I’m slipping out today for a holiday weekend, during which I will host a big dinner tomorrow, complete with borrowed chairs and my friend Terri’s yummy-sounding corn pudding. And, during the preparations and the aftermath, I hope I find a few moments to be thankful for blessings large and small: family and friends, health and employment, and the fact that my 18.5-year-old cat, Myrna Loy, is still here (and still feisty) for at least one more round of Thanksgiving turkey scraps. And I’m grateful for many movie-related gifts as well this year; here are a few:
— The return of the Uptown, reopened earlier this fall by the Seattle International Film Festival, and, I hear, doing great business.
— The return of Alexander Payne, who made us wait seven years after “Sideways” — and gave us, with “The Descendants,” a movie that’s worth the wait.
— Movies this year that made me laugh out loud, like “The Muppets,” “Bridesmaids,” “Crazy Stupid Love,” and “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part I.” Because nothing’s more fun than a comedy, whether intentional or not.
— The Harry Potter gang, because I’m going to miss them. Well done, kids.
— Movies based on good books that get it right: “Jane Eyre,” “The Hedgehog,” “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “Brighton Rock”
— Documentaries about fascinating people that make us wish we could meet them: “Bill Cunningham New York,” “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey,” “Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff,” “The Interrupters,” “A Not So Still Life,” “Page One: Inside the New York Times”
— Paul Giamatti, just because. (Why is nobody talking about “Win Win” for Oscar buzz?)
— Viola Davis, ditto. (At least she’s getting talked about.)
— That nice guy who works at Pacific Place who doesn’t mind taking a few extra steps to scoop the just-popped popcorn in the back, rather than the staler stuff in the front.
— Everybody who works in movie-theater concessions and remembers that salt is a condiment, not a primary ingredient.
— Cinerama, for its fabulous screen and fabulously not-too-expensive snacks. And its Cinerama Festival, which people are still talking about.
— Cinebarre, for the great concept, and for the fries. (Do I seem a little food-oriented this morning? Well, it is Thanksgiving.)
— “Midnight in Paris,” which I’ve seen three times and would love to watch again. Some movies just make you ridiculously happy; this is one.
— Not one but two splendid performances by Jack Russell terriers this year: Cosmo in “Beginners” and Uggie in “The Artist.” (Swell movies, too.)
— Movie magic, in all its forms: the dreamy 3D in “Hugo”; the way Michelle Williams channels Marilyn Monroe in “My Week with Marilyn”; brilliant young actors like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ryan Gosling, who command the screen with such casual ease; the uncanny light in “The Tree of Life”; the “movie-in-a-movie-in-a-movie” over the end credits of “Super 8.”
— The next movie that thrills me, whatever it may be.
— And finally, all the readers of this little movie blog, particularly the regular commenters who keep things lively, thoughtful, and always civilized. I’m enormously grateful to all of you for making P & P part of your day, and hope you continue to join me in my movie-related ramblings. And I’ll end with a contribution from a commenter, and one last bit of Muppet madness: LurgidBee, last week, posted a link to this clip, in which the Swedish Chef, Animal and Beaker sing “Danny Boy.” I loved this, so much so that I was getting weird look from my colleagues who were wondering why I was cracking up at my desk.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, everyone. See you next week.