Sometimes a movie can change your life.

As I look back there were many movies that influenced me but this one movie changed my life.  From the title and what the movie was about you wouldn’t think it could possibly do that.  It was “Julie and Julia” written and directed by Nora Ephron.  I always loved her movies, my favorite up to that point was “When Harry Met Sally”. The reason why you wouldn’t think Julie and Julia would change my life was I don’t cook.  I love to eat andI was brought up with great food both from my Mom and Grandma, I also went out to eat a lot. Our parents took us out to the best restaurants in the world so we were spoiled. Even so I would not call myself a foodie.  But I love good stories, I loved the all the actors in it and I love Nora’s sense of humor.  So I was flipping through cable and decided to watch, I was home sick from work and I wanted something that would take my mind off my stuffed head and fever.

When I was a little girl in the sixties maybe 5 or 6 an early memory was watching Julia Child on PBS with my family,  I didn’t really understand much about it except I thought she talked funny, and that she acted funny too, so I laughed. She made me smile.  (I was a child, so I was allowed to think that way, besides other than smiling and giggling, I don’t think anyone knew what was going through my little 5-year-old mind.) And though I found that part of the story fun and fascinating and even romantic, it was not the part that changed my life. No, the part that changed everything for me, what made a light bulb go on in my head was when Julie Powell’s husband Eric helped her to start her blog.  How easy it was.  Julie was a writer who had not been published.  Even if she was published she had no platform or followers, just like me.  Other than an occasional short story in an anthology, and an article in newsletters no one knew me at all.  I had written a poem that was published in a book of poems and I published my novel but after the initial flurry, mostly from my readers in fan fiction, my sales stopped dead in their tracks. And here in a movie was a women who had not even been published, who created a blog and became famous.  Wow!

Now, I didn’t become famous, not even a little bit, but it gave me a platform that changed my life.  My first blogs were about trying to get over the writer’s block from the loss of my beloved father. I wrote about movies and TV shows.  I wrote about fan fiction.  Pretty much what ever was happening to me and slowly, people started to respond.  But what I didn’t expect was that I would develop a platform that would let me explore things that I thought was dormant inside me. (Actually not dormant, dead really.)

I wrote a second book (finally, after my Mom and brother said my Dad would be pissed that I would stop just because he passed away,) and I did things I never even tried before.  I went after signings and panels and speaking engagements.  I mean, I am actually shy, but I did it.  It was from a spurt of confidence from my slowly building group of followers.  And that added more followers and more.  Then I tried to go on some radio shows to promote my second book, block, I tried to get on Blogtalk shows, no answers.  I sat there and thought why is this such a brick wall?  I kept doing it and I finally got an interview. The girl I was interviewed by, was actually not a great interviewer.  Then I was supposed to go on a web-interview, and she flaked.  And I thought, well this sucks I could do better than they do and at least I have a background from my days as an actress.

So I went to Blogtalk and started to interview people I knew from book groups and fandom.  And boom, I had an even bigger following.  Not just for my shows but for my writing and blogs and books…Wow!  Then I had entered a contest for a play I had written a long time ago and won, the prize was a bit of money (needed of course,) and professional actors reading my play in library. And I said to myself, “Self, I can do this for other people as well as my own work and I already have a platform, Blogtalk.”  And Sherri’s Playhouse was born. And from that, I have had opportunities to write plays and see them produced, Wow!

Why am I telling you all this now?  Well I guess because I was watching a documentary by Jacob Bernstein about his mom, Nora Ephron called;”Everything Is Copy” .  And as I watched it I realized that she was such an influence though I have never met her or was able to talk to her.  She inspired me to do what I am now doing.  I am so grateful.  Thank you Nora, and thank you Jacob for reminding me.

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Fans get to help Miss Fisher movie get launched!

This is not the first Kickstarter Program for a movie, and it is not the first time fans helped with a launch in this way.  There are many instances of such group efforts even before mass media came around.

