Saturday, July 29, 2017

Cold Summer

Awoke to a cloudy, damp morning. (It did finally rain last night, shortly after I got offline, actually.) Brightened up the gloomy day with breakfast and an Egyptian-themed Three Stooges short. They're "Mummies' Dummies" when they're caught selling a lemon of a used chariot to the Pharaoh's head guard. The Pharaoh is too busy dealing with a bad toothache to care. When Shemp removes the tooth, the Pharaoh is so grateful, he makes them his advisers.They prove their worth when they discover a foul plot by his vizier to skim tax money off the royal treasury.

Brrr! I was surprised to step out into a chilly wind. It was 65 when I went to work, and just barely got over 70 this afternoon.  Maybe that's why it was much busier today than yesterday, especially later on. Even with the lines, I mostly cleaned the bathrooms (which didn't really need it), two more registers (which did), and bagged. Very briefly gathered carts around 11:30, but there were at least two other baggers around (including the head bagger) to do that.

Went straight home after I finished. Charlie had reminded me last night that I needed to defrost the freezer again. It wasn't that bad, but I didn't feel like listening to him fuss. I loaded everything in the freezer into my Styrofoam cooler, unplugged the refrigerator, and had a snack.

Ran a Garfield special as I worked. Garfield's Feline Fantasies is a series of skits revolving around the fat cat's wild imagination. From a parody of Jaws with a very scary goldfish to a take on Airport, Garfield figures he and Odie can make it through anything he can invent, as long as Jon is there to catch them. But the James Bond/Indiana Jones story he concocts that has them chasing after the Banana of Bombay may be too much for even Garfield's bizarre mind...

Spent most of the rest of the afternoon writing. Leia and Luke hide in the trees after Hank and Charlie lead the Empire Industries employees down the other path. They literally swing onto Hank's ship the Millennium Falcon while the others come dashing back. Ben's not as lucky. He and Vader find themselves having a fistfight on the beach, one that ends with Ben beaten to a pulp. Luke attacks Vader, but Leia and Hank manage to pull them both aboard before worse damage is done.

(This being a comedy, most characters are going to survive until the end, except for Palpatine and maybe Yoda.)

Briefly checked on the defrosting freezer around 6:30. It's a good thing I left the cooler in front of the fridge, because the freezer was dripping. I mopped up most of the water with one of my old striped towels (which is still hanging outside to dry). It's not quite as defrosted as last time, but the ice around the door is gone, which is probably what Charlie wanted to begin with.

Went back to writing, then broke for good shortly after 6. Had a lovely dinner of baked breaded flounder, corn on the cob, and a green salad with tomato wedges while watching Waikiki Wedding. We go back a few years to 1937. This time, Bing is Tony, a publicity agent for a pineapple company in Hawaii who would rather be singing among the natives than doing his job. His boss (George Barbier) would rather he did his job. They're having trouble with Georgia (Shirley Ross), who won their "Pineapple Girl" beauty contest. She and her friend Myrtle (Martha Raye) got three weeks in Hawaii and the chance to record their experiences for the paper, but they're not having a good time. Simply put, there's been too much publicity and not enough romance. Tony and his laid-back, pig-loving buddy Shad (Bob Burns) have to figure out how to show the ladies the charms of the islands enough to not leave...but they find themselves falling for them in the process.

Very cute. The score and the fairly realistic Hawaiian atmosphere are the selling points here. The score spun off two standards, "Blue Hawaii" (better known from its use in the Elvis Presley movie of the same name) and the Oscar-winning "Sweet Lelani." I like that the natives are portrayed relatively well for the era, especially in the opening wedding sequence and the huge hula number on the island.

Highly recommended if you're a fan of the cast, the music, or feel like going tropical.

Finished out the night with Bedknobs and Broomsticks as I ate black cherry ice cream and went online. Set in the English countryside during World War II, Miss Eglantine Price (Angela Landsbury) finds herself temporarily adopting a trio of orphaned Blitz evacuees who have no place to go. She'd really rather get on with studying witchcraft via a correspondence school. The kids catch her falling off her broom and make a pact. They won't tell if she'll give them something valuable. This turns out to be a spell that allows you to travel anywhere, which she casts on the knob of her bed. It proves to be more valuable than first surmised after the school closes. They travel first to London to find the school's headmaster, the con artist Professor Brown (David Tomlinson), and then to the Island of Naboombu, an animated land where anthropomorphic animals hold dance contests and play wild games of soccer. Miss Price is hoping to find a spell that'll remove the Nazis from England for good. Everyone gets a chance to test their mettle when the Nazis do invade, and Miss Price and her charges prove just how powerful the magic of positive thinking can be.

I've always liked this one, in some ways more than the somewhat similar Mary Poppins. The score is just as good, including another Oscar-nominated ballad, "The Age of Not Believing." I also have a soft spot for "Beautiful Briny Sea," which Professor Brown and Miss Price perform when they accidentally land in Naboombu's lagoon. Landsbury and Tomlinson work well together, and Landsbury has a lot of fun as the sensible apprentice witch. The kids are a riot, especially little Paul (Roy Snart). The special effects, which won an Oscar in 1972, still hold up surprisingly well, particularly in the amazing finale that involved every bit of armor Disney could rent at the time literally kicking Nazi tail.

Unfortunately, this is another movie that suffers from the "every musical needs to be an epic" problem of the 60's and early 70's, especially in the reconstructed 30th anniversary version I have. While I'm glad some of the songs were put back in (the Professor's "With a Flair" does a terrific job introducing his character), others are mainly padding. "Portobello Road," fun though it is, goes on for far too long, and neither it nor the entire Naboombu sequence have much to do with the plot.

For all the problems this movie has, I still recommend it for the cast, wonderful music, and imaginative plot. I believe there's a somewhat shorter version available on DVD as well; if the longer one is a bit much for you, you may want to look for that (it's called the "Enchanted Musical Edition").

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