Movies in Colour

I know it is too early to begin talking about… ::whispers:: Christmas… but I started thinking about something today that is kind of, but not entirely, Christmas-related. At least, it was motivated by Christmas.

Today we went into Corn Parking, which overnight has transformed itself into a little holiday wonderland, with Christmas decorations everywhere. And while we have an unofficial moratorium on Christmas-related stuff until December 2, one look at the decorated trees and wall hangings and ornaments, and Stinkerbelle feels that lobbying for Christmas decorations and movies and music is fair game.

And while, with a few exceptions, I am really going to try to stick to our Christmas “not before” date, I do kind of need to start thinking about one thing, in order to maybe prepare.

And that is Christmas movies.

We love our Christmas movies here. LOVE. LOVELOVELOVE. We have an ever-growing collection of movies, and we start our movie-viewing season with Love, Actually and then work our way through all our favourites. But last year, we noticed that our selection was lacking.

Lacking in colour.

We noticed that we have very few movies with characters that are not white. We have lots of old movies, and Hollywood in the early days was almost entirely white. And, to our dismay, we will have to shelve some of our traditional movies because of their quite frankly horrifying portrayals of non-white characters. (I’m looking at you, Holiday Inn.) And so there’s nothing there that our daughter can relate to.

Now, I am all for explaining that “things were different” and why — and history is important, right or wrong — and we will do that when the time is appropriate. For example, we will watch White Christmas as my family has done every single Christmas Eve/Day since before I was born, and it’s got an entirely white cast. But it’s fairly innocuous in terms of content, and as such might be a good place to start the discussion of Hollywood whiteness of the era, when the time comes.

But we would also like to add to our collection with some movies that show a more multicultural holiday experience, or at the very least without an all-white main cast. We want to find some movies that will also become treasured Christmas family traditions, that do speak to our experience as a multiracial family and life in a multiracial community.

I want my daughter to see people she can relate to in the movies we hold dear and treasure as part of our holiday tradition.

It’s hard, on a couple of fronts. First off, there are decades of great holiday movies that we can’t just avoid on the basis of their whiteness, because they have a great message or are culturally appropriate or whatever. And then, in recent years, while there are more movies with more multiracial casting, a lot of them are not in our wheelhouse — we don’t go in for the slapstick-style broad comedies, or there are holiday movies but they’re not age/family appropriate, or a little too grown up to hold That Girl’s interest until she’s older.

But I have to start thinking about it, because I have to get myself on Teh Interwebs and start doing some research and buying some things we can start to include in our holiday viewing favourites that are more inclusive.

So, there will be lots of scanning of IMDB in my future. I would like to at least find a couple of films to add to our collection this year, which means getting my butt in gear and getting things ordered in plenty of time to pre-screen whatever we do try out, so we can start getting whatever we find and enjoy into the rotation this year.

So, if any of you have any suggestions for holiday movies that might fit the bill and bring some colour into our holiday viewing, please feel free to make your recommendations in the comments. It would be greatly appreciated.

Not the Medicine the Doctor Prescribed

Stinkerbelle is recovering from a fairly nasty chest cold. And while she does, we’re housebound, for the most part.

This is good. She needs the quiet time. She’s not been sleeping well, so she’s pretty tired, but also, whenever she gets active, it sets her to coughing pretty furiously. So we have been trying to keep things pretty low-key.

This means we’ve been trying to find quieter activities. We have watched A LOT of TV, mostly gentle things like Kipper and School House Rock. We’ve folded loads of laundry. We got out the purse and hair bows and costume bling that That Girl got for Xmas and spent some time getting GORGEOUS, DAHLING. And I have done more laps of the attic than I care to count, pulling Stinkerbelle and assorted stuffed pals around in the wagon she got for Xmas from her Auntie Tena and Uncle Randy.

But it’s hard, being quiet and stuck at home, for both of us.

A couple of days ago, Stinkerbelle had a pretty rough night, and so the next day she was feverish and tired and her sleep schedule was totally effed up. Consequently, we found ourselves at 8 pm with a little girl who had no intention of sleeping. So we thought we’d let her sit up with us and watch something on TV.

The problem? We were watching one of our favourite movies, Pirate Radio. Which, set in the 60s in a rebellious floating rock radio station, you may know is peppered with a lot of the more colourful language that a pair of potty mouths like BDH and especially me have been trying to censor around the small parrot we call Stinkerbelle, at least until we can teach her the concepts of “appropriate use” and “power of language”, which won’t be for a long while yet. So.

