Childhood heroes - movies, part II

As I think of my childhood, there are some films I think of as well. Movies I've seen at least a hundred times yet can't get bored of them. Of course, they're mostly comedies, the kind that entertains more and more as you watch it for the nth time. Comedies that are way more unique than the usually predictable films of the new century.

1. Taking Care of Business
With James Belushi, Charles Grodin and the brilliant Hector Elizondo, this movie is hard to forget. The tagline says Jimmy Dworski [played by Belushi] Finally Got A Life... Somebody Else's! and it sums the story just about perfectly. It's the series of coincidences that create a link between the not-so-sure-of-himself yet absolutely successful Spencer Barnes (Grodin) and the loser criminal who escapes from jail to watch a baseball game. Two words: pure excellence. And two more: impeccably funny.

2. Les Visiteurs
This 1993 masterpiece from France, starring Jean Reno and Christian Clavier, is about an 11th century knight who accidentally takes a travel in time (along with his servant) and arrives to the France of the 1990's. Their way of integrating to the modern society provides more laughs than most American timetravel films, due to the fabulous cast and, of course, the great screenplay.

3. Oscar
Rocky Balboa this, Rambo that, Oscar is the best Sylvester Stallone movie on Earth for me (they even managed to make him look attractive!). The gangster who tries hard to become a family man who respects the law, and his family and employees who make it quite hard for him. Not to mention the police and the other gangsters who keep an eye on him 24/7. Ornella, Muti, Marisa Tomei, Linda Gray and you fall from one laugh-attack to another.


The top 3 of Christmas movies.

Everyone has a favourite Christmas movie, even if it's not a romantic, let's-get-together film but a bittersweet one. I have three beloved movies with Christmas in it, but since I already have a post about one of them, I'll only write about the other two.

1. While You Were Sleeping
It's more than 13 years old and I still can't get enough. I couldn't tell how many times I have seen it but every time I watch it, I love it more and more. With Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher and the impossibly funny Peter Boyle (not to mention the character Joe Jr, who is the spitting image of a guy I know, insinde and out), While You Were Sleeping is THE Christmas movie, with mistletoe kisses and big family reunions, hilarious situations and yes, of course, lots of love. I can't imagine there is anyone in the world who doesn't fall in love after watching it for at least two times (you know, with some movies, love and entertainment gets stronger and greater instead of fading away).
Some Memorable Quotes:
Joe Jr.: O.K., Lucy, it's either me or him!
Lucy: Him.
Joe Jr.: You don't have to answer right away.

Elsie: I like Mass better in Latin. It's nicer when you don't know what they're saying.

Elsie: I don't drink anymore... I don't drink any less, either!

But my favourite is, and I can only translate it from Hungarian since I couldn't find it in English, sound like this:
Peter: You remind me of someone... Probably of yourself!

2. Love Actually
The best of the new century, from Great Britain. Starting with the British humour, through Alan Rickman's more than brilliant performance as the boss who feels a little something for someone not his wife, until Keira Knightley's really nice acting, not to mention Bill Nighy singing "Christmas Is All Around" and the dreamy castlist: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, Billy Bob Thornton and others (including Rowan Atkinson's indescribable cameo), and I still haven't said a word about Hugh Grant's unbearably funny dance (that was copied by our very own Prime Minister, but let me say, in a much less entertaining way)! I understand if someone says Love Actually is too romantic, too sweet, to lovey-dovey, but after all, it's a Christmas movie, and when else watch something like this if not on the day we're celebrating love?

My favourite dialogue is...:
Prime Minister: I'm not sure that politics and dating really go together.
The President: Really? I never found that.
Prime Minister: Yeah, well, the difference is you're still sickeningly handsome, whereas I look increasingly like my Aunt Mildred.

(And all my respect to Hugh Grant, but I really can imagine how that Aunt Mildred would look like if she existed...)

