Latest Entries »

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

A few weeks go, I began to talk of my favorite musicals.

 

Musicals were always my place for hiding when I couldn’t deal with life. And sometimes it was the place I need to go when I need a break from the real world. Maybe you do it with ice cream or potato chips or golf. Sports on TV always seem to make my husband relax after a long day.

 

hamilton_Lately, I have been listening to the soundtrack of Hamilton. It is interesting how different styles of music are used to define different characters. The King of England uses the style of a pop love song, the three Schuyler sisters sound like pop trios from the 80s. And Mr. Hamilton is a rapper telling a complicated story. You think he is fast until you hear Marquis LaFayette.

 

But I have to admit at this time I think it is more important to pay my mortgage than take the family to see this award winning show. One of my friends joked that it would be less expensive for him to take a Rhine River cruise, including the cost of airfare to Germany. Until this show comes to the big screen, I need to be patient.

 

This made me think about some of my favorite musicals. The ones I love are energetic with saucy heroines. When the movie is done, I want to feel as if I could dance and sing for no apparent reason. I get this feeling whenever I watch Mamma Mia starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan. I like to put is on whenever I feel blue because by the end of the movie I am laughing and singing and dancing. I last watched this on the day of my colonoscopy as I recovered from the anesthesia.

 

guys-and-dollsI feel it is one of the great ones, not for the wonderful singing. The older guys are all a bit imperfect in an adorable manner. All cast members have such fun singing that I can forgive the imperfections I would normally rant and rave about.

 

That is what makes Guys and Dolls great as well. There are many great singers in the Frank Sinatra version. But Marlon Brando had never sang before in the movies. I don’t think he ever did another musical but I really liked what he did here. His voice was strong and interesting, filled with musical imperfections that makes for a great song stylist. Imperfections make a song come alive, strengthens the emotional intent.

 

Frank Sinatra uses his imperfections and strong accent to make his gambler sing of the misfortune of being dragged around by the nose by a doll. That is until his doll tries to make him quit the gambling life. Then his voice turns into smooth cream to keep her happy for just a while longer.

 

moulin_rouge_movie_posterAnother musical that I love to watch is Moulin Rouge! directed by Baz Lurhmann. Released in 2001, this movie crossed time periods and musical styles while telling a story of a young writer who falls in love with a beautiful courtesan. He (Ewan McGregor) sings Your Song, originally sung by Elton John, to his love despite the fact that she has to please the Count underwriting the show.

 

Satine (Nicole Kidman) has wonderful productions including a mash-up of Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend and Material Girl while swinging about the auditorium. Like anything by Lurhmann, the set designs are incredible and big, really big. And this re-telling of La Traviata will have you crying at the end.

 

A word of warning. Moulin Rouge! is not meant for small children. It is fill with sexual innuendo and direct talk. Guys and Dolls would be better but not by much. After all, we have guys talking about, and creating, a massive floating gambling game. Perhaps the younger ones would just like to watch Frozen for the umpteenth time. Who can get tired of listening to Idina Menzel over and over again?

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Keep Wearing the Hat

So this past weekend, we put on our hats. We marched in our cities, and big towns, and small towns, and on a boat. We held all sorts of signs letting people know that women’s rights are human rights.

But the days following has seen plenty of blow back.

“Why are these women marching?”

“I have plenty of rights.”

“Those hats look stupid, take them off.”

“After marching, the ladies were home in time to make supper.”

“Why don’t they just give the money it cost to go to the march to a charity?”

Don’t get discouraged. Saturday was a great and terrible day. I was amazed by all who showed up to protest, to make our voices heard. But I was saddened that we still need to do this, tell people that women have rights and deserve rights. Women is our country do not deserve to be beaten by significant others. Women in other countries deserve to move freely, go to school, and receive proper medical care.

However, if you are reading all of the stories and some fighting within march participants, don’t give up. This is only the beginning and the start can be rough. Now is the time when we congeal and find our collective voice.  An article in USA today gives some ideas on what to do next.

I like this because we need to have a direction for our anger and frustration. We need to be focused. So let me add my list to what we can do until the next march in April.