But, remote control in hand, we figured we could just skip past the more colourful moments and just enjoy the brilliant music and the fun of the movie. So we did. Well, you can’t skip ALL the cuss words and off-colour references. PARENTING FAIL. But That Girl was pretty lethargic and quiet, and mostly was in it for the snuggle time with Daddy, and kind of dozed a bit of the time. So we had a nice time and when it was over, she was plonked into bed with no argument and went right to sleep.

But that night, I made note of the mess that is our movie collection since our reorganization of the attic space. And yesterday, I thought it would be something quiet to do for Stinkerbelle and I to sort and organize our movies together. I could sort and shelve, and Stinkerbelle had piles of movies to stack up and use like big blocks. So that was fun. We completely reorganized our shelves of movies, into what I thought was a good personal system but most people would find completely unfathomable.

So that was good for a couple of hours of fun for That Girl, AND I tacked a project that has needed doing for quite a while. And we chatted and played and sang songs while we worked.

Stinkerbelle has finally given up singing Christmas songs, and for the last week or so has been singing her usual school songs and kids’ songs. Sometimes she just sings random snippets of tunes or little songs she’s made up. But for the last day or two, she’s been singing a little song over and over again. It’s not been one I recognized, but that’s nothing new. I often don’t clue into the songs she’s picked up at school until I hear it from the source — Stinkerbelle’s versions tend to be faithful in spirit but not so much in lyrical accuracy or tunefulness.

Yesterday she kept singing this song, though. And then she’d look to me and say “Now your turn, Mommy!” I couldn’t join in because I had no idea what it was. She was growing frustrated that I could not clue in.

And then, yesterday afternoon, I asked her what she wanted to watch. She kept saying something about “The Girl” but I had no idea what she was talking about. So I sat here and watched her walk over to the shelves of videos. She looked through the spines of the videos — she can’t read, remember — and eventually, on the fourth shelf, she pulled out a video and said “THIS ONE, Mommy!” and thrust it at me.

Not a Disney movie, or a cartoon, or one of the many kids’ movies we have in our collection. Oh no. Not my kid.

It was Pirate Radio.

And she started singing her little song. And suddenly, I clued in.

I put Pirate Radio in the DVD player, and watched as Stinkerbelle sat, enraptured, as one of the best, most joyous opening scenes in our movie collection unfolded, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s awesome deejay’s intro and the opening strains of The Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night” burst from our speakers. And in time with the music and the people dancing through the opening sequence, Stinkerbelle suddenly started singing along and dancing for all she was worth, a little jig of joy around the room.

I stifled the tears of pride and joined her singing and doing my best worst 60s dance moves.

When the opening sequence was done and the song was over, she shouted “AGAIN MOMMY!”

We watched it over and over, maybe ten times or more.

So much for restfulness. It seems That Girl had some energy to burn. And that pretty much indicated she was recovered from her cold.

She’s got a bit of a cough still, and we’re keeping her out of swimming today until the meds she’s got have had a good kick at the ear infection she had brewing. One more day at home will be good, and then it’s back to school tomorrow.

But I am sure today will be a more energetic day. And probably there will be some 60s rock and roll to keep things interesting.

Reviewing and Rewatching

Christmas season is right around the corner, and around here, a big part of our holiday traditions revolve around watching Christmas movies.

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I am one of those people who can watch a movie or a TV show over and over again. If I like it, of course. And I think this is one of those things that you either DO or you do NOT — there’s no middle ground. Either you are a re-watcher, or you watch something once and that’s that.

If we enjoy something, we buy it, and we will, more often than not, watch it again.

I think it’s fair to say you can probably identify the people who are big movie re-watchers by their big video collections. I wasn’t really that aware of how big we are into watching things repeatedly until I sat down and took stock of our video collection one day last year. I forget what the total was then, but I am sitting opposite our video collection right now, so let’s do a rough guesstimation. On average, one of our shelves holds 50 videos, and we have 6 shelves full.  So that’s 300. Then we have two tall, narrow cases of movies on another wall, each holding an average of 80 videos. Then, across the top of our shelving, we store some of the bigger box sets, and there are 40-ish of those, each containing multiple discs. Then, scattered about the place, we have maybe 10 movies or box sets at any given time. And downstairs in the playroom, we have Stinkerbelle’s videos, which number probably close to 100.

So 300 + 160 + 10 + 100 + 40 box sets = A LOT OF VIDEOS. A ridiculously wonderful number of videos.

(And let’s not even talk about the ones of which we have purchased digital copies.)

