Tag Archive: billy crystal

Happy Anniversary

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Ah, summer time.

It is hot and muggy and appearing to be never ending. It is also the month of weddings.

The husband and I will celebrate 21 years of marriage this week. Our wedding took place at Starved Rock State Park. They had recently built the platforms looking out at the Illinois River. We took full advantage, forced family and friends to climb the stairs to our area.

It was a hot day, the temperature hit 95. We had a cooler of drinks along so people wouldn’t get dehydrated. But it was great to have so many family members there for our celebration. Even the Texas Bowmans came to see their brother finally get married.

Wolf Jack MichelleOne of our favorite activities together has always been watching movies. One of our first dates attending a screening of Wolf starring Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer. It’s a well done movie about a meek and mild publisher who becomes a new man after a bite by a wolf on a lonely Vermont road. Everything changes for the publisher. He regains his lust for life and jumps into a battle at work against James Spader.

The movie is atmospheric, filled with great lines, and a solid performance by Nicholson Pfeiffer, and James Spader. But this isn’t our favorite movie to watch as a couple.

That movie is Forget Paris starring Billy Crystal and Debra Winger. Most romantic comedies end once our two leads finally become a couple. But this movie gets going once the star-crossed lovers finally get uncrossed. Sure it is fun to fall in love but sustaining it is the hard part.FORGET-PARIS_1024

We enter the scene as one couple celebrates their upcoming wedding with friends at an Italian restaurant in New York City. The woman is certain they have the most unusual story as to how they met. But her-soon-to-be husband knows a more unusual story and proceeds to tell the first part. As more friends arrive, we hear more of the story of love gained, love lost, love regained with a happy ending until it’s not happy.

Not that this couple don’t try hard; they have to work things out while dealing with long work-related road trips, sick parents, and failed fertility treatments. We get front row seats for the fights, the make-up sessions, and reunions as Mickey and Ellen try to figure out love in the modern era.

Billy Crystal co-wrote, produced, directed, and co-starred in this gem of a movie. He has a great partner in Debra Winger who gamely takes what ever is thrown at her and runs with it, including a pigeon trapped on sticky paper. Their dialogue is real, the actions heartfelt. I never doubted for a moment the emotions I saw, never doubted the arguments that took place.

This is not a movie for kids with a few scenes of sexy behavior. Besides the content being very grown-up. I doubt if many kids would want to watch this movie. The teens might, if just to snicker about this or that scene. Otherwise, it is a fun movie that is a little racy at times about the trials and tribulations of marriage after the great build up of romance.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

This past week has been incredibly busy for our family.

Image by Mathew Hull

Image by Mathew Hull

There have been several ball games, graduation, 4H activities, the parade, town wide garage sale, two birthday parties, and various concerts. Other people I know had dance recitals and graduation parties to host.

While it is an incredible time, it is also incredibly tiring. A few times I wondered if I could fall asleep right where I was but knew I had to stay awake. In truth, I love these moments even during the most hectic moments. But when it is all over, I want nothing more than relax.

Once Sunday arrived, I was ready to do nothing. Which I did rather successfully beyond reading a book, planting a few new plants, and making stuffed shells for dinner. Later that night, the husband and I watched Parental Guidance starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler.

Midler and Crystal play grandparents who have been reluctantly asked to watch their only grandchildren. Once in the house, Midler realizes that they are the ‘other grandparents,’ the ones not seen as fun but as a burden. During this week, she wants to create memorable moments for the kids and asks her husband not to screw it up for them.

Image from IMDB.com

Image from IMDB.com

This might be hard because their daughter, Marisa Tomei, is a bit of a helicopter parent but she is aided by the rules of their school and social circles in which kids are told to use their blue voice and baseball games don’t count runs or strike pitches. Old school clashes with new school as grandparents try to figure out a smart house and a set of rules of life that do not always make sense.

This is not a deep movie, there are some moments that one might call cloying or manipulative. But it has nuggets of truth hidden in the biting or bitter remarks made by various characters.

As parents, we strive to do better than what we thought of our parents’ parenting styles. We try to eliminate bullying or unhappy feelings. We strive to make everyone feel good about their accomplishment.

I understand the daughter’s point of view of wanting to be different from her parents. I mean, how many of us have seen the saying “I opened my mouth and my mother’s voice came out” and giving a head-nod of agreement? How many of us vowed that while we love our parents, we were going to raise our kids differently which meant ‘better’ in our heads.

It is not always like that.

Some modern tricks have value as do some of the old ones. I think that not all modern tricks and tools work as well as some of the old ones. I think sometimes kids have to lose games and develop skills from that loss. I think kids need to be taught how to speak to others without being a manipulative bully – and when that happens call the kids for acting out in a manipulative manner.

In the end, parents have to be parents which means setting boundaries and consequences for inappropriate behavior while allowing kids to have fun. It also means that kids have to learn how to treat others in a respectful manner. And sometimes, you break every rule you ever set for a magical moment.

Would I watch this movie again?

I think I might. There is a sweetness as Grandpa learns to bond with his grandchildren. There is some honesty in one of the subplot’s involving careers. While this movie might be acceptable context-wise for those who are pre-teen, I think it is best for adults who get both worlds of parenting.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


There are precious few perfect movies.