3. Mixed Nuts
Last year I had a post about this one, you can read it here.




I think even those who don't like opera know (and maybe like, or simply don't hate) Carmen, especially Habanera, the legendary song where Carmen is trying to seduce Don José (and why exactly him? well, you know how it goes: everyone wants you except for one, the one you want to adore you...). The song is not only beautiful, it's also quite whimsical and entertaining, very elfish and sometimes even taunting.
In the video below Habanera is performed by the magnificent Agnes Baltsa, and every time I look at her in this scene (and in Carmen general), I can't help but smile, because I simply admire and adore how she does Carmen.

It would be a mistake to write about Habanera without mentioning Callas - here she is, singing it in 1962, although not in a theatrical performance. The Habanera starts at 2:10, before there are various themes from the opera, but it's worth the nearly 6 and a half minutes to watch someone so iconic and divine, so beautiful and talented play with her voice, her gestures, her eyes and smile. Priceless.


Like a prayer. Or not so much.

I like religious poems that reflect the doubt we, human beings feel when thinking of God and afterlife. Ágnes Nemes Nagy, a Hungarian poet has a poem called "To liberty" and I think it's simply beautiful and thought provoking. Just an excerpt:

What good if you exist and I disown you?
What, if I praise you and you don’t exist?

Left-over God. Your wayward fascination
binds me no more. I tired long ago.
Some of my friends have just died of starvation.
You haven’t heard. I thought I’d let you know.

What kind of straw did they last clench their teeth on?
What kind of skulls sank to what kind of dust?
A few odd crumbs might have been within reason,
some small miracles would have been august!

I long to see their lips again in smiling,
their soft, round chins that were ground underfoot;
I long for Rome, - for beautiful, beguiling
gardens and for rich, luxurious food.

The whole poem can be read here: In English and in Hungarian as well, just in case you're interested.


Oh my goodness.

Is this really Agyness Deyn? I mean, how can it be? And why doesn't she leave all that unmature style behind and become a real lady? She would make such a classic and beautiful one.

Image source: Catwalk Queen


Lo dudo.

Lo dudo means "I doubt" in English and it's the title of a beautiful Spanish song by Latinamerican band Los Panchos. It was a great success at the time and it still is loved around the globe, especially like Almodóvar lovers, like me, who know and love this song (at all or even more) from La Ley del Deseo (The Law of Desire), where a very young Antonio Banderas singing it to his lover. So this song is not only wonderful, it's also part of a marvellous scene in a great movie.

The lyrics:
I doubt, I doubt, I doubt
that you'll ever love me
the way I love you.

I doubt, I doubt, I doubt
that you'll find a love as pure
as the love you've found in me.

You'll have thousands of affairs,
without love
but at the end of it all
you'll only have pain.
They will give you mad
but not the sincere feelings
I offered you.

And the videos, first
in La Ley del Deseo, and then, Los Panchos

La Ley del Deseo

2. Los Panchos...


Imagine what it would be like if you Let it be...

If there is one band without whom pop music would not exist the way it does, it's The Beatles. Their songs, their appearence, their fans are all part of the history of our world and this is why they will never be forgotten and never go out of style. Even those who don't like classic music admit that everything started with The Beatles and if you ask me, there is something in it that sends shivers down mine spine.
Anyway, in my head Let It Be and Imagine (one the two most respected songs of pop history) belong together, even if one of them is by The Beatles (and was written by Paul McCartney) and the other is a John Lennon composition. The atmosphere and the emotions it transmits seem very similar to me and I equally like them both. I have never met anyone, regardless to age or gender or social position, who didn't like any of these songs, regardless to their opinion about The Beatles/John Lennon. I think this is the highest sphere of popular music and art.
Someone once said that Imagine is the song every musician wishes was theirs. There's no reason to doubt his right.

Let It Be:



In pictures: Bettie Page.

Bettie Page, the icon of generations left this world behind to enter eternity.



1. CNN has a rather ironic yet interesting article about the baby from Nirvana's Nevermind album cover. To tell the truth, even if he has become somewhat the part of pop culture, he really should just be glad and let it go. Does he really think he can make it to the A-list just because he's the "Nirvana baby"??

2. The Golden Globes nominations are out and I am glad because the nominees really deserve it (just look at the dreamteam of the Best actor in a drama category) but I have a question: apart from some bittersweet British jokes, since when is In Bruges a "Comedy or musical"???

