Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

S – The Shawshank Redemption, Fave Movie #17

Blogging from A-Z


Cast-Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, James Whitmore

Director- Frank Darabont

Andy is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover in a drunken rage and ordered to two life sentences.  In prison he maintained his innocence and took every opportunity to better his situation and those of his friends.  Life in prison was not without repeated heartbreak, but Andy remained hopeful to the last.

Why I love it– I could listen to Morgan Freeman talk all day long and, thankfully, this movie allowed me two+ hours of easy listening.  Hearing Freeman tell Andy’s story was what sold this movie for me.  Yes, everything else was very good, but without that it’s just another movie.

I thought the actors were fantastic, even the cruel ones.  I loved that the movie had a message of hope, but didn’t ignore reality.

Get busy living or get busy dying.

These words by Andy really captured the essence of the movie.  The prisoners had a hard life, but Andy persisted in making it better.  There were life lessons, thought-provoking insights about prison, and the bloom of friendship.

This movie tanked at the box office, was nominated for seven Oscars but didn’t win one, and ends up being Stephen King’s most successful movie adaptation.  Jason just read the short story so I know changes were made and I’m looking forward to reading it to see if it packs the same emotional punch.

This movie was mainly shot in Ohio halfway between where I live now and where I grew up. A few years ago we took the tour of the prison that was partially demolished after the film.  I’ll have to see if I can find a few of the pics today and add them.

Definitely a great movie and one of my favorites.

April 22, 2017 Posted by | movies | 4 Comments

R – Mom R&R with Chris Rock (and friends)

Blogging from A-Z

Some presents you give to your spouse may seem a little self serving.  For example, Jason’s birthday was this month and I gifted him tickets to the Chris Rock Total Blackout Tour at Playhouse Square and a room at Metropolitan on The 9.  I’m not a huge stand-up fan, but Jason is and he’s always liked Chris Rock so it was a solid gift.  But it also ended up being a sweet night for me as well.

My parents picked up Gage around noon and I took the train to downtown Cleveland.  The Chocolate Bar was on the way to the hotel and it had been too long since I’d had one of their divine chocolate martinis.  So, this happened.

chocolatebarI ordered my favorite, the salted caramel chocolate martini and I’m still thinking about it…

I got to the hotel feeling pretty happy and had time for a 45 minute nap before Jason got off work.  He works a block from the hotel and the hotel is only a few blocks from Playhouse Square, so great location and a very fun place.  It’s sexy.  I know that sounds silly, but it’s true.  It’s housed in the old Ameritrust Bank complex and it’s basement was perfectly described in this NPR interview with author DM Pulley.   I was anxious to check it out so we headed to the basement.  In 2001 Pulley visited the building after it had sat abandoned for years and found bank vaults and safe deposit boxes hanging open or still locked up.  And 15 years later they turned it into a really cool bar, with safes intact.

Such a cool place.  As we were waiting for the elevator to take us back up, we were taken aback when it arrived.  A SWAT team in all their glory got off and went through one of the back hallways of the hotel.  No idea, but they could have been headed to the Chris Rock Show via tunnels because I’ve never had to go through that much security to get into a show of any kind.  We even had to lock up our cell phones when we got there, kind of an annoyance, but gave more opportunity for people watching.  And with 3,000+ people in attendance that was fun.

The show opened with Arnie Fuqua (one of the comedians in the crash with Tracy Morgan a few years ago) and then gave us our first surprise.  Native Clevelander Arsenio Hall was going to act as our host for the evening.  The crowd went crazy.  After about 15 minutes he decided to bring out another surprise. Dave Chappelle came onstage and brought the house down.  Arsenio came back out and a little bit later Chris Rock took the stage.  What a fantastic night of stand-up and I don’t even like stand-up!!

We were feeling happy as we walked back to the hotel at 11:30 and noticed that there were vintage 70’s cars parked on the street.  We decided to try out the bar above the lobby before turning in and were surprised to watch as they prepared to shoot a movie scene.  Matthew McConaughey has been in town filming a movie so I’m assuming that’s what it was.  We watched them bring out bags of fake snow and put it all along E. 9th.  Cracks me up since it snows like 5 months of the year here and they wait to use fake snow!  Anyway we watched until they had shut down the street and only 70’s cars were going by.  It only took an hour from start to finish so I’m assuming Matthew wasn’t there, but who knows.  Here was our view from the bar…


It’s hard to see with the glare but it was fun to watch in person.  So, it was after midnight when we headed back up to our room and Jason had to be at work 6 and half hours later.  Luckily, it was only a 5 minute commute.

