It’s all good or bad :: Under the Covers


Stephanie Says :: Tele Novella


“I only write songs about girls I’ve never known.” He stated as some kind of fact, in an attempt to assuage his own page turning lies, and to smooth over that wrinkle of worry embedding a little deeper on Stephanie’s forehead.

She had sat in the back corner of the bar watching him play, the crowd over twenty this time, and not more than a three or four actual “friends of the band”. Every song that he sang touted the holiness or heartbreak of another girl, none of them her name, none of them her.

“Anyways, nothing sounds right with Stephanie. Too many letters, too many syllables, too many things to say about a girl like you.”

Stephanie Says :: The Velvet Underground

It was always the same, Stephanie thought. She was always too much, and not enough, at the same time. Maybe he means it, maybe this is not a wolf pack of lies howling at the silver dollar full moon. Maybe it is just all in her mind.

He kissed the tip of her nose, then full on her lips. She tasted cigarettes and whiskey on his tongue as it tangled up with hers, and something else, something candy store sweet. Stephanie wondered if this is what a lie tasted like.

“But wait, there’s a song that Lou Reed sings. My Mother used to play it when I was young. Something about Alaska.” Stephanie says.

Posted in Blogging, Cover of the Week, Cover Songs, Music, Under the Covers, Writings | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Summer Silence is Deafening :: A Saturday Playlist


Keep Art Alive :: Art by Loish

This Summer Silence is Deafening :: A Saturday Playlist
Listen here at Spotify

Needle in the Hay :: Juliana Hatfield
These Days :: Nico
Is it Like Today? :: World Party
Hate it Here :: Wilco
Parallels :: Eels
Skyway :: The Replacements
Sun :: Concrete Blonde
Turn it Around :: Lucius
I Wanna Get Better :: Bleachers
Halcyon :: Ellie Goulding
Girl About Town :: The Queers
Party Police :: Alvvays
Call Your Girlfriend :: Allison Weiss
Just One of the Guys :: Jenny Lewis
Rain on the Roof :: The Lovin’ Spoonful
Lost Cause :: Beck
So Now What :: The Shins
Pushin’ Against a Stone :: Valerie June
Landslide :: The Smashing Pumpkins
Never Be Daunted :: Jaymay
Chasing the Sinking Sun :: Shout Out Louds
Song for Zula :: Phosphorescent
Just One Drink :: Jack White
Alright :: The Subways
Co-Pilot :: Letters To Cleo
Talking Backwards :: Real Estate
You, Me, & the Bourgeoisie :: The Submarines
This Letter :: Material Issue
Trying to Get Through :: Hothouse Flowers
Nothing Lasts for Long :: The Samples

Posted in Cover Songs, Keep Art Alive, Music, Playlist, Playlists, Saturday Playlists | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The man from Morningside takes it on the road and antique store artifacts that turn Jesus into a vampire :: Saturday Horror Movies

scary saturday header

Saturday Night Horror Movies :: Phantasm II (1988) and Cronos (1993)

Back to the Horror Saturday Double Features, we gathered together to watch a sequel to one of the films we watched last time around, and an early film from a favorite filmmaker of mine that has some interesting ties to his new television series, The Strain. My husband is on a quest to take us through the Phantasm-franchise building up to the release of the fifth and final feature, so we started the night with number two of said movie-quest. I went with an early Guillermo Del Toro film after listening to his return to The Nerdist Podcast interview this past week, where he talked a lot about his vampiric research and some of the challenges of working as a filmmaker when you are faced with having to lose some of your “dream scenes”. It was interesting to see some of Del Toro’s cinematic roots and comparing and contrasting them with some of his more recent films (many that have been written about here at Lyriquediscorde).

We went with Charles’ choice first, catching up where we left off on our last Horror night, a sequel that came nine years later and feature both a bigger budget, and a studio mandated replaced actor. This was a movie that I actually saw at the drive-in soon after its release, and it is the one I recall scenes from the most. Written and directed by Don Coscarelli, everyone returned (at least those who lived through the first film), including the writer/director, except for lead character Mike. I guess six years in an asylum makes you physically mutate? At least that’s what the studio must have though their audience would assume.

My selection was a Mexican vampire horror film, written and directed by Guillermo Del Toro. This was my first time with this film, and a second view for my husband who saw it back when it was released. As with many of Del Toro’s other films, Ron Perlman plays a central character, and the dark look and feel, and filtering, that seem to be signature to his films are there, as well. Though there was a significant absence of strange creatures that I’ve come to expect from Del Toro. I have always been a lover of vampire lore, and this was definitely an interesting take. The movie feels more gothic vampire tale than horror scare storytelling, but if you like FX’s new series The Strain I urge you to give this one a watch.

So, here we go, another night of terror times two to share with you. We will be doing these reviews every other week, trading off with our year-by-year drive-in feature, so stay tuned for more and please send us your horror movie suggestions. You can give us some titles in the comment section, or email me directly at Please note, no choice is too cheesy or possibly bad, we accept the challenge to watch them all, the good, the bad, the awful, the hilarious, and everything in-between.

p2 poster

Phantasm II (1988)
Written and Directed by Don Coscarelli

Phantasm II starts literally right where we left off at the end of the start of the franchise, with a strange twist of fate ending where Jody’s death turns from supernatural to an explain away car crash, with Mike and Reggie thrown together, Reggie falling into the “big brother” role, trying to assure Mike that all is normal. The ending felt confusing at the end of the original movie, so I was glad to see it start the next film, hoping that this would help explain the circumstances and flush out the story more.


Well, confusion persisted as we were immediately greeted by a replacement Mike, cast by a studio mandate with relative newcomer James Le Gros, who honestly looks nothing like the original actor he was replacing.


(I know, Reggie, we don’t recognize Mike either)

I wondered aloud if this was a change that continued through the rest of the franchise, and here is where it gets weirder – no, they revert back to the original actor, A. Michael Baldwin. So, I questioned further – was A. Michael not available? No. Was he not interested in continuing the series? No (obviously not, as he’s in 3 and 4, and slated for 5). Turns out the studio told Coscarelli that he could only use one of the two actors again (Reggie Bannister as Reggie and A Michael Baldwin as Mike), but not both. The studio suggested Brad Pitt, who they did not go with, and then James Le Gros.


