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Movies of 1986 … the good. The bad. The Money Pit.

Just a quick list to get you thinking about some 30-year-old movies … of the many releases of 1986, these are my personal faves. Keep in mind: In 1986, I was nine. So my favorites tend to skew toward the juvenile. View the entire list here.

Back to School

The Clan of the Cave Bear

Crocodile Dundee

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

The Fly

Gung Ho!

Howard the Duck

The Karate Kid, Part II

Labyrinth

Little Shop of Horrors

The Money Pit

One Crazy Summer

Peggy Sue Got Married

Pretty in Pink

Short Circuit

Soul Man

Stand By Me

Three Amigos

Wildcats

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The Anatomy of the College Frosh Basket

Stressed about what to get that off-to-college student in your life? Fret no more. I have the answer.

Start with a plastic bin; they’ll need at least 32 for their personal belongings anyway. Add TP rolls for filler as well as the first gift item…they’ll need those too, mostly for non-toilet purposes. Tissues when they get their first cold and realize they used all of their tissues for napkins. Napkins when the tissues were used for toilet paper. Or for good old tree-adornment during Homecoming. ¬†Also: things that look like a face for the win.

Fill with even more items-they’ll-need; in my experience, that means plenty of shelf-ready food, notebooks, a few toiletries, and one of those magnetic white boards for your dorm door. Those never go out of style.

Cover any gaps in the pile-o-presents with some tissue paper, wrap in cellophane and ribbon, and voila — the perfect going away present for a college first-year. Here’s a list of the other items in my basket:

Farberware magnetic clips

Emoji stickies

Snickers bar

Nutella

Ramen Noodles

Toilet paper – 3

Composition notebooks – 2

Door whiteboard

PB2 add-water peanut butter

Venus disposable razors

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Geek Salad Tossed Me Another Blog Prompt

In the pursuit of drafting Top Ten Lists — or Top Five, Top 15, Top 132, whatevs — there’s a lot of self-discovery to be made.

It always starts the same… someone, for some reason, asks you to list your favorite albums, movies, books, or sock brands, then slaps a finite number on it. You start out confidently enough, but then the list either hits a brick wall or boards a runaway train, and getting to your assigned ‘number’ becomes panic-inducing.

Such was the case this week as I tried to list my Top 15 movies, as challenged by the folks over at the Geek Salad Radio podcast.

A few film titles flew into my head right away, only to be followed by a litany of questions, starting with What constitutes a favorite movie? Is it one I’ve seen several times? Do nostalgic picks count? What if I love it ironically, a la The Poseidon Adventure? Should I open the non-fictional Pandora’s Box that is my love of the documentary genre? Is it really one of my favorite movies, or do I just think it is supposed to be…My Own Private Idaho comes to mind?

I decided to list all the films with a special place in my heart that I could think of, and whittle down from there, which has its pluses and minuses as list-making tactics go. I still feel like I have completely forgotten about a few that I honestly do love, while at the same time, knew a few I did remember weren’t going to make the final cut in the end. I listed them anyway — it felt like The Bachelor of Top Movie Lists. So here we go … these 15 films get my rose.