But this is an example of how a group of really enthusiastic fans got to bring about their dream.  It is not a secret that I am a fan of Miss Fisher and the stars of the show.  I have had the privilege of interviewing three members of the cast; Nathan Page, Anthony Sharpe and Travis McMahon!  Nathan has been on my show twice and his second show was the first one of all my shows after 5 years to reach over a million downloads so quickly, so no one has to tell me that he is a popular fellow.

So those very clever people at Every Cloud Productions, (the producers; Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger) asked Mr. Page to put out a video appeal to the fans to help with the Kickstarter Campaign; https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/468758721/miss-fisher-the-movie/description.  It’s rather adorable isn’t it? It’s special guest star (the star of the show) Essie Davis helps out with a special appearance and of course that part is just what we fans want too.  We want Jack and Phryne to finally come together.  Not just a kiss but maybe a chat about it? We also love the whole family so the more that we get this around to everyone and help out, the better the chances that the whole cast will be able to be a part of it.

Anyway this my pitch to help out, as you can see by the counter the campaign is doing very well but some fans that are not on Tumblr, Facebook or Instagram and might not have seen it.  Also some fans may not be following groups, Phryne is an individualist and so are many of her fans.  So if you have not heard about it and can afford to, please help out.  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/468758721/miss-fisher-the-movie/description.

The true loss of a great talent, Alan Rickman.

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When I read of Alan Rickman’s passing my first feeling was shock.  No, he is too young.  He has too many parts still to play.  It’s not fair.  I always hoped I would get to see him on stage.  I would have loved to see him doing Shakespeare, from all that I know of him he would have been magnificent as King Lear.

The first time I saw him I really did not see his features under the make up or the horrid fright wig he wore in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, it was his voice that stayed with me.  It was such a unique voice and though he was a bad guy, it was a wonderful, sexy voice.  It stayed with me.

Then four years later, my Mother and I wanted to do something anti-Superbowl, and I had just become obsessed with Jane Austen.  I fell in love with her writing from the TV mini series of Pride and Prejudice so when I heard that Emma Thompson, (who I admire a lot) had written and starred in Sense and Sensibility. I thought it would be a perfect balance to my thDad and brother taking over living room with the Superbowl. All through the movie the voice of Colonel Brandon drove me mad, I knew it and I had no idea from where.  As we drove home I realized who he played and in the middle of conversation on the drive home said, Robin Hood,  The Sheriff Nottingham, that is where I know him from.  I think I shocked my Mom a bit, but I always remember a voice.  And his was special.  I tried to watch everything he was in that I could.

 

The next film I saw was Galaxy Quest, he was hilarious as the egotistical actor playing an Alien in a Sci Fi show.  Then Love Actually, again like Sense and Sensibility he played the leading man type, you could see what he looked like.  Though his character had some issues he seemed to turn it around in the end.

I came late to Harry Potter, I did not start watching it till the third movie came out.  I started to read the books that year and fell in love with them.  Alan was perfect as Professor alan rickmanSnape. I saw the first two movies on video tapes, so I didn’t get the full effect of the Professor till third movie.  He was amazing as old Snape,  you just loved to hate him.  It was nice that you saw why he did it in the end, again the bad guy was shown as a good guy and redeemed at the end.

 

 

Outside of Harry Potter the last show I saw him on was The Song Of Lunch on PBS with Emma Thompson. It was a lyrical show very much the cycle of love.

There were a lot more movies of course but those are the ones that stood out.  He was a talented man, who was very diverse and special.  He was very well-loved and he will be so very missed by all of his fans.

I raise my wand for you Professor…

A Sweet Goodbye To One Of My Favorite Actors

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Rod Taylor has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  From have watched and loved him. He was very talented and played every part with a deep commitment and true talent.

The first movie I think I can remember seeing him was The Time Machine.  A classic that I loved before I even knew what time travel or science fiction was.  Before I had read an H. G. Wells novel, I was in love George the time traveler.  He did something that just endeared me it was the sweet twinkle in his eye as he watched the mannequin change clothes and he went through the different time periods.  He was also so real in the midst of all the special effects and of course the romantic I am a mush so I loved the love story.

Of course I saw 101 Dalmatians but I didn’t it was him. So now that I do I may go back and watch it again just see if i can catch a phrasing that is pure Rod Taylor.

