Don’t Be So Mean, Grinch!

“Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot,
But the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, did not.
The Grinch hated Christmas — the whole Christmas season.
Oh, please don’t ask why no one quite knows the reason.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.”

 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

 

Theodor Seuss Geisel aka Dr. Seuss is one of the most significant authors in American literature. His classic book, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” has been a lifelong favorite. Known as a children’s author, Dr. Seuss’ cadence and rhyming style (anapestic tetrameter) are both renown and his signature. I believe his gift lies in his ability to convey his philosophy of life in a playful, endearing way. Most of us grew up reading Dr. Seuss and escaping into the wonderful worlds he shared. His other bestselling books bring back precious memories: Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, The Lorax, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and Horton Hears a Who!


How the Grinch Dr. Seuss

 

On December 18, 1966 “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” premiered as a television special and has continued to entertain and touch my life and the lives of countless children both young and old. It relates the tale of the Christmas plot of the mean ole Mr. Grinch to steal the joy of celebration from the residents of Whoville; it’s Seuss’ spiritual lesson for the true meaning of Christmas.

 

How_the_grinch_stole_christmas_1966_print_ad_premiere

Print ad of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 1966

Narrated by the legendary Boris Karloff – also the voice of The Grinch – we are introduced to the world of Whoville and that nasty wasty Grinch.

 

How the Grinch Boris

Boris Karloff and The Grinch

You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch.
You’re a nasty, wasty skunk.
Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk.
Mr. Grinch!
[spoken] The three words that best describe you are as follows and I quote:
[sung] “Stink! Stank! Stunk!”

 

In this version of the story, we don’t really know why The Grinch hates Christmas and the residents of Whoville. Just that his heart is 2 sizes too small. However in the Jim Carrey movie version of Dr. Seuss “How the Grinch Stole Christmas, “we see the flashback of The Grinch as a child and how because he looks different: green and hairy as an eight-year-old he is taunted and teased by his classmates.

For his crush, he makes a Christmas present and tries to shave his face but ends up with toilet paper stuck all over. Everyone laughs at him – including his crush – so he storms out the room climbing up to his mountain exile. Not seen for years, he becomes an urban legend. Flashing forward to The Grinch and his now adult classmates it isn’t hard to understand why Whoville isn’t his favorite town and therefore the Whos love of Christmas has become a thorn in his side.

 

How_the_Grinch_Stole_Christmas_film_poster

So, The Grinch gets this inspired idea after seeing his dog Max get snow on his face that sort of looks like a beard. The plan becomes to dress up as Santa, sneak into Whoville and rip off all the houses of presents, toys and even a piece of cheese from a mouse. So low down. Hence “stink, stank, stunk!”

 

How the Grinch Santa outfit

Poor Max wasn’t really down with the plan but was forced to play his part as a reindeer.

 

Enter my favorite resident of Whoville, Cindy Lou Who. I’ve loved her all my life. Her innocence and open heart is a testament to – as John Lennon once wrote: “All you need is love.”

 

Ah, but not even the innocence of Cindy Lou could discourage The Grinch from following thru with his wicked plan.

 

How the Grinch stealing presents

However, The Grinch would come to realize that Whoville is no ordinary town. Even without presents, toys or roast beast, Christmas would still come.

 

How the Grinch Who singing

 

 

 

 

This timeless message of appreciating what you have in friends and family is a gift often lost in this world of envy and greed. Matthew 16:26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Let’s remember the true meaning of Christmas not only during the holidays but every day of the year.

 

Merry Christmas!

Advertisements

A Charlie Brown Christmas: Hark the Herald Angels Sing😇 🌲

charlie brown christmas

Premiered December 9, 1965

A Charlie Brown Christmas will always have a special place in my heart for its honesty, faith, humor, and appreciation of a child’s intelligence. I’ve watched every year since its premiere in 1965. I fell in love with Charlie and the Peanuts gang, relating to the familial relationships we all had as children.

 

charlie brown

Charlie’s sad little Christmas Tree

Charlie Brown is the quintessential “nice guy.” Sweet, awkward and sincere. All the traits that guarantee a life of hell for an 8-year-old boy on the playground. In this musical special, Charlie is depressed about the commercialism of Christmas and seeks ways to enjoy the true meaning of the season; the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Charlie confides his feelings to his best friend Linus who’s also sweet, but also philosophical.

 

 

After Linus tells him to stop being so ” Charlie Brownie,” Chuck seeks the advice of his nemesis Lucy (aka Dr. Lucy). We’ve all had a Lucy in our lives. The kid who takes tremendous pleasure in the humiliation and torture of the sweet, awkward and sincere kid on the block. You know – Charlie Brown.