  1. pussy-hatContinue to wear the hat. Yes, it is awkward and not in your usual color.                                                                                                                   So what!                                                                                                                Someone made that hat for you. It may not have taken a lot of time on their part but wear it with pride. Until you put away winter stuff, wear your hat wherever you go. Bring it our again in the fall. You are sending a signal to others who wanted to go and couldn’t. You are that safe person they can talk to. And when the haters come to yell at you, don’t yell back, don’t swear at them. Tell them you believe what you believe and move on.
  2. Put your senators and representative on speed dial on your cell phone. Call them daily or weekly, especially when an issue you cherish is on the line.
  3. volunteer-graphicPick an issue and work for it. Maybe it is Standing Rock or Planned Parenthood or Immigration Rights. Find one that speaks to your interests and passions. Then do the hard part and give them money and/or your time – every month.
  4. Build your community. Volunteer at a food pantry or mentor program or youth program. Be a coach or a helper for the Girl Scouts or tutor school children or help seniors in your neighborhood. It can be something short and sweet or a longer commitment but do something that makes you feel better about where you live. Grab some friends to join you in this endeavor.
  5. Help get people out for the vote. If you know someone who is not registered but wants to vote, take them to get the paperwork completed. If someone you know had issues with their registration, help them get it sorted now so they can vote in upcoming primaries. Voters need to develop a pattern of voting and by taking care of that now, those votes will matter more next time.  Imagine if each of us helped one person to have the right to vote.
  6. iPhone crass

    Picture by Crass

    Plan one day a week to be totally offline. No social media, no phone games, no texting or e-mail (maybe just reduce this last one to the most important stuff.) Use this time to relax, sleep late, walk the dog, or clean your home.

  7. Lastly, plan one day a week to have fun. You can do this on the same day you go offline. Plan a visit with friends. Take in a meal or go to a museum or the library or a long walk in a state park. Throw a pot luck game night. You need to do this to re-charge and take care of yourself. After all, if you spend all your time being earnest, you become of bit dull and overbearing to your friends.

I know some of you are frustrated. I know some of you are feeling disheartened. Maybe this list is overwhelming. Start with baby steps by starting with the hat. Every week add one of the steps until you have all of them. Soon, you will know that you are doing something – a lot of somethings – to improve your immediate world and the bigger issues.

Just remember to be kind, to make your message without swearing, without profanity, without sexual innuendo. We don’t need to be violent or destroy property.  We are doing something infinitely much scarier.

We are speaking up, together.

dont-be-silent

Transitioning

It is finally the week of the inauguration.

Despite my fears of the Trump administration – Muslim Registry, loss of health insurance, decreased rights for women, decreased rights for the LGBT community, loss of first amendment rights for the press and citizens – it is a weekend to be filled with pomp, circumstance, and speeches. The parades and balls will be incredible.

melaniaAs this week has come closer, I began to realize how sorry I felt for Melania.

She did not run for this office. She tends to be a private person and does not live in the spotlight. I am guessing the various pictorial spreads of their penthouse was a real intrusion.

However, at this time the real invasion is about to start. Maybe Melania thought the press was everywhere she went before. But now, oh, it is going to be 1000 times worse. Every dress, every outfit, every decision she makes in the East Wing is going to be scrutinized. Granted, the first six months will be easier because she is staying in New York City with Barron.

After that, she can expect criticism for the simplest of decisions, be it how she decorates the family quarters or any trips she takes or how she talks of her choice social issue. Staffing issues will be leaked and god forbid her husband steps into whatever fray there may be on Twitter. No one will let her forget past mistakes or photo shoots.

I say this because I have seen the comment pages on any article about Melania. There are those who praise her for being a class act and those who bring up the nude photos every chance they get. I have heard her called some vile names that may or may not be true. It’s not cool, not right, not classy no matter which side of the aisle you sit. But this is what we do to first ladies, right?

michelle-vera-wangMichelle Obama has been called some awful names and imagined to be a man. Her fight on childhood obesity has been vilified. Her dress choices have been scorned. Doesn’t matter that she went to an Ivy League university and law school. Or that she held a very prestigious position before going to the White House. This happened with other first ladies, including Pat Nixon, Nancy Reagan, and Hillary Clinton.

