Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Swede & The Double-Crossing Dame

Oscar Noir: Week Six
The Killers
Monday,  June 21, 2010

Liz and I are now experts at parking on the residential streets and getting to the theater early to stand in line.  We gabbed for awhile as our neighbors in line griped about the process of having numbers.  Once we got inside, Liz found seats for us on the aisle this time, as I requested.  She's so nice and accommodating. :)  It seems that, with each week, more and more rows of seats are reserved for the special guests.  I don't know what that's about, but I hope that they still let the series pass people in as long as they arrive by the designated time.  Our line neighbors had told us stories of being told not to save 3 seats, and I heard others complaining because they were asked about saving one seat for a person that had gone to the restroom.  One of them called the Academy people "Fascists".  It's getting ugly, folks.

Cartoon:  "Who Killed Who?" (1943)
The story is of a detective who goes to a house to investigate a murder, and finds out that the house is haunted.  By Santa.  Oh, and by a whole bunch of different ghosts, too. ;)  This is a Tex Avery cartoon, full of all of the old cartoon cliches.  But that's probably because all of the cartoons borrow from Tex Avery!  Even Bugs Bunny's "What's Up, Doc?"  is based on one of the characters in this cartoon:  the detective opens a door, and Santa is there, calling him "Doc".    Santa's voice was actually Tex Avery himself.

Short:  "Adventures of Captain Marvel, Chapter Five: The Scorpion Strikes" (1941)
I hissed at the Scorpion this time.  Captain Marvel saves Betty by jumping onto the car as it goes into the street, and taking control over the steering wheel.  Billy goes into the meeting with one of the thugs, telling everyone there that the Scorpion is one of them, and they all get shifty-eyed looks on their faces, as if it could be every one of them.  The thug is unable to identify the Scorpion by his voice, then is told to lead Billy to a mine, since Captain Marvel will probably show up to save him.  The men use the  scorpion lenses to melt the cave to the mine, and Captain Marvel is stuck inside.  I don't know why he can't just fly above the stream of molten lava approaching him, but we'll see what happens from this cliffhanger.

Feature: "The Killers" (1946) Screenplay by Anthony Veiller and John Huston, based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway.  Directed by Robert Siodmak, Music by Miklos Rozsa, and starring Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien, Albert Dekker and Sam Levene.

  • This was a new movie to both of us.  Heck, I didn't even know that Lancaster had done a film with Ava Gardner.
  • The film was introduced by Billy Ray, one of the writers for "24".  When I saw his name in the program, I thought that the name sounded familiar, and not just for the first two names of the country singer.  I had also mentioned Jack Bauer in one of my conversations with Liz while we were in line, so the fact that this guy was introducing the film was quite a coincidence.
  • The guy playing Hemingway's autobiographical character, Nick Adams, later played Owen Lars, Luke's uncle in "Star Wars".
  • One of the killers is played by a very young William Conrad.  
  • OK, I can see why Burt Lancaster was so popular from this, his film debut, and onward.  Not only was he a great actor, but Hubba Hubba! :)
  • Ava Gardner, looking gorgeous in every shot, did her own singing, and she has a nice alto voice.  Her character's name, Kitty Collins, is just a perfect Noir name to me.
  • My favorite line of the movie: "If there's one thing in this world I hate, it's a double-crossing dame."
  • I think the killers said "Bright Boy" way too much in that opening scene.
  • The shadows in the cinematography are considered to be "Textbook Noir", and I can see why.  Great use of lighting.
  • Miklos Rosza's daughter spoke to the audience after the film, but Liz and I didn't stay to listen to her.  I would have liked to hear her talk about how some of the music in the film would end up as the main theme for "Dragnet", but we were tired.  
Although this movie is not one of my favorites in the series, I enjoyed it.  I now want to hear other scores by Miklos Rosza, since he had also done "Double Indemnity".

Next week:  "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers".

DLR LotD 06/20/10

 Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day
Sunday, June 20, 2010

"No, Caitlin!" -- A Father behind us in line at Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, multiple times

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Acknowledge Them!

Last week, on June 17, 2010, the Lakers won their 16th NBA World Championship.  WHOO Damn  HOOOO!!!!  Last year, when they won their 15th, I was a happy, happy gal.  This year, I'm ecstatic.

