Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Holidays to All and to All a Good Night!

Made it through another writing year! Are you taking a break or is this prime, quiet, writing time for you?

by Paul D. Marks

A break? Are you kidding? Do writers ever take—or get—a break? There’s blogs to write and stories to flog and novels to finish (I did just finish one). Even when we’re not at a keyboard writing-writing we’re thinking and plotting and figuring out ways to kill you, uh, I mean kill someone in our stories.

Actually, I’m working on several short stories, writing blogs and working on another novel besides the one mentioned above. I like being busy, especially busy with writing. And always hoping for more time to be reading. So there’s two of three Rs accounted for. I’m not so fond of the third R, ’rithmetic, but a .666 batting average ain’t too bad, certain other implications of that number aside.

But yeah, maybe somewhere in there there’s room for a hot toddy (I don’t like eggnog) and some family time and Christmas movies. We’ve already started on those, having watched Miracle on 34th Street and Love Actually. Hey, some things you gotta do.

And since it’s Christmas Eve-Eve, some fave Christmas movies:

Miracle on 34th Street (the original only) (Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood, Edmund Gwenn)
The Shop Around the Corner (Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullivan, directed by Ernst Lubitsch)
Christmas in Connecticut (Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet, S.Z. Sakall)
A Christmas Story (Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Jean Shepherd)
A Christmas Carol (we usually watch at least one version of this every year, though the favorite for both of us is the Alastair Sim version)
Remember the Night (Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, screenplay by Preston Sturges)
It’s a Wonderful Life (Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, directed by Frank Capra)
Holiday Affair (Robert Mitchum, Janet Leigh)

But if you’re looking for something not quite so Christmasy, but not as dark as noir, and not in the crime/gangster genres, give some of these a shot (in no particular order):

They Might Be Giants (George C. Scott, Joanne Woodward)
Soldier in the Rain (Steve McQueen, Jackie Gleason, Tuesday Weld, based on a novel by William Goldman)
A Hard Day’s Night (the Beatles)
The Searchers (John Wayne, Natalie Wood, directed by John Ford)
Shane (Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur)
American Hardcore (no, it’s not porn, it’s about the punk rock movement)
It’s Alive 1974-1996 (The Ramones in concert, though it looks like it’s out of print, still can find it on eBay, but CD is available)
Ruthless People (Bette Midler, Danny DeVito, Judge Reinhold, directed by the Airplane guys)
Uncle Buck (John Candy)
Planes, Trains, Automobiles (John Candy, Steve Martin)
Only the Lonely (John Candy, Ally Sheedy)
Sullivan’s Travels (Veronica Lake, Joel McCrea, directed by Preston Sturges; also The Lady Eve, another Sturges movie)
Sideways (Paul Giamatti, Thomas Hayden Church, Sandra Oh, Virginia Madsen)
Ghost World (Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi)
Philadelphia Story (Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart)
His Girl Friday (Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell)
The Gay Divorcee/Top Hat/Swing Time (Fred and Ginger)
Thin Man movies (Bill and Myrna—and TCM is doing a marathon today)
And Now My Love (Toute une vie) (Marthe Keller, André Dussollier, Directed by Claude Lelouch)
Casablanca (my favorite movie, period) (Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt)

If you have kids, some older Disney live-action movies they might not ordinarily see:

In Search of the Castaways (Hayley Mills, Maurice Chevalier, George Sanders, based on a story by Jules Verne)
Old Yeller (good movie, but might make kids sad) (Dorothy McGuire, Fess Parker, Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran, Chuck Connors)
The Moon Spinners (Hayley Mills, Eli Wallach)

Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night!


And now for the usual BSP:

I have a couple of appearances in January.

Santa Clarita: The Old Town Newhall Library
Saturday, January 14, 2017, from 10:00 AM-3:00 PM.
24500 Main St, Santa Clarita, CA  91321

Cerritos Library, where I’ll be moderating a panel:
Saturday, January 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
18025 Bloomfield Avenue, Cerritos, CA  90703


Art Taylor said...

Great list of films here--some favorites of my own, and many I haven't seen but will be looking up. (Never even heard of the The Moon Spinners, but looks great!)
Good luck with all the writing too--and I think you're actually safe to round up to .667 here and dodge any implications!
Happy holidays ahead.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks for suggestion to round up to 667, Art. Wish I'd thought of that :-). And I haven't seen The Moon Spinners in a long time, but I liked it as a kid. I wonder if Dash would. In Search of the Castaways though is kind of fun, but of course they're products of their times.

Happy Holidays to you and Tara and Dash-ing through the snow...!


GBPool said...

I try to catch some of the traditional Christmas movies every year. A Christmas Carol in most all of its versions is always welcomed. And Miracle on 34th Street is still a good movie. But many of the movies they push as Christmas movies might as well be shown in June or September. Nothing Christmas about them. Maybe Hollywood will get a clue and a heart and come up with a holiday story that really captures the meaning of Christmas.

Paul D. Marks said...

Gayle, we also watch several each year, but usually always Miracle, Christmas Carol, Shop Around the Corner and A Christmas Story, and then switch off on the rest. And you're right about Hollywood getting a clue.

M.M. Gornell said...

A lot on your list I haven't seen(need to see!), but do remember Shane. Still tear up remembering the ending... Also plan to watch a lot of BBC/ACORN dvds like Alleyn, and Campion, and Miss Marple and Poirot and read and keep my head under the covers! Ahhh!!! Merry Christmas, Paul.

Paul D. Marks said...

Sounds like you have a good list too, Madeline, both reading and dvds. Enjoy! And Merry Christmas to you, too!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the list of entertainment choices! I will have to enjoy it all vicariously this year, imagining sitting around the fire with the family watching old movies, Christmas tunes on the radio, hot drinks on demand, mistletoe, blinking decorations, and all the rest that will have to wait for next time around. But am enjoying it all the same. Happy holidays and happy writing Paul!!

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, RM. Well, that's we do as writers, we imagine. So enjoy your vicarious time around the fire and watching old movies. And Happy Holidays to you!

catriona said...

So true about the non-break. I'm on holiday as of Wednesday and a new idea popped up on Friday, that I had to jot down.

Paul D. Marks said...

Catriona, that's what people about our "plight". Kinda like actors, we're always "on". Have a great holiday.

Stephen Buehler said...

You already watched my two favorites, Miracle on 34th Street (I think Natalie Wood did a fantastic performance) and Love Actually.

Good luck with your finished novel and more luck on the one you're starting

You and Amy and a great Christmas & New Year!
- Stephen

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Stephen!

And we have several that we watch every year. Sort of doesn't seem right without them. What are others of yours -- if you see this response.

And Merry Christmas and a Great New Year to you and Seymour, too!

P & A