Soon enough, Trump’s years will be over and we can look forward to the weekly headlines in the scandal rags about how Melania is filing for divorce. Just like they do for every presidential couple at the end of their term, including both sets of Bush presidents.

Wait, I saw that last week on the side of my Facebook feed.

Good luck, Melania. You’re going to need it.

Fantastical

Family Movie Night
By Karyn Bowman
One movie that I have been most anxious to see is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Our attempts to see this movie were met by bad timing and luck as we finally got tickets. One of the problems I have with these new reclining seats is that they take up too much space and reduce the number of seats in any given auditorium.
Maybe you like them but I am not crazy about these seats.
Back to the movie. This movie is the first in five movies about the fantastic beasts, building up to the incredible fight between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindenwald. Apparently there are going to be fantastic beasts in each movie and various people we have met in this movie will be scattered in the next four.
fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-movie-characters
That is the back story. But in this movie, we are taken back to 1926. This is when Newt Scamander comes to America, presumably to go on an expedition of the colonies. But the world he comes to is fill with just as much hate and fear of the magical by the nomag, otherwise known as muggles or non-magical humans.
He sees a protest by one woman who is determined to stamp out evil, especially in the children she feeds and clothes. But that is not the worst that will happen to him. When one of his creatures escapes from his suitcase, Newt is noticed by an auror. She helps him but not before Newt accidentally takes a nomag along for the ride and the re-capture.
Tina ends up arresting Newt but is forced to let him go, takes pity on him and nomag Kowalski, and gives them a place to stay for the night. That is when we discover what is really in that suitcase and it is amazing. We fall in love with the world he has created to protect all of these creatures.
But the real world intrudes on all of this. There is a disturbance cause by a wizard who is not allowed to use their powers. And magical energy, we learn, when not allowed to come out explodes in the worst possible ways.
I admit that when I came to the theater, I was tired. I may have nodded off during the previews. I was hoping I would not do the same during the movie. Once it started, though, I was hooked in. If I was tired, I sure did not notice it. I was fascinated, especially by Eddie Redmayne as Newt. It is a movie that can be for all family members with just a d=few scary bits for the youngest members of the family.
fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-buckletrumpThe problem with this movie is that as much as I enjoyed it and really loved Newt, there was little else that made a connection. What made the Harry Potter movies so successful is that we became attached to Harry. I loved him and wanted to see where this boy and his friends were going. I don’t have that overwhelming desire with Fantastic Beasts. The movie felt as if it had a certain amount of closure, the characters were done.
It is like the best popcorn you have ever eaten, the stuff with chocolate marshmallow powder flavoring on it. It is so good and sweet and different. You love it, enjoy, it, and when it’s over, you feel good. But you don’t overwhelmingly miss it. The next movie in the series comes out in November of 2018. I am not sure I will even care at that point because there is too much time lag and not enough interest to make me want to follow up. By that time, I am not sure I will be interested in chocolate marshmallow flavoring anymore. And that would be a shame.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Sing

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Winter break ended and the kids are back in school.

This news, of school being back in session, was not welcomed by all. Some are still wishing that they could sleep late every day and watch bad movies or TV shows. Winter break was filled with movie marathons and TV watching.

I ended winter break with two new movies that were still in the theaters.

After a failed attempt to see our first choice, we went to see the animated feature Sing.

sing-movieI went into this movie not knowing any of the featured stars. When the credits rolled I found out that Matthew McConaughey was our lead character and Reese Witherspoon played the part of the singing mom.

I am glad I didn’t because I wasn’t distracted by knowing all this. I could simply enjoy the movie for what it was – a riff on lets save the old theater by having a show. Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney didn’t show up. But a lot of songs that have been popular throughout the years and in recent times made appearances. This might introduce younger audiences to Stevie Wonder and George Michael while helping the parents understand some of the newer music.,

Maybe.

The premise is that a theater owner who is going broke needs to put on a great show, so he does a talent showcase. He sends out fliers announcing a prize. But due to an error that prize is not the $1000 he hoped to offer. The theater is swamped with hopefuls and he chooses a number of single and group acts. Each has a compelling story that makes us like them a little more, except for Mike. He is a mean piece of work who can sing up a storm.

