Sunday, October 30, 2016

Like This? Try These! #4

Both Eva and Miss Meg requested I recommend movies similar to The Bourne Identity (2002), which is one of my favorite movies (and franchises), so here we go!

If you like The Bourne Identity, with its exciting chases, helpful and brave love interest, and confused hero who's not sure who's chasing him, or why, then you might like any of these:

+ Dark Passage (1947) -- A convict (Humphrey Bogart) imprisoned for killing his wife escapes from prison to prove his innocence.  Everyone knows what he looks like, so he gets plastic surgery to change his face so he can seek vengeance without being recognized all the time.  He recuperates in the home of an artist (Lauren Bacall) who becomes convinced of his innocence and tries to help him.  (This one has violence.  It's film noir, so some dark themes and stuff that might frighten kids.  Also, Bogie looks kinda creepy in his facial bandages.)

+ North by Northwest (1959) -- Classic Hitchcock :-9  Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is just an advertising executive.  But a bunch of spies are convinced he's also a spy, and they try really hard to kill him.  Over and over.  And they frame him for murder, so the police are after him too.  Then he meets Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) on a train, they fall in love, and she tries to help him survive all this chaos.  (Lots of double entendres in this one, most of which will entirely fly over the heads of kids.  There's some violence, and intense/scary moments of danger and peril and suspense.  I think also some more traditional cussing.)

+ Charade (1963) -- This time it's a woman who is being pursued and doesn't know why.  Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) learns, at her husband's funeral, that there are a whole bunch of people who want something that her husband had, but never told her about.  They chase her all over the place, trying to scare her into giving them what they want.  A CIA agent (Cary Grant) pops up to help her sort out the mess, and sparkage ensues.  This one has topnotch villains, especially James Coburn and George Kennedy.  (Mostly family-friendly.  There's a little bit of suggestiveness here and there, double entendres and this silly game where people have to try to pass oranges to each other without using their hands, and a little kissing.  Plus, Cary Grant in the shower.  Possibly a couple mild curse words, and lots of '60s-style violence where it's not gory but still, people die and get hurt.)

And today I have a BONUS for you!  Did you know there's another adaptation of The Bourne Identity?  Yup, it was made into a TV movie in 1988, starring Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith as Jason Bourne and Marie St. Jacques.  It sticks very closely to the plot and characterization in the original book by Robert Ludlum (which I reviewed here), and is overall very enjoyable.  If you're like me and enjoy seeing different adaptations of stories, I recommend trying it.  (There's some violence, no bad language I can recall but I might be wrong, and one love scene where Marie's in lingerie and Jason is shirtless and there's some rolling around on a bed or something-- I completely recommend that everyone skip that scene at all times, because although there's no nudity, it's embarassingly '80s-ish.)

What do you think?  Are there other movies that remind you of The Bourne Identity?  I've got a bunch of ideas for these posts, but as always, if you've got a request for something you'd like me to make recommendations based on, I love suggestions!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

"Stagecoach" (1939)

I'm taking a free online course on western films right now, called "Made in America:  Exploring the American Western," and the first film we've studied is Stagecoach, the film that took John Wayne out of the third-rate "oaters" he'd been making and made him a movie star.  I don't know if I'll be posting about every film we study, but I've been wanting to write up a review on this one for a while now, so this viewing gives me the chance.

I've seen Stagecoach sooooo many times.  First as a young teen watching and rewatching every western I could get my grubby hands on, then in college when it was one of the few John Wayne westerns my friends liked much, then once in a while throughout my adult life.  But it's been at least six years since I last saw it, so I welcomed having a reason to sit down with it over the weekend.  This is one of those films that feels like hanging out with a bunch of friends I've known a long time, which is always a delight.

