Another week, another update on the 25 for 25 Project. I have to say, I have been looking forward to TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar for quite some time. I know I’ve mentioned it several times here on the blog. This week, there was actually too many movies recorded for me to keep me with. My week started in Paris with Gigi, which I had mixed feelings about. On one hand I was charmed by how beautiful it looked and how ridiculous the characters and the songs were. On the other hand the story was kind of a snooze, there was no real conflict. Overall, I did enjoy it and was so excited to see Gigi herself ,Leslie Caron in the other Parisian film this week An American in Paris. This one I really loved. It was so much fun, had a great story and the music and the dancing were top notch! Its one of the few times I was so emotionally invested that I teared up at the end of a film since starting the project. There were also layovers in Scotland with Braveheart which I enjoyed, a lot of people could not believe that I had never seen it but it snuck past me. With my viewing of Braveheart completed all that is left is Lord of the Rings until I’ve seen every Best Picture from the last 20 years. I also crossed Life of Emile Zola off of the list which I thought was an impressive and sweeping epic, but was not my favorite. Like I said TCM broadcast the winners faster than I could watch them. I still have Ben Hur, Amadeus and a few others sitting on the DVR waiting for me.
The other exciting news this week came in terms of a possible upcoming trip to Boston. As those of you who know me may have heard, at nearly 25 years old I am still susceptible to boy band crazes. So when I first heard What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction back in October I was hooked. However, my Direction Infection is not as severe as some of my friends. They need prayers, so much prayers. The boys have finally taken their act stateside and with a big US tour. My friend June suggested making a weekend trip up to Boston for their show. While I am usually the last person who thinks of traveling across state lines from things of this nature, I have been meaning to take a trip to Boston. Plus, what could be more fun than going with some great friends? Two of which went to college there and therefore could make excellent tour guides. As I am unemployed, money is a little tight as you can imagine. So we’ll see if it comes together. But, please send good juju my way because I’d love to cross something off of the list. Also let me know what I should do, see or eat while up in Boston.
I leave you with One Direction’s First US Single, What Makes You Beautiful. Available now on iTunes.
This week was light in progress, thanks large in part to Fashion Week taking over New York City. You can read all about my adventures in Fashion Land on Monday when I post the full recap. As you may remember, number 16 on the list is to attend a fashion show. While I did attend a few events this week, including a fabulous party and a Cougar Town panel I did not make into any shows. But, there are two more NYFWs before the project ends so there are more chances to come.
As for the Oscar list, I made some progress but not as much as others weeks since I was out almost every day. Turner Classic Movies has been doing their 31 Days of Oscar in a geographical theme showing you all of the places Oscar films have taken place, this week we hit Greece, New York and the American south. In New York we crossed off Going my Way and The Apartment. Both of which I really enjoyed. Going my Way was a little shmaltzy, but Bing Crosby was excellent in it. Crosby plays a young priest who moves to a bankrupt parish overseen by an old priest and with a few youthful injections turns things around. The movie should be watched by today’s holy officials, who seem to have lost an entire generation of church goers with their archaic views and practices. The Apartment was also excellent, Jack Lemmon lends out his apartment to upper management men for their extra marital affairs. One of the bosses is having an affair with Shirley McLaine who is of course the woman Lemmon likes. The end of the movie looks as if it is going to end with a suicide and in that moment I got really nervous, that’s when I know I truly enjoyed the film when I am nervous or upset about the death of a character. The week also took me to the South where I crossed a political film All the King’s Men and In the Heat of the Night off of the list. I thought Heat was great, with an amazing mystery and a performance nothing short of incredible from Sidney Poitier. This week I also revisited Tara in Gone with the Wind. Wind was actually one of the 14 Oscar winning movies I had seen before starting off on this project, but I couldn’t help but re-watch it. It’s long, it’s epic but it’s a masterpiece and I just adore Miss Scarlet O’Hara. Tonight, TCM will be taking us viewers to Paris with GiGi so I’ll report back next week.