As you might imagine there are all sorts of problems and catastrophes, including trying to find a sponsor and the theater building itself slowly falling apart. One of our acts has to deal with a bad boyfriend and another has self-esteem issues.

While this movie could have been edited just a bit tighter, I found myself enjoying it. I liked most of the characters, enjoyed their discovery of joy in their talents, and the music was outstanding. Most of the songs are ones we have heard over the years. We know them, like them, and let down our guard a little for these new but familiar characters.

sing-johnnyYou come away happy by the end of the movie. All is not perfect but it is satisfying. My daughter asked for a favorite character and the expected answer would be Rosita, the mom who challenges herself to fulfill her dream. But I loved Johnny the most. There is something about a kid trying to be better and succeeding that just gets me right there.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

When trying to decide what to write about this week, I have to admit I was flummoxed.

I planned to write about movie musicals, one of my favorite genres, when the news came that Carrie Fisher died. Princess/General Leia was gone.

carrie-and-debbieBefore I could even think of recovering, I found out Debbie Reynolds, Fisher’s mother, passed away the next day. Suddenly, my Christmas of grief as I thought about my father all month seemed different. For Todd Fisher, Christmas will forever be about the loss of his sister and his mother. What a kick in the pants.

Now, my husband would tell you that it is ridiculous to be upset about a celebrity dying and he is partially right. I don’t personally know these people. But in another way, these people are a part of my life. I was 14 when Carrie Fisher first wore the side buns, portraying an incredibly strong woman. I was around the same age when I saw Singin’ In The Rain for the first time. It was a transformative moment for me as my love of movie magic was cemented.

These feelings would be reinforced over the years with actors such as Alan Rickman, Patty Duke Astin, and William Shallert. They were great performers. David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael were right there in the soundtrack. My life soundtrack.

I can’t imagine what the world will do when Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan ever pass through the veil to the great beyond. Or when one of the Rolling Stones finally gives it up.

At supper tonight we tried to guess who might be next – Keith Richards? Stevie Winwood? Eric Clapton? Johnny Depp and Grace Slick are still kicking but for how long?

Just as we are attached to some celebrity because we feel some sort of connection, it also hurts when they die. Suddenly I am reminded that I am mortal, my family and friends are mortal. We, and I mean any of us, could go at any time. Some of you might be saying “You’ve had too much birthday cake and holiday regrets. Put down the fork, take a walk, and clear your head.”

You’re right, you’re right. I know you’re right.

rosalind-russell-as-auntie-mameIt’s their deaths that remind me to not take any of this for granted. It reminds me to remember the immortal words of Auntie Mame as portrayed by Rosalind Russell.

“Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.”

So what if most of us will never break into a parade in downtown Chicago or dance over cars in the middle of a Los Angeles’ traffic jam. Heck, most of us will never dance in the rain because of the sheer joy of being in love.

box-of-chocolatesThat doesn’t mean we have to quit. Each day is like that big box of chocolates. Maybe you pick out a cordial cherry or creamy truffle, maybe it is a chewy caramel or heath bar. But having the opportunity to pick one out of a rippled paper cup is better than not being able to choose at all.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Ending the Season

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

The Christmas Season is almost over. Some of you might be celebrating later because of work schedules or travel schedules or various events.

Been there, done that.

christalkindl-marketThis past weekend we finally squeezed in a visit to the Christkindl Market in Daley Plaza. The traditional German Christmas market is one I have longed to go to and not just because parts of my family are German.

I love the smells of roasting nuts and mulled wine. There were sausages, potato pancakes, and hot apple cider. There were beautiful knits from Germany, Ireland, and Guatemala. I saw incredible wooden works of arts including a Santa nut cracker. One booth offered up embroidered table scarves that were quite stunning.

The entire village was lighted in beautiful yellow glowing twinkle lights. The effect was magical under the watchful eye of the Picasso statue. We had a long walk back to the car but the market was totally worth it and I can’t wait to go back again next year.

while-you-were-sleepingBut now that the season is almost over, if you haven’t watched certain movies, this is your last chance before it feels a little weird and out of place. You might want to get While You Were Sleeping out of the way. This Sandra Bullock movie is about a lonely CTA worker who saves her favorite customer from being run over by train.

