Out West, where I live when I’m not traveling, we’ve been having an unparalleled heat wave. Sneakers are actually melting in parts of the Southwest, and Death Valley (well-named) was at 130 degrees! Experts are predicting some of the hottest weather ever. (global warming in spades for those still doubtful folks) Here in southern California, I’ve found the best solution for getting through this record-breaking heat: go to the movies!
I totally enjoyed White House Down, an action-packed and completely absurd thriller about terrorists invading the Oval Office while the hero (played by Channing Tatum) saves the world single-handedly. It’s great fun watching “president” Jamie Foxx kick a terrorist and shout: “Get your hands off my Jordans!” It’s definitely a laugh-yourself-silly movie, perfect for getting your mind off the weather and whatever else may be keeping you down.
Plus, it’s worth taking a drive to your nearest indie theater to see Unfinished Song. It’s quite possibly the best movie I’ve seen this year (and I see a lot of movies)! Terrance Stamp stars as a difficult old man with a wife, the fantastic Vanessa Redgrave, with cancer who sings with a local group of retirees. Sounds depressing but isn’t: these two veteran actors in their 70’s are at their peak and turn in award worthy performances. Stamp plays with great subtle feeling a man who is so closed off to life that he is beyond numb, while Redgrave infuses her character with khumor and warmth. Break out the Kleenex and be prepared to really feel – all in all it’s a real heart-warmer of a movie and a celebration of life.
Heading out of the heat and into another indie movie, I saw Twenty Feet from Stardom, based on the true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends. I love movies with great music, and this is one of them! With a cast that includes Bette Midler, Lou Adler, Darlene Love, Mick Jagger, Sheryl Crow, and all the gal backup singers, how could you go wrong? It is also a poignant examination of the question of why some make it to stardom and others do not.
So kick back and enjoy your summer. And remember there’s nothing like an air-conditioned theatre on a hot afternoon. Hope to see you at the movies!