Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks-Snowy/Winter movies and Happy New Year!


The last day of 2015 where we all reflect on the year that has been and look forward to the year ahead.  Some people had great years while others will be happy to see it go but we all can say we made it through.  This week, the year ends on snowy/wintry movies so head on over to Wandering Through The Shelves to see what the others have picked.  here are my 3...

1. THE GOLD RUSH-1925


I have not seen this film in a while but it doesn't mean it has not left an impact on me.  Chaplin wrote, directed, produced and starred in this classic as, of course, the little tramp. It takes place when there was gold found in the Yukon in 1896 and many, many men traveled to strike it rich. We all know the classic scene where, starving, Chaplin boils his shoe and starts eating it twirling the laces like they were spaghetti. I have a vivid, loving memory of my dad and I laughing until we could not speak, tears streaming down our cheeks when Chaplin is being chased by his prospector partner, played by Mack Swain,  around the table in the cabin. The cabin, getting closer and closer to the cliff but all that Swain sees is one huge chicken, not his friend. Of course there is the dance hall girl that Chaplin falls for and loves from afar. A gem of a film that kids could watch today and laugh til their stomach hurts.

2. DR. ZHIVAGO-1965


This is an epic romance film set against World War 1 and after, with the Russian Revolution taking centre stage affecting everyone in the most saddest of ways. Yes, the make-up and hair is mod 1960's but who cares-the romance and story is what grips us. Many may feel now that it is long winded but what I find interesting is that both my mom and her brother, who was not a film watcher at all, both stated this was their favourite film. The music is beautiful with the opening credits of the frost on  the glass. The cinematography is breath-taking. My mom and her brother endured communism after the war (They were now in East Germany) and they both stated that was when the real hell began. Starvation, the cold, lack of coal, stealing wood to keep warm-my mom and her brother did this. Their home was no longer theirs but "for the people" and so finally, my mom escaped and later, my grandparents walked out with what they could carry, leaving the door unlocked. Can you imagine doing this? This film brings this home  and more. I want to read the book since Pasternak based the love story on his own. Until the day he died, the Communist regime kept him and the woman he loved separate except for brief moments. Either he or she were considered enemies of the state and sent to the gulags in Siberia. Once Pasternak died, she asked for the letters he had written to her but the government never gave them to her.  I say, think of that when you watch this film.

3. INSOMNIA-2002



This film, I believe is not too well known but it is excellent and not so much due to the acting of Pacino but of the great acting by Robin Williams. If you are thinking Mrs. Doubtfire, think again! He plays someone very, very creepy. Pacino plays a cop ( always a cop or thug) who travels to Alaska to solve a murder of a young girl. He suffers from, you guessed it, insomnia, so is slow on his game. A cat and mouse game ensues and you wonder who will actually win. I don't want to say more because I don't want to give too much away.

I didn't pick Fargo since I have a feeling it will be popular-It is a great film. Which films would you pick? Planning to go out, watch movies, see the ball drop at Times Square or go to bed by 10pm? No matter how you celebrate, have a wonderful New Year and may this year bring all we wish for.


57 comments:

  1. I need to watch Insomnia again. Noland is an amazing director.
    Best snow movies? I'd say my top one is John Carpenter's The Thing. Kurt Russell at his best!
    Happy New Year, Birgit.

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    1. The Thing is excellent but I like the original with the big carrot played by James Arness of Gunsmoke fame. Happy New year!

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  2. Only one I knew was Dr. Zhivago. I don't see enough movies to select, but seem to remember Fargo took place in snow. Happy New Year to you.

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    1. You are right about Fargo! Happy New Year!

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  3. Totally sad what your mom and her family endured at the hands of the Communist regime, along with so many others. I can't imagine walking away like that either, but in the long run it was better to have done so than to put up with those conditions and worse.

    Didn't see any of these movies and right now no snow movies are coming to mind, probably because I'm trying to block them out considering it is cold here and I want warmth :)

    Probably will not make it to midnight; haven't in years :) We tend to celebrate it on New York time which will be 10 p.m. here and then call it a night :)

    Happy New Year!

    betty

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    1. Thank you about my mom and you are right...they came to a better life and I wouldn't be here if she didn't. I am enjoying the colder temps and wish for snow. New Years can often be over-rated so enjoy your evening and write to you next year:)

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  4. Haven't seen the Chaplin movie. Haven't seen Dr. Zhivago either but it is on my list, especially after my trip to Russia last year. 'Insomnia' just freaked me out. I still remember Pacino trying to darken the room at night. We saw the location where it was filmed when we were in British Columbia. Happy New Year to you.

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    1. Insomnia is eerie and it is neat when one is at a location where a movie was being filmed. I hope you will like Dr. Zhivago. Happy New Year!

