At the end of the evening of my son’s banner 8th birthday last week, we surprised the kids by taking them out to see UP, the newest Pixar film. It was a very sociological experience. My wife Amy suggested we tell Huck early in the day about the idea, just in case he reacted anything like me to surprises (the implication being – not well). No, I said, he and his sister will be so psyched! Their minds will be blown. It will be almost bedtime, and then, instead of jammy’s and toothpaste, it will be shoes and socks and popcorn! What kids wouldn’t jump for joy?
They both cried immediately. I don’t want to go! Cried Huck. Noooo. Cried Trudy. Why? I cried. We don’t know! They both cried. Okay…we told them. Fine, no problem. Not a big deal. We’re not forcing you to go to the movies…it was just a (great) plan. Hey listen, we told them, even if you change your mind in the next ten minutes we can still go. Just please, stop crying.
So they changed their minds immediately, and we went! Ah, parenthood.
The movie was really amazing. It is true, there are some scary and complicatedly emotional parts (bad dogs being bad dogish, childhood heroes threatening death by firepower -hmmm) and there were some very moving and teary parts. My kids are 4 and 8 and neither are super-duper sophisticated movie watchers, but aside from the need for some parental support and assurances, they both loved the film and we have been quoting Doug (the nice dog) for days. The film manages not to underestimate its audience, which is so refreshing in a kid’s movie. In fact, the opening sequence, where we are introduced to one of the main characters in a mostly dialogue-less montage of a couple meeting, getting married, growing old and eventually dealing with the passing of one of them was done so deftly, with such a gentle touch and so much obvious love. My kids watched with wonder; my friend Steve and I sobbed. It was beautiful.
In some ways, UP is a perfect companion piece to one of our releases this week, CHERRY BLOSSOMS, a fabulous film from the German director Doris Dorrie who gave us ENLIGHTENMENT GUARANTEED and more recently the food documentary HOW TO COOK YOUR LIFE. CHERRY BLOSSOMS is about a couple in their 60’s who are nearing retirement when one of them, Rudi (Elmar Wepper, in an excellent performance) receives a terminal medical diagnosis. His wife, Trudi, actually receives the diagnosis and chooses not to tell Rudi about his condition. Instead, she decides they will travel and do some of the things they always talked about doing. The film takes some twists and turns and becomes a true seize-the-moment inspiration. Life is happening now! There really is no tomorrow. So let’s enjoy it while we can. You should see this film, it is awesome.
We are getting closer to opening SUCCULENCE, our new desert plant store in the back patio of Four Star Video. Probably our doors will be open this very week. It will be a work in progress as we continue to prepare the space, the employees and ourselves for this new life change. As SUCCULENCE will be a life and garden store, we will begin offering life supplies quite soon. What are life supplies? Not sure… We’ll see! We are hoping to carry very small batches of artisan works, so please email me if you or someone you know is looking for an outlet for your creations.
My family attended a high school graduation this last weekend, of a young man who I met just a week or two after he made his entrance into the world eighteen years ago. The graduation was well attended by family and friends from all parts of his life. As I stood there watching him graduate on a day that happened to be my wife’s birthday, the day after my son’s birthday and with some our oldest and closest friends standing by, I was reminded yet again what an amazing thing this life can be, and how bizarrely transformative it is and how its paths wind their way out and in and around and how even when it is stressed to what feels like the point of breaking it can find itself resting on a moment of great peace and beauty and tranquility and let us say together, amen.
Alrighty, that’s all folks, hope to see you at the store.
Love and Kisses,
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Links we are super hip on this week:
Take a delicate adventure and see the eggs of history by a local Bernal Heights artist.
Beyond Asiaphilia local filmmaker Valerie Soe's excellent blog focusing on Asian/American arts, culture and other related topics.
Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival.
Videofest 2009 at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.
Pal’s Takeaway – Yummy yummy.
Do you have a link Four Star Customers should check out??? Email it to me.
THE CELL 2.
Tessie Santiago/Frank Whaley.
Directed by Tim Iacofano.
* A mixture of horror, fantasy and science-fiction, the film is about a serial killer who kills and is able to bring his victims back to life in order to kill them again and again. The only one who might be able to stop him is past victim who is somehow able to enter his mind in order to find him. Phew!
Elmar Wepper/Hennelore Eisner.
