Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: We are all a garden

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight is the movie, “This Beautiful Fantastic” (2017):

I had seen the trailer for this movie some time ago. Can’t remember when. I wasn’t sure I would like this one. But I was having a downer of an evening. It was a little over a week after Hurricane Harvey. And there was Irma barreling toward Florida. So I took a chance with the hope that this one would pull me out of my low spirits.

I gotta say it did. Did so much I wanted to turn around and watch it a second time.

Director Simon Aboud has created a film about community and friendship and how much they can change a person. Bella Brown (Jessica Brown Findlay) isn’t an outgoing sort of person. She has a new flat and a new job. And she is terribly terribly organized. There isn’t anything out of kilter in her new flat. The can goods are in their proper place, very much like “a food prison”. Her clothes hang just so in the closet. Her meal is laid out on her plate. And her new job is working in a library,of course.

Unfortunately, at least for a terribly organized person, she keeps arriving at her job late. It isn’t her fault. Her neighbor, Alfie Stephenson (Tom Wilkinson), is a crocketdy old man, and he keeps yelling that it is her responsibility to take care of the space behind her flat. After all, he is her neighbor and he likes gardens. The space is a mess.

Alfie is such a complainer he loses his cook, Vernon (Andrew Scott). Even though she can’t pay him, he goes to work for Bella just to spite Alfie.

In the meantime, Bella meets an inventor, Billy (Jeremy Irvine), in the library. Seeing each other day after day at the library, they begin a friendship. It helps that her boss, Bramble (Anna Chancelor), keeps shushing Billy and bringing out Bella’s sympathy for him.

Alfie reports Bella to the landlord. The landlord insists she has one month to change the mess outside her house into a lovely garden. Bella doesn’t even like plants, and here she has to create a garden. It’s not going to be easy. Especially with Alfie brow beating her over her inability to make a garden.

But hearts do change. Especially in fairy tales. Whether there will be a happily ever after in this one is anybody’s guess. Just as Bella has her garden going, a storm comes in and blows everything every whichaway. Just as Bella is falling for the inventor, she sees him with another woman. Just as she masters her job at the library, she is fired for being late.

And there is a flying mechanical bird named Luna. She may just save Bella’s day.

This is Simon About’s second film. Let’s hope he gives us many more.

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The Uglies

Let’s face it. We all have a bit of the Uglies in us. When I say Uglies, I mean Ug-a-lug-lies.

From time to time, those Uglies have to burst loose. There’s no two ways about it. Oh, sure. Later we’ll do a Flip Wilson and say, “The devil made me do it.” That’s ‘cause we’re embarrassed we let our dumbass show.

When we see others do the Uglies, we don’t let them off the hook that easy. We want them to get their just desserts. Either that or some of that instant karma John Lennon sang about.

This goes even more so for fairy tales. We want the Wicked Witch of the West to melt. We want the mirror to shatter on the Wicked Queen. She wanted Mr. Mirror to give her the fake news that she was the fairest in the land. We want He-who-must-not-be-named to have his name stamped on his rear-end. And not just stamped. Branded. Ouch! That’s got to hurt.

Nowhere along the way do we consider that they may not be villains and that they might have a bad case of the Uglies themselves. If we give them a chance, those Uglies might wear off and these folks might turn out to be decent human beings. Who is to say that Harry Potter didn’t have a very good press agent. Once Voldemort was branded with that He-who-must-not-named label, there was no getting off scot free for him.

It may be that Humpty Dumpty woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Or that the king had the Uglies and pushed Humpty off the wall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put the Dump back into Humpty Dumpty. At least, that’s what the king told the press. And we know the reason the Chicken crossed the road. She was run out of Dodge with her own set of Uglies.

Consider the Cinderella story. We want Cinderella’s wicked step mom to lose. And not just loose, but loose big time. After all, her daughters are real works of art. They’re haughty and persnickety. In fact, that’s their names, Haughty and Persnickety. And Step Mom is not interested in love. She’s only interested in the cash. Bet you’d kick the romantic out of your head if you were as poor as a dormouse and had four mouths to feed.

Let’s just consider Step Mom’s side of things. She marries a guy because he’s got a steady job. Her first husband ran off with the Spoon. He left her with two daughters who were always crying, “Feed me.” She met Cyndi’s dad at the local Parents Without Partners. They hit it off. Before you can say Abracadabra, they did a Vegas and wallah! Problem solved. Then Dad had to go and get himself hit by a truck. Of course, he didn’t have any life insurance. The only income Step Mom had coming in was the alimony payments from her first husband.

Since the girls were about to turn eighteen, Step Mom had to find a new source of income. She got herself a real estate agent certification and started flipping houses. Six months later, the floor fell out of the housing market. About that time, both of her daughters needed glasses.

