Movie Night: “Rear Window”

March 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

March 26, 2015

My love of Rear Window began with my mom telling me about it as one of the movies she loved in her day. By the time I finally got to see it on television, it felt like I was watching it for the second time instead of the first. I never tired of re-watching it every time it aired, even on a small TV screen with numerous commercial interruptions. Thanks to the March 25 TCM Presents Rear Window event, I got to see it on the big screen, and it was magic.

No "Rear Window' movie poster, so had to make do with the "TCM Presents" marquee.

No “Rear Window’ movie poster, so had to make do with the “TCM Presents” marquee.

Foreshadowing is one of my favorite storytelling devices. In Rear Window this moment is couched in humor. When the insurance company nurse, Stella (Thelma Ritter), walks into Jeff’s (Jimmy Stewart) apartment, she says “I smell trouble.” She then proceeds to tell him how she also predicted the stock market crash because the director of General Motors had a kidney ailment. It just makes the omen of things to come that much more fun.

The Unlikely Alliance of a wheelchair bound photographer, a high society fashion model, and a down-to-earth, middle aged nurse is one of the things that makes this movie so freaking cool. That and the fact that the older nurse is happily married, and dispenses refreshing and amusing wisdom to Jeff on romance and relationships.

Which leads nicely into the Humor and Wit. Some of my favorite bits:

“I’d say she’s doing a woman’s hardest job: juggling wolves.”

“Did they have signs on their luggage saying ‘Grand Central or Bust’?”

“I can hear you now. ‘Get away from me, you perfectly wonderful woman. You’re too good for me.'”

“You know if someone came in here, they wouldn’t believe what they’d see? You and me with long faces plunged into despair because we find out a man didn’t kill his wife.”

Grace Kelly’s Ensembles – Okay, I have to mention these visually stunning outfits that the even more stunning Grace Kelly wears throughout this movie. I personally want the light green suit ensemble pictured below and the snazzy casual loafers she wears while she’s lounging and reading a Harper’s Bazaar. I love the fact that one of her dresses was so classy and feminine while giving her the freedom of movement to do the legwork that the injured Jeff wasn’t able to.


Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly in “Rear Window”

The slow, real-world like Buildup of Suspense keeps you captivated and then it catches you by surprise. It progresses from Jeff being bored and watching the neighbors for fun to hearing something in the night and not knowing what it is to convincing his skeptical girlfriend and nurse that something is wrong at the apartment across the way. Then suddenly my friend Martha on my one side is saying “Hurry. Run! Run!” to the screen and Dia on my other side is clutching my leg and even though I’ve seen this all a dozen times I am squirming in my seat.

I have a top five list of favorite movies, but after seeing Rear Window AGAIN, and on the big screen at that, I’m going to have to add it to the list and make it my top six.

Nobody Threw a Chair at My Head

March 16, 2015 § 1 Comment

Or, Writers–so dramatic.

March 16, 2015

So I finally saw the movie Whiplash. It is a brilliant illustration of the artistic passion that drives one to be great at something one loves at all costs.


At Saturday’s LERA meeting, Angela James, Editorial Director of Carina Press, conducted a fabulous and informative day-long workshop. Part of the workshop included a session where Angela would read the first two pages of our respective manuscripts and give a critique. I submitted mine, since I am in the process of rewriting. This was perfect timing.

Angela pointed out some things that I am either already aware of, such as my word count–I know, I know, I have to cut the word count— or that are relatively easy fixes. The best part was that nobody in class told me my dialogue sucked and that no real person would act the way my characters were acting.

I’ve come a long way since the 9th grade.

And hey, this didn’t happen:

I’ll take the win.

Movie Night: “Beyond the Lights”

January 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

January 19, 2015

My walking shoes. I participated in the Martin Luther King, Jr. march on Saturday morning. After seeing Selma, I pretty much had to. And, no, I won’t bitch that Ava DuVernay didn’t get a Best Director nomination. Oh, wait. I guess I just did.

I walked in the MLK march on Saturday morning. After seeing Selma, I pretty much had to. And, no, I won’t bitch that Ava DuVernay didn’t get a Best Director nomination. Oh, wait. I guess I just did.

I met my trusty movie buddy Martha in the lobby of the theater.

Beyond the Lights, right?” she said.


“Whew.” She had already bought her ticket. “I got up to the window and realized I had no idea what movie we’re seeing.”

I guess I should be flattered that my friend trusts my judgment enough to show up at the theater without bothering to pay attention to which movie I’d proposed. Me, I don’t trust anybody enough to show up to the movie theater blind.

“It’s a lovey-dovey movie, isn’t it?” she asked.

“Of course.”

“I knew it. I was scanning the titles, thinking, ‘Which movie would Shannon pick?’ I went with the one that sounded romantic because that’s your genre—the one that you write in.”

My movie pal knows me well.

Beyond the Lights flew under the radar the first time around. Like too many “black” movies that open in Albuquerque, it ran for, like, a week. I had planned to see it over Thanksgiving weekend, but it was already gone.

It just reopened in the cheap theater, and everybody must have heard about the rave reviews and the original song Oscar nomination because the theater was packed. Black people, white people. Young people, old people. People who leaned over to their partners and said happily, “That’s the song she sang in the beginning, when she was a little girl.”

Martha kept leaning over to commentate on the male lead character, played by Nate Parker. “Oh, my God, he is so freaking hot.”

He was also one of those Captain America/Superman/Boy Scout types. Swoon.

I don’t even know where to begin with Gugu Mbatha-Raw. She can’t star in too many movies, in my opinion. She is the whole package.

The themes in this movie run deeper than you might originally assume from the trailer. It tackles the hypersexualization of female artists, the mother-daughter survival bond, the schism between what an artist really wants to say and what is commercially viable. And it has a kick-ass love story to boot.

As the credits rolled, Martha said, “Oh, I’m so glad no one died.”

Lovey-dovey movies are the best movies ever.

Movie Night: “Top Five”

December 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

December 15, 2014

Me: “Top Five opens this weekend. Want to go?”

Dia: “Do you think it’ll be funny?”

Hello. It’s Chris Rock.

Me: “Okay, you saw the trailer, right?”

Dia: “Yes, but is it going to be like Dear White People, where the trailer makes it look like it’s going to be really funny, but it’s actually not.”

Me: “Rolling Stone and Richard Roeper said it’s funny, so we’re good.”

We were those people, taking multiple selfies in the theater before the previews started, trying to get one that looked sufficiently selfie worthy and approved by both of us.

We were those people, taking multiple selfies in the theater before the previews started, trying to get one that looked sufficiently selfie worthy and approved by both of us.

Verdict: we pretty much laughed our asses off throughout the whole thing.

Dia: “That was the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time.”

Maybe now she’ll trust my movie recommendations.

Ha. That’s good for a laugh.

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