Archive for the Movies Category

R.I.P. Maj. Dick Winters, American hero

Posted in Books, History, Movies, TV, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2011 by macmystery

I first learned of Dick Winters’ death from a Facebook post by my friend Chris Otto of the York Daily-Record. He linked to a story Monday night from a Pennsylvania TV station reporting the World War II veteran’s death a week before. Here’s the Washington Post obit.

Winters became widely known, thanks to the Stephen Ambrose book and HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” which followed the E company, second battalion (Easy Company), of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Infantry from their formation through the Normandy invasion and on through Germany’s surrender.

As a history major, I found the book interesting, but honestly, the miniseries, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, is where I, and I’m guessing millions of other Americans, truly came to know about Winters. It’s hands down the best television I’ve ever seen.

The book, culled from interviews with surviving members of Easy Company, is historically accurate, and the miniseries follows the trend of the past 15 years where filmmakers, instead of glorifying war, have tried to accurately portray the horror and savagery of conflict and illustrate the sacrifices of those who risked or lost their lives.

Winters wasn’t originally in command of Easy Company. But just like in so many other situations in the group’s story, Winters took the reins and led by example when he was called to. He was concerned about each and every one of his men. And his men respected him for it and loved him in return.

According to the Washington Post, late in the war, one of Mr. Winters’s soldiers, Floyd Talbert, wrote a letter to the officer from a hospital in Indiana expressing gratitude for his loyalty and leadership.

“You are loved and will never be forgotten by any soldier that ever served under you,” Talbert wrote to Winters in 1945. “I would follow you into hell.”

We’ve reached a point in our history where the people who risked their lives and served their country are dying off and leaving us at an ever-increasing rate. Soon, what little first-hand knowledge we have of the great sacrifice the men like those of Easy Company made to, not only preserve our freedom, but to defeat the powers of evil, will have gone away.

I’m saddened by Winters’ passing, but I’m thankful he served. He lived to the age of 92 before losing his battle with Parkinson’s Disease. News of his death, more than a week ago, was kept quiet at his request. He didn’t seek glory. He exhibited class, even in death.

Thank you, Dick Winters. Though you may not have chosen the label, there’s no denying you are a hero.

Hogwarts, S.C.

Posted in Books, Family, Movies with tags , , , , , , on October 19, 2009 by macmystery
Dylan reluctantly pets the dragon. Hagrid would be proud.

Dylan reluctantly pets the dragon. Hagrid would be proud.

In yet another installment of  Daddy and Dylan Day, Dylan and I went all wizard last Saturday.

The Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville County hosted “The Science of Harry Potter.”

The program, which is an excuse to get kids and parents into the science center, married its exhibits with themes from the Harry Potter series of books by J.K. Rowling.

The program, open from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., was a lot to take in. There was no way we would be able to see everything, and there was a lot.

Among the activities:

  • Hold mice, snakes and a dragon.
  • The chance to meet and hold these Hogwarts creatures … tarantulas, giant toads and a python.
  • Quidditch demos … Well, this is as close as you can come to quidditch without being able to fly. There was a Harry Potter day camp back in the summer where the kids played quidditch, apparently. Some of the pupils were brought back to demonstrate the sport. There were hula-hoops suspended from trees branches for the rings. Soccer balls were used, and a tennis ball was the golden snitch. And did I mention there was no flying? Dylan was not impressed.
  • Old-fashioned broom making
  • The younger kids made bitty brooms from small sticks and yarn.
  • Among several demonstrations at the planetarium, there was a chart showing how all the names of the Black family (as in Sirius) corresponded with astronomy.
  • The kids could take a tour of the forbidden forest and discuss the botany of wands.
  • There were readings from “The Tales of Beetle the Bard.”
  • Wandmaking … using pretzels, chocolate and sprinkles.
  • Learning to write with quills.
  • Herbology … making your own herbal tea bag.
  • Meeting a live barred owl.
  • Photo opportunities with the Sorting Hat.
  • Potions lab … activities such as making slime, smoke, etc.

Dylan loved it. Even if the ties to Harry Potter weren’t always so strong. Really, the whole point is just to get you into the science center. Once you’re there, there’s almost no choice but to learn. And it was well worth the $9 total it took for us to get in.

When Harry Potter camp comes up next summer, I think we’ll be there.

Daddy & Dylan Day

Posted in Family, Movies with tags , , , , , , on October 1, 2009 by macmystery
Cloudy With A Chance of Meat Balls

Cloudy With A Chance of Meat Balls

Dylan has complained lately to Brooke that he never gets to spend much time anymore when it’s jist “him and Daddy.”

And he’s right. Since Ella was born and Brooke has been working, almost all the time he’s been with me, he’s had to share me with the little girl.

So, with last Friday being a day off from school for him, he asked Brooke if she could get a babysitter for Ella so he could have me all to himself. She said yes, and made it happen. (Thank you to the un-named babysitter).

I had two movie passes that we get each year at work on our birthdays, so I figured we’d do a movie. Because of scheduling, the best choice was “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs.”

So Dylan and I went to lunch — Chinese buffet, his choice … funny, he wants to go to the Chinese buffet, yet he eats only the French Fries, chicken nuggets (his name for the sweet & sour chicken, minus the sweet & sour) and Jello. Then we took in the movie, in Disney 3D, no less.

