Tag Archive: Christmas in Connecticut


Oh, no she didn’t. . .

Once upon a time, I wrote movie reviews.

I still watch a ton of movies. I still love romantic comedies.

I told one of my classmates in my LTA program that I used to write reviews. And the question she asked was interesting. She wanted a list of romantic comedies in which the heroine wasn’t stupid, or the plot wasn’t stupid.

Go Red Brooch 29 shop heart com

Rhinestone Dress Brooch ($29.00); picture from http://www.shop.heart.com

My immediate thought was don’t watch a single Kate Hudson romantic comedy. I never watch her movie with Anne Hathaway but I felt pretty certain it was awful, too. What disappoints me is that in Almost Famous Hudson was great, luminous and raw. I could have watched her all day.

So as I thought Bout this list, I realized I was starting way back. I am not going into the silent movies but there are a few from the 1930s that are must sees.

I would start with My Man Godfrey (1936) starring Carole Lombard as the ditzy rich girl who is only interested in partying during the depression. It takes their new butler Godfrey, played by William Powell, to help her figure out life is about something more. This is one of the first screwball comedies but a classic as we know what will happen with a few surprises.

Because they apparently worked well together, Grant and Hepburn starred in The Philadelphia Story (1940) just two years later. Here a divorced couple meet up again just before her wedding to another man. Because it is a society wedding, reporter Jimmy Stewart shows up with his girl friday. Snappy dialogue along with plenty of drinking makes for a lot of fun,

To be honest my next pick is a Christmas movie but I find that Barbara Stanwyck is still one of the

Christmas in Connecticut IMDb com

Picture from IMDb.com

smartest actresses I’ve ever watched. In Christmas in Connecticut (1945),  Stanwyck is a Martha Stewart-like writer without the farmhouse, husband, baby, or the ability to cook. Then her publisher (Sydney Greenstreet) wants to spend Christmas with her and invites a recently recovered war vet. Stanwyck invents a husband, farm, and baby. She then promptly falls in love with the soldier.

For whatever reasons, my next pick doesn’t come until the late 80s. But if you haven’t seen Roxanne (1987) starring Steve Martin and Darryl Hannah, you might learn to love this Cyrano redo. Martin plays a firechief in a small mountain town who happens to have a big nose. Hannah is a lovely astronomer who come to town for the summer to relax. During the scene when Martin invents 20 insults that someone could have used, start counting because I think there are more than 20.

An article like this has to mention When Harry Met Sally (1987) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993). These are two of the smartest and funny romantic comedies I have ever seen. Before I go to my favorite, my honorable mentions goes to Return To Me (2000) starring Minnie Driver and David Ducovney as well as While You Were Sleeping (1995) with Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman. Love these and will Watch them again and again.

Forget Paris IMDb com

Poster image from IMDb.com

But one of my favorite romantic comedies is Forget Paris (1995) starring Billy Crystal as an NBA ref who meets Debra Winger in Paris and falls immediately in love. Instead of being about the ramp up to a relationship, this movie gives us the after with ups, downs, and constant curves. THe Pigeon scene still makes me laugh as does Cynthia Stevenson.

Please share your picks for great romantic comedies with smart heroines in the comment section.

 

 

 

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

During this first week of the holiday season, I can understand if people are not in that ‘holiday spirit.’

Last year at this time, I was not up for it. It was the first Christmas after my dad passed away and I really didn’t want to do much. It was bare bones decorating, hardly any cookies made, and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do our traditional Chinese buffet meal for Christmas.

But I did everything with the hope that if I did it maybe Christmas would feel like Christmas. We attended Christmas concerts, chili suppers, and family gatherings. We sang and ate and praised God.

Somehow I made it through even with the help of my favorite movies.

home-for-christmas-lindaIt gave me a greater appreciation for those Hallmark movies that run non-stop during the months of November and December. I even watched Home For Christmas on Lifetime starring Linda Hamilton as a divorced housewife who lived in her car after losing her assets in one calamity after another.

I watched part of that one and other movies featuring young women who are facing emotional crisis such as one woman whose parents are Santa and Mrs. Claus. Another had an event planner trying to re-create a party from her childhood when the client wants something different. A third one featured a woman who has not celebrated Christmas properly for years until she comes to a winter resort her father recently purchased and wants her to evaluate. The problem is Christmas is the big deal at this wonderful winter wonderland resort.

I know these movies are cheesy, that they feature actors who used to be big or are never going to be stars but are solid performers. I know that there will be preposterous factors and everything will work out in the end. There might be a magical aspect or a meet-cute between our two love birds who hate each other on sight. But in the end, they will figure it out and live happily ever after.

As one of my daughter’s friend stated, these are addicting movies. After watching a few, I had a hard time staying away. But you might find you have to watch them by yourself or without the husband. These are sap fests that can make the toughest of cookies cry right into your eggnog.

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Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan

Oh, I will be watching my favorites this season. The first is Christmas in Connecticut starring Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan about a magazine writer who must entertain her publisher and an heroic sailor on her non-existant farm during the holidays.

The second is Miracle on 34th Street with Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle who must prove he is the real Santa Claus in order to protect his sanity with the help of attorney John Payne. Meanwhile he is also trying to prove to a mother and child that Santa is real.

I might add a few of these Hallmark to the repertoire when I need to recover from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. It’s not hard to do, I just have to find the Hallmark and Lifetime stations on my satellite service.

Here’s hoping that your holiday season begins and ends smoothly.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Last week, I talked about great holiday movies for kids or the whole family. This week I am talking about those holiday movies that are best suited for adults. Some are on my list because, context-wise, they are made for adults.

Poster image from IMDb.com.

Others are there because they are violent and/or filled with swear words. They are simply not suitable for the younger members of the family or to watch with your parents and/or grandparents.

