Monday, April 02, 2018

Laughter for All Seasons

It was sleeting lightly when I headed off to work for my first of three early work shifts this week. Unlike the last couple of times we got winter precipitation, the sleet only stuck to the grass, not roads and sidewalks. I had no problems getting to work. We were surprisingly quiet for the beginning of the month. Everyone must have either been recovering from yesterday, out of town for spring break, or avoiding the cold weather. I spent most of my shift doing returns. I also gathered baskets and put away some carts before the afternoon bagger arrived.

Though the sleet was long gone and melted by 1, the chilly winds and on-and-off clouds remained. I went straight home. Had leftovers while watching an episode of Garfield and Friends from the first season in honor of April Fool's Day yesterday. "Maine Course" has Jon and the pets befriending a live lobster originally sent as a meal. They finally decide he's not a house pet and take him home to the Atlantic Ocean. It's "No Laughing Matter" when aliens invade US Acres to take the world's humor. Roy, Orson, Wade, and the chicks tell them jokes to get rid of them...but Roy discovers that slapstick is the most potent weapon of all. "Attack of the Mutant Guppies" takes Garfield and Nermal into the sewers to find out if the rumors about giant fish are really true.

Took down the Easter decorations while running another TV show episode about the importance of humor in our lives. "The Princess Who Never Laughed" is one of the last episodes made for the fantasy anthology Fairie Tale Theatre. Ellen Barkin is Princess Henrietta, who has been trained to be a very serious princess by her father (Howard Hesseman), who fears he'll lose her the way he lost her mother. When she demands a little entertainment, he holds a royal laugh-off to see who can make her crack a smile. It's Wienerhead Waldo (Howie Mandel), a pig farmer, who finally teaches the royals a lesson about comedy - we often derive the greatest pleasure when the joke is on us.

Worked on writing for a few hours. The group spends the night chatting about their future plans. Jyn and her boys will take Twilight the horse and the cart to Coruscant, where they plan to meet with other Rebel cells to stall the Mid-Summer Festival. Han and Leia will ride Falcon and Luke to Alderaan Manor to meet with Bail Organa and bring him to Coruscant to help the rebels. They finally separate after holding a small funeral for Obi-Wan on the side of the road.

Had leftover quiche for dinner at 6. No one knows more about making people laugh than the Three Stooges. Larry, Moe, and Curly are hired to cheer up a little girl whose dad is missing in "Nutty but Nice." They finally decide that the best way to help the kid would be to find her father, who was kidnapped by thieves. Good thing he has a distinctive yodel that will help them track him down.

Did about 40 minutes of Wii Sports after the Stooges ended. I had a lot of fun with boxing in this session. Did three games in a row; won all three, two by knock-outs. Also worked on the bag and punches with the "trainer." Also got a bronze medal in Hitting the Green on golf; worked on Target Practice in golfing as well. Didn't do so well on hitting baseballs. Cooled down with a good round of bowling.

Ended the night after a shower with A Man for All Seasons. Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield) refuses to sign a letter to the Cardinal (Orson Welles) that would allow King Henry VIII (Robert Shaw) to divorce his current wife and marry Anne Boleyn (Vanessa Redgrave) and to become the head of the Church of England. More is a devout Catholic and doesn't want to put pressure on the Church's power in England. He even refuses to allow his daughter Meg (Susannah York) to marry a Lutheran. More is made Lord Chancellor, but it doesn't last long as Henry finally breaks it off with the Catholic Church and he resigns. He won't even take an oath that announces Henry as the head of the Church of England. He's arrested and put on trial, but refuses to reveal why he wouldn't sign the oath. He finally loses his head...but in doing so, is eventually made a saint of the Catholic Church and a true "man for all seasons."

The sumptuous production and some intense performances saves this from being a snorefest. Scofield won an Oscar as More (he'd already won a Tony for the role on Broadway). I also liked Leo McKern as the scheming Thomas Cromwell and Wendy Hiller as More's wife Alice. Hiller and Robert Shaw were also nominated. The movie won Best Picture for 1966 and Best Director for Fred Zimmerman, as well as for its screenplay, cinematography, and costumes.

For all the elaborate staging, this does still feel like a filmed play at times, very talky and dry, often with little going on until the trial. It's not for action junkies, but fans of costume dramas, English history, or the cast may find this dark trial tale quite involving.

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