Kimmel Austin

In case you missed this little detail, I live in Austin, Texas. Right now in Austin it’s SXSW. Which, for those who live under a rock or are just over the age of 60, is a super-mega-gigantic movie/music/gaming/computer festival that lasts for a week and a half. It also transforms our rather small downtown into a raging cesspool of traffic, drunks and weirdos.  Everybody calls it “South By” (emphasis on the first syllable). It sounds semi-pretentious but “South by Southwest” is a redundant mouthful.

Mister is into the movie scene and because of his job as a video producer has employed pretty much every actor in the Central Texas area. So it’s always fun to see what the tykes have been up to. Also, it’s pretty fun going to see the movies when the directors and several of the stars are right there in the audience. He always gets a platinum pass which allows him first dibs on every event. And there are about a jillion events going on all over downtown at every hour of the day and night.  He manages to get fed several meals a day for free just by attending the right parties and get-togethers.

I am rather non-impressed with the entertainment industry. I don’t like how important they find themselves. At this point in my life I find it incredibly annoying how hard they try: to look good, to be “unique” and “edgy”, to pretend to be so much more awesome than they really are.  At one point I would have cared a lot too. But now I am old. Make that Old with a capital -O. And I know this because I crave authenticity. I really want people to be themselves and get rid of all the crap and façades. Just be who you really are, man!

Mister occasionally drags me out of the house to a movie he thinks sounds like something I’d be interested in. I have to wait in the pitiful “general admission” line which might as well have a sign that says “losers stand here”. He gets in first and saves me a seat while I wait there knitting and eavesdropping on everyone’s conversations. Yesterday’s foray into SXSW was a taping of the Jimmy Kimmel show. We were required to stand in line in the sun and heat for two hours which made me peevish beyond belief. I was ready to throw in the towel but I held on and it actually ended up being really fun and interesting. (Listen, I may complain about all this stuff but when I go out, I do it with enthusiasm. Because nothing is more annoying than self-conscious people who won’t cut loose.)

Mostly I stood and watched all the hipsters around us. And I saw them with their silly clothes that are supposed to be ironic but mostly make them look like rejects from 1989. A few years ago I would have felt super self-conscious like I wasn’t cool enough to stand outside and wait in a dumb line with all the stylish people.  This year I came straight from taking York to the oral surgeon to get his wisdom teeth out. I didn’t really care if my shirt was awesome (although it was St. Patrick’s Day so I did make sure it was green), or that I had trendy shoes or edgy accessories.

This year I feel fine with who I am. Am I thin? Heck no! I’m fatter now than when I was pregnant. Am I stylish? Not if you consider the fact that most of my clothes come from Steinmart or Costco. Is my hair awesome? Well, I’m 44 but I don’t have any greys so that fact alone makes me drip with pride. (Take that, all you people who must get your hair colored!) My hair is not super styling but I think it generally looks pretty decent.  I do have nice makeup so I have that going for me. You can wear awesome sunglasses and overall shorts (yes, they’re back) with high-heeled booties, but if you haven’t got on an attractive shade of lipstick, you really aren’t all that.

So I guess I’m really a grown up now. Or maybe I’m an old fogey. I don’t know. But I have to echo the sentiments of Jasper who announced after looking at everyone meandering around downtown Austin, “who are all these awful people?”.


Hey, it’s date night! I lucked out at the movie theatre this week and saw two really great films. They were both at the artsy fartsy theatre which means  they may not show up near where you live (although I guess it depends on where you are). But they’re so definitely worth seeing. It’s not too late to call a babysitter and scoot on over to the movies!

The Lunchbox. This is an Indian (from India, not Native American) movie about an older widower and a young woman who strike up an interesting correspondence through a lunchbox. If you’ve seen any Bollywood films you know that Indian movies can be crazy over-the-top and unrealistic. The Lunchbox is nothing like that; it’s subtle and realistic; it’s sweet and sad and lovely and ugly all at once. Best of all it gives a realistic portrayal of middle-class life in India. I just adore a movie that helps me experience another culture. The Lunchbox is beautifully acted and very thoughtful. Such a refreshing change from the typical comic-book oeuvre that is everywhere at the megaplex these days. (Also I want a tiffin lunch box like the one in the movie, but one that’s big enough to put sandwiches in. In case you were wondering.)


