Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Takin' a Chance on the Weather

Began the morning with breakfast and Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving. This direct-to-DVD holiday tale is really two episodes of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and the Pooh Thanksgiving special cobbled together with some new linking material. I have it solely for the sweet Thanksgiving special. Pooh and his friends are looking forward to a dinner filled with hot chocolate, honey, and haycorns...until ever-bossy Rabbit butts in and tells them that Thanksgiving is about tradition, and tradition means turkey and stuffing. With Pooh and Piglet scared of the turkey they're supposed to catch and Gopher making pumpkin pie with attitude, you know this meal isn't going to go the way Rabbit planned. Rabbit finally learns in the end that it's not the food we eat at Thanksgiving that matters. It's the friends and family we eat it with.

It was just cloudy and a little damp when I headed out. I wanted to volunteer at the Oaklyn Library and get a nice walk in now, since between work, the weather, and the holiday, I'm probably going to spend the better part of this week indoors. I wasn't the only one looking to escape. The Oaklyn Library was fairly busy with people on the computers and reading newspapers when I arrived. I organized the adult DVDs, then combed the kids' titles and looked over the children's section.

It was sprinkling when I headed home. I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon inside, eating leftovers for lunch, then cleaning the bathroom. I dubbed Cabin In the Sky while I did my chores. Little Joe (Eddie "Rochester" Anderson) is a no-account gambler, but not really a bad guy at heart. He's adored by his devout wife Petunia (Ethel Waters). When he dies, he's initially going to be taken "down below" by Lucifer Jr. (Rex Ingram), but The General (Kenneth Spencer) sees how Petunia's grieving and insists he can be saved. Little Joe does try to mend his ways, but he can't help taking a look at that cute Georgia Brown (Lena Horne). The trio end up at a honky-tonk called Joe Henry's Paradise, where Joe has to really decide if he wants to be saved or not.

This isn't the easiest movie to discuss nowadays. While some of the script is considered dated and stereotyped in the 21st century, the wonderful cast overcomes this with their fabulous numbers. Waters knocks this score's best known standards, "Takin' a Chance On Love" and "Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe" (the latter an addition for the movie version) out of the park and joins Horne for "Honey In the Honeycomb." Duke Ellington and His Orchestra show up in the Paradise towards the end for some amazing jive dancing. Eddie Anderson does better with his jokes and dancing than with some rather croak-y vocalizing later on. Director Vincent Minnelli on his first major assignment provided some wonderful touches, including the rather dark finale.

I enjoyed it, but I understand that it's a product of its era (1943) and I love a lot of the cast. If you're a fan of jazz, the cast, or musicals of this time and aren't offended by the stereotypes, give it a try.

Tossed on some Backyardigans after the movie ended. Little Joe's not the only one seeing ghosts. In "It's Great to Be a Ghost," Uniqua and Pablo are having fun playing spooky tricks. Poor Tyrone is really more scared than spooky. When Tasha arrives and claims to not be scared of anything, it's the least-likely kid who finally frightens her.

Jodie ended up driving me to work. Jessa drove me home. It was still just showering when I went to work, but it was supposed to get worse later. It was crazy during rush hour, otherwise the same as yesterday - steady when I came in, dead when I left. The heavy rain wouldn't really arrive until about an hour ago.

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