November’s 5 Word Movie Reviews & $ for Charity

Once a month I feature the movies I’ve seen for the first time with a 5 word ‘review’.  Only it’s not really a review.  For that I need your help.  I hope that you’ll add your 5 words to my 5 words and that someone else will add their 5 words and so on until we have a a fun hodgepodge of words to describe the movie.

This month you can give money to charity by contributing your 5 words (Details here).  Please join the fun :)  Past 5 Word Reviews here.  We’re up to $94.

Kids are all right poster.jpg(2010. Cast-Annette Bening, Juliane Moore, Mark Ruffalo)   Grade B+

All families are amazingly complicated.

Kids with moms find dad (Amy)

Beautiful and touching. Highly recommended. (Heather)

2011.Cast-Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, Armie Hammer) Grade B-

Somewhat slow but historically interesting.

(2007. Cast-Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen)           Grade D+

23 never looked so melodramatic.

Jim Carrey: his own warm-up act.  (Tony)

(2009. Cast-Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella) Grade D+

Millionaire or killer?  Tough choice 😉

 It sure was a letdown! (Jo-Jo)

“The Box” sucks. Enough Said.  (Nicole)

Santa Quiz – guessing closed

I know it’s not December yet, but the holiday season has arrived.  Let’s see if you can identify these movies by their Santas (8 points) and/or the actor’s name (2 points).

Please play along with us.  For everyone who plays an extra $ goes to the winner and the everyone is entered for a special prize.  Just leave a comment with your guesses before noon on Saturday and don’t google the answers.

This will be the last quiz of 2011 (unless I throw one in for fun in December).  Next week I’ll announce the 2 winners (the leader and a randomly chosen participant).  In January, new quizzes will return (it’s going to be board game month I think :))

1.   The Santa Claus (1994) Tim Allen

2.  Elf (2003) Ed Asner

3.  Trading Places (1983) Dan Aykroyd

4.  A Christmas Story (1983) Jeff Gillen

5.  Miracle on 34th Street (1947) Edmund Gwenn

6.  Bad Santa (2003) Billy Bob Thornton

7.  The Silent Partner (1978) Christopher Plummer

8.  The Night They Saved Christmas (1984) Art Carney

9.  The Ref (1994)

10.  Miracle on 34th Street (1994) Richard Attenborough

The Litigators, by John Grisham

The LitigatorsFinished 11-24-11, rating 3.5/5, fiction, 385 pages, published 2011

Lawyer David Zinc spent the majority of his day overbilling clients at the very successful Trust Tower in downtown Chicago.  One day as he takes the elevator to the 93rd floor he knows he cannot step off.  He cannot go to work.  He finds the closest bar and drinks enough alcohol to kill a normal person.  When the taxi drops him at Finley & Figg instead of home to his wife his fate is sealed.

Finley & Figg are ambulance chasers.  They’ve been hustling for 30 years and have nothing to show for it but a barely profitable law office.  Inconceivably, David makes himself an office out of storage space and signs on with the two lawyers.  When Wally Figg finds the next big tort case that will make them millionaires all three are thrown into a class action lawsuit that none of them are prepared for.

I’ve read Grisham here and there over the years and usually really enjoy them, but this one really did bore me until about 250 pages in and even then I didn’t love it, but at least I was more engaged.  The problem might have been that I didn’t really enjoy Figg and Finley and whatever positive feelings I had toward David were tempered by confusion over why he’d saddle himself with such shady lawyers.

I did like David and the office manager  Rochelle and was more interested in the smaller plot line involving children’s toys tainted with lead paint.  Made me want to throw out all of Gage’s toys immediately.  The end was good, but the book overall was just average for me.

I checked this book out of the library.

Sundays with Gage- Thanksgiving

Gage is thankful for…

Naps (especially since he’s still napping with mom, dad, or grandma)

Doting Grandparents


Cabinet doors, these cannot be opened and closed enough.

Urgent Care.  A quick trip on Saturday proved that his rash and fever were a non-serious virus.

College football.  The Spartans are in the Big Ten Championship next week.  Go Green! He is less thankful for Ohio State’s loss in the Big Game yesterday.  He may have heard a few words he shouldn’t have.

Pictures of himself.  They make him smile every time.

Family.  He missed his great grandma at Thanksgiving dinner, but liked visiting her in the rehabilitation center.


Bath time.  Never saw a kid who liked to splash so much.

Doting Grandparents.  Yes, he’s thankful twice.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  We spent Wednesday-Saturday back home and had a great time.


Thankfully No Quiz

We’re taking a week off since many of us are preparing for travel or lots of visitors.  Last week’s Initial Quiz answers are up here.

My favorite misses were Plum Good Wodehouse from Carol M and Calamity Jane Cherryh from Jill (although all of Jill’s are great-you should take a look :).  I’ll be back next week with the last quiz of the year.  We’re up to a $35 B&N gift card for the winner.

