Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Ten Commandments - Movie Review

Greetings Pups,

So, last night, I was delighted when I turned on the TV and saw that my favorite movie was going to air. That movie would be The Ten Commandments. Despite the fact that I think anyone who hasn't seen this movie is very, very sad, I will happily share my review with those who have not seen it and those who have.

This movie was made in 1956, and it's nearly four hours long. I know those two facts are enough to turn a lot of people off, especially the youngsters, but, doubt me not, you will be entertained by what I consider the greatest film of all time. I may only feel that way because it was the only night of the year I was allowed to stay up passed my bedtime. But I bet the awesome special effects have something to do with it, too. This will be a review, of course, but I have a lot of story to take you through. I just have to do it, because it really is so rich, I want to share as much as I can. So bear with me.

We are taken on the journey of Moses, from birth to death, which is probably why it takes so long. We see his mother set him on the Nile River to spare him from Pharoah's edict to kill all the male children, See, he's scared, rightfully so, that one of them will deliver the Isralite slaves to freedom. And since good help is hard to find, this is his extremely humaine idea to take care of this problem. Humaine, and a bit misogynistic, if you ask me. Hello! Just the boys? A girl could have gotten them out of there, too. In theory, anyway. I'm not trying to be sacrilegious. Ironically, Moses is saved by the Pharoah's daughter, a princess. If she was only a self-proclaimed princess, this is how I imagine Angelina's adoptions always go. Anyway, he is raised as a prince of Egypt, and he grows up to be Charlton Heston. Now the new Pharoah, the one who didn't try to kill him, actually is leaning towards having Moses be the successor to the throne. And this is instead of his own son, Ramses, played by Yul Brynner, who is actually one of the only people who looks like he could possibly come from Egypt. A little. While the two guys fight for the throne, they are also fighting for the love of Nefretiri, the future queen, whether she likes it or not. I guess she's like a package deal with the throne. She's like the fries that come with a combo meal. But when she's as gorgeous as Anne Baxter, any guy will throw down for that.

We also meet a lot of amazing characters, some actual, historical people, some . . . I don't really know. We have Joshua, of course, played by John Derek, quite possibly one of the best looking men to ever exist. Side note: I can't tell you how wrong I feel kind of crushing on a Bible character. So wrong! He's got a little lady named Lilia, again another gorgeous actress. This time it's Debra Paget. These are two of the good guys. The bad dudes are Vincent Price as Baka, and Edward G. Robinson as Dathan, a total traitor to his own people. And may I add that every one of the guys here has a thing for Miss Debra, and who can blame them?

So, thanks to some big mouth servant, who Nefretiri takes out, as in kills, Moses finds out that he's actually a Hebrew and his family are slaves. Bummer! He decides to go out and work with them. He does it, but he ends up killing Vincent Price as a little side activity. All of this gets back to the pharoah, including the fact that Moses is apparently this deliverer that everyone feared or hoped was coming. This is something that everyone believes except Moses himself. It all makes Pharoah a little upset. So he kicks Moses out and erases his name from everything, even the pyramids, I think, which I bet is hard to do. And they send him to the desert. A little harsh.

After some wandering, Moses runs into some Beduins, where he meets his future wife, Sephora, again, gorgeous. And it's Yvonne DeCarlo, a.k.a Mrs. Munster. Now this is when Moses heads up to Mount Sinai, which they're really not supposed to do because God lives there. Yeah, I know. It's where we get the whole burning bush thing, where God tells Moses that he has to go and free the slaves, and Moses is like, "Excuse me?" So he comes down from the mountain, with gray hair now, which freaks out the wife a bit, grabs his brother Aaron and off they go to Egypt.

In Egypt, they find that Ramses is now Pharoah, married to Nefretiri and father to a little boy. Duh! What was Moses expecting? So this is where we begin the fun game called Moses - " Let my people go!", Pharoah - "No!", Moses - "Here's a plague", Pharoah - "Okay, you can go", Moses - "There goes the plague", Pharoah - "Nevermind". Moses - "Here we go again". It's a long title, but it's worth it. Anyway, after the worst plague, the firstborn dying one, Pharoah actually lets them go for real. But he says it really mean, like he's mad at Moses. He even throws something. Whatever! I get that his son died, but, hey buddy, you could have said leave and meant it after the frogs. You brought this on yourself.

So all the slaves leave, and there are a lot of them. That must have taken a lot of organization. Anyway, when they're a good way into their trip, back at the palace, Ramses is all mad and his wife, who is mad at Moses for not hooking up with her, basically insults his manhood enough to convince him to go after Moses and the Israelites, and kill Moses. He's like "Alright" and goes.

