Category Archives: reflections on new films

Two Thumbs Up: Hell or High Water

Tonight we saw the new movie starring Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster called Hell or High Water. This was shot in New Mexico, but the setting is West Texas. I don’t want to say much about the film in case you see it, which I would highly recommend. Superb acting and a story that explores several major themes: brotherly love, bad choices, duty, poverty, and justice.

A definite must-see.

Here’s the trailer:

Bad Luck and A Little Bit of Good

Well, I am not a real believer in the “Mercury in Retrograde” phenomenon, but I have had a run of bad luck over the past week or so. Not only did I manage to pull that gas nozzle right off the gas tank, but I also received a red-light notification in the mail (meaning there is a video and photos of me running a red light two weeks ago). In addition, I ended up with a bacterial infection that sent me to Urgent Care, and my computer bit the dust, I mean completely, like I had to order a brand new laptop. Hmmmm. Maybe there is something to this Mercury thing.

I will make this short tonight because I have had students for several hours today and I am tired.

The gist is this: I have been working a lot lately, which makes me tired, and this may account for everything that’s happened except for the computer. That may have everything to do with a five-year MacBook that is used constantly.

The tough part is all of this coming at once.

The good news: good luck surely is right around the corner.

I did get several pieces of good news:

I learned that one of my student’s college essays is used as the model for all potential students at Bennington College in Vermont. Yippee!

And one of my students who received a fellowship at Stanford this past summer told me that he learned while there that the admission board considered his essays to be superlative. Hooray.

That good news will sustain me for a while, I can tell you that. Particularly since I am knee-depth in college essay season once again.

I hope your luck has been good lately. If not, surely there’s a change a’comin’!

Talk to you tomorrow.


“Old Ladyhood”

I have officially entered “Old Ladyhood.”

A few days back when I pulled into a 76 gas station with a Del Taco inside, I said to Ray, “You start pumping the gas and then go inside to order. I’ll finish up right after I wrap up this text I’m writing.”

Ray nodded, and headed over to start the gas.

I worked on my text and finally finished and sent it.

Then – this is where the Old Lady part comes in – I noted through the open window that the gas pump didn’t sound as if it was still running. With this bit of information, I concluded Ray had finished up the job while I was texting. “I better move out of the pump area,” I muttered to myself as I put the car in gear and headed over to a nearby parking space.

That’s when I heard the noise. A metallic scraping sound and then a bump. “Hmmm,” I said to Cordelia and Frankie who were lying on the back seat, “did I just run over something?” I jumped out to see.

I noted all the people at the other pumps were staring at me.

I looked around and then saw it: the gas nozzle still in my gas tank and the hose completely detached from the pump and lying about ten feet away.

A man scooped up the hose and put it over near the pump.

A woman in a red tee-shirt with 76 emblazoned on the front, rushed out the door of the station and headed in my direction.

My first words, “I can’t believe I just did that.”

Her response, “You’d be surprised at how often it happens.”

I had to go find Ray inside and admit I’d driven away with the gas nozzle still attached. I also had to tell him I now owed the 76 station $250.

He was remarkably calm. “I guess you better pay that,” was all he said as he picked up his order of two chicken soft tacos and a bean burrito.

“I guess so,” I said.

He did give me a lecture once we were heading on to LA about multi-tasking. “If you hadn’t been texting while waiting for the gas to fill up, you wouldn’t have forgotten what was going on.”

I admit that I didn’t note how long he stood by the pump before going into Del Taco. That’s where the distraction came in.

I felt dumb. What an old lady thing to do.

A man inside came up and tried to make me feel better. “I’ve almost done that at least a dozen times.”

Yes, well, I didn’t almost do it….

I promised Ray to hold off from answering texts immediately when I receive them.

“People can wait,” he said.

I can see how that might be true.

Besides, reducing my distractions might also save me from doing some real damage to my pocketbook, $250 dollars at a time.


Movie Review: Love and Friendship

We just came back from seeing the film Love and Friendship, which is based on Jane Austen’s unpublished novella, Lady Susan. This movie has an unbelieveable critics’ rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 99% audience rating. (These numbers are the highest I’ve ever seen for a film.) Needless to say, I was curious to see if those numbers jibed with my own perceptions of the film. Let me give you the short answer: Indeed they do.