Some of these, admittedly, are duds. Whoever convinced us to buy Tropic Thunder or Along Came Polly or Lost needs a punch in the junk. And, my love affair with John Cusack caused the ill-advised purchase of War Inc. and The Ice Harvest so, you know, I’m not entirely free from blame. And some, while they were really good, are probably too heavy or dark or depressing to watch again, like The Cooler or Grace is Gone or The Matador. And some are favourites of BDHs, usually action films, that I will likely never watch, whereas my favourites tend to lean towards costume dramas and period pieces, some of which he can take or leave.

But as we were redecorating our family room/attic the other day, I was also reminded of some hidden gems we have discovered over the years. State of Play, a BBC series, is one of the best drama series I have ever seen. Life on Mars, also from the UK, was fun and gripping and occasionally gave us moments of WTF. And The Lost Room was a little mind-blowing piece I had never even heard of until BDH brought it home. And, with Christmas coming, we have the charmingly hilarious Bernard and the Genie and Patrick Stewart’s version of A Christmas Carol to look forward to. We have all kinds of these little wonders.

We have a lot of videos.

There’s obviously no way I am ever going to watch all of these videos again.We still have movies we have not seen yet, unopened and waiting to be watched. But even still, when we sit down to watch something, we’ll consider watching something we know and enjoy just as frequently as something new. And some things definitely get more rewatching than others. Sports Night got watched and rewatched so often we had to get another copy. I am currently doing a watch-along of The West Wing. I tend to watch Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing when I am down, or Henry V when I need to watch something truly, genuinely great. And of course, I have watched Doctor Who again and again, like comfort food for the soul.

You just know that, even though we have hundreds of videos, there will be some on our Christmas wish lists this year. Sure, some might be duds. And some of those may become favourites to watch again and again.

So if ever you’re bored, come on over and we can watch something together. Or rewatch, as the case may be.

Fall Movie Night Discussion: The Trouble With Harry


So, I would have called it “September Movie Night” but… we’re halfway through October already. So we’ll just call it “Fall” and leave it at that.

Our fall Comfy Couch Night movie was the Hitchcock comedy, The Trouble With Harry. And the trouble with Harry was that he was, rather inconveniently for all involved, DEAD. So that makes for a lot of hijinks and shenanigans, as they would have said in the 50s.

Now I’m guessing not a lot of you opted to watch this one, but I’ll open the discussion up — because it’s the first “older” movie we’ve watched, and I’m interested what everyone thought of it. Around here, we’re making an effort to check out classic older movies, and we were pleasantly surprised by this one — it was a gem, and we really enjoyed it. But, I’ll leave the rest of my assessment for the discussion (if there is one!)

So leave your comments below, and let us know what you thought!


Virtual Chick Flick Comfy Couch Night – September


Well now. THIS was interesting. I took our suggestions for the September movie and let BDH choose one out of a hat. And so, this month’s movie will be:

The Trouble With Harry

So, it’s a classic Hitchcock comedy-mystery… not a bad way to lead us into October, I think! And if you check out the IMDB page, it’s got an interesting cast. Edmund Gwenn from “Miracle on 34th Street”. Shirley MacLaine’s first film. John Forsythe. Jerry Mathers from “Leave It To Beaver”.

This could be a fun one. I see a movie night in the future for BDH and myself, with a BIG bowl of popcorn. And my knitting, of course.

It’s available on Netflix, and probably for rental/purchase elsewhere. Hell, it’s from the 50s, so you might even be able to get it at the library.

So, thanks to Jade for the suggestion! I’ll post the discussion in October, say the Wednesday after Thanksgiving.


September Movie Night Suggestions?

Alright, so what’s our movie for September going to be? We need some suggestions. If there is no specific movie you want to see, then suggest a genre. Or, if you want a surprise, I can pull a name out of a hat. It’s all good.

(Personally, I’m in the mood for something with a bit of drama, maybe. Something to get really involved in.)

I’ll take suggestions until Sunday, and will post the movie title on Monday.

August Movie Night Discussion: How to Train Your Dragon


Okay, people. Summer’s over, school’s back in… and to help ease the transition, we had a fun family movie for our Comfy Couch night: How to Train Your Dragon!

(And, we also had an extra week since August was a little crazy. So.)

Let’s open up the discussion, then! What did you all think? Like it? Hate it? What about the kids in your life? What did they think?  Tell us. Inquiring minds want to know.

(Note: Comments will be open on this post for a few days, but then I will have to shut it down to foil the spambots. HAHA I SEE YOU, FUCKERS.)

I’ll post my thoughts later. For now, let me know what your loved or hated or were feeling meh about.

