Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reflections on the Holiday Weekend...Movies, Dogs, and Snow



In our home, films are among our favorite gifts to exchange.  Are you surprised?  To our DVD collection we have added a couple of bona fide classics, as well as some newer titles destined to become the classics of the future.  I smile when I look at the list, because it is so indicative of our tastes and personality...they also provide a nice, personal look back at our year:

"The Kids are All Right"--one of our top favorites this summer
"8 1/2"--will make a great double feature with:
"Nine"--a film I defend like a daughter, slightly flawed and beautiful
"Michael Clayton"--A good story..and Tilda Swinton (so hot in "I Am Love")
"The Apartment" -- Better every time... I will write about this one soon
"The Sound of Music"-- like a favorite easy chair from childhood....
"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Fun and games with George and Martha in a drama whose impact has not lessened in 44 years.

We also took a chance on a recent HBO film I had not heard about: "A Dog Year", based on New York Times writer Jon Katz' memoir about an abused and rambunctious Border Collie he saved, took in and trained.  In the process, he brings order to his life and personal relationships. Jeff Bridges plays Katz, and apparently earned an Emmy nomination last year.  A sweet little film that appeals to me in a personal way.

The next four weeks will find me in various locations caring for dogs I know and love well.  Early followers of this blog will certainly remember Shayna, a smart and affectionate Border Collie....and also the two dogs owned by the president of our college.... It's a long time to be away from home, but the dogs need company, and we will make it work all around....

Except for the noise, the time I spent pushing a snow blower in the last few days provided some quiet time for reflection, and strenuous, exhilarating exercise too.  Chicago got a large snowfall, but it was light and easy to remove.  The powder-blue-and-pink sky at sunrise gave way to a deep blue with brilliant white clouds and golden sun.  If not for the chill, and the cold white powder, it looked like a summer morning.  Mark and I greeted the day with shovels and machine, and managed to clear three driveways...before the plows came by and cleared the streets.  I don't really like snow at all, to be honest.  But today, it was actually beautiful.

I let my voluminous reading schedule lapse in 2010.  What with the condo sale, the move, the activities at the College, lots of writing, Italian studies, and a little travel, I set aside my books and let my mind re-charge.  2011 will see a return to regular reading, and more book reviews, in addition to the film writing I love so much.  First up: the two books that won the American Book Awards this year: "Lord of Misrule" (fiction) and "Just Kids" (non-fiction)

We saw "The King's Speech" today.... My review is coming up.  Mini-Review: Brilliantly performed, well-written, emotionally satisfying... Yes, by all means, Go!


  1. Yay, YAY YAY for The King's Speech. I have no idea when I'll see it, but I know I'll have to see it before I make any move to start my year-end awards' tabulation.

    And that's a good collection you, got: the family and I watched that Christmas Day. They so loved Annette, but they liked it all really (one of my sisters especially loved Mark).

  2. Andrew, "Kids" improved on second viewing...and I loved it the first time. It's really a very intimate film. Annette gave a career-topping performance.

    Did you and your family share any other films this season?

  3. We watched Mother & Child the acting got raves, though one of my sister's thought the random bits of humour were odd in a weird way.

    Watched a screener The Social Network - my sister's loved it (as did I), my best friend not so much.