Category Archives: nostalgia

“Cherry Lips and Crystal Skies”

“You can tell me when it’s over, if the high was worth the pain, Starbucks lovers (or whatever).”

“I’ve got a blank space baby.”

Yes, that’s from the wonder that is Taylor Swift and the wonder that is a three-month free trial from Apple music, which I am not going to cancel.

Q) How often do you blog during the week?

A) NEVER, BITCH

That is the power of Ms. Swift (and Jesse Pinkman,)

I am listening to “1989” right now which, among the one million other reasons, makes me even more excited for the Ryan Adams concert here in July. If he plays one song from his own version of “1989” and then anything and everything from “Heartbreaker,” I’ll be one happy nerdette.  It may seem unbelievable, but I honestly still don’t listen to many other musicians than Ryan Adams. I’ll admit I haven’t kept up with all of his EPs, but I love, love, love, “Prisoner” (and the B sides) and turn it up to top volume when I am trying to block out background noise (and stress) at work. It is one of three albums I purchased this year, other than Carsie Blanton and the new Michelle Branch (failed nostalgia buy.)

I own a “Heartbreaker” T-shirt and his is the only poster that survived my college years, cheap-ass frame and all. There are still pieces of Scotch tape all over it and I love it (even with my 35-year-old reflection in this picture … weird  and not intentional … but too lazy to fix.)

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Also, get this, my sister Carla touched Ryan Adams’ hair when he was sitting at Gluek’s bar after one of his shows in Minneapolis. That is where I bought the aforementioned T-shirt and took this picture, possibly with a disposable camera. Wild times. (Chances are I’ve reminisced and written about this before.)

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Okay, I have nothing else to say other than I am losing steam after writing about very boring (to me) Congressional news all day .. but I do want to share the artistic works of Kate Micucci that will soon adorn my walls and be a part of my wardrobe.

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“I bought a borrowed suit and learned to dance.”  – Ryan Adams.

 

 

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Faded tickets, magazines and Todd Barry!

The next movie on my list, or it really should be, is “Enemy” starring that doe-eyed Jake Gyllenhaal and his doppleganger or whatever.

I’ve had it on DVD from Netflix since Jan. 24, 2017, but alas it still sits atop my DVD player and probably will until the Guinness Book of World Records people show up at my door.

I honestly was going to watch it last night, but instead went down a rabbit hole of Conan O’Brien episodes (did you know he is still doing the string dance?) That prompted me to catch up on “Silicon Valley” after seeing Thomas Middleditch’s wonderfully awkward appearance.

After a day in the sun both from a long walk (I actually ran for part of it, woo!) and then lounging in my new favorite chair reading InStyle and listening to podcasts, it was the perfect evening.

I also started to think about a subject for my blog this morning and, with no material on “Enemy,” looked for inspiration by sifting through my old movie tickets.

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I keep meaning to buy a scrapbook for them, especially now that some have faded beyond recognition. I saw one where all I could make out were the words “Hunt for” and I thought … did I see “The Hunt for Red October” at some point? No, it was a ticket from “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” last year. (One of the best movies of the year, by far.) Now I do have to watch “The Hunt for Red October” … but only if it is re-released in the theaters so I have the ticket to prove it.

Or maybe I can win the Guinness record as the only person who hasn’t seen it.

My ticket nostalgia continued this morning with a quick look through a box of old cards and whatnot from high school and I found the mother of all movie stubs from my senior year:

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I also uncovered some mint condition magazines from the 1990’s:

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Why do we save stuff like this? If anything it’s for the random moments you decide to look through old boxes and even better when you don’t know what you’ll find.

I didn’t know I kept some old magazines, especially not this one:

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Oh how things have changed.

A little nostalgia from time to time can’t hurt, just remember it’s memories associated with the past that wouldn’t be the same today. My favorite nostalgia expert, John Hodgman, would tell you that.

That’s why I subscribe to his Lifestyle newsletter and then often don’t read it because I forget to check under the Promotions tab in Gmail.  (I just added him to my contacts –why didn’t I think of this earlier?– so maybe the messages will arrive in my primary inbox.) Anyway,  I did click over one tab  (tough stuff) while catching up on emails yesterday and read the newsletter, which included a recommendation for what is now my new favorite blog by musician and writer Carsie Blanton.  I purchased her album “So Ferocious,” which I’ve been listening to while working on this post, and also read her most recent blog with words of wisdom on pursuing your life goals.

