fall film challenge update: october

October 27, 2018

one. haunted mansion. this was not a film i'd selected. i'd spent an evening with my younger brother, his children, his wife, her sister and niece. we had an outdoor movie night, swimming and soaking in a hot tub. the ghosts make this movie. eddie murphy does NOT.

family night at my brother's house... it was this or or hocus pocus, and i'd already seen the latter, so... i voted for this one. i think i would've preferred to watch hocus pocus again. it wasn't awful. but it wasn't awesome, either. the kids enjoyed it. terence stamp starred in valkyrie with tom cruise who starred with bacon in a few good men.

two. before the flood. watched this one to learn about some work i'm doing. it's interesting enough.

NOT because i wanted to so much as i needed to for a job i'm doing. i can't STAND leonardo dicrapio. he was in the departed with jack nicholson who starred in a few good men with tom cruise.

three. easy a. i love emma stone, and she's her typical, cute self here. it's an interesting story, and i enjoyed it. it can be pretty ridiculous at times, but then almost immediately following the silly, there comes a scene that is really sweet. i like it. i'd watch it again. it's the only movie of the five mentioned here about which i can say that.

i liked it. there are some spots that are utterly ridiculous, but almost immediately after those would be something that was pretty cute or clever. emma stone starred with bacon in crazy stupid love.

four. john wick. i do love keanu reeves and ian mcshane. this movie is all special effects and gratuitous violence for the sake of those things. not a fan.

i thought the story was stupid, the film another excuse for special effects and techno music. the only good thing about it was ian mcshane and willem dafoe. i'd planned on watching the sequel. that's not happening now. keanu reeves starred in something's gotta give with jack nicholson who starred with bacon in a few good men.

five. peter rabbit. another flick the kids picked. i was really glad when it was over.

yall, this movie was SO, SO stupid. the only good thing i can say about it is that the end comes quickly. connection: rose byrne starred with bacon in x-men: first class.

and that makes twenty-five for me!

i'm hoping to complete the bonus round, as well. still tweaking my list.

nine days

October 21, 2018

i feel the need to preface this with the following: i do NOT need to be saved; i do NOT NEED a man to love me. my parents raised me to be self-sufficient, and with the exception of the pathetic excuse of a bank account that is my checking, i'm pretty good at standing on my own two feet. if i can't pay the bills some months because the jobs i've held haven't been the best paying ones, i'm not afraid to ask for their help, and i'm blessed they can give it. i'm an independent, incredibly strong woman. i can hang with pain. i've had bones broken, cut up and reattached; i battle those godawful mental demons referenced in this post. most of the time i'm comfortable in my solitude. i like not having to share, and i feel like when you're involved in a romantic relationship, there's a whole lot of sharing going on. much as i want to know what it's like to have a man hold you while you fall asleep, and though it shames me to say i've never known that, i have the bed to myself. it's a pretty soft bed, dressed in its return of the jedi sheets.

i would rather live out the rest of my days as a single woman than have to date another man like those i've dated in the past. seriously. SERIOUSLY.

i replied: no. i think i'm looking for a man who's as good to me as my father is to my mother. and these are the kind of men i've known. god forbid i should settle for a man like those in that post when i damned well know that in the world today there are men like this:

side note: i wish to GOD they'd included this scene in a knight's tale rather than that STUPID dancing bit.

and don't tell me that men like those portrayed by alan tudyk, mark addy, paul bettany and james purefoy don't exist. i've known quite a few of them in my lifetime. the trouble is they get snatched up pretty quick. and the girls they find, they know how to hold their men.

i don't. a couple of weeks ago, i started talking with a couple of men my age, neither of whom are texas residents, and i know that most likely nothing will come of it. one of these boys seems to be like every other boy i've known, so i don't really care if anything develops there. but the other one, i've enjoyed talking to him. he has some pretty fantastical tales. i told a friend about him, that i thought he was fantastical, and she said she wished someone would describe her that way. it's a cool descriptor, right? i like it so much more than beautiful.

there's a scene in the film life itself in which a young dylan dempsey says she wants to live a big, great, fantastical life. who wouldn't want that, right? and yet so often we tell ourselves that that's what books and movies are for. they let us have the great, big, fantastical for a couple of hours, and then we go back to the ordinary.

life itself is too unrealistic. when harry met sally is. we're not supposed to strive to attain love like in the movies because it's too fairy-tale-ish.

but i've seen love like that. in real life. i know it exists. i know it. 

that boy i've liked talking to, he asked me nine days ago why i was single. he couldn't understand how i could be, and i can't remember all the reasons he'd said why not (which kind of sucks... but then i know all the reasons i shouldn't be single, so...). the one i do remember though is that he'd said i seem to have a heart of gold.

he's said a lot of pretty things actually. like how he just wants to hold me--i've not had a man say that to me since i was in college--and keep me safe. i've never had a man say that to me. not once. and no, i don't need a man to do this, but i do love the idea that one would want to do this for me. it's a beautiful thing. gorgeous.

why am i single? maybe it's because i put too much stock into the things men say. maybe comments like that are more off-hand for them, or more in the moment. maybe it's because love is too fragile a thing for strong, yet clumsy hands. maybe it's because i'm too aggressive. i don't waste time on people who don't matter to me. i don't believe in doing that. i think if you find someone who interests you, you're supposed to invest yourself, and maybe i come on too strong, but i can't help that. i'm a strong woman. i know what i want, and when i meet men, i'm going to take the time to determine whether i should take the time. once i've decided that i shouldn't, i stop. once i've decided that i should, they disappear.

