Category Archives: Movies

He Watches. He Listens. He Thinks. He Writes.

Paterson is calm and thoughtful.  It is almost impossible to upset him.  He follows basically the same routine every day.  Gets up. Has cereal for breakfast. Drives his city bus route. Listens to his passengers talk to one another. Listens to his supervisor complain about his life. Goes home. Eats the supper his wife has prepared and listens to her tell him about her latest creative project- decorating cupcakes, making curtains or learning to play country music on the guitar.  Takes his wife’s dog Marvin for a walk. Stops at the local pub for one beer and a chat with the bartender.  Goes back home. Goes to bed.  

patersonBut while Paterson is doing all these seemingly routine things he is also intimately observing the world around him, carefully considering every little thing he sees and listening thoughtfully to what people say. And then he writes poetry about his observations and reflections in a small brown notebook he keeps with him almost all the time. He rarely shows his wife these poems, never shows them or reads them to anyone else, and despite his wife’s constant urging never makes copies of them.  

Paterson was the main character in a movie we saw last Sunday.  The film moves quite slowly but in doing so invites the viewer to become calm and watch the story unfolding on the screen in the careful, patient, observant way of the film’s protagonist. 

In  conversation with my brother who saw the film with me, I realized that although my personality is quite different from Paterson’s we have some similarities.  I also like to observe, listen, think and write about things I encounter each day. But unlike Paterson, who keeps his writing to himself, I have a need to share mine with others. Hence this blog.  

Other posts…………

Warms Your Heart and Makes You Laugh Out Loud

This is Just to Say

The Poetry of Boxing

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Don’t Have A Nice Day- My 10 Suggestions

A octagenarian disc jockey is spinning her favorite vinyls on air and in between tracks gives advice to her listeners. At one point she says, Don’t have a nice day. Have a day that matters, a day that means something.

We saw the movie The Last Word recently.  It stars Shirley MacClaine as an elderly woman named Harriet Lauler. Harriet hires a reporter to write her obituary before she dies. During the process of assembling material for the obituary Harriet realizes she has neglected the relationships and experiences that give life meaning, richness and value. She decides to try to change that in the last days of her life. 

The Last Word was not a good movie.  It plodded, the dialogue was unrealistic and it was full of plot holes, but………… there were some memorable lines in the film and “Don’t have a nice day. Have a day that matters, that means something” was one of those.  It got me thinking about what a person needs to do in a day to make it meaningful, to consider it a day that matters. Here’s my list. I suspect everyone’s will be different.

  1. Write something
  2. Connect with other people 
  3. Do something kind or helpful
  4. Go outside
  5. Learn something new 
  6. Pray 
  7. Work on a project I am trying to complete
  8. Read
  9. Exercise and eat in a healthy enjoyable way
  10. Do something a little outside my comfort zone

Other posts……….

Being Mortal

I Need to See a Happy Movie

The Value of Silence


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I Live in A Movie Set

Did you know that fifteen movies or television series were shot in Winnipeg last year?  That information comes courtesy of the Manitoba branch of  The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists.   A movie was being filmed on our street again last week. When I left the condo early on Thursday morning to take my husband to work, they were stringing lights around the trees on our side of Bannaytne Avenue and decorating them with greenery and bows.  Later when I went to the gym the Winnipeg police were on duty making sure people didn’t interfere with the filming.  film crew on bannatyneWhen I left for work in the late afternoon a horse drawn carriage was standing in front of Hermanos, the restaurant on the main floor of our building and actors were rehearsing a scene on Hermanos’ steps.  

I looked online and two movies are being filmed in Winnipeg right now, Mr. Snowman and Break My Heart A Thousand Times.  I’m guessing the one on our street was Mr. Snowman. 

set for jack layton film

Crew filming outside my building a few years ago.

According to the city’s website Winnipeg is a great location to make a movie because it can masquerade as many other places. The Exchange District has 140 buildings preserved as they looked at the turn of the century making it a great location for filming period pieces. We also have highly quailifed film crews and production facilities and a provincial tax credit program to encourage film production. Other drawing cards are Winnipeg’s four distinct seasons and lots of quality hotels as well as cultural activities to house and entertain film production crews. 

 Having film crews in the neighborhood is nothing unusual if you live in the Exchange District of Winnipeg.  It is all part of the charm and excitement of having a home in such an historic part of the city. 

Other posts……..

I’m Living in a Movie Set

Chicago of the North

Winnipeg in the Movies


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Now I Really Want to Go to Botswana

I’ve long had an inclination to travel to Botswana.  I was a huge fan of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency books when they first came out and fell in love with their heroine Precious Ramotswe . Precious is so imbued with kindness and serenity that it leaves the reader thinking Botswana must be a kind and peaceful place too. Author Alexander McCall Smith makes the country sound intriguing, inviting and beautiful.