In my opinion, Le Gros was a poor choice. He may have been “easier on the eyes“, but he was harder on the emotional believability. As Mike, he showed no complexity of emotion, no overarching grief for his brother, no palatable fear from what had happened, his experiences in the asylum, nor the dreams that continue to unfold and come true. His performance is flat, from start to finish, and this stands out even more because the previous actor was the complete opposite, bordering sometimes on over-emoting.


The rest of the movie? Well, for a film that had the biggest budget of the entire franchise, it suffered from spending more attentions on the special effects and less on the actual plot. There were so many holes in what was happening that at times it was difficult to just “accept” and go on. First off, why is The Tall Man suddenly taking his show on the road after all his years and years and years at Morningside? Why now? And, if he’s really going town-by-town and decimating the entire population, then robbing their graves of their bodies, leaving the cemeteries nothing but headstones and holes in the ground, how is this not on the news? How is the FBI not involved? How is it that only Reggie and Mike, and Mike’s “dream girl” Liz, know about this?


Also, if there has been nine years past, and if Mike has been in the asylum for seven years, then how is he only nineteen years old? He was fourteen nine years ago? Can the Tall Man control time and throw fogs of invisibility over entire towns?


Don’t get me wrong, there were good parts here. I enjoyed the evolution of the orbs, and found the Tall Man’s mortuary helpers interesting. I also enjoyed Liz, who did bring some emotional complexity to her role, a character I hope continues on, as well. I also enjoyed revisiting some “horror” scenes I have remembered since first seeing the film, including the “Tall Man” spinal appearance, and the line: “You think that when you die, you go to Heaven. You come to us!


Also, I love Reggie’s DIY gun!


Thoughts from my husband:

As I mentioned in the last horror night post, this is one of my favorite horror franchises, however this is my least favorite of the films, mainly due to the fact that it was the only studio mandated film of the franchise. As is the case with most (not all mind you, Evil Dead franchise being an exception) indie taken over by a major studio, they really screwed up the director’s vision towards the film with Phantasm 2.

Much of the appeal of the franchise is that dreamy/what the fuck feeling you get from the story line in 1, 3 and 4, which seems to be missing in this one. To the director’s credit, he did do the best with what Universal mandated (for instance, the actor they used as Mike was bad enough, I cannot imagine a young Brad Pitt in his place).

It did, however, pave the way with the continuation of the franchise the way the director wanted to in the next two films.

A few fun facts:

One of the undertakers can be seen filling a plastic bag labeled “Mr. Sam Raimi” with ashes. “Ash” is the name of the character played by Bruce Campbell in the The Evil Dead series, directed by Sam Raimi.

One of the headstones in the film bears the name “Alex Murphy”, a reference to RoboCop.

Writer and Director, Don Coscarelli, has admitted to following direct influences by Universal during the making of the movie:

> The illusory style of the first movie was discouraged and a more linear plot line with voice over narrations of various characters was required.

> No dreams by characters were allowed in the final cut.

> A female lead had to be added as a love interest for Mike.

Don Coscarelli has revealed that some elements of this movie were influenced by Stephen King, specially a few aspects of his novel Salem’s Lot. A small part of it at the end, when the characters go out on the road chasing down vampires, gave him the “road movie” idea of Mike and Reggie chasing The Tall Man.

The casting of James Le Gros has had a conflicted effect on the cast members. LeGros reportedly enjoyed his time on the production and got along very well with the cast and crew. Nowadays, Don Coscarelli, Angus Scrimm, and Reggie Bannister all speak glowingly of their experience with him. A. Michael Baldwin, however, appears to remain bitter about the incident: in the audio commentary for Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead, he twice referred to Phantasm II as “the film which shan’t be named” and has stated in a podcast interview that he considers it a terrible movie.


We missed you Mike, and we agree with you.

Metropolis - Final

Cronos (1993)
Written and Directed by Guillermo Del Toro

I recently listened to an interview with Guillermo Del Toro on one of The Nerdist Podcasts (a respite from my horrible work commute) and my curiosity was peeked when he spoke about the experience he had writing and filming Cronos. I am a huge Del Toro fan, as previous posts here will attest to, and felt I was missing something by not ever seeing the film he spoke of, so when we were putting together our two movie choices for our double horror feature night I decided to choose Cronos.


At the start of the film we are introduced to the Cronos’ history, or at least a brief glimpse into it. The look and feel of this part of the film reminded me some of Coppola’s Dracula film, and I found myself immediately drawn in. I do wish the film had spent a little more time in the origin story, as I was curious at the actual origin of the Cronos device and would love to have learned more about the insect living inside.


The film does not dwell long on this part, though, and instead we are brought forward in time and are introduced to Jesus Gris, an aging husband and grandfather to the young Mercedes who reminded me a lot of the lead character in Del Toro’s film Pan’s Labryinth, who is also named Mercedes. This makes me wonder if this is meant to be the same character, or just an archetype that Del Toro has painted to play his young girls who face familial and/or childhood terror of one kind, or another.


Jesus is an antique shop owner and comes to be in possession of the Saint statue that holds the Cronos device. He seems to be aware of its value, or is curious of its unusual nature, enough so that he removes it from the Saint statue and sells the statue, sans Cronos, to Angel (Ron Perlman) who pays a great deal of money for it.


Angel is an interesting character. An American Ex-Pat who seems to be in Mexico not of his own accord. He is living with his dying Uncle who treats him horribly, often abusing him both verbally and physically, and sending him out on constant hunts to find the Cronos device that he believes will cure him of his fatal ailings.


Jesus and his Granddaughter, Mercedes, examine the Cronos device after hours, and one such examination activates the device and activates Jesus, as well. His wife notices that he looks younger, and as his midnight thirst eludes, he keeps drinking tons and tons of water and stares longingly at a bloody pile of raw meat in the refrigerator, he is starting to change. Vampirism is not immediately apparent, but something is happening here.


The transformation of Jesus, and his relationship with his wife and Granddaughter, are what I really loved in this film. The drama with Angel and his aging Uncle De la Guardia, I found less interesting, though I understand that this was the crux of the plot’s movement to have Jesus have to ultimately face death. I guess, for me, I would have rather him have had to come to terms with his life and the idea of eternity differently, maybe in response to his wife’s aging.