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    1. Say Anything… Still my favorite, from age 15 on. What can I say — I’m a bit of a romantic and a sucker for witty banter. That’s what writer/director Cameron Crowe does best, and his work appears on my grand list more than once. Fun fact: I actually referenced Lloyd Dobler in my high school yearbook as my perfect man.5548609273_13e2508e5f_b.jpg
    2. Dazed and Confused There’s a strong nostalgia factor here, but I also just plain love the movie. We started discussing the possibility of outdoor movies on our lawn recently, and decided this had to be the premier showing without a doubt. Even if there are ruffians about.Casablanca,_title.JPG
    3. Casablanca Despite my admission that I’m a little hopeless in the romance department, I don’t actually see Casablanca as a true romance. It’s more of a war film, a political comedy, and even a buddy flick. My favorite scene is the bar spontaneously singing the French National anthem … chills. c104c046ed96e1acf9023aa61745515d.jpg
    4. Closer In my opinion, one of the best written films of recent memory, though not the most uplifting. Excellent ensemble cast, great twists, plenty of character study. Hearing Clive Owen’s pronunciation of the word ‘Lobster’ is a particular high point.
    5. A Fish Called Wanda A fantabulous comedy and another great ensemble cast — although Kevin Kline is my hands-down favorite character. We all know that guy … the dumb guy who thinks he’s smart. Accountant or assassin, they’re all the same.
    6. The Princess Bride As I write this list out, I’m noticing the ensemble cast thread, here … you? This is easily one of the most quotable films of all time (HELLO), but its place in history as one of the best Hero’s Journey movies ever can’t be overlooked.
    7. 28 Days Later I’m a huge horror movie fan, and this one makes my overall favorites list because it sticks to its story so damn tightly it’s nerve-wracking to watch, even¬† during the fourth or fifth showing. There’s also an alternate ending available that’s just as good as the theatrical release, making it truly a movie you can watch for the first time twice.
    8. Beetlejuice I don’t think I can ever get sick of this movie … I haven’t yet, and it was released when I was 11. It’s still one of the best soundtracks in my collection (Belafonte-heavy) and I always see something on the Other Side that I hadn’t noticed before.
    9. Office Space This is a movie that falls under the ‘I’ve seen it 500 times’ category. I even attended an Office Space-themed party once and won an Initech mug, and years later went to a Halloween party dressed as Joanna at work, complete with pieces of flair. It’s required viewing for anyone with a crappy job, which is pretty much everyone.across_the_universe_strawberry_by_mewax42-d5hivcy
    10. Across the Universe Behold – the musical of the list! This is a Julie Taymor film – a sixties musical starring a bunch of unknowns and two-hours of Beatles tunes. As I recall, the reviews were mixed, but I like the bright, psychedelic look of the movie, its soundtrack, and its fun smattering of cameos — keep an eye out for the guy playing Timothy Leary. You might be surprised.
    11. Four Weddings and a Funeral Poignant and funny, I only waivered on this choice once, in college: my favorite professor deemed it insipid and terrible, and I died a little inside – knowing I’d never become his protege or muse. But a few days later, I decided ‘no, it’s a great flick, and suck it Professor Crawford.’maxresdefault
    12. Pretty in Pink It can be tough to choose just one John Hughes movie, and it’s not that I had to, but I spent an inordinate amount of time weighing Pretty in Pink against other Hughes films; particularly The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The bottom line though is this is the movie I watch on rainy days. It’s the soundtrack I recreated myself because the retail version lacks a lot of the good stuff, and I still want to dress like Andi (and sometimes do).
    13. Trainspotting Choose Life. And choose the fucking sequel, coming soon from Danny Boyle.539615302_5a9d2d9886_z.jpg
    14. The Big Lebowski I think attending Lebowskifest as a journalist puts this on my Top 15 list by proxy. But I can also appreciate the natural, zesty enterprise that is The Dude.
    15. O Brother, Where Art Thou? Great film, great soundtrack, great adaptation of what is one of my favorite books/poems/stories (The Odyssey). Again with that ensemble cast-hero-journey-musically-inclined-movie thing…I think I may have found my niche.

And the Runners-up…

High Fidelity
Romancing the Stone
The Never-ending Story
Star Wars: Episode 7
The Fifth Element
Little Women (1938)
Robin Hood (Disney)
Fantasia
Dead Man Walking
Elizabeth
Saw
Parenthood
Memento
Jaws
Seven
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Fargo
The Wizard of Oz
The Birdcage
The Full Monty
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Little Miss Sunshine
Love Actually
Napoleon Dynamite
Young Frankenstein
Clerks
Mommie Dearest
Harold and Kumar go to White Castle
Spaceballs
Shaun of the Dead
Anchorman
Brain Candy
The Exorcist
The Sixth Sense
The Last of the Mohicans
Dear Zachary
MST3K
The World According to Garp
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Bowling for Columbine
Super Size Me
Dirty Dancing
My Life
White Christmas
It’s a Wonderful Life
The Ref
Born into Brothels
The Poseidon Adventure
Sixteen Candles

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Hand-made thank you notes

Juli (2) and I collaborated on a few thank you note designs recently. Materials: Crayola finger paints, Project Life 2×3 cards, cardstock, assorted embellishments. The circles were made by putting pouch caps in paint.