Cinema Toast

Not an Easter Egg

Posted on

I Love Easter Eggs in Movies

I do love them. Those little inside jokes that seem perfectly placed for the super-fans are just that extra, This one’s just for you, to make you feel as though the movie makers know and appreciate the audience.

I keep seeing articles about all the Easter eggs in one movie or another. Especially with Rogue One. I saw Rogue One. I did not, however, see too many Easter eggs. I saw lots of references and allusions to the other films in the Star Wars universe, but referencing Captain Antilles, showing a ship from another SW movie or series, or including the line, “I have a bad feeling about this,” does not qualify as an Easter egg. That’s simply called connecting the dots.

Don’t get me wrong. I really loved Rogue One, but it was not heavy on Easter eggs.

Here’s a Great Example

I recently saw Favreau’s 2016 The Jungle Book, and it contained a perfect example of an Easter egg.

Mowgli is abducted by monkeys and taken to see King Louie, voiced by Christopher Walken. When the boy gets to the palace, he approaches a pile of treasure and picks up a cow bell. He plays with it for a moment, trying to figure it out, and then puts it back down. Why is this an Easter egg? Because Walken is widely remembered for the silly “more cowbell” SNL skit with Will Ferrell. What does that have to do with The Jungle Book? Nothing. That’s the point. It’s only there as an inside joke for the portion of the audience who delighted in Walken’s SNL appearance. That’s what an Easter egg is meant to be.

So Why the Chip on My Shoulder?

I really don’t have a problem with bloggers bringing attention to fun facts they may have noticed in a film that others may have overlooked. I appreciate them helping other connect the dots and show continuity, especially in a series. Just don’t call it an Easter egg if it’s not one. It’s like using the wrong homonym in a sentence. It’s unprofessional. And people do notice.

 

 

Cinema Toast

My Disney Princess Carried a Blaster

Posted on

We all loved her.

Last year ran roughshod over my list of Hollywood Heroes. From start to finish, David Bowie to William Christopher, we’ve all lost some of our favorites. But for me, Carrie Fisher’s passing probably hit the hardest. Was there anyone who didn’t love her?

She ushered in a new age of Princess. She took that character genre from damsel-in-distress to kick-butt hero. She was sassy, smart, smart-mouthed, skilled, and stunning. And this is before she ever stepped in front of a camera. She was honest, brutally so, about her struggles. She was willing to step from the shadows, rip off her bandages, and show us her scars.

How best to honor her?

As a writer, I hope to honor her memory by infusing my “princesses” with her strength and presence. I want them to have vulnerabilities to face, mountains to climb, partners in passion, and character oozing from every pore. I want them to defend the less able and champion the righteous cause. I think Ms. Fisher would appreciate that. I think that’s the legacy she’d like to leave.

The Princesses next in line?

From the moment I first saw her on screen, I decided I needed to let my hair grow long enough for the bun-do and then the braids. I had grown up with tall, blonde, Barbie-type princesses, and she was a short brunette. Yay! I hope that the role models for tomorrow’s princesses will buck the trends, not just for the bucking, but to send the message that buying into the mass-production idea of beauty will never bring happiness. Happiness is a decision. It is a condition of contentment and reconciliation with one’s own actions and responsibilities. It will never be a product you can purchase or a sheep-like trend.

Carrie Fisher let us know, in no uncertain terms, that growing up as a Hollywood Princess didn’t make her the happiest girl in the kingdom. I want the next generation of role models to be grounded in reality, willing to show their flaws without making excuses. She embraced the role of princess, but not without disclaimers. She showed both that she could be romantic and rough at the same time.

Ms. Fisher requested of her obituary, “I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”

Rest in peace, princess.

Carrie Fisher

October 21, 1956 – December 27, 2016

 

Living Write

Twenty Facts About Me

Posted on

Day two of the June blogging challenge sounded easy. Just needed to make a list of twenty facts about myself. Hmmm… this took a little longer to put together than I expected.

1. One of my favorite things to do is teach Bible class to little kids. I especially like teaching the stories that are a little gross or scary. The expressions on the kids’ faces are priceless.

2. I have lived my whole life in Texas, with the exception of a couple of summers spent in Idaho, when my dad staked mining claims in the early 1970’s.texas

3. I have seen every episode of Gilligan’s Island. Even the TV specials where they got rescued and re-stranded.

4. My favorite aisle at the grocery store is the one with the coffee, chocolate syrup, and peanut butter. The combination of those smells delights me.

5. I read Little Women a dozen times in the third grade. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a writer.

6. I have the original script to Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope memorized. I’m a complete geek.

7. I enjoy travel. I have a long list of places I’d like to see before I die.

8. I like to study history and geography. I am also a nerd.

9. I adore pirates, spies, Vikings, detectives, and space cowboys– real and fictional.pirates

10. I hate killing off characters in the stories I write. I will agonize and mourn for them for days. I know; it’s a problem.

11. I like birds, but only in pictures. They always poop on me. And no, I don’t believe that’s good luck.

12. I enjoy watching old movies, especially ones with Cary Grant or Audrey Hepburn, or both.

13. I dream in color. Always. Once I even had a dream in cartoon. Really.

14. My favorite authors are Ian Fleming, Rex Stout, and Agatha Christie.

15. I love holding babies.

16. I have an irrational fear of clowns, sharks, and alligators, and a rational fear of spiders, snakes, and scorpions. (I have been stung by scorpions twice.)

17. I am allergic to strawberries. Not the throat-closing-can’t-breathe kind of allergy, but the hives-from-my-nose-to-my-knees kind.

strawberry

18. I was 38 years old when I finally got my ears pierced.

19. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always respond with “Carol Burnett.” I still do.

20. I can carry entire conversations with movie quotes and song lyrics.

Anything else you’d like to know? Just ask.

Cinema Toast

Fun With My Imaginary Friends

Posted on

When I was little I always wanted to be my favorite TV or movie characters. That’s one of the reasons I loved Halloween and costume parties. Those were my opportunities, rare as they were, to dress up as Princess Leia (Star Wars) or Kelly Garrett (Charlie’s Angels) or Mary Ann Summers (Gilligan’s Island).
Click to see and purchase!Click to see and purchase!

In high school I took Theatre Arts so that I could reprise the roles of my most beloved actresses. Like Judy Garland, I got to play Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. I played the role of Lizzie, Katherine Hepburn’s role from The Rainmaker. I even had the part that Vicki Lawrence played in a skit once performed on The Carol Burnett Show.

 

 

Click to see and purchase!Click to see and purchase!           Click to see and purchase!

As an adult it’s much more difficult to “pretend” you are someone else, unless you’re a professional actor or don’t mind being put under doctor’s observation. My dilemma is this: how can I indulge that little urge without completely embarrassing myself or, more importantly, my family?

My friends and I came up with a fun game of make-believe that we play at restaurants. When the host/hostess asks for a name to call when our table is ready, we leave them the name of one of our favorite characters. It’s great fun. It makes the host smile when they recognize the name, and it’s a hoot to watch the other patrons’ facial expressions.

We’ve used Charles Carmichael and John Casey (Chuck), Jack Shephard (Lost), Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s), and others. At one of our preferred local eating establishments the hosts know us and ask, “Who are you today?”  It makes their job  more fun, too.
Click to see and purchase!Click to see and purchase!

Is this silly? Yes, and ridiculous, but don’t we have enough boring and grown-up stuff that we have to do already? I’m not suggesting taking on an alter ego for anything important, serious, or legally binding. However, for the little moments that would be otherwise boring and mundane, I say enjoy! Rather than saying good-bye to our fictional movie friends when the credits roll, enjoy them just a little longer by taking them with you for times such as these.

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

Cinema Toast

This World is Not Enough

Posted on

What are your favorite kinds of stories? Do you enjoy science fiction, adventure, mystery and suspense, drama, westerns, romantic comedies, or history/ documentaries? While my moods may swing from one genre to another, one thing is constant. I like tales which take me out of my everyday life and thrust me into a new and exciting world.

Whether I’m reading a story about a feisty Texas lawyer dealing with a haunted house in the Caribbean, such as the Katie and Annalise series by Pamela Fagan Hutchins;

Click to see and purchase!Click to see and purchase!Click to see and purchase!

watching Alias, which carries me to every corner of the globe;Click to see and purchase!

or blasting through Star Wars for the hundredth time, I want a story to take me somewhere new. I want to go someplace beyond my little plot in the country.

Click to see and purchase!I want to sail through space, drift on a sparkling blue sea, or jet from one clandestine meeting to another. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little piece of Texas. I love baking bread and taking care of my sweet family. I love singing at church and working on my projects. But sometimes I need a bit more adventure in my life. The safe kind—the type you find in books and film.

I don’t really want to come face-to-face with a ghost in my living room. I don’t want to be chased down dark alleys in Bangladesh by men with machine guns, and I certainly don’t want to be frozen in carbonite or chained to a Hutt. I prefer that my real-life adventures stay more on the level of a summer mission trip and planning a family reunion. I like daily adventures like painting my nails blue.

2014-02-03 12.34.08
My exciting blue nails.

Why do I yearn for more than that? Because my imagination is bigger than the limits of my daily routine. Because right and wrong lives in every realm, and good must conquer evil no matter where corruption resides. Because this world in which I live is not big and bright enough to hold all the hope I have for the future. Maybe it sounds a bit grandiose, but it’s true.

Storybooks, novels, movies and television series give us all the opportunity to stretch our imaginations. They give us windows to peek into the world of what-if. And by providing these glimpses – by allowing me to stretch my wings as well as my views – these stories help me to appreciate the world I have. They remind me that what I have is more than enough.

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