I loved him in Do Not Disturb  with Doris Day as the over worked and confused husband oblivious that his assistant had the hots for him.  In Sunday In New York as the adorable stranger who becomes both the hero and love Jane Fonda’s life, while being very, very funny.

I adored him in The Vips as the Aussie living in the UK with a great company who is fighting hard to keep it.  I had no idea he was an Aussie but I thought he was adorable and his relationship with his secretary, best friend and future love is one of my favorite parts of the movie.  I thought that he and Maggie Smith were just the cutest couple, I mean even a miserable Richard Burton could see she was in love Rod Taylor.

In Hotel as the manager he gets to show all the different sides.  He really plays the rock of the place who cares for the owner and employees and is trying his best to protect them all.  The scenes with Robert Webber as the Corp. Raider just made me sad because is that what really happened to all the beautiful hotels.

I recently saw The Catered Affair and though he had a tiny part I just thought he was adorable as the overwhelmed fiancee of Debbie Reynolds.

I also saw him in his TV guest shots, My favorites were in Murder She Wrote when he was older.  He still had it even though he was obviously not the sexy leading man anymore he was a sweet and caring friend and lover.

In other words I love Rod Taylor and I will miss him.  RIP Rod Taylor.

 

 

There is more to an Icon (like Audrey Hepburn) then their look!

audrey hepburn

I had two different conversations about Audrey Hepburn with two young women recently.  Happily they knew who she was but sadly they didn’t even know she was an actress. They only knew that she was a beautiful Icon that was very famous.

They have seen the look a likes in commercials or the ads in magazines with old pictures of her.  But they have never seen one of her movies.

When  I told them that she was an amazing actress who won an Oscar and a Tony. I explained about how wonderful she was and what my favorite movies were.

Do you want to know the first question they asked me? Both of them, asked me the same question.

“Are they in black and white?  I don’t watch black and white movies.”

Does this break any other classic movie fans hearts? They have been able to make color movies since the 1930’s. It is a choice to make a black and white movie. They are not just classics they are a style.

On top of that to miss black and white movies of amazing actors like Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Spencer Tracy is more then a shame it is a disaster.

But the biggest disappointment was they had never seen one of Audrey’s movies.  Not one.

So I told them about two of my favorite Audrey Hepburn movies (in color of course) very different and special.

I hope the next time I see them they watched Charade and How To Steal A Million. But audrey in sabrinabecause they won’t watch black and white they will miss Sabrina. Sad, huh?

 

My review of the latest remake of The Great Gatsby

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I know you are not supposed to compare movie remakes and you really should not compare them to the book but I simply can’t help it.  You see I saw the Robert Redford and Mia Farrow version before I ever read the book. I was a kid and I saw it on TV. I fell in love with the romance of the period and beauty and sadness of the story. My favorite character was Jordan Baker (Played by Lois Chiles), she was a down to earth professional woman who was open about her life and sexuality. She was a true flapper but she was also a professional athlete and she lived by a moral code that most of the people in the show did not. In fact I felt that Nick, Jordan and of course Gatsby were the only likable people in the story.
Even though Daisy was beautiful, she was an empty and vain girl. She was also very selfish and terribly unfair to Gatsby and Nick. She was even unfair to Jordan who was supposed to be her best friend. And as much as she loved her baby she abandoned her all the time. The baby was raised by her nanny, her mother only saw her once a day. ( I know that was the way of the rich at the time but I still think it is a cruel practice.)

Still I felt very attracted to the era and the excitement. I had an affection for Nick and Jordan. I had a great sympathy for Gatsby so I had to read the book and found it was even better than the movie (of course). I fell in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald and read every book he had written. He wrote so beautifully. The next time I saw the movie I saw all the flaws and what was missing but I still loved it.

toby stevens the great gatsby

The next movie of The Great Gatsby was with Toby Stephens and Mira Sorvino, it was tv movie in 2000. I think of all the films still it is the one that truly honors F. Scott Fitzgerald.  It didn’t always stay close to the plot but it had a great rhythm wonderful actors and a perfect look for the twenties. It was a truly beautiful film.

