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Showing posts from October, 2006

Introducing Ivy!

Okay, if you've read any comments, you've already met her. Ivy is my sister (one of my six sisters, that is), and she has agreed to post occasionally on this here blog, which makes me very happy. Like me, she likes to avoid housework by reading, so why shouldn't we benefit? I'd like to clarify, though, that while Ivy does let things get messy around the house sometimes, she's way better than I am at getting things done. She makes beautiful, pieced quilts, paints walls and furniture and stairs, re-covers furniture (two of my couches, even!), and is otherwise more industrious than I am. Recently when she visited me, she scrubbed my stove, cleaned my washer and dryer (they're like new!), helped me fold laundry, cooked, and cleaned up the house several times. I love her! I'm glad she'll be writing here sometimes.

One Night With the King

This movie brings the Biblical story of Esther to the big screen. Of course, Esther's story would make a great movie--powerful king, beautiful queens, intrigue, drama--it's a great story! Unfortunately, the movie was not great. I was almost constantly annoyed by its cheesy-ness. And when I briefly forgot the stuff that was annoying me, I was reminded almost immediately. Like when Esther utters those amazing lines from the Bible account as she decides to go before the king to try to save her people, and her statement is punctuated by lightning and thunder. Because of course we won't understand that something important and dramatic is happening unless we have lightning and thunder. Or slow-motion. Or a piece of a scene repeated several times. Or all of that at once. So, yeah, I was disappointed. I guess I'm glad that there are more of these religious movies being made, but I hope they get better.

Fun With Dick and Jane (2005)

I haven't seen the original 1977 version of this movie, but now I want to. I've heard that the original is better, and this one was pretty good. I laughed several times. I appreciated the downward financial spiral of the couple, where they didn't just live on credit and act like nothing had happened: it was hyperbolic but also strangely realistic. Of course your house isn't an asset if you don't actually own it, and it seems like people have forgotten that nowadays. I think I've said before that I like movies in which married couples are on the same side instead of pitted against each other. Fun With Dick and Jane has that going for it, too. Dick and Jane like each other, and they make a good team. I loved their son who spoke with a Mexican accent (because he spent all his time with their Mexican housekeeper/nanny), the nods (and "Thanks to" credits at the end) to all the recent corporate criminals, the almost-sex scene between overscheduled spouse…

Legally Blonde (2001)

I love this movie. I saw it a couple of years ago with my sister and last night I got Jon to watch it with me. He hadn't seen it before, and I was nervous that he would think it was just stupid. But I think he liked it, too. Reese Witherspoon is a fine actress, as she has lately proven in Walk the Line. (I think she was really incredible in that.) In Legally Blond, she's Elle Woods, shallow (seemingly) and materialistic and way too cute. But she's also smart, funny and consistently kind. I love that about this movie. The sorority sisters look like Barbie dolls, squeal and giggle, decorate everything with faux fur and lots of pink. But they're nice, unlike the judgmental Harvard Law School crowd, with their brown and grey sweaters and identical laptops. On the West Coast, in her sheltered, rich-girl world, "everyone loves me," as she says. But at Harvard, she's mocked and targeted by almost everyone she meets. I love that she's brave and confident …

On a Clear Day (2005)

What an uplifting movie. I liked it very much. It's always delightful to hear Scottish accents, of course (I'm revealing how shallow I am), but this is also a good story. A middle-aged man loses his job and decides to swim the English Channel. A family tragedy has caused some issues between him and his son. Brenda Blethyn, who was wonderful as a more-sympathetic-than-usual Mrs. Bennett in the latest version of Pride and Prejudice, plays his wife, who is secretly learning to drive a bus. It's all about family relationships and friendship and other worthy things, and it's really good!

The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter

I can't decide how much I liked this book. On the one hand, I enjoyed getting a perspective I don't think I've ever had before--the narrator, like the author, is an African-American law professor at a prestigious law school. He is firmly entrenched in the black upper middle class, which apparently is pretty elitist. The book is very well-written and has lots of interesting characters, including a pro-life libertarian lesbian. Descriptions of the different but overlapping worlds of law professors, D.C. lawers and judges, black Baptist preachers, shadowy, unscrupulous mob types, and an extended family with various hang-ups and quirks are detailed and believable. Basically, though, it's a very long murder mystery (although part of the mystery is whether or not the dead person at the beginning was really murdered), and I'm not a big fan of mysteries. This novel has much more going on than your typical mystery, but there were times, especially near the end, when I tho…

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

This is an incredible book. I borrowed it from a friend, read it in a few days, then went and bought it at our local bookstore and made Jon read it. He read it in about 24 hours. It's about Dr. Paul Farmer, medical doctor and anthropologist, who practices at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, teaches at Harvard Medical School, and influences international health policies. But mostly he lives in Haiti, where's he's been providing basic medical services to the extremely poor and fighting drug-resistant tuberculosis and AIDS for about 20 years now. He's one of the most fascinating people I've read about for a long time. Farmer's way of looking at poverty, medical care, and life in general is enlightening, to say the least. There were several times while reading when I probably should have made some notes about ideas of mine that were challenged, but I just wanted to keep reading. I'm planning to read it again in the near future, because I don't w…

The Height of the Sky

I think it's fair to say that I hated this movie. Maybe it's not as bad as I think, but it was recommended to us, and I can't figure out why. The screenplay was horrible, the acting also, and while the filmmakers tried to make things look authentic for Arkansas in 1935, there were just too many oversights. All the tenant farmers were wearing the same brand-new overalls. Some fastened only one shoulder strap, but they were still the same overalls! I think some of them had been ripped, and they were dirty sometimes, but they still looked too new. The inside walls of their house/shack were papered with ... paper. I've seen old cabins papered in newspaper, and maybe that's what this was. But it was way too bright inside, what with the bright white paper and lots of overhead lighting. Maybe they had overhead kerosene lanterns? Also, they keep talking about "gettin' a handle on these crops" and "bringin' in the crops," but all we see is the m…