That said, his rift with Del la Guardia, and Angel eventually attempting to kill him, does lead to an interesting interlude between Mercedes and Jesus that share some of the dynamics of Leon and Mathilda, in Leon: The Professional. Mercedes is tough and clever, and not the least bit afraid of using violence to defend her family. She is a tough character, full of emotional complexities and inner strength that is refreshing to see in a young female role.


There are a few questions I had about the story, like why did Jesus continue to refuse the Cronos device to De la Guardia? He had no real knowledge that De la Guardia was a bad person, nor do we get a sense that Jesus is wanting to protect the world from the device (though the latter would have made sense to his character). Is it an act of spite because Angel trashed his antique store looking for it? Or, is it a selfish need of Jesus to possess the device? Does the device act somewhat like the ring in the 8 series, obsessing its owner to the point of madness? Maybe we are meant to interpret on our own, if so, I like the idea that Jesus is protecting the world.


As a fan of the new FX show, The Strain, I enjoyed the movie even more, as I recognized both character archetypes and similar vampiric conduits in this film, and in the show. I will not go into too much detail as I’d like to encourage anyone reading to go and check out The Strain, I will just say bugs and aging owners of antiques seem to be a constant in Del Toro’s tales of vampires.


I am very glad I got the chance to watch this film, and hope to also check out another of Del Toro’s earlier films, The Devil’s Backbone, sometime soon.

Thoughts from my husband: 

Its always nice to see a director’s early work, and see how much it influences their later creations. Its easy to see parts of Pan’s Labyrinth, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and the new series, The Strain, in this movie. While not much of a “horror” film, but more a suspenseful retooling of the typical redemption story line, it is still an enjoyable film, nonetheless.

A few fun facts:

Guillermo del Toro met with Universal in late ’93, where they told him they wanted to buy the rights to this film so they could remake it. del Toro’s response was “Who wants to see Jack Lemmon lick blood off a bathroom floor?”.

The alchemist at the beginning of the movie is named Fulcanelli, which was the pseudonym of a famous french alchemist of the late 19th/early 20th century, who mysteriously disappeared in the 1940s and whose real name and identity has never been known.

All of the original Cronos devices created for this film were stolen when production was completed. They were never recovered, so the Cronos devices that Del Toro owns are replicas.

The two De La Guardia characters were deliberately intended to be somewhat unreal, like comic book characters. Del Toro explains in his commentary that he did this as a sort of revenge against Hollywood films that having Mexican characters that are rather stereotypical.

The names used are: Jesus Gris and Angel de la Guardia, which translates to “Grey Jesus” and “Guardian Angel“. Angel, guards his uncle, and Jesus has gray hair and, eventually, grey skin.


How was this EVER a poster for the movie? There is no character like this woman, and this gives a completely WRONG feel to what the movie really is.

Posted in Movies, Saturday Horror Movies | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

New Release Tuesday :: July 22, 2014



1. The Raveonettes :: Pe’ahi

I love when a band you love has a new release out that you had no idea was on the horizon, but then you wake up on a New Release Tuesday, and there it is waiting for you to devour. The album’s title, Pe’ahi, comes from a popular surfing spot near Maui, and the first released single, Endless Sleeper, has been said by Sune Rose Wagner to be “…about a horrific near-drowning experience I had in Hawaii some years ago. It’s about taking risks in order to exist. The song features a lot of recurring musical ideas of Pe’ahi such as Old Skool breakbeats, exaggerated dynamics, unconventional song structures, staccato guitar picking, intense layered vocals, etc.”

For me, after a first complete start-to-end listen, I can feel the ocean in the ebb and flow of sounds on the album, the surges of high tide, the calm that is out there towards the horizon, the uncontrollable entity that the sea is.

At times, this album veers a little to heavily into the noise end of their sound, and less into the Velvet’s meet shoegaze meet 60′s girl groups, but there are definitely some stand out tracks that I already find myself attached to, such as first listen favorites Summer Ends and The Rains of May. The latter is haunting and lush, with this dreamy quality that makes me want to float in the water in the middle of the night, the moon glow above and the city lights off in the distance, with no thoughts cluttering my mind except to keep floating. Or maybe instead to play loudly while driving through the desert right before the sun is set to rise, the music playing as the day starts to unveil itself.

Kill! is reminiscent of mid-90′s Nine Inch Nails, which may be in part due to the album’s producer, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, who has performed with Nine Inch Nails, as well as Beck and Air, and who produced M83′s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.

Sisters is a grower of a song. I’m on my third listen while I write this, and I’m loving it more with each listen. I like the transition between low-fi noise and the dreamy interludes in-between. This harkens back to the comparison to the ebb and flow of the ocean I mentioned before. Killer in the Streets is hitting me harder with each consecutive listen, too, sneaking in with its rather addictive melody; an ear worm in the making.

I love that this album is full of complexities that unravel me a little more with each listen.

Endless Sleeper

la-roux-let-me-down-gently2. La Roux :: Trouble In Paradise

Another great Summer album released during what I am starting to think is one of the best Summer’s of music in years, Trouble In Paradise is danceable delectable music that is already getting slipped into gym playlists and mixes for Summer drives. This is an album that at first listen had me moving, and at second and third listen had me listening. There is a lot going on here, thematically, as Trouble In Paradise takes on cracks in relationships, temptations and infidelity. Not something you usually think of dancing to? Maybe not, but you will still be dancing to this album, nonetheless.

First listen favorite is most definitely the slow-burn of Let Me Down Gently. Though I love all the energy and dance beats of the majority of songs, there is something so sensual and beautiful about this song. I love hearing Elly Jackson sing in her lower register, it is stunning, her voice in this song. Let Me Down Gently is vulnerable, but there is a lot of strength and control to it, lyrically full of suggestions and not pleas. There is a knowing there, a sense of self, that is very sexy.

Kiss and Not Tell is the polar opposite, but I love it. There is an eighties sensibility to the song that her first album was layered with, as well. This is a tantalizing tease of a song, one that I would love to hear mashed up with Neon Tree’s Sleeping With a Friend, from their latest album. Tropical Chancer is another eighties flashback of a song, reminding me of Yaz and Wham UK! (let’s mash this one up with Club Tropicana, shall we?), Erasure and Bananarama.

