Friday, October 25, 2013

Princesses and Silver Linings

Began a chilly morning with the 1995 adaptation of A Little Princess that I picked up in a yard sale a few weeks ago, as I began re-reading the book today. Alfonso Cuaron directed this tale of Sara Crewe (Lisel Matthews), who attends a boarding school in New York in 1914 when her father goes off to war. She's the pampered but kind-hearted star pupil of the school, beloved by everyone except for one rather jealous fellow student and the bitter head mistress Miss Minchin (Eleanor Bron). When her father dies and leaves her a pauper, Sarah is taken from everything she's ever known and made a servant at the school. The intelligent girl uses the power of her imagination and her boundless storytelling ability to survive Miss Minchin's abuse and the loss of the only person she'd loved more than anything.

One of the loveliest films of the 90s, with gorgeous costumes and sets and some amazing CGI imagery during Sara's Indian-set stories. I can see why Cuaron went on to direct another tale of an unusual orphan in a boarding school, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. While I do wish they hadn't filled out the ending with a needless action sequence and preferred the book's original finale, that's really my only complaint. I like how we see more of how the girls in the school help Sara out, even after she's lost her money, by finding something that's important to her despite Miss Minchin's rules...and how this is the only Little Princess adaptation where Miss Minchin finally gets punished in the end. A must for girls of all ages, especially those who have read the book.

Work was a tad busier than it has been. We're less than a week from Halloween and the beginning of the month. It wasn't bad when I arrived, but it did pick up much later. A new turkey promotion is also causing some headaches. This week, there's a coupon in our flyer that will allow customers to buy a turkey after spending 100 dollars IN ONE ORDER. This isn't a "save 300 dollars all fall" deal. It's 100 in one transaction, and you need the coupon for the freebie. The majority of people just didn't seem to get it - they thought you had to save up for it, because every other store does that. Hopefully, they'll figure things out as the week goes on.

After I got out of work, I made this week's shopping trip. A lot of it was baking and cooking restocks - brown sugar, whole wheat flour, milk, sandwich bags, canned Great Northern Beans and diced low-salt tomatoes. The Acme's generic parchment paper is far cheaper than Reynolds Wrap, and it was on a good sale. The Smart Balance butter sticks were buy one, get one, and I had a coupon; Kashi cereals were three for $2.49 if you bought three, and I had a coupon for a dollar off two.

My schedule for this week is ok, not great. On one hand, I only work 12-5 on Halloween - I could help Dad with the tail end of trick-or-treating. I'm off Monday (for a dental appointment) and Wednesday. I'm not entirely happy with the late night Tuesday or the 8 hour day next Friday, but at least I have a lot more hours than I did at this time of year...which is to say, I have hours. This time last year, I would have been at home, about half-way through my two months off due to a fractured ankle.

When I got home, I ran The Penniless Princess as I put away my groceries and changed into regular clothes. This is a Veggitales version of A Little Princess, and other than making Sara's doll a teddy bear (it probably would have been a little awkward for a broccoli kid to be carrying around a doll) and the usual religious bent, this is actually fairly accurate. It's even one of the few versions I've seen use more-or-less the original ending from the book.

Switched to The Silver Linings Playbook after I finished leftover chicken soup for dinner and worked on a Christmas crocheting project for my friend Amanda. Pat (Bradley Cooper) has just returned to his parents' home in Philadelphia after an 8-month stint in a mental hospital. His wife has left him and taken his home and his cash, and he's lost his job. He's bi-polar and occasionally has violent mood swings, but he's determined to stay positive and get his wife back. His Eagles-obsessed parents (Jacki Weaver and Robert DeNiro) do what they can to support him. What really helps him out is meeting Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a newly widowed young woman who has just as many mental problems as he does. Tiffany agrees to help him get his wife back if he'll attend a dance competition with her. Against his better judgement, he does so, and learns that kindness is it's own reward, families can help you heal, and that sometimes real love with someone who is truly compatible can be right under your nose.

A surprisingly sweet and refreshingly gritty film in a genre that tends to wallow in cutesiness. Lawrence won an Oscar as the young woman who is has made a lot of mistakes but uses dance to turn her life around; Cooper's equally good as the troubled man who thinks he wants his wife, when what he really needs is a fresh start. This movie involves the Philadelphia Eagles and dance - how could I not love it? Language, violence, and frank discussions of mental illness makes this not for kiddies, but adults who are looking for something different in a romantic comedy or who just want to watch something uplifting and yet not to sweet will really enjoy it.

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