Tag Archive: New York City


Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

What do our pets do when we are not around?

 

lady08-4-15I suspect that our lovely Lady continues to lay on the couch and nap throughout the day. Then she takes a break by barking at the squirrels who come on our porch for a snack.

 

Maybe she turns on the TV to watch Animal Planet but I doubt it.

 

After watching The Secret Life of Pets, I can’t help but wonder if my dog is really a spy or friends with all dogs. And as we contemplate getting a second dog, it makes me wonder if the reaction to a new dog will be similar.

 

You see, in this movie a cute Jack Russell Terrier named Max is very hapy with his life with his human, Katie, in New York City. He has friends in his building and neighborhood. Life is good until Katie shows up one day with a big brute of a dog named Duke.

 

They do not like each other instantly. Duke has made it known he is the top dog and Max responds but putting Duke in his place. This leads to an altercation during their daily walk with the dog walker. Max puts down Duke and puts him in his place every chance he gets. Duke responds by trysecret-life-of-petsing to get Max lost.

 

He does so in a big way. But it is a disaster that leads to Max and Duke being captured by a group of deserted pets who are lead by a demented white rabbit. After an escape that leads them across the river to Brooklyn, the two dogs try to find a way back home.

 

Meanwhile, Gidget the pomeranian realizes that Max is missing and organizes a search-and-rescue party. It involves a very fat cat, a guinea pig, a weiner dog, and a bassett hound with wheels for back legs. And a red-tail hawk who is hoping for a meal.

 

The adventures these creatures go on is very exciting. They have to expand their horizons, challenge their fears, and confront difficult situations.

 

Every moment is worth it. The animation is beautiful. And the characters are wonderfully developed. I enjoyed being around this crazy group of friends who work to find their friends who is missing. Jack and Duke develop a relationship based on need at first. But as you can imagine, they have to go through several trials and tribulations before finally making a big break through.

 

Some movies are good for a nap, some movies are good for having on while doing projects. But this movie is good for watching and paying attention and savoring the story. It is one of those few movies that really is enjoyable for the whole family.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

One Fine Day

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

For whatever reasons, whenever it rains for days in a row, I am reminded of One Fine Day starring Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney.

One Fine Day - missing busSet in New York City on a rainy spring day, the storyline is about two single parents who manage to miss the school field trip on a big day for each of their careers. Melanie blames Jack because she was trying to grab his daughter to take her to school. That made her late. Jack, on the other hand, did not know he was taking care of his daughter for a week until the morning of the field trip. Through the course of the day, they try to figure out what to do to make their meetings, run their work errands, and take care of the kids.

Along the way, each parent develops an appreciation for the other while holding on to their own prejudices and fears. For moments at a time, they let go of those fears to begin the steps of falling in love again. It is filled with wonderful moments of truth telling, happy moments, and fear.

One Fine Day Movie PosterI have no idea why rain makes me think of this movie because for one, I have never been to New York City. But when I watch it, I wonder if you can really get around Manhattan in a taxi. Or if Serendipity is really that good. The film makes me want to take a trip there to see Washington Park and the museums and Carnegie Deli.

While the setting and the music are wonderful side characters, what I really love about this movie are the two leads – Melanie and Jack (Pfeiffer and Clooney, respectively). They portray a certain constant weariness that is always present in parenting. Even when you think you have gotten enough sleep, you have not gotten enough sleep. But they also show that parental love has no limits.

Secondly, these are two people who are a little broken by their relationships that didn’t work out. Each character has trust issues and they wonder if they can trust another person once again. That both are attracted to another person and see the possibility of hope in that person is a huge emotional step. What is even better is that they can admit it openly. How many of us ever want to admit to the soft parts inside our souls.

One fine day - kiss
But, lastly I love some of their arguments that talk about the truth of life. If we like what we like and want things to go that way, are we control freaks or people who know what we like? As parents, especially single parents, keeping everything going means juggling and relying on yourself. Sometimes we have to admit that we are out of options. And sometimes, we have to admit we want the magic of love in our lives.

