.

*** out of *****

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII - 2008 NFL Playoffs



#2 Pittsburgh Steelers (-7; 46½ OU) v. #4 Arizona Cardinals: Believe it or not, this is a very intriguing match up for several reasons. This is the first Super Bowl trip for either head coach, but Cardinals head man Ken Whisenhunt and Assistant Russ Grimm used coach for the Steelers and were passed up when Mike Tomlin was hired to replace Bill 'The Chin' Cowher a few years ago. Both QB's, Kurt Warner for the Cardinals and Ben Roethlisberger for the Steelers have won a Super Bowl in their career and this would be #2 for each. It would seem to be a match up of Arizona's resurgent offense vs. the Steelers' superb defense.

I'll guarantee you this: No one thought that we'd have this match-up for this game. The Steelers are one of the AFC's best teams and hardly anyone should be surprised that they are representing the AFC. Even long suffering, die-hard Cardinals fans would not have predicted that their team would represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this year. I definitely didn't see it coming.

I never thought that the Cardinals would beat Atlanta at home, let alone a road game at Carolina and another home game vs. Philadelphia to get here. I would absolutely love to see the Cardinals win this game. Absolutely love it. But I really don't see it happening, because I believe the Steelers are that good. Will it be a close game? Probably, since Warner is a former Super Bowl MVP, and Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald can dominate a game all by himself and is playing his butt off during the playoffs, so far.

However, the one thing that bothers me about the Cardinals, is this. The Boston Globe's superb sports columnist Bob Ryan even wrote a great piece about it a few weeks ago, is that this Cardinals team, once they won their division, tanked a few games at the end of their schedule. For proof, look no further than that 47-7 December drubbing at the hands of the far-superior New England Patriots. As Ryan said in his column, the Cardinals didn't even bother to show up for that game in the snow.

Anyway, knowing my luck and my horrible predictions so far in this year's playoffs, if I pick Pittsburgh, that's gotta give the Cardinals a legitimate shot to win. So I'll go with Pittsburgh winning, in hopes that I'll be wrong again.Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, Arizona 20 Actual result: Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23 Wow, what a game! I didn't watch all of it. I had to listen to the first half on the radio and turned it off when it looked like Pittsburgh was set to go up 24-7 in the 3rd Quarter. Then when I turned back to it, Arizona had taken the lead with under 3 minutes to go, 23-20. I then watched Pittsburgh's come from behind win. Two plays were the difference. At the end of the first half, Arizona was on the verge of scoring the go ahead touchdown, which would have given them a 14-10 lead at halftime. Instead a bizarro interception and 100 yard return for a Pittsburgh TD gave the Steelers the 17-7 edge after two quarters. Then that final drive and Pittsburgh WR (and game MVP) Santonio Holmes incredible game winning touchdown catch sealing the deal for the Steelers. I said to my nephew J that if the Steelers won on that phenomenal catch then they deserved to win. He agreed with me. Even though Arizona lost, I'm happy they made it a competitive game, where for a while it looked like the Cardinals were going to get blown out.

So I picked correctly the straight up winner but lost vs. the point spread. A truly inglorious end to my miserable playoff game picking. Eegads.


Super Bowl XLIV will be played in Miami on February 7, 2010.

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Books of the Month - February 2009

I really didn't want to do these books for this month's selections, but since they have dominated my leisure time reading in the last several weeks, I figured I'd do 'em anyway.

The selections this month are volumes one and two of The Malloreon, by David Eddings. The first book contains volumes 1-3 of the original series and the second book contains volumes four and five. This story begins some 12 years after The Belgariad ends, continuing with some of the same main characters and introducing some new ones.





Purchase The Malloreon, Volume One (Books 1-3) here.







Guardians of the West was published in 1988. King of the Murgos and Demon Lord of Karanda followed in 1989. Volume four, The Sorceress of Darshiva, was published in 1990 and Seeress of Kell completed the second, five book cycle in 1992.

I started reading this series shortly after the first book came out in hardcover, and eagerly awaited each new volume, devouring it within days of its release.






While not quite as good as the original series, this story is still good and entertaining. I think you'll enjoy them.



Purchase The Malloreon, Volume Two (Books 4-5) here.

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