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2017 has already come & gone. It’s already Day 3 of 2018, & I cant believe it. Time really seems to be whizzing by. This is a look back at some of my biggest highlights of 2017.

01. This past year, I really feel like I’ve stepped up my writing, & put more focus & effort into my blog. I think I’m improving in making my own graphic images & site banners, but I’m not a trained graphic artist, nor do I have any artistic drawing abilities whatsoever. So, I’m hoping I’m improving as an amateur graphic artist. I can definitely see an improvement in my writing, & I’ve managed not to get too wordy on the unnecessary details. I’m definitely going to keep writing on my blog, & hope you all follow me on my journey.

02. When I was a teenager, I had all sorts of lofty dreams of going to music concerts & festivals. I envisioned my friends & I hopping in to my little car, & we’d travel around town looking for hip music venues & clubs. Well, that never happened, & even in my early adulthood I didn’t get many chances to go to any concerts…mostly because my group of friends at the time all had different tastes in music, & I could never find a partner to go with me to concerts or live shows.

Fast forward to today, f I can’t believe my good fortune. Jian & I have each introduced the other person to new music genres, bands, & artists. Through our mutual love of music, we’ve been able to attend many concerts & pop culture festivals in 2017. Our list of events include: Anderson.Paak in London, SAVE FERRIS, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats with Kings of Leon, as well as Lord Huron, Carseat Headrest & other bands we didn’t recognize at Chris Hardwick’s ID10T Conival. We saw WEEZER twice last year. Once at the ID10T Conival, & a second time at our local Alt-Rock radio station’s winter concert called Not So Silent Night. We attended on the night Alice Merton (of “No Roots” fame), Walk The Moon, Foster The People, WEEZER, &………The KILLERS performed. Yes, we got to see our favorite rock band of all time (The KILLERS) perform alongside WEEZER!!!! It was a great way to end our year in concerts. Also, I’m going to see The KILLERS in concert again next month at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles for their Wonderful, Wonderful U.S. arena tour. I can just feel all of my teenage concert fantasies coming true.

03. I got to check off an item on my travel bucket list this past year. After all of my intense wishing, it finally came true. I got to visit London, England for my very first time. It took me a long time to convince Jian to go with me, since Jian prefers to visit Asia on his vacations, but I finally wore him down & convinced him to travel with me to Europe/the UK. I was getting a little tired of always sticking to our routine of visiting Japan or China (or Hong Kong) every time we plan an overseas vacation. I’ve been wanting to switch things up & visit Europe/the UK for a long time. Also, visiting London has been a big ticket bucket list item for me, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit my new favorite city & stay at a hotel that has completely changed my life.

04. After immigrating to the U.S. from Taiwan (she was not born there), my mom said goodbye & had not given any thought to going back until recently. A lot of my mom’s friends have either permanently moved back to Taiwan, or split their time living there 6 months out of the year. This encouraged my mom to finally want to visit Taiwan. She invited her favorite travel companion (me) her sister, & together they made plans to go back & visit the city they grew up in & left behind over 30+ years ago. Of course, my mom feeling insecure about traveling to a place she hardly remembers, she invited Jian & I to join them as chaperones who could help them navigate the subway system & help them at the airports. We had so much fun eating & drinking our way through Taipei, & making the best of our trip even though it rained nearly every day.

05. Christmas is a big deal in my family. My dad had always emphasized family togetherness during this time of the year, & as a family we took his words very seriously. All of the kids make sure to come home for the holidays no matter what, & my mom throws a huge annual party on Christmas Eve. We usually tend to keep the guest list to family & close family friends only, but this year we broke tradition, & I was able to invite my closest friends & their families to our party. We had the most memorable evening I’ll never forget. This recently past Christmas party was truly outstanding & unforgettable.

06. This past year marked the 5th anniversary of my dad’s passing. I can’t believe it’s already been 5 YEARS. I think about my dad everyday, & I still think about him as though he’s still alive. I try hard not to dwell on the negative, & only focus on the positive memories of my dad. It’s hard to go through life without one parent, especially when you are still relatively young & feel like you still need your parents’ guidance. Another year will pass, & I will continue to think about my dad every day.

