That Thing You Do! is a 1996 film written and directed by actor Tom Hanks. It’s the story of a fictional 60s pop band that became a one-hit wonder. Oh, but that one hit!
The movie is available to rent on YouTube, and it’s probably a few other places as well. While you’re stuck at home, it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours. I think of it as comfort food viewing.
The title song is a catchy tune I defy you not to keep singing all day long once you hear it. It’s happy and fun, and it was written by Fountains of Wayne founder Adam Schlesinger, who we lost to Covid-19 at the age of 52 on April 1. Lest we forget we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic.
Stay safe. Stay home. Hug your loved ones virtually. Our family has taken to having weekly get-togethers via Zoom. Maybe you can do the same. Because you never know.
I’m getting super-excited about the Season 3 Premiere of HBO’s Westworld on March 15. I’ve been watching since the beginning, and when they recently released the new trailer, I was immediately hooked.
In the story, it looks like everything is finally coming together and they’ve added at least one new character played by Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad‘s Jessie Pinkman.
But what really drew me into the new trailer is this piano version of Guns N Roses’ Sweet Child O’Mine. The acoustic vibe really takes the song to the next level, and I hope you enjoy it.
Westworld was originally a 1973 film written and directed by Michael Crichton (yes, that Michael Crichton of Jurassic Park fame). Incidentally, he wrote a number of terrific contemporary sci-fi suspense novels, and I recommend them all! I was always a huge fan of the old Westworld movie, which was great for its time. When HBO came out with this updated version, I had to check it out.
While the television version is vastly different, the main plot is the same. Lifelike robots imbued with artificial intelligence decide they’d like to have some say over their lives. Violent chaos ensues. But there’s a smart undercurrent, a moral quandry: What constitutes humanity? And who is entitled to it? Something to ponder in 2020.
I’m including the Season 3 trailer, but you absolutely have to start at the beginning to appreciate the story arc. In the meantime, enjoy the great music.
My friend Susan loves the movie Misery, the screen adaptation of the Stephen King novel by the same name. Given the opportunity, she’ll tell you all about why, in her opinion, it’s the best movie ever made. And she’ll give you the chance to watch it, because she carries the DVD in her car at all times, just in case she runs across someone who never saw it.
So when I started watching the second season of Hulu Original Castle Rock, I had to message her right away. If you’re a Stephen King fan, Castle Rock is exactly your speed. It’s an amalgam of many of his works woven into a creepy new storyline. And Season 2 ups the ante by giving us a little backstory on Annie Wilkes, the main character from Misery.
As the first episode opens, the soundtrack is Carly Simon’s Let the River Run, and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. It’s such a beautiful, empowering song, and the first time I ever heard it was in the classic 80s movie, Working Girl which is where this video is from.
That brings us around to date night. Odds are, the weather where you are sucks right now. We’re here at the end of January and many of us are practically snowbound. So why not pop some popcorn and curl up with Hulu and Castle Rock? Or, if you’re in the mood for lighter fare, Working Girl is currently available on HBO. Either way, you can let the river run.
I hope you’re staying warm and enjoying time with those you love. Be sure to give them a hug.
Happy Saturday night!
Interesting factoid… In Working Girl, Kevin Spacey had a brief scene as a sexually harrassing slimeball. Turns out, it was type-casting, except that he prefers underage young men.
Thanks to a Fandango gift card left from Christmas, Mr. R and I ventured to the movies last weekend to see Yesterday, the romantic comedy that features songs from the Beatles. Despite some less than glowing reviews, we enjoyed the movie. The story is sweet, and obviously the music is great.
In the film, a young aspiring musician wakes up to find that he’s the only person in the world who remembers the Beatles. When he begins playing their songs, he becomes a huge sensation, even being tapped to open for Ed Sheeran in a world tour.
Have I mentioned that I love Ed Sheeran? And I love this song. There’s a hint of a throw-back, if you listen closely. Besides, it’s just a beautiful sentiment.
I’m craving a beautiful, peaceful song right now. Our lives are still in turmoil here at Chez R. The house is on the market and we’ve have several folks come by to look at it. No offers as yet, though. Fingers crossed, we’re under contract soon. Then we’ll have to figure out what’s next.
But for now, I’m going to take a deep breath and just enjoy the moment. We’ll keep you posted.
Tonight’s serenade is a classic, and it doesn’t get much more classic than the Beatles. This clip of Yesterday is from a live 1965 television performance. It’s funny because the audience is so frantic about seeing the Fab Four, they don’t really appreciate the beauty of the song. I think true classics are like that–it’s only later that we recognize their value.
I’m beyond stoked about the new movie coming out at the end of the week. Yesterday, from the director of Slumdog Millionaire and the writer of Love Actually, is a fantasy musical romantic comedy about a struggling young singer who wakes up one day to discover that he’s the only one in the world who remembers the genius of the Beatles. When he begins to play their songs, everyone assumes they’re his original work, and his career soars.
The premise intrigued me months ago, the first time I saw a few short clips. It looks like a charming story about likeable characters, all punctuated by the music of the Beatles. In one hilarious clip, Ed Sheeran, as himself, advises our hero Jack to change one particular lyric to “Hey, dude.”
I can’t wait to see this movie, and as we have been hoarding a Fandango gift card since Christmas, awaiting a worthy film, I predict a date night in our very near future.
I hope this first official weekend of summer finds you well. Be sure to hug the ones you love. Maybe I’ll see you at the movies!
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.
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.