Tim’s Vermeer. This is my favorite documentary I’ve seen in years. Tim, the main character, is a cool inventor of lots of technological stuff. He just loves the painter Vermeer and has a hypothesis that Vermeer must have used some kind of magnifying glass/lens system to paint his gorgeous works.  So Tim sets out to recreate Vermeer’s studio and his painting supplies to see if he himself can follow in the Great Master’s footsteps using some old-fangled technology. It’s a fascinating, engaging and thoroughly cool movie about a modern-day genius. Mister loved this movie as much as I did. If you don’t think you like documentaries, you’re a weirdo give this one a try.



I was at the library last week and thought I would be nice and check out a movie for the kids. I know they are fans of the entire Spy Kids oeuvre so I rented Spy Kids II (or was it Spy Kids III or IV? As if there is any difference). When I got home they informed me that the Spy Kids movie I’d checked out is already on Netflix and they have already watched it nigh unto a hundred times.

So I put somewhere and completely forgot about it. Until it was several days overdue. I ended up paying $3 to rent a movie nobody watched which was on Netflix anyway.

And I wonder why I have no money.

It’s been so sad to hear about all the tornados in Oklahoma and Texas. Growing up in Michigan, which is part of the Midwest, we had tornadoes pretty often. We were thoroughly familiar with tornado drills and hiding in the basement. I remember tornado warnings to be more of a pain than actually being scary; you know how kids are, never believing that bad things will ever happen to them. My nightmares, though, often featured tornadoes. They still do occasionally.

We have tornadoes from time to time here in Central Texas. Nothing like northeastern Texas, though, which is flatter and wetter. We have some tornadoes brewing today, though. Golfball-sized hail too. Naturally there’s hail forecasted; we just had a bunch of our roof fixed due to a windstorm. Still, there’s not nearly the risk of something happening like happened in Oklahoma.

Not to sound petty, but I was planning to buy a new harp from a lady that lives about seven hours away. We were supposed to meet up halfway on Thursday. I just realized that she lives in Moore, Oklahoma. I hope the lady (and her harp!) are ok.

Every time I hear the word “Oklahoma” I can’t help but think of one of the most awesome scenes in movie history. Gather your children around to watch one of our family’s most beloved movie clips (Steve Martin has never been funnier than in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels).



Let’s talk about fashion first: Watching the Oscars is a bit lame when you don’t have cable. You can’t switch between four channels to make sure you don’t miss a single dress on the red carpet. Instead I had to sort through pictures on the internet this morning to see if there were some stunners I missed.  There weren’t. My opinion is that color is good. Neutral tones really don’t flatter many people. I mean, some of those grey/white/bronze dresses looked nice but think how much prettier they would have looked in a nice peacock blue. Especially that knock-out Jessica Chastain (At least she had some bright lips to perk things up). And Amy Adams hair? It looks Nanny and the Professor. Ew.

I guess I should amend the above statement to say that white girls shouldn’t wear neutrals. My favorite dress of the night was on Zoe Saldana who is one of the most gorgeous women ever. It’s a pearly grey but it doesn’t look washed out since Zoe has that lovely cappuccino skin. Love the layers at the hem and the flowers up top. LOVE!


Normally I hate everything about Jennifer Aniston but she looks 100% gorgeous.

I thought everyone looked pretty decent. This isn’t like the Oscars of the 80′s when everyone looked ridiculous. But there were a few things that caused me to raise my eyebrows:

Oh Anne, the satin and the darts combine to create the perfect storm. I’m sure your nipples are lovely but we really don’t all need to know. Her diamond necklace is adorable but I hope the “necklace on backwards’ trend ends quickly. It’s weird.

