Title: Postcards From The Edge Release Year: 1990 Directed By: Mike Nichols Written By: Carrie Fisher, From Her Novel Recommended By: I just finished Mark Harris’s brilliant and comprehensive biography of Nichols, and decided to fill in some blanks in his filmography. Also, with a certain development on Obi-Wan Kenobi, I’ve got Carrie Fisher on the brain, so it seemed like a good place to start. Star Rating: 4.5
I had a general idea of what Postcards From The Edge would be like. I’ve read Carrie Fisher’s book, I’ve seen Heartburn which I would argue is Postcard’s sister film, and I’m reasonably familiar with Carrie Fisher’s relationship with her mother Debbie Reynolds. I knew I was in for a good time, watching Meryl Streep and Shirley MacClaine play in those emotional dynamics.
I was not ready for how much I was going to love this flick. Holy crap, it’s delightful. Funny, well performed, heart on it’s sleeve, delightful. Suzanne (Streep) is a young actress who’s once promising career has been derailed by an addiction to prescription pills. Her chance at a comeback is contingent on her living with her legendary Diva Star of a mother (MacClaine) so that someone can keep her in check while she makes a new movie.
That’s all there is to it. Beyond that it’s fraught conversations, witty barbs and warm reunions all around. Very well made, incredibly acted. (I mean, obviously, these two women are two of the best to ever do it!) I was very happy to watch this movie
What I Was Drinking
Some Napa Cab, I don’t really remember which one…maybe Josh? Anyway, it was nice, very relaxed/
I made some new friends via a new-ish friend, I ate good French good and bad Chinese food, I’d discovered that the heat might get the best of me.
“This Is A Fine Looking Group of Recruits”
Early rope drops are my favorite thing. It’s just really cool to get to the turnstiles when the sun is barely up, when there’s a group that feels like a crowd but you know is going to disperse so that in the end, you get on all the rides quickly. I of course headed right for Rise Of The Resistance, and while there was a short wait, something like 20 minutes, it was definitely worth that. I made a friend on line, and I wish I remembered her name, but she was lovely.
I’m not going to spoil Rise Of The Resistance. (Save a picture or 2). The surprises really make the whole ride. But it’s really really amazing. Fun and thrilling and all ages appropriate and full of exciting “how’d they do that?” Imagineering magic tricks. Really, really exceptional.
After Rise, my new friend and I hopped over to Millenium Falcon, where we both piloted, and then she was going to meet her friends and I went to ride Slinky Dog. After Slinky, I went to Tower of Terror, and then back to Galaxy Edge to try the Breakfast Ronto Wrap, and get some pictures taken, before I texted Maya and asked what their plans were.
They were just hanging out on Hollywood BLVD, shouting, “OH YOU LOOK GREAT!” at passing Dapper Folks, and as such, we had a really nice time for about a half an hour, before taking a bunch of pictures at Grauman’s Chinese theater.
Then we all broke for lunch, some people going to The Brown Derby and some to Prime Time Cafe. I was starting to wilt, and was still pretty full from my Ronto Wrap, so I went back to my room, hung in the AC and ate my leftovers from Cali Grill. Sara texted me when they finished up, I hopped right on the Skyliner and met them, for more “promenading,” to use Maya’s word, and then a decision to get out of the heat and see Frozen Ever After, before doing the big group Dapper Day meetup. (I got a milkshake with Bailey’s in there somewhere.)
Though the meetup was fun, this has never been an activity I’ve been wild about. These big photo calls at Dapper Day and at Comic Cons usually just make me feel overly sensitive and shy and I think the pandemic isolation has only amplified this tendency in me. But, most of the people I talked to were nice.
Then it was time to say goodbye to everyone. Several of my new crew were flying home that night and again, it was CRAZY HOT. So we parted ways. I hopped back on line for Rise Of The Resistance, then did Mickey And Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Star Tours. After getting off Star Tours a MASSIVE thunderstorm hit. I ran quickly and popped into Baseline Taphouse, grabbed a beer and waited out the rain with a bunch of other people who happened to be from Jersey! HEY!
By the time the rain abated, it was just about time for me to check in for my early dinner at The Brown Derby, so I took some pictures in front of Grauman’s Chinese. Then I ate dinner.
The ambience and drinks at The Brown Derby are better than the food, but the food is pretty good. I got shrimp cocktail and Coq Au Vin, plus a Gin Martini and a glass of The Silverado Zinfandel. (To go to a Disney Park and not have at least ONE serving of Silverado feels disloyal to me.)
Then it was back to Galaxy’s edge for more pictures and then the Cantina. I’d enjoyed my previous visit here, but this time, in full swing, crowded and loud and busy, it’s wildly fun. I talked to a father and son that had just wrapped their Galactic Starcruiser, and who endorsed it heartily.
