"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, May 30, 2009

SNMR 6.20: "Lost in Space"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Lost in Space" (1998, PG-13, 131 minutes), starring William Hurt, Gary Oldman, Matt LeBlanc, Mimi Rogers, Heather Graham, Lacey Chabert and Jack Johnson. The film was directed by Stephen Hopkins.

PLOT SUMMARY: Based on the 1960's television show, the movie follows the exploits of the Jupiter II spacecraft, the Robinson family, Major Don West and Dr. Zachary Smith. Smith, in a failed attempt to sabotage the mission, gets trapped in the Jupiter II after liftoff and awakens the Robinsons, who were put in a suspended animation/sleep for their long journey. Once in space, with many systems on their ship destroyed or damaged, the Robinsons attempt to get back to earth, avoiding aliens and pitfalls along the way.

MY OPINION: I remember going to the movies in 1998 and seeing a big promotional poster hanging on the wall of the theater, pronouncing this as the biggest blockbuster of the summer. Though I didn't see it in the theater, I wanted to, but never got around to it. I recently checked it out of the library recently only because I wanted to see how Matt LeBlanc would do in a role other than Joey on Friends. His performance was good, but a little stiff. That's okay because Mark Goddard, who played Major West in the TV show was a little stiff too. William Hurt is passable as John Robinson but he's no Guy Williams. Gary Oldman, as good an actor as he is, was miscast as Dr. Smith. Judy Robinson, played by Heather Graham, was given more to do in this film than her character had in the TV show. Mimi Rogers, Lacey Chabert and Jack Johnson were decent as Mrs. Robinson, Penny and Will respectively but won't wow you.

This movie does a good job of explaining the origins of the Jupiter II's mission, how Major West became associated with the mission and Dr. Smith's dirty deeds. Once out in space, the story loses focus and goes off into too many directions and falls flat. Some of the visual effects are well done, others (like the alien space monkey thing) not so much. You can have the best special effects ever but if the story is bad there's usually not much chance of saving the movie. Some movies are so bad that they are good - but this isn't one of those.

The best part about the film is that Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Angela Cartwright and June Lockhart all have cameo roles in the beginning of the movie and the voice of the robot, as in the television series, is voiced by Dick Tufeld.

The special features on the DVD include interviews with June Lockhart, Marta Kristen and Angela Cartwright and a complete episode guide to the TV series.

This movie had the potential to be great and could have been with a better script. Now that I think of it, this would have been a much better, or at least more interesting, movie if they had picked up the story where the television show left off (the show was cancelled in the third season with the Jupiter II forever lost in space) and we were able to see if/how the Robinsons were able to return to earth. That's what I would have done anyway.

Watching this movie made me desire to watch the television series again. Campy as it was the TV show was a far superior product.

"Danger, Will Robinson! I repeat, danger!!" View at your own risk.

*½ out of *****

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

SNMR 6.19: "The Savages"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "The Savages" (2007, R, 114 minutes), starring Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Philip Bosco and Peter Friedman. The film was directed by Tamara Jenkins.

PLOT SUMMARY: Wendy and Jon Savage (Linney and Hoffman) are brother and sister who live in different parts of New York, living their own lives with not much contact between them. They are suddenly drawn together by a phone call from Arizona informing them that their father Lenny (Bosco) has lost his mind after his longtime girlfriend dies. Having nowhere to go and apparently suffering from dementia, Wendy and Jon are forced to deal with their father, a man who was never a committed parent, and take care of him. Now they must face a choice: find him a nursing home where he can receive the care he needs or continue to take care of him themselves, all while delicately juggling their own lives and learning all about dementia and mental illness..

MY OPINION: This film takes a good, hard look at the effects of dementia and how you deal with it when your parent is the one affected by it. How one parent's illness can disrupt your family's lives. This is not a comedy, but what funny moments there are are played up very nicely by Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The script is emotional and heartfelt. Director Tamara Jenkins over all does a good job keeping the film moving, but there are a few moments when the story sags just a bit. The touching human element to the story is that, even though Lenny wasn't the greatest dad and not always there for his kids, his kids came through for him when he needed it most. That's the power of love.

This is a worthwhile rental, especially if you have experienced or are experiencing a parent who suffers from dementia.

***½ out of *****

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Friday, May 22, 2009

12.....twelve.......12!.........twelve?

I find it hard to believe that my oldest child, V, turns 12 years old today. Yet it is an unavoidable truth.

How in the heck did that happen? Where has the time gone?


V,

Happy Birthday sweetheart. I hope you have a great day today. I'm so proud of you. You're growing up so fast. I love you, always.

Love,

Dad


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My dad's birthday is tomorrow. Happy 65th, Pop.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

SNMR 6.18: "The Incredible Mr. Limpet"

Historically, I haven't reviewed many movies for kids in this column. A month or so ago I decided to pick up this movie, which I enjoyed as a kid, for my kids. That said, tonight’s SNMR feature is “The Incredible Mr. Limpet“ (1964, G, 99 minutes), starring Don Knotts, Carole Cook, Andrew Duggan, Jack Weston and Larry Keating. The film was directed by Arthur Lubin.

PLOT SUMMARY: Set in the 1940’s, Henry Limpet (Knotts) is a man from the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York who loves fish. In fact he loves fish so much he’d like to become one. After a hard day at work and getting rejected by the US Navy as a classified 4-F, Henry and his wife along with his friend George, who is a sailor in the Navy, decide it would be relaxing and fun to take a trip to Coney Island and relax with a picnic.. While leaning over the pier into the water, Henry falls into the ocean and everyone thinks he’s drowned. Except for now Henry has his wish - he’s a fish!
Henry discovers that he can make a loud thrumming noise under water, which he discovers is excellent for getting rid of predator fish, and the Nazi U-Boat fleet, who are dominating the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Henry leads a Navy destroyer to where a German submarine is hiding and helps them blow it up. Henry then realizes that he can help the US Navy win World War II, which America has just entered after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Henry becomes the Navy’s secret weapon, and helps us thrash Nazi Germany and win the war. Henry, as a man was useless to the Navy but as a fish, he becomes the Navy’s newest hero.

MY OPINION: This kids movie used to be one of my favorites growing up, and was for a time a staple of Saturday morning cinema on television. Cleverly blending live action and animation sequences, this film, along with Mary Poppins, paved the way for other live action - animation blended films. Don Knotts was one of those actors who to me was just funny naturally, though this is more of a straight, serious role for the comedic actor. The story is clever when you’re a kid, but not so much as an adult. I bought this movie for nostalgic reasons and because it was inexpensive. I watched it with V and M this afternoon, since I didn‘t have access to the Internet here at my ex’s house. V thought it was a cute movie and enjoyed it, M not so much.

This is a great movie to keep the kiddoes occupied for a bit and for a trip down memory lane.

**½ out of *****

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This time... I win.

I took a vacation day yesterday from work. Got to sleep in and everything. Boy it was nice. But there was another reason for taking a day off in the middle of the week...

Lemme 'splain.

Back on December 30th as I was heading toward the highway to make my way up to Nashua, I got pulled over for speeding by the mighty Burlington Police. I was cited for going 50 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. I had just gotten out of work; it was a few minutes after 4 in the afternoon. The road I was traveling on has many businesses on it, and like me, there were many people just getting out of work for the day and plenty of traffic on the road, making it near to impossible to get up any kind of speed on this four lane (two lanes each direction) road. I was in the lane closest to the double yellow line.

As I was going down a slight hill, the cop - who was stationed in the entrance/exit of a parking lot, saw me and as I approached where he was, started to pull out into the road. Both me and the car in the lane next to me stopped and motioned to the officer to go ahead and pull out into the road, thinking that he was going to go chase someone. Instead he motioned both of us to pass him. As soon as we did, sure enough, he pulled out and the lights came on. But it was me that he wanted!

Shocked, I immediately pulled over and that's when I got the ticket. $150 big ones.

After the cop pulled away and I was back on the road, I began to mutter to myself all the way up to New Hampshire, about how idiotic getting that ticket was.

I now had a deadline of 20 days to either send in money I didn't have or send in the ticket with the box checked asking for a court hearing. I always appeal my speeding tickets because even if I eventually lose, it gives me extra time to save up the cash and I can budget in an extra $10 per week or whatever fits. The last time I appealed a speeding ticket didn't go so well, because I lost.


Then I noticed it. Or should I say I noticed what I didn't see. Definitely going to request an appeal on this one.

What did I not see?

The officer neglected to fill out the part of the ticket that records how it was determined that I was going as fast as I was. Right then I knew an appeal had a chance of being successful.

I waited until just about the 20 days grace period expired before I sent back the ticket. For the longest time I didn't hear anything about my appeal and figured the matter had been dropped.

What I didn't know is that my hearing was originally scheduled for April 7th at 2:30 PM. But when the notice of hearing was returned to the court because of a bad address, they had no choice to reschedule it.

I finally received the hearing notice in the mail about a month ago. Yesterday afternoon at 2:30 was the rescheduled time.

In Nashua, they hold traffic hearings in a real courtroom, with a real judge, and it looks awfully official.

Woburn (MA) District Court, is nothing like I expected, at least as far as traffic hearings go. Quite a let down, actually. On Monday after work, I took a dry-run over to the courthouse and found out where the parking was and which was the main entrance into the building. I didn't want to have another out-of breath experience, like this.

These hearings are held in a bare-bones library-type conference room. I made sure I got there The only people present were the clerk-magistrate, a representative from the Burlington Police and me.

The clerk-magistrate advised me that the officer had been sworn in previously (I was the third hearing that afternoon) and then he asked me to raise my right hand, swear to tell the truth, the whole truth so help me God?

Umm, yeah.

The police officer then was asked to state the charges and he basically read what was written on the ticket, even stating that it was unknown how the officer who pulled me over determined how fast I was driving. Then I was asked if I had anything to add.

I just said that I wanted to point out that the officer failed to fill out the ticket properly by not noting how it was determined how fast I was driving and that at that time of day with all of the traffic from people getting out of work it would be hard to reach a speed of 50 MPH.

It took the clerk-magistrate all of 30 seconds to agree that I was not responsible for the $150.00 fine. In fact, the whole process took less than five minutes, once I actually was actually called into the room.

Personally, I think that the officer who stopped me needed to reach an end of the month quota of tickets issued and didn't really care if the fine was actually paid or not. A speeding ticket isn't really all that difficult to fill out, and I'm sure he's filled out a lot of them.

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

SNMR 6.17: "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past"

Since I've been doing this weekly column, I rarely, if ever, have reviewed a movie that was still running in the theaters, much less a movie that opened a mere eight days ago. But this week I went to see this movie and didn't want to wait to review it until after it came out on DVD.

So, tonight's SNMR feature is "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" (2009, PG-13, 100 minutes), starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Michael Douglas, Breckin Meyer, Lacey Chabert, Robert Forster and Anne Archer. The film was directed by Mark Waters.

PLOT SUMMARY: Connor Meade (McConaughey) is a successful photographer and notorious womanizer. Love 'em and leave 'em is his motto. When Connor is summoned back to Rhode Island for his brother's wedding, he runs into the one woman who he has always loved, his childhood friend, Jenny Perotti (Garner) and the ghost of his dead Uncle Wayne (Douglas), who is the legendary womanizing influence in Connor's life. Uncle Wayne tells Connor that he's to be visited by three ghosts, representing his girlfriends of the past, present and future. He says that Connor better listen and change his ways or else...

MY OPINION: I've wanted to see this film since I saw the previews for it a few months ago because I've been a fan of Jennifer Garner's for several years and I generally like the romantic comedies Matthew McConaughey inevitably stars in. But there's another reason, which I'll mention in a bit.

Do you think Charles Dickens would be pleased if he knew how many spin offs there have been using the premise of his story "A Christmas Carol" over the years? Obviously this movie continues in that tradition, but in a different and new way.

