Monday, October 24, 2016

A Man Called Ove

I often decide to see a movie based on the previews (I hate reading reviews before I see a movie because I like to decide for myself whether or not I will like something) and this practice usually yields positive results.  There was the time when I reversed my ban on all Judd Apatow films to see Funny People because the previews looked hilarious but I try not to dwell on that unfortunate decision.  Luckily, my experience with A Man Called Ove was much better.  For the past few weeks I've been seeing previews of this film at my favorite art house theater and it looked incredibly charming so I decided to see it Saturday night. Ove (Rolf Lassgard) is a curmudgeonly old man who makes his rounds every morning enforcing his neighborhood association's strict rules.  Throughout the movie he tries various ways to commit suicide to be with his recently deceased wife, but his attempts fail, and we see flashbacks to his life for insight as to why he has become such a miserable and lonely man.  A new neighbor from Iran and her boisterous family, a stray cat, a young man who comes out as gay, and his former best friend who is about to be institutionalized give him a reason to come back to life in some hilarious and heartwarming situations.  I loved this movie so much!  Even though Ove is not a very nice person he is so endearing!  Don't let the fact that this movie is in Swedish with English subtitles stop you from seeing it because it is truly funny with many laugh out loud moments.  I especially loved it when the two best friends fall out over a disagreement over which car is better: Saab or Volvo!  It is a lovely feel-good movie and I highly recommend it!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Last Game of the Season!

The Bountiful Braves celebrated the last game of the season with a big win over the Olympus Titans!  They got a touchdown on their first possession which was very exciting!  I have really enjoyed watching Sean play football this year and I am a little bit sad that the season is over (we do have a playoff game next week).  Sean has become such a great football player and his confidence has increased dramatically.  He has also made some good friends on the team.  It has been a great season and I am so proud of Sean and the rest of the Bountiful Braves!
Sean got blood on his uniform in this game!  His Mom was so proud!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Rach 3

Last night I attended a spectacular concert at Abravanel Hall featuring the Utah Symphony, guest conductor Juraj Valcuha, and soloist Andrey Gugnin performing the music of Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff.  It was so amazing that you really should stop reading right now and go here for a ticket to tonight's performance of the same program!  Trust me.  This is one concert you don't want to miss!  I've said this before and I will probably say it again but I love the Russians because their music is so moody, atmospheric, and emotional and tonight's program featured two pieces which are, in my opinion, quintessentially Russian.  The orchestra began with Prokofiev's Symphony No. 3 which is intense, to say the least.  It begins, very dramatically, with the chimes and continues with a big sound (I sometimes wish I knew more about classical music so I could describe it better).  I loved the pounding bass drum and the wild, maybe even violent, conclusion.  I thought it was brilliant!  After the intermission, the orchestra was joined by Gugnin for Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3.  I love Rachmaninoff (and so do many people in SLC because Abravanel Hall was packed) because I find his music to be hauntingly beautiful and filled with melancholy.  I don't know why that appeals to me so much but my heart almost bursts when I hear the romantic melodies and themes.  Gaugin's performance was unbelievable (I always think that Russian soloists play the music of Russian composers better than anyone else) and I've never seen an entire audience jump up for a standing ovation faster than the one last night.  People were not only clapping, but cheering and stomping their feet as well.  It was more like a rock (Rach on!) concert than a classical performance!  Get a ticket for tonight's performance!  You'll thank me later!

Friday, October 21, 2016


Me in front of Bag End! (Yes, I am a nerd)
After several days in Queenstown, we flew to Rotorua on the North Island of New Zealand.  On the way from Roturua to Auckland, several of us opted to visit the Hobbiton set from The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  It was seriously cool!
Peter Jackson wanted a location with rolling hills, a water source, and no power lines to obscure the view.  He found a farm near Rotorua that was perfect and contracted with the owners to use the land with the proviso that he remove all of the sets after filming.  When Jackson decided to film The Hobbit, he asked to use the farm again.  This time the owners asked Jackson to leave the set so they could offer tours to the public.  Here are some pictures from the tour I went on.
I loved all of the hobbit holes!  Some of them are full size and some of them were made 3/4 size to make characters like Gandalf look much bigger in comparison.  Most of the hobbit holes are just doors (the interiors were shot on a sound stage) but there was one that you could go inside (I'm peeking out from it).
For The Hobbit movies, Peter Jackson wanted some smaller hobbit holes in the distance to make the Shire more realistic.  They are only seen in the movies for a few seconds!
The sign posts are really cool!
I loved this water wheel!
After the tour we were able to visit the Green Dragon which is a fully functioning pub.  We ordered some ale and sat by the fire!
This was such a fun experience!  I am so glad that I had the opportunity to see this magical place!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Silver Screen Classics: The Sound of Music

Last night I officially started my fall break by seeing The Sound of Music on the big screen!  I can't think of anything better than that!  This movie is one of my sentimental favorites and I think the same could be said of a lot of people because the theater was absolutely packed (it was the second movie for the Silver Screen Classics movie pass but anyone could buy a ticket to this screening).  It was a very enthusiastic crowd and people would cheer (and occasionally sing along) when each instantly recognizable song would begin.  My favorites are "The Sound of Music," "Edelweiss," "The Lonely Goatherd," and "So Long, Farewell."  Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer are so wonderful as Maria and Captain von Trapp and I had forgotten just how handsome Plummer is in this movie, especially when he dances the Landler.  The children are absolutely adorable, especially little Gretl (Kym Karath).  She always looks like she is concentrating so much on the lyrics and choreography!  This is the first time I've ever seen it on the big screen and I was blown away by the gorgeous scenery, particularly during the "Do-Re-Mi" sequence!  I've been to Salzburg once before (I even did The Sound of Music tour!) but now I want to go back!  Seriously, I had a huge grin on my face during the entire movie and I clapped, as did everyone in the audience, when it was over.  It was so much fun!

Note:  I think everyone in the entire world loves this movie except for my Dad.  For some reason, he absolutely hates it!  When we would go on long road trips when I was young, especially to Canada during the summer, we would all get a turn at picking the music.  Once, my sister Marilyn (who loves this movie more than anyone I have ever met) picked the soundtrack of The Sound of Music and we were all singing at the top of our lungs.  My Dad pulled the car to the side of the freeway, got out, and started walking.  We had to promise not to play it ever again before we could convince him to get back in the car!
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