Quick movie review: Awesome. Clean. Mr. T rocks. Neil Patrick Harris rocks as Steve the monkey. As far as kids movies go, pretty darn good.

Anyway, this was the first Daddy & Dylan Day. And I’m hopeful for lots more.

July 17 … I can’t wait

Posted in Movies with tags , , on April 18, 2009 by macmystery

OK, there’s nothing really for me to write here. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

I can’t wait for this. And I’m sure Dylan and Brooke will feel the same when they see this.

Catching up

Posted in Movies, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2009 by macmystery
Kahn's relly gone this time.

Kahn's really gone this time.

I haven’t made a post in quite some time, so in this one I’ll run down a few things I would have commented on.

The Golden Globes

This was a cool night for me.

First, Bruce Springsteen won the Golden Globe for best original song from a movie for his theme from “The Wrestler.”

Then, in his acceptance speech for best actor in a musical or comedy for “In Bruges,” Collin Farrell made the statement that, “Love is the nemesis of ignorance.”

I’ve never heard it said that way before, but I think that’s dead on and it’s beautiful, especially coming from someone many people consider one of the “bad boys.”

Finally, there was Mickey Rourke. The longshot underdog won for best actor for his role in “The Wrestler” (Watch the trailer here). I was so happy for him, he’s come a long way back.

I couldn’t help but be shook up when in his acceptance speech, he thanked his dogs. Sometimes, when a man is really alone, all he has are his dogs, he said.

If you needed proof he was probably pretty low, I think that fits the bill.

Khaaaaaaaaaan!

Ricardo Montalban died Jan. 15. (See obit here)

While he will always be remembered as the suave Mr. Rourke from Fantasy Island, to me he is Khan, the exile from an original episode of the show in 1967.

He lived and returned in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” to see revenge on his nemesis, Captain Kirk, of course.

He was also in a couple of Planet of the Apes movies as well — “Escape from …” and “Conquest of …” — meaning he obviously knew cinematic genius when he saw it.

God bless his soul.

R.I.P. Commissioner Gordon

Pat Hingle, the actor that played Commissioner Gordon in several of the Batman movies of the 1990s, as well as the judge in Clint Eastwood’s classic “Hang ’em High,” died.

I know it’s not the same incarnation of Batman, but we just lost Catwoman (Eartha Kitt) last month. Bad time to be tied to the Dark Knight.

Maybe Heath Ledger will change that with an Oscar next month.

Controlling the minds of women

Um, I really don’t know how to explain this link.

But basically, if you believe what you read, there’s a theory that just by having sex with a man, women increase the ability of men to control their minds, thanks to the mind-control properties of semen.

Ummm …  Check it out.

More?

I’ll probably reserve any comments on the inauguration, etc., and the plethora of Springsteen news for a few more days.

Ode to Paul Newman … or a coincidence?

Posted in Movies, TV with tags , , on September 30, 2008 by macmystery

Working at night, I rarely become attached to anything on primetime TV because I simply would never see it. We don’t have Tivo and I refuse to tape stuff nonstop and try to squeeze in a time during the day with my little girl to try and watch it.

But since my off days are Sunday-Monday, one of the new shows I started watching last year was “Chuck” (Official site, unofficial site). It’s goofy, but I like it. And it has a ton of really cool, obscure pop culture references that almost no one picks up on.

So anyway, Monday night’s episode was the premiere for this season. It rocked as usual. But at the end, there was a strange coincidence, or at least I think it was.

After the plot resolution, in that brief segment just before the episode ends (I’m sure this has a name … on the Andy Griffith Show, there used to always be some sort of joke told by Andy in this spot), Chuck and his co-worker are discussing a bet that another co-worker couldn’t scarf down 90 twinkies in some brief time period.

In response, Chuck Bartowski responds, “Nobody can eat 90 Twinkies.”

It may not seem like much, but this is an obvious reference to the scene in “Cool Hand Luke” where Luke (Paul Newman) promises to eat 50 hard-boiled eggs in an hour, and George Kennedy’s character reponds, “Nobody can eat 50 eggs.”

I’ve been seeing previews of this episode for months, literally, so they obviously didn’t work this in as a response to Newman’s death on Saturday. But if it wasn’t on purpose, that makes it one hell of a coincidence, doesn’t it?

Paul Newman, 1925-2008

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , on September 28, 2008 by macmystery
Cool Hand Luke

Cool Hand Luke

If I had to name the person who, to me, most embodied the term “movie star,” I think I would have to say Paul Newman.

He had the good looks, the talent and that intangible something that gets your attention and keeps it.

Newman died Saturday at the age of 83.

He was one of the best. I could watch “Cool Hand Luke” a million times and still not be tired of it.

My other favorites are “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Hustler,” “Hombre,” “From the Terrace,” “The Long Hot Summer,” “The Sting,” “Slap Shot,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Hud.”

And he was a good guy. He has campaigned for civil rights, given close to $175 million he earned from sales of his Newman’s Own salad dressings and spaghetti sauces to charity and has been married to the same woman, actress Joanne Woodward, for 50 years, a feat almost unheard of in Hollywood.

According to Newman’s IMDB.com page, he made 56 movies, not counting TV appearances and voices for animated films. I’m making it my goal, starting now, to watch each and every one in the next year.