Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Long Way Home

The second show for Day 2 of AMC's Best Picture Showcase was "Lion".  I'd been wanting to see this movie, so I'm glad it was nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award so that I could watch it today.

  • That kid is freaking adorable!!!
  • I can't even comprehend being that kind of lost as an adult, much less as a small child.
  • That lady working the adoptions in India sure has a huge job.
  • I liked the cute courtship on the sidewalk between Saroo and Lucy.
  • I like Dev's hair, very mane-like. Oh, Dev, you're amazing, as usual.
  • Beautiful cinematography of Tasmania.
  • "I'm not from Calcutta.  I'm lost."
  • Poor Mum.  How awful to lose both of her boys that day, even though she did get Saroo back.
  • Google Earth reunites families.
  • Oh, Sheru. 
  • I was a crying mess after that.
  • "In Loving Memory of Guddu."  Because I hadn't cried enough.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

In Moonlight, Black Boys Look Blue

Today was Day 2 of the AMC Best Picture Showcase.  I wasn't able to attend Day 1, so I'm glad that I still found time to see the 4 films that they showed that day.  I'm bummed, though, for my friend that had tickets at another theater today.  They canceled the show because the projector broke.  You couldn't use another theater?  

Anyway, first up for today: "Moonlight".

  • That first scene made me kinda dizzy.
  • I heart Mahershala Ali, even when he plays a drug dealer.  Well, a drug dealer with a heart of gold.  
  • Naomie Harris did an excellent job portraying her character.  I really despised her until her last scene, which just had me bawling.
  • Was that the same crown in Chiron's car that Juan had in his?
  • "You're still the same, can't put more than three words together."
  • "I saw that.  You didn't want to waste any of it."
  • "I can't really taste it so I stay away from it."
  • "These Grandma rules, man: yo ass eat, yo ass speak."
  • All of the guys playing Chiron did a great job portraying him without the use of a lot of words, because that guy does not talk a lot.  In fact, Linda said that there was much chatter after the film was over, and we thought that maybe people needed to hear each other talk after there was so much silence.  That screenplay must have been sparse dialogue-wise.
  • Beautifully done. I just wanted to hug Chiron all of the time.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

DLR LotD 02/21/17

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Special Robert Mondavi Wine Dinner edition!

First Course: Scallop* paired with Fume Blanc Reserve, Napa Valley, 2012*
"I need to put up my pinkie finger." -- Mox, to Sherry

butternut squash puree, maitake shitake crimini mushrooms,
crispy kale, olive vinaigrette

Second Course: Oxtail Ragu* paired with Pinot Noir Reeserve, Carneros, Napa Valley, 2013
"He's still making word things." -- Cindy, to Sherry

braised oxtail, masa gnocchi, cilantro pickled slaw

Third Course: Duck* paired with BDX Red Blend, Oakville, Napa Valley, 2012
"That's duck." -- Glenn, to Sherry

carrot braised steel oats, puffed rice, plum demi

Fourth Course: Venison paired with Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Oakville, Napa Valley, 2013
"I don't get to pet Jeff very often." -- Cindy

saffron onion soubise, king trmpets, golden gooseberries

Fifth Course: Chocolate Mousse Cake paired with Moscato D'Oro, Napa Valley, 2014*
"There's no honeycomb!" -- Valerie, from the next table

Italian meringue, quince,
*Sherry's favorites

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

City of Stars

My last Oscar Best Picture Nominee to watch before the big Showcase on Saturday was "La La Land".  I got free popcorn because it's Wednesday and I scored a free movie pass with my rewards points, so it was already a great evening!

  • I had heard one of the themes on KUSC earlier this week, and I sort of liked it, and it made me look forward to seeing the film.
  • So these voices in the opening number: NOT musical theatre belt-it-out.  This is not a good thing for me in a musical.  Maybe other people might like it, but breathy, mumbly singing is not my style.  I also didn't think the dancing in that number was all that great.  Granted, they were maneuvering between parked cars, but I just wasn't thrilled.  
  • I wanted Ryan Gosling to sing out a bit more.  He sang back on the Mickey Mouse Club, right?  I also wanted him to not look down when he was dancing.  Great work on the piano, though!
  • Emma Stone sounded fine, especially during her audition when she actually sang out more than in the rest of the film.  Thanks for projecting, Emma.  
  • I did like the lyrics and the melodies, especially "City of Stars" (duet) and "A Lovely Night".
  • Well, no wonder J.K. Simmons was in this movie.  It was directed by the same person as "Whiplash"!  
  • My favorite part of this film is the chemistry between Stone and Gosling.  I've loved them together since seeing them in "Crazy, Stupid, Love".  
  • I also liked seeing all of the different aspects of LA.  Well, the clean aspects.  There was, like, no dirt anywhere in this film.  And how is she walking all over the place alone on the streets at night like she's in Podunkville, USA and not feeling frightened at all?
  • She just happened to have shoes in her bag that match his?  And how is NOBODY else at the Griffith Observatory?  I know, I'm trying to be realistic about a film wherein people just burst into song and then they're floating on air.  I'll stop.
  • Maybe I'm just pissed off about the Casablanca-like ending.  You have all of this loveliness and then jolt me into reality, then tease me with a fantasy sequence and then bring me back to reality, and I get sad about it.  Thanks.  Can I just end the movie during the fantasy sequence?
All that said, I did enjoy the film as a whole.  I'm thinking about getting the soundtrack because I did like the music and lyrics.  I guess I just wish other people sang it, not that I would trade other people cast in the lead roles.  Yes, I'm quite torn about this movie.  Sigh.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Heartbroken in New England

