Last night's movie was Saving Mr. Banks, the story behind the making of the movie version of Mary Poppins. I had no knowledge about the fact that Walt Disney spent twenty years trying to convince the author, P.L. Travers, to sign over the rights to the film. Emma Thompson portrays Mrs. Travers as a miserable, arrogant person who finds fault with everyone and everything. Travers is so prickly and difficult that one must admire the tenacity and amount of patience Disney and his crew exhibited in making this production happen.
It turns out that Pamela L. Travers, born Helen Lyndon Goff in Australia, had a sad, difficult childhood. Her father, Travers Goff, had an alcohol problem, trouble staying employed, and he died early. The seven-year-old Pamela was traumatized and never recovered from this loss. Saving Mr. Banks posits that Mary Poppins was a re-write of Pamela's childhood; this magical nanny does more than save the children--she saves their father, Mr. Banks.
And by the way, lest anyone suspect that Emma Thompson's portrayal of this eccentric writer is exaggerated, there are tapes (as Mike pointed out, just like Watergate)--yes, P.L. Travers wanted all their working conversations recorded, out of a basic distrust for everyone in the room! Some snippets are played during the closing credits.
I'd forgotten how good the music was, and had completely forgotten what the story was about, and should view this movie again. Clearly, the talent involved was impressive. And about this movie: I liked it quite a bit, though it had some sad parts, while Mike thought it was good, but rather unpleasant to watch. That's a rocky recommendation: well done, but not one of those feel-good Disney movies.
On Christmas Eve, we re-watched The Ref, a movie that is now quite old--1994! I still have to remind myself that that year is more than ten years ago. Anyway, Denis Leary is the burglar who blunders into taking a difficult couple hostage. Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis bicker hilariously, forcing Leary, the armed criminal, to constantly act as a ref. It takes place on Christmas, which means that their quirky extended family enters the drama, as well.
We re-viewed Elf, as well. This flick is much funnier than I remembered it to be--really, there are some great, laugh-out-loud moments. Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, James Caan, and Bob Newhart are all wonderfully cast. Will Ferrell plays the 6'3" human guy who is brought up by elves, then must adjust to life outside the North Pole. Just imagine...
We also played Scrabble on Christmas Eve, and a rare thing happened: I won. Barely, but still counts--
Sometimes, I sit and crochet--this throw is now 27 inches wide twice that long, and contains about four different stitches. I think I've settled, for awhile, on the 1/2 herringbone stitch.
I am currently reading The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, a 800+page Victorian mystery, which means I shouldn't be here on the interwebs, at all--so many books to read, so little time.
And, we had a marvelous cruise. I took some inept pictures, which I will post on the other blog.