People like to say that Stagecoach is about a group of strangers racing to find safety in the town of Lordsburg from Geronimo and his renegade Apache followers, who are on the warpath.  But they're not actually all strangers -- Doc Boone and Dallas know each other, and the stage driver Buck knows Marshal Curley Wilcox.  The gambler Hatfield knows Mrs. Mallory from long ago, even if she doesn't remember him.  Everybody kind of knows Banker Gatewood.  And Doc, Buck, and the marshal all know the Ringo Kid.  So really it's about a variety of interesting people who don't know each other very well.  And it's those interesting people that make this movie so re-watch-able for me.  So I'm going to introduce you to them one at a time, in the order the film introduces them.

Buck (Andy Devine) drives a stagecoach for a living.  He is a generous, kind-hearted man, if not especially bright.  He loves to talk, especially when he's nervous.  And who wouldn't be nervous with a band of angry Apaches roaming the countryside, not to mention the Ringo Kid escaped from prison?

Mrs. Lucy Mallory (Louise Platt) is on her way west to rejoin her husband, a captain in the cavalry.  She has a secret.  And hides it well, I must say.  Mrs. Mallory is very refined, which is a code word for snobby.  She looks down on most of the other passengers for much of the film.

Marshal Curley Wilcox (George Bancroft) is an honorable, competent officer of the law.  He's on a mission to recapture the Ring Kid, as much for Ringo's protection as anything else.  We'll get to that.  I like Curley a lot, because he's sensible, quick-thinking, and kind.

Gatewood (Berton Churchill) is a wealthy banker with a guilty secret.  He's constantly antagonistic toward every single other character, and I'm astonished at how long it takes before somebody finally slugs him.

Doc Boone (Thomas Mitchell) is a boozy, breezy fellow with a smile or a snarky quip for every occasion, as is called for.  He has lost all respectability due to his drinking and is being run out of town for being a bad influence on morality or something.  He provides a nice bit of wry comic relief throughout the adventure, and eventually reclaims a little of his self-respect.

Dallas (Claire Trevor) is a lady of the evening who's also being run out of town by a bunch of angry, sanctimonious wives.  She's a fascinating mixture of cynical and hopeful, and I love her character arc, as she goes from hurt and resentful to kind and helpful.

Mr. Peacock (Donald Meek) is a whiskey drummer, a travelling salesman who tries to get bartenders to order liquor from him.  He is a mild-mannered, nervous man who allows Doc Boone to take and drink all his samples, making many ineffectual protests, but never doing more than that.  But he is a constant reminder that respectable people can be kind and polite, which is very much needed to counteract all the snobbery from Mrs. Mallory and Gatewood.

Hatfield (John Carradine) is a gambler with a bad reputation.  But he considers himself a gentleman, and offers his protection to Mrs. Mallory for her trip.  He says he served under her father during the Civil War, though she doesn't remember him.  Side note -- doesn't John Carradine have the most fascinating face?  My brother and I used to call him The Raisin Man because, in a different film, his face reminded us of a long, thin, withered raisin. However, I think he's very handsome in this movie.

The stagecoach and its passengers head off into the desert, accompanied by a Cavalry detachment that will take them part of the way.  Beautiful scenery ensues.

Much of this movie was filmed on location in the glorious Monument Valley, one of the places I am determined to visit some day.  Preferably not in the summer, since I hate heat, hee.

On the way, they encounter the final main character:

Today, it's considered one of the most iconic entrances in filmdom, but when they made the movie, it was just time to introduce another character, the Ringo Kid (John Wayne).  Ringo got sent to prison years ago for a murder he didn't commit, and the three brothers who framed him for it killed his father and brother.  He's broken out of prison and vowed to take down the Plummer brothers in Lordsburg or die trying, and most people aren't betting on him.  I'm not entirely sure why he's got this notorious reputation -- everybody has heard of the Ringo Kid -- when he's been in prison since he was 16, but whatever, I'm not going to puzzle over it.  'Cause Ringo is just so darned cool it's not hard to believe evvvvvverybody knows about him.