Onto the latest movie. I liked all the actors in the movie so I came to it with an open heart. I had no real issue with modern music in the film and I thought sets and costumes amazing and beautiful.

I thought Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby  and Tobey Maguire as Nick  did a wonderful job. They were right on with their characters. What disappointed me was how the women seemed to find it necessary to pose all the time. I know that is how it seems in the silent movies but women haven’t changed since the ’20s, women are real people.  Posing in private moments in a home with family and friends seemed to pull me right out of the movie.  I do like Carey Mulligan a lot, I have seen her in many parts and she is always honest in her portrayals. The first time I saw her in Pride and Prejudice as well as the BBC version of Northanger Abbey.  She is a fine actress but in this film she seemed to be really stiff and all her natural acting ability seemed to be stifled.  And my favorite character; Jordan Baker was my biggest disappointment. She was stiff and not real at all. You just can’t see why Nick would be attracted to her.  It was truly sad to me. I don’t know if it was the actress’ idea to pose like that or the directors but it was not a good one.

I also don’t like how they used trick photography to illustrated the monologue that Nick had at Myrtle’s apartment in the city. Fitzgerald painted his words you did not need to graphically see everything in front of you to understand what is being clearly and beautifully said in the dialog. Sad.

The part that was truly orignal was Nick speaking to a therapist while drying out in a sanatorium. And it is this doctors idea that he should get it out of his system by writing it down. Even though it was not in the book I liked it. It really felt like the time, it was nice to give him a visual way of narrating it. That was a brilliant innovation on the part of the screenwriter.

Till Next Time…

Sex in Sex and The Single Girl

sex and the single girl

The book Sex and The Single Girl by Helen Gurley Brown is all about how to be a single girl and make it on a budget. Sort of a Sex and The City of its time. How to be a working girl, meet men, dress, wear make up  and that it is ok for a nice girl to have sex. That was the revolutionary part of the book.

I loved the movie Sex and The Single Girl because I love the cast, Natalie Wood, Tony Curtis, Henry Fonda, Mel Ferrer and Lauren Bacall. They are all wonderful actors and they are supported by some of the best characters actors of the time. It is a fun, silly movie. They talk about sex but it certainly is a movie of its time. If you want to watch it to be entertained by a comic romp with a bit of discussion if a good working girl has sex or not then this is the film for you.

If you want to watch the movie because you want an idea of what the book is about, then the movie will not help you at all. They do touch upon the several subjects in the book. How to make yourself beautiful and happy. How to buy things for yourself. Do you have sex with a married man(the answer in the movie is no of course.)?  If a girl should have sex and if a girl should get married because it is the thing to do? These interesting questions are glossed over but not really, they are really throw away lines.

There is also a really funny sight gag of Helen’s secretary reading her book and her own look changes as the movie goes on.  But really the movie is just sex romp, with a lot of misunderstandings and sight gags. And at the end there is a very funny chase at the end. (Watch out of for the great Larry Storch as a traffic cop at the end of the film.)

I was a teen in the 70’s and I loved this movie so when I found the book at a used book store with Natalie Wood’s picture on the cover on it I bought it. (Back in the day there was a lot used book stores and there was also stalls at flea markets full of books. I was able to find a lot of classic books that way and I miss them.) So I brought it home and I read it. I was a little shocked that Helen Gurley Brown was not psychologist as she was in the movie. She was a magazine writer/editor and publisher. This was her how to book for girls of that time and I found then as a 16-year-old that it was really outdated. Even the make up and clothing section of the book was very outdated. It was interesting but I was really disappointed, I also expected it to have a bit more wit then it did, it is a bit dry and her humor was not mine. Sadly, because I was not of the time it was just not for me.

I kept it of course because it has a beautiful picture of Natalie Wood on the cover. And I truly loved the movie. It is such fun. If you want a really fun sexy romp with beautiful clothes and beautiful people who are very talented and funny, then this the movie for you. If you want a serious of discussion of sex in the 60’s then this is not the movie for you. Simple as that 🙂

Till next time…