Tag Archives: Hollywood

An Ode to Frank Sinatra

12 Dec

The other night, I watched a television special honoring the 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra. It had several people who should never sing a Sinatra song doing exactly what they should never do. There were also some people who did the music justice.

Anyway, the show made me think about Frank Sinatra and how I wished I had seen him in concert. My parents saw him perform in Las Vegas. They have not attended many concerts, but they saw Sinatra and Elvis Presley. When you have seen two of the biggest stars of all time, I guess there is no point is seeing anyone else.Frank Sinatra

Despite not seeing Frank Sinatra in person, he is one of my favorite performers. However, I like some of his stuff better than others.

“It Was a Very Good Year” is my favorite Sinatra song. For as long as I remember, the lyrics have struck me on a deep level.

When I was seventeen, it was a very good year
It was a very good year for small town girls
And soft summer nights
We’d hide from the lights
On the village green
When I was seventeen

When I was twenty-one, it was a very good year
It was a very good year for city girls
Who lived up the stairs
With all that perfumed hair
That came undone
When I was twenty-one

When I was thirty-five, it was a very good year
It was a very good year for blue-blooded girls
Of independent means
We’d ride in limousines
Their chauffeurs would drive
When I was thirty-five

But now the days are short, I’m in the autumn of my years
And I think of my life as vintage wine
From fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs
It poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year

Tony Rome is my favorite Frank Sinatra movie. It is even included in my Sinatra version of Movie Wisdom. He plays a Miami private detective who lives on a boat and has issues with gambling. Basically, it is Sinatra having a good time. Nancy Sinatra sings the theme song, and Rocky Graziano makes a cameo appearance.

Dean Martin is my favorite Frank Sinatra pal.Dean Martin

As a famed member of the Rat Pack, he was, in my opinion, one of the few performers who could go toe-to-toe with Sinatra. He was a singer and an actor. He could handle Westerns, Drama and Comedy.

Ava Gardner is my favorite Frank Sinatra wife.Ava

I mean, how can you not like Ava Gardner? She was one of the great Hollywood starlets. I just never could figure out why she married Mickey Rooney.

Anyway, that is my ode to the Chairman of the Board Frank Sinatra. Otherwise known as Ol’ Blue Eyes.

They Should Have Listened to Jeff Bridges a Long Time Ago

2 Sep

This afternoon, my stepdaughter and I saw The Giver, a movie that portrays a bleak future of government control. As the scenes rolled by, a couple of things went through my mind.

First, I am a huge fan of dystopian movies, and, some time back, I wrote a post about some of my favorites. Certainly, there are essays that examine these movies and their popularity. I am sure someone has written about how they are born from the times in which they are made. Many of them are adapted from books, and those books have a message hidden between the lines. They are critiques of society placed in a future environment.

I am not going to write anything that deep about The Giver. Instead, I am going to write about the second thing I thought about as the scenes rolled by. Some of those scenes brought laughter from a few of the people in the theater, and, honestly, there were few scenes meant to be funny. They were laughing because the movie was made too late.The Giver

I felt that they were laughing for a couple of reasons. One was that they thought the movie was a copy of recent dystopian films. The Hungers Games, famously adapted from books, has ushered in a ton of copycats, and, on the surface, this looks like one of them. There is the semblance of a love triangle among a teenage girl and two teenage boys. There is a young person who takes on the role of savior for the beaten down society. The list can be lengthy.

However, there is a catch. The Giver was written 13 years before The Hunger Games. That is why this movie was filmed too late. For those who have not taken the time to read the book, The Giver looks like a copycat. In reality, it may be the other way around.

I read that Jeff Bridges has been working for 20 years to bring The Giver to the screen. It is funny that he was finally able to do it after the success of The Hunger Games. Apparently, Hollywood did not want to take a chance on this story without knowing if there was an audience for it. That decision did a disservice to a great story.

That brings me to the other reason that I felt people were laughing. They had never read the book. The Giver is a story about a boy who has the ability and the drive to break out of an oppressive society. To set the stage, the movie and the book show just how oppressive that society can be. The book and the movie take these elements seriously, but some in the audience saw the behavior on the screen as dumb. Either they did not understand, or they were comparing the movie to The Hunger Games.

My stepdaughter, who loves The Hunger Games, liked this movie, as well. She asked if they were going to make another one. Like The Hunger Games series, there are three books about the world of The Giver. Obviously, The Hunger Games empire is at full force, and the movies are being cranked out. Unfortunately, I do not think the same will happen with The Giver. This is unfortunate because I think the books are better.

I am glad that I read the book before seeing the movie and suggest to everyone that they do the same. Heck, the book should be read whether you see the movie or not.