It was finally a good day for me today to go to the Laemmle Theater for "Manchester By The Sea".  Not that I needed sadness: I've been catching up on a bunch of DVR stuff while I've been blogging this weekend, and tears happened already.  But it's Oscar season, and I don't have a lot of free days before Sunday, so here we go!

  • "I'm looking forward to being bored to death."
  • "I think I'm in love with my janitor."
  • Loved the building relationship between Patrick and Lee.
  • "You can't make adult small talk?  'Hey, how about those interest rates?'  'Hey, I lost my Triple A card.'"
  • "Uncle Lee, are you fundamentally unsound?!"
  • Wonderful job by Lucas Hedges as Patrick.
  • How did that woman spill her beer on him and then she still had a full glass to drink afterward?
  • "We are Stentorian."  Dang, those songs were NOT good.
  • Casey Affleck did a tremendous job with his role, and his accolades are well-deserved.  I did smile a little bit at first, though, because I thought of something Jason Alexander said about the difference between dramatic and comedic acting (to be written in another post).
  • I'm trying to think of a film wherein Michelle Williams did not make me cry.  She had me weeping again here.
  • Matthew Broderick's character creeped me out.
  • "He's so... Christian." "You know we're Christian too, right?"
  • Gorgeous cinematography of the New England land- and seascapes.
  • "I can't beat it."
I enjoyed this movie because even with the subject matter, it still had several bits of humor.  I admired all of the performances, too.  I look forward to seeing it again someday.

Magic Pencils

Beauty and the Beast
25th Anniversary Celebration
Monday, January 16, 2017
Sunset Showcase Theater

My friends treated me to a special 25th Anniversary Celebration panel discussion of "Beauty and the Beast" at DCA for my birthday.  The panel was moderated by Producer Don Hahn, with animators Andreas Deja (Gaston) and Glen Keane (Beast) and Voice Actor Paige O'Hara (Belle) participating.

  • We got popcorn and candy and soda/water as if we were going to watch a movie!  Look at happy Bananaman!  Yeah, the lighting was weird in there, so forgive the strange hues.

  • Much crying happened, especially when they showed clips of the folks that have passed away, such as Jerry Orbach and Howard Ashman.  Especially Howard Ashman.  Each clip that showed him made my eyes water a lot.  It didn't help when they were talking about how strong he was trying to be during the recording of the music and that the day they were showing was a good day among many bad days for him as he was battling AIDS.  
    Showing clip of Howard Ashman and Paige O'Hara
  • Deja told the story of everyone trying to have input on the way Gaston's chest hair should be drawn, as it was mentioned in the lyric of his song.  He sketched Gaston for us, complete with chest hair.  Deja also animated iconic characters such as Jafar, Scar, and Ariel's dad, Triton. 

Andreas Deja 

  • O'Hara sang "Beauty and The Beast" and "Be Our Guest".  She talked about working on Broadway and being asked to audition for the part, which is always odd the first time because animators do not look at the vocalist when they audition, so that they can try to envision them as the character.  Instead, they look down at their sketches.
    Paige O'Hara
  • Hahn talked about casting Robbie Benson as Beast. Instead of naming the actors, the voices were sent on tape to Keane to see which one he preferred.  Keane immediately found Benson's voice to be perfect as he heard the soulfulness in his voice, unlike the others whom only had the fierceness without the soul.  Benson's part was played down in the press because they didn't think his casting would sell tickets, and they regret that fact.  
    Deja, Keane, O'Hara, Hahn
  • Keane, who also animated Aladdin, Elliott, Tarzan, and my girl Ariel, talked about the many incarnations of Beast.  He had several animal heads on the wall of his office thanks to the nearby taxidermist, and finalized Beast's look based on many different animals, including the head of a buffalo.  When he started to draw for us, he said that he really couldn't take much credit, because Disney has Magic Pencils, and that's how he draws.  Then he started to draw, and realized that he had the wrong pencil in his hand because...oops!  It's Ariel!  I went kinda crazy. 

Glen Keane

It's like he knew it was my birthday week!

