November was a so-so movie watching month for me. I didn’t love any of the films I watched, but I didn’t hate them either. The original plan was to go on real dates with Mr. Whimsey to see new releases like Skyfall, Anna Karinina, and Lincoln. Unfortunately, the ever-present time squeeze that stifles the leisure activities in my life forbade such wanton fantasies as a date night. Instead I ended the month with a hodge-podge of acceptable vintage stuff that didn’t quite get me to my quota for the 50/50 reading Challenge. This just means that I’ll be trying to cram seven new movies into December when what I really want to be doing is sipping cocoa and re-watching holiday favorites like White Christmas, A Muppet Christmas Carol, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Holiday Affair (1949) starring Robert Mitchum, Janet Leigh, Wendell Corey. Janet Leigh plays a young war widow and mother who decides to marry a man she likes but doesn’t love for security and a stable environment for her son. Then she meets Robert Mitchum’s character and her plans becomes far less appealing. The very attractive Mr. Mitchum and the little boy who played Janet Leigh’s son were the best parts of the movie for me. For a classic holiday film, this was satisfactory but I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it again. (3.5/5 stars)
Christmas in Connecticut (1945) starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet. Barbara Stanwyck’s character makes her living sharing about life on her Connecticut farm with her husband and baby as she writes about the delicious food cooks for them. In reality, Ms. Stanwyck is a young, single, sophisticated city dweller who doesn’t know the first thing about cooking. The deceit is harmless until her clueless publisher decides he wants to spend the Christmas holiday with her on her farm. Joining him will be a war hero whose girlfriend wants him to discover the delights of domesticity. To save her job, she decides to marry a friend she likes but doesn’t love (recognize a theme here?) who just happens to own a farm in Connecticut. She never gets around to marrying the friend, ends up falling in love with the young soldier and many uncomfortable and funny situations develop. My favorite part of the whole movie? The sleigh ride, of course – what a romantic way to spend a December evening! (3.5/5 stars)
The Andromeda Strain (1971) starring Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olson, and Kate Reid. An extra-terrestrial micro-organism hitches a ride back to earth on a satellite and almost completely wipes out a small town in Arizona. Scientists race against time to discover the alien life form and protect the human race from annihilation. I struggle with older sci-fi movies because everything seems just a little hokey. It’s not the movie’s fault; it’s the curse of the inevitable progress of technology. But still, I struggled. Buddy picked this movie because he’d just finished reading the book. We all thought it was OK. I’m reading the book now and am finding it to be much more intense (in a good way) than the movie. (3/5 stars)
Office Space (1999) starring Ron Livingston, Jennifer Anniston, and David Herman. I don’t watch comedies very often. I’m always expecting them to be funnier then they really are and then I’m disappointed. Because this particular movie has reached cult status, I figured I would give it a try. Office Space pokes fun at the ridiculous culture and practices of corporate America. Some of the characterizations were just terrific and some of the scenes were hilarious. I think what makes it appealing to so many people is that we’ve all experienced some of the absurdities the movie highlights. Very little mental energy is required for viewing and some good belly laughs are involved. Not bad for a comedy. (3.5/5 stars)
I am nervous about fitting the last seven movies into December. It is already the middle of the month, I have so many other things to do, and I haven’t watched one flick that could count toward the 50/50 Reading Challenge. Yikes! I think I see a couple of movie marathons looming in my immediate future. Bring on the popcorn, Coca Cola, and wrapping paper. I guess it’s time for some intense multi-tasking this Yuletide season if I have any hope whatsoever of getting everything done.