The Quiet Man (1952)

In my ongoing search to broaden my cinematic education, I called my dad up and asked him what his favorite movies are. A John Wayne fan to the end, one of his recommendations was “The Quiet Man.” I rented it henceforth and forthwith. Now, I believe in honoring one’s father and one’s mother. Listening to one’s parents is good. But I have to say, I really don’t understand why my dad likes this movie so much. Plot: John Wayne is Sean Thornton, a man who is returning to Ireland, the land of his birth, in hopes of purchasing the very … Continue reading

The Apgar Score

Immediately after birth, you baby will be given his first test. And while the baby is given the test, it is the parents who may be nervous. Welcome to the Apgar score, a quick appraisal of the health of your baby. Your baby is actually tested twice, using the Apgar test. The first test comes at one minute after birth, and the second test comes at five minutes after birth. The scale goes up to ten, although just as in the olympics, only the very few get tens. If you baby only gets a nine, don’t worry. This is still … Continue reading

How Green Was My Valley (1941)

In 1941, Hollywood released a film which introduced Americans to a life they knew little about unless they came from similar backgrounds themselves. “How Green Was My Valley” is based on Richard Llewellyn’s novel of the same name, and examines coal mining in Wales. In this film we meet the Morgans. They have several sons, only one daughter, and every son old enough works in the coal mines. Their earnings are meager but their mother is frugal, and they have enough to live on and very little else. Still, they are a tight-knit family and strive together for all that … Continue reading

Trouble Along the Way (1953)

John Wayne takes a break from westerns to bring us “Trouble Along the Way,” the story of a man named Steve Williams who used to be a football coach but got thrown out of the game. He is a single parent, father to an eleven-year-old girl named Carol (Sherry Jackson). They have a close, if unconventional relationship – she makes him coffee and orange juice every morning to chase off the hangovers he gets the night before. When Steve’s ex-wife Anne decides to make his life miserable again, she knows just how to do it – she sends the state … Continue reading

A Look at Patrick Wayne

Sometimes I’m not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. I’ve seen Patrick Wayne here and there my entire life, mostly with small parts on shows such as “Fantasy Island” and “The Love Boat.” I remember him best for hosting the game show “Tic Tac Dough.” Yes, I am a child of the seventies. My dad is a huge western fan and I’ve been watching some of his favorite films, trying to broaden my overall cinematic repertoire. I’ve recently seen “The Quiet Man,” “McClintock,” and “The Alamo,” and one night while popping a DVD out of the player, had the … Continue reading

Richard Widmark Dead at 93

It was announced today that actor Richard Widmark died in his home Monday after a long illness. In the statement issued by his wife Susan Blanchard, she said, “it was a big shock, but he was 93.” Widmark started his show biz career in radio drama and theater before moving to the big screen. And when he moved, boy, did he move. His film debut was as the cold hearted killer Tommy Udo, who pushed an old lady in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs to her death in 1947’s Kiss of Death.. For that role, Widmark received an … Continue reading

McLintock! (1963)

Loosely based on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” “McLintock!” is one of my dad’s favorite John Wayne films. In my quest to broaden my knowledge of classic Hollywood, I gave this one a try. Wayne stars as G. W. McLintock, a cattle baron who owns a town. Well, he doesn’t own all of it, but just about, and it’s named after him, too. With all that wealth and prestige, you’d think he’d have it made in the shade, but he doesn’t. His estranged wife Kate (Maureen O’Hara) really is a shrew. They were much happier in the days before … Continue reading

Week in Review: February 4th-9th

We had a really fun week here in Movies. Can’t decide what to rent? Take a look at the following and see what appeals to you. “Corrina, Corrina” stars Whoopi Goldberg and tells of the way one incredible housekeeper changed the lives of a widower and his daughter. A heartfelt and deeply touching movie that addresses loss and racism. Amanda Bynes stars in “She’s the Man,” a comedy about a girl who pretends to be her twin brother in order to play on the boys’ soccer team. She wasn’t planning to fall in love with her roommate, though. “Must Love … Continue reading

Winners of the Caldecott Medal: 1988-1992

For more information about the origins of the Caldecott Medal, please see The Caldecott Medal and the Man for Whom it was Named. I am giving a brief synopsis of each book along with a comment about the artwork here and there. I am also including lists of the Honor winners for each year. I hope you enjoy my series. Comments are welcomed!! 1988 “Owl Moon” illustrated by John Schoenhert; text: Jane Yolen One night a little girl goes owling with her father. They crunch through the snow and her father calls out, “Whoo-whoo…” several times, but there is no … Continue reading

Winners of the Caldecott Medal: 1983-1987

Come read the books deemed worthy of the Caldecott Medal! I am giving a brief synopsis of each book along with a comment about the artwork here and there. I am also including lists of the Honor winners for each year. I hope you enjoy my series. Comments are welcomed!! 1983 “Shadow” translated and illustrated by Marcia Brown; original text in French: Blaise Cendrars “Shadow” is a book describing the African view of a dancing image. This image comes to life when a storyteller tells his stories around a bright fire. Dark colors are used in this book to emphasize … Continue reading