Tag Archive: Tom Hanks


Tom and Meg

Tonight I watched one of my favorite movies. It was made in 1998.

When did 1998 become twenty years ago?

It seemed like yesterday in the golden age of romantic comedies. But her I am, twenty years older, just like Meg and Tom.

Yes, I am on a first name basis with these two as are many women my generation. We watched them in Joe Vs. the Volcano, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail.

I realize that Tom is really busy and Meg is taking time to work behind the scenes. But it is time for them to make a movie again.

Seriously.

They are a part of the Boomer generation and maybe it is time to see these two back in a romantic comedy. A romantic comedy in which the two people are the approximate same age going through similar circumstances with their business and family and life.

And I have the perfect vehicle for them.

It’s called Juliet and Romeo by Jeanne Ray.

Julie and RomeoThis book is about an couple whose families are life long enemies although no one is quite sure why. The both own flower shops and have large families. Julie is divorced while Romeo ‘s wife died a few years ago.

Their attraction begins while attending a seminar for small business owners who are struggling and need new ideas.

After seeing each other across a hallway, the two develop a bond. They fall crazy in love. But now they have to fight against old hatreds and new-fangled shenanigans from their children.

It feels like it could fit these two people who are now older but have feelings that are definitely something from when they were younger.

Now Meg and Tom would be the obvious choices for Julie and Romeo. But there are two daughters for Julie and several sons and a younger daughter for Romeo. And this could be fun casting. Personally, I would love to see Selena Gomez as Romeo’s younger daughter. She could hit that younger boho vibe with an iron will. You will need a few tough guys to play the oldest son and daughter on each side along with some star-crossed loved in that younger set.

I used to think Sandra Bullock would be great as the older daughter. But now I am thinking of someone else, perhaps Eva Mendez or Amanda Peet. Maybe Adam Driver could be Romeo’s older son who is a force to be reckoned with. He needs to lighten up sometimes. And for the old grandmother, you could go for the Italian stereotype or allow Betty White to do something besides the naughty old lady.

All I am saying is that Meg and/or Tom need to read this book and figure out how to make a fun movie out of it.

Is that so hard to do?

Comfort Movie

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

As we zoom into the holiday season, I find I want to watch those movies that are comforting and familiar.

Youve-Got-Mail-movie-posterThis past week I watched You’ve Got Mail for the umpteenth time. One child shook his head and asked if I hadn’t watched this movie too many times. Another child wondered why I was watching the movie without her.

I found myself reading quotes from the movie on IMDb.com and knew where each one came from. Okay, maybe not right down to the minute but I recognized where each one fit in the movie.

I know the movie well despite hating the ending which I will talk about later.

I find that this movie has a wonderful mix of the sentimental and the modern. In this movie the characters meet in an online discussion group, something very modern in the late 90s as AOL and the internet takes off. They meet at Starbucks, which was beginning to be everywhere.

youve got mail coffee shopAnd yet it is filled with memories from the music by Harry Nilsson and Roy Orbison. Each song seems perfectly fitted for the emotional moment of each scene. The most modern song comes from The Cranberries at the beginning of the movie which set the tone of the busy-iness of New York City, of the people walking to work at a quick and excited pace.

There are all of these charming moments throughout the movie with lovely incidental music that has a slight jazzy tone that romances us and reminds us of an earlier citified age.

All of these elements allow me to forgive the ending in which I think Kathleen should have slapped Joe in the face for his deception. She should have told him off before admitting she hoped it would be him all along. Maybe that would have been trite, maybe not the right payoff. But I always felt that she accepted Joe too easily.

You've Got Mail book storeWe all have that kind of movie that makes us happy, where all of the pieces come together perfectly and tell a story the right way. I have wonderful friends who love horror movies, my mother could watch Humphrey Bogart movies all day. My sons are happy with movies that have explosions and chase scenes.

These are the movies we all turn to when life needs to stay on the other side of the door, when we just need a break from the world for a little while. In the next month and a half, life will get crazy for some of us with holiday events and concerts and family gatherings. For some of us the holiday season is a simple reminder of all the things and people we are missing.

Comfort movies help us get through, maybe they allow us to cry or feel exhilarated. We know how everything will move through the story, we know the dialogue, and the various underlying themes that we may or may not think about.

Maybe for you that movie is Godzilla in whatever iteration but for me it is You’ve Got Mail. And the only other thing I need besides a box of kleenex is a bowl of popcorn with cinnamon sprinkled about.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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.

Valentine’s Aftermath

Do You Have Grit?

Family Movie Night

A few months ago my husband asked what is the latest western to be made that was a good movie.

Robert Duvall, Annette Bening and Kevin Kostner in "Open Range," image from IMDB.com.

If you had asked me then, I would have said “Open Range” starring Robert Duvall and Kevin Costner. The time period is the old west when men could still move their herd of cattle to graze without worrying about property lines. However, times are changing and a land baron wishes to teach these old timers a lesson.