So, it was a great gift all the way around 🙂

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z, Photos | 4 Comments

Q – Quotes from my 25 favorite movies

Blogging from A-Z

You’ll never be a first class human being or a first class woman until you’ve learned to have some regard for human frailty.   (The Philadelphia Story, 1940)

Only grown-up men are scared of women.  (The Sound of Music, 1965)

I’m like cat here, a no-name slob. We belong to nobody, and nobody belongs to us. We don’t even belong to each other.   (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961)

I wouldn’t give you two cents for all your fancy rules if, behind them, they didn’t have a little bit of plain, ordinary, everyday kindness and a little looking out for the other fella, too.   (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 1939)

We all go a little mad sometimes.   (Psycho, 1960)

I understand you may have had sexual relations with my daughter before, but under our roof, it’s my way or the Long Island Expressway. So just keep your snake in its cage for 72 hours.   (Meet the Parents, 2000)

Mary: I want a guy who can play 36 holes of golf, and still have enough energy to take Warren and me to a baseball game, and eat sausages, and beer, not lite beer, but beer. That’s my ad, print it up.
Brenda: “Fatty who likes golf and beer.” Gee, Mary, where are you gonna find a gem like that?   (There’s Something About Mary, 1998)

Frodo:I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened. 

Gandalf:So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.    (The Fellowship of the Ring, 2001)

I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.  (The Shawshank Redemption, 1994)

You know, you may be the first attractive woman I’ve not wanted to sleep with in my entire life.   (When Harry Met Sally, 1989)

Those aren’t pillows!   (Trains, Planes, and Automobiles, 1987)

Oh, I don’t know, Charlie. Unlike you, I never expected “the thunderbolt.” I always just hoped that, that I’d meet some nice friendly girl, like the look of her, hope the look of me didn’t make her physically sick, then pop the question and, um, settle down and be happy. It worked for my parents. Well, apart from the divorce and all that.   (Four Weddings and a Funeral, 1993)

We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.   (The Breakfast Club, 1985)

You’re my knight in shimmering armor. Did you know that?   (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, 1992)

If you fit into my pants I will kill myself.   (While You Were Sleeping, 1995)

Sometimes things happen between people that make it impossible for them to stay together. (A Walk on the Moon, 1999)

Unthinkably good things can happen even late in the game. It’s such a surprise.   (Under the Tuscan Sun, 2003

I don’t think you’re an idiot at all. I mean, there are elements of the ridiculous about you. Your mother’s pretty interesting. And you really are an appallingly bad public speaker. And, um, you tend to let whatever’s in your head come out of your mouth without much consideration of the consequences… But the thing is, um, what I’m trying to say, very inarticulately, is that, um, in fact, perhaps despite appearances, I like you, very much. Just as you are.    (Bridget Jones’s Diary, 2001)

You can’t navigate me. I may do mean things, and I may hurt you, and I may run away without your permission, and you may hate me forever, and I know that scares the living shit outta you ’cause you know I’m the only real thing you got.    (Reality Bites, 1994)

Thank God its not a bullshit detector or none of us would get in.   (No Way Out, 1987)

A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.   (The Silence of the Lambs, 1991)

You can’t handle the truth!  (A Few Good Men, 1992)

You swim alone, climb rocks, rescue servants, is there anything you don’t do?   (Ever After, 1998)

You know the Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died: “Did he have passion?”.   (Serendipity, 2001)

No, sir, I have no experience but I’m a big fan of money. I like it, I use it, I have a little. I keep it in a jar on top of my refrigerator. I’d like to put more in that jar. That’s where you come in. (The Wedding Singer, 1998)

What are some of your favorite movie quotes?

April 20, 2017 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z, movies, Say What?, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

P – Paper Towns

Blogging From A-Z

Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff as Margo Roth Spiegelman and Quentin "Q" Jacobsen respectivelyI could do a movie/book comparison, but I’m too tired today.  I read the book a few years ago (here) and watched the movie last night.  Amazingly, they both felt the same to me.  I’m sure there are differences, but my feelings about the story and each of the characters was the same for both.

Q and his buddies are not popular in high school, but they’re seniors so that part of their life is almost at an end.  Margo is popular, really popular, and Q has been in love with her since she moved in across the street over a decade before.  They had been friends before high school sorted them into different spheres.  One night not long before graduation, Margo sneaks into Q’s room and convinces him to join her on what turns out to be the best night of his life.  Thinking it was the beginning of something special, he is confused when Margo disappears the next day.

This was a good movie starring Nat Wolff who was Isaac in another John Green movie The Fault in Our Stars and Augustus from that same movie, Ansel Elgort, has a funny cameo.  My favorite part of the book and movie was the friendship between the three boys and the road trip they took together, even if it ended in heartbreak for one.

Solid movie based on a solid book.

April 19, 2017 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z, movies, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

O – A Man Called Ove

 Blogging from A-Z

I was going to blog about Outlander, the series of books and the Starz series, now preparing for season 3, BUT my book group read about Ove last week and I need to gush a bit.  Ove, a cantankerous Swedish man, was at a crossroads and contemplating ending his life, but living got in the way.

Title: A Man Called Ove, Author: Fredrik BackmanFinished 4-12-17, 5 stars!, fiction, pub. 2014

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.    from Goodreads

I fell in love with Ove and his collection of merry wo(men) around him.  For every trouble he caused those surrounding him, at least one blessing was given out.  Ove was a man with a heart, who didn’t always play well with others.  I think everyone knows an Ove, some of us better than others.

His pregnant neighbor, Parvaneh, was really the catalyst that got things rolling the right way for Ove.  She picked him up and kept him moving, until finally, he embraced the loving circle that surrounded him.

Everyone in my book group loved it.  One had even seen the Swedish movie (with subtitles) and said it was very good and true to the book.  I have no doubt that this will end up on my favorite list at the end of the year.

I’m not doing Ove or the book justice, but I have 20 minutes to get this posted for the A-Z challenge so I’m just going to leave it here.  I’m late to the Ove bandwagon, but I made it 🙂




April 18, 2017 Posted by | 5 Star Books, Blogging from A-Z | 2 Comments

N- Book Vs. Movie – Northanger Abbey

Blogging from A-Z

I wasn’t sure I was going to compare the two because I listened to the book in 2014 and so many of the details alluded me, but after I watched the 2007 movie and re-read my book review I think I can manage a limited comparison.

The Story/Plot  Catherine, one of 10 children living in the country, was invited by her neighbors to visit Bath and attend some balls.  Catherine was young, read so many gothic novels that her imagination was vivid, and was drawn into a friendship under somewhat false pretenses.  She meets Henry and his sister and is invited back to their home.  There, with the death of their mother still lingering and an abrasive father present, she imagines the worst and her time at Northanger Abbey is cut short.   I felt like there were some differences at the end, but I may just be remembering the book wrong. Either way, both worked.  Thumbs up…tie.

The Visual  Hm.  Like with most stories that are set in a period long gone I think that the movie can bring to the story to life in a way that your imagination might not be able to accomplish.  So, the dresses, the complicated dances at balls, the old castles, all gave the movie the edge.  I even found Catherine’s bookish daydreams fun in the context of the movie, even of they felt a little cheesy.  Thumbs up…movie.

Characters vs. Actors  I LOVED the casting of this movie.  A young Felicity Jones was perfect as the wide-eyed Catherine and JJ Field, who I recognized from Austenland, had that twinkle in his eye that had me (and Catherine ) falling for him.  Carey Mulligan was fantastic as the gold digging friend.  The whole cast was amazing.  Thumbs up…movie

The Ending  As I said in the plot section, I don’t remember the end of the book in enough detail.  If I track down my book and find the time to re-read it I’ll come back and change this 🙂

And the winner is… the movie!

Now it’s your turn to vote

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (Me Before You) (And Then There Were None) (Still Alice) (The Blind Side) (The Fault in Our Stars) (The Hound of the Baskervilles) (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

April 17, 2017 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z, Books vs. Movie | 1 Comment

M – Book vs. Movie – Me Before You

Blogging from A-Z

This is a semi-regular feature where I talk about which was better, the book or the movie.  Most of the time I don’t know which will come out on top until I’ve worked my way through some of the criteria, but this one was an easy pick.