It also references the (visually) aforementioned Brad Pitt after she watched “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” with her husband during a cabin getaway. (They didn’t have many movies to pick from.)

The lyrics from her song, “Lovin’ is Easy” made me smile and I think my favorite tune on the album is “Hot Night.”

From “Lovin’ is Easy”:

“I’m in love with you but it’s alright/I fall in love nearly every night and it fills up my heart until I can’t keep it in/so I hope you don’t mind if I say it again.”

It’s time for other happiness news in that the Minneapolis movie in the parks schedule is hot off the presses and “Clueless” is showing on my birthday. The list includes many of the 1980’s and 1990’s classics that are a perfect excuse to get out at dusk during the heydays of summer. Now I can finally see “Space Jam” on the big screen.

And lastly, since I probably won’t write before then, I am headed off to Madison this weekend to see my favorite deadpan man Todd Barry at the Comedy Club on State.

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I have his book ready to be signed and now just have to think of what to say to him. (I also need a purse big enough for it in case I chicken out, which is very likely.) Do I tell him I think it’s cute that he included his cat Sunflower in the acknowledgements or just that I really admire him?

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Should I show him this selfie? There is a good chance I am going to embarrass myself, but it’s going to be great.

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Bye!

 

Father of the Bride as it should be watched

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Leo approved.

For those of you keeping track (me), I still haven’t finished watching “Afternoon Delight” but I did get to revisit “Father of the Bride” as it should be watched – on VHS and with a glass of Miller Lite at my side.

Let me be clear, I am talking about the classic 1991 (the year that brought us the equally nostalgic “My Girl” and me the lakeside house in Wisconsin where I have watched it many, many times) version of this film starring Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams and Martin Short as Frank, “It’s pronounced FRAHNK Dad.”

I understand that my critical acclaim for this film may be a product of nostalgia and anyone in my generation watching it for the first time now (although I assume this is not possible) would not appreciate the countless “It was then I realized” monologues from George Banks, but I still think it holds up among other films I watched in my formative years.

“Career Opportunities,” which I remember LOVING as a kid, however, does not.

I am sure “My Girl” is also among the films from my early years I would still like, but honestly I think it’s too sad to watch again. Hey, bees, you’re the worst.

Luckily I can see Anna Chlumsky on “Veep” and “Father of the Bride” has a scene set to the song “My Girl,” so I don’t need to go down the road of watching that movie again.

Besides, this week I am actually going to see some new movies screening during the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival.

Demetri Martin’s directorial debut “Dean” is screening Wednesday and I am seeing a Finnish film “Little Wing,” on Thursday.

Martin is one of my favorite comedians and I already know I like his movie. Now he just needs to start a podcast. Oh no, maybe he has one. I am not allowing myself to look that up because there are 87 episodes on my podcast playlist. Help.

I picked “Little Wing,” (similar to my wine selection strategy) because of the name. It’s a coming-of-age story about a young girl who sets out to find her father and the lead actress in the film will be there for the screening on Thursday.

I am not sure I will be able to see any other films as part of MSPIFF, but luckily the Cannes schedule has been announced and I can just jet off to France to see Sofia Coppola’s new film, “The Beguiled.”

While the film looks really dark, it’s one of the things that’s making me happy this week (stealing from my friends over at Pop Culture Happy Hour) as is the fact that “Mustang” director Deniz Gamze Ergüven has a new film, “Kings.”

I still go back to “Mustang” as one my favorite films from the 366 movies in 366 Days challenge last year so I am intrigued by his next project related to the Rodney King trial in 1992.

Among other happiness-makers, I am going to Marc Maron’s show on Saturday and I learned – because of a mention from my other friends over at Indiewire – that Matt Damon has a new movie, “Downsizing.” I can only imagine that it’s a spin-off of “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.”

Here is the actual description of the film, “A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself.”

I always thought my chosen super power would be to be invisible, as long as I don’t inherit any of the fatal flaws that come with having said power, but this makes me rethink my decision. Basically, I just want to shrink down and hang out with Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig (she’s also in the movie) and have Alexander Payne tell us what to do.

(Weird) happiness defined.

Bye!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

85-88 of 366: Edge of Tomorrow; Brief Encounter; Paris, Texas; Frankenstein

This is hard. Like Bob Harris singing More Than This in Lost in Translation while trying to process his feelings for Charlotte-hard.

