Category Archives: movies

My Friend’s Documentary on Childhood Assault by Catholic Clergy

My dear friend’s documentary, Procession, is something I keep putting off watching, despite its many accolades and awards. It was listed listed in the top 50 films on Netflix by the NY Times, alongside Rocky, Reservoir Dogs, The Sting, Brokeback Mountain, you name it.

For decades I’ve been a fan of the documentary genre, with its raw subject matter — and typically gross injustice that enrages viewers, hopefully spurring us to action — yet it is another thing entirely when you know someone in it, I suppose. I felt bad enough about Flipper’s kin in The Cove and I’ve never even gone to Sea World.

This one sounds different in a few ways. But I hate spoilers and being spoiled. I’m just going to have to watch it. Maybe you can encourage me.

Erin Go Braless Revisited

I don’t think I can improve upon this old St. Patty’s Day post. It pretty much says it all.

But if you follow me on Twitter (@uvgvt), I’ll retweet the cement mixer parade in Burlington. It’s what we dew.

Erin Go Braless

This holiday reminds me of Darby O’Gill and the Little People, a terrifying movie to show to children, which is exactly what the Rome Theater did in about 1972. I don’t know which was scarier, the Grim Reaper’s death wagon or a young Sean Connery singing.

Wikipedia describes St. Patrick’s day as “a cultural and religious holiday.” Not sure if anyone’s waxing religious about it. Here in Vermont we’re waxing our skis while elsewhere the shillelaghs are shurely being shellacked. This day’s commonly excessive boozing is foul, but with Irish heritage a whiskey or beer is in order if you can handle it. It’s much easier to see leprechauns after a green beezer or two. The key is not to have too many or you see a banshee instead. It seems modern banshees are on the busty side, and wicked braless.

How they filmed Darby’s little people is described here. You could probably do it at home. If you have giant furniture and a young Sean Connery in your barn.

Local Treasures

carpet of leavesOur sunny foliage season was a hit; now for the private after-show for locals. As an artist friend noted with her specialized eyeballs, late foliage affords us remnants of red and gold with the twiggy lines of trees now bald mixed in. As another put it, the leaves on the ground provide a colorfully crunchy carpet before “November’s…dirt.”

Last week’s full moon (the hunter’s moon, traveling moon, or death moon, depending upon your tribe) offered us pagans good lighting for rituals wherein we place into a (lit. or fig.) caldron our wishes for our people and this krazy planet. I put into mine: clarity, love, creativity, strength.  You?

With short days, TV and radio and film become alluring alternatives to outdoor sports. If you podcast, Billy Crystal and Graham Nash crushed on Fresh Air on 10.17, as did the rerun of an April 20th Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me’s “best of” celebrity callers episode (Melinda Gates! Jeff Bridges! A surprisingly hilarious Tony Danza! The Fonz!). Colbert’s on-air wedding for a couple gypped out of their nuptials at a (closed) national monument along with Jon Stewart’s Shutstorm 2013 made the government shut-down almost worthwhile. Randolph’s revamped Playhouse Theater, a local treasure (the oldest cinema in the state), is now rocking Gravity with national treasures Bullock and Clooney.

There’s still time to squeak in a few holes at the Woodstock Inn or Montague Golf Club…fore! While the Bethel Ethels have hung up their rackets for the season, playing tennis on Bethel’s crevice-marred town courts adds an element of chance to a gentlewoman’s game for those with a taste for danger. Terrible players like me can WIN via unforeseen benevolent bounces.

Our weirdly warm foliage aside, two weather phenoms remain certain: (1) it will always be so hot on July 4th that overdressed marching band members faint—or as the boys put it, “pass out”—and (2) it will always be so cold on Halloween you cannot see the kids’ costumes. “Welcome, er, Tundra Fairy! Is that a wing poking out of your…fairy parka?”; “I see you are an Arctic Vampire, young man. Do you take your blood neat, or with iceberg cubes?” I myself hand out Snickers and warm hardboiled eggs, unsure of the effect of chemical handwarmers upon Earth’s mighty landfills.

It’s time to trade in our garden tools for musical instruments and knitting needles. Which for some reason you can take on a plane, but not a nail clipper (pretty sure I could do more damage with a saxophone). Kimball Public Library’s knitting group provides community in Randolph as do the Knitters (Knutters!) of the Round Table at the Whippletree in Woodstock. Get some laffs while banging out colorific holiday gifts.