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  5. Happy New Year Birgit.....will be watching films tonight haven't decided what yet! Xxxx

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    1. Happy New Year and I would have fun with comedies:)

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  6. Insomnia is a great movie indeed. I've seen scenes from Dr. Zhivago in Must Love Dogs, that count? lol

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    1. Hahahaaaa-Nope! One day I hope you sit through Dr Zhivago. Glad you saw Insomnia

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  7. Hi, dear Birgit!

    I watched Dr. Z man years ago and remember that spectacular cinematography. Thank you for adding the gripping personal story about your family's hellish ordeal.

    I liked Robin Williams better in his serious roles and you've got me interested in seeing Insomnia. (He starred in One Hour Photo that same year.)

    Alex stole my answer because the remake of The Thing immediately came to mind when you asked us to name movies set in the snow and ice. I will add to it the original Howard Hawks thriller The Thing From Another World (1951) and, of course, Fargo. I hope you are watching the new Fargo TV series which just wrapped up its second season with a third season slated for 2017.

    I am very thankful to have gained a friend like you this year, Birgit. You are interesting, intelligent and always write quality comments. I look forward to sharing much more with you in the coming year.

    Happy new year to you and yours, dear friend BB!

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    1. Oh my...you almost leave me speechless with your beautiful comment-thank you and a great way to ring in the new year. One Hour Photo is excellent and if you liked him in this then you must see Insomnia. The Thing is great but I prefer the original which you mentioned-nothing like James Arness as a big carrot:) I so enjoy your blog as well and your witty style. I can't wait to read and listen more

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  8. A nice varied line-up. I'm not much for silent Chaplin excepting Modern Times, I know it's nearly sacrilege but I prefer Limelight and Monsieur Verdoux to any of the silents.

    Dr. Zhivago is an epic I wish I could adore. I like it well enough and it's gorgeous to look at...the Ice Palace!...but it always loses me somewhere around the middle. Still a good film and those experiences your family had to go through must have been harrowing.

    Insomnia is one that has long been on my list but I've yet to get around to. I'll have to correct that.

    None of mine are quite so weighty, and my last is the definition of flyaway, but they're all very snow covered. Hope you have a great New Year's Eve whatever you do!

    Mystery, Alaska (1999)-Mystery, Alaska is a small, quiet town where hockey is the most important thing in the lives of the townsfolk. The mayor oversees special "Saturday Games" selecting locals to play against each other for the enjoyment of the other townspeople. When an article about the town and their hockey playing is published in Sports Illustrated a native son, who has left and made a name for himself in sports, convinces the NHL to have the N.Y. Rangers play a televised exhibition game in the town for publicity. This causes no end of upheaval. This was Russell Crowe's last film just before moving on to superstardom in Gladiator.

    Iron Will (1994)-Having recently lost his father and in peril of losing the family farm a young man, Will Stoneman, enters a grueling dog sled race across the frozen north just before the outbreak of WWI. As he endures many hardships the newspapers latch onto his story and he becomes an inspiration for the country famed as "Iron Will".

    Ski Party (1965)-Silly comedy, basically a beach party movie moved to the slopes. Two college boys pretend to be women on a ski weekend to meet other women. Taking into consideration the name of the movie your expectations should be low to start with but this is still a pretty dumb time waster. The major redeeming feature would be the appearances of James Brown and even more so Lesley Gore. Notice how whenever someone sings the movie switches to stereophonic sound! Also the scene of night skiing with color flares over which the opening credits are projected is very striking but otherwise...well read the description.

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    1. I find that Chaplin went from great film making to brilliant auteur film making once he created the films you mentioned. I hope you see Insomnia-it is good because of Williams. I almost picked Mystery, Alaska-such a fun film and many forget that Crowe was in it with Hank Azaria no less. I have not seen the other 2 but Ski Party sounds like it should star Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. You are so right about the singing in stereophonic sound-hahahaaa

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    2. Oh gosh golly:) Happy New Year!!

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    3. Frankie Avalon IS in it!!! Just no Annette, two of those other standbys of Beach Party mania, Deborah Walley and Yvonne Craig take her place.

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    4. OMG! I was just joking but that it too funny especially since Deborah Walley was in The Girl In The Invisible Bikini-Tell me is the bike gang in this film to-Von Zipper?

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  9. Insomnia is a film I keep meaning to re-watch. It's been so long since I've seen it. I haven't seen the other two.

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    1. Insomnia is good and I hope you see the other 2 one day-Happy New Year

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  10. Sad story about Pasternak, which I didn't know, and about your family. The world doesn't seem to be much better now when you look around, we can only hope for the future. All the best to you and yours - Happy New Year and may you have love and peace in 2016.

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    1. His story is a sad one and I wish people could learn from it. Happy New year to you as well

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  11. Ooh, I didn't know Robin Williams did a movie like that. He was so brilliant.

    Happy, happy, healthy and loving New Year's, Brigit!

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    1. He did and One Hour Photo is also excellent where he is quite creepy. You, also, have a beautiful chocolate filled year ahead:)

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  12. I have not seen any of those. Not sure why.

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    1. I hope you get a chance to see them-Happy New Year!

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  13. I was too young when I saw it that I didn't get the fullness of the story. If I had known that Doctor Zhivago was based on Pasternak's life, I may have appreciated the movie a lot more. Happy New Year, Birgit!

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    1. I don't know if it was really based on his life or that he just used bits of it as inspiration. Have a great day and year ahead!

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  14. Happy New Year Birgit, Live Long and prosper!

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    1. Same to you and I hold up my hand in the Vulcan sign of greetings

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  15. I've rewatched The Gold Rush the other day, and I love it each time more if that's even possible. I haven't seen the other two but they are on my watch-list.

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    1. That is great that you saw The Gold Rush-such a funny movie.

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  16. Epic is the perfect word to describe Dr. Zhivago. Kudos to your uncle and mom for being strong enough to survive that particular hell.

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    1. Yes they are strong and such a different lifetime ago

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  17. Happy New Year! One day, I'm gonna have to see Dr. Zhivago. Just need to schedule a couple days for it. The Gold Rush is one of the many Chaplin films I haven't seen. Really want to see all of his work. Insomnia is a great pick. It is the epitome of cold, despite the fact it takes place during summer.

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    1. Yup you are right about Insomnia because I always felt it was a winter film. I hope you get to see the other 2 this year

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  18. I haven't seen any of these- though Insomnia sounds familiar. I have been wanting to watch Dr. Zhivago for about two years because I know someone and it is their favorite movie of all time and they watch it every year on their birthday. Looks like I have more movies to check out. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. Oh I hope you get to see Dr. Zhivago and glad to hear you have a friend who loves this film.

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  19. Haven't seen any of these. Insomnia is one I keep meaning to, but never do. Guess I should. Same goes for Dr. Zhivago. And I just need to hit up Charlie Chaplin's filmography, period. Great picks!

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    1. Thank you and hope you do see Insomnia and the others when you get a chance

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  20. My wife chides me because I've never seen Dr. Zhivago. I know it's one of the really great ones but I haven't seen it yet. Maybe I should make that one of my resolutions.
    If you were going to recommend five of the best movies you've ever seen, what would they be?
    R

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    1. 5 eh? Well It's A Wonderful Life. 2. Casablanca 3. Singing In The Rain 4. La Belle Et La Bette 5. White Heat. Oh let's do 5 more...6. The Quiet Man 7. The Searchers. 8. Dr. Zhivago. 9. All Quiet on the Western Front(1930) 10. The Big Parade. There are so many more I could put down but this is off the top of my head

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  21. Zhivago is definitely snowy.

    It feels like cheating but The Empire Strikes Back comes to mind. Fargo, of course. Loads of winter sports movies: Cool Runnings, Better Off Dead, etc.

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    1. Empire works for sure and Fargo is a resounding Yes!

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    2. Steve Martin's Father of the Bride has a very sweet scene involving snow.

      Dead Poets Society.

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  22. I haven't seen any of these, though I'm sure I saw parts of Dr Zhivago when I was a kid. It's a cool theme. If I had to pick winter movies I'd choose Groundhog Day, The Thing, 30 Days of Night, Let the Right One In, Dreamcatcher, The Day After Tomorrow, Dead of Winter, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated), The Family Stone and The Nightmare Before Christmas. (Yeah, that's a lot more than 3, and I have to admit I could't think of any beside The Dead of Winter so I had to Google winter movies. But I love these ones so that counts, doesn't it?) Happy 2016!!!

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    1. Yes there are many to choose from for sure. Happy New Year!

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  23. I've really got to see Dr. Zhivago. Nothing says the holidays quite like war and revolution.
    Incidentally, was this the movie that had "Lara's Theme?"

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  24. Great picks. Insomnia was really great.
    Have a prosperous new year and best wishes!

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    1. You have the same year ahead filled with serenity and health

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  25. My snowy-themed (or snowy/winter) picks would be: Wind Chill, Better off Dead, and Hot Tub Time Machine! I like to balance out my horror with a bit more comedy.

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    1. Aha! I have to see all three still. My list gets ever larger

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  26. Hi Birgit, Happy New Year. I've only seen one of these movies, (Dr. Z and on the big screen when it was first released). I can't even think of any snow movies aside from Christmas in Connecticut, with Barbara Stanwyck. We saw that just before our trip to Fla. Love these old movies..but yeah, some are a bit hokey. (well, I LIKE hokey sometimes!!!). TFS & Hugs

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    1. Some can be and what \ delight to see Dr Z on the big screen. I haven't seen the Stanwyck film since I was a kid so need to see that one again

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  27. I'v only seen Dr Z from this lot... and now I can't shake that haunting theme from my head! The other two are definitely going on my list... and so t begins! :) HAPY NEW YEAR, friend! May all your dreams and desires come true n 2016.
    x Asha

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