The movie is now twenty years old and there are some things that are incredibly out dated, such as their cell phones and Jack’s baggy pants. And then there are some things that never grow old, such as Melanie’s suit, how kids behave, or men and women trying to figure out the life/work balance.

This may not be a movie to watch with younger kids because Jack tends to say G-D, a lot. This is more of a movie to watch with girlfriends who can agree or disagree with whatever is happening on the screen.

Bring on the rain just so I can hear the Natalie Merchant take on that classic old song once more.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Do you ever watch an older movie and wonder whatever happened to the cast?

Last week, for whatever reasons, I decided to watch Godspell. You know, the religious movie for the Pepsi generation.

GodspellIt’s the one set in New York City with deserted streets and building tops where the cast dances and sings about the Gospel of Matthew. It is a little quirky with people dressed in tee shirts and jeans and suspenders. Jesus has a huge afro and clown paint around his eyes. John the Baptist wears a multi-colored morning coat.

People are happy and incredibly intune with each other. It’s a hippy version of the Messiah story that still ends with Jesus dying but being with us. It is a very 60s kind of thing.

When I watched it this time, I finally understood how one could have a personal relationship with Jesus. He was there holding hands with his disciples, singing and laughing. It was natural for these people to do that with the master. I remember people in college talking about having that kind of relationship and it made me wonder how such a thing could happen with an onipotent being like God or Jesus.

But there was Victor Garber, looking so young and beautiful. His eyes simply captured a person. Even now, 40 years later, Garber is still handsome. Maybe you know him from Sleepless in Seattle as Tom Hank’s brother-in-law or as Jack Bristow from Alias. But now I have this picture of baby-faced adult Jesus in my head thanks to Victor. I loved how credible he made the character. He was Jesus but still human at different points, sweet without being sickening. That is hard to do.

Godspell ParkAnother actor I recognized was Lynn Thigpen. She was great. I knew her from the old children’s program Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego​? She played the Chief who was always trying to find super thief, Carmen Sandiego, with the help of the pre-teen contestants. Lynn played that role a little crazy and over the top. But she had other roles where she played it serious such as in the TV show The District. Sadly. Thigpen died of an aneurism in 2003 but her memory lives on as the name of a huge grade school in Joliet.

To me, the biggest cast member is the city of New York. They were able to close off sections for short times of filming. One dance was done on the top of the World Trade Center just after construction had been completed. Another takes place in a deserted mansion filled with antique furniture. There is the fountain scene and the entire time in Central Park that amazes me for being so deserted. We get to see the beauty of New York without the distraction of people.

It is a simple movie about complex ideas. I planned to allow our youth group members to watch this movie. I also realized that I was going to have to stop it after each segment to explain what was being taught, such as during the scene discussing the beatitudes. It may not stand the test of time as Jesus Christ Superstar has done but it is still very interesting to watch.

Here is the best song I remember from this movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Now for that favorite time of the month when I talk about the book I’ve read for the ChickLitPlus reading challenge.

Last month, I totally bailed on the reading challenge. Not that I meant to but July just passed by so fast.  I missed out on a bunch of things.

So I did what I do best. I watched a few more episodes of Ghost Adventures and rested my feet as they hurt, hurt, hurt. Then I got off my butt and started getting myself into gear.

I cleaned a few things, did some gardening, got ready for the rummage sale at church as well as the back-to-school chores. I still need to clean up the area around my bed but I have been throwing stuff out.

One of the rules for this reading challenge is to read two debut novels during the year. I have read one debut novel this year and jumped at the chance to read another that appears on one of Samantha’s blog tours.

Image from Barnesandnoble.com

So this month’s selection is Breaking The Rules by Cat Lavoie. This first novel from the Quebec province native is set in New York City and feels as if this is written by a native who knows their way around.