What could be sweeter than a Repeat?  A victory over the Lakers' arch rivals, the Boston Celtics (hisssss!).  This rivalry, Lakers vs. Celtics, is, for basketball fans, the ultimate in competition.  The Celtics, with 17 banners hanging over the Garden, shattered the Lakers in Boston in the 2008 Finals.  Last year, the Lakers won, so this rivalry was a step up from usual due to the fact that it was the most recent champions against each other, and the Lakers had something to prove after what happened in 2008.  They'd matured, they'd become tougher.  The Celtics beat all of the odds in the post-season, and made it to the Finals with everyone betting against them.  I mean, it was supposed to be LeBron vs. Kobe, but the Celtics made sure that they wouldn't be counted out.

The basketball world was crazy with anticipation, and being a basketball fan, I was crazy, too.  With every Celtics playoff win, I hoped even more that they would make it to the Finals to face my team.  I couldn't wait to see it happen.  This was probably the first time EVER that I've rooted for the Celtics to win.  It was partly because I didn't want LeBron to win, but it was mostly because I wanted to see the rivals play each other.  I wasn't the only one.  A lot of the fans that I talked to said the same things as me, although some of them just didn't want Shaq to win.  I'm not bitter about Shaq.  I just wish that he'd stop calling every one of his new coaches "the best coach I've ever played for".  It's old.  Anyway, the Lakers needed to get past some tough competition in the Western Conference, most notably the Phoenix Suns.  While I really like Steve Nash, I'm a Lakers fan, so, sorry, Steve.  

So my wish came true.  It would be Lakers vs. Celtics.  Surprisingly, through every one of the first 5 games, I was quite calm.  I guess that I was just so happy that it was all being played out in front of me that I was content.

Game 1: Lakers 102, Celtics 89
Lakers showed the Celtics that they were ready for them, and drew first blood.  Celtics were rusty due to their long rest after the Eastern Conference Finals.  My thought:  "This is how it's supposed to be.  We'll win Game 1, Phil never loses a series when he wins Game 1.  We're golden."

Game 2: Celtics 103, Lakers 94
Ouch!  Celtics beat the Lakers on their home floor, thanks to an amazing run of 3-point shots by Ray Allen, making a record of 8 in one Finals game.  My thought: "Um, guys?  You need to win one in Boston."  At least one, in order to maintain home court advantage.  Still, I was calm.  No, I wasn't on drugs.

Game 3:  Lakers 91, Celtics 84
Phew!  Lakers achieve their goal of winning one on Boston's floor.  Many thanks to D-Fish in the 4th quarter.  I loved that full-court run, leading to an awesome basket.  Thanks, also, to the amazing Lakers bench for achieving a record of highest shooting percentage for a bench attempting at least 10 shots each.  The deafening crowd at the Garden had become a mute crowd.  BFF Michelle texted me about loving how the crowd shut up.  (Actual text not for children's eyes). ;)  

Game 4: Celtics 96, Lakers 89
The Celtics bounce back, taking advantage of the fact that Bynum was out for much of the game due to his knee injury.  Pau and Kobe tried to carry the team, but it was tough to go against a desperate Boston team.  Yup, I was still calm.  This is how it's supposed to be, people!  We push, you push back.  Clash of the Titans and all that.

Game 5:  Celtics 92, Lakers 86
Despite Kobe's MVP efforts in the 3rd quarter, trying to carry his can't-shoot-a-fish-in-a-barrel team, Boston edged out the Lakers, and the teams went back to L.A. with Boston leading 3-2.  Yeah, I kind of expected that to happen.  Those people that said that L.A. would sweep in Boston don't know the power of the fans there and the defensive fight that the Leprechaun blesses upon their team.

Game 6:  Lakers 89, Celtics 67
Just to show the Celtics that the Lakers fans are not as placid as their leaders say, the crowd at the Staples Center gave a ROAR throughout the game that kids imagine when they dream of becoming sports stars.  The Lakers were not going to let the Celtics win Game 6 on their home floor, and they delivered a pretty sound beating to the boys in green.  It was the best that I've ever seen this team play all season, and what a time to give the town a show!  Kobe led the team in the 1st quarter, giving them an early lead that they simply refused to relinquish.  Was I happy?  Hells, YEAH!  Was I calm?  Not anymore.