The story is good and so is the acting. Michael Douglas has long been one of my favorite actors. He's so cool in virtually every role he's been in. McConaughey has a charm and likability in the characters he plays, even though some will say he plays the same type of character in every movie he's in. At 100 minutes, the run time is just about right. Not too long and not too short.

It will be interesting to see what kind of special features will be included when this movie comes to DVD, probably sometime in September. I can see myself easily adding this movie to my DVD collection when that time comes.

***½ out of *****

What was the other reason I wanted to see this movie? Well, for one it was filmed entirely in Massachusetts, which I like and this scene was filmed at the Martha Mary Chapel in Sudbury, MA, on the grounds of the Longfellow Wayside Inn - where I was married, way back in 1994.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Dom DeLuise (1933-2009)

Scribe is right. Dom DeLuise, 75, was such a great comic actor who will sorely be missed. His comedy seemed to be effortless. Some people just know how to be funny naturally and DeLuise was one of those people.

In my mind, DeLuise was a very underrated talent. Maybe because he, according to stuff I've read, was very soft spoken. Nothing I've read, however says one bad thing about the man. In this day and age of media-oversaturation, that's no small feat.

Here's a story from abcnews.com on Mr. DeLuise, who apparently died of cancer.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Look....it's the new Yankee Stadium

The Red Sox make their first ever appearance at the new Yankee Stadium for a brief two game series this week. Fresh off their 3-0 series domination of their New York rivals last week, the Red Sox enter this series at 15-10 and the Yankees at 13-11.


Monday, May 4: Boston 6, at New York 4

Lester (1-2) v. Hughes (1-0)
WP=Lester (2-2), LP=Hughes (1-1), SV=Papelbon (7)


Tuesday, May 5: Boston 7, at New York 3

Beckett (2-2) v. Chamberlain (1-0)
WP=Beckett (3-2), LP=Chamberlain (1-1)

Apparently this is only the third time in Red Sox history that they've opened 5-0 vs. New York. Those other seasons were 1912 and 1985, according to NESN.

After this the Sox and Yankees next get together will be June 9-11 at Fenway.

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

SNMR 6.16: "Rachel Getting Married"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Rachel Getting Married" (2008, R, 113 minutes), starring Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Bill Irwin, Tunde Adebimbe, Mather Zickel, Anna Deavere-Smith and Debra Winger. The film was directed by Jonathan Demme.

PLOT SUMMARY: Kym (Hathaway) is coming home for her sister Rachel's (DeWitt) wedding. The problem is she's coming home from rehab and carries with her all kinds of emotional baggage and bombshell drama, igniting long simmering tensions within the family.

MY OPINION: This film is an excellent look at how one person's dysfunction can upset an otherwise solid family unit. Anne Hathaway is one of the most talented and versatile young (under 30) actresses working in Hollywood today, as her nomination for Best Actress indicates. Her tension filled chemistry with co-star Rosemarie DeWitt seems very natural. It seemed to me that I had seen DeWitt in something else, but even after looking over at her body of work on imdb.com, can't place what it was that I saw her in. Weird, because I'm normally very good at recognizing where I've seen actors before even if they only have small roles.

The script is well written and very realistic. This film has that hand-held, home movie look, which works well for the story, giving the viewer a feeling of being part of the family, but can also be dreadfully annoying at times.

This is definitely a worthwhile movie to rent.

***¾ out of *****

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135th Kentucky Derby

Hard to believe the Kentucky Derby is over for another year. Yeah I know it's always the first Saturday in May, but wow, it seemed to sneak up on me this year.

Well, as you no doubt already know, Mine That Bird, at 50-1, pulled off the second largest upset in Derby history with his win today. And it wasn't close, either.

This horse came out of nowhere to win, literally. It really was quite amazing to watch, especially on slow motion replay. Mine That Bird dodged in and around other horses to get to the inside rail and took off from there.

Can Mine That Bird end the longest drought in Triple Crown history and become the first horse to win all three races since 1978?

We'll see in two weeks at the Preakness Stakes.

Here's another article on the race.

5/3 UPDATE: It would be unfortunate if this happened. Especially for people like me who could give a hoot about horse racing, except for the Triple Crown races.


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