Cinema Toast

Enjoy a Night Out

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I had a great weekend. After a less-than-stellar week, my weekend was really good.It began Friday afternoon, when my Bestie and I left our husbands at home to watch Goldfinger, and we joined a group of ladies from church to see the new movie Mom’s Night Out.

Click to see and purchase!This little movie featuring Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton and Trace Adkins was big-time wonderful. It’s a story about a trio of tired mom’s (at various stages of motherhood) trying to relieve a little stress and find a slice of joy by stepping away from parenting for one night. Of course, nothing goes as planned, and that’s when the fun starts. We all (everyone in the theatre) laughed, cried, applauded, cheered, and swallowed our hearts as they crept up our throats in the poignant moments.

I identified with several of the characters. I’ve heard myself (or my family members) saying the exact same things as the characters in the film. I have felt invisible at times—especially to the automated paper-towel dispensers. I have felt as though nobody heeds my incredibly insightful (and usually wrong) advice. I have felt less than adequate at just about everything I’ve ever tried to do in life. And so do the characters.

The theme of the film is that being a Mom is important. Nobody is perfect, but there is joy in the journey, when you take a breath and examine what wonders you really have in your life. Moms make a difference.

This message is what kicked-off my weekend. So Saturday I cleaned my house, ran a few errands with my wonderful husband, and then went to my gorgeous niece’s engagement party. Mother’s Day Sunday I saw my amazing Daddy installed as one of the new elders at my church, then had lunch with my mom and dad, sister and niece, and all three of my kids. Sunday afternoon my kids watched a cheesy sci-fi movie ala MST3K with me, and I had a sweet visit with my beautiful mother-in-law.

I finished up my weekend by meeting with our mission team as we prepare for our summer trip to Ukraine. Yes, I’m going with a team to summer camp in Ukraine to love on some kids. Am I crazy? Don’t I know there’s civil unrest and a possible Russian invasion going on over there?

Click to see and purchase!Yes, I know all of these things, Maybe I am crazy. But I also know that showing love to kids – kind of like being a mom – is important. I know I’m not perfect, but I can hug and praise and serve kids. I can share some joy. I can take a rest from my everyday life and share the wonders I have in my life. I can make a difference in a place that needs a little peace and compassion right now.

Yeah, Mom’s Night Out is just a movie. But it’s a movie with a message that speaks to so many of the fears and joys of motherhood. That’s what great movies do best. They feed us.

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

Cinema Toast

Can We Be Silly for Just a Moment?

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This morning I’m having a difficult time being serious. Last night our family watched Ladyhawke from 1985, starring Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer. Now when this film came out, nobody considered it a comedy—at all. It’s a tragic love story, a fable perhaps, about a couple cursed by an evil bishop. It’s set in medieval France, and features sweeping vistas and castles and monasteries in ruins.

Why did I giggle nearly all the way through the movie?

I watched it with my husband (we were married the same year this film was released), my two sons, and my older son’s fiancé. The “kids” had never seen the movie, but they love Broderick from Ferris Bueller and Pfeiffer from Stardust.

Sam (son #1) says something like this: “This is one of those eighties movies that’s set in the dark ages but the music is still done with electric guitars.” Sean (son #2) leaned against my shoulder and he and I whispered silly comments throughout the show. He’s seventeen years old, and I really love that he still leans on my shoulder.

We appreciated that though the names were very French—Etienne, Isabeau, and Phillipe—the accents were all over the place. The boys especially liked that in the end credits, under “Titles and Visual Effects,” there was only a list of three people. Though IMDb.com credits a total of twenty-two people in that category, it’s still certainly a far cry from the hundreds of technicians listed in today’s movies. It’s especially remarkable when you consider that this is a film in which two of the main characters transform from humans to animals multiple times in the story.

This movie isn’t silly. We made it silly, with our “enlightened sophistication” and goofy mood, a la Mystery Science Theater 3000. The point is that sometimes, despite the way things actually are, we need silliness. It’s good for us. Laughter is healthy exercise. Smiling keeps us young.

My family has a nice collection of silly movies and TV series. We enjoy the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, and especially the Bing, Bob and Dorothy ensembles. These are the masters of the classic madcap comedies. The one-liners and physicality of their shtick keep us giggling.

The same goes for Monty Python productions. They introduced the “Ministry of Silly Walks.” They understand and embrace the ridiculous. In the same way, Mel Brooks has assembled casts of comic geniuses for films like Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, The Producers, and Spaceballs. Every one of these movies showcases the recommended daily allowance of stupid.

Larry Blamire’s casts of characters pay homage to the best of the B Movies, and provide us with memorable lines that embroider even the most serious situations with smiles. “Ranger Brad, I’m a scientist, I don’t believe in anything.”

Saturday Night Live (SNL), SCTV (Second City), MADtv, and In Living Color have also graduated celebrated idiots like Steve Martin, Martin Short, Rick Moranis, Gene Levy, Andrea Martin, Catherine O’Hara, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Jane Curtain, Gilda Radner, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Mike Myers, Jim Carey, Michael McDonald, the Wayans and many others.

This morning I asked Sean about his favorite silly movies, and I must say that my husband and I have raised our boys well. His favorites—in his own words—are “all of the Larry Blamire movies, The Three Amigos, and Princess Bride.” Good boy.

Comedy helps us deal with situations. It diffuses tension. It provides common ground with others. Highbrow comedy tests us, dark comedy reveals us, but slapstick comedy just allows us to be, and to enjoy it. Hooray for hilarity!

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