In order to see him at the hospital, she lies about being his fiancee so that she can visit with him. Unfortunately, Peter Gallagher is unconscious and unaware he has a fiancee. Then his family show up and embrace Lucy as family. The woman, who had no one but her cat and a wannabe boyfriend, suddenly is surrounded by family and has a stocking on the mantle with her name on it. It is a heady experience which gets complicated when she meets his brother, Bill Pullman.

Now you know what happens next. It is pretty clear. For me, this time the journey is totally worth the ride. Our heroine is sweet but a little goofy. Her main love interest is gruff and wanting out of the family business. And the supporting cast is phenomenal, especially the old family friend who has to tell the patient he is a putz.

But I love it. It makes me laugh and cry. There are sweet moments and funny one. There are times that I swear I know which neighborhood each scene was filmed in and others that make me wish for the dreamland of LaGrange.

In case this movie is too happy, too sappy, too girly there is always the Die Hard series.

Yippe-ki-yay, indeed.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

This past weekend we went to get our tree. It is a family tradition.

We pile in the car and head out to Cupola House Tree Farm on 3000 West Road. This year we took the dog who loved every moment of jumping around in the snow. The rest of us wandered around until we found the perfect tree, a blue spruce.

After getting the tree, we stopped at my mother’s to shovel off her drive from all of this snow. And then we came home before more snow began to fall. While my daughter made cookies, I put on the lights and the multitude of ornaments collected over the years.

christmas-tree-farms- christmasgeek com

Image from Christmasgeek.com

I have various soldiers, and musical instruments and angels. There are lots of angels and snow men. But as I looked around it seemed as if I am missing a large box of decorations. This means an extensive search in the basement must be done and I am not looking forward to doing that.

In the mean time, I am looking at our tree and feeling happy with it. That is until I realize that a certain ornament would hang better if it was in a different spot. And one I do that, five other ornaments will have to be moved to make everything fit together again. This will happen every day until we take down the Christmas tree. Am I the only one who does this?

Perhaps I should by some tinsel so that I stop the foolishness. But I don’t think they sell tinsel anymore, I never see it in the stores when I go looking for it.

Listening to the radio, I heard a segment about the top ten Christmas movies. White Christmas was not on the list. A classic movie but somehow that didn’t surprise me. The people who know and love Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are decreasing every year.

christmas-carolThe other missing movie which surprised me the most was A Christmas Carol. Maybe I am old fashioned but I love this old tale by Charles Dickens. There are several versions and every few years someone feels the need to recreate it. Bill Murray did a comedic version. George C. Scott made one in the 90s. My personal favorite is the Alastair Sims 1951 edition.

In case you do not know the story, a very rich but miserly man is visited by the ghost of his former partner. He is told to expect three ghosts that might to help his examine his life. After that he will have a choice to make: to continue life as it is and suffer through the after life or change his ways to be better. Can this man, after a lifetime of coldness, learn to warm his heart?

Well, you might know the answer if you have seen this movie. You might know the answer if you have had to question your own actions. Is it better to be a miser or to give with a willing heart?

As Christmas comes nearer, I know what I wish to be and to do.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Another Birthday, Dear Jane.

Dear Jane,

Another birthday has past and yet you do not look a day older than 40.

Your nighttime routine must do wonders (snarkity-snark-snark).

birthday-cakeWell, happy birthday anyway.

It has been cold and snowy at times here. I drove home in snow that wasn’t quite snow, not quite sleet. It kept trying to freeze up on my window, i had to drive with the front defroster and window wipers constantly going.  Otherwise my windshield would have been a solid layer of ice.

Well, the good news in my life is that I start class for the Library Technical Assistant certificate in four weeks. The bad news is nothing right now. There are a few hick-ups but we are managing. Christmas may not be a shower of presents but that is not the important point.

I always ask about you and the responses are few. I hope wherever you are, you are getting fair swipes at the hypocrites who managed to get into the best rooms. Done here, Jimmy Bakker is selling heavenly mortgages and food stores so you have something to eat in heaven. The man is scamming people once more. All I do is hope I will never be like that. Gullible, I mean.