The stagecoach reaches their first stop, where they discover that the troops they'd expected to guard them on the next leg of their journey to Lordsburg is not there.  They try to figure out if they should keep going or turn back, and it's here that Ringo starts winning my affections.  And not just mine, but Dallas' too.  He insists on treating her with respect, calling her a lady and ma'am.  And he makes everyone else give her choice about going on or going back just as much weight as Mrs. Mallory's.  Dallas thinks Ringo doesn't know that she's a lady of the evening, but I think he knows it full well and doesn't believe it should make a difference in how she's treated.  In his world view, women should be honored and treated gallantly, and that's all.

He even blames his own presence for the other people not wanting to eat near himself and Dallas as they all share lunch at the way station, saying he should have realized he couldn't break out of prison and into society in the same week.

Ringo clearly liiiiiikes Dallas, but not because he thinks she's easy or loose -- he genuinely likes her as a person pretty much from the first glance they exchanged on the crowded stage.

The juxtaposition of behavior between those who are "socially acceptable" and those who are "outcasts" is one of my favorite parts of this film.  Time and again, the "upstanding citizens," banker Gatewood and Mrs. Mallory behave very rudely.  Gatewood is always yelling at people and trying to put himself first for everything.  Mrs. Mallory refuses to have anything to do with Dallas or Ringo or Doc because they are "beneath" her and "bad."  The whiskey drummer, Mr. Peacock, is supposedly a good person, but because he sells alcohol, Gatewood and Mrs. Mallory snub him too.  Buck is rough and doesn't have good manners, and he's overweight and usually dirty, so they don't want to deal with him.  And while Hatfield is genteel and has beautiful manners, and also shuns the "lower" types, he's also a gambler and reportedly has killed people in duels, so Gatewood doesn't like him, though Mrs. Mallory accepts his offer of protection.

But how do the lowly characters behave toward these snobby, snotty people?  (This will involve some spoilage, so skip to the next photo of John Wayne and Claire Trevor if you haven't watched this movie yet and want to remain unspoiled.)  Doc delivers Mrs. Mallory's baby with Dallas' assistance.  Dallas continually offers help, kindness, and comfort to Mrs. Mallory, even though she gets rebuffed over and over.  Ringo shows more consideration and politeness to everyone there than all the "polite" characters combined.  Buck bravely continues to drive the stagecoach as fast as he can even after he's been wounded, trying to save the lives of his passengers.  It's the so-called dregs of society who know the true meaning of kindness and good behavior, even if their manners aren't polished and their clothes are dirty and their backgrounds are not above reproach.  Like it says in the Bible, the one who has been forgiven much loves much, but the one who has been forgiven little loves little.  They know what it means to have your faults thrown in your face, and they know how much a bit of kindness or love can make a difference in a person's life.

In fact, the only "good guy" that everyone respects and likes is Curley, the marshal.  He's above reproach AND he's a decent human being.

Time to talk about my other favorite part of this film:  Ringo + Dallas.  As I mentioned above, Ringo is determined that Dallas should be honored and respected because she is a woman.  But more than that, he gradually and quietly develops admiring feelings for her.  And he makes very sure that she knows his intentions are honorable.  In fact, I noticed this viewing that he almost never touches her.  Their fingers brush a little when handing a spoon or canteen to each other, and at one point he takes her elbow to steer her through a crowd, then lets go once they're past the people.  But he deliberately puts a literal fence between himself and her during their one almost-love scene.

Ringo understands what Dallas is, all right.  She's a woman who has been touched too many times, by too many men.  And so he shows her that he is different, that he values her as a person, by not touching her.  It's the only way he can prove to her that he's serious when he asks her to marry him.  He's not saying that to get in bed with her, he's saying it because he means it.

Dallas and Ringo do touch a couple other times, all of them initiated by her.  One of the most important is when they realize the Apache are much closer than they'd thought.  She puts her hand on his arm as if seeking protection.  She's slowly, hesitantly allowing herself to believe that Ringo does mean to rescue her from her hopeless life.  She's learning to hope again, despite their desperate circumstances.

