Weekend Entertainment For the Stay-At-Homies and Stay-Close-To-Homies

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If you’re up for an evening out with your significant horse-, history-, popcorn-loving other, see “War Horse.”  The horse is the star, and you can’t help but love him even if you’re not a horse person.  Finest equine best friend since The Pie (Do you know what The Pie was short for?) in “National Velvet” or “My Friend Flicka.”  Of course, this is no green hills of Wyoming setting.  It’s the Great War, the horrible one that was supposed to be the end of all war, and the movie does a fine job of showing the horror without sending severed body parts flying.  It’s a touching story—based, as the best of them are, on a novel—that became a play before Spielberg took it to the big screen.  (Hard to imagine how they did this on stage!)  Wonderful cinematography, and oh! what a horse.

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Should you prefer to make your own popcorn this New Year’s Eve weekend, here are three films we enjoyed recently on DVD.  First and foremost, they’re all well cast, all well written. 

Have you ever said I was born X years too late?  “Midnight In Paris” is a lovely story for those of us who romanticize the past.  On a visit to Paris our struggling writer hero, played by Owen Wilson, escapes his super 21st century fiancée and demanding in-laws by taking midnight walks alone.  When he finds himself time traveling to the 1920’s, he thinks he’s found his niche.

“Margin Call” is hard to describe.  Yes, it gives you some insight into some of what precipitated the 2008 financial crisis, but it does so through characters played by a wonderful ensemble cast, including Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons.  No companies are named, and while there’s some jargon thrown around, it’s not about the nitty-gritty of mortgages and investment banking.  I’d have to call this one a thriller.  The tension is relentless, building step by step as the characters realize what is about to happen to everyone around them and beyond.  The beauty of this one is that no pure evil or pure innocence is portrayed.  It’s all about money, and we’re all in it together.  I wasn’t sure I’d like this one, but I’d call it a must-see.

Ditto “The Help.”  Another wonderful ensemble cast, with Viola Davis and Emma Stone at the top of the marquee, although Octavia Spencer gets my nod for best of the best.  I haven’t read the book, even though friends highly recommended it.  The thing is, I remember the 50’s and 60’s and the issues that are central to this story.  I decided to start with the movie.  Now I’ll move on to the book.  Again, must-see, now must read.  Humor and relationships and universally emotional situations build bridges.  The human face makes our social history come alive and helps us take the lessons to heart.  

Have you seen any of these?  What are your thoughts?  What should I see or rent this weekend when I take my celebratory break?

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About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
This entry was posted in books, dvd, movies, War Horse, Margin Call, The Help, Midnight In Paris and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Weekend Entertainment For the Stay-At-Homies and Stay-Close-To-Homies

  1. Matt Stewart says:

    Good stuff, the only one I have actually seen is Midnight in Paris, which I loved. The others I am highly looking forward to!

  2. Sonya Natalia says:

    Wow, you just made me realise the only thing I saw at the cinema this year was SENNA – a documentary about the life and death of Formula One racer Ayrton Senna.

    I don’t know what’s happened to me. I used to go to the movies all the time! I think it has something to do with all the books I’ve read.

    • Sonya, I put the books above the movies, too. Must read some daily–can’t go to sleep without reading for a while first. And going to the movies has become so expensive, you have to be picky.

  3. bkrahn007 says:

    Kathy, I only saw one of these movies– The Help– and I LOVED it. I had read the book– along with the Pool Boy– and we both thought it was evocative and fabulous. We went to the movie with some trepidation, fearing what Hollywood might do to the story. But it was great. A slightly different portrayal of some things, but still dead-on for all of the main characters and central plot. And I loved Minnie in both tellings!

    The other two sound great– I’m going to have to fire up the DVD player! Thanks for the heads-up!

  4. I’ve heard the movie keeps the faith with the book but as always there’s more to the book, so I’ll be interested to see the more. Happy New Year, Betina!

  5. Cindy Gerard says:

    I loved The Help, Kathy. Would love to see it again – and I rarely say that about a movie. I have Midnight in Paris saved on the DRV and am looking forward to watching it. We will have the grandkids this weekend and I’m thinking of taking them to the Muppet Movie. have heard it’s a lot of grins.
    Happy New Year everyone!

  6. Cindy Gerard says:

    Oh – and I need to know – does War Horse have a happy ending? Yes, I’m one of those …

  7. michelehauf says:

    Midnight in Paris sounds perfect for me! WIll definitely check it out. Thanks, Kathy!

  8. Kylie Brant says:

    Can’t wait to see all of these, Kathy! I always write down recommendations since I tend to always pick out thrillers and the hubby likes–ahem–chick flicks 🙂

  9. loisgreiman says:

    Sorry, Kathy, I have to disagree on War Horse. We were really looking forward to it. And it WAS beautifully filmed and lovingly portrayed…which means I cried all the way through the movie and all the way home. Once home, I went out to the barn to feed Sage treats and cry on his neck in the dark for half an hour. I’m not exaggerating. For me, it was so emotionally ravaging that it was physically painful.

    But…I liked Midnight in Paris.

  10. Nickey Gilbert says:

    First of all, I love RWTTD! The colorful heading is the greatest. How could you not read further?
    I have seen The Woody Allen movie, “Midnight in Paris” Loved it as I am A big Woody fan. The cinematography was so beautiful and makes one want to see it over and over. I had just read “The Paris Wife ” so I really enjoyed all the Hemingway references. The costuming was so perfect and Owen Wilson was a surprise and a delight.
    War Horse_ was beautifully done and I detected a lot of “sniffles” from the audience.
    One is never disappointed in a Spielberg movie. This Beautiful story is no different.
    Hollywood and the cast of “The Help did the novel justice. The character selections were right on target. Cecily Tyson is awesome.

    • We’re so glad to hear that you enjoy our band of Riders, Nickey.

      I’m a big Woody Allen fan, too. His films are unique–no one does them like Woody. Always a great script and a wonderful cast even though his budget is low by Hollywood standards. Terrific actors line up to work with him.

      Love Spielberg, too. He doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff, but he deals with it without anything gratuitous. It’s there because it has to be there for an honest story.

  11. I haven’t seen any of the films mentioned, but they are on my list now. Except for War Horse. I love horses, love horse movies, but please…please…please don’t let the horse die. lol
    Yes, I want my HEA even in horse stories.

    The film I watched recently that had a huge effect on me was The Cove. It’s actually a documentary about the capture and killing of Bottle Nose Dolphins in Japan. The guy who filmed it, was the original trainer for the old Flipper series, who became a dolphin activist after his favorite flipper dolphin died in his arms. He is convinced that Dolphins are self-aware and presents some pretty compelling evidence to support that statement. But be warned, it’s a wrenching film if you love animals, but its also necessary to spread the word in order to stop the slaughter of these magnificent creatures.

  12. Trish, would it help to know that the horse doesn’t die? He’s the hero, and he gets his HEA. It is a war story and innocents die, but for some reason we need reminders. We human beings just can’t seem to get it through our heads that it’s the innocents and the common folks that make fodder for the cannons.

  13. Yes, Thank you!

    It does help knowing the horse gets his happy ending. But it still sounds like the movie is very emotional and sad, which means I probably won’t rent it. There is enough sadness in real life, I’d rather watch something uplifting and “feel good” when I get the chance to watch a movie at all.

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