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Miscellaneous

27 Dresses for Bennie and the Jets

When the chick-flick 27 Dresses hit the theaters, I passed on it. But when my daughter bought the DVD I caved and ended up watching it.  I was pleasantly surprised. Not that I had low expectations, but my even my moderate expectations were exceeded. (Note to self: If a flick has Katherine Heigl in it, it’s worth checking out—as far as I’m concerned; she stole the show.)

If you’ve seen the movie, you recall the bar scene where the two main characters—emboldened courtesy of adult beverages—try to correctly recall the words and sing Elton John’s classic hit, “Bennie and the Jets.”  I was never sure of the lyrics either, so I had to look them up—I’m still don’t know what the song means. Anyway, it was a hoot to hear them try to belt it out in their inebriated condition.

The premise of the movie was that Heigl’s character had been a bridesmaid in 27 weddings, but never a bride. The reoccurring gag was the brides claiming that the dresses could be shortened and worn again—of course they never were.

As my daughter began planning for her upcoming nuptials, she recalled similar complaints of friends about weddings they’ve been in: expensive dresses that they would never wear again and uncomfortable shoes that hurt their feet.

My ever practical and most resourceful daughter has addressed these issues. She is making the bridesmaids’ dresses—so even if they don’t don them again, at least it didn’t cost them anything. (For the record, she did buy her dress, which she won’t wear again.)

Oh, as far as the uncomfortable shoes—the ladies in the wedding party will be sporting flip-flops, as will the bride.  Problems solved.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Miscellaneous

Netflix PlayerNet

Regular readers of this blog know that I am a big fan of Netflix (an online movie rental provider). I enjoy receiving Netflix movies via mail as well as streaming video to my computer (which Netflix added last year).

I have wanted to have the best of both worlds, able to watch streaming video on my television. (Yes, I am aware that I could make that happen now, but it would be less than straightforward to effectively accomplish.)  Imagine my delight when Netflix announced that a “Netflix Player” would be provided by Roku, allowing this very thing to be accomplished.  In the near future, similar devices will be made by three other manufacturers.  Priced at a one-time cost of $100, they will work in conjunction with my existing Netflix service.

Currently Netflix has 100,000 titles available on DVD for their mail service, with a relatively smaller 10,000 title inventory available for streaming video. This difference is due to complexities in procuring digital distribution rights from the various studios and content providers. These issues are expected to be ironed out as the technology becomes more common and user demand increases.

The future trend is obvious, with mailed DVDs eventually being phased out in favor of streaming video.

For me, I’m ready, but a little apprehensive as well. Currently, I have four devices connected to my TV (DVR, DVD player, VCR, Analog converter) with five remotes, as well as a couple of video splitters and one adapter. The thought of connecting yet another device (see the box) and making sure everything works correctly is a bit foreboding.

Despite my excitement, I’m not quite ready to run out and buy a Netflix Player. My real preference is to be able to forgo the extra device, merely running a network cable between my hub and TV. Is that too much to ask?

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Miscellaneous

A Weekend of Movies

I’ve been cutting back on my movie watching. Although they are a relaxing pastime, they can also occupy too much time—time I could better spend doing other things. I’ve been doing quite well at restricting my cinematic viewing, although it is hard to tell from this past weekend.

At the theater, I saw the new Narnia movie, Prince Caspian, with a group of friends. It was quite good; I give it 4 stars. Although well done, Caspian had more battle scenes and violence then was warranted. I enjoyed The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe much more (5 stars).

On video, our family watched I’m Reed Fish. This is a quirky romantic comedy, a movie about a movie. It has a surprise ending that makes you say, “What just happened?” Fortunately we were able to figure it out, but it was on the second viewing where I was really able to appreciate all the subtle plot details and subdued humor. If you watch it, which I recommend, pay careful attention to the names Kate and Jill. Enough said.  I also give it 4 stars.

On TV I watched The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. It’s a dumb title and I dismissed the movie, but knowing that the “adventures” are the results of a young boy’s dreams, made it plausible enough for me to give it a go. Unfortunately, the story line didn’t hold together and it ended a bit sappy and contrived. Two stars.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Miscellaneous

Classic Silent Movies

Please indulge me one more blog about movies and then I’ll go on to something else—at least for a while.

Although I enjoy classic moves, silent films seemed a bit too “classic” for my taste. That, however, may be changing.

I’ve only seen three silent films (that I can remember, anyway) and each one was more enjoyable than the former.

The first is “Modern Times” (1936) written, directed, and staring Charlie Chaplin. It is clever, entertaining, and funny. Plus I will never look at square buttons the same way again.

The second is The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928).  It used detailed historic documents about Joan’s trail and subsequent execution (hope I didn’t ruin the ending) and portrays a gripping account of the injustice heaped upon this heroic person. Labeled as one of the greatest films of all times, it has a colorful history. After the first cut was destroyed in a fire, the director made a second version from alternate takes. When it too was destroyed in a fire, it was thought to be forever lost. However, a copy of the original was amazingly found—in good condition—in 1981.  The film is haunting, compelling, and unforgettable.

The third and most enjoyable is The General (1927), directed by and starring Buster Keaton. I have often heard the name Buster Keaton and the word genius in the same sentence. After seeing this film, I know why. I plan on there being many more Buster Keaton movies in my future viewing.

And in case you are wondering, all three are available from Netflix!

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Miscellaneous

The Movie Maven

Yesterday I confessed to a proclivity for movies and a great affection for Netflix.

With Netflix, you can rate movies on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.  Based on the movies you rate, Netflix recommends other titles that you might like and even projects what rating you might give them. Right now, Netflix has 138 recommended movies for me!

I recall that the average Netflix member has rated about 140 movies. In this regard, I am above average – way above average. I’ve rated—drum roll, please – 917 movies! (See why I’m trying to cut back?) And that doesn’t include movies I’ve seen, but can’t remember well enough to rate.

My rating scale is simple:

5 stars: the movie was great and I happily watch it over and over.
4 stars: the movie was quite good and I might be inclined to watch it again.
3 stars: the movie was good, but once was enough.
2 stars: I didn’t like the movie and wouldn’t recommend it.
1 star: the movie was awful and I regret the time I wasted watching it.

There are 89 movies that I have given 5 stars to. They include all genres, from all eras. Most movies I have given 3 stars to. I gave 2 stars to 47 and 1 star to only 17.

Right now, I’m quite excited. Netflix just sent Fantastic Four and it should arrive tomorrow. If I like it, I’ll probably order the next one, too!

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.