My favorite part about this sophomore release? I love that the songs feel more real, more approachable, more relatable, and at times, even vulnerable. I love that the album feels like more of a look into who Elly is, and not just a get up and dance persona that La Roux originally put forth (though don’t get me wrong, I adore the first album).

Let Me Down Gently


3. Alvvays :: Self-Titled

Sun-shiny, Summer, warm pop sounds that could almost be power-pop, but tend to be a little too dreamy for that, Alvvays’s Self-Titled feels like the album I could imagine if Best Coast had been making albums in the mid-90′s.

Molly Rankin fronts the Canadian Alvvay’s five piece band. She has a musical history. She is a member of the Rankin Family, Canadian folk luminaries who have written and toured across the country for decades. She cut her teeth as part of the family’s band before striking out on her own with a 2010 EP; that solo project gradually picked up friends and nearby musicians and morphed into Alvvays.

The longing and wistfulness of Party Police (the title really doesn’t match the feel of the song) is my first listen favorite. At times the lyrics seem like diary pages sung out loud, at other times they seem like the fleeting and flying thoughts that go through your mind as you walk alone, letting your mind wander into wants and needs and wishes. That said, there is also an element of playfulness here; a coy wink among the wishing.

One Who Loves You is another dreamy-feel favorite. This one is already in the queue for my next playlist. This song reminds me of Sofia Coppola movies, and feels like it should be part of the soundtrack of her next film (it’s a take on The Little Mermaid, right?), next to a song by Air and one by Phoenix.

All in all, this is a Summer feel good album, perfect for mid-afternoons and lazy Sunday evenings, or maybe to play for some heavy make-out sessions in the backseat of your car, parked at the beach at sunset with the windows half rolled down.

Adult Diversion


4. Rx Bandits :: Gemini, Her Majesty

When this album started, with an “Intro” (titled Intro) that seems to be a trend in album openings lately, I found myself checking to make sure this was the Rx Bandits I was familiar with. It is, and they are, as the second song, Ruby Cumulous attests to. Ruby Cumulous starts up with a definite South Southern California beach-ska sounds, think Sublime with a stronger bass line, mixed with some Common Sense, that carries through the majority of the album.

The next track, Wide Open, seems to borrow from some of the early 2000 Emo/Pop-Rock bands like Anberlin and Panic! At The Disco, with some mid-t0-late Seventies influence, as well. Stargazer continues with that feel, at times a little too much then what I was hoping for. Some of these songs are begging for a live show. Listening to the album from start to finish makes me wish I’d heard these songs in-person first.

The oddly titled Meow! Meow! Space Tiger and 1995 are both my first listen favorite, the latter a throwback to Rx Bandits earlier sound, which I will admit I was hoping for more of.

All in all, the album veers too much into the Orange County Light Ska/Reggae, when I would have wanted more of their more Punk/Ska sound, as they were back in the mid-nineties with albums like Those Damn Bandits (my favorite of theirs).

Meow! Meow! Space Tiger


5. Colony House :: When I Was Younger

Ready-made for radio play, When I Was Younger is likable and catchy and almost too pre-packaged for success. It reminds me of American Authors and A Great Big World, and a lighter Imagine Dragons. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to what is popular right now, but it can make the songs and the album a little lost in a sea of sameness.

That said, there are some moments that stand out from the Pop-Rock pack, especially with my first listen favorite, Caught Me By Surprise. I love the slow build at the beginning, and the melodic and catchy chorus. The Pac Man sounds in the background that come and go are a off-putting, though they seem to leave as quick as they appeared.

I Had to Grow Up is another early listen favorite with its dreamy and other-worldly start (though there is a static-like noise in the background during that start that is irritating). It is a mid-album intro that weaves into the beauty shot of the record, Lose Control, which is vying for that first position in my first listen loves. I love the guitar work in this track, especially the squeak of acoustic strings which is one of my most loved guitar sounds ever.

The album has so much potential, and is what I would deem “one to watch“, even though I prefer the less obvious tracks to the insta-hits, like album opener Second Guessing Games, which needs no second guessing here, this should be their first released single.

Waiting for My Time to Come

Posted in Albums, Music, New music, New Music of the Week, New Music Review, New music Tuesday, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Boeing Boeing and Dear Brigitte :: His and Hers Double Feature (1965)

HIS HERS HEADERHis and Hers Drive-In Double Feature :: 1965 :: Boeing Boeing and Dear Brigitte

Our Movie Nights are back at Lyriquediscorde, switching back-and-forth between Horror Double Features and our “His and Hers” year-by-year “Drive-In Double Feature“. We took a break, but are back in service to watch and review two movies for the Lyriquediscorde readers. This time around we settled in for a tale of womanizing gone awry in the City of Lights, and a story of an eight year old mathematical genius/French actress fanboy who travels to the City of Lights to meet the gorgeous Brigitte Bardot, oh, and also save literature and poetry while he’s at it.

Here is the obligatory description of this project to serve as a reminder, and an introduction to new readers/watchers:

My husband (Charles) and I (Laura) select a movie to view together from each consecutive year. Most of the time these are movies that the other has not seen, and sometimes, they are new picks to the both of us. After viewing the two films in their entirety, we share our thoughts about each choice.

Charles likes to take a cue in style and structure from the infamous drive-in movie reviewer, Joe Bob Briggs, borrowing his “3 B” rating system (“Breasts, Beasts and Blood“). I like to disclaim that no, he is not a redneck misogynist, he just plays one here on Drive-In Double Feature, with a heavy does of sarcasm, and a big wink.

As for me, well, the English major side influences my style, and my reviews tend to read more as a reaction to the art form itself, as well as any societal messaging, both positive and negative, that may permeate the film, and impact my perspective. That said, I like to ramble on about the things I enjoyed without any formal structuring, too.

All that said, we try to have fun with it, and utilize the challenge we threw at ourselves as a reason to carve out time, in each of our busy lives, to spend together.

Our first film (Laura’s choice) is Boeing Boeing, the farcical story about a die-hard womanizing bachelor who has scheduled his days meticulously to be able to juggle three international flight attendants who rotate being in town and living with said bachelor as his fiancee. All is down to scientific precision until a new airline is launched with faster thrust and timelines, and a professional colleague/adversary comes to pay a visit.

