Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Our 25th Wedding Anniversary at the Big Sur

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

This post is somewhat at odds with the chronological order of recent entries, but I am the owner and editor of this blog, and therefore I can do what I damn well please.

In June my wife and I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary. Not bad for two middle-aged divorcees. We spent part of our honeymoon at the Big Sur in California, and what better place to celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary. Big Sur is situated on Highway 1 which is arguably the most picturesque drive in America. Moving onto our itinerary:

Friday: Flew to San Jose after surviving a grungy flight attendant. Rented a car and drove to Embassy Suites, Monterey. Had lunch at the Sand Bar Grill near the harbor where we enjoyed “she crab” soup.

Saturday: Visited the famous Cannery Row in Monterey which was a touch on the cheesy side. Fisherman’s Wharf was likewise. My wife had raved about the Monterey Aquarium, but it’s not a patch on the Atlanta Aquarium. Our first hour was relatively  quiet, but it wasn’t long before we were overrun by hordes of screaming kids.

Sunday: Drove to Big Sur, stopping on the way to undertake the 17 mile Pebble Beach Golf tour. I marveled at the golf courses and oceanic scenery the first time I did the tour, but it was a little underwhelming this time and dominated by too many tourists. Why do Orientals assume they can invade your personal space to take a photograph?

We finally arrived at the Deetjens Big Sur Inn which was to be our accommodation for our stay. In the early 1930s, Helmuth Deetjen, a Norwegian immigrant, purchased 120 acres of land in Castro Canyon and began building a homestead. Before Highway One was completed in 1937, Castro Canyon was a traditional stopover for travelers making their way along the coastal wagon road. The Deetjens welcomed overnight guests, and the Big Sur Inn was born. Over the years Deetjen built Norwegian-style rooms and gave each them a name: we stayed at the cosey Castro Cabin with no WI-FI, no cell phone service  and no TV or radio. It was surreal yet magical. All work was done by Deetjen and friends using locally milled , scavenged redwood.

The Inn exists today because, when Deetjen died in 1972, he left the Inn “to be forever enjoyed by transient guests wanting to experience the peace, friendship, and beauty of this place.” The Inn is a registered National Historic Site. We had dinner at Deetjen’s restaurant and enjoyed a fabulous steak.

Monday: had brunch at Nepenthe where the views from the terrace offer outstanding ocean vistas. Just down the road we visited the Henry Miller Library, author of “Tropic of Cancer.”

Tuesday: We made it to our 25th Anniversary. Drove to Gorda to enjoy all the magnificent scenery that Highway One had to offer. We had our Anniversary dinner at Deetjens, and I was so entranced by my beautiful bride, I can’t remember what I ordered. I know we each had a glass of champagne to celebrate, but it was all a blur after that.

Wednesday: we  decided to take the Big Sur Lighthouse Tour which proved to be very informative and entertaining. The contrast in temperature between the top of the hill where the lighthouse was perched and sea level was incredible. Lunch was partaken at the River Inn which served very tasty baby back ribs.

Thursday: no trip to the Big Sur is complete unless you visit Pfeiffer Big Sur Beach. The shape of the cliffs and archways eroded away by on rushing waves is spectacular. We enjoyed another drive along Highway One, and stopped to have a pleasant lunch at Lucia Bar and Grill. The Henry Miller Library whetted our appetite for a little more culture, and we attended the International Short Film Screening Event.  It was tantamount to stepping back to the Sixties. Hippies, the unwashed and pot smokers were in full attendance strewn around the outdoor theatre facility enjoying the ambience.

Friday: it was unfortunately back to reality as we bade farewell to Deetjens and the Big Sur, and drove to San Jose in readiness to fly home to Atlanta the following day. We walked around San Jose for a while before returning to our minimalist and sterile hotel.  It’s a very disappointing  city with little character to speak of save for a profusion of electric bikes attempting to maim or injure innocent pedestrians. Note to whom it may concern: electric bikes traveling as 15 miles an hour cannot safely share the sidewalk with pedestrians. To paraphrase Ron White: “You can’t fix stupid!!!”

Saturday: Homeward bound. A very enjoyable and memorable trip which enhanced our 25th Wedding Anniversary.