Directed by Doris Dorrie
* This beautiful treatise on life is about Trudi and Rudi, a couple in their 60’s. The doctors tell Trudi that Rudi is dying, and she decides to take him on a journey to visit their adult children and try to spend some of his short time left seeing those that he loves. Trudi can’t know that life has other plans for them and suddenly Rudi has more to reconcile then either of them realized. This movie is terrific, and I highly recommend it.
FRIDAY THE 13TH.****ALSO IN BLU-RAY****
Amanda Righetti/Jared Padalecki/Derek Mears.
Directed by Marcus Nispel.
* Jason, like the setting sun, goes down. Like most psycho-killers, he takes some people with him.
LAST HOLIDAY: ESSENTIAL ART HOUSE EDITION.
Alec Guinness/Beatrice Campbell.
Directed by Henry Cass.
* Alec Guinness plays a guy who takes what he thinks will be his final holiday…yes; he thinks his life is ending. A great cast highlights this lost classic.
TYLER PERRY’S MADEA GOES TO JAIL.
Tyler Perry/Derek Luke/Keisha Knight Pulliam.
Directed by Tyler Perry.
* Tyler Perry stars as his signature character, Madea, the lovable and irascible grandmother voted most likely to get in trouble. Here, she gets in trouble.
Roselyn Sanchez/Patrick Bauchau/Peter Lucas.
Directed by Jeremy Alter.
* A dark tale about an assassin who goes back to a city where he is not safe to rescue a woman he loves who doesn’t love him back.
WHAT GOES UP.
Hilary Duff/Josh Peck/Olivia Thirlby/Steve Coogan/Molly Shannon.
Directed by Jonathan Glatzer.
* This film takes place in the mid 1980’s when the Challenger Space Shuttle was launched. A burned out NY journalist (Coogan) goes home to a town in New Hampshire where the teacher who is going up is from to cover the event. There he discovers a whole cast of misfit teens leading off-the-beaten-path lives. Strangely enough, I went to high school with the director of this film in the mid-1980’s when this story takes place!
SCOTT WALKER: 30TH CENTURY MAN.
David Bowie/Brian Eno.
Directed by Stephen Kijak.
* Scott Walker is a composer and poet who had some rock success in the 60’s and then mostly removed himself from the public eye. This documentary examines the influence he had on many of the rock stars of his era and beyond.
BURN NOTICE: SEASON TWO.
Jeffrey Donovan/Gabrielle Anwar/Bruce Campbell.
* The second season of the show about a spy who has been “burned” by the government, meaning he is a persona non grata to the spy community who helps others with his special set of government trained skills.
FAMILY GUY: VOLUME SEVEN.
Seth MacFarlane/Mila Kunis/Seth Green.
Created by Seth MacFarlane.
* Season seven of the show about the Griffin’s, a super dysfunctional Rhode Island family dealing with one wacked out situation after another.
SAVING GRACE: SEASON TWO.
Holly Hunter/Kenny Johnson.
Created by Nancy Miller.
* Holly Hunter is a jaded cop whose complicated relationship with an angel is the center plot of this television show.
THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER: SEASON TWO.
Molly Ringwald/Shailene Woodley.
* They’re smoking cigarettes, doing drugs and having sex. There, the secret is out.
THE THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 6 1949-1951.
* These collections are just awesome..an excellent example of brilliant old time physical comedy.
............//NEW BLU-RAY ADDITIONS/............
DR. STRANGELOVE: 45th ANNIVERSARY EDITION.
Peter Sellers/George C. Scott/Sterling Hayden.
Directed by Stanley Kubrick.
* Iconic suspense comedy about a potential nuclear holocaust started by an insane general.
Bill Murray/Dan Akroyd/Sigourney Weaver/Harold Ramis/Rick Moranis.
Directed by Ivan Reitman.
* Who you gonna call?
THE SEVENTH SEAL.
Max Von Sydow
Directed by Ingmar Bergman.
* Award winning 1957 film about a knight seeking the answers to existence during the time where the Black Plague is ravaging the earth.
GARFIELD’S PET FORCE.
TOM & JERRY’S GREATEST CHASES: VOL 2.
WHAT’S UP TIGER LILY?
Directed by Woody Allen.
* This is a brilliant early film from Woody, actually his directorial debut, where he took a Japanese film called INTERNATIONAL SECRET POLICE: KEY OF KEYS and dubbed it with American actors changing the story completely and centering it around a secret recipe for egg salad. This is one of those film filled with a billion throwaway jokes.