Fashion Week is no time for cupcakes, so I didn’t cross any recipes off of the list. But, I did finish Catcher in the Rye my second BTBC selection. Just like in high school I found Holden to be an annoyingly negative boy with homosexual tendencies. Unlike high school, I pushed through it and finished the book. While I did not learn as much from Holden’s three days of loneliness in New York city as I did from Mockingbird, I did get a good reminder. When I read Catcher in my sophomore year of high school, I had just started a new school after being tossed out of St. Francis Prep. I was 40lbs overweight and a closeted homosexual. I was the very picture of a lonely, isolated outcast. To say I related to Holden would be an understatement. However, no amount of kinship could help me overlook his cynical narration. While I barely know that person today as a celebrated and important member of my social circle, it was a good reminder how lucky I am to have such great friends and such a wonderful relationship with my family. I also think the pivotal message at the story’s heart about how we all grow up is similar to children playing in a field is true. No one ever decides to grow up, we all take certain duties or commit certain acts and one day we wake up and we’re grown up. It’s an accident, really. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and am glad to have been given a reminder how fortunate I am to be past that dark, lonely phase of my life.
Like I said, TCM is taking me to Paris and I have started Catcher’s successor Lord of the Flies and procured a copy of Emma for after that. And, with my sister home I finally have an audience to bake for so I hope to cross a few recipes off the list.
Wings is the first Best Picture winner and the only silent film to win the prize... for now.
This week began Turner Classic Movie’s 31 Days of Oscar, I’ve always been aware of TCM’s annual Oscar love fest but this year I am really coming to appreciate it. I’ve been watching and tweeting my reactions all week and my tweets have gotten TCM’s attention and they now follow me. So the appreciation seems mutual. Thanks to TCM I crossed four Best Picture winners off of the list this week with another two watched thanks to speedy delivery from Netflix. There probably would have been more progress had it not been for my Downton Abbey marathon. I am OBSESSED! Its so amazing, if you’re not watching it we have nothing in common and should cease being friends. Anyway, back to the movies, Wings is one of the films I crossed off thanks to Netflix, it is the first movie to ever win Best Picture and is also the only silent picture to ever win. (For now.) The film actually holds up pretty well for a movie that is 84 years old. The story line involving a love triangle that’s really a rectangle is great and the bromance between the two pilots fighting in the great war is also really sweet. Over the course of the war, two men go from worst enemies to best friends. What really surprised me about the film was how beautifully it looks, there are shots during the climactic fight scenes where war planes look like they’re flying out of the ground, the amount of extras in wide shots just create a magnitude I didn’t expect in 1920′s cinema. Even compared to today’s war blockbusters it still looks expensive and so very beautiful.
Mrs. Miniver, Grand Hotel, My Fair Lady and In the Heat of the Night were all part of TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar and all were wonderful. The Heat of the Night has a great murder mystery and an amazing performance from Sidney Poitier. Grand Hotel is what I would consider the original Ocean’s 11 with an all-star cast in a movie about different lives overlapping while staying in Berlin’s Grand Hotel. While not my first Joan Crawford film it was the first time I saw her so early in her career. She is a wonderful actress and very fierce. It’s no wonder Greta Garbo didn’t want to share any scenes with her. The fabulous Ms. Crawford would have rendered her insignificant. Mrs. Miniver was my favorite of the group, a film about a woman from a middle class British family detailing how her life and the lives of her family change as they enter WWI. There’s an amazing message about how in times of war sometimes the most innocent and unexpected civilians become soldiers in the fight against evil. My Fair Lady was probably my least favorite, it felt a little bloated however I did enjoy how beautifully it was shot and it obviously harbors some great songs. Last but not least, was American Beauty. It shocks a lot of people that I had never seen this film as it was released in my lifetime and was very popular. I enjoyed it tremendously and thought it was amazing, but at the same time I felt guilty for feeling that way since elements of it seemed a little corny 13 years after first being released. Especially the bit about the plastic bag in the wind, which was amazingly parodied by Not Another Teen Movie.
The second selection of the Brian Tuft Book Club.
As for the Brian Tuft Book Club, I finished To Kill a Mocking Bird this week and loved it. I hope to do a full post regarding my reactions to it. But, let’s just say I am so excited to have finally finished it and don’t think I would have enjoyed it or related to it as much as I do at this very stage of my life. I am now well into my second BTBC selection Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I have decided that my Classics I Skipped in High School series will be made up of 10 Classics. I hope to include Emma, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies and other books that are very important and very popular literary classics that my shortsighted high school self deemed unimportant at the time.