Boeing Boeing

Our second film (Charles’ choice) is Dear Brigitte, a story about a family of poet and literature professor who live on a dry-docked boat and spends his days teaching and fighting against science and technology, the two threats he perceives as destroying art in the future. What he wants most is to raise a family of artists, but his daughter is mostly interested in money and marrying into a million dollars worth, and his young son is mostly interested in Brigitte Bardot, oh, and he’s a math genius. How will the professor deal with saving the arts when his family isn’t even on board?

Dear Brigitte


Boeing Boeing (1965)

Brief history:

Boeing Boeing (alternately titled Boeing (707) Boeing (707) was released on December 22, 1965. It is an American bedroom farce comedy film, based on the 1960 French play Boeing-Boeing, and starred Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis. Boeing Boeing was the last film that Paramount Pictures made with Lewis, who made films exclusively with the studio since My Friend Irma, in 1949.


Boeing Boeing was filmed from April 8 to June 30, 1965. As both Curtis and Lewis wanted top billing, their names appeared on a jet engine’s rotating nacelle. For print ads and posters, their names were criss-crossed on a diagonal so a portion of each stars’ name on top line appeared on top line (first name for one, surname for the other–with remainder of name on bottom line in reverse order). In the film’s trailer, both names flash on-screen in animated circles rotating so rapidly that it was impossible to discern top-billing.

Boeing Boeing was selected by Quentin Tarantino for the First Quentin Tarantino Film Fest in Austin, Texas, 1996.


In 1963, producer Hal B. Wallis announced Shirley MacLaine for female lead. Marisa Mell turned down the part that was eventually played by Christiane Schmidtmer.


The three actresses who eventually were cast to play the flight attendants have their physical measurements listed in small print under their names. Instead of measurements, Thelma Ritter, who played the housekeeper, has (?-?-?) by her name.


His take: 

Imagine if you will a Martin and Lewis movie without Lewis. Hold on, actually make that a Martin and Lewis without Martin, but with Lewis pretending to be Martin, and that kind of sums up Boeing Boeing. Gone is Lewis’ moronic, man-child persona that made him famous in previous years allowing him to test his skills with an unfamiliar persona, not the over-the-top “Buddy Love” either.


It was easy to put my disdain of this film taking place in France since its not quite as in-your-face.


Throughout the entire film I constantly felt that this could have been a stage production since the bulk of it takes place in one of the most lavish, five bedroom, two bath apartments I’ve ever seen on a “reporter’s salary”. Although I am curious as to what the “benefits” of “married life” Tony Curtis’ is referring to when he and his fiancees sleep in separate rooms.


(The film was based on a stage play, and has been staged multiple times, over the years, around the world)

Overall, a good film, even if many of the visual gags have been used ad-nauseam over the years since, ergo the well-timed door openings/closings.


3 B rating (1 point given for Boobs, Beasts and Blood): I cannot give this any rating for blood or beasts, although the German stewardess obviously qualifies for “double B’s”, which earns this film a 2 B rating.


Her Take: 

Those who have followed along with our previous reviews will note that I am not a fan of Jerry Lewis – at all – that said, this film was my choice and did co-star Mr. Lewis. I had not seen the film before, and my choice was based on a passionate plea from my oldest daughter who recommended it to me, praising the hilarity of it. Of course, I did realize that she is a fan of Tony Curtis, but she claimed that Lewis’ role was not full of his typical shtick that I find so cringe-worthy, so I thought I’d give it a shot.


She was right on both accounts, the film is full of hilarious moments and those kind of moments when you have to hide your eyes and think “what are you doing!?!?!”, as well as somehow finding yourself rooting for the misogynistic lead, actually talking to the screen saying “switch the picture!”, or “not in that room!” Also, Jerry Lewis does not play the role of colleague/adversary/reluctant cohort with any of his typical Lewis-isms (really, he only had one pratfall even); instead, Lewis seems to play the role as if he were Dean Martin.


Is it wrong that I wish they’d just cast Dean Martin?

There were ridiculous details peppered within the film, for instance, how many baths can these women take? It seemed that every time they entered the apartment, even if they had only been gone long enough to go to dinner, they were in desperate need of a bath (also, how were there not endless wet towels lying around EVERYWHERE for each girl to question?)


And, of course, the notion of philanderer Bernard (Curtis) juggling these three international flight attendants just so they could kiss sometimes and sleep in side-by-side, separate rooms? Really, most of the time it just seemed like a huge hassle to a man who wasn’t even “getting any“.


The long-suffering housekeeper, Bertha, who was tasked with switching out photographs, drawers of lingerie, and balance the ever-changing palates of the three women (switching the menu from kidneys, to souffles, to bratwurst sausage), stole every scene she was in. The comic talent of Thelma Ritter really shone here, and I looked forward to every moment she was on-screen.


I did find the suggestion that the French “fiancee” (played by Dany Saval) kept making regarding the possible “relationship” between Bernard (Curtis) and Robert (Lewis) hilarious, and somewhat provocative for the time period, especially since it seemed that they could not imply that the girls were sleeping with Bernard.


All in all, I really enjoyed the film and all its farcical silliness. I loved the scenes when all the girls were in the apartment at the same time, and the taxi scenes while they all chased each other through Paris, and of course, at the end with Bernard and Robert discover a group of female cabbies with rotating schedules, representing their next conquests, from planes to cabs (what’s next? cruise ships?)


 I would love to see this performed on a stage, but please, no remakes of this – I’d be too afraid we’d get a film that was too Wedding Crashers/Neighbors and less farcical/satirical handling like a Christopher Guest production might bring to life – though I might actually enjoy if the film was gender-swapped and it was a woman juggling three men.


Her Rating: Out of 5 stars: I give this film 4 stars, for the laughs, the energy, the performances (especially Thelma Ritter) and the stage play type farcical humor that I enjoy.



Boeing Boeing soundtrack by Neal Hefti


Dear Brigitte (1965)

Brief history:

Dear Brigitte was released in 1965 as a DeLuxe Color family-comedy in CinemaScope, directed by Henry Koster and starring James Stewart.


