Some recent iTunes downloads

Glen Templeton – EP

 

Only $3.99 for all songs:

When Gone Comes Back

Choosing to Believe

I Could Be the One

A Sinner’s Prayer

Devil In the Mirror

 

Chris Young – Neon

My favorite songs on this album:

Lost

She’s Got This Thing About Her 

When She’s On

You (on Deluxe edition)           

 

 

 

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All That Heaven Allows (1955)

Did you see Far From Heaven, the 2002 film starring Julianne Moore, Dennis Haysbert, and Dennis Quaid?  Not only is that film intelligent and sensitive, it harkens back to an era of beautifully-made melodramas.  The director, Todd Haynes, was influenced by the work of Douglas Sirk, the director of All the Heaven Allows, starring Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson, now available on Netflix Instant Play.

Wyman stars as Cary Scott, a widowed mother (somewhere in her 40s) with two grown children living in suburban New York.  Her deep-thinking daughter Kay goes to Princeton and does social work in NYC; she also has a serious boyfriend.  Her jovial son Ned is finishing up college and looking toward launching his career.  The family home is spacious and finely decorated, so we know that the deceased Mr. Scott was a very successful man.

Since her kids pretty much have their own lives, Cary is feeling a bit lonely and wondering what she can do with the rest of her life.  Her best friend and neighbor Sara (Agnes Moorehead; she later co-starred on the TV comedy Bewitched) suggests she get out more to the country club.  Cary does date a bit; she spends time with Harvey, a mild-mannered older man (one of the few single men around).  But she’s still a vibrant woman, so he’s not quite right for her.

Feeling restless, she wonders if she should take up gardening as a hobby.  One lovely Fall day, she invites her handsome younger gardener, Ron Kirby (Hudson), to sit and share some lunch with her.  Ron’s deceased father had cared for the gardens of this community for years, but he has more plans for himself.  They tentatively become friends.  Within one year, Cary and Ron’s lives (and her views) will be profoundly changed by their evolving relationship.

From Here to Eternity (1953)

I saw this film for probably the third time this past week.  (It’s my mom’s favorite.)  It boosted the careers of its stars: Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Montgomery Clift, Donna Reed, and Frank Sinatra (who provides most of the much-needed humor and optimism).  Wow, what a cast!   The film won 8 Academy Awards; it was nominated for 13.

Young Army Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt (Clift) comes to a new base for his assignment.  From his first day, many of the other men bother him about not fighting (boxing) in the company league; we learn that he was quite successful at it, aside from one (tragic) event.  Sergeant Milton Warden (Lancaster) tells the others to leave the guy alone.  Warden, who’s admired as a great soldier, likes Prewitt, though he calls him “hard-headed.”  Prewitt, no matter what insults or how much punishment he’s given, says he’ll never box again.

She’s not that into you…  but give her time!  Yes, that’s petite Donna Reed (post-It’s a Wonderful Life).  She plays “Lorene” (real name: Alma), a somewhat jaded dance hall girl who Prewitt wants to get close to.  Though he wants a relationship, Alma is hesitant because she wants to keep working to secure her future.  Reed, who’s character is tough and independent-minded, won Best Supporting Actress.

Warden has his life complicated by his intense attraction to Karen (Kerr), the wife of his boss, Captain Holmes.  Like Alma, Karen is more than what she appears to be- sublimating her great loneliness and sorrow by behaving scandalously.  (Above: Kerr and Lancaster share one the most famous kisses in Hollywood film history.  Sigh…)

To her surprise, Karen falls deeply in love with Warden, a simple man who’s content to be a humble soldier.

There is more to romance in this story; there are serious issues that arise.  The jovial Private Angelo Maggio (Sinatra) is bullied by the racist Sgt. Judson (Ernest Borgnine).  Maggio and Prewitt were great friends though opposite in temperment; they have fun and get into trouble together.  But there is a sense of foreboding throughout much of the film, as is fitting-  the story takes place on the island of Oahu just a few weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Passion Fish (1992)

John Sayles’ movies are just a treat for an intelligent viewer- thoughtful, multi-dimensional, and well-developed (you go through a journey with the characters).  The respected (yet not widely-known) writer/director doesn’t do any tricks with the camera, choosing instead to let the focus be on his characters.  In Passion Fish, Sayles (a masculine feminist, in my opinion) unfolds the story of two very complicated, stubborn women.  You need to be patient when you watch this type of picture, as things unfold in at a slower pace than in typical modern Hollywood movies.

Mary-Alice Culhane (Mary McDonnell) is a soap opera actress living in NYC when a freak accident results in her paralysis from the waist down.  She decides to move back to her old childhood home in the Louisiana bayou, drink heavily (wine is her favorite), watch TV, and torment several female caregivers who come to work for her.  They quickly leave the job, of course.   Mostly, Mary-Alice wallows in self-pity, feeling that her life is over.

Finally, a determined young African-American nurse from Chicago, Chantelle (Alfre Woodard), comes to work for the diva.  We learn eventually that she desperately needs this job, as well as a place to live.

Don’t worry, this film has a few men, too.  When Mary-Alice’s old car breaks down, Chantelle meets (and gets hit on) by a charming, fun-loving cowboy nicknamed Sugar (Vondie Curtis- Hall).  At the gas station, she meets another local, quiet and handy Rennie (David Strathairn).  It turns out that he and Mary-Alice knew each other since childhood.  Rennie offers to come work on the old Culhane house, so she can get around with the wheelchair.

Watch for a few other characters (and surprises they bring).  Angela Bassett has a few nice scenes as Mary-Alice’s best friend and former co-star.

Thanksgiving Day

Here is a video which includes a short interview w/ me (go forward 8 mins. to 2nd segment).  FYI: I’m speaking in Bengali re: Thanksgiving.  It aired on NTV (a Bengali language channel here in US). 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8Q4CbGoVeM