Scary Films Are Hard to Watch

Movies can overwhelm me, and a scary movie will make me so uncomfortable that I cannot look. I have been watching the mini-series 11.22.63 based on a novel by Stephen King….yes, that Stephen King, master of the macabre.Screenshot 2016-03-25 21.26.02

I have read the book, so I know what is going to happen. Even with this “more-historical-than-horror” film series, I have (more than once) had to cover my eyes, or squeeze my eyes closed and hold my ears.

I am aware that there are elements in cinema that cause my brain to signal my heart to race or my hands to sweat. The psychologist Birgit Wolz, author of E-motion Picture Magic states,

“Because many films transmit ideas through emotion rather than intellect, they can neutralize the instinct to suppress feelings and trigger emotional release. By eliciting emotions, watching movies can open doors that otherwise might stay closed.”

I have interpreted this quote to mean that I should keep the door open so I can run out when the film gets too frightening!


Tune to Hum While Waiting for Iowa to Decide

We had a Victrola at my home when I was a child, and we used it to play recordings of stage musicals… over and over…so that every note or lyric from these recordings has been safely stored in long term memory.

In this political season, when my neural transmitters hear people talking about the Iowa caucuses, they  seek out and locate the section devoted to Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man to hear the song “Iowa Stubborn”.  One set of lines stands out as particularly appropriate:

There’s an Iowa kind of special
Chip-on-the-shoulder attitude.
We’ve never been without.”

The distinction about Iowa gives the listener a little insight about this part of the country that has such a big voice in the Nation’s politics. You can listen/watch to the sublime Robert Preston perform in the 1962 film version below:

So, what the heck? You’re welcome!


Snowed into “Straight Outta Compton”

Saturday was a snow day movie marathon day….and a day for changing point of view.
Screenshot 2016-01-25 22.07.18I had one opinion of the  hip-hop, rap music
, or gangster rap, culture before the film, and a very different opinion after I watched the movie Straight Outta Compton.  

The review from NYTimes critic 

there is far more to the N.W.A. story — and how its rise signified for a people, the popular culture and the country at a particular Reagan-era flash point — than good times, bad times and throwing expletives at the law, as it did in a notorious song.

The film focuses on Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins),  Ice Cube (played his son O’Shea Jackson Jr.) and Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell).  Director F. Gary Gray‘s chronicle of their success is both a confirmation of the America Dream and a scathing indictment of the societal forces that keep people from that kind of success.

The film shows how their particular form of art -a potent mix of bravado, truth, and courage- matured and established them.

Be forewarned that the language is pretty raw…there are even stats!

Film Year Fuck count Minutes Uses/minute
Straight Outta Compton 2015 392 167 2.35
Worth watching, even if you do not have a snow day.

Alan Rickman

For the second time his week, I am posting a tribute to a favorite cultural icon who has passed away. This time, I am posting about Alan Rickman.Screenshot 2016-01-15 22.08.39

It was his portrayal of Colonel Brandon in Ang Lee’s retelling of Sense and Sensibility that won my heart.  I mad-crushed on him watching him carry the rain drenched Marianne Dashwood into the home and then fall on his knees in exhaustion.

According to the screenplay, Colonel Brandon paces  beside the door while Marianne lay in the throes of a fever. It was how he spoke his lines in an exchange with the character Elinor Dashwood (Emma Thompson) that made me melt.Desperate in love, unrequited, frustrated….he begs:

“Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood,  or I shall run mad.”

The stage directions in this screenplay reads.

He is dangerously quiet.

That cue can describe his other roles as well

Dangerous as Hans Gruber.(Die Hard)

Dangerous as Tybalt (BBC Romeo & Juliet)

Dangerously quiet as Snape. (Harry Potter)

Now, quiet.


October’s Horror-ible TV Offerings

October is the cruelest month….if you hate horror movies.

Halloween offerings that I will never watch!

My thoughts? 101 Movies I would rather die then see!!

Programmers schedule scary movies in anticipation of the Halloween holiday beginning with the tamer versions for children such as  Hocus Pocusreplete with comedic witches. The level of horror ramps up with movies that feature vengeful ghosts such as those in Poltergeist or Sleepy Hollow, but horror achieves a kind of crescendo with the films featuring lunatics such as those in a House of 1000 Corpses  directed by the appropriately named Rob Zombie.

I hate horror movies. The TV schedule for the entire month of October is littered with film titles I try to avoid. Flipping through the channels is hazardous as I am not a fan of gore; I cringe at the possibility of catching a glimpse of the grotesque. I cannot sit still watching when I know the maniac is really behind the closed door or that someone really is upstairs listening on the other end of the phone. “Get out of the house!” I scream at the TV.

These next few weeks of Halloween offerings mean that I probably will be binge watching last season’s House of Cards. Apparently, political dirty tricks create the kind of horror film I actually enjoy watching.