And then there are a couple of ladies taking a footnote from the 80′s. Halle Berry gets all Alexis Carrington while Jane looks like she’s on her way to the Captain’s table on The Love Boat.


But enough about clothes. Let’s talk about movies. I haven’t seen most of them. Although Mister and I did catch a screening last weekend of all the live action and animated shorts. It was three hours long but completely enjoyable.

I’m still not sure who Seth MacFarlane is but I quite enjoyed him. And what a nice singer. I loved the stage set. So bright and pretty. But I’d have to give the broadcast a thumbs down. Why? Too much singing! This isn’t the Tony’s! It’s like the producers said, “Oh look how popular Les Mis is. People must like singing. Let’s have lots of singing!”

No, people just want to see the awards. And who could possible agree that Chicago is the best musical of the last 10 years? I hate Chicago! And that lady singing Goldfinger? She rocked the last note but what a waste of five minutes. Same with Barbra Streisand. I was like, “I’m going to go make some cookies. Tell me when the singing’s done.”

I love that Jennifer Lawrence tripped on the stairs. She is such a funny, honest person. She recovered beautifully. I’m sure if it had been a prima donna like Catherine Zeta-Jones she would have promptly committed suicide.

Daniel Day Lewis is the best actor ever. Anyone who could give us Abraham Lincoln, Cristy from My Left Foot, Hawkeye from The last of the Mohicans and Cecil from A Room With a View is completely brilliant. Tommy Lee Jones, on the other hand, was nominated for an award despite playing the exact same grumpy jerk that he plays in every single movie he’s ever been in. How is that even acting?

I was really hoping Ben Affleck would win because I really feel for him because of all his struggles. And I love Jennifer Garner. His acceptance speech was so humble and touching.

And the whole Michelle Obama thing? Odd. Especially with that passel of footmen (and footwomen?) surrounding her. Although it makes sense considering the love affair that Hollywood and the Obamas have with each other. That relationship also explains how Obama can blame everything and everyone for the violence that is exploding in our society EXCEPT for blaming Hollywood. People like Quentin Tarantino aren’t chastised for making horrendously violent films that glorify murder, torture, anger and revenge –they’re celebrated and honored for it. It really sickens me.

OK, sorry for the outburst.

Let’s lighten the mood by discussing the ubiquitous aging European men with flowing blond hair. In case you were wondering what Legolas would look like as a middle-aged man:


Even more bizarre? The mystery of Renee Zelweger’s scrunched up face. Maybe she needed a Claritin? And Kristin Stewart? How does this person have a career? She is peevish, sullen and thoroughly detestable. She couldn’t even pretend to be charming for three minutes while presenting an Oscar. I think I hate K. Stew more than any other actress.

What were your highlights and bombs of the Oscars this year?

I don’t have a TV so I know very little about the whole movie theatre shooting. I do know that a lot of people are upset about the Colorado parents being judged about bringing little kids to movie theatres. While it isn’t the most important issue in the theatre shooting, I do think it needs to be talked about because it’s a huge pet peeve of mine. The most important issue being this:

If you bring a little kid to a Rated R movie you are a bad parent.

There are no ifs ands or buts about this. Very few things are as cut and dried to me as this. Only a parent who is incredibly selfish would bring a child to a strictly adult movie. Why not find a babysitter? Or go see something that won’t give your kid nightmares? You might say that it’s none of my business. But it certainly becomes my business when your child comes to school and teaches mine to drop the f-bomb.  It becomes my business when your child is exposed to tremendous violence. What do you think will happen to children who are desensitized to violence starting at such a young age? Hopefully they won’t end up shooting people at a movie theatre when they grow up.

I’m not talking about tiny babies. If you have a newborn you can get away with bringing her to a movie; she’ll probably sleep right through it. Depending on the sleepiness of my babies I could bring them to movies until they were 2-3 months old. Which brings me to my second pet peeve.