A bunch of exciting stuff happens then -- Indians chasing the stagecoach and so on.  I'm going to go ahead and spoil this for you now, so stop reading if you don't want to know stuff about the end, okay?  The stagecoach does get to Lordsburg.  Not without casualties, but it gets there.  And Dallas freaks out because Ringo asks to walk her home, or wherever she's going, before he takes on the Plummer boys, and now he's going to find out she lives in/behind a house of ill repute and ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, she's sooooooooo not cool with this.

So you remember that scene earlier where Ringo put a fence between himself and Dallas?  This time, he doesn't.  She runs away from him, he follows, he stands on the same side of a fence (OKAY, FINE, it's the railing of a footbridge and if he was on the other side, he'd be in a stream, but it's symbolic, okay?) so that she knows there are no barriers between them.  He has known all along what she's done to survive, and he wants to marry her anyway.  It is not a problem for him.

That is where I melted into a happy puddle.

I had another realization while writing this post.  Ringo tells Curley to make sure Dallas gets to Ringo's ranch in Mexico, no matter what happens to Ringo.  And Ringo told Doc and several other people that he has asked Dallas to marry him.  That makes her his fiancee, and in most cases, a fiancee inherits their fiance's worldly goods even if they're not married yet at time of death.  Everyone warns Ringo he's not going to win when he takes on the three Plummers.  He's kind of assuming the same.  But he's making sure Dallas will be okay.  She can have his ranch in Mexico, where no one knows her.  No one knows what she's been.  No one will know her as anyone or anything besides the Ringo Kid's fiancee, and she can start her life over there even without him.  Oh my goodness, what a man.

I said that Dallas touches Ringo a few times.  This is the second important one:

She clutches him, and his arms go around her, but not around her waist in a romantic clinch, around her back and shoulders.  There's no kissing.  It's a strong, protective embrace on his part, and a let-me-feel-if-you-are-real-and-okay sort of thing on hers.  It's one of the most loving, sincere movie embraces I've ever seen.

Is this movie family friendly?  I've detailed pretty much everything that might raise eyebrows.  Lots of Doc Boone drinking, a completely unseen birth, and nobody ever outright says how Dallas has been making a living.  I would let my kids watch this.

Like I said, this is the film that made 32-year-old John Wayne a movie star.  It's not hard to see why, and since he's my favorite actor and it's my blog, I'm just ending this with a bunch of really nice screencaps I took of him:

Monday, October 24, 2016

Like This? Try These! #3

Jessica Prescott requested a recommendation post for Toy Story (1995).  Can you tell I'm having fun with these?  I'm cranking them out faster than my read-along posts, hee.  This one was really tough, as there's really nothing quite like Toy Story, but I did my best.

If you like Toy Story, with its mismatched-buddies humor, its peek at the hidden life of toys, and its nostalgia for childhood, then you might like these:

+ The Odd Couple (1968) -- Yeah, I know there's a modern TV version of this on right now.  There was a TV version back in the '60s too, plus a sequel in the '90s.  But the original film version of Neil Simon's play is still the best, IMHO.  When fussy Felix (Jack Lemmon) gets divorced, slobby Oscar (Walter Matthau) generously offers to share his apartment with his melancholy buddy.  They proceed to drive each other nutty in an endearing, hilarious way.  Buzz Lightyear isn't as fastidious as Felix, and Woody definitely isn't as lackadaisical as Oscar, but I think the comparison works.

(This film is actually in color, not B&W)

+ The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) -- The feature-length animated foray into the imaginary adventures of Christopher Robin's toy animals, this one is probably the closest match to Toy Story.  And if you haven't watched it since you were a kid (or ever), give it a whirl, because it is a heart-warming and whimsical look at childhood.