The Story/Plot  In a small English village dominated by a huge castle, Louisa lives with her family working dead end jobs to help her family make ends meet.  She is inexplicably hired by the Traynors of the castle to be a companion to their son, who is in a wheelchair due to a spinal cord injury.  Will is depressed, moody, and pushes everyone away because of the pain he’s in, both mentally and physically.  Louisa is chatty and energetic and it isn’t long before the two start to form a friendship.  When Louisa finds out why she was really hired she goes into overdrive trying to make Will feel like his life can be just as good as it was before the accident.

The movie left one very important plot piece out, why Louisa didn’t stay at school and why she was still living at home.  Did the movie have to have it? No.  But Louisa, and the book, were better off for it.   Thumbs up…book

The Visual  This is a tough one because I really don’t think there was much of an advantage seeing it onscreen.  Sure, it was nice to see the pretty castle scenes, but everything else was pretty much just as good in my head as I was reading it.   Thumbs up…tie

Characters vs. Actors  Here’s where I might hear from some of you.  I pretty much hated Emilia Clarke as Louisa.  She got some things right, yes, but her eyebrows took on the bulk of the acting and I spent more time watching them on screen than anything else.   She was not Louisa.  I thought Sam Clafin did a good job as Will and Louisa’s boyfriend, Matthew Lewis, was spot on as Patrick.  The parents of both were excellent.  So, it was really Louisa that was the problem for me and that was a pretty big problem.   Thumbs up…tie

The Ending  So, given my complaints about Louisa, imagine my surprise when I was crying at the end.  I knew the end.  It was not a surprise.  Yet, I cried quite a bit.  Jason watched it with me and didn’t know the end and he didn’t cry because he didn’t believe it.  He was still unsure about it and I can see that.  The last scene with Louis and Will felt rushed.     Thumbs up…book

And the easy winner is… the book!!!!

Now it’s your turn to vote

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (And Then There Were None) (Still Alice) (The Blind Side) (The Fault in Our Stars) (The Hound of the Baskervilles) (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

April 15, 2017 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z, Books vs. Movie | 4 Comments

L – Hugh Laurie’s The Gun Seller

Blogging From A-Z

I loved Hugh Laurie on the television show House, MD so when I saw this book on the library shelf I was curious.  Jason listened to it first and raved about so I gave it a try but when the last word was uttered I had far less enthusiasm.  Why?  Well for the last three or so CDs I really didn’t know for sure who was double crossing who and which side I was supposed to be on.  I wasn’t just a little bit confused, I was really lost.

Title: The Gun Seller, Author: Hugh LaurieI finished listening to The Gun Seller on March 28 and give it 3 stars.  That seems a little low since much of the frustration stemmed from me not being smart enough to follow the audio.  I loved the narrator,  Simon Prebble, but I think I may have been able to keep up better if I’d been reading the print book.

Thomas Lang goes by many names and accents in this spy novel and he may or may not be one of those types that falls in love for no reason and then does very dumb things because of it. I did like him, even if he sometimes acted like a lovesick dolt.  I loved his quick wit and bravado.

This was a solid first novel for Laurie and I’d be happy to read more by Dr. House.  Only next time I’ll try the print version.

Did you know Hugh Laurie was an author?

April 14, 2017 Posted by | 3 Star Books | 4 Comments

K- Kisses On the Big Screen

Blogging From A-Z

When I watched Catch & Release earlier this month I noted that it had a few hot kissing scenes.  Here’s one and a few others that come to mind.  I’d like to know yours!  Share in the comments 🙂

April 13, 2017 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

J – Jack Reacher, Never Go Back

Blogging From A-Z

I love Lee Child’s Jack Reacher.  He is the man.  If I ever get into any kind of trouble I hope that Reacher is going through town so that he can take care of it.  I was late to the series and am not rushing through so I’ve read the first 11 of the series.  I compared the first Jack Reacher movie with the book it was based on here.  Tom Cruise was not a popular choice to play the anti-hero, but I think he managed to pull it off.  I was surprised that they made a second film after the limited success of the first.

Never Go Back is based on the 18th book of the series, so I have a little while before I read it, but I did watch the movie with Jason over the weekend.  Jason loves the series too and thinks that Cruise is a good Reacher.

The movie is good.  He kicks some butt, but amazingly doesn’t sleep with any women in this one.  He might have a daughter, he escapes from a military jail, and he travels to both DC and New  Orleans.

So, if you are a fan of the series, who do you think is the perfect Jack Reacher?  I’ve always thought if Liam Neeson were a decade or two younger he might be able to pull it off.



April 12, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments