Friday, June 30, 2023

My Beautiful

My Beautiful Laundrette is a 1985 British romantic comedy-drama film. The story focuses on Omar, played by Gordon Warnecke, a young Pakistani man living in London, and his reunion and eventual romance with his old friend, a street punk named Johnny, played by Daniel Day-Lewis. I watched it on Max.


Roger Ebert has a positive review. 98% or Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it positive reviews.

Moving day was Tuesday, and I'm hoping to be back to my normal blogging routine soon. Nothing fits like I thought it would, so there's much rearranging of furniture going on. It'll be good to be back to normal.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Danika (2006)

Danika is a 2006 psychological thriller. I watched it on Tubi. It's also available via YouTube. It's age restricted on YouTube, so you'll need to click on the video to watch it via the YouTube site.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Desert Hearts

Desert Hearts is a 1985 American romantic drama film set in Reno, Nevada, in 1959 telling the story of a university professor awaiting a divorce who finds her true self through a relationship with another, more self-confident woman. I watched it on Max.


Roger Ebert opens with this:
"Desert Hearts" tells the story of a woman in her 30s who suddenly is awakened to the turmoils of passionate love, and because that is basically a simple story, this is basically a simple movie. What makes it unusual is that the story is set in the 1950s and the woman falls in love with a lesbian.

Slant Magazine says "It advocates risk and consciousness as the only means to overcome the cold hand of so-called normative thought." 90% of Rotten Tomatoes critics love it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Boogie Chillen'

Boogie Chillen:

by John Lee Hooker, who died on this date in 2001. He lived for a while in Memphis in the mid-1930s.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Three Thousand Years of Longing

Three Thousand Years of Longing is a 2022 fantasy romantic drama. The Younger Son gave the DVD to me as a present when it came out, but this time I watched it on Amazon Prime. Directed by George Miller, it stars Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton. This is a treasure of a film. Always re-watchable.


Slant Magazine calls it "An Awe-Inspiring Ode to Storytelling". Roger Ebert's site has a positive review. NPR calls it charming. The Rolling Stone review is here. Empire Online calls it "a modern fairy tale worth seeking out."

Monday, June 19, 2023

The Vast of Night

The Vast of Night is a 2019 American science fiction mystery film directed by Andrew Patterson. The film follows young switchboard operator Fay Crocker (Sierra McCormick) and radio disc jockey Everett Sloan (Jake Horowitz) as they discover a mysterious audio frequency that could be extraterrestrial in origin. I watched it on Amazon Prime. I love this one and will gladly re-watch it. What a treat!


The Guardian calls it "mesmerising retro sci-fi". Empire Online concludes, "The Vast Of Night is a modest film about small-town dreamers that delivers big-time rewards and announces a singular, exciting talent in director Andrew Patterson." Roger Ebert's site closes a glowing review with this: "This is an astonishing first feature. It works like gangbusters, start to finish." 93% of Rotten Tomatoes critics love it.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Happy Together (1997)

Happy Together is an award-winning 1997 Hong Kong romantic drama film directed by Wong Kar-wai about a gay couple from Hong Kong and their tumultuous on-again-off-again relationship as they go to Argentina together. I watched it on Max.


Slant Magazine has a positive review and calls it "vibrant" and "colorful". 91% of Rotten Tomatoes audience reviewers gave it positive reviews.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

A Day at the Races 42

from the Tootsie-Frootsie Ice Cream scene from A Day at the Races:


For the last several years The Husband's work has had him living about 2 hours away. He came home on weekends (Thursday night through Saturday midday for him), and I would sometimes go visit him. He's being transferred back to Memphis, and we are in the process of moving his stuff back to the townhouse. I've let the blogging part of my life go to pot, sadly. I'm able to keep up with Facebook on my phone, but don't do any blogging that way. I hope to be back in the swing of things by mid-July. I'm sure it'll take some effort to mesh our ways back into common living -our eating habits and schedules, for example, couldn't be more different- but we are so grateful we can be back together full time!

Friday, June 16, 2023

From Beyond

From Beyond is a 1986 science fiction film. I watched it for Jeffrey Combs, because I'm a fan of his. I watched it on Paramount+.


Slant Magazine gives it 3 out of 4 stars. Roger Ebert has a mixed review. 80% of Rotten Tomatoes critics love it.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Practical Mysticism

Practical Mysticism, by Evelyn Underhill (who died on this date in 1941 at 65 years of age) is a 1915 book that sets out her belief that spiritual life is part of human nature and as such is available to every human being. In this work she takes a secular approach. The Marginalian has an overview, which begins with this:
The great paradox of consciousness is that it constitutes both our entire experience of reality and our blindfold to reality as it really is. Forever trapped within it, we mistake our concepts of things for the things themselves, our theories for the universe, continually seeing the world not as it is but as we are. The supreme frontier of human freedom may be the ability to accept that something exists beyond understanding, that understanding is a machination of the mind and not a mirror of the world — that the world simply is, and our consciousness is a participant in its being but not a creator of it.