The story focuses on lifelong best friends, Roxanne and Ollie, who live together in a small but great apartment.

Ollie is leaving soon to take a new assignment in London as a Green architect.   Roxanne plans to stay in her position as personal assistant to a Public Relations maven. She dreams of owning her own restaurant and is a great cook.

On his last night in New York, Roxanne throws a farewell party and manages to forget to invite Ollie’s girlfriend. Roxanne’s boyfriend shows up outside but does not join the party because he does not like any of Roxanne’s friends.

The morning Ollie leaves, he has to tell Roxy she cannot come to the airport because Rachel, the girlfriend, does not want her there. So she sees him off and before Ollie gets in the cab, they share a stunning kiss that makes them re-think everything.

However, life cannot stop. Ollie gets on the plane and Roxy goes back to work. One night she comes home to find both of her sisters at her apartment. Izzy is a lawyer having a mid-life crisis. Steffi is six months pregnant and refusing to talk about the father.

Roxy also receives a slight promotion at work, helping to publicize the new restaurant of a star chef. And her fiancee, Ethan, has different ideas about their wedding than she does. Oh and there is the looming mother-in-law who uses her nose to look down at Roxy.

With all of that action, there is plenty of drama to draw on. Roxy’x bad boss, her battle-ax future-mother-in-law, rollicking best friends and a boyfriend that is a jack-ass. Why does the slightly over-weight girl always find the one guy who treats them like crap?

Author Cat Lavoie; Image from Chick Lit Plus

Anyway, once I started reading it was really difficult to stop. I stayed up way later than I should have because I enjoyed being with Roxy and her sisters. Roxy is fun, an admitted procrastinator and someone who feels stuck in life. She loves food, is a loyal friend but also lives on the river of Denial. In other words, she is a lot like most of us who has a domineering sister, a cute baby sister and parents who try to have their girls be as independent as possible.

The writing is lively and interesting. And when the twists start coming, I thought they were imaginative and real. Most characters are developed well and we understand why Roxy hangs with them. Why she is in love with Ethan is a mystery.

This was a great book to read for relaxation and I would recommend it. Cat Lavoie has a good ear for dialogue and how bad people act in various situations.

I also need to mention that this was my first time with an e-book. If Lavoie’s book had not been a good read, I would have given up on it. I am not a fan of reading from the computer with the light in the back ground and my having to sit up the whole time. I like to read in bed while lying down and this was not a good experience for me.

You are probably wondering how it all ends. Do Ollie and Roxy figure out their feelings? What is going on with Izzy and Steffi? What happens with the bad boss?   Is Ethan really involved in this relationship? Well, you know how it goes, read the book to find out.

This is Cat Lavoie’s debut novel and it can be found at Barnes and Noble in a nook version for $2.99.

Something Blue

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

I am on a quest to lose weight.

 

With a family history of diabetes, I am working to build better habits now to ensure that I will have them later.

 

One tool I used to record my workouts is the Noom app I found on my smart phone.

 

Gratuitous picture of Hugh Jackman from IMDb.com

For the workout portion of the program, I can see how many steps I took, my distance, time and rate of speed. It will also map my route using the gps device. During the walk, it even talks to me in an English accent.

 

I call this voice ‘Hugh” because it reminds me of Hugh Laurie from the TV show “House” and Hugh Jackman. I set the volume for Hugh at the loudest rate possible so that I can hear it, especially if Storm decides to chase a squirrel or bird or another dog.

 

So when it came to this week’s column, I thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if we watched the latest Hugh Jackman movie, Real Steal, and tie this all together. But luck or fate was not with us. While I kept the dog outside (there is no way Larry wants my dog running around his store and I am not paying the outrageous food bill that dog will amass), my daughter went in to get the movie.

 

Poster Image from IMDb.com

“The bad news is Real Steal was out,” she said upon coming out of the store. “But I got The Smurfs instead.” There was excitement in her face and I was feeling so disappointed. I did not want to watch tiny blue people on my relaxing Friday night, I wanted Hugh Jackman.

 

The thing is, once the movie came into the house and the other members heard that the movie of the night was The Smurfs, they were pretty happy. Then friends showed up to watch the movie. I made four pizzas and the husband was lucky to get one piece. I was lucky to get two pieces and I was in the house from the beginning.

 

The movie is about how Gargamel (Hank Azaria) brings the Smurfs to New York City in order to steal their power. It is a long drawn out plan that involves leaf blowers and a castle in Central Park .

 

Somehow, the smurfs connect with Patrick and Grace Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays). Well, sooner or later, everyone figures out what needs to happen to get the smurfs back to their own world and take care of business in New York . Papa Smurf, as voiced by Jonathon Winters, gives sage advice to the expectant father and Smurfette (Katy Perry) bonds with Grace, the only other girl she has ever met.

 

The kids loved it. They had a good time watching this movie while I wondered how many times Neil Patrick Harris called his agent and screamed. OK, the sequence in which he went off on the continual use of the word ‘smurf’ was good but the hugs at the end were unnecessary.

 

All I can say is that it is a safe movie for kids to watch alone and they will enjoy it. It is not something I am planning to ever watch again.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

There are some movies I watch purely for the experience of the location. 

Because of certain movies, I have a desire to visit New York City. Granted, I am a farm girl and avid Chicago fan. I was one of the few people who wanted to see the Olympics come here. 

Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, You've Got Mail. Picture from IMDb.com

 

 But every time I see You’ve Got Mail I am entranced by a part of the city I have never really seen. Oh, sure I enjoy the story in which big box bookstore owner Tom Hanks puts independent bookstore owner Meg Ryan out of business without knowing she is the computer friend with whom he has fallen in love. 

 I hate the ending but enjoy the movie during every other moment.  

Hugh Jackman and Meg Ryan, Kate and Leopold. Picture from IMDb.com

 

Another Meg Ryan flick I like that gives me a taste of NYC is Kate and Leopold. Here Ryan is a marketing guru who falls for Hugh Jackman, a time traveling English aristocrat. We get to see an old NYC mansion, Brooklyn Bridge up close and personal, various parts of Manhattan and Central Park. 

 As much as I like the story, Ryan’s character can be a bit prickly. But there are reasons and she explains them well. Plus, Hugh Jackman is sooo dishy. 

My last pick that makes me want to travel to the Big Apple is One Fine Day starring Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney. Granted these two are 

Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney, One Fine Day. Picture from IMDb.com

 

perhaps the most beautiful people in the world – still. But this movie takes place about ten years ago as two single parents try to deal with a day that has been derailed. That these lonely and scared singles think about trying again gives hope to the rest of us and brought a tangible element to some of the silliness. 

Plus these two families go all over the city, showing us how great the largest city in the United States really is. 

Other places I have put on my list is Montreal in the Quebec province of Canada. Why? Because it looked so cool in The Score with Robert DeNiro, Marlon Brando and Edward Norton. This heist movie focuses on a scepter in a custom-house. Norton is the young criminal who thinks he is smarter than the old guys and will learn a lesson or two along the way. 

The incredibly glorious Diane Lane in Under The Tuscan Sun. Picture from IMDb.com

 Lastly, I have always wanted to go to Italy. Thanks to movies such as Under The Tuscan Sun starring Diane Lane and Sandra Oh, and Enchanted April with Miranda Richardson, there is a part of me that wants to wander the countryside of Italy. Will I find a villa, true love or a romantic kiss like the one that occurs in A Room With A View? Maybe, maybe not but I would not mind packing my bags to take a flight over and find out. 

What movies inspire you to pack your bags?

 

 Until next week, see you in the rental aisle. 

 Let the world, or at least St. Anne, know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note to P.O. Box 306, St. Anne, IL 60964 or become my friend on Facebook.