For the sake of catching up on my movies today I decided to (try to) not spend so much time writing/obsessing about each one in individual blog posts.

I watched four movies today and challenged myself to only write short paragraphs about each one so I can get back on track to watching one per day. Soon I will be back to my regularly scheduled programming of pouring over each blog I write, (although this format is pretty tempting to continue), but for now here’s a summary of today’s cinematic adventures:

85 of 366: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

edgeThink of Edge of Tomorrow as an action version of Groundhog Day where the  characters have the ability to relive moments in time and therefore predict the future. The film is another display of Emily Blunt’s versatility as an actress as she completely owns a role as an action hero one minute and the next can star in a dramatic or comedic film (Your Sister’s Sister or The Five Year Engagement.) I enjoyed Tom Cruise’s performance as Major William Cage, who transforms from a man of power to kind of a bumbling idiot and back again as the world faces a devastating attack by aliens. Blunt plays Rita, (aka the Angel of Verdun), a soldier trained to end the war who was formerly afflicted by the same “power” Cage has to relive each day in order to ultimately outsmart the alien enemy. As Cage and Rita’s characters, and their relationship, build throughout the film and there is an equal combination of wit, solid special effects with a unique time travel/science fiction story at its core.

86 of 366: Brief Encounter (1945)

briefI thought Brief Encounter, based on what happens when characters meet for a moment in time only to never connect again and a one-act play by Noel Coward, was a good follow up to Edge of Tomorrow. In that film there is always uncertainty whether Rita and William will live or die and continue to save the world together, while in Brief Encounter director David Lean explores the romantic connection between Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson) and Dr. Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard) after they meet at a restaurant in New York outside the train station. Both are married but also quickly fall in love and meet in the city for a few weeks, having lunch and going to the movies. Lean had to expand upon Coward’s one-act play, Still Life, but the film still felt very much like a stage production with Laura’s narration and the classical score. It’s also known to have inspired many similar stories or the style of similar films and I did notice common themes and dialogue between it and one of my guilty-pleasure favorites, You’ve Got Mail. It is never to the point of imitating what Lean and Coward created, but rather is surely one of many tributes to a classic romantic film and accomplishment in cinematic history.

“It all started on an ordinary day at the most ordinary place in the world,” Laura Jesson. 

87 of 366: Paris, Texas (1984)

parisParis, Texas, is a telling road movie in three parts that defines the relationship between two brothers, a father and son and husband and wife. After disappearing for four years, Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) resurfaces wandering in the desert in Texas. His brother Walt (Dean Stockwell) picks him up and they drive to Los Angeles together to reunite Travis with his son, Hunter. Starting with Walt and Travis’s trip, the characters learn about each other as a result of the missing presence of Travis in their lives the last four years.

Paris, Texas is a beautiful visual display of Texas and Los Angeles and Winders and cinematographer Robby Muller also tell the story using the camera to show each character’s point of view. The film brings to mind the theme of nostalgia as Winders and writers Sam Shepard and L.M. Kit Carson explore the family dynamic of the Hendersons and a man trying to rebuild his life.

“The dust has come to stay … you may stay or pass on through, or whatever.”

88 of 366: Frankenstein (1931)

frankensteinI really wanted to make it through five movies today, but there can be too much of a good thing — even my favorite thing. It was a rare nice day in Minneapolis so I wanted to fit in a walk outside and of course I spent more time than I planned for on my blog. Frankenstein, however, did make for a perfect conclusion to my catch-up day because it’s only a little longer than an hour and known as one of the classic horror films of all time that’s been on my list to watch. I would say it is more unsettling and suspenseful that scary but, taking into account its release in 1931, Frankenstein is certainly a cinematic accomplishment of the era and all time.

One of the most unsettling scenes was the father carrying his daughter’s lifeless body, at the hands of the monster (Boris Karloff), through the village streets toward the end the film; while the first sight of him close up and his dead eyes also carries a bit of fear factor.

I wonder what audiences originally thought of the film in the 1930s; but I do think it holds up in the horror genre and as an adaptation of a novel — something that is done perhaps too much in current times.

I wish there was a quote from the monster himself to end this with, instead I will resort to my standby from John Hodgman.

“That is all.”

 

 

54 of 366: Teen Witch

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buzzfeed.com

I think the page on Teen Witch in 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die is missing, at least in my copy. This week’s episode of How Did This Get Made featured the 1989 movie as its subject matter so I decided to give myself a pass and watch it again. It’s been ages since I’ve seen Teen Witch and I knew it would be a welcome trip back to the end of the 1980s and that era of films centered on high school drama.