Next I wound my way to one last Rise of The Resistance ride. I was once again with a fun group, but I of course left my fanny pack on the ride as I was getting off, and didn’t realize it until I was already at the front of guest services. We’ll get into that more in when I talk about the next day.
So I was back in my room and asleep by 10
Up Next On Trip Report
I take a day off from the parks, navigate the Walt Disney World Lost And Found system, and my parents come to Orlando.
Title: Double Indemnity Release Year: 1944 Directed By: Billy Wilder Written By: Billy Wilder & Raymond Chandler, From The Novel By James M. Cain Recommended By: The AFI Top 100 Films; John Trumbull. (John and I have been friends for a long time, we met at a bar on Halloween in 2009, because he knew Katie through community theater. We quickly bonded, over comic books and other various nerdy elements. You may remember John from the time I was (unfairly) mad at him about The Force Awakens, but you should definitely check out his twitter, and his podcast about SNL, where he is very funny, and I only get mad at him sometimes and briefly) Star Rating: 5
This is a good movie. Sometimes there’s just very little else to say. A wonderful noir with truly outstanding performances, and a fun twist of being told from the point of view of an Insurance Man, rather than a private detective, plus all of that rotting at the core of the suburbs that Raymond Chandler was so good at.
Double Indemnity is about Walter Neff, an insurance appraiser played by Fred McMurray, while trying to convince Mr. Dietrichson (Tom Powers) to upgrade his policy, is drawn into the web of his wife Phyllis (Barbara Stanwyck). After falling in love with Phyllis, Neff helps her concoct a plan to kill her husband, make it look like an accident and have her take the insurance money so they can run off together.
There’s also a subplot with her step daughter. There’s a lot going on, tons of twists and turns, and everyone winds up dead.
Because Noir! Billy Wilder is easily my favorite studio era director, so I was of course very into the rhythms and fun ride of this movie. I liked it a lot. I don’t like it as much as Wilder’s other take on noir that I’ve seen (Sunset Boulevard) but it’s still pretty great.
What I Was Drinking
Educated Guess Cabernet. I made Red Sauce last Friday, it was open and I needed to drink it before it turned. I might phase out this feature, it’s gotten pretty boring because my drinking is less exploratory that day.
I got a little too drunk hanging out adjacent to The Magic Kingdom, but was ready to kick off my vacation
Welcome World Travelers
I had big plans that involved me having a protein bar and a coffee every morning before going into the parks, rather than overpaying for iced mochas and pastries. This didn’t work out. It is what I did THIS day, and despite my copious drinking the evening before, I was up in time to get on the Skyliner over to Epcot at 7:45 for the 8 AM early opening.
I was planning on meeting up with my friend Maya today (We’ll get to that) but she’d let me know she wasn’t getting to the parks before 10. I instead took this time to just ride everything I wanted to. I hopped onto ‘Soarin, Spaceship Earth, Frozen and Ratatouille by 9, and then realized I was starving, so I went to get online at Les Halles, but the line was bananas so I went to a Joffrey’s cart and got a donut instead.
It was a good donut. I wandered around a bit, got my picture taken and then heard from Maya that she and her friends were in Connections Cafe (Epcot’s new Starbucks) I wasn’t too far from there so I made my way to them, and as it turned out, several other people I had met were with her! (I know all of these folks through my friend Irvin, who I doubt is reading this, but if he is, HI IRVIN!) Including Sara (who I actually DROVE to Irvin’s birthday party!) and some other people who I hadn’t met but clicked with right away.
We mostly all walked around together, though we did get on Spaceship Earth again, (I will never ever complain about this) before people were getting ready for lunch. I had a reservation at the new La Creperie De Paris (back in the Ratatouille section) and they were heading to Le Cellier. So we parted ways.
Y’all? La Creperie is FAN FUCKING TASTIC. In addition to being deliciously made, they have a wonderful Prix Fix menu, which gets you a salad, a savory “gallette” and a desert crepe, plus a glass of hard cider for $33.
WONDERFUL. This was the first time, however, that the heat just got the absolute best of me. I quickly texted Maya and let her know that I was going to take a swim and a nap, and that I’d let her know when I was back in the park.
GOD I LOVE THE SKYLINER. I was back in my room, with an iced tea from the food court within 20 minutes of texting Maya. Chilling out and reading more of Written In The Stars, and even opening the bottle of rose I’d brought.
Around 3, I hopped back on the Skyliner and found the group in Italy, where they were taking pictures. They were all bounding as characters from The Princess And The Frog, so we were scouting for appropriate backgrounds, and also, it was still wayyy too hot to be outside for long. So we landed in the lobby of The American Adventure, watching The Voices Of Liberty wrap up their set. Sara still wasn’t happy with the setting, so several of them decided to head back to Port Orleans (where they were staying) take the pictures they wanted, cool down and come back for dinner.
Maya wanted to keep hanging out, as did her friend Mary, so the three of us headed to France, got some champagne and found a table in The UK under and umbrella and chatted. Maya had learned one of her cousins was also in the Park, and Mary and I both wanted to hit up La Cava Del Tequila so we quickly split up.
I was enchanted by my new friend, Mary, I can say that. We had a lot in common, and compared notes on various romance novels, TV shows, and Disney Parks stuff. We got a table at La Cava, ordered some margaritas and queso and just enjoyed the air conditioning and each other’s company.
After that, we were looking for somewhere to again just be out of the heat, and I mentioned heading to Weinkeller, the little wine shop in Germany. Mary, quickly asked, “WHAT?” And I excitedly pulled her over to it.
There was of course no line, because no one knows about this little spot, but it’s one of my favorites. She’d mentioned earlier that she liked Reisling and I grabbed a rose. (Still a little sweet for me, but Alpine wines always are). Dinner was in China, and the group was on their way back, so we walked over to China, shopped a little and then watched the movie.
Here’s the thing about that movie…I know it’s Walt Disney World and no one wants to be thinking about the uh…darkness, at that time, but a 15 minute propganda video for The CCP in the middle of a theme park feels…well, creepy. And that’s what this is. (There’s a scene where they describe Tienamen Square as the strength of modern China!) But, we were able to sit down and there was AC.
Eventually, after something of an Odyssey, the rest of the group made it to China for us to sit down and eat at Nine Dragons.
I’ve read every warning, and I was already latching onto the plans of others, so I didn’t want to be annoying about it. But seriously, unless you have no other options (and there usually are other options) DON’T EAT HERE. Our service was bad, the food is worse than Panda Express. The restaurant is lovely, so we decided if you want to experience the nice room, maybe order some dumplings and a cocktail and leave it at that.
We got out of the restaurant right on time to watch Harmonius. Having already seen it, I was ready to enjoy myself, but I really really like this show. I think the music selections are excellent, the projections are creatively conceived and the fireworks are stunning.
Over dinner there’d been some talk of either getting drinks out on the Boardwalk or maybe even hopping over to Magic Kingdom.
Instead we all parted ways and headed out. Which was the right call, I had an early morning since I wanted to rope drop at Studios and ride Rise Of The Resistance. So I took another Skyliner ride, had what I would describe the next day as, “possibly the best shower of my life!” and curled up in bed, read a little and fell asleep.
I fall in love with a ride, my greatest Disney Bounding/Dapper Day triumph, and I remember why I hate big meetups at stuff. (Spoiler Alert: It’s SOCIAL ANXIETY!)
So, Cait Blanchette plays a small town psychic (BASED ON BILLY BOB’S MOM!) who gets a vision about town rich girl/uber slut Katie Holmes, who is engaged to Greg Kinnear, who is her kid’s teacher. She’s also counciling Giovanni Ribisi through childhood sexual abuse, and Hilary Swank, who is being violently abused by her husband, Keanu Reeves. Keanu and Katie are obviously sleeping together, come on.
Katie turns up murdered and Cait starts having terrifying visions about it. Turns out Katie was also fucking DA Gary Cole. But Sherriff JK Simmons and Cait are both reasonably sure Keanu did it.
Anyway, it’s very creepy and twisty in a deeply predictable way, but still fun. I really enjoyed myself.
I spent 9 days in Walt Disney World a few weeks back.
It was AMAZING.
I was EXHAUSTED and REFRESHED all at once. And, I am very very behind on movie watching.
But I like these trip reports as a sort of journal of my time in the parks and at the resort. So I do these for me, and as a roundabout way of giving advice and recomendations
Arrival Day 4/29
When I go to Orlando I like to take the earliest morning flight I can, thus giving myself an unstressfull afternoon and evening. This leads of course to stress the night before and morning of, but hey, if I’m going to be stressed, get it out of the way early!
So, I was on an 8 AM flight which landed around 10:30. I used the Mears Connect Service that is currently replacing The Magical Express. It functions the exact same way, except you have to get your own bag and it now costs $35.00. (Less service for more money, welcome to the new normal)
Honestly, it was fine. For $10 more I could have done an Uber, but I was curious about the buses. I was staying the The Carribean Beach Resort, we were the second stop after Yacht & Beach, so I was changing into a sundress and swimsuit, my bag’s checked by 1.
I opted for some fish tacos and iced tea from Centertown Market for my lunch, and then headed to Banana Cabanna and got some kind of frozen drink, before parking my butt in a lounge chair by the pool and read my romance novel (Written In In The Stars by Alexandra Bellefleure. A WLW Pride And Prejudice retelling about astrology and risk assessment. GOOD!)
I got bored by that pretty quickly. So I walked around. And then did some more walking around. Then, it was 3:15 and I still hadn’t gotten a notification that my room was ready, which felt weird, since check in was 3, AND I had a 5:50 dinner reservation, so I needed to shower and change.
Turns out my room was ready and I could have been in there for an hour. Regardless, I LOVED this room. I was in The Jamaica section, on the first floor in a corner room. It was convenient and well lit and very comfortable.
So I changed. I got very lucky the night before and got a reservation at The California Grill. I’ve been trying to go back there for almost five years now, so I was excited.
Since I was down for Dapper Day, I dressed up even though I wasn’t going to be near any Dapper People. (They were mostly over at Disney Springs) But I’d packed the dress. I hopped on a bus to Magic Kingdom, then walked to the Contemporary.
I still had about 20 minutes before Check In, so I went to The Outer Rim bar, and got to see a SpaceX launch (Fuck Elon!)
Then I got to The California Grill. If you are unfamiliar with this, it is a large restaurant on the top floor of The Contemporary Resort. It has floor to ceiling windows with unparallelled views of Walt Disney World and has two decks which have views of the fireworks at The Magic Kingdom every night. It’s a premiere dining experience and it’s not easy to get a table.
Right now, they’re serving a Prix Fix dinner with three courses drawn from the 50 years of opperattion. This costs $89 and for an extra $39 you get a sommelier pairing (which I obviously did.)
The California Grill does not disappoint. My three courses, a Duck A L’orange Flatbread, Filet Of Beef With Potatoes and Cauliflower, and A Dark Chocolate Almond Torte.
It was a LOT of food and I only ate about half of it (I brought most of the pizza and torte back to my room, actually). But the real stars for me here were the wine pairings. Really worth that extra $30.
With my choices I got a L’Ecole 41 Syrah from the Columbia Valley, which was sweet and light enough that it didn’t overwhelm the pizza (which had a LOT going on), a Nickel & Nickel Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa, which…frankly, a high end traditional Napa Cab is the PERFECT thing for a steak. There’s just nothing better. Dessert was with a Rose Regale, a sweet sparkling red which I LOVE but only drink in Walt Disney World because it is both expensive and kind of tough to find.
There were still a few hours before the fireworks when I vacated my table, so I hopped on the monorail and went to the Polynesian, I put my name in at Trader Sam’s but I wasn’t confident I’d make it, so I grabbed a Krakatoa Punch on the terrace and walked over to The Grand Floridian and got a seat at The Enchanted Rose and got a French 75, before hopping on The Monorail and getting back to The Contemporary and back up to California Grill for the fireworks. More champagne, and a spot on the deck aquired I watched Enchantment.
Uhhh, I have some issues with this show. (Later in the week they are resolved). It feels too short, FAR too current to be the Spectacular celebrating 50 years in the park, and the new song is no where near as moving as “Happily Ever After.” Not into it.
After this, I settled in at the bar, rather than join the mad dash to the elevators, and ordered a whiskey (or 2) and despite having plenty of time to get back to The Magic Kingdom to get the bus, recognized I was WAY too drunk to do that, so I grabbed an UBER, got it together just enough to pop out my contacts and put on pajamas before passing out on top of the covers.
Dapper Days, new friends, WAY less booze, A Galaxy Far, Far away, lazy days at the pool, the Wizarding World, I can’t do theme parks with my dad anymore, and oppressive Floridian heat and humidity! It’s going to be fun!
Title: A Simple Plan Release Year: 1998 Directed By: Sam Raimi Written By: Scott B. Smith, from his novel Recommended By: Blank Check With Griffin And David Star Rating: 4
I watched this weeks ago, but went on vacation almost right after and am just getting around to the review now. As sometimes happens when I’m following along with a Blank Check series, I’m starting to feel burned out on the director but this is a damn good movie and deserved my consideration.
When Hank Mitchell (Bill Paxton) and his brother Jacob (Billy Bob Thornton), and a friend of his brother, Lou Chambers (Brent Briscoe) find a downed plane with nearly $4 million dollars in it, they realize this money could both change their lives and be very dangerous. They scheme how to keep the money, but a series of events lead to violence, corruption and a lot of Moral Dilemmas.
This movie is so simple (heh) and straightforward and fun, it just didn’t quite hit me right. It’s an effective thriller and Thornton in particular is great in it. I just think it’s a little too crafted to really effect me emotionally, which is a shame