Monday, June 30, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Note: kneesey-earsey-nosey is not as easy as it looks.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
2. High Noon: well-crafted, well-acted movie. Continually entertaining.
3. Shane: my personal favourite.
4. Unforgiven: perhaps worthy, but I would consider bumping for "My Darling Clementine" or "The Ox Bow Incident".
5. Red River: gets better with age (or is that me?). Good choice.
6. The Wild Bunch: I would bump for the superior Peckinpah, "Ride the High Country".
7. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: puhleeze! Even Strother Martin can't make up for "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head". Replace with "Will Penny".
8. McCabe and Mrs. Miller: pales next to William Wyler's "The Big Country".
9. Stagecoach: excellent. Would place higher.
10. Cat Ballou: not even the best comedy-western (which would be "Support Your Local Sheriff", which wasn't on the short list). Begone in favour of Boetticher's "The Tall T".
Lookee here, folks. The opening is better than half the movies up there:
I know. I know. Let it go, caftanwoman. Let it go.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Tonight CBS presents another of the AFI "movie list" specials. I adore these programs. The movie buff in me delights in the copious movie clips and in approving and disapproving of the selections on the various lists. I have been known to shout at the television just like my husband shouts at the referees when he watches "Hockey Night in Canada". Well, not just like him - I'm poor on the profanity bit.
Tonight's program is a top 10 list in various genres. I love all kinds of movies, but my heart is with the western and this western fan is uneasy about the countdown. Take a look at the short list of 50 from which the panel chose the top 10 and you will see what I mean: Bend of the River, The Big Country, Blazing Saddles, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cat Ballou, Cheyenne Autumn, Dances With Wolves, Destry Rides Again, Duel in the Sun, Fort Apache, Giant, The Gunfighter, High Noon, High Plains Drifter, How the West Was Won, The Iron Horse, Jeremiah Johnson, Johnny Guitar, The Last Picture Show, Little Big Man, Lonely Are the Brave, Lone Star, The Magnificent Seven, Major Dundee, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, My Darling Clementine, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Ox Bow Incident, Pale Rider, The Plainsman, Red River, Ride the High Country, Rio Bravo, Rio Grande, The Searchers, Shane, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Shootist, Silverado, Stagecoach, The Tall T, True Grit, Tumbleweeds, Unforgiven, Union Pacific, The Westerner, The Wild Bunch, Will Penny.
Choosing from the above titles, the panel can create a solid, decent Top 10 Western list or they can create an abomination. Either way, it can in no way be considered a definitive list of best American westerns because it features only one Anthony Mann film, and although Bend of the River is a personal favourite of mine, I don't believe it will make a cut. Before the evening has even begun the list has a major flaw. No Devil's Doorway, Winchester '73 or The Naked Spur. Shame on them.
While Mann's output is missing, there are some questionable inclusions: The Last Picture Show (does this drama spring to mind when you think "western"?), Duel in the Sun (a picture of dubious quality), Blazing Saddles (a spoof, not even a comedy-western). I'll grant them the modern westerns such as Lone Star. After all, one of the things I love most about the genre is its flexibility and how writers and directors have been able to use the western to reflect different eras and craft wonderful stories. However, consider some of the interesting titles that didn't make the short list: Westward the Women, Hell's Hinges, The Long Riders, Warlock, Last Train from Gun Hill, No Name on the Bullet, Forty Guns, Hangman's Knot, Three Godfathers, Blood on the Moon, Ride Lonesome, Stars in My Crown, The Big Sky, Seven Men From Now. It's enough to make you feel sorry for the panel.
What will make this western movie buff happy and keep her from going soccer hooligan on the Zenith? If the number one spot is occupied by my beloved Shane or any film directed by John Ford. If the top ten list includes: Ride the High Country, The Big Country, The Tall T and/or Will Penny. However, if the top ten list includes Blazing Saddles, the voting panel had best remain cloaked in anonymity as they will have unleashed my inner Tom Dunson.
Monday, June 9, 2008
I spent June 6 - 8 at the Bloody Words Mystery Conference, conferring, conversing and otherwise hob-nobbing with my fellow mystery fans/writers. An observation: I don't believe there is another group of people more open to hearty laughter than these lovers of fictional murder and mayhem.
Friday, June 6, 2008
The end of the school year brings the last minute rush to finish assignments, summer plans and the Recognition Assembly at Lakeshore Collegiate Institute. It is inspiring and fun to watch the students receive their honours. Some walk across the stage with bravado, others play to their crowd, some are embarrassed. Many are from the same family or are high achievers who seem never to leave the stage.
I wasn't surprised when our Janet brought home the invitation to attend the morning assembly. After all, last year she received a trophy for Senior Band. It's not that we're used to this sort of thing - that was the first recognition of any kind she had received, but she is an excellent flute player so I wasn't surprised that she should be getting another trophy. The surprise was that this year Janet received a trophy for Senior Writer. I knew that my grade 12 slacker turned scholar had thrown herself 110% into The Writer's Craft class and that her teacher, Ms. Siegel, was pleased with her work, but the recognition was unexpected. What an amazing girl is our Janet.
I think Janet is taking after her Aunt Tracey, a jazz phtojournalist published in CODA, Canada's Jazz Magazine. I know the most amazing people.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Sunday, June 1, 2008