Now comes the best part. The former slaves get to the Red Sea, and it's a big sea. Everyone's thinking 'What are we gonna do?'. Bam! Up goes the water, nice dry land for everyone to walk on. Let's get a move on. But about halfway through -uh oh!- here comes the pharoah and his army. They chase after the Israelites, who had a headstart, so they get across first. Then, whoosh goes the walls of water. Goodbye, Egyptians.

But we're not done yet. Calm down, though, we're almost there. Here's where everyone gets annoying. So Moses goes up the mountain to get the Ten Commandments for everyone. Apparently, he stays up there for too long, because all the people decide to build a golden calf to worship, instead of God. Yeah, the people who God just saved decide He's taking too long. It's crazy. But we didn't get the fruits of the spirit, one of them being long suffering, until the New Testament. Anyway, we've got Dathan egging them on, and how he bamboozled his way into leaving Egypt with everyone else, I'll never know. We've got Aaron, brother of Moses, building the dang idol, because everyone pushes him to do it. Hello! Weak under peer pressure much! They even try to sacrifice Lilia! What? Always the pretty girls. So then, good timing, here comes Moses with the Ten Commandments, including the one about no graven images. What a coincidence! He's a little mad, so he throws the stone tablets down at the idol, and then, fire galore. It's awesome to behold. This should teach everyone two things: obey God and be patient.

The film ends with a few of the characters way older after all the desert wandering, deciding what to put in the Ark of the Covenant. Then Moses walks off into the sunset or whatever, and the credits roll. And so ends the best movie ever.

I know I said a lot, and I'm pretty sure I didn't forget anything important, but watch it anyway. It is so worth it. It's beautiful and lyrical and Biblical, when they manage to be accurate. So I say, thank you, Mr. DeMille. You, sir, are a legend.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sometimes It's What's on the Outside That Counts, Too

Greetings Pups,

I know that in the past I have complained about how people around me have chosen to raise their children. I have found it troubling the way that many parents have no interest in bringing forth a generation of wise and intelligent people. I still feel this way, but I was recently reminded that, while it is important to take notice of what is inside your child's head, it is also important to value the head itself. Let me explain.

The other day I was in a grocery store and, from a distance, I saw a mother (and I use that term loosely!) with a small child, maybe two years old in her shopping cart. The mother walks away, leaving the child alone, not seated in the proper area of the cart, and certainly not safely strapped in. I turn away in disgust. The next sound I hear is a thud that would sicken anyone who believes that children should have someone watching them. I look back to find a screaming child, bleeding from the head. Guess what happened? Genius!

Now in my line of work, all lines actually, I have been enabled to observe the extremely horrible parenting skills of so many people. Look, it's a simple solution. If you want to have a child, be a parent, which is someone who is supposed to protect and look after the child, then be that. If you want someone that you can ignore or toss around like a rag doll, then get the flippin' rag doll and stop abusing actual human beings with your neglect and selfishness.

I will end with this story. Many years ago I used to watch a show called Dinosaurs. It told the tales of the Sinclair family who were, you guessed it, dinosaurs. In one episode, we discover that the parents actually had to have parenting licenses, which could be revoked if they were bad parents. I know that this show was primarily targeted to a younger audience, but this idea is about as brilliant as it gets. I understand that many good parents can have different ideas about how to parent, but they are many universal things on which I'm sure everyone can agree.

So watch your kids, teach your kids, or don't do the thing that makes you have kids. How simple are those instructions?

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Monday, April 18, 2011

Flix or Fix

Greetings Pups,

Let me start off by saying that, in all my time as a member of the Netflix family, I have thoroughly enjoyed myself. I love getting to see movies that I otherwise would not have been able to see, and each time I call with some problem, the staff is always very kind and very helpful. Having said that, I must move on to the bad news.

Okay, it's not that bad, but I do have two complaints, one that annoys me and one that merely makes me uncomfortably curious.

Worse news first. For those of you who partake in the Netflix experience, you know that there are different levels to membership where you can get a certain number of DVDs out depending on how much you're willing to pay. I am currently on the "three out at a time" plan. However, on occasion, I have four of them in my possession. The Netflx people are aware of this and the question is posted on my page "Why do you have an extra DVD?"

Alright, now there are two ways you can take this question. An optimist would say that they are asking in the way of "Why do you have an extra DVD? Well, click here and we'll tell you about the mishap". I, on the other hand, a person who is constantly paranoid that everyone is after her, take the question a bit differently. In my mind, they are being a bit vicious with me, like "Why do you have an extra DVD? Who do you think you are?!". So therefore my response to why I have and extra DVD is "Hello! You sent it to me." I'm sure they're actually doing this in the nice kind way, but that's just me. I get annoyed quite, quite easily.

