Sister Adventures: This is Halloween!

In a delightful continuation of a very sister filled October, Spazzmataz came to Springfield for a visit this weekend!  We had a good amount of exciting activities planned, so we got right to it when she arrived Friday afternoon.

Our first evening together involved the running of some necessary errands.  We got our 5k race packets, some tasty dinner, some Halloween candy, and most necessarily of all, some doughnuts.  Spazz decided we needed a dozen.  I did not disagree.

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We spent the rest of the evening at home, avoiding the rain and watching a movie off our list called Funny Games.  More on that in another post.

We were up early on the day of Halloween for a most exciting run.  The Halloween Hustle was held to benefit Harmony House, which is an incredible Springfield organization that everyone should learn about and support.  It had a super sweet 3D theme (visible on shirts pictured below).  It was also our first run in the rain, but we did okay.  We succeeded in our primary goal of not falling while running over wet leaves.

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I felt like I did horrible during the run.  I just never properly caught my breath.  So I was pleased to discover I did about the same as our last run.  I know I should be working on progressing, but with how poorly I felt I did, I was excited at the lack of regressing.  Spazzmataz and I finished about at the same time, with her finishing .6 seconds earlier.  That time was just speedy enough for her to win a most excellent second place medal!  She got the same place at last year’s Wizard Waddle Halloween run.  Go consistency.

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We spent the rest of the day preparing for our most lovely evening.  This lead to some excellent animal cuteness about the house.  Pause for a kitten interlude.

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Spazzmataz and I dressed up as witches to hand out Halloween candy to the many trick-or-treaters in my neighborhood.  Originally, the idea was that Gremlin/Winry would be our black cat, but she was not pleased by the experience and was properly returned indoors.

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Candy went surprisingly quickly in the neighborhood.  It turns out two Sam’s Club bags are not enough.  We saw some awesome and adorable costumes though.  One family (group of friends?) had made almost a hayride out of the experience.  They sat chairs in the bed of their truck and the attached trailer.  They’d park at a corner and a group of about 20 parents and children would pile out and go to the houses in the area.  It was amazingly coordinated.

Afterwards we had another scary movie to watch for our list.  Spazzmataz set about to making a most scrumptious autumn soup that fit my vegetarian needs while I made us a comfy pillow pallet.  I think we were both very successful in our endeavors.

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Artemis got a pillow pallet, too.

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After dinner we huddled in our blankets while watching the nonsense that is Scream.  We had the fire on, some tasty doughnuts, and Scrubs to keep us company afterwards.

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All together, it ended up being a most excellent holiday.  Now, for snow days.

– The Sisters Ravens

1001 Movies: The Producers

From the Bed of Super Koala:

I had many thoughts about The Producers, and I’m not really sure how to process it.  The following is my attempt.

First of all, someone needed to talk to the costuming department.  I just cannot handle Max’s hair.  At all.  What is happening?  Why is it so gross?  This fundamentally improved throughout the movie, particularly with the addition of a hat and/or helmet.  Additionally, why did all the men in make up have to be so scary?  Why did they have to wear so much make up?  I know some men that look absolutely gorgeous with a little cosmetic magic, but all of the made up men in this movie just gave me the heebie jeebs.    Finally, in regards to the costume/make up issue, why did the old women have to look so terrible?  Seriously, all this movie taught me was that old women were so scary looking in the 1960s.  Was there no better lighting they could put on them?  Could no one be a little gentler in this regard?

I’m always astounded that Mel Brooks movies are rated PG, as are the students that watch them in my classes.  This movie was no exception.  The entire opening segment was mildly traumatizing, mildly hilarious.  I wish I had a picture of Sparhawk’s face as it was happening.  But I kind of feel this way about all of the humor in Brooks’ films.  I’m perpetually walking the line between absolutely horrified and absolutely amused.  I suppose that is masterful on his part.  That being said, the Kafka reference in this film is perfect, so A+ for that.

My next question about this film is simple: why are people always yelling?  I think there are a lot of funny moments that end of leaving me irritated because I hate unnecessary yelling.  I know that a little hysterical yelling is kind of Gene Wilder’s thing, but did it have to be everyone’s thing?

Finally, I need to know one last crucial detail.  From watching this film, I picked up on the implication that Leo Bloom is actually the grown version of Linus from Peanuts.  Am I right, or am I right?

3 stars overall.

From the Bed of Captain Spazzmataz,

So, all of the other Mel Brooks movies we have watched so far did not go over very well with me, however I enjoyed this one. It was very unsettling at the beginning and I actually paused it to check the rating about three minutes in. Nonetheless, I found this film amusing whereas the others I just found dumb.

I think Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder worked wonderfully together, and even though they were attempting to pull off a large scale scam, I was rooting for them to succeed. I absolutely loved when Leo had his first major fit of hysteria. I laugh to myself every time I think of the line, “I’m in pain and I’m wet and I’m still hysterical!”

