Friday, April 26, 2019

Laughter In the Rain

Started off a gloomy morning with It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown in honor of Arbor Day today. Sally's writing a report on Arbor Day for school. Lucy suggests getting hands-on experience by turning Charlie Brown's baseball field into a garden and orchard. Chuck's not happy with the idea...until it looks like their plants might help them win a game.

It had rained off and on all morning. Thankfully, the rain was off when I hurried off to work. It continued to rain off and on for the next few hours, scaring off our customers. We were dead for most of the day. I spent the morning and early afternoon doing returns, gathering baskets, and helping one of the head managers round up the few remaining dying Easter flowers. By the time I went outside to do carts and outside trash and recycling around 2:30, the rain had stopped, and the sun was trying to come out. I got called in for the last 15 minutes because they'd gotten a little busy. Good thing it wasn't that busy. I was able to close when someone else came in.

In good news, my schedule for next week is a lot more normal, with three days off (including Tuesday for counseling) and only one early day on Sunday. In bad news, my hours were cut to the lowest they've been in weeks, and I work relatively early next Saturday and will likely have to miss the first Collingswood Farm Market of the year.

I didn't really have much that I needed...but some of it was expensive. I was almost out of whole wheat flour, and thin chicken breasts were the cheapest meat I could find. Grape tomatoes were on a better sale, and I had online and offline coupons for Belvita cookies, Plugra butter, Pantene conditioner, the Acme's premium pint ice cream (the Caramel Apple Chai flavor was on clearance), and a free donut from the Acme's Monopoly game. Picked up taco sauce and tri-color tortilla chips for dinner tomorrow. Found a slightly dented can of Italian wedding soup on the clearance rack. Restocked skim milk, yogurt, pears, strawberries, mandarin oranges, and powdered sugar.

Even as I went up to the front desk to get the extra half-off for the dented can (the teenage girl doing my order probably didn't see the label with the coupon), one of the managers pointed out that a storm was coming. I once again got lucky. Heavy, dark clouds were building up as I rode home, but they waited until a half-hour after I arrived to burst.

I had leftovers for dinner, then made strawberry-banana donuts for a spring luncheon at work tomorrow. Watched The North Avenue Irregulars while I worked. Reverend Michael Hill (Edward Hermann) is the new minister at the North Avenue Presbyterian Church in a small California suburb. His secretary Anne (Susan Clark) is aghast at all the changes he wants to make, from inviting local rock band Strawberry Shortcake to sing with the choir to allowing Mrs. Rose Rafferty (Patsy Kelly) to handle the church's sinking funds. Strawberry Shortcake's upbeat pop works out great with the choir, but letting Rose deal with the money was a mistake. Her husband Delaney (Douglas Fowley) has bet all the money on a horse. Hill tries to get it back, only to be thrown out when the horse loses. His tirade against organized crime on TV doesn't make his boss Dr. Fulton (Herb Voland) happy, and the gangsters manage to move the location before Hill brings the cops in.

Two treasury agents show up, insisting that the need the help of Hill and the men in the church to catch the gangsters. The men don't want anything to do with it...but six of the church's female members, including Rose, are ready to help. Their attempts at going undercover and placing bets don't work out so well, so they settle on car surveillance and watching where they keep the money. They get so good at it, they make the mob nervous enough to bomb the church. Hill's ready to give up, but it's skeptical Susan who reminds him of all the good he's already done for the community.

I have vague memories of catching this when it would occasionally turn up on The Disney Channel in the 80's and early 90's. I'm glad I found it at the yard sale. It's really cute, with a surprisingly diverse cast for a Disney movie of this time. All six ladies, including Kelly (her last film role), Cloris Leachman, and Barbara Harris as a mom who keeps dragging her kids with her on missions, are hilarious. Along with the older Kelly, one of the church ladies is a strong black woman (Virginia Capers) who gets her own moments to shine, including driving the truck in the finale. What's more, it seems to be based after a real-life incident - apparently, a reverend really did have to call on the ladies of the church to help him catch mobsters when their menfolk wouldn't, over the objections of two treasury agents. There's even a rather dark moment when the church is destroyed.

Like Hot Blood, this isn't something I would have bought if it hadn't been a dollar at a yard sale...but I'm very glad I found it. If you love the cast or are looking for a mostly lighthearted crime caper for girl's night in, I highly recommend digging around for this one.

Played a little Lego Star Wars while the donuts cooled. Got through the "Darth Maul" boss round and the first two rounds of Attack of the Clones. I'm finally starting to figure out the driving rounds a bit better. Still didn't get much in the way of pieces in "Bounty Hunter Pursuit" (or "Darth Maul," for that matter), but I got True Jedi on all three and more than half the pieces on "Discovery at Kamino."

Though the rain and thunder were gone by the time I was glazing the donuts, I still finished the night with Clue. It was an old tradition in my family to watch this whenever there was a thunderstorm. Mom called it our "stormy weather movie." It's another crime comedy, this one based after the famous board game. Six strangers meet at an old mansion in 1954 for a dinner party. Turns out they're all being blackmailed by one Mr. Body (Lee Ving), according to the butler Wadsworth (Tim Curry). Things go south quickly when Mr. Body's killed, and everyone has a movie and means. Now, as the bodies start to pile up, the group has to figure out just who did it "in the hall, with the revolver," or they may be the next victims!

As I mentioned, this was an old family favorite. We taped it somewhere around 1987 and watched it for years. The movie starts slow as Wadsworth explains the plot and connections, but once Mr. Body gets it, things take off. Possibly the most famous thing about this movie, besides the all-star cast, is the multiple-endings gimmick. The movie has three different endings. Apparently, the original theatrical one limited it to one random ending. The video and cable prints and most streaming services opt to show the three endings simultaneously. (This is how I usually do it, mostly because that's what I'm used to from that old taping.) The DVD has the option of going with all three, or choosing a random one.

Whichever one you go for, you'll likely have a blast. This is one of those beloved comedies my family had memorized in full; I can still recite most of the dialogue to this day. If you're interested in the cast or the multiple endings gimmick, or you just want to enjoy a good ensemble comedy, this one is highly recommended and is one of the most underrated comedies of the 1980's.

1 comment:

Linda said...

NORTH AVENUE IRREGULARS was a favorite of mine as well. I read the book it was based on: a very serious story about the community's efforts to get rid of organized crime in the neighborhood. Disney just took the idea and ran with it as a comedy.