Those are my best highlights of 2017. I don’t have any resolutions for 2018. I want to live my life & be happy. Cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

“Weekend Woman” by WEEZER

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A teenage American-British girl while visiting her father, is thrown into London society during the “Debutante Season”.

This past month, while my aunt was vacationing at our house, we watched a ton of classic movies from the 50s a& 60s. One of those movies was called The Reluctant Debutant starring a very young Sandra DeeRex Harrison, Kay Kendall, & a dashing & also very young John Saxon. Murder, She Wrote‘s Angela Lansbury also makes an appearance in this movie.

My aunt & I were talking about Sandra Dee & how my aunt idolised her as a teenager living in Taiwan. This prompted me to search for a Sandra Dee movie for us to watch together. I felt like Gidget has been watched too many times already, so I settled upon this one (as mentioned above). I was mostly interested in this movie because I had read in the movie summary that Rex Harrison was going to be portraying Sandra Dee’s father in this movie.

Most movies from this 1950s era really intrigue & interest me. I love the fashion that the girls & women wear, & I love all of the tiny, speedy, zippy little sports cars the actors drive in all of the movies. For example, I just adore the little yellow convertible Audrey Hepburn drives in the movie How To Marry A Millionaire. She just zips & zags along the busy streets of Paris with Peter O’Toole in the passenger seat with a look of sheer panic on his face for the daredevil way she drives her tiny little auto. In this movie (The Reluctant Debutante), some of the clothes & dresses Sandra Dee wears is so pretty, I wish I could pull of wearing clothes like that, but other times the outfits make her character look younger than she should be in the movie.

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I adore Rex Harrison in this movie as the doting father & loving husband who’s often caught between doing what his wife says & making his daughter happy. I love how Rex’s character is sort of a goofball (funny) around Kay Kendall’s character (his character’s wife), yet he still shows his tender “dad” side to Sandra’s character. Kay Kendall plays the role of stepmother-who-competes-against-other-debutant-mothers perfectly. Kay’s character is always competing with her cousin (played by Angela Lansbury), who is trying to throw her daughter a coming-of-age announcement, debutante party. So Kay‘s character, who is always trying to out do her cousin in their social group’s popularity, tries to announce her stepdaughter’s coming-of-age in the debutante arena just to get her time in the spotlight. It’s so funny how the two cousins keep trying to throw each other off by giving misdirection & misinformation, only to end up with things working out best for the children they’re both trying to keep apart.

My all time favorite part of this movie was the blossoming romance between Sandra Dee’s beautiful & sensible character & John Saxon’s handsome & bold character. Even though Sandra’s stepmother is trying to keep her away from John’s character due to an alleged scandal that he was supposedly involved in, the pair still find time to spend together getting to know each other & really build up their romance. Rex Harrison’s fatherly character is absolutely hilarious at these times because he also sort of falls into a bromance crush with John’s character due to their mutual love of music & playing the drums. The husband side of Rex’s character wants to make his wife happy by keeping John’s character away from his daughter. Yet, he wants to make his daughter happy by allowing her to go out with John’s character. There’s a lot of comedic eavesdropping that gets foiled every time the nosy parents are discovered, but that doesn’t take away from the tender & sweet scene of Sandra’s character slowly & coyly seducing John’s character to sit with her on the couch late at night so they could steal kisses in the dark. The sweet moment when Sandra’s character promises to wait for John’s character while he attends a family funeral in Italy. Then, they are so excited to see each other again, & that’s when the relationship really starts to bloom. The couch kissing scene was my all time favorite from the whole movie. It made my heart do rapid flip flops.

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When at first Kay Kendall’s stepmom character thought John Saxon’s character was a boy with a past that would ruin her stepdaughter’s reputation, I was not surprised. I knew she would have preconcieved opinions about him based on the seedy rumors she’s heard through her social circle. Then, throughout the movie, when John’s character continues to hold his head up high & prove himself to be a fine, well-mannered gentleman, I really hoped that he would prove Kay’s character wrong once & for all. In the end, he proved himself to be worthy of Sandra Dee’s character’s love. He proved without saying a single word that he was the boy RexKay’s characters wanted for their daughter all along. I just loooved the shocked look on the stepmom’s face in the ending scene, when the butler announces John’s character as the high titled Italian duke with the heir to a huge family name & fortune. I was cheering at the TV screen that entire time. I loved the happy ending that was all wrapped up in a neat little bow. It was a perfect conclusion to a short & sweet classic movie.