 

 

Charlie takes Lucy’s advice to become involved in a Christmas project and becomes the play’s director. However, his vision is the complete opposite of Lucy’s vision of becoming the Christmas Queen. (hey, don’t judge; what’s your fantasy?)  The result, my favorite scene:

 

 

OMG!! The dance scene is hilarious. Everybody who’s ever seen this has their favorite dancer. I see myself as one of the twin girls with their head and individual hair strands swinging side to side. They look so happy and diggin’ the groove. I love it! My other fave is the little boy doing what I call the Frankenstein. His arms are out in front of him and he’s doing some sort of “running man” dance move. Go ahead baby, get your dance on!

charlie brown christmas dance

For Charlie, the play’s a disaster. His decision for a Christmas tree being even worse; failing to bring any of the holiday spirit to Charlie Brown.

But ever faithful, his best friend Linus tells him what Christmas is all about and gives the most memorable soliloquy of my young life. (the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, verses 8 through 14 from the Authorized King James Version)

I was raised in the church and heard this passage before but never in the context of a cartoon or animation. Quoting the bible in this realm was a bold move but is one of the reasons why I have such respect for the creator, Charles Schultz, and this project.

It reminds me, to this day, don’t forget the reason we celebrate Christmas; it’s the birth of Christ.

 

 

Even though Charlie’s day started with doom, gloom, and humiliation (including his dog Snoopy laughing in his face); in the end, he finds joy and empathy from his friends.

Let the choir sing:

“Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

 

 

I raised my children on this timeless classic and they continue the tradition. A Charlie Brown Christmas touches my heart in so many ways. The innocence of childhood, the unbridled excess of commercialism on what is a holy holiday. But also the friendships, experiences, and faith that shapes our lives forever.

 

 A Christmas Miracle – The Making of a Charlie Brown Christmas

“God bless us, everyone.” Quotable Closing Lines

Image result for movies

I can appreciate there are those who don’t like Top 10 lists but I tend to enjoy them because of getting to find out the favorites of fellow film lovers. Also, reminiscing about my best-loved movies that perhaps I haven’t thought about for a while.

 

 

Closing lines can serve as punctuation, the cherry on top. They can also, wrap up the film. One-liners that recall the movie all over again. Often times these are the quotes we remember most and become representative of the movie’s theme.

There are way too many movies to choose from so these are just a sampling that made this particular list. I love the Top 2 but as I was watching so many other films came to mind.

Please, let me know in the comments some of your best quotes. I’m looking forward to reading them.

∴∴∴∴∴∴

Spoiler Alert: I make it a point to never reveal a film’s ending because it’s a matter of courtesy. Don’t spoil the movie!

 

Although not closing, a few choice quotes:

Charlie Chaplin – The Great Dictator (1940)

Peter Lorre – Maltese Falcon (1941)

 

Colin Clive -Frankenstein (1931)

 

Wallace Shawn – Princess Bride (1987)

 

Paul Reubens- Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

 

Clevon Little – Blazing Saddles (1974)

How Understanding Film History Impacts Your Film Appreciation

film history

Hollywood’s Golden Age

 

While watching Marlene Dietrich’s sultry performance of “The Laziest Gal in Town” in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1950 thriller,”Stage Fright”, I asked my husband if the song and performance seemed familiar. Because I’ve raised him right (on film history that is😎), he remarked, “of course, Madeline Kahn’s performance of “I’m Tired” in the Mel Brooks satirical Western comedy classic, “Blazing Saddles” (1974).

Marlene Dietrich “Laziest Gal in Town”

Madeline Khan

Madeline Kahn “I’m So Tired”

I loved hearing his response because it’s the main reason I pen this post; for the history and appreciation of films. Understanding a writer or director’s references to past movies in theirs adds to the richness of the production. It helps young people comprehend that few things in life are original and imitation can be the sincerest form of flattery.

 

film-history-the-history-of-cinema-

History of Film

 

Sometimes the homage in a movie isn’t to a particular scene in a film but the music. I love Minions period but I especially enjoyed the “Minions” movie’s 1960’s soundtrack that made the perfect nod to James Bond type villains (“Minions” Scarlet Overkill) and the time period of the setting.

 

Related image

 

As a child of the ’60’s I remember turning to my husband in the theater saying, 99% of the people in here weren’t even born yet and I wonder if any of them appreciate the inclusion of the classic songs of this era.

 

The song is “Hair” from the iconic 1968 counter-culture and controversial stage and film production “Hair”

 

 

Hair poster.jpg

 

I’ve spent my lifetime watching and loving the cinema and have educated my children with a more sophisticated palette for black and white films and how they just don’t make them like that anymore.😊

Hundreds of full-length films were produced during the decade of the 1940s; during Hollywood’s Golden Age. The great actor Humphrey Bogart made his most memorable films in this decade. Frank Capra’s masterpiece It’s a Wonderful Life and Orson Welles’s cinema genius production of Citizen Kane were released. The film noir genre was at its height. Alfred Hitchcock made his American debut with the film Rebecca and made many classics throughout the 1940s. (Wikipedia)

 

1940's/ 1950's Movie Stars

(Top) Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando (Middle) Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly (Bottom) Humphrey Bogart, Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable

Movie Stars of the 1940’s & 1950’s

 

Of course, I want you to visit my website as a source of reference material, but if you want to see these full-length gems for free, I recommend tuning into the Turner Classic Movies channel. They show everything from the great silent films, Chaplin, Buster Keaton, etc. through Hollywood’s “Golden Age”.

 

turner classic movies

 

These classic films bring me great joy and I hope you’ll find a special place in your heart for them, too!

 

Related image

 

 

🎶 Sing!🎶

“All creatures great and small, Welcome.”  Buster Moon

I just finished watching the outstanding Illumination Entertainment hit “Sing” (2016) for the 3rd time and cried again for the 3rd time. I always seek to understand my emotions and the source of my feelings, with “Sing” it was all about the exhilaration of doing what you love and the boundless joy that comes with honoring your spirit.

Image result for sing movie nana

I shed tears of joy during and after the movie for having the opportunity to share my passion for singing and performing, honoring my spirit. I shed tears of joy for Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) who despite the 25 or if you count her husband Norman, 26 obstacles before her that she would not let deter her, coming up with the most creative plan to make sure she could take her shot.

And then, tears of joy for both Ash (Scarlet Johannson who was incredible!) and Johnny (Taron Egerton-fabulous voice!) for refusing to give up on their dreams despite dealing with disappointment and heartbreak.

 

Sing is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated musical comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment. It was directed and written by Garth Jennings and co-directed by Christophe Lourdelet, and stars the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Tori Kelly. The plot involves a group of animals that enter a singing competition, hosted by a koala hoping to save his theater. (Wikipedia)

 

Image result for sing movie ms crawl

Related image

I absolutely love Gunter and his infectious exuberance and living out loud attitude on life.  Some may see him as self-absorbed but he was compassionate enough to want to help Rosita fulfill her dreams and showcase her true talents.

Gunter

Talk about self-absorbed, Mike (Seth MacFarlane) is his own biggest fan! Even though most of the time you want to choke him, his smooth, docile toned voice wraps you up in his effortless performance which you have to give him credit for.

Image result for sing movie eddie

Mike

At one point in the film, the performers are waiting to go on stage and theater owner and entrepreneur Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) gives them a pep talk telling them it’s a small audience but that’s okay, go out there and perform for yourself. His words so reminded me of my days on the stage and directors imparting the same edict. Have fun, share your passion, and be present in the moment!

Related image

My favorite performer is Meena, that’s why I saved her for last. She touches my heart the most and moves me with the powerfulness of her voice. In the final scene, she literally brings down the house.

sing movie cast

Tori Kelly as Meena

First of all, Tori Kelly’s voice is out of this world!! Her final number showcases the power of joy; how it feels to release and give your all and see how that is received. Secondly, witnessing the sheer magic of Meena truly being in the moment and finally coming into her own.

 

 

I didn’t include that lovable Koala, Buster Moon with the performers although he too realized his dream of being successful; like his motto says, “When you reach rock bottom there’s no place to go but up.” Buster was finally able to pay respect to his dad and their mutual love of the Moon Theater.

Even Miss Crawly and Buster’s best friend Eddie got to be a part of the rebirth of the Moon Theater. And, of course, I can’t leave out Nana who is a serious diva and former star of the Moon Theater. In their totality, Rosita, Ash, Johnny, Mike, Gunter, and Meena all moved her heart and brought back warm memories of her glory days.

 

One of the more impressive features of this film is that the cast did all their own singing. I’m of the mind that if an actor can’t both sing and act, don’t hire them for a musical role. I own the soundtrack which is both upbeat and heart-pumping.

The movie includes more than 60 songs from various artists and also has an original song by Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande called “Faith“, which was nominated for a Golden Globe. I can’t get it out of my head and danced my way out the theater!

 

Image result for sing movie cast

I’m a big fan of Illumination Entertainment best known for the Despicable Me franchise and the films The Secret Life of Pets and Sing. The Minions, characters from the Despicable Me films, are the studio’s official mascots and my favorite buddies.

 

 

The studio’s highest-grossing films are Minions (2015), which has grossed $1.159 billion worldwide; Despicable Me 2 (2013), which has grossed $970.8 million worldwide; and The Secret Life of Pets (2016), which grossed $875.5 million worldwide. (Wikipedia)

 

Illumination knocked it out of the park with this production. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, animated films these days have come a long way since Bambi and aren’t just for kids. The plots, characterizations, and execution are outstanding!