It’s also time to eat. Which can be counteracted by memberships at VTC, killer MOVE Fitness, or at the Woodstock Inn. For fall dining, personal faves include the Harrington House, Barnard Inn, Big Fatty’s BBQ, Cockadoodle Pizza Café, and Five Olde. My gastronomic goal is both Worthy restaurants some time soon—wanna take me on a date? Ahahaha, that’s so funny. Dating: not a local treasure of the Upper Valley.

For beer I dig Burlington’s unfiltered ale, Switchback; for cocktails a nice Bloody Caesar (Bloody Mary with clam juice) using local Silo Vodka or Vermont Gold, a maple vodka. Crockpotting demands top vegetables from your farmers’ market or the Chef’s Market. And don’t put away the grill—the only time that’s no good is when it’s 20 below. Then the meat freezes on top while the bottom cooks, sort of. Don’t ask me how I know that. For dentistry: wicked old-school kindly Dr. McDonald in Woodstock. For knockout eyeglasses: Eyes on Elm; no competition for 150 miles. Pies? On the Edge Farm on Route 12. Dana wizards the fruits of the Land from apple to sour cherry.

Your monthly Useful Information is this: glucosamine makes you gassy. Your Good News for women is: there is a product for after shaving and waxing called finipil that feels like a York Peppermint Pattie; for men, the beauty industry is catering to aging male boomers with “special formulations” “just for men” (what’s in there?). Next up in the beauty aisle: eyebrow hair relaxant, for old Scottish weird curlicue eyebrow hair growers like me. I hope. Good day.

Oscar Oscar Oscar!

kristen-stewart-crutchesLast night’s Oscars amazed, delighted, and appalled–from riveting flop sweat moments to charming winners and iffy dresses to the incredibly odd closing number. The vampire actress seemed a limping pill-popper and sullen presenter but I for one liked that, having wearied of clean living by high achievers. I was hoping she’d been in a cat fight or lover’s brawl but she reportedly stepped on glass. Let’s hope it was at least in a fraternity basement.

Gone forever are the awful thematic dance numbers by pro dancers–replaced with the weak dancing of the stars redeemed by the nutty hosting of Seth McFarlane & kicka** belting by divas. With the usual display of comical reaction shots, shifting bodices, and weepy spouses, we laughed, we cried, we aged. Thank you, Oscar.

UVG recommends: Argo, Pi, and The Impossible. All 3 big screeners for different reasons.

Jack Frost Nipping at Your…

frost largerRegardless of what part he’s nipping, nibbling, or gnawing at, we’ve had just about enough of it. Enter cabin fever.

Disclaimer: The above link will not take you to a Wikipedia discourse on the history of cabin fever, a term first recorded in 1918, but to the IMDb coverage of a 2002 movie by this name about five 20-somethings in a cabin in the woods who “fall victim to a horrifying flesh-eating virus, which attracts the unwanted attention of the homicidal locals.”

Given a choice, I’d go virus. But I just don’t think I’m going to see this fine work, much as I like the poster.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Wonderful lifeI caught this movie one night in high school on Channel 11 (WPIX–“eleven alive”). At our lockers the next day, Pat Sue said, “I saw the best movie last night.” We felt party to a secret gem. There was even a gender-switched version with Marlo Thomas, and Cloris Leachman (Phyllis!) as the angel. Years later, the original was everywhere on TV, so it was easy to find even before VHS tapes were rentable.

I’ve seen it every year since, and bawl every time. Having lived in LA, I consider work in the Industry overblown as compared to, say, a career in teaching or medicine. But this baby did the world a great service because it makes everyone consider the inestimable value his or her own “small” life.

Mother’s Day 2012

My favorite line in Mother is when Debbie Reynolds says, “I’m not gonna fall for that.” She’s talking about Baskin Robbins ice cream; she thinks “New Taste” ice cream is perfectly adequate. I know too few people who’ve seen this gem…here’s where vegetarian Albert Brooks moves home for The Experiment, and his mother goes about getting him something to eat. Won the New York Film Critics Circle Award and the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay–rent it.

And here’s a comically awful 1980s tribute to mothers, courtesy of Mr. T.

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