I can be taken in by a good story, especially if there is any bit of plausibility. A good story is a good story whether it is true or not.The thing is, I never want to be so cynical that I look at every story as if it could be false. That is not how I want to live. Oh, I love a good conspiracy theory every now and again. But to live on that on a regular basis is crazy.

donald-trump

It is next to impossible to find a good picture of this man.

I feel the same way about our current political climate. I am not a fan of the President-elect but I have a feeling he will not be thwarted by the Electoral College. So the next four years are going to be filled with constant strife and degradation. The money that man will make of off the office of the President will be legendary by the time he is through.

Oh, but that stuff is boring. I predict Hollywood is going to make many comedies and musicals for the next few years to take our minds off of the mess that is going to be Washington D.C.

One of the most disturbing things I have found in post election life is the use of the word snowflake. Trump supporters are using that word, along with cupcake, to belittle democrats who are protesting Trump’s win. Every time I hear them say ‘snowflake’ I can’t help but feel that they are a bunch of sore winners. Do they realize how they make themselves look – which is meaner and more stupid than they all ready are – when they use these derogatory terms? Probably not.

Well, I have bored you enough. Best wishes and I hope all is well wherever you may be.

Wishing you the happiest of birthdays,

your devoted friend, etc.

 

 

The Best of Christmas

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Do you have your must-watch movies during the holiday season?

I know I do.

Just like those must have treats, the holiday season doesn’t feel right without certain movies.

christmas-cookiesOne holiday treat I miss are the mini pecan pies one of my mom’s friends used to make. She used a cream cheese dough that was perfect with the custard and nut filling. But Chris has been gone for too many years and I never could re-create them.

However, I can make kolachi cookies and plan to do so this year. I think one Saturday will be spent in the kitchen rolling out dough and filling them with apricot or cream cheese filling. I wouldn’t mind making white chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies as well. And I think the kids want those peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss in the middle. Somehow it doesn’t seem like Christmas without them.

One thing I have never been able to do is make a decent pie crust until I found a recipe that called for half butter and half shortening. Forget the Martha Stewart food processor version. This recipe never falls apart on me or make me wish I hadn’t attempted a homemade crust. Now I just need to learn how to make those pies with the beautiful leaves and vines.

A Christmas Story Peter IMDb com

Ralphie talks to Santa in “A Christmas Story”; Picture from IMDb.com

As for movies, it is never really Christmas without watching A Christmas Story. Will Ralphie get his rifle? Will his dad win the battle against the furnace? Will his little brother ever get to go outside without looking like the Michelin Man? I know all the answers to these questions and I don’t care if I have seen this movie a thousand times. I love spending time with this family. So much so that we have taken on a family tradition of going to the Chinese buffet for our Christmas meal – without the duck.

Another tradition I like to include is A Charlie Brown Christmas. Sometimes I feel as if the music is too much of a minor key while other times it leaves me breathless and happy. But the story is the thing here as Charlie fights against the commercialization of the season. It is symbolized by his friends and family desire to be the biggest, brightest of the season and his rebellion of picking a Christmas tree that is the saddest one on the lot. Joy is the end result as we remember the Christmas story.

The Nativity Story poster IMDb com

Poster image from IMDb.com

With so many biblical movies in the past few years, the one I lean towards in The Nativity Story (2006) starring Keisha Castle-Hughes and Oscar Issac as Mary and Joseph. It shows the time in which Mary is betrothed – unwillingly- to Joseph. A message from an angel changes her life, puts her in great danger, and challenges Joseph to act with faith. While the movie was made quickly, I find it beautiful to watch and deeply compelling. Each character grows more precious in my eyes as I come to understand their bravery, knowledge, and wisdom.

All of these are watchable by many member of the family. But the one I love most of all is Love Actually. I watch it with the husband or girlfriends because it has enough swear words and sexual situations to be uncomfortable with my adult children or mother.

Love, Actually IMDb com

Poster image from IMDb.com.

That is despite it being a movie that is best for late-teen to adult viewing. And yet, what I love about this movie is its message of hope in most cases. That we can find love with the right person. It’s just that there are many definitions of love in this movie and not all of them are happy. Couples are challenged, find that while love exists it cannot work for them, or that the person they love the most is never who they expected. And all of this takes place during the Christmas season.

Without any of these my Christmas is a little more lackluster, a little less teary, a little less hopeful.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.