I agree with Super Koala that the costuming and make up was atrocious. But I also think that added to the humor of the characters.

4 stars

1001 Movies: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

From the Bed of Super Koala:

Among many movies on this list that have made me feel otherwise, I think this film truly counts as one I should see before I die.  I feel like it gives great exposure to horror films, silent films, and foreign films.  While it occasionally made me sleepy, and I don’t need as long as it gave me to read the dialogue items, I actually really enjoyed the production of this movie.

Easily, my favorite part of this movie was what they did with the set.

I read that the sets were made out of paper.  Given this, I love what the achieved with concepts depth and lighting.  It’s absolutely beautiful, while still being very macabre.  All the attention to details and nuances made this really enjoyable on a purely visual level.  I think they did an equally impressive job creating similar effects with the character’s make up.

After viewing the ending twist, I can’t help but wonder how influential this movie was on films and literature to follow.  The “it’s all a delusion” is still used films today.  (Here’s looking at you, Shutter Island.)  I definitely want to learn more about this topic, and when this particular plot device rose to popularity.  It will be interesting to see where The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari comes into play.

Overall, four stars.

From the Bed of Captain Spazzmataz,

First off, I really like that this movie was broken up into acts. Due to the fact that it was a silent film, and that I was watching it pretty late at night, I appreciated that I could measure how much time was left by the acts and therefore it was easier to stay awake. Not that the film was boring at all, as a matter of fact it was very entertaining, but silent films demand a different kind of wakefulness that is very difficult to maintain when you are sleepy to begin with.

I give super props to this movie given the fact that I had no idea what was going on or what was going to happen until about the last thirty seconds of the movie. Most movies today are very predictable, and I am glad that I was kept guessing until the end. I had no idea that it was all a hallucination of sorts, so the entire time I was just really perplexed by all of the events that took place.

Now that I know the nature of the movie, the sets totally make sense. While watching it, I was very confused by the slanty buildings and strange shadows, but at the end it all came together.

It is one of those movies that makes you think about everything you just saw after it is over, and I really appreciate that. Also, I think it would be so cool to see how amazing those actors would be if they could act in a movie today. They had such amazing body language and facial expressions that were crucial because of the lack of words. I think all actors should have to go through a silent film class or something to learn how to portray emotion and expression like that.

Great movie. 4 stars.

1001 Movies: Days of Heaven

From the Couch of Super Koala:

I don’t think this is a movie I needed to see before I died.

I’m sorry pretty, young Richard Gere, but I just don’t.  It was a good movie; I enjoyed it as a whole, but I think I could also have lived quite happily without having seen it.

That being said, while looking up pictures for this movie, I found it described as a “screen poem.”  This, I absolutely adored.  The simplicity of the dialogue but the complexity of the events presented in the film lend so well to this description.  One of the attributes I consistently enjoyed about this movie was that it expected a level of intelligence from the viewer.  It is subtle.

In terms of acting, I particularly enjoyed the young girl.  I love her odd, rough voice as that of the narrator.  I found it very appropriate that the movie began and ended with her perspective, as opposed to one of the characters in central focus.

What I did not need was a close up montage of locusts feasting.  That I could have done without, Days of Heaven.

In all, a solid, well-made film.  It’s just not one I would chose to return to.  Three stars.

From the Bed of Captain Spazzmataz,

I really did enjoy this movie. I thought the lack of dialog was really refreshing. I loved how you could tell what was going to happen next from the music instead of what the characters were saying. However, because of that, some really drastic jumps were made in the plot. I understand that it is something the audience can get and follow along with, but some of the sudden plot advances were just a little too extreme to seem real.

For example, the farm owner all of a sudden loves the girl when they haven’t spoken or been near each other for more than five minutes total. It just doesn’t make much sense. Also, my personal rating of this movie dropped quite a bit when they wouldn’t stop showing all of the bugs. It was just too much. I get it. Please, I don’t need to see them so much.

I was a little confused by the ending as well. It just seemed to stop. Everyone went off on their separate ways and I didn’t really see how it all tied together.

Overall, it was a pretty good film, and I too like that it is called a screen poem.

3 stars

1001 Movies: Titanic

From the Bed of Captain Spazzmataz:

Titanic. Where do I begin.

I am going to start by saying that I now officially feel more cultured because, believe it or not, this is the first time I have seen the movie. Ever. In 17 years, I have only seen it once. I think it is pretty amazing that I hadn’t seen it until now.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie was really great, but I don’t think any movie should be much longer than two hours. After that, I just lose interest, and it seems like a hassle to watch it because they take up so much time. After watching Titanic, I felt like my entire afternoon had been wasted. If Rose would have not gone back down so many times, it would have shaved off a lot of time.