I asked for help a few weeks ago so I could finish the States Challenge and I’m asking again 🙂  I need suggestions for the following states (the shorter the better if I hope to finish the challenge).

Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia

If you’ve already sent me suggestions for these I may have had a problem getting from my library so let me know again and I’ll another look.  Thank you so much for your help.

I am extremely grateful for my book blogging buddies. 


Shakespeare’s Landlord, by Charlaine Harris

Shakespeare's Landlord (Lily Bard Series #1)Finished audio 11-19-11, rating 3.5/5 , mystery, pub. 1996

Unabridged audio. 6.75 hours. Read by Julia Gibson.

Book 1 in the Lily Bard mystery series

Lily has cleaned houses for four years in Shakespeare, Arkansas.  She knows things no one else does, but is careful to guard her own scarred past.  She has no friends, but is somewhat obsessed with her self-defense classes.  When she sees someone dumping a body in the middle of the night she investigates, only to find her ex-landlord dead in a plastic bag.  Not wanting to get involved she makes an anonymous tip to the police chief.

Lily was distant at first, not wanting the reader to know her own past secrets, but as she opened herself up to a few people in Shakespeare we saw a Lily that could have friends and could have a normal life.  She remained feisty and no-nonsense and easy to like.  A few months after Gage was born, after I realized that I might never have time to really clean the house again, we hired someone to come twice a month and give the floors, bathrooms and kitchen a good cleaning.  I’ve always wondered what she thinks of us based on our dirt.  Reading about Lily gave me some idea!

There were a lot of characters and that means many potential suspects.  The mystery was good and it was told nicely with Lily’s personal life and back story.  I thought Harris did an excellent job of creating a unique character and a plausible murder mystery.

That being said I am not sure it was memorable enough for me to continue on with the series.  I’m already so behind in so many series that I love that one book with Lily will probably be enough.

I checked this audio book out of the library.

Sundays with Gage- Age

I grew up thinking I’d have lots of kids.  As an only child I thought the grass was greener in the big, noisy home, I guess.  Then I went off to college and after moved on to Washington DC with a serious relationship or two under my belt, but nothing that stuck and babies seemed as far away as Brad Pitt. So, when I married Jason at the perfect age of 27, I kinda figured kids would happen a few years later.  Every time we had the discussion kids were always a few years away until 36 hit and I suddenly felt my eggs drying up at an alarming rate.  Yes, I could feel them 😉

Anyhoo, we had a miscarriage a month after we started trying to have a baby and it took us over a year to try again.  We considered our life together and whether children had to be a part of it.  Honestly, I was scared to try again.  We both decided our lives would be great either way.  And over a year later Gage was cooking.

All of this is just to show that I didn’t set out to become an older mom.  Sometimes the years get away from you and it happens.  But, there are a few distinct differences between older and younger moms.  For me (certainly not all), I was in so much better shape when I was younger and now that Gage is starting to walk I realize that even when I lose some weight there will be aches and pains that wouldn’t have been there 15 years ago.

Also, I know so much more than I did in my 20’s.  This is both a good and bad thing.  From watching news (something I didn’t do much of back then) I am more aware of the dangers of pregnancy, childbirth, what to feed them, organic vs. not, etc. but there is something to be said for going into motherhood blind and full of naive excitement.  Let’s be honest, we’re all a little naive until we are trying to comfort a screaming baby at 4 am when there’s been no sleep for days.

I do know myself and am happy and content with life, which is a good thing for Gage to see.  At 27, I was still trying to figure out how to make that happen.  I spent my late 20’s and early 30’s moving a few times, traveling quite a bit, trying a few different jobs and having lots of very cool experiences.  But I know lots of friends that were happy and content to be having kids at that age and their kids will also benefit from personally fulfilled mothers.  A few of my friends are grandmothers already, something I will have to wait a while to experience, if ever.

So, for every child rearing experience there are two sides and one is not necessarily better, they are just different.  I do feel my age with Gage, but when I take him to storytime or to the gym, the younger  moms are surprised that I’m 40, so I must be wearing it well 🙂  (Of course, they only say they are surprised if my gray hairs  have recently been returned to their rightful dark brown)

What was the best thing about the age that you (or your mother) became a parent.  For me, being an older mom, the best thing is being exactly where I want to be in life and having some great experiences and wisdom to pass on to Gage.

Foxfire Light, by Janet Dailey

Foxfire LightFinished 11-14-11, rating 2.5/5, romance, 250 pages, pub. 1982

Joanna is a rich girl from California.  Linc is a ridge runner from the Kentucky Ozarks.  When they meet sparks fly and not in a good way, but then Joanna surprises Linc by her kindness, and a different kind of spark ignites.