Here it is.

#5 This is my favorite Christmas movie and when you think about when the movie was made, it is quite shocking. In Christmas in Connecticut, Barbara Stanwyck plays a Martha Stewart-type writer who cannot do anything she writes about. However, her publisher decides he wants to have an old fashioned Christmas at her farm and eat her delicious cooking. To make matters worse, he has invited a war hero to join them.

Now Stanwyck has to find a farm, a husband and a baby. When the soldier arrives Stanwyck finds herself falling for him while pretending to be married. How shocking, a married woman with a child flirting shamelessly with a war hero. And yet, I love it. I watch it every Christmas Eve.

Bruce Willis going through a window in "Die Hard." Image from IMDb.com

#4 What is Christmas without Bruce Willis yelling “Yippee Ki Yay, &#*@^.” Well, probably a lesser time. Who can resist an NYPD officer going to L.A. for Christmas to visit his high-powered wife. Once he gets there he has to deal with a hostage-takeover and try to save her.

This movie is filled with violence. Willis swears enough to make him an honorary British actor. Best of all, we get to watch the delicious Alan Rickman as the dapper and cunning villain. 

#3 Love Actually is a British romantic comedy set during the month leading up to Christmas. It is an ensemble cast that includes Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Liam Neesom and Kiera Knightly. The stories are about love found, love lost, love beginning, and love strained.

The writing and acting are stupendous feats, much of the emotions of the characters are raw and tangible. BUT there is a lot of swearing. And one story follows two people who are movie stand-ins at a porno movie shoot. I only watch this one with the husband or by myself.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

#2 If you like black comedy and need a break from the sweetness of the holiday, you cannot go wrong with Bad Santa. Billy Bob Thornton plays an alcoholic, cynical Santa who robs the mall he works at every year with his elf partner.

This time a bullied kid from the town invites Thornton into his home, and slowly this drinking and swearing Santa opens his eyes to what is around him. It might also help that Thornton begins seeing a pretty bartender with a Santa fixation.

There is a lot of swearing, drug use, violence and sexual activity. I am not watching this movie with my parents.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

#1 You might wonder why I am putting It’s a Wonderful Life on this list. After all, what could be questionable about this movie? Let’s start with the attempted suicide by George, the heavy drinking that takes place throughout the movie, the implied sexual behavior of Violet, the cruelty of Potter at every turn. There is a lot of this that is meant for adults.

Most young kids cannot relate to the worst that can happen to a person, driving them to such a desperate act. While this movie is about how one person can affect a single community, in the end it is also about how you live your life. If only we could all be a little more like George and Mary.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Related Posts:

Notes From Rumbly Cottage: Favorite Christmas Shows for the Kids

Notes From Rumbly Cottage: Feasting and Shopping and Watching

Family Movie Night

 Snow just keeps falling.

 Last Monday the kids were off from school. Then last Thursday, my husband predicted the kids would be off again. Did not happen despite the constantly falling snow.

 While I was walking to dog on Thursday, my feet seemed to find every bit of ice underneath the powdery snow. Luckily, the dog did not take advantage of the situation the one time I did happen to fall down.

 So now Christmas is coming with a vengeance. Saturday is the big day and presents are being wrapped and hidden. You have seen just about every Christmas movie out there, sung every carol and heard enough bell ringing. You have eaten so many sugar plums, your doctor is giving you dire predictions. Nutcrackers make you sneer.

 I have a few suggestions for movies you may not have seen in recent years. Some have holiday themes and others have a slight holiday theme being wafted around it.

Billie Burke circa 1935, Picture from IMDb.com

 Finding The Cheaters (1945) may be the hardest part of enjoying this screwball comedy about a wealthy family on the brink of bankruptcy who bring a homeless man to the mansion for good press. Billie Burke (Glinda the Good Witch) and Eugene Pallette star as the parents of this brood who learn about the meaning of Christmas after a number of mis-adventures.

 I am not sure if it is possible to find this movie as I could not find it at Facets (Facetsmovies.com) or Movies Unlimited (moviesunlimited.com). Just because it is someone’s favorite movie does not mean it gets to be put out on tape or DVD. My mother loved this movie but if memory serves, the print was pretty bad back in the 70s when they would show it late at night.

Picture from IMDb.com

 Let’s say, you are really not in the Christmas mood but you want a little Santa flavor. I do have the perfect movie for you which pits Santa against those dastardly aliens from the big red planet. Perhaps one of the worst movies ever, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is a tale about the aliens kidnapping the big guy along with two children.

 They do so because Martian children have seen Earth TV shows featuring the wonders of Santa. Will Santa bring Christmas joy to Martian children? Will he and the kids get to come back to earth before evil Martians try to kill them off? Will you recognize a very young Pia Zadora? Could it hurt to try?

Picture from IMDb.com

 One movie that seems to be rapidly disappearing from the Christmas movie scene is a favorite. Barbara Stanwyck stars as a Martha Stewert-like writer for a women’s magazine in Christmas in Connecticut (1945). While Stanwyck lives in a small NYC apartment, she writes about her farm and family in the next state over.

Her boss, Sydney Greenstreet, invites himself and a recovering war hero, Dennis Morgan, over for Christmas. Suddenly she needs a farm, a husband, a baby and the ability to cook or she could lose her job. You can imagine the mayhem that happens. Plus, Greenstreet and S.Z. Sakall work off of each others like old pros – which they are.

Kate Winslet and Jack Black in "The Holiday," Picture from IMDb.com

Perhaps my last choice is not the best of movies but I do enjoy watching The Holiday starrring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. These two women have been put down by love and decide to trade home for the holidays to get a change of scene. It is a movie that dares to make Jack Black into a romantic hero.  

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a reply below.