Teen Witch may very well be a combination of the hits from the 1980s, Pretty in Pink, Can’t Buy Me Love, Sixteen Candles, etc., and closes out the decade of film with perhaps the best mix of dance numbers, dream sequences and ill-fitting clothing for teens (ahem, the leotards) in existence.

Plus the main character Louise Miller, (Robyn Lively), is blessed with the powers of witchcraft on her 16th birthday so she can channel all her teenage problems into casting spells on other people.

Of course like any plot point in the 1980s teen angst film genre, such as successfully faking sick to get out of school or winning the affection of the most popular girl (even if you have to pay her), Louise’s powers and new social status are a little too good to be true and her one real friendship is pushed aside.

Louise has her fun with casting spells to seek revenge against unfair teachers and her annoying little brother, but in the end she realizes she doesn’t need those powers and can date Brad and keep her old friends all while performing a well-choreographed dance number to Shana.

I started listening to the How Did This Get Made episode about the film, which Paul Scheer had never even heard of, and it’s clear it stands the test of time even for people who didn’t see Teen Witch as the 1980s came to a close.

One thing, similar to Labyrinth, that I didn’t remember about the film was all the musical numbers outside of the famous Top That routine. There is I Like Boys and Most Popular Girl and of course the final scene at the Moonlight Magic prom with “Louise Mania” going on in the background.

Teen Witch is stereotypical for the 1980s, but it still works so well and I am glad I revisited it tonight.

I’ll watch it in another 20 years when I have quit the writing business, other than this blog of course, and run my own fortune teller shop.

“You have the power to make anything you want happen.” — Madame Serena.

 

 

 

 

 

 

48 of 366: Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words

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blogs.indiewire.com

If you think about it, actors and actresses in Hollywood have a lot more of their lives documented than the average person. Granted that documentation on camera stems from characters they are playing, but there is also behind the scenes time and interviews to look back on other than the finished product.

I thought about this tonight while watching Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Wordsa documentary about the actress starring in films such as Casablanca and Notorious including readings from her diaries growing up and home movies throughout her life. The home movies show the balance, often uneven, between Bergman’s work life and life as a wife and mother of four children.

They all appear in the documentary, speaking of Bergman’s charm and larger-than-life character that they miss without criticism of the lack of time she was there growing up.

The film, directed by Stig Bjorkman, shows the highs and lows of Bergman’s short life including what she also may not have wanted on camera.

On the other hand she didn’t seem to have fear in being completely honest about her thoughts in her diaries and dedication to her career above all else.

Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words is a documentary for movie-lovers and fans of her work alike to watch for its glimpse into Hollywood life as much as her life story. It certainly piqued my interest to watch more of her films this year now that I’ve seen the background on how they came to be.

“I have no regrets. I wouldn’t have lived my life the way I did if I was going to worry about what people were going to say.”

Ingrid Bergman

 

28 of 366: Labyrinth

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There is so much and so little to say about Labyrinth.  I wanted to revisit the film once I started my 366 movies challenge, and then David Bowie died and then one of my favorite movie theaters here decided to pay tribute to him with a screening of it and The Man Who Fell to Earth, which I have not seen.

Of course watching it now felt bittersweet with Bowie gone and seeing him on screen in  one of the movies I associate as much with nostalgia as with cinematic creativity and history in the world of film.

People in the audience cheered when Bowie’s name showed up in the opening credits and when he first appeared as the Goblin King.

I know I don’t need to describe the film except to say it’s weird and wonderful all at the same time and manages to mix what seems to be, at first, a 1980s coming-of-age story with total fantasy and heart and of course it holds up after all these years.

What did stand out more for me watching it as an adult was the music and score, which Bowie composed and, obviously, performed.

I know fans of Bowie’s whole catalog of music and film had a lot to mourn after he died. I will admit I have only heard and seen a fraction of his work in my life, but Bowie had such a cultural influence it didn’t take much to be affected by his art over time.

Seeing Labyrinth in the theater more than met my expectations and I don’t doubt the film will continue to stand the test of time.

“I’ll be there for you as the world falls down.”

— David Bowie, As the World Falls Down

22 of 366: Pretty in Pink

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rollingstone.com

1986 is a great year for cinema and full of classics in 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You DieTop Gun, The Fly, Hannah and Her Sisters, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off that are all on my list to watch this year.