The English poet, novelist, mystic, and peace activist Evelyn Underhill (December 6, 1875–June 15, 1941) explores how to do that in her 1914 book Practical Mysticism — a field guide to mystical experience that is secular rather than religious, the product of “ordinary contemplation” springing from the very essence of human nature, available to all.

You can listen to Practical Mysticism read to you in the Librivox recording at this link. You can read it online here or here. The Preface:
This little book, written during the last months of peace, goes to press in the first weeks of the great war. Many will feel that in such a time of conflict and horror, when only the most ignorant, disloyal, or apathetic can hope for quietness of mind, a book which deals with that which is called the "contemplative" attitude to existence is wholly out of place. So obvious, indeed, is this point of view, that I had at first thought of postponing its publication. On the one hand, it seems as though the dreams of a spiritual renaissance, which promised so fairly but a little time ago, had perished in the sudden explosion of brute force. On the other hand, the thoughts of the English race are now turned, and rightly, towards the most concrete forms of action--struggle and endurance, practical sacrifices, difficult and long-continued effort--rather than towards the passive attitude of self-surrender which is all that the practice of mysticism seems, at first sight, to demand. Moreover, that deep conviction of the dependence of all human worth upon eternal values, the immanence of the Divine Spirit within the human soul, which lies at the root of a mystical concept of life, is hard indeed to reconcile with much of the human history now being poured red-hot from the cauldron of war. For all these reasons, we are likely during the present crisis to witness a revolt from those superficially mystical notions which threatened to become too popular during the immediate past.

Yet, the title deliberately chosen for this book--that of "Practical" Mysticism--means nothing if the attitude and the discipline which it recommends be adapted to fair weather alone: if the principles for which it stands break down when subjected to the pressure of events, and cannot be reconciled with the sterner duties of the national life. To accept this position is to reduce mysticism to the status of a spiritual plaything. On the contrary, if the experiences on which it is based have indeed the transcendent value for humanity which the mystics claim for them--if they reveal to us a world of higher truth and greater reality than the world of concrete happenings in which we seem to be immersed--then that value is increased rather than lessened when confronted by the overwhelming disharmonies and sufferings of the present time. It is significant that many of these experiences are reported to us from periods of war and distress: that the stronger the forces of destruction appeared, the more intense grew the spiritual vision which opposed them. We learn from these records that the mystical consciousness has the power of lifting those who possess it to a plane of reality which no struggle, no cruelty, can disturb: of conferring a certitude which no catastrophe can wreck. Yet it does not wrap its initiates in a selfish and otherworldly calm, isolate them from the pain and effort of the common life. Rather, it gives them renewed vitality; administering to the human spirit not--as some suppose--a soothing draught, but the most powerful of stimulants. Stayed upon eternal realities, that spirit will be far better able to endure and profit by the stern discipline which the race is now called to undergo, than those who are wholly at the mercy of events; better able to discern the real from the illusory issues, and to pronounce judgment on the new problems, new difficulties, new fields of activity now disclosed. Perhaps it is worth while to remind ourselves that the two women who have left the deepest mark upon the military history of France and England--Joan of Arc and Florence Nightingale--both acted under mystical compulsion. So, too, did one of the noblest of modern soldiers, General Gordon. Their national value was directly connected with their deep spiritual consciousness: their intensely practical energies were the flowers of a contemplative life.

We are often told, that in the critical periods of history it is the national soul which counts: that "where there is no vision, the people perish." No nation is truly defeated which retains its spiritual self-possession. No nation is truly victorious which does not emerge with soul unstained. If this be so, it becomes a part of true patriotism to keep the spiritual life, both of the individual citizen and of the social group, active and vigorous; its vision of realities unsullied by the entangled interests and passions of the time. This is a task in which all may do their part. The spiritual life is not a special career, involving abstraction from the world of things. It is a part of every man's life; and until he has realised it he is not a complete human being, has not entered into possession of all his powers. It is therefore the function of a practical mysticism to increase, not diminish, the total efficiency, the wisdom and steadfastness, of those who try to practise it. It will help them to enter, more completely than ever before, into the life of the group to which they belong. It will teach them to see the world in a truer proportion, discerning eternal beauty beyond and beneath apparent ruthlessness. It will educate them in a charity free from all taint of sentimentalism; it will confer on them an unconquerable hope; and assure them that still, even in the hour of greatest desolation, "There lives the dearest freshness deep down things." As a contribution, then, to these purposes, this little book is now published. It is addressed neither to the learned nor to the devout, who are already in possession of a wide literature dealing from many points of view with the experiences and philosophy of the mystics. Such readers are warned that they will find here nothing but the re-statement of elementary and familiar propositions, and invitations to a discipline immemorially old. Far from presuming to instruct those to whom first-hand information is both accessible and palatable, I write only for the larger class which, repelled by the formidable appearance of more elaborate works on the subject, would yet like to know what is meant by mysticism, and what it has to offer to the average man: how it helps to solve his problems, how it harmonises with the duties and ideals of his active life. For this reason, I presuppose in my readers no knowledge whatever of the subject, either upon the philosophic, religious, or historical side. Nor, since I wish my appeal to be general, do I urge the special claim of any one theological system, any one metaphysical school. I have merely attempted to put the view of the universe and man's place in it which is common to all mystics in plain and untechnical language: and to suggest the practical conditions under which ordinary persons may participate in their experience. Therefore the abnormal states of consciousness which sometimes appear in connection with mystical genius are not discussed: my business being confined to the description of a faculty which all men possess in a greater or less degree.