That is the other issue I had. Rose could have been on a lifeboat with her mother very early. And then she was safely on one later, but decided it would be a good idea to jump off! Jack seemed like a very resourceful guy, so I am pretty sure he would have found his way onto a boat if he didn’t have to worry about getting her on to one so much. If Rose would have just done what she was told to, they probably both would have lived.

Other than that and the time, I really did enjoy the movie. I loved how detailed everything was as well as how the movie shifted in and out of present and past time. The casting was really wonderful too. DiCaprio and Winslet’s chemistry on screen was just fantastic, and you could tell they were having fun with it. Also, the music was just phenomenal. The soundtrack was so fitting that the mood and setting and everything melded so well and really pulled everything together. It won three Oscars and two Golden Globes just for the sound and music, and they were definitely rightly awarded.

I can say with confidence that this movie belongs on this list.

4 Stars

From the Couch of Super Koala, Who is Skyping the Spazz:

Just as the Spazzmataz before me, I too enjoy Titanic.  Titanic came out when I was much younger (second grade? I dunno), and it was all the rage with its pretty boy DiCaprio and nudie Kate Winslet parts.  It was quite the topic of gossip, whose parents would let them watch Titanic and whose would not.

My only frustration regarding Titanic is everyone’s frustration regarding Titanic.  Why is Rose so dumb?  Like the Spazz pointed out, Rose has so many chances to live that could have also resulted in Jack living.  There’s a certain point where it’s not “romantic” anymore and just becomes shenanigans level selfish.  To demonstrate with the door alone:

That being said, the movie is beautiful.  I love the sets so much.  And Bernard Hill as the Captain anyone?  So underrated.

I also give it four stars.

1001 Movies: Four Weddings and a Funeral

From the Couch of Super Koala, Do I Ever Leave?, You May Wonder:

Our streak of romantic comedies continues with the 1994 film, Four Weddings and a Funeral.

It was kind of strange to have a movie that spoiled all of the events in its own title.  But, Spazzmataz and I had fun guessing what weddings and whose funeral would follow.  The movie itself was cute; it was fun and refreshing.  I’m so used to seeing suave, playboy Hugh Grant that it was nice to see baby him looking sheepish and unsure.

My show stealer for this one was easily John Hannah.  My only John Hannah movies had been the Mummy series, don’t judge too harshly, where I also adored him.  But this performance was so different from the goofy, inappropriate character in the Mummy.  He was so heartfelt, soft, and endearing.  The eulogy he delivers at the titular funeral was so tasteful; I loved everything about it.

The movie basically summarizes everything a nine season sitcom does on television.  It presents a great group of friends, plenty of hijinks, and a sense of honesty.  The characters haven’t been given too much movie magic; they’re realistic and, as such, very lovable.

Four stars.

Butt Total: None.  Though it was precarious.

From the Chair of Super Koala, this is Captain Spazzmataz:

I too enjoyed the fun and charming attitude of this movie. Movies are almost always better when everyone (or in this case almost everyone) is British. It just makes everything more enjoyable to listen too.

All of the characters were all likable, his brother was hilarious, his friends are absolutely wonderful and I want them to be my friends. There were definitely parts that kept me guessing which is pretty amazing because most romantic comedies are very predictable. I felt many feelings. I was happy, giggling, upset, stressed, and everything in between. Basically this movie had all of the really great elements that made me happy. It was especially refreshing amidst all of the war movies that we have watched lately.

4 stars

1001 Movies: Patton

From the Chair of Super Koala, this is Captain Spazzmataz:

Most of the war movies that we have watched this month have been really good. This was good as well, but not my favorite. It is really hard to like a movie when the main character is absolutely repulsive. It isn’t even the actor’s fault, I thought he did a really good job, it is just the general attitude of George S. Patton that is really off putting.

I did really enjoy the plot of the movie and how everything unfolded. I thought it was really interesting, and there were lots of things that I didn’t know before that were brought to light. It was kind of nice to see WWII through just one person. When learning about it in school they try to show you the war from every angle, but seeing it focused on just one person was very refreshing.

Over all, I thought the movie was really good, it is just incredibly difficult to enjoy a movie with a sour main character. Every time you thought he was getting better, he just got worse again.

3 stars

From the Couch of Super Koala:

I fell asleep for the middle section of this movie, so this review will probably be scant.

Like the Spazz, I thought the George C. Scott did a wonderful job in the role of the title character.  He almost made Patton likeable, which is definitely saying something.  His performance is basically the sole focus of the entire movie as he’s almost always on screen.

I do wonder about the movie’s reception in the 70s.  While watching, Sparhawk pointed out that it would have came out at the peak of the American-Vietnam conflict.  It makes me curious how people would have received a three hour pro-military movie.

The ultimate downside of this movie is that I fell asleep, so I was obviously missing a certain element of interest.  The 70s have such a specific filming style that I don’t always love, and that was definitely in full effect here.

3 stars.

Butt Total: None to my waking memory.