 

Image result for sing movie cast

Hopefuls seeking their place in the limelight.

 

Voice Cast

  • Matthew McConaughey as Buster Moon, an optimistic koala who plans to save his theater from closure by holding a singing competition.

  • Reese Witherspoon as Rosita, a pig who gave up her teenage music dreams to become a devoted wife to Norman, and mother to their 25 piglets.

  • Seth MacFarlane as Mike, a white mouse “with a big Frank Sinatra-esque voice and an arrogant attitude.”

  • Scarlett Johansson as Ash, a teenage porcupine and punk rocker who takes part in an alternative-rock music duo with her boyfriend Lance.

  • John C. Reilly as Eddie, a sheep and Buster’s friend who doubts the future of the theater.

  • Tori Kelly as Meena, a teenage elephant with an exquisite voice and severe stage fright.

  • Taron Egerton as Johnny, a teenage gorilla who wants to sing, though his father wants him to follow his criminal footsteps.

  • Jennifer Saunders as Nana Noodleman, a sheep and Eddie’s grandmother who was a singer in her glory days.

  • Jennifer Hudson as Young Nana

  • Garth Jennings as Miss Crawly, an elderly iguana with a glass eye who is Buster’s administrative assistant.

  • Nick Kroll as Gunter, a dancing pig partner to Rosita.

 

Image result for sing animated movie poster

All in all, my two very enthusiastic thumbs up!

How Understanding Film History Impacts Your Film Appreciation

film history

Hollywood’s Golden Age

 

While watching Marlene Dietrich’s sultry performance of “The Laziest Gal in Town” in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1950 thriller,”Stage Fright”, I asked my husband if the song and performance seemed familiar. Because I’ve raised him right (on film history that is😎), he remarked, “of course, Madeline Kahn’s performance of “I’m Tired” in the Mel Brooks satirical Western comedy classic, “Blazing Saddles” (1974).

Marlene Dietrich “Laziest Gal in Town”

Madeline Khan

Madeline Kahn “I’m So Tired”

 

I loved hearing his response because it’s the main reason I pen this post; for the history and appreciation of films. Understanding a writer or director’s references to past movies in theirs adds to the richness of the production. It helps young people comprehend that few things in life are original and imitation can be the sincerest form of flattery.

 

film-history-the-history-of-cinema-

History of Film

 

Sometimes the homage in a movie isn’t to a particular scene in a film but the music. I love Minions period but I especially enjoyed the “Minions” movie’s 1960’s soundtrack that made the perfect nod to James Bond type villains (“Minions”Scarlet Overkill) and the time period of the setting.

 

Related image

 

As a child of the ’60’s I remember turning to my husband in the theater saying, 99% of the people in here weren’t even born yet and I wonder if any of them appreciate the inclusion of the classic songs of this era.

 

The song is “Hair” from the iconic 1968 counter-culture and controversial stage and film production “Hair”

 

 

Hair poster.jpg

 

I’ve spent my lifetime watching and loving the cinema and have educated my children with a more sophisticated palette for black and white films and how they just don’t make them like that anymore.😊

Hundreds of full-length films were produced during the decade of the 1940s; during Hollywood’s Golden Age. The great actor Humphrey Bogart made his most memorable films in this decade. Frank Capra’s masterpiece It’s a Wonderful Life and Orson Welles’s cinema genius production of Citizen Kane were released. The film noir genre was at its height. Alfred Hitchcock made his American debut with the film Rebecca and made many classics throughout the 1940s. (Wikipedia)

 

1940's/ 1950's Movie Stars

(Top) Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando (Middle) Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly (Bottom) Humphrey Bogart, Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable

Movie Stars of the 1940’s & 1950’s

 

Of course, I want you to visit my website as a source of reference material, but if you want to see these full-length gems for free, I recommend tuning into the Turner Classic Movies channel. They show everything from the great silent films, Chaplin, Buster Keaton, etc. through Hollywood’s “Golden Age”.

 

turner classic movies

 

These classic films bring me great joy and I hope you’ll find a special place in your heart for them, too!

 

Related image

 

 

Minions – My Kind of People!🤗

minionsandme

Minions and Me!

In essence, I’m just a big kid at heart. Just ask my alter ego Agnes from the Despicable Me films and my About page. I love her spirit and have long believed that honoring your “inner child” helps keep life fresh and can lend a “think outside the box” perspective in this messed up world in which we live.

Image result for minions agnes

Agnes

I’ve been feeling extremely beat up lately dealing with the mess of politics and the overwhelming force of negativity surrounding this election so I decided to call on my “inner child” and connect with my Despicable Me buddies – the Minions! I can always count on them as a source of laughter and encouragement to stay positive in an often times troubling world.

 (Told you I’m just a big kid at heart:)

ENJOY!

Shout out to my girl Agnes!