Drawing Beast's tooth
Transformation sequence

  • O'Hara is now painting, and will be showing her work in the new gallery that will be opening in Caesar's Palace in Vegas.
  • Deja lamented that he could not get an Artist's Discount at a Paris museum because the woman laughed at him when he showed his Disney ID to her.
    The Animators 
  • Keane told a wonderful story about a day at Disneyland when he forgot his Silver Pass.  He was in a long line with his family and they were not impressed with him when he tried to get to the front of the line by telling a CM that he was the animator for Beast.  The CM said, "I don't care who you are, you need to stand in line."  Later that day, he sat down on a bench, dejected about the bummer of day.  When what character of all characters should come walking down the street but Beast himself!  Beast took one look at Keane and sat down next to him, mimicking his body language, arms crossed in front of him.  Keane felt that this moment was truly surreal.  Then a little girl spotted Beast, ran to him, shouting, "BEAST!!!!" and jumped up on Beast's lap and hugged him.  And that joy is what brought Keane out of his funk that day.  Something that he created brought happiness to a little girl, who, instead of being afraid, found someone to love in Beast, as did Belle. (And I'm crying again).
  • We received a fabric rose as we left.  A lady told me later that evening that if I leave it out in the sun, it would bloom. Well, OK then.
I had a wonderful time!  Thank you for my birthday gift!  

Abe's Adages 02/20/17

Abe's Adages: Week 4

On Morality:
"The true rule, in determining to embrace or reject any thing, is not whether it has any evil in it; but whether it has more of evil than of good.  There are few things wholly evil or wholly good.  Almost every an inseparable compound of the two, so that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is continually demanded."

Source: Gene Griessman, The Words Lincoln Lived By

Here's a Presidents Day bonus for y'all, because I love this too much:

Choo Choooo!!!!

The Big Bang Theory
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Warner Bros Studios
Stage 25

V was able to score VIP tickets to watch "The Big Bang Theory" at Warner Bros Studios and invited me to join her because she knew I was a fan of the show.  I had watched a taping way back when it was not yet the huge hit that it is now: Season 1, "The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization".    

This one was titled "The Locomotion Reverberation".  Our seats were 2nd row, center aisle.  Awesome!

  • When I arrived at the parking structure, I thought I saw V's car directly in front of me.  Turns out that yes, we have perfect timing!
    Waiting Area


  • We were the first group in, and waited a long time in our seats as everyone arrived.  I'm glad they had given us a chance to use the restroom before entering the building.  I told V that they should show us episodes while we wait since they had monitors there.  Lo and behold, they did show us an episode that had not yet been aired  Nice! 
  • The warm-up guy, Mark Sweet, was hilarious.  I loved when he would talk about a couple of the crew members between takes to keep us smiling.  He's been there for all of the episodes, which is probably the reason he looked familiar to me. He called up audience members to talk to them or have them dance or whatever.  At one point, he called up V, saw her UCLA sweatshirt, and asked if she went there.   I couldn't help but giggle because she looks very young and just kinda said, "Yeah."  He tried to get me to explain the giggling, but it was time for the scene to start.
  • Most of the scenes took place on sets that were not directly in front of us, but we had the monitors to watch.  While they weren't using a particular set, the director and crew were watching from there, but behind panels so that we could not see them.    The last couple of scenes were in the two main apartments, which were in front of us, so that was cool.   
  •  I find it interesting when they change lines to see which one would get a bigger laugh.  Some scenes were pre-recorded (the ones in the vehicles), but they still used our reactions. 
  • We were treated to a slice of cheese pizza and water.  :)  I don't remember that happening last time.
  • Kaley Cuoco's father was there, as he is, I think, for all of the episodes.  Awww....
  • Kaley and Johnny Galecki came up to the audience and thanked us all for coming.  They also stated that, contrary to rumors, they do all want the show to keep running.  Someone in the audience yelled out "TEN MORE YEARS!" and Johnny said that he was no spring chicken and didn't think he could last quite that long.  As he was talking, Johnny looked at the woman sitting in front of me and said, "Hi, Momma!"  I had no idea that was her, and I'm glad I only had nice things to say about her son.  
  • Due to our VIP status, we were allowed to retrieve our phones from security and take them on set with us to take photos.  So fun!  V's connection wasn't there, but she graciously had her friend give us gift bags with mugs and key chains.  
We could see these from our seats even when the
 panels were in front of the set

Sheldon's Spot

Double Helix
How about a nice game of chess?

Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Poster
# 1

Shelf Under Table

Love the detail on the fridge!

Top of Fridge
Kitchen Sink

Acting Like We Have Liquid in our Cups

Elevator and Stairs

*knock knock knock* Sheldon?

This set was on the show, but not
 directly in front of the audience.

Afterward, I took pictures of the Friends stage, but couldn't find the famed WB water tower. 

 When we got a bite to eat at Dog Haus, I finally saw it.


Mmmm...tater tots.
Ava Maria Burger and Tots

Thank you to V for the invitation!  I had a great time, and now that the cast has agreed to contracts, maybe we'll get to go again.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Abe's Adages 02/13/17

Abe's Adages: Week 3

On Honesty:
"I have always wanted to deal with everyone I meet candidly and honestly.  If I have made any assertion not warranted by facts, and it is pointed out to me, I will withdraw it cheerfully."

Source: Gene Griessman, The Words Lincoln Lived By

Monday, February 6, 2017

Abe's Adages 02/06/17

Abe's Adages: Week 2

On Courage:
"Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves.  Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith, let us,to the end, dare to do our duty, as we understand it."

Source: Gene Griessman, The Words Lincoln Lived By