Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

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 Movie is “Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964):

Once upon a time there were two great powers in the world. The United States and the Soviet Union, better known by its nickname, “The Evil Empire” or simply the Ruskies. Ruskies is American for Russians. “Dr. Strangelove” takes a fond look at those long-ago times when there was a Cold War.

There are generals, and then there are generals. I love George C. Scott’s general. Especially when he confronts the Peter Sellers’ President. The President is trying to prevent a nuclear war with the Russians. He wants to bring the Russian ambassador to the Situation Room. Scott’s General confronts the President with a national security issue. “He’ll see the Big Board.” Now, we can’t have the Russians seeing the Big Board, can we?

It’s scenes like this that make “Dr. Strangelove” one of the funniest movies ever.

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Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: There’s Giants in Them There Hills

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 Movie is “The BFG” (2016):

Many Never-Neverland stories begin with an orphan: Tom Jones (the character, not the singer), Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist, Pip, Peter Pan, Mowgli, Dorothy Gale, Tarzan, Snow White, Superman, Batman, Harry Potter. And so is Sophie, the young heroine, in “The BFG”.

Sophie wakes up one night in the orphanage. Curiosity drives her to one of the orphanage windows. She sees a giant. And not just any giant but a Big Friendly Giant. The BFG kidnaps Sophie. He is afraid Sophie will tell the world that she saw a giant. He can’t imagine that no one will believe a child.

The BFG carries her to his home in the land of the giants. She is told that she can never leave but must stay with him for the rest of her life. Since he collects dreams, he gives her a nightmare. She will be eaten by another giant if she escapes. Unlike his fellow giants, he isn’t a monster. He just wants to keep the world from finding out that there are giants.

When she wakes the next morning, one of the other giants, a people eater, shows up at BFG’s door. He smells human and he gives things a good looksee over. Nope, no humans here. He leaves, scratching his head. That night she goes out with BFG to collect and distribute dreams. Out of this unlikely beginning, a wonderful friendship.

Stephen Spielberg directed this one with a screenplay by Melissa Mathison. She contributed the screenplay to “E.T.” So it’s easy to understand why this one has a certain e-t-ish quality to it. The two of them have taken a bit of “The Iron Giant”, thrown in some “Mary Poppins” and a smidgen of “The Wizard of Oz” and come up with “The BFG”.

Unfortunately, Melissa Mathison died of cancer shortly after the film was completed. What a wonderful gift she gave us to remember her by.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: Faith and Imagination

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 Netflix production of “The Little Prince” (2015):

This film appealed to my child’s imagination. Showed me how often I put up boundaries to it. As children, we let our imaginations fly. If writing haiku has taught me anything, it’s only by letting go and following my imagination that creativity comes.

Maybe there’s a bench across the street. I leave work late at night and see the bench all alone. My imagination allows me to feel what that bench must be feeling. How come nobody loves me? Most of us have days like that. Then the next day, the bench is so happy that people come and sit on it and talk to other people about the day ahead. Or being tired at the end of the day.

Then the bench is all alone again. Then the bench takes to meditating what people must be like when it sees people at their best and at their worst. There’s no Mr. In-between.

Follow your Imagination and you too will find the Little Prince.

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.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: A Ghost Story

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. To celebrate the upcoming Scary Day of Halloween, there’s no better way than seeing a scary movie. This week’s Spotlight Movie is “Ghost Story” (1981). This one is not for the kids and please do not see it alone:

Seems all the ghosts have been run out of Dodge these days what with all the zombie movies and tv shows. It’s enough to make a person want to die and haunt a house just to bring the spectres back. Course there were the “Poltergeist” and “Ghostbusters” remakes. But those don’t count. They are remakes.

No. What we need is a real live ghost movie to make us shiver in our booties. But don’t worry. Uncle Bardie is up to the job. He has found a ghost story and it’s a good’un. It’s adapted from a novel by Stephen King’s bud, Peter Straub. And, of course, it’s appropriately named “Ghost Story” (1979).

Did you do something long ago that you deeply regret? Was it a terrible terrible something? Well, four old men in small town of Milburn, New York (Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, John Houseman, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) have a secret of Something from their young-men days they deeply regret. A dark Something.

To assuage their guilt, they meet once a week and swap stories. They call themselves the Chowder Society. Then one of the men die. And the three left alive start having dreams. Bad dreams. Really bad dreams. In fact, they are nightmares.