Thursday, December 22, 2005

Front Porch Lady turned Movie Reviewer

By L.A. Kohl
November 9, 2005
(published in the Dec. 7, 2005 edition of "The Bullseye")

With winter upon us, our family enjoys cozying up on a Friday night and watching a movie together at home. We appreciate it when someone we trust tells us “that’s a good movie,” so on those rare occasions when we visit a movie rental store, we have an idea of what to look for. Thus, I thought maybe you’d enjoy hearing about some of our family’s favorites.

Old musicals rank high on the list for us. When I was younger, I thought musicals were so weird…people standing around singing to each other? Get real! But as I grew older and gave them a second chance – I found them extremely entertaining. They’re now amongst my favorites.

Fiddler on the Roof became my all-time favorite long before we had a household of daughters ourselves. It’s easy to relate with Rev Tevya and his troubles with family and finances, and I find his open honesty with God about his life’s daily problems heart-warming.

We also really enjoy some of Howard Keel’s old musicals – Seven Brides for Seven Brothers taking first place. It makes for some great entertainment when seven singing and dancing, back-woods brothers decide it’s time to find themselves wives; even if they have to drive all the way to town and steal them! Following closely in second place is his movie with Doris Day, Calamity Jane. How fun to watch them fight and sing their way through the wild, wild, west!

As for new musicals? They are very few and far between, but even as I type, my four-year-old is trying her hardest to sing “Think of Me” from The Phantom of the Opera. I wouldn’t call it my favorite by a long shot…but the music is some of the loveliest I’ve ever heard (unless, perhaps, a four-year-old is singing her rendition!)

As for non-musicals…sorry to say it, but oldies are still my favorites. It’s just hard to beat Cary Grant in An Affair to Remember or Philadelphia Story, or Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any movie with Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart that I didn’t like. Oh, and if you want a good laugh – try an old Marx brothers movie. I’ve never seen one yet that didn’t have me laughing to the point of tears at some point within the movie.

Okay, okay – so maybe you want some movies that you can actually find in your movie rental store! If you’ve got a video player like ours that can block out foul language, then George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou? will give you a good laugh – it’s the crowning glory of all “hayseed” movies! Second Hand Lions is another newer one that we really like – but again, having that TV guardian set up to block out the bad language is a necessity for us.

My older girl’s would disown me if I failed to mention Pirates of the Caribbean, or the Lord of the Rings or Star Wars movies…take your pick, they like them all. Along the adventure line…Nate really likes Master and Commander. But, like most adventure movies produced within the past 20 years, it has a fair amount of blood and gore type stuff. National Treasure is a really great adventure movie that’s amazingly free of blood and gore, foul language, and “adult” situations.

I personally love the movie renditions of Jane Austen’s books, especially Sense and Sensibility and AandE’s very long Pride and Prejudice series. Oh, and don’t forget Little Women, or the Anne of Green Gables movies. I guess it’s the time period that they all depict, but I find the family devotion, simple hardships and light-hearted fun in all of them very endearing.

I could keep going, but that ought to give you a good start. Go light the fireplace, grab a blanket and some popcorn, and take some time to relax with your family during the hectic holiday season.

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