Eddie and the Cruisers is the story of a fictional band from the early ‘60s, their rise to fame and the death of their leader and chief wordsmith, Eddie Wilson. The story itself seems to be inspired by two real life events; the death of Doors lead singer Jim Morrison and the sudden decision by Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys to shelve the band’s album Smile. Like singer Jim Morrison, Eddie Wilson is a master in putting words and music together in ways that convey feeling while still containing the drive and energy to make a great song. Like Brian Wilson, Eddie is forward thinking in his writing style and wants to produce a piece that is not simply rock and roll, but something that will be remembered for all time even if it is vastly different than anything he has done before. Read more about Eddie and the Cruisers
Over the weekend we lost one of my favorite film and television stars, James Garner. He is perhaps best known for his starring roles in the television series Maverick and The Rockford Files. His film roles were varied, often funny, but almost always heartwarming. The link below will provide you with list of movies and books in the MCPL collection featuring this well beloved star.
The 10th Kingdom is another in my list of movies and shows that I try to watch every year. I have a lot of those and honestly I don’t succeed in watching more than one or two of them over again each year. The 10th Kingdom is partially why this happens. Being a three part mini-series, it takes up much of the time I would use to watch some of my other favorites.
The 10th Kingdom takes place mainly in the magical land of the Nine Kingdoms or as we would call it, the fairy tale worlds of old. Rebellion and war are afoot. Prince Wendell is soon to be crowned king of Snow White’s former Kingdom; however his wicked step mother, the Queen, has escaped her prison and joined with the leader of the Troll Kingdom who wants to expand his territory. Read more about The 10th Kingdom
The Amish are most often thought of in regards to their strict religion, quality workmanship, and their horse and buggy culture. One aspect of their culture and beliefs that has not been well known until recently is the practice of “rumspringa” [running around]. This is a rite of passage given to Amish teens in which they are allowed to experience the ways of the world, or as the title of the documentary suggests “The Devil’s Playground,” for a period of one year. These young adults are allowed to experience the enticements of living in a technological word but they are often also exposed for the first time to the world of drugs, alcohol, sexual pleasure and crime. At the end of the year they choose whether to return to the Amish culture and its lifestyle or to remain in the outside world and its ways. Read more about Devil's Playground
I’ve always liked films and plays that are about films and plays themselves. Maybe it’s because there is still a part of me that would have like to have been “an actor.” (Said term must be pronounced with the air of exaggerated sophistication that implies the lack of same.) Noises Off is one of my favorites. It has an all-star comedy cast featuring Michael Caine, Carol Burnett, Denholm Elliott, Julie Hagerty, Marilu Henner, John Ritter, and Christopher Reeve. The story is about a group of actors in a touring company performing a comedic play that they hope will head to the big time. In this case the action behind the scenes is as funny, or funnier, than what is taking place on stage. The film gives us a chance to the see the action from both sides. From the front we see the play “Nothing On,” from the back we see the interactions among the actors. There are affairs, personality conflicts, and drinking to the point of drunkenness. The term “noises off” comes from the direction that backstage sounds are to cease, something that doesn’t exactly happen backstage in the movie.
Noises Off is a comedy based on the play by Michael Frayn. It is a fast paced and driven movie that reminds me quite a bit of some of the best skits from the Carol Burnett Show. In most plays backstage is an area of controlled chaos. In the case of the backstage action in Noises Off remove the word controlled. If you like a good, semi intelligent comedy mixed with slapstick and outrageous personalities you should give Noises Off a try.
Muscle Shoals is great music documentary about the "special sound" that came out of the studio recordings of this small town in Alabama that includes names like Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The Allman Brothers (among others). Interviews with the studio musicians, the engineers, and some of the more famous people involved on the bands listed above help tell the story of this great place to make music. I was particularly interested in the story of the session musicians from that town, named "The Swampers" that played behind the varied kinds of musicians that came to record over the years. Read more about Muscle Shoals