Do You Feel Lucky?

Bill and I have seen more movies at the theater than we ever saw in a short period of time, even before COVID. We’ve gone almost every week for the past month or so. I am reminded of when I was a child growing up in Columbus with its one-screen theater. At that point, the movie would change every week. The current system of rating movies didn’t go into effect until 1968, so we kind of had free range. The Catholic Legion of Mary had its own rating system, but fortunately for me, Mom wasn’t a member and paid little attention to their recommendations. As a result, I was frequently there in the middle of the theater, munching on popcorn, and watching Jerry Lewis or Doris Day overact and/or sing and dance. My brother Dave recently reminded me that I volunteered to take him to see 2001: A Space Odyssey, though I have no recollection of that act of kindness on my part. He added that he was so excited that his big sister was taking him to the movies that he was careful not to mention that his 9-year-old self didn’t understand a thing that was going on in the movie.

The movie theater was across the street from the bakery, so we had easy access. Sometimes Grammie would give us some money to go buy candy at the concession stand, without seeing a movie. Milk Duds was my favorite choice. Suck the chocolate off, then keep the candy in your mouth until the caramel got soft, a concept that Bill still can’t understand.

Our most recent movie adventure was seeing Cry Macho, the latest (and likely, last) movie featuring Clint Eastwood, who also produced and directed it. The movie has gotten mixed reviews, and I would lean towards the less positive reviews. Lean, not fall into. Because it’s Clint Eastwood playing the guy that Clint Eastwood plays. But older. But even old, he’s fun to watch.

Going in, I knew that the actor was 91 years old. No matter, because I expected him to ride up on a horse with a cheroot clamped between his snarling lips. To my surprise, it was an old man who shuffled up to the horse, and stunt doubles who did most of the riding.

It was a charming — if not terribly realistic or well-acted — story in which Eastwood plays a former rodeo star who is asked by a friend to drive to Mexico City and pick up his illegitimate son. The boy has been neglected by his mother and is running wild on the streets of Mexico City, spending most of his time entering his rooster — whose name is Macho — in illegal cockfights. As the story progresses, the predictably grouchy Eastwood’s heart softens towards the boy, who has a change of heart as well. There is even a love interest for Eastwood, though we are thankfully not provided a love scene.

It is a quiet and slow-moving movie, and I recommend it if you like Eastwood. I love the man. I was reminded that he once served as mayor of the town of Carmel, California, where his biggest accomplishment was changing the law that prohibited the consumption of ice cream cones on Carmel’s streets. He didn’t run for reelection, because how could he ever beat that accomplishment?

Do you feel lucky Punk? Well, do you? Shut up and eat your chocolate dip cone.

Thursday Thoughts

Getting a Boost
Bill and I had lunch yesterday with some friends we hadn’t seen in some time. During the course of lunch, they mentioned they had just gotten their COVID vaccine booster shot. “Whaaaat?” I said, because I knew she had gotten her original shots later than I. I thought there was an eight-month waiting period before getting the booster. Apparently not, because they had gotten theirs without any problem whatsoever. When we returned home from lunch, I got on Safeway’s COVID website, and quickly learned that both Bill and I were eligible. It seems the waiting period is only six months if you meet the criteria. And for Pfizer, one of the criterium is being 65 or older. Within literally minutes, I had an appointment for Bill and I to get our shot that very afternoon. When I think about the stress, time, and angst involved in getting our first shots compared to the ease of getting the booster, I am amazed…..

Though I can’t say much for my photography skills, here is proof of our vaccination status. Take THAT, COVID.

Autumn Leaves
Yesterday was the first really chilly day of the fall. It never reached 60 in our neck of the woods. At one point, it poured rain. I mean, the rain came down in sheets. I was on my way to retrieve our original vaccination cards to take with us, and drove through the downpour. I didn’t mind the rain, but certainly kept my fingers crossed that it didn’t start to hail. I would have been sad to see hail damage on my pretty red car. The trees are suddenly starting to change colors, so apparently fall is here to stay. Well, until it’s time for winter.

An Evening With Clint
I am very eager to see the new Clint Eastwood movie called Cry Macho. Though I don’t think it’s doing well at the box office, my sister Bec said it got a good review in the New York Times. The reviewer did say that it is quintessential Clint Eastwood, so if you’re not a fan, don’t bother. It so happens that Bill and I are fans. We are planning to see the movie in the next day or two. In the meantime, we watched Unforgiven last night to get in the mood. That really is one of my very favorite movies. His character tries so hard to be good, but the bad guys just won’t let him!