the day he'd asked me why i was single, i'd just gotten to pelican cove, a place on lake conroe, where i was meeting my brother, his wife and my parents to celebrate my older brother's birthday.

he asked me this on jon's day. i just realized that today. and the moment i realized it, i remembered hearing my brother's voice all those years ago saying i'll find you someone.

maybe i'm single because i romanticize things. or maybe i'm single because i'm crazy. or maybe i'm single because, like the plaque a friend gave me for christmas one year declares, i am a jedi knight. we're not suppose to love.

but for nine days, all i've been able to think about is this man and the things he's said.

the fall film challenge: bonus round

October 14, 2018

if you have completed the regular round of the fall film challenge, you are eligible to compete in the bonus round. choose one film for each of the following actors:

kevin bacon
sean bean
jim beaver
halle berry
emily blunt
alison brie
john candy
peter coyote
russell crowe
peter finch
megan fox
michael j. fox
vivica a. fox
jamie foxx
ryan gosling
heather graham
gloria grahame
alec guiness
jon hamm
ethan hawke
john hawkes
jack lemmon
walter pidgeon
anthony quayle
brett rice

if you notice, the last names of these actors sort of have something in common: bacon, bean, berry, brie, crowe, graham, guiness, hamm, lemon--kind of like something edible. you can make substitutions to the list, so long as the actor's last name is in that vein--lucy pickles, for example--but they must be approved by me.

if you have seen one film by each actor listed above, you can watch other films by those actors for extra credit. each movie is valued at ten points.

a supplement to the second question

October 7, 2018

yall get caps today because i'd started typing this in an email then decided to post it here and am too lazy to tweak it.

A friend asked me the other day what excites me. My father had posed a variation of this question many, many years ago for a creative nonfiction project I call the Griffin Inquisition—the second question. I don't know how much of that answer applies anymore, but I did like what I wrote then.

I can’t remember the last time I was excited, to be honest. It doesn’t take much to make me happy or sad, empathetic or angry. But rousing me to an excited state—and I mean to use the term to describe giddiness—is a challenge. The only things that have managed to stir up some semblance of that emotion in me in the past couple of months are the films Life Itself and What They Had—and yes, they are dramas, and yes, they will most assuredly make me cry (I’ve seen the former three times now and have wept at each viewing). 

I’m excited when I fall in love with a story, whether it’s told in the pages of a book or the lyrics and music (because yes, the music tells a story, too) of a song or on the screen, but that doesn’t happen often. I spent my years in college listening to professors run their mouths about works of literature I felt weren’t worthy of the praise. I got an English degree but did not love classic literature. It wasn’t until I took some undergraduate English courses at UTSA that a man got me to appreciate it. He assigned us Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens; it was the first of three novels we were to read for his class, and we began reading it on the first day, and I fell in love with it before I’d finished the first page. That doesn’t happen often, by the way. I was taught to be critical of text, of stories. When I’m shopping for books with other friends, they might gush over a dozen books. I’m hard pressed to find one that I think might be halfway decent. I’m TOO critical. I know this. The only books that have managed to enrapture me in this way are the Harry Potter novels, Eleanor and Park and Landline by Rainbow Rowell, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Right Before Your Eyes by Ellen Shanman, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

There are songs that can do this, but it’s rarer. The only one that comes to mind is Sometime Around Midnight by The Airborne Toxic Event.

Films can do it, but that’s rarer still. Life Itself is the most recent example I can give you for that.

I’m excited by the idea of love, but I’m also terrified of it. TERRIFIED. Same with sex—and the terror there is exponentially greater.

The past two years, I've spent a day cheering on IronMen near the finish line. I get pretty excited about doing that.

Several years ago, I had season tickets to the Aggies’ football games. In 2010 I watched them defeat Texas Tech, then Oklahoma, then Nebraska, all teams that were MUCH better—or so it seemed—than they. I was damned excited about that.

In 2004, when the Americans 4X100 Men’s Freestyle team defeated the Australians, which wasn’t supposed to happen, I was jumping up and down on my coffee table. 

I like to think I save excitement for things that are REALLY special. 

Those last moments are the ones that are the biggest in my mind. 

Once a man bought me a long-stem rose—because I was late, he’d said… I was late because I couldn’t fit into any of my good clothes anymore, so he’d gone to the florist next to his apartment complex and bought me one red rose. It was the first time I’d ever been given flowers by a man outside my family. That excited me, but in different ways than these other examples. Years later, another man I’d just begun dating and with whom I’d not shared any address information found out where I worked and sent me a bouquet of long-stem roses. Dozens of them. I was embarrassed, not excited. He sent me another bouquet the following week, different flowers, just as beautiful. I was as embarrassed by them as the first. Maybe it depends on the man, but I like the one rose SO much better than the bunch. But roses are easy. Obvious. It's hard for me to get too excited about them.

I suppose the best example, though, the one that makes me happiest, is the day where I'm not physically or mentally in pain. Those days are so, SO incredibly rare. They are beautiful things. BEAUTIFUL things. I can't remember the last time I had one of those.