+ The Indian in the Cupboard (1995) -- I like the book better.  However, the filmed version is lots of fun too.  Omri (Hal Scardino) receives an old cupboard for his birthday that magically makes his toy Indian figure Little Bear (Litefoot) come alive.  But he's still tiny.  It works with other toy figures too, including cowboy Boone (David Keith), and much adventure ensues.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Like This? Try These! #2

Time for another edition of my new series!  Meredith asked me what I'd recommend for fans of Les Miserables (2012), and that one was a bit challenging.  Here are my suggestions!

If you like Les Mis, with it's sweeping emotions, beautiful costumes, and poignant character arcs, not to mention all that gorgeous music, then you might like any of these:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) -- Also set in France, with lots of scenes involving people living on the streets and society's margins, this beautiful retelling of another novel by Victor Hugo (same guy who wrote the original Les Mis) involves a young and vibrant Gypsy (Maureen O'Hara) who seeks sanctuary in the Notre Dame cathedral.  She's persecuted by a lusting, vengeful creep (Cedric Hardwicke); pursued by a poor, idealistic writer (Edmund O'Brien); and championed by a despised, deformed bell-ringer (Charles Laughton).  (Family friendly for the most part, as the creep's lusting is subtext.  The bell-ringer's deformities are pretty startling, though, and this is not a film for young children.)

Oliver! (1968) -- This one takes place among the poor and downtrodden of London instead of Paris, with lots of fairly cheerful songs, but a good bit of darkness going on as well.  Orphaned Oliver Twist (Mark Lester) gets thrown out of the workhouse and must fend for himself on the streets.  He's taken in by a gang of pickpockets and thieves, among them the extremely nasty Bill Sykes (Oliver Reed) and his sweet streetwalker girlfriend Nancy (Shani Wallis).  (Also not for really young children, though Nancy's occupation is only hinted at.  There's a goodly bit of threatened and implied violence, though, including a murder.)

Evita (1996) -- Loosely based on the life of Eva Peron, wife of Argentinian dictator Juan Peron, this one is almost entirely sung, like Les Mis.  In it, a narrator (Antonio Banderas) relates the story of how a poor young outcast (Madonna) rises from obscurity to power and becomes regarded as a saint even though she's very much a sinner.  It's got lots of cool political intrigue and songs that alternately soar and growl.  (And this one's also not for young children.  Some mild language and a lot of innuendo, including scenes of unmarried people in bed, but no actual sex scenes.  Also some violence.)

What do you think?  What other movies would you recommend to someone who likes Les Mis?  Any other movies you'd like to see me do comparisons for?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Why Yes, It's Another Liebster Award!

Hey, guess what?  Constance and Diana of Silver Scenes nominated me for the Liebster!  Over a month ago.  Sigh.  I am STILL catching up on blog reading, tag responding, and so on.  But anyway, thanks for tagging me, ladies!  Here are my answers to your questions:

1. If you could travel back in time, which year would you travel back to? And why? 

Too many to choose from!  Do I go back to see John Gielgud perform Hamlet?  Do I go back to Shakespeare's day and see it performed with Shakespeare himself as the Ghost?  Do I go back to 1926 and convince Rudolph Valentino to go to the doctor for his ulcers so he doesn't die of peritonitis?  (If time-travel is possible, so is me convincing Valentino of something, obviously.)  Do I go to 1973 and remind Bobby Darin to take his antibiotics before he goes to the dentist so he doesn't get the infection that eventually stops his heart?  Or do I go to 1982 and, as an adult now, see my favorite movie on the big screen again?  I could visit the time of Christ, I could hang out with Jane Austen... I can't pick today.  Too many choices.

2. Who is your favorite underrated actor/actress? 

Is Alan Ladd underrated?  I feel like he is, but maybe he's more "under-remembered" than "underrated," as those who are familiar with his work do tend to appreciate him.  How about Armie Hammer?  I enjoy the heck outta a lot of his movies, but people kind of write him off as just another handsome guy.

(Which is not to say he's not a handsome guy, cuz yeah, he obviously is.)

3. What movie/television show do you enjoy as a guilty pleasure? (The program that you would never admit to anyone that you really like.) 

