Tag Archive: singin’ in the rain

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.

Revisiting 1950s Movies

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

As Pumpkin Fest gets closer and it is time to create a costume for the scarecrow, I have to admit I am a bit stymied.

I keep thinking about 1950 fashions with those great wide skirts and soft cashmere sweaters. But I am not putting that sweater on a scarecrow that is going to be outside in all sorts of weather.

While I am trying to go through clothing options what I have, I have to admit there are some movies that rolled through my head almost iummediately.

One of the most popular teen movies from the 1950s is Rebel Without A Cause in which there is a new boy in town who has a tendancy to find trouble. But of course, right away he find a girl who understands him and wants to be by his side. This is one of the three movies that made James Dean into a Hollywood legend before his tragic early death. Natalie Wood stars as the girl who loves him.

This next selection might be harder to find but it used to be a classic on late night TV as the star of the movie became a huge TV star on Bonanza, Ponderosa, Little House on the Prairie and Higway to Heaven. I was a Teenage Werewolf starred Michael Landon as a new kid in town with a hot temper. When a fight leads to an appointment with a psychologist, the teen discovers too later that the doctor is really a mad scientist. Things go from bad to worse after that but this movie is great campy fun.

The 50s were a strange time in which we feared nuclear destruction which lead some film makers to create all sorts of monster movies. Godzilla always comes to mind for me as Tokeyo is once again destroyed by various creatures that have grown to ginourmous size about being hit with radiation. Another monster movie from the era was The Blob in which a gelatinous mass tries to absorb the community after coming from outer space. Perhaps one of the best horror/thriller movies from this era might be Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Once again we are being invaded by aliens. But this time they are able to replicate humans and take our lives away.

The fear and suspicion of the era wasn’t just about what could come from outside of our planet. Alfred Hitchcock played on the suspicion we felt about the people around us with Rear Window as Jimmy Stewart’s housebound photographer who starts to wonder if his neighbor has killed his wife. Hitchcock’s 1951 movie, Strangers on a Train, focused on the fears of a mad man that Farly Granger meets on a train as he is trying to figure out how to get his wife to divorce him so Granger can marry the woman who is his true love. The merry-go-round scene still gives me a thrill.

Thankfully, not all movies focused on our fears. Some went out of their way to be crazy fun. This was the era of the musical. One of my favorites is Guys and Dolls which stars Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando as two gamblers who are trying to find a way to get a place for a big game that is hosting a gambler not known for his kindness and generosity. It involves a Slavation Army-type girl in Jean Simmons and show girl Vivian Blaine. But for me the show-stopping number is “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat.”

However, that is not the best musical of the ear. That honor goes to Singin’ In The Rain starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Conner. The story is about the movie industry as it changes over from silent movies to sound. But really the film is built around a collection of songs. One of my favorites is the “Make ’em Laugh” dance routine with Donald O’Conner and a variety of props.

Do you have a favorite movie from the 1950s?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

I Love That Movie!

While my publisher for my Family Movie Night column took her annual vacation, I took a break from writing about movies directly.

Next week will see the return of my Friday posts of the column. It is already written but as it does not publish till next week in the paper, I felt it fitting to wait to post it up here.

However, this week I thought I would take the time to post what I think are some of the best movies ever made. I would ask that you do not consider this a definitive list but one that requires comments and discussion. After all, I could be wrong or forget about something that is truly great.

This is my criteria. The movie has to be one that makes you think about it, even years after seeing it. It may or may not be ground breaking in its genre but it is the one of the best examples in its genre.  It may or may not touch a special place in your heart but the feeling upon seeing the movie should be one of transcendence, as if you were transported and have a difficult time re-adjusting to life as you know it for awhile.

Joseph Cotten and Orsen Wells in Citizen Kane, Picture from IMDb.com

1. Citizen Kane (1941) While some may dismiss this movie for not being evergreen, you cannot dismiss the fact that this movie would influence film-makers for decades. I am not sure what is more interesting – the movie or the stories behind the movie. People have been debating the true meaning of ‘rosebud’ for ages. I will stop and watch this movie whenever it is on because I love watching Joseph Cotton and Orson Wells battle it out on screen.

Tony Perkins in Psycho, Picture from IMDb.com

2. Psycho (1960) The scariest movie ever made – still. Alfred Hitchcock put more scares in a movie that had the least amount of blood I have ever seen. Maybe it is Tony Perkins’ disarming youth that makes him the perfect villain. What I know is that it has been years since I have seen this movie and it still gives me chills.

Bruce from Jaws, Picture from IMDb.com

3. Jaws (1975) A movie with a lot of terror and great little scenes throughout. Plus the music has become a universal note of danger. Bah-bum, bah-bum. And then … gotcha!

Clark Gable and Claudette Cobert, It Happened One Night, Picture from IMDb.com.

4. It Happened One Night (1934) It was one of the first screwball comedies that would lead to romantic comedy and it remains one of the best out there. Perhaps only When Harry Met Sally… surpasses this movie for greatness. One thing to look for when watching the movie; Colbert believed her ‘best’ side was her left and seldom gave a right profile.

Singin' In the Rain Poster, Picture from IMDb.com

5. Singin’ In The Rain (1952) This is the gem of all movie musicals, even with the ‘Gotta Dance’ sequence that stops the action. But really who cares? Cyd Charisse is dancing and it is incredible. It is one of those rare movies that exudes joy.

Javier Bardiem in No Country for Old Men, Picture from IMDb.com

6. No Country For Old Men (2007) This movie remains one of those that I can never stop thinking about. It was a movie that made us realize there is an actor in Josh Brolin and that Javier Bardiem was a character with a strange set of principles. I still find various images coming to me and feeling sorry for all of the people who came into contact with Anton.

Woody and Buzz from Toy Story, Picture from IMDb.com

7. Toy Story (1995) Pixar figured out how to make perfect movies without relying on Disney’s formulas of missing parents. Instead they create a movie with complete characters, exciting action sequences and non-stop fun. Tim Allen and Tom Hanks captured the essence of buddy relationships in this movie that speaks to its audience, not down.

Picture from IMDb.com

8. Spirited Away (2001) If there was ever a reason to argue for Anime, this movie is it. Hayao Miyazaki creates animation by hand that is incredibly beautiful with stories that are deep and spiritual. Some scenes looked like black and white poetry while others were as wonderful as a Monet painting. The story is of a girl who works at a spa for the gods of Japan in an effort to save her parents who mistakenly ate the food of the gods. Incredible, beautiful, breathe-taking.

Movie Poster, Picture from IMDb.com

9. Nosferatu (1922) Made during the silent era, this is the vampire movie of all time. The shadows, the eerie creature, the consequences. Forget Twilight , this is the real deal of the fascinating and horrors of life with a vampire.

Animal House, Picture from IMDb.com

10. Animal House (1978)  A crazy, crude movie that lives on and on and on. I have not seen it in years but whenever I see a picture of John Belushi, I think of this movie. The movie is based at a university and the house is the home of the wildest craziest fraternity.