SUZANNE SISKEL AND KATHLEEN EBERT

Spring Break, 1988. Hays Kansas. I was a senior in college; Suzanne was a senior in high school. She came to Hays to spend the week with me, but spring didn’t get the memo to come. Instead, we were snowed in for the week in the middle of March. I recall trudging through waist-deep drifts with Suzanne to get to a party. That memory, and one other stick out.

We had rented two movies on VHS. They were the only forms of in-home entertainment we had, and we got our money’s worth. We are still quoting lines from one of them.

“Lucas” was the story of a shy teenage boy who gets bullied, and decides to join the football team. It was a heartwarming story, and as I write it, I realize I can recall only a few other details.

Perhaps it will be on my movie queue tonight; I am quite sure I haven’t seen it since then.

I have seen the other movie since then, and I believe I have seen it enough for one lifetime. “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” was, and still is a classic in its own right. However, it very likely will never again appear in my movie queue.

Everyone I know has a big ‘but.’ Let’s talk about your big ‘but.'”

“Listen to reason,” another character says. Pee Wee responds: “I’m listening to reason.” (Must have hand up to ear for effect.”)

I’m rolling a big donut and this snake wearing a vest…” (Pee Wee is telling another character about a dream he had.)

Jokes about the Alamo are still tossed between us in regards to this movie. If you haven’t seen it, we do still recommend it. Once, however, is likely enough.

Perhaps this week of movie-watching laid the foundation for the movie watchers we have become today…

************

If you know Gail either in person or through this blog, it shouldn’t surprise you that she simply doesn’t have time to watch TV. Not even in full-on lockdown mode last year at this time. She always found constructive things to busy herself with.

Suzanne and I, however, fell prey to urge to use the lockdown to sit down and watch movies. Even as the world has started turning again, she and I still love to plant ourselves on our respective couches many evenings with our husbands and watch movies. She and her new husband were enjoying movies together before the shutdown– Hallmark movies, Lifetime movies, you get the idea. (I just threw up in my mouth a little bit again.) While I also like to watch an occasional series, she tells me that she and her hubs are committed only to each other, and are non-committal when it comes to binge-watching a series.

(Again, a little throw-up-in-my-mouth episode.) Whatever works for you, Suzanne.

We frequently share movie recommendations, because it is often difficult to decide if a movie is worth an evening of our lives. So, in honor of the iconic movie critics Siskel and Ebert, and to hopefully help all of you movie-watchers out a bit, she and I have decided to offer you our picks for movies. We will have no thumbs-down like they did; if it’s listed here, it is obviously at least one thumbs-up. No streaming information is provided, since everyone seems to have different streaming services. If it interests you, I hope you can get it!

Suzanne Siskel:

*Mean Girls–she wears pink on Wednesdays.

*Pretty in Pink–and Suzanne is pretty, too.

*Sixteen Candles: Suzanne was only 11 when I turned 16, so she is off the hook. Like the main character in this movie, however, nearly everyone forgot my 16th birthday–even Gail.

*Shawshank Redemption–a classic beyond words

*Identity Thief: anything with Melissa McCarthy is a hit, Jason Bateman is a hit, too.

*Game Night: Jason is a hit in this movie, too. Every movie, really.

*The Long Kiss Goodnight: an action thriller I haven’t yet seen.

*Thelma and Louise: an ongoing classic, Susan Sarandon shines, as always.

*Terms of Endearment: funny, sappy, classic.

*Arachnophobia: don’t watch if you don’t like spiders.

*Needful Things: Stephen King. No need to say any more.

*Overboard: one of Mom’s favorites, too.

Kathleen Ebert:

*Pay It Forward is my all-time favorite movie. It changed my life. Enough said.

*Groundhog Day is good for any day of the year, and perhaps every day of the year if you like it as much as I do.

*Bad Moms/Bad Moms Christmas: We saw these together in the theater when they came out. Crude, but hilarious. Carla was our favorite, and for a time after, if we were faced with a dilemma, we would simply ask ourselves, “What would Carla do?” Susan Sarandon shines again in the second film as Carla’s mom.

*Bad Words: We seem to be drawn to movies with “Bad” in the title…or maybe movies with Jason Bateman. Another crude movie, but with a good message. We are spelling bee freaks (Under Our Spell, September 1st 2019), so this one was perfect for us.

*Akeela and the Bee: Another awesome spelling bee movie; family friendly.

*Twister–a must for anyone living in Tornado Alley.

*Bruce Almighty: makes you laugh, and makes you think. As a speech therapist, my favorite is the newsroom scene. You’ll know why when you see it, if you haven’t already.

*Evan Almighty: the kind-of sequel to Bruce Almighty.

Dolores Claiborne and Misery: These Stephen King classics are made unforgettable by Kathy Bates.

Dirty Dancing: needs no explanation. It was our mom’s favorite.

There are many more movies we have watched in the last year, and I can’t remember most of them. My husband and I recently watched two great movies, both based in India, and both are highly recommended. White Tiger is a drama that illustrates the social structure/caste system in India, and Lion is based on a true story about a five-year old boy who gets stuck on a train and becomes lost a thousand miles from home. He is adopted out, and struggles with knowing he left his family behind as he grows up. Have your Kleenex ready.

Unlike Suzanne, I have committed myself to watching a few series, including:
Breaking Bad, The Queen’s Gambit, Bloodline, Dead to Me, Ozark, and Goliath. All are highly recommended, if you want to give up sizeable chunks of time.

Spring is springing, the days are longer, and the outdoors beckon. We are answering the call, but still make time for our beloved movie-watching. If you have any movie suggestions for us, and for everyone else reading, please post them. If you have any suggestions for convincing Gail to sit down and watch a movie once in awhile, please post that, too. She simply needs to listen to reason.

Thanks and happy movie-watching!

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