MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping is one of my favorite Christmas movies. Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher, and other recognizable faces star in this rom-com.

Many people do not consider this a Christmas movie. The controversy isn’t as well-known as the Die Hard debate, but it does exist.

“Just because it takes place  between Christmas and New Year doesn’t make it a Christmas movie,” I’ve heard. That would be correct.  It’s the plot that defines the genre, and this plot is fully-loaded.

Lucy, our heroine, is alone. She gets stuck working all the holidays because she has no family. Her stated goal is she wants to see the world, but her longing is for family.  She has a crush on a commuter she each day while she works in a toll booth. When she witnesses him being mugged on Christmas Day, her life changes. Through a series of funny misunderstandings, Lucy ends up enmeshed in the lives of the commuter’s family while he’s in a coma, and falls in love.

The ending is a Christmas miracle, because Lucy gets everything she wants.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-What’s Cooking?

I’ve seen this movie only twice, but that doesn’t stop it from being my favorite Thanksgiving movie of all time.

It is the story of four ethnically different families preparing for  then participating in Thanksgiving dinner.  As one reviewer said, “There’s stress, there’s food, and there’s stressing over food.” The ensemble cast is wonderful.

My favorite part is the variety of textures. Textures in stories matter a lot to me, and this movie sets the tone for each of the cultures by using textures.

I’m truly surprised the movie isn’t better known.

MJ’s MOVIES: STRANGER THAN FICTION

When my critique group and I go off to the woods for long writing weekends, we also bring movies to watch during the evening. One year, someone grabbed Stranger than Fiction from the library, thinking Emma Thompson would outweigh Will Ferrell. Thankfully, she did.

I actually like Will Ferrell in this movie. He plays an IRS agent who suddenly begins hearing his life being narrated by the voice of a famous author. He hunts down the author to convince her to change the ending of the book she’s writing because he doesn’t want to die the way he will die in the book. I know. Weird.

There’s a great cast to go along with the interesting premise. This movie deserves to be better known than it is. It’s not a great movie by any means, but neither is it a dud.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-Network

NETWORK  is a classic.  “A television network cynically exploits a deranged former anchor’s ravings and revelations about the news media for its own profit,” is how IMDB describes the film. Many of us who worked in TV in the late 1970’s and early 80’s found the realism unnerving.  Some consider the movie satire. Others know better.

Written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet, the film won four Oscars and garnered a slew of other nominations and awards.

The film is from 1976, but many parts are still relevant today.

Here’s a trailer that sums it up.

And here is seven minutes of something that should make you think about the world today.

 

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-Plan Nine from Outer Space.

Plan Nine from Outer Space  makes nearly all of the Worst Movies Ever Made lists. It remains my benchmark for the kind of campy monster movies I love.  Written and directed by Edward D. Wood Jr., this movie is both delightful and dreadful.

Bela Lugosi died during the filming of Plan Nine. Wood replaced Lugosi with his wife’s chiropractor (who in no way physically resembled Lugosi) for the remainder of the movie rather than refilm Lugosi’s scenes.

Space aliens, zombies, even a vampire or two populate this  ambitious movie. It is a classic film, but not in the way Wood intended.