Babies and toddlers in movie threatres. If there are not talking animals then please consider not bringing your child. Especially to a prime time movie. Nothing makes an audience more upset than a whiny, crying, runny baby or toddler. You know why there aren’t more babies and toddlers at the movies in the evening? Because the rest of us got babysitters. Don’t be selfish/idiotic/rude and think that somehow your kids don’t count.

Please know that if you bring someone under age 4 to a movie, there is a good chance that you will have to leave the theatre. Even a newborn can wake up and start wailing. For the love of Netflix, please watch a DVD at home or get out there and hunt up a babysitter.

Mostly I just want parents to not be selfish. Get a babysitter. If you can’t afford one then what are you doing paying for a movie on a Friday night anyway? If you don’t know any babysitters then ask your neighbors for some names. Babysitters are not that hard to find!


I’ve got a bunch of miscellaneous tutorials stacking up (making jam! And tablecloths! And doing a facial!) but I just don’t have the time to get them done what with all the parties and end-of-the-school-year shenanigans going on. Let’s just say that I have probably been to more choir/band/piano recitals and concerts than you have. And hey, how about that teacher appreciation week? That was fun. And let’s not forget Field Day. And the 100 water balloons they asked me to donate. What I’m trying to say is that I’m busy. So get off my back, OK?

But I have made some room in my schedule for movies. Because Mister and I do love the picture show.  We saw three good films this last month. I love when that happens!

Salmon Fishing in The Yemen.  It will take you half of the movie to wrap your brain around the idea that the country is not called Yemen but The Yemen. Once you’ve moved past that you will be rewarded with a great little romantic comedy. Well, a little more highbrow and thoughtful than your typical Rom Com. But it’s a super date movie. Ewan McGregor sounds all Scottish and dreamy and Emily Blunt is adorable too. Mister and I were both pleasantly surprised. In our town it’s only playing at the artsy-fartsy theatre. I have no idea why. Everyone would like this movie.


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Loved this! But I have to tell you that we were the youngest people in the theatre by far. The cast is so phenomenal. Maggie Smith and Judy Dench have been two of my favorites since A Room With A View and here they are together again. Also the hilarious and super underrated Bill Nighy. Cousin Isabel from Downton Abbey is here too. Mostly this film was shot in India–MARVELOUS (obviously I’m a big fan of India since I named my daughter after it). Marigold Hotel is really funny and poignant and thought-provoking. It’s a gem.


Bernie.  This one stars Matthew Maccaughnehey (too tired to google the correct spelling of his name) and Jack Black (who is really superb and not an over-the-top goofball as he usually is). This movie might not be too popular around the country yet but keep your eyes out because I think it’s going to get a lot of noteriety. It was filmed right here in Central Texas and is perhaps the most Texas-y movie ever made.  The characters in it are hilarious and I laughed through the entire thing. But the movie gets kind of serious at the end and by the time the credits roll I was going “no way!”  I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t tell you more. It’s better just to go into this movie not knowing anything. I give it my highest praise by saying that I just can’t stop thinking about it.

All these movies are PG-13. There are some swears so consider yourself forewarned.


I meant to write a review of all the books I read in 2011, but I could only remember about three of them. So I’ll try to dig around my bookshelf and jog my memory. But movies are much easier to remember. Mostly because there aren’t as many to choose from.  As I’ve mentioned before, I see a lot of movies. Nothing scary because I hate scary movies. And nothing too dirty unless the guy in it is on My List. Then it is OK. (You weren’t familiar with that loophole, were you?)  Before you turn your snooty nose up at me for watching Rated R movies, I have made a New Year’s Resolution not to see any in 2012. And so far I haven’t seen any (except for The Descendents because I had already seen that in 2011. And naturally that means it doesn’t count. Which is another loophole you might not have known about but I do, being an expert on commandments and loopholes. Just governing myself here, people, like the Prophet Joseph said). Without further lame excuses, here is my list, in order.