On top of everything else, Cyndi was a handful with her “just wait till I tell my uncle” attitude. What was a mother to do? This was reason enough for Step Mom to let her Uglies burst lose. There was a ball and she was darned sure that one of her daughters was going to hook up with the prince. Come hell or highwater. And under no condition was she going to allow Cyndi to take their shine away.

For every nickel with a heads, there’s a tails to be considered. After all, it was a rich man who said, “Money can’t buy happiness.” The same fellow who said, “In God we trust. All others pay cash.”

If it quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it still may not be a duck. It may be an actor who takes his role as a duck seriously. What else can you expect from a method actor? You never know what a person is going through when they are acting out their Uglies.

And, for God’s sake, do not, under any condition, allow your Uglies to burst through the dam. Best thing is to get ready to duck. That guy, who passed you three seconds ago, may have stolen a leprechaun’s pot of gold. The lep is trying to run him down. If you chase him, you may regret it. He could burst your windshield or run you down.

Either that or he has a gub. “A gub?” you ask. “What’s a gub?” That is a whole ‘nother story.

Cause for celebrating

They’re all on their way to work. Some translators. Some teachers. Some work in banks and some don’t. They all have one thing in common. They’re on the way to a job.

They catch the Emerald City Express from the Yellow Brick Road to Wiz Blvd. They all work for the Wizard. They are the happiest of people. Well, most of them are. Some still have a hangover from last night’s partying till all hours.

They partied to celebrate Dorothy’s return to the Emerald City. She was gone for sixteen months. Doesn’t seem like much but Oz had gone to hell in a handbasket since she took off for Kansas. Now she was back, and already she had reasserted her position as the Go-to Kid. She had taken care of the Wicked Witch of the North.

Three months ago, WWN, better known as Hissy Fitt, came down from the North. She had revenge on her mind. She’d made a bid for the Munchkin Sock franchise and lost it to Snow White and the Seven Sneezes.

As she rode her broom into town, she kept saying, “Winter is coming.” Can you imagine? “Winter is coming.” What in the name of the long legged frog was that all about?

Hissy took the Emerald City in three seconds flat. Oztown didn’t have a clue what hit it. It had no defenses to speak of. Before you could say, “Before you could say,” the City was snowed in. The Munchkins were freezing in their little booties. Oz was affright with fright. There was snow everywhere.

At first, there weren’t any complaints. The kids got some time off from school. The workers got to stay home and drink eggnog. A month later and all the workers had used up their vacation and sick leave. The kids were driving their parents nuts because they were downright bored. “Enough of snow ice cream and snowball fights. We want to go back to school and play with our friends,” the kids said in their high-pitched kiddie voices.

And there was no break in the snow. It just kept coming down. The roof of the stadium dome was weighed down with snow. So much so, the roof came crashing down upon Oz’s Green Mealies, the Wiz’s own Quidditch Team. Just when they were about to give up hopeski, Dorothy’s house landed on Hissy’s head and killed her. Only her pointed ears could be seen. And quickly they melted.

At that moment, the snow went away. Suddenly it was springtime in Alaska again. So, as you can see, there was cause for celebrating. For now, they suffer through the hangovers and get back to what they do best. Their jobs.

Celestina

Celestina loved the water. When she danced in the rain, she thought of herself as a fairy princess. Emphasis being on the Fairy. A Tinkerbell perhaps. Helping Peter save Wendy and the Lost Boys. She’d dance for hours if her mother had let her. But that is not the way of mothers. They are always trying to end fairy tale adventures. Celestina loved the water. Especially when it came down nice and easy, not in buckets. The bucket days were not fairy tale kinds of rain. Those were the days she thought that maybe, just maybe, she was a mermaid.

Scrounge

He was a scrounge. That was even his middle name. It started when he was the last of a batch of ten kids and went downhill from there. In those days, they just called him “Young’un.”

He went in the Army and couldn’t march. When you’re a private and can’t march, you’re a walking-talking target. And you’re doing more than your share of k.p. That’s how he became a cook. Just a cook—and not even a short-order cook.

After he mustered out, he went to hashing it out in the worst kind of dump of a diner in a seedy part of a town in the seediest part of the state. You know, the kind of place where they hold rodeos for the roaches. You ride ‘em like some do the bull riding.

He saved up. After five years of bad hash and even worse rooms in the local rooming joint, he had enough for a down payment on a farm. He’d always dreamed of having a farm. He wanted to raise goats. The woman who sold him the goats was named Betty. He married Betty.

Then they headed on out to the farm he’d bought. He’d never actually seen it before. He found it on Ebay, put in his bid, and won. The description had been perfect for what he had in mind. A two bedroom farm house on three acres of land set against the mountains in picturesque Colorado.

They drove out from the town, the newly-weds Betty and Roger. Then they realized that once again he had been taken. He had bought the only piece of desert in whole state of Colorado.