Du, Du Liebst Mir in Herzen
Last Saturday, we celebrated Bill’s son Dave’s birthday with dinner. It had to be a quick dinner, however, because Dave and Jll were heading off to a Oktoberfest party given by one of their friends. It was a costumed affair, and the two certainly looked like fresh-faced German mann und frau. Dave’s black eye, by the way, comes from opening his son Alastair’s thermos which contained food that was so old it had fermented and exploded in his face. True story…..

Ciao! (Or in this case, auf wiedersehen.)

Road to Perdition

Road_to_Perdition_Film_PosterBack in the early 2000s, Bill and I went to see the film Road to Perdition at the movie theater. Very uncharacteristically, neither one of us knew the plot of the movie, knowing only that it starred one of our favorite film actors, Tom Hanks. We had seen him in many movies of course. In fact, we had seen him a couple of years before in Castaway. Though Bill probably wouldn’t admit it, we both liked him in Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. (Bill was a big fan of Meg Ryan before she got so much plastic surgery that she looks more like Bozo the Clown than Meg Ryan. He always used to say she reminded him of me. I cling to that very thought. And at least most of my face isn’t tucked behind my ears.) Hanks had been the voice for Woody in Toy Story, for heavens’ sake. We seriously anticipated a lighthearted film, in fact had not a single notion that it would be anything but a sweet movie.

The film, of course, is the story of a mob enforcer and his young son who are out to avenge the murder of the rest of their family. It is horrifically violent, concluding with Tom Hanks dying in the arms of his son after successfully shooting their enemy in the face. About three-quarteres of the way through the movie, Bill leaned over to me and deadpanned, “Well, this is about the worst comedy I have ever seen in my life.” I began giggling so hard I thought they would kick me out of the theater.

So, just as Road House has become synonymous in our eyes with bad movies, Road to Perdition has become the term we use when a comedy isn’t funny.

Yesterday afternoon, Bill took a rare afternoon off from yard work. It was kind of chilly and overcast, and he mentioned he was feeling caught up with outdoor chores. I suggested he sit down with me and we could watch a Netflix movie. Much to my surprise, he agreed. After perusing all of our choices, we selected Million Dollar Baby, a 2004 boxing movie starring Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, and Hilary Swank. It’s not easy to find a movie we can both agree on, but Bill likes the sport of boxing and I like Clint Eastwood.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Neither one of us was anticipating a comedy. The story line was about a grouchy boxing manager who was estranged from his daughter, and who agrees to train Swank’s character for the title fight. It was fairly graphic, and got me wondering why on earth anyone would ever CHOOSE to be a boxer.

But about halfway through the movie, I began getting a bad feeling. Things were just moving along too positively for an academy-award-winning movie. Hollywood doesn’t do cheerful.

I have mentioned before that I hate books where a character to whom you have gotten attached dies of cancer or anything else. It simply irks the living daylight out of me. It is for that reason alone that I refuse to watch Steel Magnolias or Terms of Endearment. I hated Love Story. As many times as I’ve read Little Women, after my first reading, I skip the chapter where Beth dies.

As my bad feeling continued to grow, I picked up my iPad and googled the movie. Here’s what I learned….


In the title fight, Swank’s character trips over the stool that had been placed in the wrong position in the ring and BREAKS HER NECK. She becomes a quadriplegic. After months in the hospital, she develops such severe bed sores that she has to have one of her legs amputated. Her family comes to visit her ONLY after visiting Disneyland first, and ONLY to have her sign a paper signing all of her money to them. She apparently spends the last part of the movie begging Clint Eastwood to kill her, which he eventually does. The end.

I say “apparently” because it was about that time that I told Bill I was going upstairs to work on my computer.

“Why?” he asked me.

“Do you really want me to tell you?” I responded. He assured me he did.

“Well, let me put it this way,” I said. “It makes Road to Perdition look like a comedy.

And that, my friends, was the end of that. Life’s too short to go through that kind of movie-watching misery, even if it’s an excellent and award-winning movie. Bill put on his jacket and went outside and found some yard work to do, and I wrote this crabby blog post.

I’ll take Doris Day and Rock Hudson any day of the week.