The reality and importance of this faculty are considered in the first three chapters. In the fourth and fifth is described the preliminary training of attention necessary for its use; in the sixth, the general self-discipline and attitude toward life which it involves. The seventh, eighth, and ninth chapters treat in an elementary way of the three great forms of contemplation; and in the tenth, the practical value of the life in which they have been actualised is examined. Those kind enough to attempt the perusal of the book are begged to read the first sections with some attention before passing to the latter part.

E. U.

September 12, 1914.

Chapter 1 begins,

Those who are interested in that special attitude towards the universe which is now loosely called "mystical," find themselves beset by a multitude of persons who are constantly asking--some with real fervour, some with curiosity, and some with disdain--"What is mysticism?" When referred to the writings of the mystics themselves, and to other works in which this question appears to be answered, these people reply that such books are wholly incomprehensible to them.

On the other hand, the genuine inquirer will find before long a number of self-appointed apostles who are eager to answer his question in many strange and inconsistent ways, calculated to increase rather than resolve the obscurity of his mind. He will learn that mysticism is a philosophy, an illusion, a kind of religion, a disease; that it means having visions, performing conjuring tricks, leading an idle, dreamy, and selfish life, neglecting one's business, wallowing in vague spiritual emotions, and being "in tune with the infinite." He will discover that it emancipates him from all dogmas--sometimes from all morality--and at the same time that it is very superstitious. One expert tells him that it is simply "Catholic piety," another that Walt Whitman was a typical mystic; a third assures him that all mysticism comes from the East, and supports his statement by an appeal to the mango trick. At the end of a prolonged course of lectures, sermons, tea-parties, and talks with earnest persons, the inquirer is still heard saying--too often in tones of exasperation--"What is mysticism?"

I dare not pretend to solve a problem which has provided so much good hunting in the past. It is indeed the object of this little essay to persuade the practical man to the one satisfactory course: that of discovering the answer for himself. Yet perhaps it will give confidence if I confess pears to cover all the ground; or at least, all that part of the ground which is worth covering. It will hardly stretch to the mango trick; but it finds room at once for the visionaries and the philosophers, for Walt Whitman and the saints.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Pariah (2011)

Pariah is an award-winning 2011 drama film about a 17 year old black girl coming to terms with her identity as a lesbian. I watched it (on Amazon Prime) to help broaden my horizons during Pride Month.


NPR describes it as
a tender, sporadically goofy, yet candid examination of emergent identity, a film whose lack of attitude sets it apart from much of the hard-bitten, thug-life storytelling that's dominated African-American cinema for decades. If anything, its source genre is the coming-of-age movie, and though the universe its freshly hatched lesbian inhabits is all black, Rees is blessedly unwilling to confine herself in any kind of ghetto, whether racial, sexual or aesthetic.

Roger Ebert calls it an "impressive debut for writer-director Dee Rees". 95% of Rotten Tomatoes critics love it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

The Black Hole (1979)

The Black Hole is a 1979 science fiction film starring Maximilian Schell, Robert Forster, Joseph Bottoms, Yvette Mimieux, Anthony Perkins and Ernest Borgnine, while the voices of the main robot characters are provided by Roddy McDowall and Slim Pickens. I saw this in the theater when it first came out, and thought it mind-numbingly bad. Sooo bad. I decided to give it another chance (Disney+). It was as bad as I remember. It's a bit of a cult classic among science fiction fans -and I get that- but I'm not joing the cult.


Monday, June 12, 2023

Return to Oz

Return to Oz is a 1985 dark fantasy Disney film, an unofficial direct sequel to the Judy Garland Wizard of Oz classic. This film is fairly faithful to the L. Frank Baum books, with a Dorothy actor who is much more the Dorothy of those books. I wasn't expecting to love this, but I do. This movie stars Jean Marsh, Piper Laurie, and Fairuza Balk as Dorothy Gale in her first screen role. I watched it on Disney+.


