Thursday, August 03, 2006


  • Most of the students are always way too stupid to be in college.
  • The big time jocks are always the first to go, so brawn does not matter.
  • If you are a blonde with big breasts, don't get naked or you're a goner.
  • Never go exploring in that creepy deserted building.
  • Avoid any college with asylums or prisons near by.
  • Stick with the brainy wallflower, she usually ends up surviving.
  • Never take a shower if you have seen dead bodies, even if you are covered in blood.
  • If there is a medical school nearby, avoid the morgue.
  • If you are in a Frat or Sorority, beware of any recently rejected pledges, especially if they were released from a nearby asylum.
  • Campus Police are pretty much on the level of Keystone Kops.
  • Never stay in the dorms during extended holidays.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Pirates of the Caribean: Dead Man's Chest

I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest over the weekend and found it to be very entertaining. The thing I liked the most was that it was much like the original, with familiar characters mixed in with some new ones. This movie has a great deal of action and more adventure. There are plenty of swashbuckling sword fights (including one on a mill wheel), dangerous predicaments, clever getaways, and non-stop adventure. The visuals are astonishing, the screen seems to explode with visuals that are witty and imaginative.

Johnny Depp has once again has given us a solid (and funny) performance as Captain Jack Sparrow. Davy Jones with his part human/part sea-creature crew (that includes Will’s father) and the famous ghost ship called the Flying Dutchman is a lot creepier than villains in the first movie. Bill Nighy, as Davy Jones, makes us believe in the octopus-face creature of the deep. His eyes were magnificently expressive and voice deliciously malevolent. Naomie Harris has a blast (sometimes hard to understand) with a witty performance as a voodoo priestess.

If you are a parent of a young child you should know that this movie has non-stop action-style violence, including a scary sea monster with a zillion teeth. While it is not gory, there are some gross images some audience members will find disgusting, overly graphic and scarry.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Help your daughter see movies in a new way...

"I noticed that a high percentage of not present a world where girls and women make up half of the population..." ~ Geena Davis

When our daughters watch TV and movies, what images of girls and women do they see? Actor Geena Davis didn't like what she was watching with her daughter and sons, so she joined with Dads and Daughters to start See Jane, which advocates for improved portrayals of girls and women in children's media. Learn how to talk with your girl about the powerful influence of female-unfriendly media. To learn more go to

Help your daughter see movies in a new way. After you watch a movie together, try these conversation-starters to think more deeply about the effects of everyday media.

1. Count the number of characters - how many are female? How many are male?

2. Of the female characters, what behaviors are most common?

3. Are any female characters leading the action in the story? Or are they supporting the story?

4. What kind of work do the female characters do?

5. What do the female characters look like? Do they look like most of the girls and women you know? What do you think of how they’re dressed?

6. Is there a female character that you would want to be? Of so, what are her strengths? If not, why not? Would you rather do what one of the male characters does?

7. Did the camera treat male and female characters differently? For example, does one group more often have close-ups, or more close-ups of particular body parts?

8. How do the kids in the story relate to their parents? What do you like or dislike about how they relate to their moms? How about to their dads?

9. Who created this story? Was the writer female? How about the director? If you don’t know, what would you guess?

10. What would you do differently if you were behind the camera?

From the article Ten Talking Tips by Erin Trahan - March/April 2006 Daughters newsletter


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Top Holiday and Christmas Movies

Some holiday movies instantly become classics as soon as they are released. Other holiday movies tend to grow on you over the years. Here are some of my favorite holiday movies.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
The Griswolds stay home this time and the fun comes there. Upon the arrival of many relatives, they try to adjust and deal with both Clark & Ellen's parents, who don't get along. While Clark tries to create the ideal Christmas with his over-the-top lawn ornament and light display, and deals with the current family Crazy cousin Eddie and his brood show up unexpectedly and things spiral out of control from there.

A Christmas Story
This hilarious tale, set in the 1940's, focuses on nine-year-old Ralphie's desperate adventures and schemes to make his dreams of getting a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas come true. Rated PG due to the "suggestion" of adult language, which is humorously obscured.

Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Director Ron Howard offers this live-action adaptation of the famous Christmas tale by Dr. Seuss, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Comedian Jim Carrey plays the title role the Grinch with his usual manic flare. Great special effects help to make the story of a freakish green monster living in a mountainside cave who disguises himself as Santa Claus, and steals the Christmas goodies from every single home in Whoville, into a hilarious holiday comedy.

Home Alone
A season favorite, Home Alone is the story of a family who goes on Christmas vacation, only they forgot one minor detail: their 8-year-old sone Kevin! Left to fend for himself, Kevin is a clever boy who takes charge of protecting his house when would-be burgulars attempt to break in. The booby traps and antics are wild and crazy, but hugely entertaining.

The Santa Clause
It's Christmas, and Single Dad Scott Calvin and his son Charlie hear noises on the roof. Scott accidentally startles Santa, who falls from the roof and is injured. Charlie makes his dad put on the suit and take Santa’s place. Once in the sleigh they take a wild ride to deliver toys, ending up at the North Polek where head elf Bernard tells Scott about "the Santa Clause"; When he put on the outfit, he legally accepted the job as Mr. Kringle.

The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause
In Santa Clause 2, Scott Calvin aka Santa Claus discovers that his head elf Curtis has failed to inform him that he has to find a wife by Christmas Eve or he can no longer be Santa. He finds himself slowly fading back to his human appearance as the "de-Santification process" begins. His son has been put on the naughty list and is at war with the high school principal, so Santa returns home as Scott, leaving a toy Santa to run the North Pole while he seeks a wife and tries to help his son. I think I like this one more than I did The Santa Clause.

It's a Wonderful Life
In the classic, It's A Wonderful Life, James Stewart gives a superior performance as the good hearted George Bailey who endures a series of letdowns and hardships and finally decides to off himself after a banking error that really wasn't his fault. His guardian angel-in-training shows up to show him what life in his hometown would be like if he'd never been born and seeks to restore his faith in mankind and his winning spirit.

White Christmas
This holiday classic is filled with Irving Berlin tunes such as "White Christmas," Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye star as two war buddies who start a song and dance routine.

Holiday Inn
Bing Crosby stars as song and dance man who runs an inn only open on holidays. There are lots of Irving Berlin song and dance scenes with Crosby and Fred Astaire as they work the inn and vie for the attention of Linda (Marjorie Reynolds). A magical holiday-themed movie.

A Christmas Carol (AKA Scrooge) (1951)
Alastair Sim was said to have played the perfect Ebenezer Scrooge in the Dickens’ classic adaptation about a miser who doesn’t believe in Christmas until three ghosts come to take him on three voyages. Vivid with what life was like in 19th-century London, the terrific performances of the cast, including Kathleen Harrison as Mrs. Dilber, make the story come to life. This version of "A Christmas Carol" is by far the best.

Christmas In Connecticut
Barbara Stanwyck (Elizabeth) sparks as a prominent food writer and self-described hard working farm woman, mother and excellent cook. In truth she’s only trying to impress her boss, and the unmarried liar can’t even boil an egg. When her boss decides to send a sailor (Jefferson Jones) to spend Christmas with her, Elizabeth fears she’s done for. A fun and lively movie with a touch of nostalgia and patriotism. Stanwyck is wonderful in the role.

Jingle All The Way
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad sure deliver the laughs in this holiday movie. Arnold plays Howard Langston, a dad who has promised his young son a Turbo Man action figure for Christmas, and doesn’t realize what he’ll have to go through to get it. You’ll laugh as you watch James Belushi plays a sleazy Santa impersonator.

And it wouldn’t be Christmas for kids without the likes of Charlie Brown and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Children’s faces light with glee when seeing the red-nose of Rudolph light up. In this sweet story, Rudolph gets kicked out of the reindeer games because of that nose. The tale takes a life of its own from there with a mix of elves, dentists, and snowmen. Of course everyone knows that Rudolph saves Christmas Eve by helping Santa deliver his toys, but younger kids will want to watch this movie over and over again. Burl Ives narrates.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
Kids of all ages love Charlie Brown and along with him they discover that things haven’t changed much at holiday time. What is the real meaning of Christmas is what Charlie wants to know. He’s annoyed by the commercialism. He and Lucy team up to direct the school Christmas pageant and it turns into a rescue mission with Linus' to save a Christmas tree. When they sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," it all comes home again.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I am so-o-o-o looking forward to this movie. I think more so than my daughter!

