Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Bear Called Paddington

Began a hot, sunny day with a couple of black and white Mickey Mouse shorts set around the beach or summer. Mickey and Minnie encounter some "Wild Waves" that pick up Minnie and carry her out to sea. Mickey rescues her, then cheers her up with the help of some friendly local animals.

"The Picnic" starts out as a lovely day for Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto (then called Rover). They have fun singing and dancing while Pluto chases the wildlife. A downpour spoils their meal, but Pluto does come up with a way to help them see their way home.

Mickey and Pluto are "Fishin' Around" in the middle of a pond, trying to enjoy a relaxing day. Things just don't seem to go right for the duo. The fish won't cooperate and steal the bait. Mickey ignored a sign that said "no fishing"...and a local cop doesn't like that one bit!

Headed off to the Collingswood Farm Market around 10:30. Even that late, they were packed elbow-to-elbow with people looking for produce, cheese, and meats for their barbecues and birthday parties. The fall harvest has just begun making it's debut; I saw the first yellow apples and spaghetti squash of the year today, along with the first sugar plums. I ended up with blueberries, blackberries, a beautiful olive green and brick red heirloom tomato, small peaches, and brown mushrooms.

Made a quick stop at WaWa for eggs and a Peach Nectarine Sparkling Ice before heading home. I had the other half of the chicken wrap from Chick Fil'A last night while watching a few more cartoons. "The Beach Party" begins well for Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Clarabelle Cow, and Horace Horsecollar. They go swimming in the ocean and enjoy a huge picnic lunch...until Pluto mistakes an octopus' leg for his sausages. Now they have to use the remains of their lunch to get rid of that pesky eight-legged critter!

Wally Walrus isn't having a much easier time with Woody Woodpecker in "The Beach Nut." Surfer Woody keeps disrupting his day at the beach. He chases him onto the boardwalk, where Woody poses as a mind reader to get to Wally's head.

Work was busier than yesterday, though still not overwhelming. Most people were shopping for parties or going to or coming from vacation. Other than a few grouchy people, there were no major problems, and my relief was actually early.

I went straight home. As soon as I got in, I changed into my bathing suit, grabbed my towel, and rode over to Dad's house to go swimming. Dad and Jodie weren't home, but I did wave to Jodie's son Jesse, who was reading on the porch. There was a family with two tiny children no more than two in the shallow end of the pool; they were likely neighbors. I swam in the deep end to keep from disrupting the little guys. It was once again almost 90 degrees in the pool, and it felt absolutely wonderful.

When I got home, I made turkey tacos with onion and cherry tomatoes while watching Paddington. An explorer once visited a group of very intelligent bears in Darkest Peru and taught them about London, English ways, and that tasty spread known as marmalade. Years later, the bears, having lost their home, sends the youngest member to take the explorer up on the offer and visit London. The Brown family finds him at the Paddington train station and take him home. They dub the little bear "Paddington" after the train station. The kind-hearted mom (Sally Hawkins) takes to him right away. The kids and the dad (Hugh Bonneville) have a harder time with him; he's clumsy and knows little about human or British ways. He finally starts to warm up to the family, even the overprotective Mr. Brown, when a house fire makes him look suspect again. When he heads out to find the explorer, the Browns realize how much they miss him. They're not the only ones interested in the sweet little bear, though. A nasty taxidermist (Nicole Kidman) thinks Paddington would be the perfect addition to her stuffed creature collection and will do anything to get him in her clutches.

This was a surprise hit last winter, with critics and audiences. I'm glad. I've always been a fan of Paddington. I have a two-foot stuffed Paddington my grandparents gave me when I was a toddler on my bed as I write this, and I found a treasury of all the Paddington books at a yard sale a few years ago. They did the source material justice. This is a really adorable movie, filled with just as much wonder and gentleness as Paddington himself. The performances were spot-on, especially Ben Whitshaw as Paddington. If you've got kids who are bear lovers like me, or are just looking for a really good family movie, this one is highly recommended and just plain sweet.

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