Monday, February 28, 2011

Vintage Books {Erma Bombeck}

Erma Bombeck

I have always loved reading humourists. I actually want to be a humourist when I grow up. Since this is suburban month, I thought I would write a little something about Erma Bombeck, who is the first humourist I ever read, mostly because I could reach her books on the self.
Mrs. Bombeck wrote over 4000 columns twice weekly between 1965 and her death in 1996 and at one time they were read by thirty million readers in 900 newspapers just in the States alone. Remember when there used to be over 900 newspapers?
Mrs. Bombeck wrote about raising kids (particularly teenagers in the Sixties and Seventies) in the suburban midwest. Or in other words, what the majority of those thirty million readers were doing. So, why was she so popular? Well, her writing is very funny. Even more funny when you see that she is just writing about real life and what happens every day. What she does not attempt to do is to pretend that Leave It To Beaver is a reality show about the average suburban family. Her columns are about the average American suburban family (I would assume). And what made her readable is that she had talent. Most of her writing is very wry and amusing, some of it is laugh out loud funny and sometimes her words are tinged with sadness as she realizes that someday her kids wont be around to fight with everyday.
But if you want to read about what life was like for a housewife in the Sixties and Seventies, do please read Mrs. Bombeck.
She also wrote fifteen books, most of which were instant best sellers. Here is a small list of her best books:
At Wit's End (1967)
Just Wait Until You Have Children of Your Own (1971)
The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank (1974)
If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? (1978)
Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession (1983)

Here is a short documentary I found:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cinema Tuesdays {Fido}

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I've always felt slightly guilty that since I started Cinema Tuesdays over a year ago, I have yet to feature a Canadian movie, which is a shame since Canadian films (and television too) are underappreciated and quirky. So, since I'm doing films about the suburbs this month, I thought that this little 2006 gem would be perfect. I first saw Fido at the film festival before it came out and then later in the Canadian Cinema class that I took (the most interesting film class that I've ever taken).
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Welcome to the Alternate Universe 1950's, in a time when a sudden radiation cloud has turned every corpse into a zombie, which naturally turned into a war. Things were going badly for the living until the head lab coat at Zomcon discovered that by destroying the brain, you destroy the zombie.
And the people rejoiced.
And then Zomcon came up with a collar that suppresses a zombie's desire for human flesh.
And Zomcon rejoiced.
Zomcon could now market and sell tame zombies for service jobs that no one else will do.
Thanks Zomcon!
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Zomcon is now police, manufacturers, government and the only corporation left.
They make everything, even the milk.
People now live in gated suburban communities, each with their own Zomcon office and factory. Zomcon in return, keep that living safe from the wild zombies that stumble around outside of the town gates.
Thanks Zomcon!
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But everything is just the same as it was supposed to be. Only a little different.
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This is Timmy.
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This is Timmy's pretty little house.
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This is Timmy's neighbour, who used to be head of security until he was fired for having Tammy as his girlfriend.
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One day, Timmy's mum Helen (Carrie-Anne Moss, Canadian) gets tired of being the only house on the street without a Zombie, so she buys one (Billy Connolly, not Canadian) and brings him home.
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However, Bill has a fear of zombies, ever since his dad tried to eat him during the war.
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The only things that Bill cares about are golf and going to funerals, which are now dashed expensive.
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But Timmy bonds with the zombie, whom he names Fido. Fido remembers a bit of what it was like to be alive, which comes in handy.
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Helen also bonds with Fido, but in a different way.
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But it's only a matter of time until Fido's collar breaks and he starts eating Mrs. Next Door.
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Timmy tries to cover it up, but the two bullies were witnesses and so they capture Fido and Timmy in a quest to be seen as heroes. Fido escapes and gets Helen to save Timmy.
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What's the matter Boy?
Did Timmy fall down the well again?
Is Timmy tied to a tree in the woods with two bullies who've recently become zombies?
Good Boy!
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Timmy and Helen try to cover things up, but a small zombie outbreak occurs.
That's about it for the plot without being in danger of ruining it.
Don't worry, since it's a comedy, there's a happy ending for all.
And now some gorgeous, colourful pictures:

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Unfortunately, Fido is only available on Region 1 DVD (but at least it's on DVD, unlike a lot of Canadian films) or you could always download it.
Here's the trailer:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cinema Tuesdays {Pleasantville}

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Once upon a time, there were two teenagers from 1998 named Jennifer and David. One night they were fighting over the remote and broke it.
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And then the doorbell rang and a creepy television repairman (Don Knots) stood there and he gave the two teens a magic remote. And the fight over the remote resumed until a flash of lighting and a clap of thunder sounded.
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And the two teens found themselves in David's favourite TV show: Pleasantville, were it's always 1958, always sunny, always black & white and everything always stays the same. Where Dad comes home to his martini at 6 o'clock everyday, all roads lead to Main Street, nothing ever burns, there's no rain, there's no world outside of Pleasantville, books are blank and the worst thing that could happen is that your cat gets stuck in a tree.
(I'm assuming that most of you have already seen Pleasantville and know what happens next. For those who haven't seen it, you're missing out on a swell picture!)
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And then colours start to appear.
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Pretty soon people are changing colour, the books are filling themselves in, people are starting to think and change, Gene Vincent is coming out of the jukebox and there's a queue to get into the library.
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I want that skirt with the elephants!
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"What are we going to do Bob?"
"Well, we're safe for the moment. Thank goodness we're in a bowling alley"
Remember that kids. Be it fire, flood, earthquake or zombie uprising, just head on down to your nearest bowling alley, you'll be safe there.
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