Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘movie review

Duly Moved

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Last night I watched the award-winning documentary, Free Solo about Alex Honnold’s epic climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. What a masterpiece of a film! I highly recommend it. I was duly moved by the intimate glimpse into Alex’s life, and the inclusion of the emotional challenges of those around him coping with the immensity of the monumental risk he was facing in his quest to climb that granite monolith without ropes.

Alex points out that any of us could die at any moment, whether doing something risky, or not. I tend to avoid things with a high risk of death whenever possible, but it is true that my life could end at any time. One way I interpret his thinking is to frame myself as “free soloing” all the time.

It made my walk with Delilah a little more exciting than normal after the movie.

She suffered a bit of a panic inside her overnight safe-space crate yesterday morning when a rowdy thunderstorm rumbled over top of us at oh-dark-thirty. I didn’t have much success trying to assure her we weren’t in jeopardy as I prepared to leave for work, which made it rather stressful for me to walk out the door and leave her alone until Maddie was due to show up an hour or two later.

I soothed myself by considering how she would greet me when I got home at the end of the day, as if clueless that anything out of the ordinary had happened earlier, which turned out to be true. She did.

We then made the rounds on the property, hiking the perimeter trails and surveying the results of the wild weather. There were 2.5 inches of rain in the gauge and the ground is fully saturated, but no new-fallen trees or limbs, thank goodness. That much rain, or more, is expected to fall before this weather event is done and gone.

We will carry on and survive to the best of our ability, even though I now have this new sense that I am doing it all without the benefit of any ropes.



Written by johnwhays

September 12, 2019 at 6:00 am

For Sibs

with 4 comments

This one is for my siblings. First of all, if any of you have seen the movie, “The Meddler” and not told me about it, I will be very surprised. Second, I am tempted to urge you to watch the flick, but Cyndie and I both experienced such conflicted reactions to it that I’m inclined to suggest you use the hundred and three minutes of your time for something more constructive.

Our general reaction was along the lines of, “Meh.” We like Susan Sarandon and J.K. Simmons a lot, so their acting was a reward. We chose to add this to our Netflix queue after the trailer for it caught our attention in the previews segment on another movie we had rented. The premise wasn’t particularly gripping for either of us, but we thought it looked like a light and funny flick.

The movie was okay, but we didn’t love it, except for this: a bullseye.

Not just the bullseye, but for us, it’s also what led up to the penultimate scene that had us so gobsmacked over what we were seeing that we couldn’t contain ourselves.

We were basically tolerating how the movie was plodding along for us until J.K. Simmons’ character mentions his chickens. He pulls an egg out of his pocket to show Marnie (Susan Sarandon). They go back to his place and walk in the chicken run where he introduces his hens by name.

Eventually, he offers her a half-carton of eggs to take home. This resonated because Cyndie has cut cartons in half like that to facilitate picking the four to six eggs at a time that show up in our nest boxes throughout the day.

We were tickled by all this, but had no clue what writer Lorene Scafaria had in store next. In this case, the slow development of scenes which had underwhelmed us in the first part of the movie made us sit up in awe over what we were witnessing.

Now alone at home and contemplating this new “friend” Marnie has met, she opens the little carton of eggs and pulls out the blue one. Cyndie and I already know what this is all about, but we had no idea it was going to be conveyed so brilliantly.

Butter in a frying pan. A slice of bread. She picks up a glass and presses it on the bread to cut out a hole. She fries up a perfect version of what our family called a bullseye.

Then she stands at the counter and takes the first bite. Obviously, this is an egg like no other she has ever tasted before in her life. Lorene Scafaria directed a perfect depiction of savoring every bite. Susan Sarandon knocks it out of the park, sopping up every last drop of that egg with the fried bread.

Now that I write this, I think the whole movie is worth that one scene.

You guys should check it out.

p.s.: Guess what we had for breakfast this morning.



Written by johnwhays

December 1, 2018 at 10:41 am

Gushing Review

with 2 comments

Aloha_posterI don’t normally tend to watch movies more than once, but while Cyndie was out of town, I opened up Cameron Crowe’s “Aloha” which came in the mail from our Netflix subscription, and let it run without her around. I realized immediately, it was something Cyndie should see, which gave me a chance to experience it twice in a week. I was looking forward to it.

I got to show it to her last night, and despite critical reviews that disparaged the movie as “meandering and insubstantial, …most sentimental and least compelling,” we both found “Aloha” to be gush-worthy. I liked the mix of humor with drama and romance. It never dragged for me, and the actors (wonderfully cast, despite the “white-washing” of using Emma Stone in the mixed-race role) played the characters well enough to keep me from ever thinking of them in any of their other noteworthy rolls of efforts past.

The aspect of the movie that I found most engaging was the significant use of non-verbal communication. I am most often inclined to feel a story read in a book tends to be a better experience than a movie, but in this case, reading about the facial expressions wouldn’t produce the results that seeing the situations play out on the actor’s faces does.

They moved me to tears with their performances, especially young Danielle Rose Russell, as Grace. The use of conveying messages by mere facial expressions occurred throughout the film, sometimes subtly, and other times overtly to the point of awkward. It was powerful stuff.

I can’t gush enough to express my level of joy for having been able to watch this wonderful result of the work from this cast and crew.

Bill Murray, as billionaire, Carson Welch, gets to deliver this wonderful morsel, which is used in the trailer above:

The future isn’t just something that happens
it’s a brutal force
with a great sense of humor
that’ll steamroll ya
if you’re not watching

“Aloha” is a treat that I sure hope others who feel tempted will find a way to devour.

But I’m gushing. Stop me.