Tag Archive: Debbie Reynolds


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.

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La, La, La, La, Laaaaa

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

This past weekend, some of the women at my church got together for a different kind of women’s fellowship.

We had a cookie party.

Each woman brought either cookie dough or frosting. We had sugar cookies, gingerbread, ranger cookies and red velvet cake cookies. In four hours we made dozens of cookies with nine varieties in total. After cookies had been frosted and decorated, each woman took a variety of cookies home. We had the ovens going until all of the dough was gone.

Somehow the cookies lasted through Monday evening at our house. I am not sure they will last another day. But what was important was not coming home with a ton of cookies, it was the fellowship with other women.

We talked about family traditions, Christmas legends and Susan Boyle. Then there were discussions about jobs, blood drives and church events. By the end of the evening we got around to talking about Les Miserable which opens at the end of the month. Soon we were making plans to get together to watch this spectacle.

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

Have you seen the commercials? Just Anne Hathaway singing sends chills up and down my spine.

The story is about a man who escapes parole and makes a new life for himself. But then a factory worker who has become a prostitute to support her child makes him promise to care for her child. He agrees and that decision leads to trying events in the future. The Oscar buzz for this movie is already crazy and all we have seen are the trailers and various clips.

While this movie is more of an opera because most of the dialogue is sung, it is still considered a musical. Most musicals have songs as interludes, pushing forward the emotions of characters.

The best musical of all time does just this with songs that were not written specifically for the movie. Singin’ In The Rain was a collection of songs that directors Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen liked and wanted to use for a revue-like movie. Each song leads us to know how a character feels at that moment.

One of my favourite musicals is Mamma Mia! Perfect for when I am cleaning house, I love watching this adaptation of the Broadway show starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan because most of the music is toe tapping fun. Perhaps it is too hedonistic for some, it also delves into the emotions of those who are wondering if life has passed them by while they were simply living and raising a family.

Another musical I love is Moulin Rouge starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. Set in 1899, McGregor is a young man who comes to the big city and immediately falls in love with the star of a show. But, being that this is based on La Boheme, she is a courtesan. She should not give in to love as she supports the theatre and allows Kidman to star in the shows.

And like most operas, she has a secret. One that is not that secret and will kill her. We know this going in but who care? The songs, modern and anachronistic, are major spectacles. Even the simple songs fills the heart while the dancing is incredible.

That is what a musical should do, lift your heart, take you to a higher level of emotion, make your spine shiver because the singing is incredible.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

This past weekend, our church women’s group came together for a cookie baking session.

 

Image by Cohdra

Image by Cohdra

Each woman was to bring two batches or more of pre-made cookie dough along with any pans and decorations they had on hand. I made three different cookies doughs: Sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies and M&M cookie dough. At the end of the night, each woman took home a variety of cookies. Four hours of baking ended with nine different kinds of cookies that included ranger cookies and red velvet cookies.

 

The amazing thing is I still have some of those cookies as of Monday morning. I suspect they will all be gone by the end of the day.

 

At the end of the evening, we decided we needed to have another fellowship time and a movie seemed like a good idea. It was also unanimous that Les Mis should be that movie. Just the commercial with Anne Hathaway singing gave me chills up and down the spine.

 

Then again, I have always been a fan of a good musical. The first one that I remember as being life changing was Singin’ In the Rain which starred Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Conner. This movie about the change over from silent movies to talkies focuses on how one leading man is able to transition well while his abhorrent leading lady is not. To make matters worse, he has fallen in love with a chorus girl who has a great voice.

 

I believe it is universally accepted this is the best musicals of all time as well as being one of the best movies ever made. For the last ten years, however, it seems as if we are treated to a new musical every Christmas. While Les Mis has continual singing, making it more opera than musical, the songs break your heart with their beauty.

 

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Poster Image from IMDb.com

One of my favorite musicals in the past few years is Mamma Mia starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan. This musical featuring the songbook of ABBA is a happy, zippy movie that exists in a very adult world that might be a little hedonistic at times. I love putting this one on when I have to do housework.

 

Another musical in recent years that I love is Moulin Rouge starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. The story is a familiar one to opera fans. A young idealistic man falls in love with a beautiful woman who is a courtesan. She also has the dread disease of the early 1900s which is consumption, aka tuberculosis.

 

What I love about this movie is how director Baz Luhrmann uses modern songs in a period piece and somehow it all works out. You have a great love story, fantastic musical pieces and the sage wisdom given by tough people trying to look out for a young man who is writing his first show that must be a block buster. The sets are bright, eclectic and over-the top which matches the movie and it all works.

 

While these movies are not exactly little-kid friendly, they are something you can watch with your teens if they happen to like musicals. Otherwise, you can always join me. I am happy to have a sing-a-long at my house any time.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.