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The 4th of July, 1776 – End of the Day for July 3, 2014

July 3rd, 2014 Comments off

End of the day Logo

Tomorrow is July 4th, Independence Day here in the United States and it will be time to watch one of our favorite movies again — the musical entitled 1776.   Originally a Broadway musical, the movie is quite good, too. The history isn’t too badly fiddled with — although I can’t imagine Adams, Franklin, Jefferson and Sherman dancing around singing loudly about who should write the Declaration of Independence and Mrs. Jefferson never made it to Philadelphia during that blazingly hot Summer. Still it gave me an entrance point into the history of our country and the men that founded it. If nothing else, the movie portrays them as men, not gods with their own trials, self-doubts and afflictions. John Adams knows that he is “obnoxious and disliked”, but his desire for independence outweighs his desire to be loved. He had seen the Crown’s injustices up close, living and working in Boston, and yet still believed in justice enough to defend the soldiers accused in the “Boston Massacre” when no one else would.

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The other striking lesson is how close the Continental Congress came to preventing the American Civil War 90 years later. The original Declaration had language banning slavery, even though Jefferson himself was a conflicted and confused slave owner at the time. Several southern states representatives demanded that that language be removed or they would forever bury the question for Independence from England. The language was removed and the die was cast for Fort Sumter, Bull Run and Appomattox Courthouse.

1776 The Musical Movie

1776 led us to make sure to visit the birthplaces, homes and crypts of John and Abigail and their son John Quincy and his wife, Louisa. I have laid my hands on their crypts and wondered what drove them to accomplish all they did. After our return home from that trip, I read John’s diaries and Rosanne read the letters between John and Abigail. We then shared our favorite parts back and forth as we read. I remembered standing in their original farmhouse and imagined young John Quincy running about, then moving next door to his parents to start his own family. We visited The Old Manse where John, Abigail and a host of other famous (in infamous) Adams’ lived out their heritage. I stood where John suffered his fatal heart attack and stood in the bedroom where he died. It is hard to imagine such scenes so many years after they occurred, but on that trip we both felt we got to know the Adams’ — and their impact on America —  just a little bit better.

If you have a chance this weekend, find a copy of 1776 (hopefully the newer Director’s Cut and not the horrible pan and scan version from the 1980’s) and immerse yourself in the history of your country. You will find that the Founding Fathers were just as flawed as any man is today, but they still accomplished some very great things.

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Some books on this period of American History:

 

Previously on End of the Day:

Summer Movie Night 5: The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec

June 22nd, 2014 Comments off

It’s Summer Vacation and time to catch up on some of the shows and movies we have been meaning to see. Life during the school year can be quite busy with both a college professor and a high school student in the house, so it is nice to settle in for an hour or more over dinner and enjoy a movie all together as a family.


Adele blanc sec

Poking around Netflix some more, I came across this interesting French steampunk/fantasy film based on a comic book series from the 1970’s. I tend to enjoy foreign films and the fantasy genre of this movie is also one of my delights. This is a high-budget production with excellent locations and special effects, but it also retains the feeling of being a comic book. Makeup, costumes and locations are modified to bring a feeling of the comic into the real world.

Most Americans will find the movie has a rather quirky sense of humor, but I expect this from French films in general and it is also something that helps the film stand apart from traditional American action-adventure-fantasy films. It make the film feel different while still remaining fun and interesting. I couldn’t help to compare this movie to the recent TinTin adventure and I think that Adele Blanc-Sec actually comes out on top. the animation style of TinTin, along with its non-stop action sequences prevented me from connecting with the movie where in Adele Blanc-Sec the action was well-balanced and the life actors, although looking like comics, seemed more approachable than their animated TinTin counterparts.