On Sunday night I saw the movie United Kingdom and now I really want to go to Botswana.  The movie is an account of how the country managed to establish a strong measure of independence over the ruling British by gaining  mineral rights to diamond discoveries in the country. They also decided to end their traditional monarchy and elect their first president. If that sounds like a bit of a mundane historical story line be assured it is not because at the heart of the movie United Kingdom is the love story of Botswana’s first black  president Seretse Khama and the British white woman Ruth Williams he marries while studying in London. They face considerable pressure to end their marriage especially from politicians in neighboring South Africa who are just introducing apartheid and have made interracial marriage illegal.  But the couple perseveres, winning the respect and support of the people of Botswana. Now their son Ian is the president of Botswana. 

Knowing more about the colourful  history of the country from the movie United Kingdom makes Botswana an even more alluring destination. This post is putting my personal travel planner (my husband) on notice that Botswana might need to move up the bucket list. 

Other posts………

Sometimes You Just Need a Dose of Precious

Five Things I’ll Remember About the Movie Selma


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The Biggest Loser

I came in last!  We had a little Oscar party on Sunday night with friends.  Just before the Academy Awards show started we all selected our favorites in a dozen or so main categories.  We got a point for every movie winner we chose correctly. I was the biggest loser.  

I certainly didn’t think Emma Stone in La La Land should have won the best actress award.  I chose Ruth Negga for her understated but moving performance in  Loving as a woman trying to get her mixed race marriage legally recognized.

For best actor I didn’t pick Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea I went with Viggo Mortensen who gave a thought-provoking emotional performance in Captain Fantastic as a man raising his kids alone in the wilderness.  

I selected Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water for best supporting actor. Jeff played Marcus Newman a character based on a real Texas lawman. Jeff’s portrayal was convincing but it didn’t win him the best supporting actor award.

I did get best supporting actress right since I chose Viola Davis for her powerful performance in Fences. She was the very heart of her family and the film as far as I was concerned. I also picked the right original song and music score both from La La Land even though I much prefered the soundtrack of Manchester by the Sea

I earmarked  Silence for cinematography because its  views of the Japanese wilderness and Japanese villages in the 1600s were stunning. I was wrong again because La La Land took this category. 

Manchester by the Sea got my vote for best picture, best director and best screenplay.  I thought it was far and away the top  film when it came to telling a gripping and moving story.  It only won the screenplay award. 

At the end of the evening when the scores were tallied I had picked the fewest Oscar winners. Luckily an earlier plan to actually bet money on the outcome was scrapped so at least my poor predicting skills didn’t cost me any cash.  

If you click on the links in this post you can see other posts I wrote about the nominated films. 

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Too Much Smoking

The last two movies I saw had main characters who smoked pretty much all the time. Annette Bening’s character Dorothea in Twentieth Century Women and Matthew Mc Conaughey’s character Kenny Wells in Gold.  Both movies were set in times when smoking was still the social norm but I found it very distracting to see these characters constantly lighting up cigarettes or puffing away on them. 

twentieth-century-womenI realize in the decades in which these films take place most people didn’t know about the damage of second hand smoke but it still bothered me that Dorothea was constantly smoking around her young son and Kenny around his girlfriend and associates.  

I grew up in an era when people smoked everywhere. As a teen if I went to watch a hockey game at the local arena I came home reeking of smoke from the smokers in the crowd.  When I first started teaching the staff room in my Winnipeg school was blue with smoke. Many teachers lit up as soon as they entered.  

goldI know that’s just how it was thirty and forty years ago and I fully recognize how hard it must be to quit smoking especially if you started smoking in that time when it was so acceptable. But for some reason it bothers me to see it in a movie.  The smoking on screen troubles and distracts me.  The World Health Organization published a report in 2015 calling for all movies with smoking in them to be labeled R.  Apparently about half of Hollywood movies still have characters who smoke and the WHO has done research to show if kids see these movies they think smoking is cool and want to smoke too. 

I am certainly not disputing the WHO’s findings but when I see smoking in movies I think it is anything but cool. 

Other posts…….

Sitting is the New Smoking

What Will Our Grandchildren Think?

Knuckleball- Think Mennonite Corner Gas

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Three Lessons From The Movie Arrival

  • arrivalWhen a problem of global proportions needs solving all the countries of the world should work together peacefully and productively. Isolationism and looking out for only your own country’s interests doesn’t work. 
  • We tend to fear those we don’t know.  If you haven’t traveled outside your own country or made a point of getting to know those who are very different from yourself it is easy to be scared of aliens or foreigners or immigrants who are really more like us than we might think. 
  • Live in the moment.  Enjoy and appreciate the now.  Don’t let your worries or concerns about the future color your present too much.  

Other posts………


Hacksaw Ridge

Hidden Figures


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