2 Movies, 2 Books & 1 Delightful Truth

As part of my attempt to live a more balanced life in 2013, I have given myself the assignment to watch 2 movies and to read 2 books each month.  Here is my April report.

2 Movies

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel  – Predictable + colorful.  A group of British retirees decide to move to India, embrace a new lifestyle and live in what claims to be a newly restored Indian hotel.  When they arrive, the hotel restoration is not finished, but the optimistic young man who manages the hotel tries his best to please them.  Some of the retirees adapt to India, some don’t.  The ensemble cast is delightful, the cinematography + costumes are wonderful, but there is a certain old geezer-ness to this movie that is a little monotonous.  Recommended if you like veteran actors and the idea that life is what you make of it.

The Grass Is Greener – Intriguing, albeit dated.  Because of financial problems, a British Earl and his wife [played by Cary Grant & Deborah Kerr, respectively] allow public tours of their mansion.  An American tourist [played by Robert Mitchum] falls for the wife & they have an affair.  Meanwhile, her friend [played by Jean Simmons] playfully tries to seduce the Earl.  On the surface this movie sounds trite, but the ensemble cast + witty writing make this movie entertaining.  Recommended if you enjoy 1960s style, some absurdity and learning about social mores.

2 Books

The Serpent’s Daughter [a Jade Del Cameron mystery] – Charming + clever.  Set in Tangier, Morocco, in 1920, Jade and her mother plan to go on vacation together.  However, Jade’s mother is kidnapped and Jade must find her… in time.  This mystery, by Suzanne Arruda, is campy, travelogue-y and totally fun.  Recommended if you like spunky heroines, fascinating settings and lighthearted mysteries.

A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison – Amazing, but macabre.  In the 1750s during the French and Indian War in what is now western New York state, the Shawnee Indians capture a white girl and her family.  The Shawnee murder her family, but the girl goes on to live with the Seneca Indians.  She marries, has children and adopts the ways of the Indians.  When she is in her 80s she tells her story to a local white man who writes it down– in the flowery vernacular of the time.  Originally published in 1824.  Recommended if you have an interest in Colonial American History and biographies. [Free on Kindle]

1 Delightful Truth

I was surfing the web looking at design blogs, when I came upon this delightful truth by Amanda Hill.  She said: Beautiful things don’t just happen.  If you want something marvelous, you’ve got to make something marvelous.  [Punctuation added.]  

And I thought to myself: that is so true.  What good advice.  I need to take that advice to heart, henceforth.

So I have.

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Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

26 thoughts on “2 Movies, 2 Books & 1 Delightful Truth”

  1. I’ve seen the Marigold Hotel and I really liked it. I liked the subversiveness of the Maggie Smith character and the touching portrayal of the gay character looking for his lost love. The man-eating woman annoyed me and surprisingly so did Judy Dench’s character, a little bit, because she was constantly smoothing things over, making the peace and it grated. Is that what you meant by old-geezer-ness? I’m intrigued by that phrase. I’d be interested to know what it means on your side of the pond. Over here, I might think it meant the film was a bit slow, a bit wallowing, perhaps, a bit indulgent, the storyline a bit stale, no new life or excitement, few young characters, or characters with a young outlook regardless of age. I liked it overall though, if only for a reminder that, just because one is advanced in years, doesn’t mean you have to sit at home and vegetate. I know this is fiction, but still, plenty of people I know and know of embody that.

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    1. Polly, I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen Maggie Smith in a role that I didn’t adore. She was delightfully subversive here, wasn’t she? Loved how she saved everything in the end.

      I agree about the Judi Dench character– and yes that is what I was thinking of when I said old-geezerness. Too quick to smooth over/whine/be defeated, instead of having some spunk. That sort of pathetic behavior [anywhere] wears on my nerves.

      I didn’t find the movie to be wallowing or indulgent at all. I liked that these ppl were attempting to make a go of it somewhere new. That process is what made me want to watch the movie all the way through. Just to see how well they did.

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    1. philosophermouse, I imagine that there are many biographies of girls who were taken hostage– then stayed with their captors. This one caught my eye because it was free and written in the words of the time. It is a strange book all the way around.

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    1. belle, I liked the Marigold Hotel movie– if for no other reason than the gorgeous colors EVERYWHERE in India. Plus the story is uplifting… in its own quiet way.

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  2. Thanks for the reviews! I am intrigued by the Cary Grant movie, because I adore him. Just saw a special about him on PBS the other night. Here’s some trivia: Did you watch ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ back in the ’90s? If so, Grant’s daughter was in 2 seasons of 90210. She played Celeste, the girl that Steve meets on a game show.

    I did our family history years ago, and it seems to me we had some ancestors who fought in the French & Indian War. Maybe I’ll pick that book up and add it to my pile. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Also, The Marigold movie sounds EXACTLY like the preview looked. I wonder if I’ll like old fogey type movies when I’m an old fogey, and Gwenyth Paltrow and Jude Law are fogeys as well?

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    1. J, Cary Grant’s daughter was on Beverly Hills, 90210?! Huh. Don’t know why that surprises me, but it does. I liked The Grass Is Greener– C.G. is quite good in it.

      The biography was intriguing, but not the easiest book to read– both because of graphic violence and of wordy language. But I’m glad that I read it– chilling as it was.

      You raise a good point about whether movies with aging contemporaries will be of interest to us OR whether we’ll shun the movies based on the subject matter. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see. 😉

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  3. I think I would love that first movie because Maggie Smith is one of my favorite actresses. I will order it from the library! Not sure about the second since I’m not a huge fan of old films.

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  4. Almost anything with Cary Grant – though I admit that’s not one of my favorites. Still, it never hurts to sit and stare and listen for a couple hours.

    I like your truth. It’s true in so many ways.

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    1. Zazzy, I agree that this movie is not C.G. at his shiny, most marvelous, best; but The Grass Is Greener was such an interesting look into a different world + time that I stayed glued to the screen. I liked it.

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    1. Thanks Cindy. The second book is the one that I was telling you about at dinner. Perhaps a clue into why your ancestor was referred to as she was?

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