The Story
Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts looks to be his most dangerous yet. When his name is mysteriously selected to compete in the Triwizard Tournament, Harry tests his skills and courage against a dragon, mer-people, a new teacher with a dark past, and signs that foretell the return of Lord Voldemort.

Three Good Reasons
  • From the Quidditch World Cup to the giant hedge maze, this promises to be the most epic and action-filled Potter flick yet.
  • This time Harry faces a fearsome challenge of a different sort - his first crush, Cho Chang.
  • Cast additions Miranda Richardson as reporter Rita Skeeter, Brendan Gleeson as Mad-Eye Moody, and Ralph Fiennes as You-KnowWho.

Bet You Didn't Know
Due to the length of the book (734 pages), it was thought the story would have to be broken into two separate movies. But director Mike Newell (the first English director of the series) felt that by cutting extraneous story points - including Hermione's efforts to liberate the house-elves - they could fit it into one 2 1/2 hour film.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Legend of Zorro

The Mask of Zorro is a favorite of mine and for several reasons, Antonio Banderras, Anthony Hopkins, the action, Antonio Banderras, the sword fighting and did I mention Antonio Banderras?

After learning that they were making a sequel I was very excited, however a little skeptical that a sequel could be as good as the first one. Even after reading what the critics had to say about The Legend of Zorro I still wanted to see this movie. I have learned a long time ago not to pay much attention to critics.

This movie is better than the critics are making it out to be. The first one is definitely better but this one has some great stunts, sword fighting, humor and a lot of heart. I really enjoyed this movie and so did my daughter. We were swept up in the action, Antonio Banderras’ comedic antics and the great chemistry between Banderras and Zeta-Jones. The star of the show (besides Zorro’s magnificent black stallion) was Adrian Alonzo who played their son. He was so much fun to watch. This is a movie for the entire family to enjoy. It has lots of adventure, laughs, and romance. Did I mention it has Antonio Banderras, as well...

I will definitely buy this movie when it comes out on DVD.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Movies that keep me up at night...

These are the movies that keep me up at night. Their images creep into my subconscious and change the way I feel about the dark corners of my life.

Everyone has their own favorite films that scared them the most. Here's mine.

The Haunting (1963)
Forget the dumb 1999 remake, the original, directed by Robert Wise in 1966, is the truly scary one. Julie Harris effectively portrays the innocent and unstable Eleanor who, along with others, are induced to stay in an old mansion that is reputed to be haunted. And indeed it is. The special effects are understated, but stick with you.

The Sixth Sense
Nine-year-old Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) always seems disturbed, frightened... and his mother cannot figure out why. He finally confesses to psychiatrist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) that it's because he sees dead people - everywhere... and they're not always pleasant to look at. Director M. Night Shyamalan has brought back a good old-fashioned scary movie in this "Twilight Zone" tradition, without relying on special effects. The film is cleverly constructed and provides a truly surprising twist at the end.

The Changeling
This one is quite spooky. George C. Scott portrays a composer who has recently lost his wife and daughter in a tragic accident. He moves into an old mansion where he hopes to concentrate on his work, but quickly learns that he is not alone. The house is haunted, it turns out, by the ghost of a child who lived there many years before. The subtle creepiness of this film makes this one of my favorite ghost movies.

"In space, no one can hear you scream..." But that didn't stop audiences shrieking at this superior sci-fi. Definitely the scariest science fiction movie of its day. No matter how many times I watch it, it still gives me a jolt or two and sets my nerves a-tingling. The alien was like nothing moviegoers had ever seen before. The sequels weren't bad either.

The story has a mixture of religious and classic sci-fi elements which are blended together by Shyamalan's remarkable sense of visual style. Mel Gibson is a minister who has lost his faith as the result of his wife's tragic accidental death and who now rejects the concept of unseen powers entirely--so he is perplexed when his children discover a crop circle in his own cornfield. He remains skeptical even as television news coverage reports alien crafts hovering over major cities. But his denial is exploded when he and his family have a close encounter of the extremely nasty kind. There is not a single movie that is out there which scares the viewer on a level of things they are NOT seeing rather than what they do see.