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Well, that’s all I have to say about this movie. I would totally watch this again & again. It was such a fun, light-hearted, romantic movie that fills my heart completely. Until the next reveiw, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“WORK THAT” by TERIYAKI BOYZ feat. Pharrell Williams & Chris Brown

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“Oh, Cheese it!” is a new slang phrase that I made up for myself. I use this phrase in negative situations, rather than using my usual dirty longshoreman cuss words because 1. it sounds cute, & 2. because it’s safe to use around children and prudes. Instead of saying “Goddammit!” or “Shit!”, like when you stub your toe really hard, or when you drop something important, I would say “Oh, Cheese it!”. It’s cheesy (pun intended), I know, but I like using this phrase. I think it’s fun.

Now, I’m using this phrase because something negative happened. For the first time in a long while, I finally made a bad stationery purchase. How could this  have happened? I am usually so picky & choosy when it comes to buying stationery. I can browse the store for hours trying to look for the perfect notepad, pen, sticker, or other office supply item. I used to be the type of person who had to buy everything “cute” at the stationery goods store, but that quickly turned me into more hoarder than collector, so I gave away a lot of things I either had no use for or grew disinterested in. That groomed me to become more selective in the types of stationery goods I buy & use.

Well, I fell back into old habits again. I got caught up in the razzle-dazzle of the Japanese discount store Ichiban Kan. I was picking out some things to fill a stationery care package I was making for my younger cousin. (We have been very close ever since she was in diapers.) We both share a love for Japanese stationery & Japanese culture, & I just felt like spoiling her a little bit, since she never asks for anything. I saw so many pretty & cute, yet ridiculous goods at the discount store. I just couldn’t help myself. While I was picking out things for my cousin, I was also picking out extra things for myself. I must have been running on some sort of endorphin high, or perhaps something in the air fried my brain because I just grabbed whatever I thought looked cool without properly giving it my thorough, self-perfectionist examination.

Compared to some of the other times I’ve walked out of stationery stores, I think this purchase was quite modest. For my cousin, I only bought a Mount Fuji sticky notepad & a pad of animal shaped notecards. For myself, I bought a few sets of stickers & washi tape rolls. Let me lay it out straight for you. I.WAS. KIND OF. DISAPPOINTED. This was the first time I’ve ever been disappointed in my stationery goods purchase. Well, hold on a minute. I wasn’t completely disappointed with my purchase. The stickers were okay, but it was the washi tapes that really bummed me out.

This was the first thing I picked out, a roll of dog stickers. First of all, I really like how the roll is perforated, so you can tear off individual stickers, or if you’re like me…to shorten the used end of the roll to make it look neater/tidier. I really like the breeds of dogs used for these stickers. I’m so happy that there’s a Shiba Inu in the mix, as well as a Pomeranian that looks like the famous super pup Boo. Mostly, I couldn’t say no to the oh-so-adorable pug! Sorry for my lack of photography skills; my photos don’t do these items any justice. These stickers look matte in my photo, but they’re actually semi-glossy.

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The next few things I picked were these sets of stickers. The first sheet says “和ものシール” (wamo no shiiru) which means “traditional seal”. The word “seal” is how the Japanese use to describe the word “sticker”. I was initially drawn to these stickers because of the rabbits! How could you deny those cute little bunnies? Plus, I really liked the traditional design & the rice paper texture of the stickers. As you can see, I’ve already used one of the rabbits. The other two sets are “flake seals”, which in Japanese “flake” is used to describe die-cut stickers.  The set on the top has a forrest theme, while the set on the bottom are all kinds of birds. I really like these stickers because they are thin stickers, but I’d say they are pretty durable. I’ve already used one of the flower stickers, & I like how the stickers are slightly transparent. These stickers also have a rice paper texture, but a more smooth feeling. I haven’t tried any of the bird stickers yet. They look a little bit too soft in color for my taste, but I guess we’ll see how it all turns out.

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Here’s where things take a sour turn. I was so excited to see so many different patterns of washi tapes at the Japanese discount store. Washi tape rolls can get very expensive (especially if you get ones with metallic foil accents). I try not to buy washi tape unless they’re on sale or at the discount store. Of course, I wanted to buy all of the tapes, but I forced myself to pick & choose only the select ones I knew I’d purposefully use. I got these three washi tape rolls. The first roll says “Thank You” in various languages. The gold lettering is supposed to have a slightly metallic shine, but my bad photography skills strike yet again, & you can’t really see it here. The second roll says “ありがとう” (Arigatou) which means “Thank You” & “ほんの気持ちです。” (Hon’ no kimochi desu.) which means “A feeling of gratitude”. I really liked the third washi tape roll because it looked quite Scandinavian & will look nice on wrapped gifts. Boy, oh boy. I can’t even with these damn washi tapes! Sure, they look pretty, but their looks are so deceiving! These tapes feel like every other washi tape out on the market, but they are far from the same quality. They don’t even stick to anything you use them on (not even plain white paper). I tried using the flower pattern tape on an envelope I was going to mail to my sister, but the ends kept curling up off the envelope, & no matter how many times I tried to really press down on the tape, it would just peel its ends off of the envelope. I’m pretty bummed right now that I bought these duds. There goes $4.50 USD right down the drain.

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Well, that’s a lesson learned for me. Cheap is cheap, I guess. You better believe that the next time I won’t be so quick to buy everything off the shelves, & I will carefully inspect the items before I buy them. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“She Said, She Said” by The Black Keys

She Said She Said

 

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

 

“A wheelchair-bound professional photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window, and is convinced one of them has committed a murder.” (via IMDB)

So I got this hankering, a real itch, to watch a movie the other night. I love watching classic films from the 1950s & 60s, but it’s hard to find movies made before the 1970s in a streaming format on the Internet. Sure, it’s much easier to buy a DVD & watch it on the home TV, but first of all, who watches DVDs anymore now that there are such outlets like: Netflix, Crackle, Hulu, & On Demand cable listings? Secondly, who has the time to buy DVDs and convert their formats into tablet compatible video files? Mostly, I enjoy the convenience of watching from my portable device, so I can do things like take a shower & watch my movie at the same time.

It really is hard to find Classic films to rent & stream or to buy & download on the Internet. Before Netflix took it off their streaming list, I’ve probably stream-watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s at least a dozen times or so…To Catch a Thief, perhaps half a dozen or more times, all while working out at the gym (or soaking in the bath tub, again). I rented Rear Window the other night on my tablet, & it just brought back to my mind all of the reasons why this movie is arguably my most favorite film of all-time. These are a few of the movie genres I like: Mystery, Romance, & Action & Adventure. This movie had all three genres rolled into one. There were thrills & suspense without the movie being overly predictable & corny. After all, this IS an iconic Alfred Hitchcock film.

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

 

I’ve always enjoyed the fine acting of James “Jimmy” Stewart, & of course, Grace Kelly. Of course, who doesn’t love director Alfred Hitchcock? He has directed several of my favorite films (i.e. To Catch a Thief, North By Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, & The Birds). I won’t remember Jimmy Stewart from the film It’s a Wonderful Life, as I haven’t seen the film in its entirety, but I’ll always remember him in this film Rear Window & in The Man Who Knew Too Much (since I saw the latter film in high school for a class assignment). I’ve also mistakenly seen the 1990s Christopher Reeve remake of this film, & it could never compare with the original. What a disaster the 90s remake was! At least I didn’t have to pay even a cent to watch that movie, it was such a flop in my book. The original version of Rear Window is so timeless; I could watch this movie a hundred more times & not get sick of it.

Jimmy Stewart’s character L.B. Jeffries would make a great detective if he ever decided to give up his photography career. I love how he uses his camera equipment to take a closer look into the lives of his fellow apartment neighbors. Let’s see, we’ve got the older couple with the friendly dog who pulls their mattress onto their balcony every night to sleep, the aspiring ballet/Broadway dancer, the newlywed couple who always keeps their shades drawn, the music composer who’s run out of inspiration, the bohemian art sculptor who likes to sunbathe in the afternoons, Ms. Lonelyhearts…the single woman who is so desperate for a man that she makes them up or picks up guys from bars. Then you have the most famous neighbor of them all, Mr. Thorwald, the costume jewelry salesman with a nagging invalid wife who begins to act suspiciously upon the sudden disappearance of his wife.

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image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

I get such a thrill stepping into the shoes of Jimmy Stewart’s character, spying on my neighbors in an act of pure voyeurism. It’s so naughty, yet so fun to snoop on the neighbor’s living around you. Maybe it’s because Jian always says I like to snoop on my neighbors. He makes fun of me about this all the time. I don’t like to say that I’m snooping per-sé, but, I will embellish my answer by saying I am a glorified “neighborhood watchman”. I do like to know what’s going on in my neighborhood, so that I can be prepared in case of emergencies and natural disasters. Therefore, it’s not really being nosy or snooping. However, there are times when Jian & I are walking around the major city center & I will sometimes peek into apartments with large windows…not because I’m a pervert or a voyeur, but because I like to see how others decorate their own homes. I have a mild interest in home decorating & often watch home improvement programs on the HGTV & FYI channels.

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

OK, let’s get back to talking about the movie. I sometimes wish I could be as observant as Jimmy Stewart’s character L.B. Jeffries, taking mental notes about my interesting & colorful neighbors. This brings up old memories of when I was a young tween, reading the classic children’s book Harriet The Spy (I’ve also seen the 1990s movie starring Gossip Girl actress Michelle Trachtenberg). Oh man, when I was a young teenager I really, really, really wanted to be just like the character Harriet The Spy. I even started collecting notebooks just so I could write down everything I observed. I wanted to roam the city streets, sneak through dirty alleyways behind Chinatown, make friends with the local butcher & delivery truck guy, use my binoculars to peek through grimy back alley windows, & write down everything I see around me. I believe I’ve somewhat achieved that goal. I’ve got this blog after all. Now, I don’t want to ever discover a murder crime scene, or anything gruesome like that, but it would be a little cool to learn more about my neighbors quirky habits & getting to know them.

You know one thing’s for sure, Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s would not much care for L.B. Jeffries from this film. You know why? Because just as Ms. Golightly said to Paul Varjak just as he woke her from a nightmare, “Let’s get one thing straight. I hate snoops!” (You see! That shows just how many times I’ve seen ‘B at T’s’! I can quote parts of the movie off the top of my head.) Speaking of lead female characters, let’s chat a little bit about Grace Kelly’s utterly fabulous character Lisa Carol Fremont. Oh, how I truly admire a strong female such as she! A woman who knows her own mind, knows what she wants, & works hard at getting it, even if it comes in the form of a stubborn wheelchair-bound photographer who thinks she’s too good for him. It does not matter to Lisa that she’s an upper crust socialite & L.B. is a blue-collar guy who sticks his neck out for a smashing photograph. She’s in love with him, & she works hard to prove it to him: providing him a gourmet lobster dinner, warm after-dinner brandy, & one overnight bag carrying only the essentials a girl would need to stay the night at her lover’s apartment. Lisa also takes care of L.B., not only attending to his everyday needs while he is confined to that damed wheelchair, but she really gives him loads of TLC…ahem, plenty of kissing. Like I said before, she is a woman who knows her own mind. Lisa practically immediately believes L.B.’s claims that his across-the-way neighbor has been acting very bizarrely, ever since the invalid wife’s disappearance. She helps him in any way to gather evidence against the suspicious neighbor, helping him sort through crazy theories, & even providing a woman’s perspective with her “Women’s Intuition”. Lisa is quite brave sneaking off to the neighbor’s apartment in the middle of the night to snoop around for clues. That show how much in love & devoted she is to Mr. Grumpy Wheelchair Guy.

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

The other lead female character in this movie should also not be overlooked. Thelma Ritter’s character Stella, the insurance company’s home-care nurse, is also one of my favorite characters from the movie. Stella provides the quick wit & sharp humor that cuts through the thick tension throughout this film. She’s always trying to push L.B. to move his relationship forward with Lisa, never mincing her words. Hey, she’s a maladjusted misfit who’s been happily married to her other maladjusted misfit for years, so she knows a thing a two about love. The only way to get her wedding ring would be to chop off her finger. I think Stella needs to spread a little more common sense on L.B.’s sandwiches from now on. I really think Thelma Ritter was nicely cast for this role. I haven’t seen too many of her movies, but I still quite enjoy her acting. Her most notable acting role that I can remember was Alma the loveable, eavesdropping, drunk housekeeper in the film Pillow Talk, starring Doris Day, Rock Hudson,Tony Randall. She also provided much needed dry wit & sharp humor in that film as well.

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image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

One thing I really loved about this movie is that it was all entirely filmed in one sound stage. Everything was pretty much shot in the infamous apartment of L.B. Jeffries. No grand location shoots or car chase scenes, just one beautifully designed apartment. Oh, how I just adore the architecture & home decor of the 1950s & 60s!! What was considered Contemporary back then is now considered Mid-Century Modern nowadays. Well, I now live in an Eichler home, so I guess that influenced my love of Mid-Mod decor. I’ve always dreamed of living in a downtown city apartment decorated just like L.B.’s in the film. So, when I lived in my own apartment for a time, I felt so happy & content. I was really proud of & loved cleaning my apartment everyday & finding new ways to decorate it. If only I had an unlimited budget, then I would’ve surely decorated my apartment to look very Mid-Century Modern. I’m not sure how much Jian would’ve approved, but I would’ve been over the moon. I amazes me that the entire movie was filmed in such a small apartment complex, & yet there was so much action going on within the storyline. Each apartment neighbor provided their own little side story, which made the film seem like more & feel much bigger than it actually was.

And lastly, we shall conclude with the main character who really, truly, utterly stole the show within this movie…Grace Kelly’s masterpiece of a Chanel haute couture dress! I long to one day have a stunning figure like Grace Kelly. She’s not only tall & svelte, but she’s got just the perfect amount of feminine curves to give her a sensual aura. Her hair is always perfectly styled with not a stray hair out of place, & she never wears overly done-up makeup, only enough to accentuate her glorious femininity. No one can ever pull off wearing such a glamorous dress, except maybe Audrey Hepburn, if everyday was a Funny Face kind of day & Fred Astaire was your personal photographer & love interest. Just look at how stunning the actress AND the dress look…and I will end it at that. Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“Hoops” by The Rubens

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“Baltimore industrialist Wendell Armbruster crosses paths with London shop girl Pamela Piggott when they come to Ischia to pick up the bodies of her mother and his father, who have been killed in an automobile accident after a ten-year summertime affair. Straitlaced Wendell tries to avoid a scandal while free-spirited Pamela is impressed by the romantic setting. After some confusion with the bodies and a blackmail attempt by unscrupulous locals, Wendell and Pamela extend their parent’s affair into the next generation.” via IMDB

Before this week, I had never even heard of this movie, called Avanti! (circa 1972). I know of actor Jack Lemmon; I’ve seen a few of his older movies & TV shows in the past (eg. The Odd Couple with fellow actor Walter Mathau). I know little of actress Juliet Mills. If I hadn’t “Google searched” her name, I would not have immediately recognized her. I only remember her from her days on a long-ago cancelled daytime American TV soap opera, & as the wife of fellow actor Maxwell Caulfield (whom I only recognize from the movies Grease 2 & Empire Records). I just happened to stumble upon this movie one evening while I was channel surfing on my bedroom TV. I often enjoy watching the classic movie channels, & sometimes I’ll uncover a real winner…like this one.

In just this one week alone, I’ve already watched this movie THREE TIMES. Yes, I understand that I sound like a crazy person, but I really, truly enjoyed this movie, & found it to be quite romantic even though some may argue that this movie glorifies & beautifies the act of openly & freely committing adultery. I choose to look past the sordid details of adultery & focus on the budding romance between the two main characters Wendell Armbruster Jr. Pamela Piggott. I can’t quite understand how a man, back in those days, could go on vacation to Italy for one moth every year for ten years without his family, & it doesn’t raise any red flags. I get that in the movie, it was mentioned that the main male character’s father had health issues & was visiting the Italian hotel to relax & relieve his ailments. However, staying in Italy for ONE MONTH, alone? If I were the wife of Mr. Armbruster Sr., I’d tell him to take the kids with him. I need a vacation too. [laughs]

There were definite parts of the movie that I enjoyed the most. I really liked how, through the course of the movie, Jack Lemmon’s character Wendell Jr. has a change of attitude & a change of heart toward’s Juliet Mills’ character Pamela. Jack’s character is at first cold, surly & impatient.

“Look, Miss. On a train, or on a boat, there’s nothing I can do about it. But when you come barging into my room…” – Wendell Armbruster Jr.

“I thought maybe tonight we’d do something different…our thing.” – Wendell Armbruster Jr.

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However, Juliet’s free-spirited & happy-go-lucky character slowly thaws his icy heart & slows his quick-tempered pace. Eventually, the two main characters grow to enjoy each other’s company & build a relationship without immediately realizing it. My most favorite scene(s) of the movie has to do with Juliet’s character Pamela Piggott. I absolutely LOVE that Pamela shows a little vulnerability & sensitivity toward her not-so-slim figure (a.k.a. her weight), yet she is able to keep a sense of humor about it all. Through the course of the movie, Pamela becomes increasingly confident about her voluptuousness. I wish I could be as confident about my body as Pamela is about her own body.

“I’ve been called plump. I’ve been called pudgy. I’ve been called chubby. But I’ve never been called fat…ass.” – Pamela Piggott

“Mrs. Armbruster, just to put your  mind at rest, you needn’t be worried one bit, because if you saw me, I’m short, I’m fat, & I’m not very attractive. OK?” – Pamela Piggott

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Besides the two main characters, there are a few other colorful characters worth mentioning…such as:
1. Carlo Carlucci, the charming, witty & quick-thinking hotel manager
2. Bruno, the cheeky valet with a penchant for taking raunchy photographs
3. Anna, the mustachioed housekeeper with a trigger finger & an unrequited passion for Bruno (Throughout the movie, I thought this character was played by an effeminate man, only to discover that she really was a woman…Oops!)

This movie starts off rather cold, with Wendell Jr. desperately trying to keep Pamela quiet about their parents’ love affair. Wendell sees the affair as a sordid black mark on his well-respected & high-profile father’s life, while Pamela only sees the pure & genuine love the two shared between each other. After spending a night of reliving their parents’ past, the two warm up to each other & start to really see things the way their parents saw things when they were together at the hotel. One of my favorite lines from this particular part of the movie comes after the pair decide to take a morning swim in their birthday suits (& a pair of black socks…because some people are in mourning.)

“Well here we are…basking like two baby seals…” – Wendell Armbruster Jr.

avanti-15

The hotel is very beautiful, & I wish it were a real place that I could visit. All of the rooms seem quite luxurious, & I would love to have a cocktail (or two) at the bar & enjoy a meal of Duck à L’Orange with a side of pasta (perhaps green, for color).

And now, we come to the end of the movie. It’s time for Wendell to wrap up business in Italy. After all, he was there to claim his deceased father’s corpse & rush to a hasty funeral, not to fall in love with his father’s mistress’ daughter. The whole time in Italy, Wendell is cursing his father for having a ten-year secret love affair. All the while, Pamela is just happy that her mother was happily in love (whether her mother’s lover was married or not did not phase her at all). My final favorite scene in the movie was when Wendell asks Pamela about her mother. He asks her, in a roundabout way, if she was a kept woman. Pamela assures him that her mother was not receiving gifts from his father. Her mother was a working woman who paid her own way in life. Her mother never wanted money or gifts from Wendell’s wealthy father. She only wanted his love.

“I told you the first day, she loved him. She didn’t want any tips.” – Pamela Piggott

Isn’t it rather romantic (& a lot of Hollywood movie magic) that the son & daughter of the two former lovers end up falling in love with each other, & carry on the romance their parents once held at that very same hotel? Of course a storyline like that only happens on extremely rare occasions & in flashy Hollywood movie scripts. However, I quite enjoyed the storyline all the same. I guess you could say that I am in love with LOVE. I am a sucker for a sappy good romance. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, & believe it or not…most likely you will…I was watching this movie yet again, simultaneously while writing this blog post…and NO. I am not going to watch this movie after I finish this post. Cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

“I’m Glad There Is You” by Oscar Peterson

Im Glad There Is You

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I tried to copy @humphryslocombe ‘s fridge pic, but I only have three flavors. 🍦 🍦 🍦
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