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November 25, 2017:


Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I was looking through a list of 2017 films and I do believe I have not seen one theatrically released film this year, at least the first 200 entries I looked at. I’ve seen some Netflix movies of this year, of course, but that’s about it. I haven’t even gotten any Blu-rays of movies released this year. I find this astonishing, although as I looked at the list, with the exception of a few still to be released films there wasn’t one title that held any interest for me. But my DGA screeners have begun arriving (I may have missed a few before the move) so I now have some movies to watch and last night I watched the first of them and could not have made a better choice. In fact, I’m not sure I’ll see anything better in my year-end screener catch-up. The film is called Wonderstruck, directed by Todd Haymes, written by Brian Selznick (from his novel), and starring two young kids, one of whom turns in an Oscar-worthy performance. Her name is Millie Simmonds and she’s absolutely wonderful in a role in which she does not utter a single word. She plays a deaf child in 1927 but that entire timeline (there are two in the film, the other being 1977) is done as a silent movie. The actress is in real life deaf. The boy is very good, two, as is the kid who plays his new friend. Julianne Moore has a double role – the first is one scene and the second is much larger. Michelle Williams has a brief role, too, but it’s not about the names in the film.

The film has gotten curiously mixed reviews – only a couple of flat-out raves that I’ve read – the others are either somewhat favorable but nitpicky or they simply call the film a failure, even though they admire the performances and direction. Time will prove these idiots wrong and believe you me they are as wrong as wrong gets. It took about ten minutes to get with the conceit of the film and once that happened I was captivated throughout. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s moving and it’s completely magical. Beautifully directed, with a good musical score by Carter Burwell, and gorgeously photographed in black-and-white (for the 1927 sequences) and color (for the 1977 sequences – which really wonderfully replicate the look of 1977 film stocks and color for New York gritty films). I really don’t want to say much more, so all I’ll tell you is that it is highly recommended by the likes of me. A wonderful, wonderful movie.

Prior to watching it, I’d slept until noon because the alarm didn’t go off (time to just toss the iPad into the trash) – I got nine hours of sleep – got up, answered e-mails, then went to the garage in hopes of finding the Kritzerland show music box – and happily even though it wasn’t really labeled I got lucky and found it right off the bat, the first box I opened. And there, right on top, was last year’s holiday show book.

So, I was able to give our new pianist all the properly marked charts with the correct arrangements and keys, which makes his job much easier. We played through everything and I think he’ll be fine – easy to work with and picks things up quickly and more importantly responds to my notes quickly. We spent about ninety minutes, then I went to the mail place and picked up a couple of packages, including more screeners. I came right back home, made two tuna sandwiches and ate the damn things all up, did some work on the computer, then sat on my couch like so much fish and watched Wonderstruck.

After that, I decided to go to Ralph’s market, as I needed something to snack on besides the popcorn I had whilst watching the movie. Now, this used to be my regular market forty-three years ago when I lived in the Oaks of Sherman not far from where I am now. But about three or four years ago they demolished it and completely rebuilt it in such a way that I was actually put off from ever wanting to go in, mostly because you have to actually park in a multi-level parking structure and take an escalator up to the actual market. But last night I decided was the night to try. And you know what – it’s a better market than Gelson’s. I couldn’t believe it, really. They have hot food bars, deli, bakery, everything that Gelson’s has, but with cheaper prices. I didn’t get anything from the deli case but several things looked like they were worth trying. I went down each and every aisle and it was so tidy and well laid out that it was a pleasure. I got three different kinds of low-cal, low-fat ice cream, I got some Chapsticks, I got some Uncle Ben’s rice things (the kind you microwave – I like them very much), more tuna, some chocolate licorice (had no idea that Ralph’s carried them), more butter, and for my snack a little package of mini-pinwheel sandwiches – I ate three of the six for a total of about 150 calories and they were pretty good. So, I think I may be done with Gelson’s for a while and will try the deli and hot food bar at Ralph’s to see what I might like there.

Then I just relaxed and listened to music – about five Prokofiev ballets – I really love all his ballet music. I had no telephonic conversations at all. And that’s one of the best things about the new phone number and not forwarding calls from the old – I have had not one robo or spam call since moving in here.

Today, I’ll unpack a bit (yesterday I did one box of CDs and got them on the shelves – only about twenty-five more boxes to go – of CDs, that is), I’ll eat something very light, probably the remaining pinwheels, to tide me over until a late supper. Then I’m seeing A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Group Rep and having the aforementioned late supper after.

Tomorrow, more unpacking, I’ll do the show order (this show is pretty easy to do), and write the commentary, much of which is already written for our past Kritzerland shows. Monday is our first Kritzerland rehearsal, Tuesday we have a Levi pick-up rehearsal, just with the LACC kids, Wednesday we resume performances, Thursday we play a matinee and I have one brief Kritzerland rehearsal after that, Friday is our second Kritzerland rehearsal, then we play our evening show, and Saturday we have our stumble-through at 12:30 and I’ll go directly to our matinee after that, sup, and then we play our final performance. Then we do our sound check and show on Sunday.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, unpack, hopefully pick up some packages, eat something light to tide me over, see a show, and have a late supper. Today’s topic of discussion: What movies have you liked this year? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have been thunderstruck by Wonderstruck.

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