Pretty in Pink didn’t make the cut in the book, but any child of the 1980s knows it is a cult classic and should have a special place in their heart for the film.

“This is an incredibly romantic moment, and you’re ruining it for me.” — Duckie

It’s certainly my favorite from John Hughes’ library of work, and the scene where Duckie busts into Trax and dances to Otis Redding’s A Little Tenderness is a cinematic wonder.

I clearly can’t say enough good things about Pretty in Pink. Even the bad guy, Steff, (James Spader) in all his smug glory has a certain appeal when you watch him on screen.

It feels like John Hughes and director Howard Deutch knew the film would be a source of nostalgia for its viewers (its 30th anniversary is on Feb. 28 and you can see it on the big screen) and fit in the theme through Annie Potts’ character Iona, who works at Trax with Andie (Ringwald) and often reminisces about her high school years.

They were right and with that, “applause, applause, applause.”

 

 

 

 

 

12 of 366: Heathers

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imdb.com

Lunchtime poll for all of you who saw Heathers in its heyday: Does it hold up?

I am enough of a Christian Slater fan-girl to say it does, but I only just watched the film yesterday and don’t have the same nostalgia for it as the masses of people who I hope saw it in 1988 or before that decade was over.

It didn’t make it into the 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, at least not yet, but Heathers’ cult classic reputation makes it worth revisiting or watching it for the first time.

I don’t know if it influenced Clueless (in the Must See book) or Mean Girls (not a must see);  but there are some similarities between Heathers and those films that show it was ahead of its time as far as the makings of a teen classic.

The difference is Heathers has more of a dark side as Veronica (Winona Ryder) and J.D. (Christian Slater) navigate their way through a violent plot to bring down the popular kids and then eventually turn on each other.

The film could be too dark if made today, but it works for 1988 and if you keep in mind the societal environment at that time.

Despite my very new exposure to Heathers, its oddities and cult classic reputation from the time I was 7-years-old already make it hold a special place in my heart.

“We live for just these twenty years. Do we have to die for the fifty more?”

– David Bowie, Young Americans

 

4 of 366: Good Will Hunting

 

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Boston Magazine

Good Will Hunting (1998, USA, Gus Van Zant, Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck) is most certainly a film that has shaped my love of cinema. I don’t know if it’s because of the time in my life when I saw it or because it’s a cinematic “boy genius from Southie” or a combination of the two, but Good Will Hunting is worth watching again, and then again.

I took those notes as I was watching the film tonight only to realize I documented similar thoughts about it in 2013 for a post about five films I could watch over and over again. I didn’t even watch Good Will Hunting again at that time … I just knew.

Here are my thoughts from the post three years ago … “I chose Good Will Hunting because it is one of the many titles I associate with why I love film and I am okay with watching it over and over. This choice probably sounds silly and insignificant among all the other accomplishments in film, but I’ve admired and respected Matt Damon’s career from the beginning. This is my list and I am sticking to it. Now, when I actually have the time, I am going to watch Good Will Hunting again.”

I can’t say I am going to have the time to watch 366 films this year, but I am making the time.

As I watched Good Will Hunting tonightI found myself taking notes on the dialogue between the characters, especially Will and his therapist Sean (Robin Williams) and girlfriend Skylar (Minnie Driver.)

These characters, not to mention his best friend Chuckie (Affleck) break Will down just enough for him to learn what he really wants.

The screenplay by Damon and Affleck has so many good lines and, more importantly, insight into human nature that make it groundbreaking in the world of cinema.

It’s going on 18 years since the film was released in January 1998, and I am glad I watched it during the start of my 365 movies project.

Good Will Hunting is an inspirational story to study as a film and as how Damon and Affleck made it and received critical acclaim that shaped their careers.

“You do what’s in your heart son, [and] you’ll be fine.”

No surprises here … 4 out of 4 stars.

“Motivation is thought of as this magical, glorious, divine energy that takes you over when you need it most, but I have found that that’s mostly bullshit. The process of change isn’t always about having some deep insights into yourself and then deciding to alter your behavior as a result; sometimes it’s about making the changes whether or not your’re “feeling them”–and then letting your insights catch up.”

Emily V. Gordon

Up Next (still as of now): Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (I am waiting for the DVD to arrive) Macbeth, City Lights, Edward Scissorhands, Roman Holiday