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Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

When I’m under a lot of stress, I use my entertainment hours (if I have any) to calm myself down.

When I’m stressed out and want to read a book, I almost always pick something dramatic and full of tension and suspense. It’s as if I want to remind myself that there are far worse problems out there than mine….like zombies, monsters,serial killers, madmen and ghosts. I especially love a writer who shows me an average person taking on the Big Bad Things and winning. If they can conquer the werewolf, then surely I can conquer my …insert problem here…

But when I decide to cope with my stress by watching a movie, I am completely the opposite. I want sweetness and light. I mean seriously sweet. Red velvet cake with sprinkles sweet. Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream sweet. Musicals and cute kids and sparkly costumes and flower-filled fairy fields and satin wedding dresses.

Taken together, those stress-relieving techniques can make me look pretty schizophrenic. Take yesterday, for instance. I sat in the family room with a few of my favorite people. By my side was my Dan Simmons horror novel, “Summer of Night,” in which a group of pre-teen boys ride their bikes to a showdown with the Forces of Evil. And on the TV was my favorite sweet-treat musical, “The Slipper and the Rose,” in which Richard Chamberlain’s Prince sings and dances to win Cinderella’s heart.

How about you? How do you calm down when the world is pressing in a little too hard? Do you go for the wild ride for total distraction? Or do you cuddle up to some warm fuzzies? I’d love to hear what works for you!

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I’m guest blogging later today over at Tote Bags ‘n’ Blogs I’m mulling over the value of really strong, fascinating secondary characters. Do they always make your book richer? Is it possible for them to take over, making your hero and heroine look second-rate? Come share your thoughts. The best comment will win a book!

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The Oscars are a big deal at our house. Four years out of five we couldn’t care less who wins, but we still make a party of it. This year, the gals liked “An Education” and the guys liked “Inglourious Basterds,” but no one worked up a sweat. (Nothing like the year Ralph Fiennes was up for “The English Patient.” I’m never going to feel the same about Geoffrey Rush after he stole Ralph’s Oscar.) This year, we were happy that a woman won Best Director, but no one was passionate about “The Hurt Locker,” so it got a fairly tepid cheer.

But whatever our level of interest in the awards themselves, each year the six of us (His Highness, me, the “kids” and their SOs) pile into the family room, where the embarrassingly gigantic television lives, and watch the whole crazy show, from the red carpet right up to the closing credits. Someone–this year it was Mike, who draws a great Avatar!–puts a picture on the white board, celebrating the big night. The coffee table nearly cracks, there’s so much food on it.

We pass out ballots and make jokes about being so clueless in the technical categories. Someone always says, “What’s the difference between sound editing and sound mixing again?” We have all looked at online forecasts of the winners, but we’ve all forgotten what they said. Then we turn to our Bingo sheets, which we’ve made specially for our family. It includes squares like “Renie tweets about awards” (she’s always connected) and “Daddy thinks someone’s hair looks as if it was styled by a wood chipper.” We wait for Mike to get bored and pick up his guitar, for Necole to get sleepy, or for me to tear up over something sappy. Sometimes we poll the room–“I need a majority of the gals to agree a dress is horrible. I hate that one. Do you hate that one?” Then we jubilantly mark off our squares. On the mantel sit our “prizes,” usually gift certificates to Best Buy or iTunes.

Although everyone in our family believes that watching an actual movie requires total, sacred silence, the rules are different for the Oscars. It’s a little like Mystery Science Theater 3000. We laugh and catcall and yell at the people on the stage and at each other. We critique gowns and tuxedos and drool over Robert Downey Jr. Well, the guys don’t. It’s weird…they seem to think the gals would be mortally offended if they lusted openly after one of the hot actresses. We probably would. 😉

Then, when it’s finally over, comes the part I love the best. Though all night we’ve been hassling each other about being Oscar-stupid, or about being so far behind on reaching Bingo, everything changes. As we count up our correct guesses and double-check our squares, the Ballot and Bingo winners try to find a way to prove that they didn’t really win, so that they can give the prize to someone else, someone they dearly love.

I adore Oscar night…because it always reminds me how much I like our crazy family.

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