I get a kick out of Friends even though it's fluffy, mind-idling silliness.  I don't own it on DVD or anything, but if it happens to be on and I've got time to kill, I'll have fun hanging out with Joey and Phoebe.

4. Do you listen to old-time radio? If so, which is your favorite program? 

YES!  I absolutely love old-time radio.  Right now, I've been listening to lots of Alan Ladd's show, Box 13, but my favorite is probably The Six-Shooter, which starred James Stewart and had quite interesting plots.

(Do you suppose he dressed like this for every performance?)

5. How many hours do you spend staring at screens (computer/television/phone)? 

Probably between 1 and 4 a day.  That would be 1-2 hours of computer, scattered over the course of a day in little 5-15 minute chunks here and there, and then I watch a movie once or twice a week, so those days it would be more like 4.

6. If you could be mayor of your town what would be the first change you would make? 

I'd put up more "free-flowing right turn" signs, specifically on two corners where I regularly encounter people stopped when they don't need to be.

7. What is one subject/skill you feel all students should learn before they turn 20-years-old? 

How to do laundry by themselves.  It's ridiculous how many people turned up at college not knowing how to even sort their clothes, much less run a washing machine.

Good mama.

8. What would you like your obituary to read? ( Aside from "he/she died too soon" ) 

The beloved author of dozens of western novels, many of which were made into films starring Armie Hammer and Chris Hemsworth.  She leaves behind three children, nine grandchildren, and a rich literary legacy that will continue to delight and entertain for generations.

9. Which movie character do you feel the strongest bond with? To clarify, list which character you think is the most similar to yourself in nature and appearance. 

Lucy Eleanor Moderatz in While You Were Sleeping (1995).  As I said in my review of it, "If I was in her situation, family-less, basically friend-less, I would behave the way she does. I'd have a cat, I'd put up a Christmas tree just for me and the cat, I'd obligingly work on Christmas so people with families don't have to, I'd give a Christmas present to my landlord. I'd even wear my dad's old coat and sweaters just to feel connected to him. "  Also, we both have dark hair and eyes, and somewhat similar coloring maybe?

(But I haven't had bangs for 20 years now.)

10. What is your favorite classic television show? 

Finally, an easy one!  Combat! (1962-67).  In fact, I co-run a fansite dedicated to it, Fruit Salad.

(Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders in the foreground, slouchy and splendid as always.
Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley is driving the Jeep, with... maybe Fletcher Fist?)

11. Do you watch classic British films? If not, ( shame on you! ) state why.

Um, maybe?  Does Monty Python and the Holy Grail count?  How about the James Bond films?  Oh!  I liked Kind Hearts and Coronets.  I've seen a few of Hitchcock's earlier films too, is that classic British film?

(They look sooooooo deceptively serious here.)

I'm not tagging anyone because, like I said the other day, I've been catching up on So Very Many tags this month that I don't want to wear out my welcome.  But these were fun questions to answer!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Like This? Try These! #1

I'm starting a new series today, 100% inspired by Jessica Prescott.  She's decided she's willing to try watching "old movies," but she doesn't know what she might like.  And that made me think that, hey, she might not be the only blogging friend I have who's interested in broadening their movie-watching horizons.  Plus, I love comparing things.

And so, I proudly present the first edition of "Like This?  Try These!"  For each post (and I make no claims of planning to post them on any kind of dependable schedule), I'll pair one modern or famous movie with several classic or lesser-known movies that remind me of it in some way.  And I'll elaborate on them a bit.  Sound fun?  I hope so!

