Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer Movie Blog-a-Thon ~ I was NOT a movie-watching child

That's right. I admit it. As a child I did not watch movies. It was a pretty rare occasion. And when I did, it usually meant a trip to the Cinema 1 and 2 back in the old Shoppers World in Framingham, MA.

Shoppers World - #2

(sidenote: check out Brandon Schaefer's fabulous art work, especially the art work based on the long lost structures on the Golden Mile in Framingham/Natick, MA at his Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/brandonschaefer/)

I remember seeing E.T - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Cinderella (1950) (re-release) and a handful of other movies at that theater. My mother rented some movies from Blockbuster and the local Star Market. For some strange reason, I loved horror films as a kid. Anything with killing, blood & guts I was all for. Then I saw Prom Night 3: The Last Kiss (1990) and in one scene a person is electrocuted and in another a person's fingers are cut off by scissors. Don't ask me why, but I was put off of horror films permanently afterwards. 20 years later, I still can't stomach them.

And even though movies were not my thing, I was a story-loving kind of a gal with a wild imagination. Being an only child, I used to create stories with my dolls and toys. None of them really made sense but it was just to please whatever notion popped into my head that I wanted to explore. My favorite doll Cricket had a built in tape player in her back and she would tell me stories and teach me new things (for an only child this was perfect!) I also read quite a bit as a child. My favorite stories involved animals, especially dogs. My mother would tell me stories about her life in the Dominican Republic and these would keep me entertained for hours. I made up stories with my friends and created my own biographical stories from my travels and adventures as a child.

Most of all, I loved television. And boy did I watch a lot of it. I had a very long laundry list of TV shows I watched on a regular basis. Cartoons, live-action kids shows, entertainment shows, classic shows, etc.
My favorites were a motley assortment including: JEM, Care Bears ,He-Man and the Masters of the Universe , She-Ra, The Monkees, Punky Brewster, Gidget, Clarissa Explains it All, The Jetsons, The Flinstones, My Little Pony, ALF, Golden Girls, Saved by the Bell, Underdog, Small Wonder, Popeye, Loony Toons, Tom and Jerry, Laverne and Shirley, Alvin and the Chipmunks, You Can't Do That on Television, Ducktales, TaleSpin, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, Fifteen, Garfield, Jackson 5 (Animated series), Sesame Street, Mister Rogers Neighborhood, The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Gummi Bears, Gumby, and on and on and on.

TV shows were really just fluffy time-filler for me. Otherwise, I'd rather be playing outside making my own stories.

My love for movies was a gradual process. It started when I saw Congo (1995) at the age of 14. It's not a terribly good movie but I felt really cool watching it at the theater and not being scared of a few of the scary scenes (maybe Congo made up for Prom Night 3?). In my teenage years, I started to develop an intense love for classic literature. I adored anything by Louisa May Alcott, Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen and Henry James. I particularly gravitated to stories of repression and isolation because I was a very lonely and very religious teenager. Films like Sense and Sensibility (1995),Little Women (1994) , The Portrait of a Lady (1996), Emma (1996) and Jude (1996) really spoke to me. I started to develop an interest in period pieces. I wanted stories to take me away from reality and to a completely different time and place. I wanted contemporary reenvisionings of the past, I wasn't quite ready to travel into a more real representation of the past.

In college, I took a film course and I got hooked onto classic films. Out of the Past (1947) and Citizen Kane (1941) were mostly responsible for my new developed love for classic films and having TCM nurture it. I was almost derailed by watching The Quiet Man (1953) for an Irish Literature and Culture course I took in college before I took the film one. I still think that is one of the worst movies ever made and if all classic films were like that, I wanted no part of it. Lucky for me, Out of the Past (1947) came to the rescue. During the early part of the 2000s, I watched a whole lot of contemporary films but then I started watching more and more classic ones and fewer contemporary ones. My taste changed over the past few years and it will change in the future too.

Looking back on my childhood and teenage years, I ask myself the question: should I have been a movie-watching child? Not really. I don't regret not seeing all the classic 80s and 90s kid flicks that people my age seem to hold dear to their hearts. I just wasn't a movie watching kind of kid. I was perfectly happy with playing, making stories with my dolls and watching TV. And you know what, that's ok!

Monday, August 9, 2010

God Speed Patricia Neal (1926-2010)


and thank you for this scene in Fountainhead (1949). It's by far one of the sexiest scenes in film history.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Noir Bar and The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938) Cocktail

After Kevin, Carlos and I saw The Lusty Men (1952) at the Harvard Film Archive, we headed off to Noir bar at the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square. They were going to have a Mad Men Season 4 premiere event the following night which Carlos and I would have to miss but I had always been meaning to check out the place so off we went.

Noir bar is a classic film lover's dream come true. The bar has a cool, dark ambiance which makes it's name apropos. There is always a classic film playing on the wall. When we visited a Dick Tracy film was being shown (the waitress couldn't tell us which one). The film is shown on mute and against a wall with slats. It's not meant to watch, just to add to the mystique. Best of all, the Noir bar's menu has a selection of cocktails named after films.

To my surprise and utter delight, they had a drink named after one of my favorite films: The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938). What a random film to chose! The cocktail consists of Bombay dry gin, Green Chartreuse, Grapefruit Juice, Basil and Champagne. I almost didn't get the drink because I have an aversion to basil. However, where else in the entire world would I get a drink named after this movie? Probably no where. So that's what I ordered.

The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938) stars Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart. Here is the trailer:

This film is a running joke because the name Clitterhouse suggests "clitoris". In fact, Humphrey Bogart was known to have pointed out the similarity between the surname of the character and the part of the female genitalia. 

As I suspected, the basil overpowered the otherwise delicious drink. I fished some of it out to make it more palatable for me. Kevin had a Black Dahlia cocktail which was delicious. 

Here we are at Noir bar!

I highly recommend The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse. In fact, I've personally to several people including Kevin who is currently holding my VHS copy hostage. The film is available on DVD as part of Warner Gangsters Collection Vol. 4. It's shown on TCM on a semi-regular basis. Also, it's going to be part of the super sexy Humphrey Bogart set that's due out in the Fall.

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