Monday, June 09, 2014

Movie Monday 6/9

Sorry I didn't post anything last week in between Movie Monday and Quote It Saturday (which I posted on Sunday!). Things have been really hectic here lately, with our college son home for the summer and starting summer session today, and our younger son finishing his sophomore year of high school last week, with me driving him all over the city all week for final exams, appointments, haircut, and stuff with his friends. He will be able to drive on his own in 36 more days!! Not that I'm counting...

In spite of the hectic week, we had a very relaxing, stress-free weekend. Our younger son took the train to visit his grandparents, and our older son went to the beach with friends, so my husband and I had an empty-nest preview weekend! I did absolutely nothing productive all weekend, which is highly unusual for me...and highly wonderful!

We went kayaking, had dinner at the local Greek Festival, read the Sunday paper (on Sunday!), and enjoyed two movies on DVD. I actually talked my husband into two movies that were not filled with action and/or violence...and he loved them both!

Friday night, we watched Philomena, which I've been dying to see. It stars Judi Dench (who, as my husband says, is fabulous in everything) as Philomena, an elderly Irish woman who finally tells her daughter about the illegitimate son who was taken from her when she was still a teen. Her daughter enlists the help of a disgraced journalist, Martin, to help her mother track down her long-lost son, whom they discover was adopted by a U.S. couple. The cynical journalist and outspoken former nurse travel together, gradually uncovering the secrets surrounding Philomena's son, which turn out to be bigger than either of them imagined. Along the way, they learn to trust and even like each other, each learning from the other. This is an amazing story (even more so because it is true) with stunning secrets, but the best part of the movie is the interaction between Philomena and Martin which often had us laughing out loud.  One of those rare movies that is both funny and heart-warming without being sentimental.

The next night, we watched Nebraska, another 2013 hit that was nominated for numerous awards. This one was even more of a pleasant surprise to us. It's a very understated, quiet film that sneaks up on you. Filmed all in black and white, it is the story of an elderly man with the beginnings of dementia, played brilliantly by Bruce Dern, who receives one of those ubiquitous come-ons in the mail and truly believes he has won a million dollars. He keeps trying to walk to Nebraska from their home in Montana to collect his winnings, as his faithful but exasperated son comes to his rescue again and again. Finally, his son gives in and offers to drive his dad to Nebraska, figuring it will at least get his dad out of town for a while and give them some time together. They set off on this ill-fated road trip and make a stop in his dad's hometown, which is filled with some seriously loser relatives and a smattering of old friends, as well as two unplanned stops in ERs. Describing the plot doesn't do this movie justice. The acting, the production, and even the black and white film all make the movie seem minimalist, but the characters come alive and many scenes are laugh-out-loud funny! Much of the movie reminded us of my husband's dad, whom we are in the process of moving from Oklahoma here to the East Coast. The whole thing taken together is funny, moving, and ultimately positive (though we feared at the quiet, dark beginning that it might be depressing - not at all). Highly recommended.

Have you seen any good movies lately?

If you are also interested in what we're reading this week, check out the Monday post on my book blog.

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