This film is the story of one woman, Lady Susan, who is as unscrupulous as possible when it comes to matters of love and friendship. Without giving too much away, she has no visible conscience and is guided in all things by what she personally can gain. That being said, this could be a dark tale indeed, yet this is not how Austen intended it. This is in fact a comedy with a cast of characters who are engaging and a set of circumstances that keep the whole story moving at a good pace. It is also a period piece with excellent art decoration and costume design.

I am including a clip for your perusal. This has a good smattering of scenes to give you a feel for the movie. I highly recommend this film for a window into a complicated world of friends and lovers in a time when life was a good deal looser than one might expect.

Here’s the trailer:

2001: A Space Odyssey at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood

I have just returned from what can only be described as a singular experience. I went to the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood and saw 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Cinerama Dome has a huge curved screen which can accommodate 70 millimeter films, which is what 2001 is. In fact, back in 1968 the film was shown at the Cinerama Dome two days after its premier in Washington, D.C. since this was one of the few theaters equipped to show the movie the way it was supposed to be shown.

I can’t believe I am admitting this, but I believe this is the first time I have actually seen the entire 2001. I can’t believe I didn’t see it when it came out in 1968 – I would have been fifteen at the time – but it is possible I didn’t. Or if I did, I was preoccupied with my high school boyfriend at the time and didn’t pay attention or else I watched the whole thing and was confused by it and the memory didn’t stick. Any of the above could be true. I remember a few years back, Ray was watching it on television and I was not all that interested. It was slow and I was tired, as I recall. I elected to go to bed. All that being said, I am embarrassed now that it has taken me literally 48 years to see this superb film. Good grief.

What is so great about it, you ask? First, the visuals are stunning. Not just the the cool modern furniture at the space station, but all the visuals from the interior shots of life on a spaceship to the awesome visual sequence towards the end of the film Also, the music is perfect – ranging from Johann Strauss waltzes to Richard Strauss Thus Spoke Zarathustra to Ligeti’s discordant chords. Finally, the story – man’s evolution via help from outside forces (a highly evolved entity or society) is mysterious and compelling. The combination creates a film experience that is hard to beat. I am now a complete fan of this film and can easily see why it has received so many honors over the years.

I think the big – or huge – screen really allowed the audience to experience this story the way that Stanley Kubrick wanted it to be experienced. If you ever get the chance to see 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Cinerama Dome then don’t walk – run – to buy those tickets. You will not be disappointed.

Inside the Cinerama Dome Tonight

cineroma dome

The Film on the BIG Screen


Original Poster of the Film


No Spoiler Here: Just Go See 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Ray and I just returned from seeing the film 10 Cloverfield Lane, and I must say that it was worth the money we paid to see it. John Goodman carries the film with his strong performance with fine supporting performances by Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher, Jr.

I am not going to even give you the storyline of this movie since going in with no information will make it the most entertaining. The bottom line is life has taken a turn and it’s not a good one. That is good enough to say.

I will be interested in discussing this in the future when a wider range of the movie-going public has seen the film. But not until the country has had the chance to experience this movie with as little intervention as possible.

On that note, I’m headed to bed. I will wake up occasionally during the night to have a little chuckle about this film. Not that it’s a comedy, but rather because it is not a comedy.

Sleep well, my friends, and remember to go see the film fairly soon so we can talk.


Beginner’s Mind at Barnsdall Art Center

Tonight began my foray into the art of stained glass making. Ray, Liz and I are taking a stained glass course at Barnsdall Art Center. Since Ray is in Texas, Liz’s boyfriend Ron joined us this evening for the class. He will go next week, too, because Ray and I have a prior commitment. But after that, we’ll be forging ahead with a more complicated design we either find or draw ourselves. We will have seven more sessions after next week. So, plenty of time to gain a modicum of knowledge on this new subject. I believe my mother’s advice last night included for me to push myself to learn new things. That is exactly what I am doing with this class.

Here is the fruit of our labor. Don’t judge too harshly. This was, after all, Day One.

My First Effort


Ron’s work


Liz’s Work


Backside of mine


Backside of Ron’s


Backside of Liz’s


Lots of fun.  Looking forward to learning more.