Not too long ago I was reminded of one of my favorite romantic movies, The American President. The film stars Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd and Annette Bening as Sydney Ellen Wade, a lobbyist for an ecological group. President Shepherd is something unusual in the U.S. Presidency, though not in movies, a single father. Shepherd is nearing the end of his first term, up for re-election and wondering if the real reason he was elected was due to a sympathy vote after his wife died of cancer during his campaign. Now, after a little over three years of widowhood, he spots Sydney at a meeting taking place at the White House and decides he would like to ask her out. The problem, obviously, is that he is the President of the United States. His life is a fish bowl and there is a dignity that goes with the office that makes it difficult to have close friends. His oldest and best friend now refuses to call him anything other than “Mr. President” even during their private games of pool. So just how does a President ask a woman out on a date? What happens when that date is successful and they find themselves strongly attracted to each other? Read more about American President
This compelling novel does what few do these days—it discusses subjects and ideas with intelligence and feeling. In this case the primary subject is the new field of anthropology presented through the viewpoints of three field scientists in the 1930s. It’s based upon the real lives of Margaret Mead, Reo Fortune, and Gregory Bateson although the novel’s ending veers far from the historical record.
What a captivating novel this is--set in exotic Papua New Guinea, where hundreds of native tribes lived, speaking different languages with vastly different cultures and customs.
It hooked me right away. Was that a baby, the Mumbanyo just threw in the water? Nell, the character based upon Margaret Mead, couldn’t see because her husband had broken her glasses. When she and Fen (based upon Mead’s second husband, Reo Fortune) arrive back in civilization (of a sort), her eyes are malarial and she has welts over her body as well as bruises on her ankle. Two English ladies express shock at her appearance as they guzzle liquor on the boat. Read more about Euphoria
You may have seen the musical. You have most likely seen the movie starring John Travolta, Queen Latifah, and Nikki Blonsky, but have you see the movie that started it all? The original 1988 comedy Hairspray, directed and written by John Waters, featured Ricki Lake as Tracy Turnblad and Divine as Edna Turnblad. This movie has a grittier, earthier feel than either the musical or the 2007 movie. This is not too surprising as Hairspray was the first film by John Waters to receive less than an “R” rating. Prior to this film John Waters had been justly known in Hollywood as “The King of Bad Taste.” Hairspray was the first John Water’s films to even attempt to appeal to the general public. Read more about Hairspray (1988)
This book retells Jane Eyre in the voice of a serial killer. No, the novel is not some bizarre mocking of a great classic, but a humorous, well-executed pastiche --literary even—of Charlotte Bronte’s favorite book.
Jane’s first killing is accidental. When Jane was only nine, her annoying first cousin, Edwin, who was thirteen, kissed Jane and then tried to force himself upon her when they were playing outside. She shoved him away, perhaps with more strength than she’d intended. His head slammed on a rock and he died.
It happened during an awful period for Jane. Her French mother had just died from a self-inflicted draught of laudanum, and her Aunt Patience, her cousin’s mother, had decided to send her off to boarding school.
But according to Jane’s mother, whom Jane shared a lowly cottage with, the whole vast estate belonged to Jane and she would inherit it when she came of age. Read more about Jane Steele
It is likely that if I mentioned the name of Mike Nesmith most of us would think of the 1960’s band The Monkees. Some of us might think to recall him for his work with the First National Band, or some of his solo musical works. You might even remember him as one of the pioneers of the modern music video. It might come as a surprise to you that he was the executive producer of a film that the magazine Entertainment Weekly named #7 on its list of the “Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time.” The film is Repo Man starring Emilio Estevez as Otto, a street punk having a bad day, who is tricked by Bud (Harry Dean Stanton) into becoming a repo man and brings him into the strange and dangerous world surrounding the repossession of automobiles. Read more about Repo Man (1984)
We lived in Alaska when this volcano blew spectacularly in 1980. Two months later, we flew from Seattle to the east coast, and the pilot flew over the great mountain, so everyone could get a glimpse at the destruction. Yet, it wasn’t until ten years later that we made the trip to Southern Washington and visited the monument itself.
My husband and children and I stared in horror at the skeleton trees still standing, and at the grey scar that extended for miles down the mountain. In that moment we felt the cataclysmic power of nature. Other than the dead trees, the landscape looked like it could have been on the moon or some barren planet.