This is another 1980’s romance I found in an old box from my parents house and I needed a quick read for Kentucky.  I liked the little bit of history about the Ozarks and some of the popular superstitions there.  I’d never heard of foxfire before.  (see the Wikipedia definition and photos here)  I would like to see nature’s foxfire magic someday.

The actual story is fairly typical, although there was a secondary romance that was enjoyable.  The problems with some of these older romances, especially by certain authors (Dailey included) is that they really seem dated.  And the characters always seem to fall in love in what seems like the blink of an eye. Not much depth here, but a quick read.

This is from my personal library.

Fave Movie #5- Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

Planes, Trains and Automobiles1987

Cast- Steve Martin, John Candy

Written & Directed by John Hughes

Ad exec Neal is anxious to get home to his family for Thanksgiving, but luck is not his side.  He loses his cab to get him to the airport on time and then his flight is delayed and he is stuck in coach next to annoyingly cheerful shower ring salesman, Del.  Once the plane is diverted the unlikely pair is thrown together on a quest to get Del home for the holidays.

Why I Love It- Steve Martin and John Candy are at their finest in this comedy.  Steve Martin’s formal and snobby Neal and John Candy’s loveable buffoon, Del, played off each other perfectly and I wish they’d done more movies together. They can both make me laugh with just a look and in this one there was lots of laughing.

I loved all of the bad stuff that happened to them.  Is that wrong?  Watching them foiled at every turn provided fun for all.  If not for the hysterical f’n car rental scene this would be a great family film.  For me it was this scene and everything after that was laugh out loud funny.  Seriously, this burned out car is my favorite car ever.  There are more one-liners from this movie than I can list, but IMBD has listed a few.  One of my favorites from the car…

Del (Candy) to Neal: “Was that seat hot or what? I feel like a  Whopper. Turn me over, I’m done on this side! I’m afraid to look at my  ass—there’ll be grill marks.

While this film was laugh out loud funny it was also heartwarming a perfect movie to watch at Thanksgiving.  It will remind you to be thankful and to appreciate all that you have, especially if you have a friend like Del.  Why not invite him over for dinner?

John Hughes is responsible for some of my favorite films and this one at the top of the list.

The most swearing in two minutes of film, maybe?  Turn your volume down 🙂

The rest of my 100 favorite movies here.

Happy Haulidays

I’m entering and so can you!  Chronicle Books is giving away $500 in books for one blogger, one commenter AND one charity.  How awesome is that?!

If I win, one lucky commenter will win all of these books too. So, don’t forget to leave a comment.  Increase your odds by entering yourself.  Here are the rules.

The rules:

  • If you’re a blogger, write a blog post listing the Chronicle books you would love to win. $500 is the max that your stack could total.
  • Include in your post, what charity you would love to win their own Chronicle haul.
  • If you don’t have a blog, don’t worry. Just comment on a Haul-iday post. If a post you comment on wins the contest, you have a chance to win that same stack of books.
  • Contest ends December 2nd.

My charity: First Book

My Books: One LoveOne Love-Adapted by Cedella Marley.  Snow BabySnow Baby: Finger Puppet Book. One Line a Day: A Five Year Memory BookOne Line a Day: A Five Year Memory Book. Eric Carle's Dream Snow Pop-Up Advent CalendarEric Carle’s Dream Snow Pop-Up Advent Calendar. Peek-A-Who?Peek-a-Who.  Follow the StarFollow the Star. A Dog Is a DogA Dog is a Dog.  Leading MenLeading Men: The 50 Most Unforgettable Actors of the Studio Era. The Doorbells of FlorenceThe Doorbells of Florence: Fictional Stories and  Photographs.  Skinny DipsSkinny Dips:60 Recipes for Dips, Spreads, Chips, and Salsas on the Lighter Side of Delicious. TCM Classic Movie TriviaTMC Classic Movie Trivia. Mom's One Line a DayMom’s One Line a Day.Love in SpoonfulsLove in Spoonfuls. Love ListographyLove Listography:Your Life in Lists. Audrey HepburnAudrey Hepburn: International Cover Girl. Brain Boot CampBrain Boot Camp. Why Did I Buy This Book?Why Did I Buy this Book?:Over 500 Puzzler, Teasers, and Challenges to Boost Your Brain Power. At Home with Michael Chiarello At Home with Michael Chiarello:Easy Entertaining:REcipes, Ideas, Inspiration. Happy Birthday! 8 Notecards & EnvelopesHappy Birthday! 8 Notecards & Envelopes. Jeffrey Fisher Literary NotecardsJeffrey Fisher Literary Notecards. Eric Carle Wall DecalsEric Carle Wall Decals.Bon Appétit Recipe BinderBon Appetit Recipe Binder. Blind TrustBlind Trust. Between the Bridge and the RiverBetween the Bridge and the River. Smart on CrimeSmart on Crime.

Hope we win 🙂