Neil Gaiman says, "Terrifying and visionary, funny and exciting, Return to Oz is one of the very best fantasy films I've ever seen." The Guardian gives it a positive review and says, "the tiny, pale, turquoise-eyed Balk proceeded to give one of the greatest child performances in cinema." Slash Film calls it essential viewing.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

1990 The Bronx Warriors

1990 The Bronx Warriors is a 1982 Italian action-science fiction film. The draw here is Vic Morrow, but given the choice you should watch Escape from New York instead. Then once you've seen that, you should watch it again instead of Bronx Warriors. That's how much a waste of time this movie is. Unless you're a Vic Morrow completist, of course. In that case, go for it! I watched it on Tubi.




Saturday, June 10, 2023


Victor/Victoria is an award-winning 1982 musical comedy film written and directed by Blake Edwards and starring Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, and Lesley Ann Warren. I have always loved this movie and rewatched it (on Max) in honor of Pride Month. Also, Robert Preston is always a joy to behold, and I'll watch anything just knowing he's in it. And Leslie Ann Warren! Perfect!

Roger Ebert gives it a positive review and closes with this:
Because they all seem to be people first and genders second, they see the humor in their bewildering situation as quickly as anyone, and their cheerful ability to rise to a series of implausible occasions makes “Victor/Victoria” not only a funny movie, but, unexpectedly, a warm and friendly one.

97% of Rotten Tomatoes critics love it.

Friday, June 09, 2023

Popeye (1980)

Popeye is a 1980 live action film directed by Robert Altman and starring Robin Williams as Popeye the Sailor Man and Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl. Its story follows Popeye's adventures as he arrives in the town of Sweethaven. I watched it on Paramount+.



Reviews are all over the place, and people seem to love it or hate it. I love it! Roger Ebert has a positive review.

Thursday, June 08, 2023

A Taste of Honey

A Taste of Honey is a 1961 British film about a high school senior who finds herself pregnant and with no place to live after her alcoholic mother takes a new lover. She finds a friend in a young gay man. I came across it on a list of important films exploring topics related to Gay Pride month. I watched it on Max.

via Internet Archive:

BFI closes with this:
If the then-daring subject matter suggests an issue-led drama urging moral tolerance, director Tony Richardson’s treatment is more a matter of poetic realism, highlighting sensitive changes of mood and emotion against a backdrop of grimly authentic Salford locations. Social attitudes may have moved on since 1961, but wide-eyed Rita Tushingham’s affecting central performance remains a delight.

Slant concludes, "A Taste of Honey is an essential title in global cinema’s shift toward investigating the inner lives of quotidian folk." Empire Online says, "It's easy to bandy about terms like "classic", but there is no other way to describe this magnificent, if dated, film."

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Wild (2018)

Wild is a 2018 Danish horror short film about a family vacation gone wrong.

via YouTube:

Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Someday Baby Blues

Someday Baby Blues:

by Sleepy John Estes, who died on this date in 1977. He was born in West Tennessee and died and was buried there. He did some recording in Memphis.

Saturday, June 03, 2023

Blood and Gold (2023)

Blood and Gold is a 2023 German film that takes place during the closing days of World War 2. It wasn't what I expected, but I liked it anyway. Many Nazis die in search of hidden gold. I watched it on Netflix.


It has had generally positive reviews.

Friday, June 02, 2023

Spiderman: Homecoming

Spiderman: Homecoming is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character. This is yet another re-boot and is the first film in a trilogy. It stars Tom Holland as Spider-Man, and Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Bokeem Woodbine, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey Jr. Spiderman isn't one of my favorite of the comic book superheroes, but this re-boot does a better job of engaging those of us who are older and is a better addition to the Marvel Universe. I'm glad I gave it a chance. We watched it on Disney+.


The Guardian calls it "a crowd-pleasing triumph: a whip-smart teen movie with a charming central turn from Tom Holland". 92% of Rotten Tomatoes critics loved it.

We've seen and enjoyed the second movie in this trilogy -Spiderman: Far from Home- but not yet the third.

Thursday, June 01, 2023

The Sword and the Sorcerer

The Sword and the Sorcerer is a 1982 sword and sorcery fantasy film I watched in memory of George Maharis, who died late last month. He is better known for his role in the TV series Route 66. Brave heroes, evil villains, epic battles, and ooo what a cool sword! I watched it on Tubi, but it's available free on other sites as well.


Horror Cult Films has a positive review, noting that it was the most commercially successful independent film of its year. JoBlo calls it a "fantasy classic".