Adèle Blanc-Sec, a journalist and travel writer of some fame, finds herself involved after returning fromEgypt, where she was searching for Ramesses II‘s mummified doctor/physician Patmosis. She wants to revive the mummy with the help of Espérandieu so the doctor can save her sister Agathe, who is comatose following an unfortunate tennis incident involving a hatpin. After a brief struggle with her nemesis, the mysterious Professor Dieuleveult, she retrieves the mummy and returns home. Her mission is complicated further by Esperandieu being on death row, having been blamed for the pterosaur’s attacks, in lieu of Inspector Caponi and celebrity big game hunter Justin de Saint-Hubert having any success in taking down the beast itself. Andrej Zborowski, a researcher at the Jardin des Plantes who is enamored with Adèle, is able to lure the pterosaur into hiding. Adèle, riding the pterosaur, rescues Esperandieu moments before his execution. — Wikipedia

I prefer subtitles when watching films like this, as I like to hear the voices of the native actors, even if I don’t understand them entirely. There is much to be gained from hearing the intonation and emotion in the voices. I also find that after a few minutes watching, I am “hearing” the subtitles in the actors voices. Of course, a subtitled film does mean you have to sit and watch the film and not try to do something else at the same time — much like a silent film.

I can highly recommend the Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec if you are looking for a fun, quirky romp to your summer evening. You can find it on Netflix, rent it via Amazon Instant Video or purchase the DVD.

More information The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec:

Where to Watch The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec:

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Categories: Entertaiment, Fun, Movie, Summer Movie Night Tags:

Summer Movie Night 04: A Midsummer Nights Dream (1999)

August 17th, 2013 Comments off

It’s Summer Vacation and time to catch up on some of the shows and movies we have been meaning to see. Life during the school year can be quite busy with both a college professor and a high school student in the house, so it is nice to settle in for an hour or more over dinner and enjoy a movie all together as a family.


Midsummer

The high school year has only just started, but the Fall play has been chosen…A Midsummer Nights Dream. We have seen this play with our son before, most recently by the Independent Shakespeare Company in 2012, but we figured a quick refresher on the characters and story were in order before auditions this week.

This version, which an all-star cast is quite enjoyable. Set in Italy, in the late 1800’s, it allows for gorgeous scenery for both the real world and the fairy world. The acting is excellent, especially Kevin Kline as bottom. Of course, you will see many other actors you know, including a young Christian Bale (long before his turn as Batman), Calista Flockheart from Ally McBeal, Rupert Evert, Michelle Pfeiffer and more.

Overall, this is an enjoyable way to spend an evening with a old, old friend.

Where to Watch A Midsummer Nights Dream (1999):

Summer Movie Night 02: The Adventures of TinTin (2011)

June 21st, 2013 Comments off

It’s Summer Vacation and time to catch up on some of the shows and movies we have been meaning to see. Life during the school year can be quite busy with both a college professor and a high school student in the house, so it is nice to settle in for an hour or more over dinner and enjoy a movie all together as a family.


Tintin

Tonight’s movie was TinTin, directed by Stephen Spielberg,  produced with Peter Jackson and written by current Doctor Who producer, Steven Moffat. I was interested in the movie for a variety of reasons. There is the style of animation, which I can only describe as comic realism, the writer, director and producer involved and the fact that it looked like a fun romp. It was indeed that, although the ending was a bit unsatisfying, setting up for a possible sequel more than truly ending the film.

TinTin, and his creator, Hergé are much more well known in Europe, where they are a cultural phenomenon in most countries. There is an excellent documentary called “TinTin and I” that explores the history and impact of TinTin, too, if you can locate it to watch.

Where to Watch TinTin:

More on TinTin, the original comics:

“The Adventures of Tintin (French: Les Aventures de Tintin) is a series of comic albums created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi (1907–1983), who wrote under the pen name of Hergé. The series is one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century, with translations published in more than 50 languages and sales of more than 200 million copies as of 2003.[1]

The series first appeared in French on 10 January 1929 in Le Petit Vingtième, a children’s supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le XXe Siècle. The success of the series saw the serialised strips published in Belgium’s leading newspaper Le Soir and spun into a successful Tintin magazine. In 1950, Hergé created Studios Hergé, which produced the canonical series of twenty-four Tintin albums. The Adventures of Tintin have been adapted for radio, television, theatre, and film.

The series is set during a largely realistic 20th century. Its hero is Tintin, a young Belgian reporter. He is aided by his faithful fox terrier dog Snowy (Milou in the original French editions). Later, popular additions to the cast included the brash and cynical Captain Haddock, the highly intelligent but hearing-impaired Professor Calculus (French: Professeur Tournesol), and other supporting characters such as the incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson (French: Dupont et Dupond). — Wikipedia.org

More information on TinTin:

 

Categories: DVD, Entertaiment, Movie, Summer Movie Night Tags:
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