Game 7:  Lakers 83, Celtics 79
GAME FRICKIN' SEVEN.  LAKERS VERSUS CELTICS.  It all really did lead to this.  Seriously, what could be better for a basketball fan like me? The excitement I felt during this game was probably the culmination of all that I had suppressed during the first 6 games.  I went nuts.  When the Lakers were behind, I kept hoping for them, knowing that they would pull a victory out somehow, but wondering how in the world it would happen.  Of course, with every nervous moment, I said to myself, "WHY did I wish for this to happen?!"  Ron Artest, both a worry and a blessing to this team, had some plays that got me thinking, "Oh my gosh, he's going to win this game for us."  I thought this several times throughout the game.  Both teams were defensive tigers, and it seemed like neither one of them could shoot. Was the rim of the basket too small?  But there it was, all of a sudden.  As he always does, D-Fish gave an inspirational speech to his team before the start of the 4th quarter, and they responded.  Kobe finally hit his shots.  Pau was monstrous.  D-Fish made a 3-pointer.  Kobe passed the ball to Ron-Ron (which, APPARENTLY, he never does), and Ron-Ron made the shot, catapulting the audience into even more decibels of LOUD.  My house was loud, too, and the only sound happening was the TV and my screaming.  I even closed the back door so that the neighbors wouldn't worry should any bloodcurdling screams emanate from my mouth during the game.  I'm glad I did, because I went CRAZY, pacing, yelling, jumping, was exhausting.  

So there you are: Lakers are the Champions of the Basketball World.  Congratulations to The Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant, for the much-deserved Finals MVP title.  This year, he showed that he could rely on his team when he wasn't at his shooting best, being defended at all times by 2 and 3 guys every chance Boston could take.   And yes, he now has "one more than Shaq". Congratulations to The Spaniard, Pau Gasol, for showing us all that he was not soft, and he could fight Boston along with the rest of them, finesse game or not.  Congratulations to Phil for his 11th championship.  I don't care what anyone says, Phil.  It's not the star power that gave you those wins, it's your handling of the stars.  Congratulations to Derek Fisher, the heart and inspiration of the team.  They would not have won without your spirit.  Congratulations to Ron Artest for his first ring, and thank you to his psychiatrist for keeping him calm. :)   Congratulations to Andrew Bynum, who actually got to contribute to this year's championship, and in a huge way.  Congratulations to the guys on the bench for being such a great supporting unit for the starters.  Congratulations to the fans, for whom this victory is sweeter than honey straight from the comb.

Kobe's postgame comments showed that he, as a student of basketball, knew that a victory over the Celtics would mean more than anything to him as a Laker.  He had lied to the press earlier about how much it meant to him, because he needed to just focus on the task at hand, and didn't need to make the drama bigger for himself.  His little girls were way cute in their Lakers dresses, and he had that smile that I've longed to see throughout the series.  The smile of a champion living his dream.

The celebrations, though fewer than last year due to the city of L.A.'s budget woes, were still abundant.  

Pau Gasol appeared on Jay Leno's Tonight Show.  I love that David Spade was the next guest and Pau was 2 feet taller than him.  Spade was, like, a Smurf next to him.

The rest of the team appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live.   Kobe, of course, had the coolest threads.  Ron Ron had the coolest earpiece, though. :)

Here's my favorite clip from that night.

And, of course, the Victory Parade.

Purple and Gold Reign Supreme!  Have I said, "Whoo Damn HOOOOO!" yet? ;)  

Happy Trophy, Sweet Sixteen.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

There's Always A Gun In A Drawer

Oscar Noir Week 5
Mildred Pierce
Monday, June 14, 2010

Liz arrived early to the theater and saw that the line was already forming outside, so she parked her car wherever and got in line.  Later on, she asked an usher if her car was parked in an OK spot, but the usher wasn't sure, so she moved her car so that she was right in front of me on the residential street.  I figured that I should get in line, too, since I was able to eat half of my dinner on the way there, and Liz had freaked me out about the line.   I was annoyed by a guy that seemed to have some kind of attention deficit disorder because he wouldn't stop walking around by the line.  When they let us in, Liz was able to score us some good seats toward the middle of the theater.  I overheard some people talking about a guy in the back of the theater, but couldn't figure out who he was supposed to be.

Cartoon:  "The Super Snooper" (1952)
Yay!  Daffy Duck!  It was like film noir in color and in cartoon!  He was a detective who needed another case (and he was shown with empty liquor bottles), and went to Beverage Hills to investigate.  At a mansion, he met a duck dressed just like Jessica Rabbit, but, like, with a duck face.  She kept trying to mack on him while he described all of the different ways that he thought she might have killed her husband.  He later found out that he was in the wrong house the whole time.  

Short: "Adventures of Captain Marvel, Chapter Four: Death Takes The Wheel" (1941)
The lady sitting next to me joined in during some of the audience's hissing at The Scorpion.  I just giggled at it the whole time, and may even hiss along next week.  Billy, at literally the last minute, realizes that the radio wires were disconnected, and hears his friend's voice just in time to turn into Captain Marvel and get the heck out of the plane.  Betty overhears some stuff and goes to investigate, and the cliffhanger of the week is that she's conked out at the steering wheel of a car in a parking garage, as it careens in circles toward the bottom of the garage.  Funny how her head is in the perfect position for the car to follow the curve of the garage jussst rrright.