And, as always, start thinking of our movie (or genre. if you want me to pull a name out of a hat) for this month’s movie night. I have a lot of knitting to do, so pick a good one!

Virtual Chick Flick Comfy Couch Night – August

Well now, it seems as if people want something fun and family oriented for August’s movie (and I don’t blame them). So, by popular demand, our movie for August will be

How To Train Your Dragon!!

Nothing like a fun, animated family flick to finish out the summer. Something relaxing and happy — it sounds like we could all use it! (Sorry Rana, it’s not on Netflix… but it’s totally worth buying. Stinkerbelle loves it, so maybe your little man will too!)

And if you’ve not heard of it before… you really should. Here’s the IMDB page for information and trailers.

Since we’re slow to get started this month (sorry about that) I’ll post the discussion for the movie a little later in September — rather than the first Wednesday as we normally do, I’ll push it back a week.

Have fun! Enjoy!

August Movie Night, Anyone?

Anyone up for a movie night in August? I know the end of summer can be a very busy time for a lot of people. (It’s already been a busy one for us, and I wasn’t even planning on anything!) So I’ve been slow to get posts up for our movies this month. Sorry about that.

But if you’re feeling like a night to just sit and put your feet up and unwind and watch a flick… we can do that!

Leave your suggestions for what you want to see below — a movie, a genre, a theme, whatever. Or, if you want to just try something new and be surprised, I can put a bunch of titles in a hat, and pick one. It’s all good.

July Movie Night Discussion: Enchanted April

Welcome back from the comfy couch, movie night friends! It is time to open the discussion of our movie for July, the lush, languid, period comedy/drama Enchanted April.

And as you can probably already guess… I lovedlovedloved it. And maybe you did too. Maybe you liked it, and having watched it, discovered a heretofore unknown love of costume dramas. Possibly you found it relaxing and pretty but it wasn’t your cup of tea. Or perhaps you hated it and thought it was a snorefest that ended a raging case of insomnia you have been having for weeks.

Either way, bring it on. Tell us what you think!

I’ll post my thoughts once the discussion gets going. Because I could talk for HOURS.

And as always, start thinking about your suggestions for August’s movie. (Even if you come up with a theme, maybe a particular genre of movie you’d like to see this month, we can go with that.)

Attention All Passengers

Just a reminder that tomorrow (Wednesday) is our discussion of the Movie Night movie for July, “Enchanted April”. I’ll post the start of the discussion… sometime tomorrow.

Also, just for fun, here are my most recent knitting works-in-progress, two blankets for two special little girls:

And for all passengers not going ashore, there will be a shuffleboard tournament on the Lido Deck starting at 2 pm.

That is all.

Virtual Chick Flick Comfy Couch Night – July

Alright, gang. Suggestions were few and far between for this month, but we wanted something low on angst. I went back to the suggestions from the month previous, to find the one that got the most votes. I hope that suits everyone. So, it looks like our July movie will be

Enchanted April.

It’s languid and peaceful. Something relaxing for a mid-summer movie night, but probably not a guy’s movie — this one’s a chick flick. Here’s the IMDB page for more information.

Our discussion day will be the first Wednesday of August — so, August 3rd. Enjoy!

July Movie Night Suggestions?

Alright group — it’s time to pony up some suggestions for July’s movie night. What do you feel like for a movie night for this month? Do you want something fun, or something deep? Some drama or some comedy? Something new or a classic. I look forward to your suggestions. I’ll give everyone until Monday to come up with suggestions, and on Monday I’ll post this month’s flick. In the meantime, I’ll look back for some of the ideas that people put forward last time.

June Movie Night Discussion: Whip It

Welcome back, Virtual Chick Flick Comfy Couch Night peeps! It is time to discuss June’s movie, the Drew Barrymore-directed derby girls’ flick Whip It.

I enjoyed this one, I can’t lie.  I thought it was a fun, funny, and fairly fluffy movie that we’ll probably buy to add to our collection. But before I add all my comments, I am interested in hearing what you all thought. Good, bad or indifferent.

So… what did you think?

(Don’t forget to start thinking of what you want to watch for July. But we’ll deal with that after.)


Virtual Chick Flick Comfy Couch Night — June

Alright, virtual movie night peeps. We got a few suggestions, not tons, but it looks like our movie for June will be…

Whip It!

(By dint of the majority of votes. Or at least, the most people who said they wouldn’t mind seeing it.)

Here is a link to the IMDB page so you can check out cast, trailer, etc.

So, something fun and new to most of us to chat about! I’ll post the discussion page on the first Wednesday of July — so you have about a month to check it out.