Oscar Time Again

Friday, February 24th, 2017

I make no excuses, but I am a movie buff and it’s easily my favorite art form. I used to love watching the Oscar Ceremony  to see if my favorite movie, actor or actress (non-politically correct) won the award. But we have given them a miss these past few years due to Hollywood narcissism, ill-considered and unnecessary political speeches, and diabolical hosts.

What is most disturbing this year is the unjust  accusation  of the Black Community that they are not adequately represented in the nominations.  Codswallop!!! Three of the movies (33%) deal with the lives of black people. That is a reasonably favorable percentage when you consider only 13% of  America’s population are black.

Ten nominations for Best Picture:

Arrival: My wife was anticipating another Independence Day with aliens arriving in spaceships, but nothing much happens. I believe it was the first movie I’ve seen her doze off. I liked it primarily because it stars Amy Adams, but Amy apart what was it’s purpose?

Lion: Based on a true story, it is  the “Prince and Pauper” story but with only one boy; lost on a train in India a thousand miles from home, and years later attempts to discover his natural family. One of the few nominations that has a happy ending.

Hell Or High Water: Modern day western which is only memorable for Jeff Bridges speaking throughout the movie as if  gargling with a mouthful of marbles. Another of those movies where you have no sympathy for the characters and basically you don’t care what happens to them.

Hidden Figures: True story about black lady mathematicians working on the space program. It is  heartwarming and inspirational.

Manchester By The Sea: A thoroughly slow paced depressing movie which features the “other” Affleck brother, Casey.  Michelle Williams plays Affleck’s ex-wife in the movie and you can always rely on Ms. Williams to give a depressing performance.

Moonlight: Oh boy, yet another depressing movie which tells the story of a gay black person who becomes a drug dealer. Following the theme of several of this year’s nominees, it is agonizingly slow.

Fences: formerly a stage play starring and directed by Denzel Washington. Features a lot of talking confined to rooms in the protagonist’s house and back porch. It is a play placed on the big screen, and with that format in mind it is yet another of this year’s nomination which is slow paced,

Hacksaw Ridge: Directed by the bad boy of Hollywood, Mel Gibson. Another true story of a World War 2 pacifist, Doss, played by Andrew “Spiderman” Garfield. It is a fascinating account of one man standing by his convictions against unspeakable opposition, and finally overcoming them with heroism and humility.

La La Land: By all accounts you have to be doo lally to watch this movie. It’s a simple story, riddled with clichés and written thousands of times in Hollywood. Boy meets girl and predictably it’s cheesy.

AND THE WINNER IS: La La Land. Wait a minute, no it isn’t. Those narcissistic, pampered, self-indulgent, overvalued Hollywood Liberals have screwed up. Blame wrinkly Warren Beatty and plastic faced Faye Dunaway if you will, allowed out of their rest home for the night, but they were the fall guys in this farce. The Oscar is ripped from the clammy paws of the La La Land producer, and handed to the cast of Moonlight. Don’t you just hate that little weasel, Jimmy Kimmel?

The Biggest Turkeys for Thanksgiving

Friday, November 28th, 2014

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and thanks to my Big Green Egg we enjoyed a succulent, juicy turkey for dinner. On the subject on turkeys listed below are some of the biggest ones for 2014:

  1. Barak Obama. I’m not going to validate this bozo by giving him his official title. How many other presidents would have sat back and allowed Americans to be beheaded by a terrorist organization? Answer; only one: HIM. This is the man who allowed Putin to bully him and Ukraine without any meaningful recourse.This is a man who should be impeached for overriding Congress and abusing his Executive Powers. This is the man who claimed that France are America’s greatest allies.
  2. Alex Salmond. The Scottish Independence vote had no chance with this used car salesman at the helm. He did not have an answer when UK Government informed him Scotland could not retain the Pound Sterling as a currency should they gain independence. The Bank of Scotland pulled the rug up from him when they announced they would move to London should Scotland win independence.
  3. Frank Wren. the general manager of the Atlanta Braves threw millions of dollars at mediocre players not fit enough to lace the cleats of former greats Chipper Jones, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux. Malcontent BJ Upton was given $75 million to behave like a clown in center field. Dan (Mr Magoo) Uggla was mercifully released but is still owed $19 million. Frank Wren was eventually shown the door, but not before he ensured  $65 million is tied up with the remaining years of Upton and Uggla’s contracts.
  4. Mayor of Atlanta and his Chief of Transportation. In January, heavy snow and frozen ice conditions were forecast well in advance of the anointed time. These two gentlemen chose to ignore the impending storm and the City of Atlanta was brought to its knees leaving thousands of motorists stranded.
  5. Head Coach Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons. Clearly Mr. Smith missed the seminar on time management. Two games were blown this season due to his  incompetence at controlling the clock when his team were minutes from victory. The game staged in London against the Detroit Lions was more embarrassing since it was played out on a global stage.
  6. Luis Suarez. The little man chose to audition for the new Dracula movie by biting a chunk out of an Italian defender in the middle of  a World Cup football match.
  7. Brendan Rodgers. Tasked with replacing Dracula wannabe, Luis Suarez, Liverpool spent $190 million on a bunch of “garden shed” players. After a winless November, Liverpool are languishing in 12th place in the Premiership and struggling to remain in the Champions League. Meanwhile Rodgers is adamant that he is the greatest manager in Europe.
  8. Tom Watson. Eight time major champion and former winning Ryder Cup captain was plucked from the knacker’s yard to right the floundering American ship. Unfortunately he was completely adrift from his players who could not relate to a “legend;” some young and immature enough to call him granddad.
  9. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return. Hollywood’s animated movie has not fared very well; Box Office: $19 million, Budget: $70 million, Return: 27%. The only thing that will be “Frozen” on this movie will be its assets.
  10. The Welsh rugby team. Wales have not beaten the All Blacks since 1953 when Bleddyn Williams was captain and the late Cliff Morgan was fly half. It’s not a mental thing dummy. They are quite simply better than us.
  11. Everyone who left Southampton FC in the summer.

Speaking of New Zealand, bring on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

There’s nothing quite like Live Theatre, Right?

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

I was looking forward to watching “War Horse” at the Fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta the other night. Why not? The play received rave reviews on Broadway and the West End, so it had to be a no brainer.

We enjoyed a pre-show meal with friends at Bara Wanda restaurant a mere half a block away from the theater, and well fed and watered eagerly approached the Foxy lady.

Atlanta’s only daily newspaper “The Atlanta Journal & Constitution”, had given the performance a B in its review the following morning, but unfortunately I could not share their enthusiasm. We had reasonable seats in the Dress Circle until I realized I was sitting behind the incredible hulk. Half the stage was obliterated by his white head of hair bearing the hallmark of a Jimmy Johnson bouffant supported by gargantuan linebacker shoulders. The situation improved in the second half when a number of the audience around us left and we were able to move forward a few rows to obtain a better view.

However the sound system remained unpredictable for want of a better word. I have always had issues with the Fox’s acoustics and War Horse proved to be no exception. It was probably made worse by some of the phony English accents produced by members of the cast.

The script was rather lame from the words I could hear or understand, and the performance by the actor in the leading role of Albert was wooden and generated little empathy with the audience. The set was bland and uninspiring, but one redeeming feature was the exceptional puppetry which brought two horses to life ingeniously operated by two “three man” crews.

The Fox is an old theater (built in 1929 and saved from the demolition ball in 1974) and consequently the seats are spatially challenged. The auditorium can hold 4,678, but it’s not exaggeration to find one’s knees supporting one’s chin while experiencing the surreal straight jacket effect.

Don’t get me wrong. The shortcomings of the Fox Theater would not have mattered if the play had held my attention. Furthermore it mattered little that I had seen the movie version which I thoroughly enjoyed. The movie did not increase my expectations. You can’t compare apples and oranges.

In hindsight, the original National Theater’s production is probably light years away from a touring production with American actors attempting English accents from the Kevin Costner Speech Academy introduced for his version of “Robin Hood.”

But I can only judge on what I see and hear (which wasn’t much) and I regrettably can only give the play a D. However the horses stole the show and deserved an A.