The novel of Dear Brigitte was originally published in 1963. Walt Disney was rumored to option the rights for Bing Crosby, however rights were bought by 20th Century Fox who assigned the project to Nunnally Johnson, Henry Koster and James Stewart, the team that had made Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, and Take Her, She’s Mine.

Dear Brigitte was one of the first movies made at the recently re-opened 20th Century Fox studios.


Bill Mumy was cast on the recommendation of James Stewart’s wife, Gloria Stewart, who taught a Sunday School class that Mumy attended.

Although Nunnally Johnson wrote early drafts of the film, Hal Kanter was brought in to work on it and he received the sole screen credit when the film was released. Kanter has said it was Henry Koster’s idea to introduce the captain, played by Ed Wynn, to act as the film’s “Greek chorus“.


The film was the sixth straight acting role for Fabian since he quit singing. He had never been to the races before being cast so he researched the role by going to the races and developing his own “betting system”.

There was some doubt Bardot would appear in the film but she relented and her scenes were shot in three days in Paris.


The movie was originally going to be called Erasmus With Freckles, after the book on which it was based. But Brigitte Bardot only agreed to appear on the condition that her name was not included in the credits or any of the promotional materials. The only way the producers could capitalize on Americans’ fascination with Bardot was by changing the title to alert the audience that she was in the movie.

Notwithstanding the opening background shots of the Golden Gate bridge, the exteriors of this film were not filmed in the San Francisco bay area. After about 30 seconds into the film, the exteriors are shot in the Seattle/Tacoma puget sound bay area.


His take:

I was glad to pick this film out, being it is one of my favorite “family friendly” films of the sixties. Not only because it stars Jimmy Stewart, but also Bill Mumy, who I met in 1989 at Dragon Con in Dallas, Texas.



The film is your basic family acceptance storyline at heart, one that can easily be done in modern days, either sports vs. scholastic, or straight vs. gay, without coming off too preachy. Add in the fact it cameos Brigitte Bardot, easily the second most attractive actress from the sixties (right after Julie Newmar), and you’ve got a little something for everyone.

Bill Mumy stars in a role that continued to haunt him throughout his child and teenhood. He goes on to play a chemistry genius in the film Village of the Giants, and his infamous Will Robinson role from Lost In Space. Not bad for the co-creator of the song Fish Heads.


3 B rating (1 point given for Boobs, Beasts and Blood): No blood, no beasts (unless you count the few French people in it), but again, double-b’s for both Brigitte Bardot (one of the few French people I can tolerate) and “the niece” of the con-man who they meet in the dress department.


Her Take: 

I had never heard of this film before I met my husband, even though I thought I’d not only heard of, but seen, nearly all of James Stewart’s films. When Charles’ had mentioned it to me, though, I had a different story imagined in my mind, one that was more about a celebrity-obsessed teenager, and not a story about a boy who doesn’t quite fit in with his family, a boy who happens to be “in love” with Brigitte Bardot.


The film starts with a breaking of the fourth wall, a cinematic and theatrical gimmick that I’ve always enjoyed. There is something very inclusionary when it is done right, giving the audience an insider feeling, like when you are part of an “inside joke” with a friend or lover. Ed Wynn does this job well, acting as our narrator, and as a bit of comic relief involving his clumsy pipe smoking, and ashing, technique and his long-suffering dog who seems to be always in the wrong place whenever that pipe is being put out.


James Stewart plays an absent-minded professor that is not a science or math geek, no, this nutty professor is a literature and poetry geek, not something one sees too often on-screen. He is a lover of the arts and a very vocal hater of all things math, science and technology driven. He is not just afraid of the technological takeover, but adamantly against it as he sees its emergence as a direct threat to the arts.


He longs to raise a brood of fellow artists. He has settled his family in a houseboat dry-docked next door to a painter who is constantly on his boat’s top painting his topless wife. His own wife is a patient matriarch, who is musically talented, but not so anti-change and technical advancements. No, his wife Vina (played by Glynis Johns, best known as the Mother from Mary Poppins) is more concerned with the happiness and survival of the family.


Pandora, the oldest of the two children, possesses musical talent, as well, but has seemingly no interest in pursuing the life of a starving artist. On the contrary, she has her mind set on marrying a millionaire, despite her adoration of her broke boyfriend, played by pop-music star Fabian (albeit after leaving pop-music for an acting career).


And then there is Erasmus (a great name!), the “black sheep” of the family who is tone deaf and color blind, and who instead of having any artistic talent or inclination, is a mathematical genius, something his Father is horrified about, and actually attempts to actively hide. It is an interesting take as usually we see stories about artists who are shunned by their families who are made up of doctors and lawyers and scientists, etc., who look down on the arts as a choice.


The funny thing about Erasmus’ character, though, is even though he possesses an almost savant type mathematic skill-set, he doesn’t seem very interested in math, or the pursuit of his talents except to earn money (he is paid by his sister and sister’s boyfriend to solve their homework problems, and later by gamblers to help handicap horse races). All Erasmus really seems to care about is his family and Brigitte Bardot, the former as shown when he uses his math-earnings to pay for a prom dress for Pandora, and the latter as shown in his daily letter writing to the actress.

Erasmus does get to meet his idol, and she gifts him with a visit to her home, a hilarious photograph, a puppy and a couple of cheek-kisses.


The movie itself ends rather haphazardly, after the plot lines are a little too quickly tied together and resolved. But, that fact did not dissuade me from enjoying the film as a whole, especially since the movie is more about the characters than the plot, and it is the characters that I loved.

Her Rating: Out of 5 stars: Another 4 stars, a great double feature night as I really enjoyed both films.



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Wish I Was Here :: For the love of Movies

19-wish-i-was-hereWish I Was Here (2014)
Written by Adam & Zach Braff
Directed by Zach Braff
Focus Features

I am going to start this by saying that I went into this film expecting to love it, and I left the movie loving it more than I expected. I start this post off with that sentence so that if you have come to this expecting me to rip the film apart, which seems to be the overwhelming nature of all the reviews I’ve read, then you have come to the wrong place.

Also, I have absolutely no intention of comparing it to Garden State, at all, even if Garden State is in my Top Ten favorite movies list. Sure, it may be the reason I am ever drawn to a Zach Braff penned film, but it does not script my view, nor lead my experience to be one of contrast and compare. I know, I know, I sound a bit (more than a bit) defensive here, and a little ready for battle, and maybe I am.