If you like Tangled (2010), with its spunky heroine forming an unlikely alliance with someone of dubious intent, and the two of them having various adventures, then you might like any of these:

+ Roman Holiday (1953) -- Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) makes a royal visit to Rome.  She's tired of boring royal receptions and visits with dignitaries.  She longs to find out what life is like for regular folks that aren't princesses!  And she finds out, with the help of a newspaperman named Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck).  He at first plans to secretly write an expose of what sorts of mischief the princess got into while running around Rome incognito, but then... well, let's say Flynn Ryder doesn't have the monopoly on changes of heart.  (This one is family friendly! Unless your family doesn't approve of characters drinking wine and champagne, getting into mild and humorous fistfights, and I think we see a freshly bathed woman wearing nothing but a towel at one point.  Still, I consider it clean.)

Cat Ballou (1965) -- A young woman (Jane Fonda) whose father has been murdered by wild west baddies seeks to revenge his death, so she enlists the help of ne'er-do-well gunfighter Kid Shelleen (Lee Marvin).  Quite a bit of western silliness ensues, but also a pretty heartwarming story of two outcasts helping each other out.  (This one has some mild profanity, western-style violence, drunkenness, and a bit of low-level innuendo.)

+ Romancing the Stone (1984) -- Famous romance novelist Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) sets out to rescue her kidnapped sister from the clutches of Colombian criminals who want to exchange said sister for a treasure map.  Joan teams up with snarky adventurer Jack Colton (Michael Douglas), who agrees to help her if he can share in the treasure, that sort of thing.  (This one has quite a bit of profanity, an implied sexual encounter, some violence, and innuendo here and there.)

So... have you seen any of these?  Do you have other recommendations of similar movies about adventurous heroines and their unlikely helpers?  What do you think of this idea?  And do you have any movies you'd like to see me try to match up for another edition of this series?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Blogger Recognition Award

How sweet is this?  Miss March of Sunshiny Corner and The Elf of Willawa have both nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award!  Thank you both :-)  I am honored.

The Rules:
-Thank the blogger who nominated you.
-Tell a little bit about how you started blogging.
-Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
-Nominate 15 other bloggers.

Fourteen Years -- Don't They Go By in a Blink

I started blogging 14 years ago this month.  I was 22 years old, had been married for four months, and had graduated from college the previous spring.  I was holding down my first full-time job and reading all the books I'd been wanting to read during college but never had time for.  Good times!  One day, I picked up a newspaper in my workplace's lunch room and read an article about these new things called "web logs" or "blogs" that had started cropping up on the internet.  Lots of people were experimenting with them, using them a lot like online journals that could be shared with other people.  The article mentioned several sites where you could get your own blog for free, and I copied down that list and decided to look into all this.  Hey, I was a writer, I had things to say, and other people might even want to read them!  Sounded like fun.

My first years of blogging are very much like keeping an online journal.  If you read back through those very old posts (and I'm not suggesting you do that, because 22-year-old me was kind of pretentious sometimes), you won't find me writing book and movie reviews as we think of them today. It's a lot of me just nattering about whatever I was into at the moment and felt like typing up a paragraph or two about.  Which I still do to some extent, but my posts are a leeeetle more structured now.  Also, back then you couldn't add photos easily, and I didn't know enough HTML to add them the hard way, so my old posts all look really blah to me now, lol.

If You Take My Advice...

Giving advice is tricky, isn't it?  I don't know what you, newer blogger, want to know about blogging!  My best piece of advice is to follow links.  If you've found a blog you enjoy, see if they have a list of blogs they like.  Most bloggers do, either in a sidebar (scroll on down a ways and you'll see such a list here on my blog, and a totally different set on my book blog) or on a dedicated page.  If you like their blog, chances are you might like some of the blogs they enjoy.  Also, when a blogger you admire does a tag like this and tags a bunch of other bloggers, see if they provided links to those blogs, because you might like those as well.

Then study the blogs you enjoy, figure out what you like about them.  Do you like their content, their writing style, their layout, the way they answer comments?  Learn from them!  Don't copy them.  Figure out how to make your own blog something that interests you.  Do you love reading movie reviews?  Write up your thoughts on a movie!  Do you love reading book reviews?  Review one!  Do you like bloggers who share deep thoughts on meaty subjects?  Figure out what you think about things yourself, and share.