Feature: "Mildred Pierce" (1945) Screenplay by Ranald MacDougall, based on the novel by James M. Cain, Directed by Michael Curtiz, starring Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, Ann Blyth, and Bruce Bennett.

  • A special guest in the audience played a waitress in the movie.  The other very special guest was Ann Blyth, whom spoke after the movie.  When I told Liz that she was there, she exclaimed "Get Out!" at me.  She loves this movie, but didn't actually see it during the past week, as she had done with "Laura".
  • The movie was introduced by Callie Khouri, known for her screenplays for "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" and, more notably, "Thelma and Louise".  She figured that she must have been asked to introduce this one because of the strength of the female leads in the movie.  She lamented that there were not as many great parts these days for women as there were back in the 1940s.  She also talked about the fact that in Film Noir, there always "happens to be" a gun in a drawer somewhere.
  • Well, no WONDER Joan Crawford won the Academy Award for this, and no wonder Eve Arden and Ann Blyth were nominated, too.  They were all outstanding.
  • What a BRAT that Veda was!  I wanted to slap the hell out of her many, many times.
  • Hmmm...APPARENTLY, Kate Winslet is doing a miniseries version of the novel on HBO with Evan Rachel Wood, to be aired in 2011.  Hmmmm.
  • Love is blind, Mildred.  How could you not see that Monte was just a free-loading cad when you met him?
  • Liz told me later that there really was a Mildred's restaurant chain.  Interesting.
  • Lots of applause when Butterfly McQueen made her first appearance on screen.
  • Ida had the best lines: "Leave something on me.  I might catch cold."  "When men get around me, the get allergic to wedding rings."  "I like Mexico.  It's so...Mexican."
  • So, seriously.  She was doing the remodeling the house into a restaurant herself, and gets on the ladder in that dress and high heels?  How did she not break her neck every day?
Afterward, there was a discussion with Ann Blyth.
  • She had brought along a couple of girlfriends, most notably Jane Withers, who spoke for a bit herself from the back of the theater. She's hilarious.
  • Ms. Blyth couldn't believe how horrible Veda was.  She probably wanted to slap herself as may times as I wanted to slap her.
  • Joan Crawford stayed home instead of attending the Academy Awards the night that she won.  Ms. Blyth was present in Ms. Crawford's home when they gave it to her.
  • Ms. Blyth had a serious accident while tobogganing up at Lake Arrowhead, and was wearing a back brace under her dress during the awards.  Nobody knew about it but her dress designer and her mom.
  • She still sings on stage, and sings every day at home.
  • Q&A from the audience revealed that the house in Glendale where the movie was filmed is still there.
We stayed for a bit afterward so that Liz could meet her and get her autograph.  If I had been allowed, I totally would have taken a picture of her red with gold-tip shoes.  They were gorgeous.  Liz didn't have the nerve to compliment her on her shoes, but I did when I saw her downstairs.  Liz made me do it.  Ms. Blyth was appreciative.  I figured she would like a compliment about her shoes, because she's a girl. :) 

Next Up:  "The Killers"

Friday, June 18, 2010

DLR LotD 06/11/10

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day
Friday, June 11, 2010

"I guess it's up to you where to put his tongue." -- Linda, to Sherry, at WoD

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Murder Can Sometimes Smell Like Honeysuckle

Oscar Noir: Week 4
Double Indemnity
Monday, June 7, 2010

Last Monday was a holiday, so we there was no screening.  This week I was on my own, as Liz was unable to join me.  I hadn't eaten my lunch at work, so I just parked in a residential area and ate that for dinner (yes, I checked the parking signs).  When I arrived at the line to the theater, I was a little bit farther down the line than last week, and one of the ushers was handing out standby tickets with numbers on them.  APPARENTLY, there were several people that line-jumped two weeks ago, which resulted in unhappiness.  I can understanding saving a place for one or two people in line, but I'm thinking that it was a big group of people, but I don't know.  People were still able to save seats in the theater, but the host asked everyone to please not save entire rows for people.  So people just need to get there earlier, I guess.  I just hope that I get in every time, since I'm always there well ahead of the cut-off time for the series passholders.

Cartoon:  "Trouble Indemnity" (1950)
This one stars Mr. Magoo!  He gets conned into buying a life insurance policy, then the insurance company freaks out when they see him mistakenly walking onto a construction site and getting into lots of death-defying moments.

Short: "Adventures of Captain Marvel, Chapter Three:  Time Bomb" (1941)
Nobody needed to save Captain Marvel from the guillotine.  His chest was so strong that the guillotine broke when it hit him.  The Scorpion is relentless, though, and gets our hero in trouble again by the cliffhanger, this time as Billy, flying with a time bomb in his airplane.  Yikes!  He needs to say "Shazam!" quickly!  I really love the cheesy special effects, and could see the strings very visibly as Capt. M flies.   I think that Louise Currie must have a series pass, because she was present this week, too.  She probably wants to know what happens as much as we do. 

Feature:  "Double Indemnity" (1944) Screenplay by Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder, based on the novel by James M. Cain, directed by Billy Wilder, starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson.

  • One of the several special guests in the audience was Miriam Franklin, whom played Keyes' secretary, and went on to choreograph "Tea for Two" in 1950.  She spoke with the host for awhile about having received really only one direction for the movie, from Fred MacMurray, as she walked toward him to deliver her line at the office.  She was dressed in off white, and I wondered if she talked to Louise Currie about how to look elegant, as she sure did.  
  • The movie was introduced by Nicholas Meyer, known for his writing for "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", "Somersby" and "The Informant".  His introduction was beautifully presented.  I didn't care that he was reading the whole time, because he was still animated and his love for the movie and the genre was quite evident.  He also didn't give any spoilers away. 
  • Fred MacMurray, playing very much not like his "My Three Sons" character, was excellent. I loved his banter with Barbara Stanwyck.  
  • The banter I love is probably one of the reasons that I'm loving all of the films in this series. I mean, hello, it's the writing that we're celebrating!  
  • I kept giggling when Neff would call Phyllis "Baby".  The way that he says it is so 1940s. :)
  • Stanwyck reminds me of Ashley Tisdale pre-nose job.  I think it's the blonde hair and the shape of her profile.
  • Edward G. Robinson was outstanding.  I loved every scene he was in.
  • Raymond Chandler can be seen in the film, sitting upstairs by Keyes' office.
  • "I think you're swell -- so long as I'm not your husband."
  • Neff was really turned on by that anklet.  Perhaps I should wear an anklet to get somebody to banter like that with me.
  • I love that this was set in Los Angeles.
  • Fred MacMurray was wearing his wedding band for the whole movie, but his character is a bachelor.  I guess they didn't tape their rings for their films back then.
  • I was too tired to stay and listen to Fred MacMurray's daughter speak about her experience at the premiere.  Edward G. Robinson's granddaughter was in the audience, but didn't speak afterward, as far as I know.
I'm thinking that I need to see more Billy Wilder movies.  This was great.

Next week:  "Mildred Pierce"

DLR LotD 06/05/10

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Saturday, June 5, 2010

"You said you only had the one tassel." -- Sally, to Dodie, after propositioning Jackson, at Catal

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Like Jasmine and Aladdin, But With Cocktails

A bunch of ladies from work had planned a Girls' Night Out, and I somehow invited myself to join them.  I figured that my other female friends wouldn't want to see "Sex and the City 2", and didn't have any plans, and they were nice enough to allow me to crash their party. I wasn't a totally loyal fan of SATC, but watched once in awhile.  I had seen the first movie, and enjoyed it.  

  • I still don't understand Carrie's style.  I guess I'm more of a Charlotte when it comes to fashion.
  • Nice to see all of the guys, even though it wasn't for very long. 
  • In the same vein, it was nice to see Jason Lewis' torso during almost all of his time on screen.
  • So, really, people with big breasts don't always wear bras?
  • Liza doing "Single Ladies" was quite funny.  She's still got the legs for it!
  • I liked their bawdy puns.  It's kind of the female version of all of the obnoxious male comedies.  Although the movie got panned for this, I tend to agree with this article.  I heard a LOT of laughter in the theater at the line "Lawrence of my labia!", and I know it wasn't just me.
  • I have different feelings than Carrie about having a TV in the bedroom.  Although I see the point in cuddling up to watch a romantic movie together, it can also get in the way of just having the intimacy of just enjoying time together there.  She just felt like she would be part of a boring couple.
  • I'm thinking that maybe I can just use my love of yams as an excuse to prevent future menopausal symptoms.
  • Sex scenes were very tame for this show.  The series had much more salaciousness.
  • My favorite scene was Miranda and Charlotte confessing to each other over drinks about how difficult it is to be a mother.  "All I could think was, 'I can't lose the nanny!'"
Although this movie is not for everyone, fans of SATC should give it a chance instead of following what many of the reviews say.  It's fun for watching on a night out with the gals.