I know for sure that I am sick of the negativity and condescending attitudes that are a part of so many movie reviews. It is part of why I strive to write about things I love here, and that I enjoy. There is so much negativity in the world, I do not wish to be a part of it here.


Alright, I am off my soap box now, and back under a comfy blanket with a cup of hot coffee at close range, aimed and ready to tell you why I loved this film so much and why it will be part of my Top 300 (really, I need to expand that number soon) list.

Stories about Los Angeles are a favorite of mine, especially ones that don’t sugarcoat the City of Angels, but also do not degrade it, or mock it completely. Stories about families and the struggle to keep relationships together, are also a favorite, as well as realistic portrayals of parenthood and marriage, and being a “grown-up“.

What struck me first about the movie was Zach Braff’s character, Aidan’s, confusion and struggles with chasing a dream and being a responsible adult. The balance he’s been teetering on starts to shake and crumble as he’s faced with the mortality of his strong, yet polarizing, Father, the instability of his marriage, and the reality of facing the moment when your kids start to bypass you and you realize the things you can teach them are becoming few and far between. He’s also facing what feels like the death of his dreams, and it brings to the surface the question of “how long do you keep chasing after something when it continues to elude?”

Aidan’s wife, Sarah, played remarkably by Kate Hudson who gives her best performance since Almost Famous, in my opinion, hit home with me in a very personal way. Endlessly playing the role of breadwinner and the “Penny Lane” to so many dreamer men I’ve loved, it was hard to bear witness to some of her moments. It can be painful, and soul crushing, to be the one who believes so much in another’s dreams that you lose any of your own. When she asks Aidan when did the entire family be just about supporting his dream, and when she admitted to feeling like she was running on a hamster wheel in a job she hated but that it was what was keeping them all fed and housed, to say it struck a nerve would be an understatement. I felt for her confliction, for her sadness, for her mixed feelings that were pulling her between supporting the one she loves (enough so that she defends Aidan passionately to his Father) and wanting desperately to have some happiness, too.

The children, especially Grace, were unforgettable. I loved that they were both so uniquely written, and that there were details about their personality that were never explained. Its refreshing to not feel spoon fed characterization, but instead be given flushed out people who have quirks and sometimes contradicting personalities. Joey King is one to watch as an actor. If you saw her in Fargo (the television series) and then see her in this, you will see what I mean. She is the heart of this film, as well as the strength. The character who pushes people and asks the tough questions, and who persists in being herself even at an age that is so fraught with wanting to be just like everyone else.

There are so many moments in this movie that brought me to tears, and that have stuck into me in a way that I know will last. A stand-out moment is a scene between Kate Hudson’s Sarah, and Aidan’s Father Gabe, played by the always fantastic Mandy Patinkin, where they speak about death and love and the legacy we leave with our words. Another amazing scene happens through a phone call between Joey King’s Grace and Aidan’s recluse brother, Noah (played by Josh Gad, of Book of Mormon fame) dealing with fear of death and family and belonging. There are more, too, some without words, like when Grace shaves her head and watches the transformation in her mirrored reflection.

The soundtrack is fantastic, too, reminding me why once years ago I made a playlist entitled “I want Zach Braff to make me a mix tape” (FYI: I still do).



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Until tomorrow, but that’s just some other time :: Under the Covers


I’m Waiting for the Man (live) :: Echo & The Bunnymen


They stood out in the rain, no words passing between, just the silent sentiment of a boy handing a girl his jacket to wear. The girl’s hands shook and her lips had gone numb, a translucent purple shade that Cover Girl doesn’t offer. Everything in the girl was longing to go back inside. The boy felt it, too. They both wanted shelter from the storm, yet, together they remained, still standing there, shivering in the cold; and they say it never rains in California.

During the day she could pass off as the shy girl in the third cubicle from the kitchen. She spoke only when spoken to, like some kind of “perfect child” from a fifties parenting book, “See Jane keep her legs crossed, her hands in her lap, her mouth shut unless asked to speak”. She slipped through each day nearly invisible, tapping keystrokes and entering numbers and letters into some endless stream of nothing much at all. She ate lunch out under a tree, book open in her lap, long sleeve over-sized sweater wrapped around her protectively.

No one would guess that it covered up the bruises, or that the days she called in sick, more recently than ever before, had nothing to do with a cold or flu, but the shakes she could no longer quell, or the sleepless days that were strung out like holiday lights, so many sometimes that she could barely stand.

Waiting for the Man (live) :: The Velvet Underground

The boy with the jacket had gifted her this. Addiction wrapped up in plastic and foil, and his half-crooked smile. He had seen something in her, something hidden within the silent gazes and awkward expressions. He saw beauty in her, and an untouched innocence that he could conjure. His touch left ripples of want on her skin, his breath hot on the soft spot at the nape of her neck, and between her legs. He held her down, whispering decisions she could simply follow, a role to play that was miles from the forgettable girl she’d always been.

Excitement hit hard, bursts of freedom, of reckless abandon, of all the things she’d only dreamed she could be. But now, the rent is due, and the need that had been teased so effortlessly out of her had taken over. Hunger that could never be filled, desire that no amount of sex could satiate, a need that had her standing there, shaking, nearly dying, waiting for a stranger to come and get her through the next bend.

I don’t think I can wait any longer.” she whispers.

You know how it goes, love. We always have to wait.”



