Cinema Toast

Life is Funny That Way

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You’re chatting with a friend, and they talk about something you’ve never heard before. In my case, it was ice wine. I suppose I’ve heard of ice wine, but I didn’t know anything about it. (I’m not a big drinker.) My friend tells me all about it—well, enough that now I know what it is and where you find it. The conversation ends, and I think very little about it for the rest of the week.

Jump ahead a few days, and I’m watching a television show with my husband. The main character walks into his flat and knows something is amiss. His table is covered with empty wine bottles and there is a party going outside on his balcony. He complains to the instigator that they have consumed his supply of ice wine.

The whole thing struck me as weird. Maybe it’s not a big deal, but this type of thing has been happening to me a lot lately. I have an idea for a story, and before I know it, it’s on the big screen, starring Harrison Ford or Jim Carey. Not kidding.

I do research on a subject, and a few months later, there is a big expose’ about it on the Nightly News. I mention that I haven’t seen a particular actor around n a while—What’s he been up to? I wonder. A few months later, he’s featured on the cover of a magazine and about to be the lead in the next big movie.

I don’t think I’m psychic or anything. I don’t really believe in a collective consciousness. I have my theories about such things, but a movie blog is hardly the place to post about that. I just think it’s funny. Maybe a sign. Certainly strange.

The one think I do know for sure, and these little quirks continue to confirm for me, is that we are all connected in this world, and our Creator knows exactly what we need and when we need it. I think of it as a back-up plan. Like the fact that multiple light bulbs and telephones were invented at nearly the same time in history, by unrelated individuals. What is supposed to happen will happen—because of or in spite of us.

The things we are supposed to know and dream of will become part of our lives. The stories that will teach us will be told, if not by one person, then by another. There is a great plan, and we’re all a part of it. The stories we hear, the movies we watch, the music we sing– they are important. They play their part. These funny little moments serve as reminders that I must pay attention. We all must pay attention and learn.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.

Cinema Toast

May the 4th Be With You!

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It’s Star Wars Day! Time to celebrate all things one with the Force!

Our family loves Star Wars. We have had multiple Star Wars-themed parties, complete with Wookie Cookies, Yoda Soda, Aunt Beru’s Brew, and Jabba’s Delight. That one was a combination of green Jello and gummy worms. It looked nasty, but tasted pretty good. We served all sorts of galactic goodies.

When we began our Star Wars parties, we usually included a trilogy marathon. These days a marathon would require a whole weekend.

My love for the Franchise began in 1977. I remember the night my family waited in line for tickets. We watched Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope at the ABC Cinema. That particular theatre had restrooms at the back of the auditorium, and every time Darth Vader appeared on screen, my younger sister had to visit the ladies’ room. My little brother hid behind the seat in front of him. I don’t remember hiding, but I remember being very impressed at the fear Vader evoked. I was nine and a half.

Of all the movies I’ve ever seen, that first installment holds the title for most-watched. I have lost count of how many times I’ve seen it. The special effects, which were breath taking in their day, triggered my imagination like nothing before.

The effects embellished the story, without overshadowing it. The multiple moons on Tatooine silently sprinkled awe into a scene of a young man dreaming about his future. The cantina band added that perfect quirky musical vibe to a powerfully sweeping score. The characters have flaws and strengths. Mystery and majesty. Wonder. The cast was composed of Hollywood freshmen, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher, as well as legends like Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, and James Earl Jones. It was anchored with the masked talents of Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker.

This movie was a gamble. George Lucas experimented with a story, and it worked. A universe was born. An Empire was created. A new species of humans evolved. They are the ones celebrating today.

My son asked me if I thought his teachers would be upset if he wore his Darth Vader helmet to school today. I asked him if his school (he’s a junior in high school) recognized “Star Wars Day.” He said that he didn’t think so, but he argued that it was “International Star Wars Day,” and that should count for something. I suggested that he save the helmet for after school. His light saber is ready for action as well.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. May the Force be with you!

Cinema Toast

One More Movie Phone App

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My last two blog posts have mentioned movie-related smart phone applications that I find fun and useful. I have another one that I have to share before I leave the topic. It’s called “My Movies for iPhone Pro,” and it is chock-full of cool features.

This program catalogs your entire video library, keeping track of your movie stats, trivia and trailers. How? You start by entering your movie titles—and this little app gives you the option of scanning the bar-code. I entered my entire collection (285 titles) in less than 4 hours, and I took a very leisurely pace. I could scan most of the videos easily. A few were fussy, but that had more to do with the condition of the cover than the program. The scanner even recognizes boxed sets and TV seasons.

The app can filter through you movies to help you find the perfect movie to watch when you can’t decide. It has filters of release dates, ratings (G, PG-13, etc.), actors and genres. Let’s say that you’re in the mood for a retro flick. Set your filters for movies between 1965 to 1970, rated PG, and less than two and a half hours long. In my library, I have four films that meet those criteria: Cat Ballou, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Flight of the Phoenix, and The Italian Job.

I can sort by genre (comedy, adventure, drama) or even by video type such as DVD or BluRay disc. If I’m in the mood for a Harrison Ford film—and who isn’t—I can do a person search. In my library I have all of the Star Wars films, all of the Indiana Jones movies, Cowboys and Aliens, and Blade Runner.

Another feature that I love and intend to use religiously is a tracker. If I loan out a movie to a friend, I can enter the name of the borrower and the date that it’s “due back.” This is a big deal to me, because I love to share my movies with friends, but it’s awfully hard to remember to whom I lent it. We’ve lost more movies that way, and the bad thing is that I only lend out the movies that I really love.

One option it offers is a place to rate your movies, and a place to note when you have watched it. The program allows you to add your own notes about a movie. You can even make a reference about whose property it is. Our family keeps all the movies together, but a few of them were gifts for my sons. I can add that note so that when my older son moves out on his own, he can take his own movies with him.

The app also has a feature that allows you to track your rentals and make notes about which movies you want to purchase. You can note when you bought a film as well as the condition. If you’re interested in attributing a value to your collection, you can keep track of the purchase price and the current value. You can note if the movie is for sale, too.

The more I play with the app, the more comprehensive I find it. I’m sure I could take an entire day—maybe even a weekend—to enter every detail for my film library. It would be a fun way to spend a sick day or a snow day. It would even be a fun way to get your kids involved in your collection.

The app is $4.99, but for all these benefits, I certainly think it’s a good value. I want to thank my friend, Tammie, for recommending this app to me!

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading!