Witness

Last night I settled in for a long winter’s nightcap of hot chocolate and a great movie.

The 1985 film classic, Witness, directed by Peter Weir, is a cinematic masterpiece with a compelling script written by William Kelley, along with Pamela and Earl W. Wallace. And an all star cast.

Samuel Identifies photo or murderer

Samuel identifies murderer

A young Amish boy, Samuel (Luke Haas) is the sole witness to a murder.  This innocent kid goes to a big city bathroom at the wrong place, wrong time.   When Policeman John Book (Harrison Ford) realizes the murder was done by one of his own, he flees with the boy and his Mom, Rachel (Kelly McGinnis) to their Amish world.

The Amish life is a haven and sharp contrast to the gritty city life. A safe retreat for both the Amish and one angry cop.  The film highlights the beauty of that serenity in a crazy world.

Thirty years later, the Amish have a reality show.  And we’re all running around with cell phones glued to our ears.

My how things have changed.

Every parent's nightmare

Every parent’s nightmare

As the film credits for Witness slipped down the screen,   I thought of  real life children and staff who witnessed 26 murders.

Twenty six murders. Twenty of them children.

There was no cinematic masterpiece with a spellbinding music score.  Only sheer horror.

A year ago, a school in Newtown lost its innocence as 26 people lost their lives.  We, as a country, bore witness with live coverage as the horrific tragedy unfolded.

And now a year later, our hearts still ache as Newtown families wait and wonder if their pain will ever go away.

This week, major news outlets will reflect one of, if not  the darkest day in our history.  We will have ‘dialogue’ with talking heads.  As there  should be.

But will there be hard core solutions to the bullying and murders in our schools? In our society?

As a culture, we know the cost of the latest cell phones, Tessla stock and film budgets.

pb-121812-newtown-return-school-jsa-2_photoblog900

Newtown children return to school

But what’s the cost of a life?

A teacher’s life?

A child’s life?

On a school playground?

In a classroom?

Outrageous.

You had me at Merlot

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Cameron Crowe fan.  So when my friend Mary gave me a wine stopper that reads “You had me at Merlot”….well, I was beyond thrilled.

There’s just something about Mary.

And what about Cameron? Without him, that play on words wouldn’t exist.

Movies are a part of our vernacular.  Vernacular.  Trying saying that after a couple glasses of Merlot. I dare you. But it’s true.  The vernacular part.  And the other part…about the Merlot.

Now, where was I?

How To Cook A Turkey

In a world of instant everything, movies linger in our soul long after the scent of fresh movie popcorn has gone stale.

We can go on Facebook or Instagram and see thousands of pictures that tell a story.  But would you spend two hours of free time and buy expensive popcorn to see them?

Movies move us…literally.  To another place, time, relationship, trip, journey, crisis.  A good movie will exhaust you and exhilarate you.  All at the same time.

Kind of like sex.

Or music.

Or words.

I listen to film scores.  Often.  I can be doing taxes or writing a pivotal scene and yet, for that moment in time, I am transported to another  place and time.  I may have just figured out that I owe the IRS way too much money but hey, I’m having breakfast at Tiffany’s.  With Audrey, no less.

Lost in the moment.

Moving moments.

Until my husband or one of my sons walk in….

“Where’s the remote?”

“Have you seen my wetsuit?”

“What time is Thanksgiving dinner?”

“I wish Grandma Norma and Boompa were still with us.”

And at that moment, I’m thankful to be in the moment, enjoying the real characters in my life.  They don’t pay a whole lot but they enrich my lives in ways I never knew.

And frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.  Because I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and all the characters in your life….

Real.

Or imagined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freddy Carrillo’s Day Off

Starting a new film project is like the first day of school.  New supplies, sharpened pencils and fleeting hopes of straight A’s – and the coveted ‘Most Likely To Succeed’ awards.

Freddy Would Go!

In the school of life, Freddy has succeeded many times over.  A resourceful, charming guy that knows how to get things done with an infectious smile in his pursuit to live each and every day to the fullest.

Sometimes with his wheelchair.  Sometimes without.

In this short film, an idyllic weather forecast beckons Freddy to call in ‘sick’ at his day job due to  a winter bug.  He’s bugging to do something fun but he can’t decide.  Should he  skateboard?  Surf?  Ski?

Oh heck, maybe all of the above…

A small film about a big personality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clueless in Orange County

You had me at....I found this sign recently at one of my favorite stores.  I was so smitten, I completely forgot what I came in the store for.   I promptly dropped it in my basket, smiling all the way to the cash register.

But not without a couple of pop quizzes.

Shoppers jabbed each other, pointing and laughing with a familiarity:

SHOPPER 1

That Meg Ryan movie….’Sleepless in Seattle’?

SHOPPER 2

Nah…..

SHOPPER 1

Yes!

SHOPPER 2

No – the other one.  Where she fakes the big O.

More strangers gazed at one another, stumped by those five little words.

STRANGER 1

Tom Hanks.  ‘BIG’!

STRANGER 2

I don’t think so…

A lone woman approached my cart, confiding to the customers  in the checkout line.  A guessing game kicked in.

LONE WOMAN

Tom Cruise. ‘Magnolia’.

CUSTOMER 1

No,  the writer…Cameron.

CUSTOMER 2

James Cameron?

CUSTOMER 1

The other Cameron.

LONE WOMAN

Crowe.  Cameron Crowe.

CUSTOMER 1

‘Almost Famous’!!!!

CUSTOMER 2

Yeah, that’s it!

Well, almost.  I felt like a Game Show Host, smiling back at them like a Cheshire cat.

As the Cashier rang up my purchase, she waved the sign to another cashier.

CASHIER 1

Is this from a song or a movie?

CASHIER 2

Who has time to watch movies?

CASHIER 1

Will that be all for you, Ma’am?

The Game Show Host kicked in again, refusing to divulge the answer.  Besides, I was slightly annoyed.

MOIS

Yes….But – “Ma’am” should be banned from the English language.

For those of you who have explored this website, you know I’m a huge Cameron Crowe fan.  And ‘You had me at hello’ is one of my favorite all time one liners.  From the film—

Drumroll….

JERRY MAGUIRE.

The actor?

TOM CRUISE.

The scene?

Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) professes his love to Dorothy (Rene Zellwegger)  at a woman’s support group.

As I drove home, I reveled in the impact of screenwriters.  Screenwriters are like bail bonds men.  There when you need them to bail you out.   In that moment, you may not know the film or actor offhand, but when you’re in hot water with the Mrs.,  the Landlord or the Boss,  you can remember a line – verbatim.

JESSEP

You can’t handle the truth!

CHARLIE

K-Mart sucks.

ANITA

Feck you.

 Thanks Ron, Aaron and Cameron.  You had me at hello.

 

JESSEP – Jack Nicholson.   A FEW GOOD MEN.   Writer:  Aaron Sorkin

CHARLIE- Tom Cruise.  RAINMAN.  Writer:  Ron Bass

ANITA  – Zoey Deschanel.  ALMOST FAMOUS.  Writer:  Cameron Crowe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eat, Play, Surf

Bali SuspensionSo what happens when you eat, play and surf too much?  You post a blank blog.  But you don’t even realize it until two days later.

I’ve always had a love affair with Bali.  Yet I had never been there until a month ago.  Like a school girl crush, I could fantasize about my Bali.  My Bali was pristine, tranquil – devoid of modern chaos.   My Bali was not the result of Eat, Pray, Love – the bestselling book by Elizabeth Gilbert. Or the Julia Roberts movie of the same name.

My Bali was prompted by my bucket list.  I wanted to surf in Bali, darnit.  So did my dear Hawaiian friend, Dyanne. And my husband and my son.

Four people, three different flights and one weary group of travelers later, we descended on Bali.  We shopped and dropped all our hard-earned money.  Yes, I had heard about great prices but spending is believing! We ordered silk suits; we ate amazing food; we ordered custom surfboard bags; and we ate more amazing food.

Then jet lag kicked in.  Yet all we had was instant coffee.  Instant coffee?

Yes, the Balinese need to work on their coffee.   They either have instant coffee or brewed coffee that is thicker than lava rocks.  And just about as crunchy.  By Day Three, I was having serious caffeine withdrawals, so Dyanne and I headed over to Deus Customs.  http://www.deuscustoms.com.  My son, Danny was floored that dear old Mom knew all about the coolest, hippest spot in Bali.  My husband, Rick was clueless as he drifted away during his daily massage.

Deus is a combo surf shop, motorcycle shop, art gallery, restaurant and music venue with locations in Venice Beach, California; Sydney, Australia and Canggu, Bali.  And Deus is also the only place in Bali that knows how to make a real cup of coffee and some serious French Fries.  I got my coffee fix. Dyanne got her French Fry fix.

We still had our appetite for a real surf session, though.

But first  we embraced the hustle and bustle of motor bikes loaded down with entire families whizzing past sacred grounds – a  sharp contrast of eastern traditions and western values.   Strip malls. Temples.  Monkeys. Expats. Kuta nightclubs.  Hordes of tourists.  Lots of booze.

And of course, the Balinese people.  And, their spirituality.   That was the best part.  The depth of their spirituality.  The worst part?  The barking dogs.  According to Hindus beliefs,  starving dogs were thieves from another life. No food, water or shelter for those thieves.   Well, that may very well be true but they were a real downer for this dog lover in this lifetime.   Equally sad?  Picturesque beaches plagued with piles of trash from neighboring storms in Jakarta and Java.  Plastic bottles overshadowed nearby ancient temples.  How do we stop this global insanity? How…

Danny dragged me off my soap box long enough to book a week over in Nusa Lembongan. After a 25 minute boat ride,  it was there that we would quench our Bali craving.  Serenity, tranquility, spirituality.

“It’s what Bali used to be like” was the mantra we heard from tourists and island natives.

We checked into an amazing villa up on the hillside with spectacular views of the Bali skyline and the magnificent volcano engulfed in turquoise waters.  And a refrigerator full of Bintang Beer.  Check it out at:  http://www.balivillanusa.com.

Shipwrecks, Lacerations and Playgrounds became our new vocabulary.  World renowned surf breaks hosting a hand full of locals and tourists.

Timing is everything.  And we timed it just right.

We headed over to Monkeys Surf Shop; rented boards and jumped on a local water taxi.  The handmade goods of Ubud and the plastic overload on windswept beaches became a dull memory.  Bali bliss was just a paddle away.

Our boat driver, Wayan, couldn’t believe that Dyanne and I would get wet.   Let alone, surf.  We dove in and surfed with local kids with grins the size of coconuts.  We surfed with Aussie surfer Karl and his girlfriend, Tasha.  And yes, we surfed until our bodies ached. Bali Surfer Girls Small

Wayan was impressed.  Dyanne and I were the two oldest female surfers he had ever seen.  I suppose some women would be offended.   Not us.

We came and we conquered.  Then we washed it down with a cold Bintang with our newfound friends.   This would be the Bali we came to know and love.

That night we celebrated our new Bali.  We all hopped on the motor bikes that were part of our villa rental package and headed to Sandy Bay Beach Club Restaurant.  We splurged on a giant fresh lobster that cost a whopping $9 USD.  Frequent Bali travellers had warned us that we’d feel like millionaires and for one fleeting moment, we did.

For a week, we embraced the spirit of Nusa Lembongan that was on hiatus in Bali.

The highlight of the trip?  Metals Holiday. It started out with a morning blessing of the refrigerator and microwave in the villa.   Of course, every motor bike on Lembongan was blessed that day.   Mind you, this is as normal to them as an Egg McMuffin is to McDonald’s.  We took a scenic drive over the suspension bridge to the other side of the island on our blessed motor bikes.  Holy moly, good things those bikes were blessed.  Half the wood slats were missing on the suspension bridge.  When Dyanne got to the other side of the bridge she vowed that she would never ever ride on a motor bike with my husband again.

Then she hopped back on his bike.

We followed that excitement with a snorkeling trip and an epiphany.  In my next life, I want to be one of the colorful fish I saw down under.  Disney and Pixar fishies never had it so good.  That night, I opted for an outdoor shower that was built into the indoor bathroom.  Shampooing my hair under a full moon to the chants from the nearby ceremony capped off the perfect day.  Sheer nirvana.  Until…

At exactly midnight, a loud bolt of lightning struck the utility box on the property that caused a blackout on this tiny island.  An ironic twist to a very heavy Metals Holiday, don’t you think?

As I boarded the plane home, I knew I would return.  Not for more custom board bags that cost less than a dinner in Laguna Beach.  No.  In fact, there will be no shopping when I return for Nyepi Holiday (pronounced nippy).

According to Wikipedia – Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, Nyepi is a day reserved for self-reflection and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted. The main restrictions are: no lighting fires (and lights must be kept low); no working; no entertainment or pleasure; no traveling; and for some, no talking or eating at all. The effect of these prohibitions is that Bali’s usually bustling streets and roads are empty, there is little or no noise from TVs and radios, and few signs of activity are seen even inside homes. The only people to be seen outdoors are the Pecalang, traditional security men who patrol the streets to ensure the prohibitions are being followed.

Donna, the villa owner explained it this way:  All flights are cancelled for 24 hours.  No incoming flights.  No outgoing flights. No tv.  No internet.  No cell phones. No commerce. No barking dogs.

Only the sounds of silence.

Imagine.

A real vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Copyright www.MaggieFranks.com 2014