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Let’s Make Out with Music :: Alphabet Playlists :: The Letter E


Let’s Make Out with Music :: Alphabet Playlists
Each & Every Little Bit :: The Letter E
Listen here on Spotify

Easy/Lucky/Free :: Bright Eyes
Extraordinary Machine :: Fiona Apple
Every Day I Write the Book :: Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Electrolite :: R.E.M.
Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) :: Buzzcocks
Everyday I Love You Less & Less :: Kaiser Chiefs
Eaten by the Monster of Love :: Sparks
Every You Every Me :: Placebo
Europa & the Pirate Twins :: Thomas Dolby
Eyes Without a Face :: Billy Idol
E=MC2 :: Big Audio Dynamite
Everyday is Like Sunday :: Morrissey
Everything I’ve Got In My Pocket :: Minnie Driver
Everybody Loves Me But You :: Juliana Hatfield
Evangeline :: Matthew Sweet
Either Way :: Wilco
Emmylou :: First Aid Kit
Eye in the Sky :: The Alan Parsons Project
Everlong (acoustic) :: Foo Fighters
Europe is Our Playground :: The London Suite
Everybody Talks :: Neon Trees
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic :: The Police
Edie (Ciao Baby) :: The Cult
Election Day :: Arcadia
Everybody :: Madonna
The Engine Driver :: The Decemberists
EZ :: Pete Yorn
Elsewhere :: Sarah McLachlan
Every Wonder Why :: Ryan Bingham
Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime :: Beck

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Mix Tape Playlists :: The Music of 1978


Mix Tape Playlists :: The Music of 1978
Listen here at Spotify

Take a Chance On Me :: Abba
Don’t Stop Me Now :: Queen
Baby Come Back :: Player
Jamie’s Cryin’ :: Van Halen
Surrender :: Cheap Trick
Hot Child In the City :: Nick Gilder
Baker Street :: Gerry Rafferty
Hot Blooded :: Foreigner
If I Can’t Have You :: Yvonne Elliman
Got to Be Real :: Cheryl Lynn
Love Will Find a Way :: Pablo Cruise
A Little More Love :: Olivia Newton-John
Because the Night :: Patti Smith
Take Me to the River :: Talking Heads
Pump It Up :: Elvis Costello
Miss You :: The Rolling Stones
Rock Lobster :: The B-52′s
With a Little Luck :: Wings
Sunday Girl :: Blondie
You’re the One That I Want :: Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta
Here You Come Again :: Dolly Parton
Is She Really Going Out With Him? :: Joe Jackson
Sometimes When We Touch :: Dan Hill
Hold the Line :: Toto
Werewolves of London :: Warren Zevon
How You Gonna See Me Now? :: Alice Cooper
I Wanna Be Sedated :: The Ramones
So Lonely :: The Police
I Love the Nightlife :: Alicia Bridges
Last Dance :: Donna Summer

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1978 :: The year in movies :: Throwback Thursday


Grease (1978)

1978 :: The Year In Movies
Throwback Thursday


For part two of 1978′s Throwback Thursday feature is my Top 10 movies of 1978. The list is made-up of movies I saw at the theater, or the drive-in, and may exclude movies from 1978 that I dearly love, but did not see that year because, well, I was nine years old.

That said, I did sneak in a few movies that I as probably too young to see.

What are some of your favorite movies from 1978?

10. Halloween

It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare.” ~ Sheriff Leigh Brackett

I don’t know how I ended up seeing this one in the theater, though I vividly remember sitting at the City Mall theaters with two of my friends watching it, and being collectively terrified. Thinking back, I think it was a friend’s older sister and her boyfriend who took us all. Despite the scares, I loved it, and it continued my love of horror movies that had started with the classic Vincent Price films I had watched with my Mother.


9. Ice Castles

Here. There’s a hand in front of you. Grab it.” ~ Nick Peterson

What are you doing here?” ~ Alexis Winston

Came to see you break your ass.” ~ Nick Peterson

Can’t see you very well. I don’t know if you’re kidding.” ~ Alexis Winston

Just listen to my voice. I’m not kidding.” ~ Nick Peterson

This was one of those romantic tragic stories where the hero persists through catastrophe and nearly unbeatable odds to win in the end. This was a favorite of my friends and I, a definite “makes you cry” movie, emotionally manipulative, but we loved it and loved having our heart-strings pulled. This set the stage for so many more movies like this that I would love in the coming years.


8. Dawn of the Dead

One-stop shopping: everything you need, right at your fingertips.” ~ Roger

Hiding from zombies at the mall, it was really all kinds of awesome. This one I got to see thanks to a friend’s older brother who snuck us into the drive-in. My love of zombie movies started right about here.


7. Invasion of the Body Snatchers

I keep seeing these people, all recognizing each other. Something is passing between them all, some secret. It’s a conspiracy, I know it.” ~ Elizabeth Driscoll

This one I saw with my Mother at the Cinedome theaters. That last scene (see above) with the Donald Sutherland scream – it still creeps me out, and sometimes pays a visit to my nightmares. This movie was one of the many “Sci-Fi” films that scare me more than a lot of the “Horror” genre.


6. The Cat From Outer Space

My name is Zunar J 5 Slash 9 Doric 4 7.” ~ Jake

A Sci-Fi film of a much different nature. I love these seventies Disney movies so much, they were always so odd and fun and really, there was nothing else quite like them. I wish they did more in this style now.


5. Return From Witch Mountain

Tony, why are you doing these things? Why are you using your powers against me?” ~ Tia

Tony and Tia back again, and I was there opening night. I loved both films so much. Another Sci-Fi, somewhat obscure Seventies Disney offering that I love.


4. Same Time, Next Year

You always could see through me, couldn’t you?” ~ George

But that’s okay, because… I’ve always loved what I’ve seen.” ~ Doris

I vividly remember watching this movie in the theater, but I cannot recall with who. I know I was only nine years old, and I honestly am not sure why I loved it the way I did, and why it got to me the way it did, but I was very moved by this movie, and by George and Doris, enough so that the story made me cry at various times, and I never forgot the story. The movie remains one of my all-time favorites.


3. Watership Down

All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.” ~ Narrator

Heartbreaking, truly and completely heartbreaking. That said, I loved it, almost as much as I loved the book. There was something in it, in the story, that made me feel like I could persist and be clever, and survive, too.


2. Superman

Easy, miss. I’ve got you.” ~ Superman

You – you’ve got me? Who’s got you?” ~ Lois Lane

The comic book geek in me loved this enormously. To me, Christopher Reeves is forever Superman. I saw this opening night at the Cinedome and was beyond excited – it was my first late night movie (I believe we saw a 10pm showing).


1. Grease

“I’ve got so many hickies people will think I’m a leper.” ~ Rizzo

Relax… A hickie from Kenickie is like a Hallmark card, when you only care enough to send the very best!” ~ Kenickie

I am honestly not sure how many times I went to see this movie in the theater, or how many times I have seen it since – it seems uncountable, really. I loved it so much. Olivia’s Sandy, of course, but really, my heart always belonged to Rizzo.

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