These are movies that are exceptional in each scene from start to finish. You connect to the characters, remember spectacular dialogue, and think about the movie long after the closing credits have rolled by.


Some movies I think are perfect starts with Singin’ In The Rain and might end somewhere with The Invincibles. Moonstruck and Citizen Kane are on my list as well as Star Wars and Rebecca.


Another movie that makes my list is The Princess Bride  which is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its opening date.


Poster Image from IMDb.com

Directed by Rob Reiner and starring unknown Cary Elwes and Robin Wright, this movie is based on the children’s book by William Goldman about a princess about to marry a man she does not love.


What makes this movie even more enchanting is the framing of a grandfather reading the story to his sick grandson. Peter Falk plays a man loving enough to be willing to read a story to his grandson but tough enough to tell his grandson to zip it when the boy interrupts too much.


But that is not the only thing that has made this movie a classic.


It is the style and wit that the actors carry with the movie. The actors choose to be sincere when they could have gone into parody-mode ala Leslie Neilson. Instead we believe in Buttercup’s love for Wesley and his for her. Finding out who the six-finger man is never a true surprise but he is played in a very drole manner by Christopher Guest.


Who can forget the friendly and accommodating conversation between the Dread Pirate Roberts and Inigo Montoya before their pitch-perfect sword fight?


Then there are the unforgettable lines.




“Have fun storming the castle.”


“Rest well and dream of large women.”


“If only I had a holocaust cloak.”




“I would not say that if I were you.”


“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”


It is hard to pick a single perfect scene so lets not. Instead, let’s remember how delightful the introduction scene in the courtyard is for poor Buttercup. Let us dwell on the kidnapping scene and the attempted escape. My favorite scene might be the sword fight meant to mimic the best of Douglas Fairbanks Jr.


Let us remember the light touch of the late Peter Falk. Let us remember for a moment the late Andre the Giant’s ability to rhyme perfectly and easily.


Let us remember a movie that was perfect from every last cast member to the sterling dialogue and exciting sword duels.


When this movie first arrived at the theaters, it was a flop. No one went. But then the word got out as to what made this a great movie. People heard about it, saw it on VHS, talked about it to their friends and made it popular.


And they never forgot that this movie, beyond the swordplay and desire about revenge, is about true love.

Every movie tries for perfection, to follow the rules of their society that they have set, to make each scene ring true. Very few achieve that status. But when they do, it is the thing of legend.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Going to the Chapel

Family Movie Night


Last week was graduation.


I don’t know about you but I was incredibly weepy. Not only was one of my guys graduating but so were most of his friends. all of these guys have hung out at my house and now they are moving on to high school.


I remember the first day of kindergarten when my guy RAN to his kindergarten class. Left me behind and made his move. Now, he is planning to do the same for high school.


I really need to get used to this. After all it is June, the month of home leaving, especially if there is going to be a wedding  in your family. One day they are seeing a great new person and then – WHAM! – they are getting married. They leave home and start a new life.


Well, what can you do but celebrate it. And watch a movie or two.


James McAvoy and Emily Blunt give voice to "Gnomeo and Juliet," Image from IMDb.com

My new favorite romance movie is Gnomeo and Juliet. It is this incredibly cute movie by DreamWorks about two crazy kids who fall in love despite their families’ long feud. She is a red gnome and he is a blue gnome. Both have been told to hate the other although who knows for what reason in the first place.


This is a movie that is highly watchable by the younger kids and the parents or grandparents will love the soundtrack that is Elton John/Bernie Taupin music of our youth. I enjoyed the sequence in which Gnomeo discusses his love life with the Shakespeare statue in the park. Sure, it is obvious and maybe self-serving but what a fun little bit.


Albert Brooks and Michael Douglas starring in "The In-Laws," Image from IMDb.com

Another fave is The In-laws starring Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks.  In this wedding movie the focus is more on the relationship of the father-in-laws more than the bride and groom. The  PG-13 flick – best suited for early teens and up – has many interesting moments as we, like the Alert Brooks character, discovers that Michael Douglas is either crazy or really a CIA agent. Douglas is fearless whereas Brooks is a phobia-filled foot doctor.


Maybe this movie is not as good as the original with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin but I love it for the popcorn fun of it and Ryan Reynolds plays the groom. However, we also get to see some interesting shots of Chicago. I personally loved the para-gliding scene as they take off from the top of the Hancock building.


Billy Crystal, Brino Kirby, Carrie Fischer and Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally...," Image from IMDb.com.

Now there are many movies that feature a wedding in some shape or form. But my favorite one is one of the best romantic comedies of all time. There is a pivotal scene that takes place at a wedding in When Harry Met Sally… but more than anything this movie is about love. Love that lasts a lifetime and how it can be right there and you simply do not see it.


Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan have incredible chemistry together as they spar about men, women, love, friendship and sex over the years. This is not a movie I am watching with my younger kids although the older teens could be around for it. Or maybe not because this is a movie I enjoy watching either by myself or with my husband.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.