While the movie is rated “R” for violence and perhaps not the kid friendliest because of that and its length, I find it beautiful and lyrical. It is a slow moving story and yet I am gripped by the beauty of it all. Duvall and Costner work well off of each other while Annette Bening glows as the sister of the local doctor. She is older than most women and shows her age. But her grace and heart willing to love is on simple display.

Had you asked me before Saturday, I would have said that movie. But then the husband and I watched “True Grit” starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld.

Movie Poster image from IMDb.com.

It has been years since I have last seen the original so there was nothing former to compare. Relieved of that burden, I sat back an enjoyed a superbly made movie that is moves into the darker aspects

of the west. Men formed gangs and happily robbed others. They thought nothing of shooting each other and knowing that retribution would more than likely not be delivered to them.

We see this in Tom Chaney as played by Josh Brolin. We see this in Rooster Cogburn and LaBoeuf as they argue who has grit and who did more wrong during the civil war. But lets talk about Haille Steinfeld.

This young girl puts in a bravura performance as a young girl who has been in an adult role for some time.

Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit," image from IMDb.com.

She runs the family, not her mother. And she can bargain with the best of them. But Steinfeld also allows the little girl to show when when she collects her father’s personal effects. Her eyes glows as she remembers the man and finds a way to make his hat fit on her smaller head.

It is her idealism that allows her to make the decision to hire a man to capture her father’s killer. It is that sense of justice owed to her father that makes her deal with Cogburn and LaBouef. She is constantly wrangling and bargaining. Make me wonder if this girl (Mattie, not Hailee) was ever given a chance to simply play.

Probably not.

As the story movies on, we see that she is made of a stern of stuff as the two lawmen. They may not have wanted her around on this mission but they take her when there is no choice and become appreciative of her lack of ‘missus’ behavior. Damon and Bridges work well together as two men who cannot stand each other but have a common goal. It was a joy watching them work off of each other.

This is not a kid movie. The rating is PG-13 for intense sequences such as a hanging and several gun fights. I would allow middle school age and older to watch this one although my husband and I did it as a “date night’ at home.

Sherrif Woody and Buzz from "Toy Story," Image from IMDb.com.

If seeing a western with the kids is what you want to do with the kids, I would suggest Toy Story. Maybe it is not a western with cowboys and indians but it has many of those themes. And besides, who doesn’t love Sheriff Woody?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

And On To The Oscars

Family Movie Night

This past weekend saw the Golden globes hand out their awards and next will be various guilds until we get to Oscar Night!

As a movie person, I get really excited about this night and I feel bad when I have not seen all of the movies. But this year I am taking the bulls by the horn. 

Rooney Mara and Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network," picture from IMDb.com

 As of the 18th, you can start your rental road to the Oscars with Golden Globe Best Movie winner, The Social Network.  Jesse Eisenberg stars as the Harvard student who came up with Facebook. This is how he wheeled and dealed (sort of), lost friends, gained business associates and became the youngest billionaire.

 All the critics have raved about this movie, talking about Eisenberg’s  accurate portrayal and Justin Timberlake’s incredible performance. As much as I do not know about computer programming, I want to see this movie for the story.

 Another movie that is destined for a Best Movie nomination is Inception starring Leonardo Di Caprio and directed by

Leonardo Di Caprio in "Inception," picture from IMDb.com

Christopher Nolan. The story is about a man who can steal ideas as people are sleeping. However, Di Caprio is not able to go home to his children. That is when he is offered a deal to plant a suggestion in someone’s head in exchange for redemption.

 What makes this movie fascinating, besides the premise alone, is the special effects of the ever-changing dream world. With a tug of the hand scenes can instantly change. It is incredible to watch along with the emotionally charged story. I was able to get through one hour before I had to turn it off. I plan to rent this movie again.

Grown-up Andy looking at his favorite toys, Picture from IMDb.com

Finally, I hope that Toy Story 3 will get nominated for Best Picture although I suspect it will be placed in Best Animation as a consolation prize. I find this movie to be a thrilling story of growing up, regrets, a little action adventure and, finally, rebirth.

 Now if none of these movies appeal, let me suggest The Other Guys starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as two NYPD detectives who hate each other. Luck shines on the caustic partners as they discover a case that could make them into the big-time cops they dream of being.

This is a PG-13 movie, not suitable for the younger members of the family. It looks like a whole lot of fun besides the opportunity to ogle Mark Wahlberg’s abs that were put into shape as he got ready for The Fighter.

Will Ferrell and the hot, hot, hot Mark Wahlberg in "The Other Guys," picture from IMDb.com

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

Getting Cozy in the Cabin

Family Movie Night

As the temperature begins to drop, all I really want to do is dress in a big sweater, jeans and hide indoors.

Picture by Anita Patterson

I felt it this morning as I was getting up and trying to get the kids up for the day. It was cold on those floors to the bare feet. No one wanted to get up and face the day.

Here’s the rub – it is not even that cold yet. We are talking about temperatures in the 40s. I guess after the hot summer we had had, 40s feel like a slap in the face. Where is the comforting warmth, the cool breeze at the right time? My guess is that they packed up and went to Bermuda.

Which leads me back to the couch with a warm blanket and a cup of hot something to drink. As the kids and dog huddle around, we also want to watch something heartwarming and comforting in its own way.

That is when you pull out Toy Story. Give yourself a mini film fest of the best family movie series of all time.

Buzz and Woody race back to Andy, Picture from IMDb.com

When the first movie hit, we fell in love. Woody and Buzz, as voiced by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, were the kind of guys we could relate to and cheer for. Plus, they are always trying to go home. They understand as much as we do that there must be one safe place you always want to go. Call it the “Cheers” maxim, go where everyone knows your name.

Toy Story saw the introduction of Buzz to Andy’s bedroom and the big rescue from Sid’s house. Toy Story 2 introduced us to Jessie, Bullseye and Mrs. Potatohead as well as the world of collectible toys while bringing on a great airport rescue.

Jessie, Woody and Bullseye watching their TV show. Picture from IMDb.com

Toy Story 3 was released on DVD on November 2, making the final entry of the series that will have you crying at various parts for all the right reasons.

In this outing, Andy is leaving for college. He is packing up his room and has to decide what to do

An 18-year-old Andy deciding what to do with his old toys. Picture from IMDb.com

with his old toys. No 18 year-old wants to admit he still loves his toys nor does Andy truly want to be parted with them. By accident the gang finds they have been taken to a daycare center. What seems like paradise turns to be something very different and sinister.

Why do all three movies work? Because first and foremost, the scripts never doubt the intelligence of the viewer. It is not dumbed-down just because this is a “family movie.”

The characters are fully formed with many aspects to them. The animation is always top quality, giving pictures to the wonderful voice talents that are being used. It’s not just Hanks and Allen who are great. So are Don Rickles, Joan Cusack, Annie Potts, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenburger, Laurie Metcalf, Kelsey Grammer, Ned Beatty and the late Jim Varney.

Finally, the music written for this series has always been perfect. The songs have me laughing and crying, amazed by their depth of emotion.

There are so many reasons to love this movie series but the biggest one is that it is fun.  We learn so much through playing but because it is play we never realize just how much we are learning. After you watch Toy Story once, you will be a fan forever.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below. Become my friend on Facebook.

 
Andy giving a loving look at his favorite toys. Picture from IMDb.com

Family Movie Night Column

This week the third installment of the Toy Story franchise will come to theaters.

 Andy is about to go to college and his mother mistakenly gives his old toys – Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the whole gang – to a day care with other toys she meant to give away.

 Are you going to see it? I know we are. Our house has loved this series of movies. We had the first movie on VHS when our second oldest was a toddler. He loved watching this movie so much it became a daily routine.

 When Toy Story 2 came out on VHS, we had to get it just for him. Then I had to make the one-movie-per-day ruling because that child wanted to watch both movies every day.

 On the other hand, this child also had some speech problems and by

Buzz and Woody fighting at the gas station. Picture from IMDb.com

repeating the lines over and over, it helped his annunciation. I would come around the corner and listen to him saying Woody’s lines or making Buzz and Woody fight.

 For a while we had just about every character in toy form. Over the years, some have been broken and had to be thrown away. Broke my heart every time.

 Why? Because a part of me buys the premise that when we fall asleep or are not in the room, toys come alive. They seem very real. There has to be a reason toys are never where you put them or why game pieces suddenly go missing.

 Before you go to Toy Story 3, go ahead and rent Toy Story and Toy Story 2. See how Pixar broke the mold of family movies by making them with

the gang crossing the street to rescue Woody in TS2. Picture from IMDb.com.

solid plots, good characterization and taking away those bad parental figures.  We love these characters because they have our faults and graces. We know them inside and out in a good way.

I like that Tom Hanks and Tim Allen have always managed to find the right notes for their characters. Woody may be a benevolent despot but he likes to be in control of his world. Yet, his character always manages to grow and do the right thing when he wants to do otherwise. And Buzz? I can’t think of anything mean to say about him. He is just a great guy, even when he believes he is a real space ranger.

I have watched Toy Story several times, loving it with each viewing. I can repeat dialogue and know when everything is going to happen. I have analyzed the music, noting how Toy Story 2 uses incidental music that sounds like it could come from a 1950’s serial flick.

Jessie, Woody and Bullseye watching their TV show in TS2. Picture from IMDb.com

In the end, I believe that Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are in that small group of perfect movies in the world. And I am hoping Toy Story 3 is just as good at pulling my heartstrings without making me feel manipulated.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for your own Family Movie Night and leave a comment or become my friend on Facebook.

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.