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My Favorite Year to Date Film

Monday Movie Meme,NaBloPoMo

Favorites are the topic of choice for this week’s Monday Movie Meme as The Bumbles says to share on your blog a favorite year to date movie, as suggested by Sandy at You’ve Gotta Read This. After reviewing my Netflix streaming history, DVD rentals and trying to remember very movie that I watched in a movie theater since New Year’s, here is my favorite movie of far.

Blue Valentine
Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams

Monday Movie Meme,NaBloPoMo

I waited in excitement while anticipating the release of “Blue Valentine” on New Year’s Eve and then found out that it wasn’t going to be showing in my city until early January. This movie was well worth the is sweet, funny and emotionally gripping because the characters and story seems so real. The relationship between Dean (Gosling) and Cindy (Williams) is fun and carefree until some unexpected news changes the direction of their lives in a way that causes both to re-evaluate their priorities and also compromise on their long-term romantic and professional goals.

“Blue Valentine” is made in a non-linear fashion, showing how their relationship started and progressed while simutaneously chronicling the ups and downs of their marriage. I plan to buy “Blue Valentine” on DVD and add it to my movie collection because it is a film that I would not mind watching again.

Monday Movie Meme,NaBloPoMo

While I love “Blue Valentine,” my favorite year to date movie may change by the end of 2011 since there are 5 more months left during which I plan to watch dozens of more films. I still do not like the fact that Ryan Gosling got snubbed out of an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his role in “Blue Valentine” so if I find a later movie to be more of a favorite, he’ll be “Best Actor” in my book for 2011!

Gofita's Pages calls 'Blue Valentine' "A very well done but depressing unlove story" and no one could have described this movie any better.

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Leonardo DiCaprio opposite Beyonce in New Film? PLEASE Don’t! #NaBloPoMo

NaBloPoMo,King Dong,Movies

Our favorite actor, Leonardo DiCaprio seems to be on a roll this year making Quentin Taratino movies and saving tigers. None of this is a surprise but the latest news about one of his upcoming roles are a cause for concern. It isn’t even the roles that worry me, but the casting choices for fellow headliners that seem out of place. Clint Eastwood is set to direct a remake of “A Star is Born” with superstar singer Beyonce in the lead role.

According to The Telegraph, Eastwood is trying to convince Leonardo DiCaprio to star in this movie, opposite Beyonce and while everyone involved in this project so far are great talents, the current and possible cast makeup seems just all wrong. Beyonce’s performances in movies such as “The Fighting Temptations” and “Dreamgirls” were good but many of her roles were centered around music....something that she already knows how to do. “Obsessed” aside, her acting skills seem to be limited, or at the very least....unconvincing.

Something needs to happen for me to want to go buy a movie theater ticket and watch this.....Clint Eastwood giving a smaller role to Beyonce in favor of a more seasoned actress or Leonardo DiCaprio turning down this role or Clint Eastwood deciding to go with another actor for the role he plans to give to DiCaprio. One of the three would work and now that I think about it....why would Leonardo DiCaprio star in some rock and roll movie, playing a singer? The film actually seems more suited to the kind of work that Beyonce does, based on her singing talents and top position in the music industry as well as her previous film work. So, maybe Beyonce is the ideal choice after all and Leo is the one who may not fit. Hmmm. Where did Leonardo DiCaprio come in during all of this?

I don’t know about this one, Leo!

Also, it would be nice to read or watch an interview with Clint Eastwood where he discusses what made him choose these particular actors.

How do we go from Barbara Streisand and Judy Garland to Beyonce?

I just don't know about this one. Maybe, however, he's on to something magical that will wow audiences and cause people to actually like remakes.

Would YOU watch a remake of “A Star is Born” starring Leonardo DiCaprio AND Beyonce?

I probably wouldn’t, or at least, I wouldn’t want to watch such a movie but if you think that it would be entertaining or worth watching, your reasoning for supporting this casting lineup is very welcome....maybe you could convince me to watch it just as Clint Eastwood is convincing Leonardo DiCaprio to star in it.

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The Casserole Club Offers up Lessons Beyond Baking #GBE2 #NaBloPoMo #Indiefilm


Steve Balderson's “The Casserole Club” starts off in an entertaining fashion, as the characters seemed to be all about partying, eating and getting drunk. After Sugar proposes a harmless competition between her friends and neighbors on who makes the best casserole, this devoted hostess learns that she may have bit off more than she can pun intended.

The dinner parties lead to married couples swapping more than recipes, which may seem controversial for that time.....or maybe not; Isn’t the 60s all about hippies and their “free love” spirit? The loose behavior of these movie characters, however, is nothing compared to the troubles that each husband and wife are dealing with behind closed doors when the party is over and everyone has gone home.

The Casserole Club” is funny while there are also some sympathetic moments for characters whose struggles with insecurity, trust, being unsatisfied and more eventually get the best of them. There is a defining moment for each couple where they change for the better or worse, except for one marriage that appears to be the example of what balance and happiness look like when the husband and wife truly love each other and accept each other for who they are.

The casting and use of the cast is one of the best aspects of “The Casserole Club” that I enjoyed because all of the characters are memorable. There is no one character that steals the show , making even the smallest of roles noticeable, so everyone shines in this movie.

I was particularly delighted with Susan Traylor as Sugar while Kevin Richardson’s brutal performance as Conrad surprised me. His character is self-destructive and crass, which makes him unlikeable....especially since Conrad treats his friends better than his wife, Sugar. I remember Traylor from “Stuck” and her performance in “The Casserole Club” reminded me why I like her. She turns her characters into people that the audience can relate to because they aren’t too wild, too outgoing or too shy either. Traylor is like the every-woman of actresses.

Garrett Swann’s character Sterling seemed to have more depth than that of his wife Kitty (played by Starina Johnson), but they both work well as a couple. Florene and Burt are the two that others should envy, since they seem to have the magic for maintaining a fulfilling marriage. The other couples seem to be in fully functional marriages that are great for show but still have missing pieces that may eventually destroy them.

Maybe the casseroles are symbolic for filling a void in the lives of these characters. Maybe the physical aspects of their dinner parties give them some type of temporary freedom and joy that they are not getting at home or in life. Or, maybe “The Casserole Club” is a vehicle that forces the audience to take a look at themselves, their views about marriage, friendship, children and personal struggles and realize that change happens and you can either adapt or not but one thing is for can’t eat, drink or screw your problems away. In fact, the problems may get worse. Either way, even if none of these apply.....the story works and will have you laughing, cheering, toasting (if you have some drinks while watching this movie) and wanting to smack someone, or two.

“The Casserole Club” is a must-see movie. It is entertaining, fun and sexy with neighbors that are unlike any that you may have seen in a very long time.

Watch the Trailer:

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