And the Nominees Are:

Anyone who wants to do this tag.  I've been doing a ton of tags lately, and I don't want to wear out my welcome by tagging lots of people constantly.  If you're looking for something to post about, or you have blogging advice you want to share, consider yourself tagged!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Liebster on a Deserted Island

Kate Gabrielle at Silents and Talkies answered my Liebster Award questions a while back, and she posed such fun questions herself that I've answered hers in return! I first answered them in her comments, but I had such a good time with them that I've decided to post them here too so I can illustrate them :-D

1. If you were stuck on a desert island with one actor, who would you pick? 

 John Wayne. He probably brought lots of books with him, so we wouldn't be bored for a long time. Also, he did know how to do a fair number of useful things like fishing and sailing a boat. Also, except when drinking, he was a quiet guy, so it's not like I'd be super annoyed by some chatterbox.

2. If you were stuck on a desert island with one actress, who would you pick? (Note - this is not necessarily your favorite actor/actress, but someone you'd want to spend months, years, possibly the rest of your life eating coconuts and building sandcastles with)

 Emma Thompson! She is such an intelligent, fascinating, funny person.

3. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only watch one movie on repeat for the rest of your life, which would you pick? 

Branagh's Hamlet (1996), as it's 4 hours long, and I always notice new things to think about when I watch it (well, that's true of all Hamlet adaptations, even bad ones, but his is longest, so hey, it would kill more time.)

4. If you were stuck on a desert island with any movie character, who would you pick? 

Illya Kuryakin, as played by Armie Hammer in The Man from UNCLE (2015).  I feel certain we would survive, and have fun doing so.

5. If you could watch a movie with any two actors/actresses stuck on a desert island together, who would you pick? If you've got some free time, elaborate a bit on the plot! 

Well, I would happily watch a movie in which Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) and Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) are stuck on a desert island. I expect that they were on a top secret mission to board an enemy submarine and rescue a kidnapped dignitary, but it went horribly awry, and now they've washed up on a deserted island with nothing but each other and their witty wits. Much bickering ensues, along with both Illya and Solo one-upping each other with their survival skills. All goes relatively well until Solo's surprise dessert of bananas en flambe sets all the banana trees on fire (for a special agent, Solo's not having a very special day), but that serves as a beacon for Mr. Waverly to rescue them with his helicopter. Gaby has already rescued the dignitary while the boys were stuck on the island, but she's very happy to have them back because their next mission is in the Arctic and she's not very good at driving dogsleds.

6. Who is the last actor you would ever want to be stuck on a desert island with (cough, Tyrone Power, cough)?

Colin Farrell. Gag.

7. You're stuck on a desert island with Edmund O'Brien. What actor shows up in a giant pirate ship to whisk you away to safety and/or a life of adventure on the high seas? 

Alan Ladd.  Obviously.  And I'll opt for the life of adventure on the high seas, thank you!

8. If you were stuck on a desert island with a movie cook, who would you choose -- Felix from Christmas in Connecticut or Mildred from Mildred Pierce? Who would make the most out of all the coconuts and tree bark? 

Felix :-D

9. If you were stuck on a desert island with me, what movie would you force me to watch? I can't get away! I can't escape! I HAVE TO WATCH IT! 

Haha! How about Branagh's Hamlet since I already have it with me?

10. You're on a life raft with Herbert Marshall, Joel McCrea and Laraine Day but your weight is sinking the raft. Do you: a) sacrifice yourself to save these three amazing actors or b) push one of them into the water. If you chose b, who did you push and why?! 

Save Joel McCrea! DKoren would never forgive me if I didn't. I probably would just jump overboard and swim to some other bits of wreckage.

11.If you could choose any movie animal to be stuck on an island with, who would you pick? Some ideas -- Asta, Lassie, Pongo, Perdita, The Pie, Cat (from Breakfast at Tiffany's) 

The Black Stallion. Every time.  The original book is the whole reason I'm obsessed with deserted islands!