The second thing does not really annoy me, but just makes me wonder. Netflix often asks the customers to rate movies they have seen, and, based on that, they make other movie suggestions. Great. I have actually rented several films based on their suggestions, and it usually makes sense. They'll tell me that since I like The Ten Commandments, I might like Ben-Hur. Perfectly logical. But every now and then, I have no idea what leads them to inform me about certain movies.

It's odd sometimes. They'll say something along the lines of I might enjoy Pee Wee's Playhouse reruns because I gave Full Metal Jacket a good rating. I feel as though I must play a game of Six Degrees of Separation to figure this out. So the process for this one would be that Full Metal Jacket featured an actor named Adam Baldwin, who did a stint in the TV show Angel, which was a spinoff from the TV show Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, which was based on the movie of the same name, which featured a guy named Paul Reubens, more commonly known as Pee Wee Herman, who had a show called Pee Wee's Playhouse. Yeah, that was a long trip, but it was worth it, and I think I made my point.

So, to the fine folks at Netflix, thank you for the great service, but light a fire under the people in your suggestions department, because it's just getting too hard.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stranger Than Fiction - Movie Review

Greetings Pups,

So today, April 15th, is my birthday. I am constantly reminded by people that it is also tax day, and, of course, they say it as though they think no one has ever said that to me before. Sad. I, however, would rather be reminded that I share a birthday with someone in Hollywood, Emma Thompson. So, in honor of her, I will tell you about one of my favorite movies starring this fine actress, Stranger Than Fiction.

This film is about a man named Harold Crick,(Will Ferrell in a not so typically comedic role) an IRS agent who loves numbers. In other words, the most boring man you will ever meet. One day as he brushes his teeth, he begins to hear a voice in his head describing his every move.

Naturally, he's a little curious about what's going on, but when this voice eventually says that he is going to die, he becomes desperate for an answer to what's going on. So he enlists the help of Professor Jules Hilbert, played by Dustin Hoffman, who doesn't seem that freaked out at all. Although, with the eccentricity of his character, it's not surprising.

We soon find out that the voice in his head is that of a real author named Karen Eiffel, Emma Thompson's character, who is writing, or rather trying to write a novel with Harold Crick as the main character. Her dilemna? She doesn't know how to kill him, because, in her books, someone always dies. She does not enlist the help of Penny, played by Queen Latifah, but, instead, has this woman forced upon her by the publisher who has a deadline to be met, to assist her in finishing the novel.

In the meantime, Harold is sent to audit a very hippie-like bakery owner, Anna Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhall). She obviously wants to make his life miserable and nearly succeeds, until they begin to see things in each other that they never thought they would find.

Eventually, Harold, thanks to the professor, discovers who this author is and tries desperately to find her. He hopes that she'll be compassionate enough to change the ending of her novel and let him live the life that is finally starting to look promising to him.

I can't really say anymore without ruining the story, but this is one of those movies that can be difficult to describe and really needs to be seen. It is a great movie though, especially if you enjoy actors stepping out of their typical comfort zone of roles. You'll also love it if you love movies about writers, which I do.

So happy birthday, Emma Thompson. I hope everyone sees your movie, and why are you so much older than me, but look so much better?

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Monday, April 4, 2011

Don't Judge a Box By Its Cover . . . A Voice Box That Is

Greetings Pups,

Even after all these years and long since the "new" has worn off, I still find myself tuning in to American Idol, even if only in passing. If there's one good thing that the show has done, it has revealed to everyone that, no matter how open minded and non-judgmental they claim to be (I'm talking to you, Liberals!), they actually are not that way.

I don't put myself on a pedastal here. I have watched would be contestants walk in and I've said, "No, not gonna be good" based solely on their appearance. Although, many times I hope they are good, if for no other reason than to prove that whole "The Lord giveth; the Lord taketh away" thing. You'd think I and all of us would have caught on by now.

Have we learned nothing from the past? Did our parents and grandparents not tell us tales of the first time they heard Jim Nabors aka Gomer Pyle belt out a tune in that beautiful baritone of his? That must have been a good shock for them. Not unlike how those of us in this generation received a kick in the pants when we watched (and listened) to the new movie Tangled. Who knew that Zachary Levi, Chuck from Chuck, had such an amazing singing voice? Although, when he sang at the Oscars, he was the one who looked shocked. Shocked, stiff, completely comatosed, whatever. Hey, even the funniest, most outgoing people have a right to get nervous singing in front of Jeff Bridges and Nicole Kidman. Oh, and a billion people on TV. I'll leave him alone now. Besides, I'm getting off track.

I'll close by saying how pleased I am that God has chosen to spread the wealth when it comes to things like looks and talent. So remember, even if someone has a face that could break a mirror, don't rule out the fact they might also have a voice that could hit a high E above middle C that might break some glass, too. In a good way.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer