Saturday Night Serenade–A Song and a Movie

To say Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen is a great song is to be simply redundant. Taken as a whole, their body of work is sublime, with stand-out nuggets like Fat-Bottomed Girls, Under Pressure, and cult-classic Bohemian Rhapsody.

But I really like this one. I can’t get it out of my head. It’s currently featured in several television commercials. And with the success and acclaim of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, all these songs are getting new life. Take that, Millennials, who believe if something didn’t happen in their lifetime, it didn’t happen at all.

As promised, though, this week’s serenade comes with a movie recommendation. While there are countless versions of Don’t Stop Me Now, this is one of my favorites. It comes from a fantastic little horror-comedy from 2004 called Shaun of the Dead. It’s a smart, funny, and yes, okay, gory at times, take on Dawn of the Dead. Just the title cracks me up.

The story follows hapless Shaun and his slacker-pothead wingman Ed (played the the hilarious Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) into what appears to be the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. Only we’re not using the zed-word.

Complicating matters is the fact that Shaun’s girlfriend Liz has just broken up with him, and he’s perpetually at odds with his stepfather (the brilliant, if low-key in this role, Bill Nighy).

Once he realizes that the end of the world is here (and it takes him an hysterical amount of time to figure it out–watch him pop out to the shop for a Diet Coke), Shaun cooks up a scheme to save Liz from the undead, and thus win her back. Of course, nothing is ever that easy.

At one point, Shaun’s intrepid band of survivors finds itself holed up in his favorite pub. The fight scene set to this Queen classic is a marvel of choreography and comedic editing.

I’ve checked–you can stream Shaun of the Dead for about $4 from nearly any streaming service. So what are you doing tonight? Saturday Night Live is in reruns until Fall.

By the way, happy Memorial Day! I hope you enjoy your long weekend. Be sure to hug those you love and tell them that you love them.

If you’re remembering someone who paid the ultimate price in service to their country, please accept my deep respect and gratitude. Freedom isn’t free. It never was.

Happy Saturday night!

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Saturday Night Serenade–Christmas Favorites

Everybody has a favorite Christmas song.  Maybe you even have more than one.  I think my favorite is All I Want for Christmas by Mariah Carey.  And the one with Jimmy Fallon and TheRoots playing classroom instruments is my absolute favorite version.  Be sure to watch for the pop-up kids–they crack me up!

The song features prominently in my favorite Christmas movie, Love Actually.  Here at Chez R, we always make sure we watch it some time during the Christmas season.  It’s one of our traditions.

Another tradition is heading to downtown West Palm Beach to see the Sandi Tree, a HUGE Christmas tree built entirely out of sand, down on the waterfront.  Every half-hour or so they do a whole program with music and lights.  It’s lots of fun.

What are your own traditions?  How about the ones in your area?

I hope you’re having a wonderful evening surrounded by those you love.  Be sure to give them a hug.

And just because I love you, I’m leaving you with Billy Mack (actor Bill Nighy in Love Actually) with his holiday hit, Christmas Is All Around.  If you haven’t seen the movie, seriously!  Do.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Spooky

Halloween is just over two weeks away.  Time for it to get Spooky.  I couldn’t resist this classic from the Atlanta Rhythm Section.

This time of year, I’m dying to watch a good ‘dark and scary night in a spooky house’ kind of thing, and in the past couple of years, I haven’t had much luck finding something that fits the bill.  I’m not talking about a cheesy, slasher, ‘all the teens are gonna die’ movie–I’m looking for something smart and creepy.

Then I turned on Netflix last night and found this, their original series The Haunting of Hill House.  It’s based (loosely) on the 1959 classic horror novel by Shirley Jackson.  I watched the first two episodes last night, and it’s creepy as hell.  I’m in for the rest of the ride.

It’s just a thought if you’re looking for something Halloween-y to do tonight.  Gather with those you love, and I’d recommend leaving the lights on, just saying.  Be sure to give them a hug.

Happy Saturday night!

Bonus Track:  I couldn’t resist the divine Eagles with a live version of Witchy Woman.  Cheers to the late, great Glenn Frey.

Saturday Night Serenade–Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again

I’m so excited!  Ten years ago, Mamma Mia, the Broadway musical based on the songs of 70s group ABBA, was made into a movie.  It’s not Shakespeare, okay.  But if you ever wanted to see a movie that just makes you feel happy, this is the one.

A decade later, the entire cast is back for a sequel, and with a few additions, most notably Cher, as Donna’s (Meryl Streep) mother.  Mr. R is imminently glad that my best girl Mo and I have plans to go see it this week.  I suppose it’s a chick flick, but don’t say it like it’s a bad thing.   I added a sneak peek from the new movie below.

The world has become a very scary place.  Up is down, right is wrong, and you never know from one day to the next what the hell is going on.  So let me go sit in a cool, dark theatre for a couple of hours with a bucket of popcorn and a vat of Sprite while I may or may not sing along to songs that make me happy.  Feel free to join me on the next recliner–not going to one of those moldie-oldie theatres, no thank you.  I know there are those who are avoiding this movie, angered by something or other Meryl Streep said a while back.  To that, I say, Good!  More room for me and Mo.  😉

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend doing things that make you happy.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Thinking Out Loud

Ready or not, it’s the holiday season.  Seems like as soon as the Trick or Treaters trotted home with their sugar-inducing haul, retailers shifted into holiday mode.  Like aging rocker Billy Mack says, “Christmas is all around us, and so the feeling grows.”

But first, here in the States, we’re gearing up for Thanksgiving this Thursday.  I love Thanksgiving.  I love the way the aroma of turkey roasting in the oven permeates the whole house.  I love to watch the Macy’s parade on television, especially the Broadway performances on the street right in front of the store.  I love the roll-out of classic holiday movies, like Love Actually.

More than that, though, I appreciate having a reminder to be thankful for all the ways I’m blessed.  And I am.  I’m a lucky girl.  I’m healthy, I have a great home, this year I walked away from a job I hated to live the dream of being a full-time writer.

On the domestic front, having survived a season in hell, I’m living my happily-ever-after with a man who loves me more than life itself.  When I first heard Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran, I thought of us, and how thankful I am that we found each other.  Here’s a little snippet of the lyrics.

When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?

And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Well, me—I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am

So, honey, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are

Our lives aren’t perfect.  We worry about finances.  We have two out of three collective adult children who currently aren’t speaking to us (gotta love millennials).  But we have each other, and we’re a great team.  And so I’m thankful.

Just thinking out loud.  Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Be sure and hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

Oh, and as a bonus, here’s your old Uncle Billy.

 

Saturday Night Serenade–Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  Can you believe it’s nearly November?  It’s almost legitimately time for holiday commercials.  Nevermind that I saw my first Christmas commercial on October 10.  And yes, I was keeping track.  Thank you, Hallmark Channel.

Mr. R and I had a blast at last week’s Halloween party.  It was great to catch up with friends we haven’t seen in a while, and to meet some new people, too.  In spite of the fact that it was a Will Farrell-themed event, I went as a Gothic vampire.  But Mr. R ended up with a unique and theme-appropriate, although perhaps not public-appropriate costume, as Ron Burgundy in the pool party scene.

Yeah, he was sans-a-shirt all night, beneath a little bathrobe .  He wore dark shorts over blue BVDs, and managed to drop trou at one point in the evening, all the while shouting, “Cannonball!”  In his all-in devotion to the moment, he even shaved off his goatee and colored his hair and mustache, only to be outdone in commitment by a guy who came as James Lipton (and yes, he was in Bewitched with Will Farrell, I had to look it up), who shaved the top of his head to emulate the self-important drama guru’s receding hairline.

Tonight, however, is a quiet night at home.  We’ve had a bit of a cool front, so there might be a fire in the fireplace, who knows?  I mean, the evening temperature’s hovering in the high 60s.  Fuzzy socks have made their annual appearance.

For tonight’s two-fer serenade, I’ve picked two of my favorite Halloween songs.  The first is the late, great Warren Zevon with Werewolves of London.  Kid Rock sampled this in his song, All Summer Long, but he called it Sweet Home Alabama.  Nuh-unh, Kid, you can’t fool us.

Okay, the second one isn’t so much a Halloween song as it is a spooky video.  But it’s one of my guilty pleasures, so please bear with me.  Don’t miss Antonio Fargas as the driver of the broken-down bus.

I hope you have a great Halloween.  Save a few of your favorite treats for yourself.  Be sure and hug the ones you love.  Happy Saturday night!