3. Vanity Fair published an article about The Things Yves Loved, with photos from late designer Yves Saint Laurent's apartment(s). Though it's no surprise that a designer has good taste, I still think YSL is different and it's definitely worth to take a look at the pictures.


Against fur. Again. Can't get enough.

I like anti-fur campaigns, they are not only touching and thought provoking but also, they are really interesting. Now it's animals wearing female hair - via Friends of Animals.
My favourite is this one and it really is true:

And please tell me, when you look at such a beautiful animal, do you think "oh, it would look so good in my wardrobe!"? If yes, please stop reading this blog.


Woody and the music.

There are many reasons why I love Woody Allen and one of these is his love for opera. Not only because he supported the renovation of Venice's La Fenice (oh yes, adoring Venice is also a thing we have in common) but also because when he uses classical music in his movies, he always makes sure to use the best and most beautiful ones. A recent example is his 2006 film, Scoop that had an especially whimsical and old-times atmosphere due to the tones of Swan Lake (and the wonderful script of course. For your information, one of the "songs", In the Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg was performed by The Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra) and whenever I think of Match Point, I always think of a picture saturated with touching opera songs. I like how using classical music in a film set in the modern world has a special vibe.

Many of the songs are performed by Enrico Caruso and it's not a surprise since he was simply brilliant. The film starts with Una furtiva lagrima from Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore and though my favourite Una furtiva lagrima is performed by someone else, it doesn't change the fact that this version is magnificent as well. However, my favourite Mi par d'udir ancora (from Bizet's I Pescatori di Perle) is the one that can be heard in the movie - by Caruso, just like Mia Piccirella.
Alan Oke's Un dì felice, eterea from my favourite opera ever, La Traviata is - along with Mi par d'udir ancora - my favourite song from the album and I have never heard it before watching the film (I don't know, maybe it was recorded specifically for Match Point).
Even if you yourself are not an opera lover but happen to know someone who is or simply who likes classical music, it would make a great gift for any occasion - it's more like a bouquet of wonderful arias than a simple soundtrack album.


So similar, so sexy (?)

Celebrities taking off their clothes for artistic photoshoots is the new trend. Of course, it's not a new thing (remember those Rolling Stone covers and French Playboy in general) but young starlets seem to love it.
Back in 2006 it was Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johansson for Vanity Fair's Hollywood issue and I did like that photo since it was really a quality work, it was really passionate-looking and maybe even painting-like. I have an olda postcard where a man is sitting in the centre and around him there are women pining for him, just like Tom Ford (Rachel McAdams was to be the third in the picture but she didn't want to pose nude. Actually, I think it was way better that Tom Ford popped in since McAdams is not that famous worldwide but Ford is hugely respected all around the globe) does in the photo for Keira Knightley. Plus, Vanity Fair always makes sure the photos are more arty than provocative and they never, ever look cheap (of course, they work with the best photographers).

When I first saw Tatler's cover with "rock babes" (meaning: famous-for-being-famous daughters of legendary rockstars) Leah Wood (Ronnie Wood's girl), Kimberly Stewart (from Rod Stewart's family, of course) and Peaches Geldof (daughter of the wonderful Sir Bob Geldof) I immediately thought of the Vanity Fair cover above. Maybe Tatler wanted these party girls look innocent and angelic, who knows, I don't like this photo that much. Leah Wood poses as of she was posing for any other picture and Kimberley looks just strange, may I say, as always? Probably the best job was done by Peaches but still, I wouldn't say this picture is a piece of art that someday will be the acclaimed part of the history of pop culture. I know Tatler is different from A-list magazin (if there's such a thing) Vanity Fair and that even those I'm-only-doing-this-for-money photoshoots with stars and their newborn child(ren) look beautiful on the pages of Vanity Fair and cheap in other media (just look at the wonderfully shot pictures of the Cruise family) but my heart still belongs to quality and not quantity.



In my dreams, every man dresses like this... And my dreams come true in... where else? Italy.

Image source: The Sartorialist
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