Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
I have two excellent DVDs for you to consider watching this weekend.
The first is We Bought A Zoo, based on the true story of Benjamin Mee and his two children, who bought a decrepit zoo in order to make a fresh start following the death of Benjamin's wife.
I thought this movie might be sappy, but it wasn't at all, though it is completely predictable. We Bought A Zoo has the Janie Junebug Seal of Approval, however, for being sweet and family friendly.
Now we move back in time to 1927 -- except it's 1927 during 2011 -- for the 2012 Academy Award Winner for Best Motion Picture: The Artist. I love, love, love this movie. I wish I had seen it on a big screen the way a good movie should be seen, but alas, theaters are too expensive so I am grateful for Netflix.
George Valentin (portrayed by Best Actor winner, the wonderfully talented Jean Dujardin) is a popular silent film actor. When he's at the top of his game, he saves the job of a young female extra named Peppy.
But then the talkies arise, and the ascent of Peppy's career mirrors the descent of George's. Can George be saved?
This movie is vivacious, sparkling, yearning, forlorn . . . I'm running out of adjectives. Fortunately, after the middle section of the film had me feeling rather sad, I enjoyed the happy ending.
It's fascinating to watch a modern-day silent film and follow the story told by gestures, facial expressions, and the musical score. When some sound is added, it's unbearable for George, and almost too much for the viewer. I felt frightened for George, all while loving the adorable Peppy. However, my favorite character was George's favorite sidekick -- his darling dog. What a cutie!
As I watched this movie, I felt I understood the appeal of silent movies in their day and why it was difficult for many actors to make the transition to talkies. When George's studio dismisses him, they tell him they want "fresh meat." What a sad commentary on the worth of a human being.
But George's talent is not gone, and finally, he is not too proud to accept help. When he does, he proves himself worthy of the leg up.
I urge you to rent The Artist. It has the Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.
And it doesn't get any better than that.
Infinities of love,