Friday, May 30, 2008

Praise the Lord! Dano's heart murmur is "innocent" and nothing to worry about, according to the pediatric cardiologist he went to today. Hooray!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dano is growing up so fast! On Thursday, he started cutting his first tooth, the upper right front one. On Saturday, the left top front top tooth appeared under the gum and the one on the left of it came through! The left front top tooth came through yesterday, and today, the tooth to the right of the top front one showed up and will probably come through in a day or two. Yikes!

And so far, he hasn't bitten me while nursing. What a nice baby! He used to chomp down a few months ago, and I pretty much broke him of that, so here's hoping :-D

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Um, yeah, so... wanna know my reactions to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?

Giddiness. First and foremost, there's giddiness. It was all I could do not to actually cheer when the Lucasfilm logo appeared on screen and I truly realized I was about to see Indiana Jones on the big screen for the first time. On the way out of the theater, I had to try very hard not to start skipping. Or jumping up and down. Even now, nearly 24 hours later, I'm still giddy when I think about it, full of giggles I can't suppress. I'm actually thinking about ordering an Indy t-shirt online. Yeah.

It's not a perfect movie -- it's nowhere near as brilliant as Raiders of the Lost Ark. But I'd put it on par with Last Crusade, and it's head-and-shoulders above Temple of Doom (which I've only seen once and, despite my devotion to both Harrison Ford and Indiana Jones, don't wanna see again). The plot is complex, but not convoluted, and my suspension of disbelief was only over-stretched once. I'll put more spoily comments below, but put them in white, so only highlight them if you've seen the movie or don't mind spoilage.

Okay, the only time my disbelief was stretched instead of suspended was when they went over the three waterfalls in their little WWII Duck-like vehicle. That did honestly make me go, "Yeah, right." Other than that, I could go with everything as much as any other Indiana Jones movie. The aliens, the weird power of the crystal skull to communicate if you look in its eyes -- I could deal with those. Even Indy surviving a nuclear blast by hiding in a refrigerator (and surviving being tossed around in said fridge a whole lot) -- I could accept that. This is Indiana Jones we're talking about, after all.

I went into this movie hoping to like it, and I did. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to like Shia LaBeouf, who I was feeling the most iffy about pre-viewing. He had a good presence, good chemistry with Harrison Ford, he wasn't snotty enough to tick me off, but had a nice slightly rebellious thing going on. Plus, what a great entrance he had, so hat-tipping to Brando in The Wild One. I laughed out loud at that, which made a couple of people around me look at me funny, but it just tickled me.

So yup, I dug it, I hope to see it again next weekend with Johnnycake and Dimples ( who were supposed to come up this weekend, but J got a cold), and I expect to own it on dvd. It gets only one Warhead, so hooray for Indy!

Monday, May 26, 2008

I went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull this afternoon. I'm a little too tired right now to blog about it properly, so let me just say this: when I got home, I still hadn't stopped grinning.

More later!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

"Jumbo" (1962) -- Initial Thoughts

I watched Jumbo (1962) yesterday. I think this must be my month for unusual casting, because first there was Peter Lawford in Easter Parade, then Clifton Webb in Stars and Stripes Forever, and now... Stephen Boyd?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he-who-played-Messala-in-Ben-Hur made a musical. He even sang a song, though I'm sure the voice was dubbed. And he actually looked quite at home, not just on the set of a musical, but in a circus tent! DKoren, if you've never seen this, you really should, because he is 100% lunchable here! He shows up in a turtleneck, and I normally loathe turtlenecks, because most people cannot wear them well (Val Kilmer being a notable exception). But Stephen Boyd doesn't just wear that turtleneck well, he makes it look sexy! And that's a pretty rare feat.

So anyway, the Jumbo in the title is a trained elephant who's the star of a little family-owned circus. Jimmy Durante and Doris Day are father-and-daughter circus owners and performers back when circuses had one ring and paraded down main street of every small town they set up near. Jumbo is an exceptionally well-trained elephant that this other circus owner wants. A lot. This other owner, played by Dean Jagger (what? Dean Jagger as a bad guy? Noooo!), has tried repeatedly to buy Jumbo, or the entire circus, but Jimmy Durante always refuses, even though he's up to his famous schnozz in bills and has a gambling problem.

Enter Stephen Boyd in a turtleneck. From the first time we lay eyes on him, we can tell he is Up To Something, but it takes most of the movie for Doris Day and company to figure that out as well. Mostly because he keeps distracting everyone by walking tightropes or wearing tight white t-shirts that show off all those muscles he acquired by driving chariots a few years earlier. After some skulduggery and remorse and penitence, there is a happy ending, and when you get to the part where they start singing about spangles and stardust, just stop the movie. Because they go on for about ten minutes, singing the same song in an ever-more-elaborate parade of costumes. So just end it after one chorus, and all is well.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Here is a pretty cool discussion of Shadow of a Doubt, the Hitchcock film that got me started on Joseph Cotten. It's on Todd Alcott's blog, which Noumenon just turned me on to. Todd Alcott was one of the screenwriters of Antz, among other things, and his blog is quite groovy. He's got great comments on all the James Bond movies too. If you're a movie nut who likes reading about movies (like I am), you'll probably dig him.

Monday, May 19, 2008

"The Stars and Stripes Forever" (1952) -- Initial Thoughts

My "new" musical last week was The Stars and Stripes Forever (1952), a musical biopic of John Philip Sousa that stars... Clifton Webb??? Yes, that's right, the very man who brought weasely Waldo Lydecker to life in Laura, eight years later plays a lovable, if very control-enthused, Sousa. He's got a beard and a much less nasal voice, and it's hard to believe it's the same guy.

Most of the musical numbers are either bands playing marches, or a few staged songs. On a whole, it was okay, though it never grabbed me the way Yankee Doodle Dandy did. I don't have much to say about it -- it was a solid biography of a man who wrote music.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dano just crawled for the first time about four minute ago!

"Prince Caspian" (2008) -- Initial Thoughts

Just got home from Prince Caspian, and I have this to say: If your small child gets frightened by a scary battle and starts wailing, "I don't like it! I'm scared!" then for the love of Mike, take him out of the theater!!!!! Do not tell him to shush and make him stay in his seat. You are an unfit parent and I hope someday, someone straps you to a chair and dangles scorpions in your face.

As for the movie, I think I liked it. I didn't love it, but I liked it. In fact, I think I liked it better than The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. We didn't have to go through all the "introduce the world and its concepts" stuff, we just jumped straight into the action. And the plot felt more... unified. It gets two Warheads, though, for slowing down partway through and getting a little too much in love with faceless warriors building bridges and marching around.

Also, Edmund (Skander Keynes) doesn't do anything horrifically stupid in this one. In fact, he gets to save the day at one point. (Also helps that he's starting to be rather dashing -- by the time Dawn Treader comes out, we could have a hot young star on our hands.) Peter is still nice, but getting a bit stolid in his old age, lol. And Susan is pouty and annoying as always, plus she looks like someone's botoxed her lips. Lucy is still wonderful, but not quite as utterly charming as she was in the first movie.

They did get WETA to do more than just the armor and weaponry this time, but they also got four or five other FX companies as well. Sigh. Will they never learn?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I meant to watch a Bobby Darin movie yesterday to celebrate his birthday, but I just didn't have time :-( I've been busy this week proofing a Combat! fanzine, and the deadline to have it to the printers looms large on the horizon, so I didn't even have time to blog and wish him a happy birthday. But today I finished the proofing, and while I don't think Dano's going to give me a chance to watch a movie, I've at least been watching some YouTube videos. Dano and I are warring over whether or not he's going to take a nap this afternoon right now, and Bobby's been easing my troubled mind a little and mellowing me out. So here are three mellow Bobby songs:

Friday, May 09, 2008

Oh dear. I think I've got a crush on Peter Lawford. I just watched Easter Parade (1948), and oh my goodness! What is wrong with Judy Garland in that movie? Sweet, dashing Peter Lawford falls in love with her, and she refuses him because she's in love with Fred Astaire? Join me as I shake my head, squeeze my eyes shut, and say, "HUH?" Not that Fred wasn't playing a nice guy, but Peter's character was no slouch either. And I'm sorry, but Fred Astaire looks like some kind of insect, with a shiny head and sticks for arms and legs. Whereas Peter Lawford, especially at the tender age of 25, looks like... okay, the only comparison I'm coming up with is a slice of mocha cheesecake, smooth and rich and delectable. And did I mention he has dimples?

I admit it -- I'm a sucker for dimples. Cowboy has them, Dano's developing them, and yeah, if they're not doofy, over-emphasized dimples, but natural and only there when a guy flashes a roguish smile... bring me my swooning couch!

But wait a minute -- I've already got a fling going on this spring! I can't start crushing on Peter Lawford when I've been crushing on Joseph Cotten for a couple of months now! Ack! Too many handsome new men in my life! Ack! Whatever shall I do?

Yes, it's true, I got a thing for Joseph Cotten when I first watched Shadow of a Doubt (1943) a couple months ago. He's a bad boy in it, and he intrigued me, so I picked up Gaslight (1944) at the library the next week, and he was a good guy in it, and I was hooked. So then I watched The Third Man (1949) and decided I definitely need to find more of his movies. He's got this nice guy thing, mixed with a sort of lost puppy look sometimes, like a little baby Beagle that needs a home. Yes, definitely a Beagle. Whereas Peter Lawford is more of a sleek black Labrador.

I suppose I shall just have to deal with two new men in my movie life and keep finding more of their movies to watch. I do have Ocean's 11, so I can see Peter in that, and I have a couple of Joseph Cotten's movies recorded off tv that I've never seen yet, so I can keep seeing him as well.

Good thing my real love life is so uncomplicated!

Oh yeah, I liked Easter Parade a lot, although some of the numbers got a bit long and "why are we here?"-ish. But some, like "A Couple of Swells," were magical. I liked it a lot better than the first time I saw it back in high school, probably because I'm used to Fred Astaire now. This was the first thing I ever saw him in, and I didn't much care for it, being in a major Gene Kelly groove at the time. I still prefer Gene, but I'm used to Fred now. But of course, I mostly liked it better now because of Peter Lawford :-9
The Crow's Nest was filled with sadness last night. Dano slept all night in his crib for the first time. Which might not sound very sad, but the way it came about definitely was.

For the last three months, Dano's been sleeping in a travel bed on the floor next to our bed. At night, I mean -- he naps in his crib in his room. Last night, I put him to bed as usual and came out here to write in my journal, and he didn't want to go to sleep, so he cried. After ten minutes, I checked on him and patted him and told him to go to sleep. Ten minutes later, the crying had not diminished, so I went to check on him again. And he had managed to get out of his travel bed (I'm assuming he rolled out, but he might have gotten up on all fours, hooked an arm over the edge, and tumbled out) and slither his way to the door. He was trying his hardest to come find us. And for that, we banished him to the far reaches of his room :-(

He slept pretty well over there, despite the guilt-pangs his parents were suffering for their cruel treatment of such a sweet little boy. He woke up at the same times he always does to nurse, and that's about it. But still, we're so mean to reward his devotion that way :-(

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I expected to post a birthday greeting for Rudolph Valentino here today. And probably link to something nifty on YouTube that celebrates him. Like this montage of Rudy's smiling scenes. Who can resist that grin or those eyes? Swoon. Rudy certainly knew how to cast a spell.

What I didn't expect to post today was a complete reversal of my opinion of Dano's pediatrician. We've been to her twice before, and I fully intended to talk to the receptionists today and ask to switch to another doctor in the pediatric group, because this doctor and I just do not mesh well. The first two visits, she was all about telling me what to do, not discussing different options, and was just really brusque and... okay, I'll say it: she was too much of a Yankee.

But today, this doctor was all smiley and friendly. She called Dano "cutie" like nine times and complimented what a strong, healthy boy he is. She discussed possible new foods for him to try and a time-frame for him to try them, rather than handing me a sheet of instructions and saying, "Follow this." In short, I would be wondering if she was either bi-polar or had an evil twin, but for one fact:

She's now pregnant. With her first kid. And this seems to have made all the difference.

So I'm sticking with this doctor, at least for now, although she'll be on vacation the next time I need to take Dano in, so I'll end up seeing a different doctor anyway. But yeah... rarely have I had my opinion of a real person so utterly reversed. I change my mind about actors from time to time (usually when I find out someone I'd labeled "airhead" or "pretty boy" actually has talent), but I can't remember the last time I decided someone I had strongly disliked was actually okay after all. Probably because people I dislike rarely have such a marked reversal in attitudes and personality.

And okay, I need to link to one more Rudy vid: "The Shiek's Physique," a short he filmed during his big dispute with his studio. They refused to let him make any movies, but he was able to make this short, which kept him in the public eye. If you watch nothing else, watch 0:50-1:00 of this -- it cracks me up every time I watch it.

And okay, okay, one more.

If that's too much smooching for you, check out The Menace Collection.

Happy birthday, darling Rodolfo!

Friday, May 02, 2008

I can't believe it's Friday night already! Where did this week go? Okay, part of it was taken up by a visit from Dad, albeit a brief one -- he arrived Wednesday evening and left last night, but we had a nice time while it lasted. He was here long enough for Dano to warm up to him and spend lots of time bouncing on his lap.

And now it's the end of the week and I'm ready to report on this week's musical: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967).

I didn't like it.

Partly I didn't like it because I think it was trying to be a clever commentary on the pointlessness of the business world, but it just came off as silly and improbable. More improbable than most musicals. Also, the only song in it I'd ever heard before was "I Believe in You," which I don't even like very much when Bobby Darin sings it.

But mostly, I disliked this movie because it starred Robert Morse. And he annoys me. He looks like the love child of Dave Barry and Dave Letterman and acts like a five-year-old. He has a nasal voice, rolls his eyes too much, and worst of all, whenever I see him, I'm reminded of this reeeeeeeeeeally freakish old movie called The Loved One, which he also starred in.

So of all the "new" musicals I've watched since February, I disliked this one most of all. In fact, it's the first one I've actively disliked, rather than just thinking it was not all that great.