Full Monty – movie, Robert Carlyle, Tom Wilkinson

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Unemployed men in the north of England are willing to try anything to scrape together a living and at the same time, uphold their dignity. The plan is to hold a fund raiser in the bar, with male strippers.

This is a compelling story on many levels, for there’s more at stake than a bit of money and having some fun. Fatigued and out of work, the men wonder if they’re still men. Dave is afraid of losing his wife, Gaz is already divorced, and their suicidal pal Lomper is living a dreary celibate life

Given the programme, the film seems oddly innocent. It’s a comedy about male full-frontal exposure, or, as one character puts it, men prancing around Sheffield with their widgers hanging out. Rife with nudging and guffawing, the steelworkers turned male strippers are less raunchy than awkward and well-meaning.

What The Full Monty is, though, is political, in a gentle way. Great characters and very good acting by Tom Wilkinson and Robert Carlyle, among others. Worth watching even now, sixteen years later.

Stand By Me – movie, River Phoenix, Kiefer Sutherland

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock (1617242a) Stand By Me,  Wil Wheaton,  Jerry O'connell,  Corey Feldman,  River Phoenix Film and Television

This movie is thirty years old now, yet still resonates with me. It is the story of four boys, all troubled and disturbed in some way with life and loss. Unexpectedly they set out on a journey to find a dead body, which leads them into all kinds of trouble and danger, yet through it all they stick together.

The movie is inspiring as you watch the challenges they face individually with their familes and face together on the trip. Kiefer Sutherland plays a teenage bad guy, and River Phoenix is excellent as the de-facto leader of the small group.

But the whole story is seen from the point of view of one of the boys as an adult, with a son of his own. Dustin Hoffman plays this role, and as he looks back, he sees what they gained and lost through this adventure.

Based on a Stephen King novella, Stand By Me is worth a watch, for sure.

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Michael Clayton – excellent movie

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This movie is 9 years old, so nothing new here, but George Clooney did such a fabulous job in a very tense and stirring story that I’ve watched it more than once, just last night again. 🙂 Tilly Swinton and Tom Wilkinson are also great in their roles. This is a muscular, rough story of a lawyer who is really ‘just a janitor’. His job is to clean up after the firm’s clients when needed, with the promise held out that ‘soon’ he’ll become partner in the law firm.

These are talented actors. Tom Wilkinson has done so many great films, from Full Monty to Secrets and Lies. Here he plays a senior partner in the law firm who is struggling with mental problems, along with the stigma of the work they do for their clients. Just another job for the janitor to handle. Have a look, this movie does not disappoint.

What are your favourite movies? Leave a note here.

Willow – the fantasy movie, Val Kilmer

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Do you remember the movie ‘Willow’, from Ron Howard and George Lucas? It stars Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer and Joanne Whalley, a fantasy story about dwarves and swordfights.

I first watched it with my children years ago and now when some youngster comes to the house, we sometimes trot it out. Kids love it, partly because they seem to identify with the dwarves who win the day in the end against the army of the wicked witch. There is lots of magic and action.

I love it. It’s cute, gutsy, clever and vastly entertaining. What movie do you like to watch now and then?

Cruise to Spain via Portugal

Our cruise to Spain was exactly what we wanted — kind of like the slow boat to China. We left Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a Sunday and spent twelve days at sea. It was eight days from departure for our first stop – the Portuguese island of Madeira. By then we had begun to unwind and felt like we were finally on vacation.

P1040170The ancient barricade wall at Funchal

P1040159Painted on the barricade

The capital of Madeira is Funchal and that is where our ship docked. What a beautiful place. The trip up to the peak of the mountain in a taxi allowed us to stop at some spectacular gardens.

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Then we rode the cable-car back down to the city. It was hair-raising but worth it for the fabulous views. Old buildings, beautiful churches, tiny gardens clinging to minute spaces on the steep hillside. Definitely a must see.

P1040219A resident of the gardens

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