Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: Shake Me

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 Song is “Shake Me” by The Blue Bell:

All I can say is that these guys rock. It’s amazing who you’ll come across late at night when you’re not looking for anything in particular. I stumbled on these guys on Amazon Prime music. So listen on and see if they don’t get your feet dancing.

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Uncle Bardie’s Movie Spotlight: The Light Between Oceans

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 Light Between Oceans” (2016):

If you had to choose between the one you love and your conscience, which would you choose? This is one of several themes of “The Light Between Oceans”.

Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) returns to his native Australia from the battlefields of World War One. He is a wounded man and he knows he is a wounded man. He can’t get the war out his head. To find some peace, he volunteers to be a lighthouse keeper. The lighthouse is on an island miles off shore.

Running away from life, he finds life in a woman who lives in the Western Australian town that is the jumping off point to the island. Isabel (Alicia Vikander) falls in love with him and he with her. Alone on the island, he realizes he wants to say yes to her proposal of marriage.

Tom and Isabel are happy on the island in the early days of their marriage. Their life together on the island seems perfect.

On the island, Isabel loses both of her babies during pregnancy. Then a row boat comes from the sea. On it are a dead man and a baby. Isabel wants to keep the baby; Tom wants to do the right thing and report what they have found to the authorities. This is where Tom’s dilemma begins.

At the end of the movie, I still can’t answer the question of whether I would have made the choice Tom makes. Just like I don’t know which child I would have chosen if I were Sophie in William Styron’s “Sophie’s Choice.” Or whether I would have made the choice Scobie makes in Graham Greene’s “The Heart of the Matter.” Would I have chosen the choice Danny’s father made in Chaim Potok’s “The Chosen”?  I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

Perhaps this is the moral of “The Light Between Oceans.” There is no right answer and there is wrong answer. There is only a human answer.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: Second Chances

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. Next week’s Valentine’s Day, so this week’s Spotlight Movie is for all the romantics out there. It’s Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School (2005):

Remember Robert Carlyle. Back in ’97, he appeared in a little gem of a movie, “The Full Monty”. He played an unemployed working class guy who became a male stripper.

In “Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School”, he plays Frank Keane, a baker who lost his wife to suicide. He’s engulfed by grief and can’t move on with his life. He meets weekly with a support group of widowers but that doesn’t seem to help him or any of the others.

When he least expects it, magic happens, and it happens out of the worst of circumstances. He is driving his bakery truck when he’s passed by Steve Mills (John Goodman). A few seconds later, he comes upon Steve in a car accident. The accident is serious.

As they are waiting for an ambulance, Steve tells Frank he was on his way to meet a childhood sweetheart at a ballroom dancing school. He is supposed to meet her on the fifth day of the fifth month of the fifth year of the new millenium. He promised. Then he tells the story of their childhood romance and how it came to be.

Because of the accident, Steve can’t make it. So he gives Frank his ticket to Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing & Charm School. Explain to Lisa, his childhood sweetheart, why he can’t make.

Since he promised, he goes to School. Lisa isn’t there but there are others. Marilyn Hotchkiss isn’t there either. But her daughter, Marienne, is conducting the class with several men and women. Because he doesn’t know what else to do, Frank joins the class. Then something magically happens. From that moment on, his life, and the lives of the others in the support group, are changed. Sometimes all it takes is a little dancing to heal a whole lot of grief.

In addition to Robert Carlyle and John Goodman, this movie has Marissa Tormei, Sonia Braga, Mary Steenburgen, Sean Astin, Adam Arkin and Danny Devito. And I enjoyed it immensely. So it’s two thumbs up from this end of the cosmos.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: A Christmas Movie

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 “Brother Orchid” (1940):

It’s getting harder and harder to find a good Christmas movie to recommend. All the usual suspects have been seen so many times.

“It’s a Wonderful Life”? Ain’t that the one Jimmy Stewart gets to see all those reruns of scenes from his life. “White Christmas”? Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye get to dance and sing. Love their dancing and singing but it’s time to take a break.

“A Christmas Story”? Okay, the kid doesn’t shoot his eye out. “The Polar Express”? I wasn’t that bowled over with Tom Hanks as a cartoon character. “How the Grinch stole Christmas”? Too much like real life this year. “Elf”? Will Farrell isn’t my cup of coffee. Or tea either.

“Home Alone”? Seems that’s the “Die Hard” of kids’ movies. “A Christmas Carol”? Way too many Scrooges for me. ‘Course there’s always “Bad Santa” “The Santa Clause” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”. Seen about one hundred fifty-five and a half times or less.

So I went searching through the vault and found this one. It’s got Edward G. Robinson as the mob boss. He’s been so good at mobbing he decides it’s time he took a respite. He’s off to Europe and culture.

He leaves his girl, Ann Sothern, back in the states. And, oh yeah, he’s leaving his second-in- command in charge, Humphrey Bogart, in charge of the piggy bank.

“Take good care of things till I get back,” he orders.

Right. I’ve seen Bogie in too many tough guy movies from the thirties to know that he’s going to hand the goodies back over to his ex-boss. And, for good measure, he’ll take charge of the girl as well.

Edward G. returns with all sorts of class and culture. And what do you know. He finds himself on the run. Where to hide out? Where to hide out? In a monastery, of course.

Little does he know that his wise guy is going to turn into a truly wise man.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: A saint in a roughneck’s clothing

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 “Joe” (2013):

Sometimes saints don’t have halos. Sometimes saints drink whiskey and are violent men like Joe (Nicholas Cage).

I am not saying that Joe is the kind of guy I would hang with. Most likely not. But I can say this. Joe is the kind of man I’d want with me if I landed in a dark alley on a Saturday night and a bunch of men were trying to rob me.

Joe has one heck of a temper. It’s that anger that landed him in prison for twenty-seven months. Now that he’s out he has one purpose in life. That purpose is to restrain that tiger of a rage. Once it’s let out of its cage there may be no stopping it. That anger only comes out when somebody starts messing with him or doing his friends wrong.

Joe manages a crew. Their job is to poison brush trees. Then others can come and clear the land and plant pine trees. One day a fifteen year old drifter name of Gary (Tye Sheridan) asks for a job.

“I pay an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work,” Joe says.

The boy is agreeable. The boy fits right in with Joe’s crew. But soon Joe finds out he has a new purpose in life. To rescue that boy from the cold-blooded mistreatment of the boy’s pappy (Gary Poulter).

I first met Joe in Larry Brown’s novel, Joe. The opening chapter really had me going and I didn’t want to stop. And what a read it was. At the time I said, “This is Hemingway in Steinbeck territory.”

With “Joe”, director David Gordon Green has given us a film about a people that don’t have movies made about them much. The hard working blue collar folk who live close to  the edge.