My Most Favorite:

Midnight in Paris. I have always loved Woody Allen (except for that stinker The Jade Scorpion). This movie was enchanting because it was funny (natch), clever (allusion to “Miniver Cheevy”, one of the poems I really love? Check.), took place in Paris, and had to do with time travel back to the good ol’ days. I saw it three times in the theatre, I loved it so much.

Buck. This was a documentary about the real Horse Whisperer. His name is Buck (short for Buckshot, so he had no choice but to be a cowboy) and he grew up in a very troubled home. He got his act together and became absolutely amazing with horses. It’s both fascinating and feel-good. It’s a very quiet, thoughtful movie but I showed it to my kids and they all were mesmerized. Side note: I want his daughter’s hat incredibly badly.

Crazy. Stupid. Love. Yes, the worst movie title all year.  I had really low expectations for this but I was very pleasantly wrong.  It was so funny, so poignant, so true.  The cast is terrific and has the most hilarious scene of any movie all year (yes, even funnier than Maya Rudolph having diarrhea in the street.) I just adored this movie.

ContagionMatt Damon and pandemics: my two favorite subjects. If you don’t want to stock up your food storage after seeing this, you have problems.

I Am. This was a documentary that the critics hated because the idea is about trying to prove the importance of compassion and love. The guy who made this movie was a Hollywood big shot who got deathly ill and finally realized that his  life was pretty pointless. He set out to discover what is really  in the world. While it was not the best-made movie I’ve seen, it was super interesting and incredibly joyful. (By the way, the movie’s title refers to the question “who is responsible for making the world a better place?”.)


My Most Hated:

Just Go With It. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this was my most hated movie of all time. Not surprising since it’s Adam Sandler, who has made only one good movie in his entire life (The Wedding Singer). The premise is idiotic on so many levels (“my assistant is Jennifer Aniston and because she wears glasses I never noticed that she’s hot”). This is one of those movies based entirely on telling one lie after another which makes things incredibly complicated (hilarious hijinx ensue! Theoretically). As a very frank and honest person, I find this so incredibly frustrating; almost frustrating enough to scream in the middle of the movie. Also, there are very sassy kids in this movie. Sassy kids are not funny; they are horrid. I think they are encouraging people to accept underage sassiness in real life. Seriously.

Sherlock Holmes: I’m sorry. I couldn’t stand it.  Filmmakers: If you don’t want to make a movie that takes place in the Victorian Era, then don’t. But don’t pretend that you do and have it be completely modern in every way except the costumes. Also, there are lots of explosions.  Explosions are to adult movies as farts are to kids’ movies: they’re a cop-out and a sign of poor storytelling.

J. Edgar. It was choppy, confusing, the makeup was terrible and J. Edgar seemed like nothing more than a power-hungry wacko (not in a good way. Just in a I-wish-he’d-hurry-up-and-die-so-this-movie-would-end way).

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Did you know it’s possible to make an incredibly boring and slow spy movie? If you didn’t, check this out. Because who doesn’t want to see not just one but two (!) scenes of Gary Oldman swimming slowly across a lake.  Even Colin Firth can’t make this interesting.

Hop: Yes, it’s a kids movie. But it was painfully stupid. Even James Marsden, whom I love (and who loves me too, I just know it) couldn’t make this movie palatable. It was like Alvin and the Chipmunks but with only one chipmunk. Who makes candy.


Movies I Refused To See For Idealogical Reasons:

The Smurfs. I totally worshipped the Smurfs growing up. I bought my kids Smurf stuff a decade ago when I could only get it on ebay. But when I saw this preview my blood ran cold. Cartoon characters in Manhattan??? Uh, I already saw that movie and it was called Enchanted. The Smurfs need to stay in a European forest where their shenanigans are accompanied by classical music, just like the cartoons. The Smurfs are gentle (except for that dumb Jokey who’s always giving gifts that explode) and slightly goofy.  They need to stay that way, Hollywood.

New Year’s Eve. I saw Valentine’s Day and it was atrocious. Why would I see it again?

Footloose. I hate musicals. I hate remakes. I especially hate movies whose theme is “dancing makes everyone get along”.