Saturday, January 7, 2017

Top 3 Wintertime Movies (Laura)

Believe it or not, winter is one of my favorite seasons, and funnily enough, it is perhaps the season I dread most. Why? Winter is hard. The anticipation of it oftentimes even puts a slight damper on fall for me, but once winter comes, my Christmas plans are in place, and I've successfully made it through the first snowstorms and bitter cold weather for the year, I relax. Even in these early weeks of winter, a part of me is already looking forward to the spring, my favorite. There is hope in winter, the coldest and darkest of days. December 21 is the shortest day of the year, after which they only get longer. By that point, I am lucky enough to enjoy deeply treasured time with family and indoor activities I love, like writing and reading and singing in the kitchen while I bake Christmas cookies.

Some years I leave Christmas decorations up longer than others, but I always leave them at least through the twelve days of Christmas, as I reflect. Then there comes the moment when I feel that forward tug of the fresh new year. I'm ready to get serious about my resolutions, which usually revolve informally around writing projects and trying new activities. I put away the decorations, get out my Valentine's Day placemats early, and start watching some of my favorite movies that go with my fresh new-year feelings. I'm ready to move on from my bittersweet, nostalgic Christmas thoughts and memories and, during this invigoratingly early and chilly time of year, embrace possibility. These movies, even in small ways, match my excitement for spring, new beginnings, and what's to come.

3. New in Town
Akin to Snow Dogs with Cuba Gooding Jr., which I also love, New in Town is the story of a bitter, big-city, business lady from Florida who ends up in small-town Minnesota on an errand from her company. She arrives in town in the evening ahead of dinner time, during what looks like the black of midnight, and immediately the locals pull her into their lives, homes, and idiosyncrasies to equally comic and heartwarming effect. But she has orders to get rid of their jobs. How she deals with this position and unintentionally finds a place among the very people she has insulted and deceived is touching and funny. The way she handles the cold and conditions is hilarious and also rings true a bit for me. The music in the movie is lively, at times poignant, and comes in at the perfect moments. And who doesn't like Harry Connick Jr. in movies? Especially as the "sorry-[fill in the blank] truck guy" raising a daughter on his own while trying to save the plant workers' jobs and avoid falling in love with the person representing the company that wants to take those jobs away. A great movie about finding light, warmth, people, and even yourself during a dark, cold, bitter night.

2. Spanglish
I never thought that an Adam Sandler movie would make my list of memorable love stories. In this film, a single mother from Mexico takes a job working in a white, LA household. There, she develops special relationships with each of the family members. In particular, she faces a language barrier as well as challenges in gaining the full respect and understanding of the mother of the house, all of which forces her to assimilate against her original wishes in order to break the silence on her own. She must do this while she continues to work hard to honor her roots and set an example for her own young daughter. The film demonstrates how easily people can be silenced and even changed by well-intentioned society, and also features the people who listen when it is the hard thing to do. I especially like to watch Spanglish at this time of year because the settings, the bright characters, and their relationships put hope in my heart and make me laugh. I enjoy the ways they communicate beyond language and the moments when certain characters struggle to connect then finally do--and how those connections impact their lives.

1. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
When I lived in Arizona, I used to watch this movie as I was taking down my Christmas tree during
the few weeks each year when you can open the windows and air out your living space. That may be part of the reason this particular movie leaves me with a fresh feeling. The first time I saw it was in the theater with my mom, and when we went outside afterward, it was pouring rain--something rare in the desert. Later that night as I went to bed, the clouds cleared and a full moon came shining down on my balcony. It reminded me of the romantic scene in which Lena leaves her grandmother's house to visit Kostas by his boat, and the image still leaves me feeling hopeful and excited. The characters' stories fill me with the sense that so much life is out there in the world and not to be feared. Each of the girls must discover themselves, their futures, and even their histories apart from each other, and yet they return to one another in the end--on the beautiful island of Santorini, no less. In the DVD special features, the actresses explain how the scene in which they jump from a cliff into the water was originally unscripted and transpired after a neat turn of events. It reminds me things work out for the best on their own, even when you think you've planned everything carefully. This one, too, has some great, artful musical touches. Overall, a very fun movie about friendship, individuality, life, love, and "how to becomes ourselves without losing each other."

Do you enjoy some of these aspects of winter and looking forward to spring as much as I do? What are some of your favorite movies to watch during the wintertime as the new year begins?


New in Town:
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Laura! New in Town is funny! And I am glad to have the other 2 to add to my list.


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