The Wizard of Oz

6 Degrees Film Roundup for June: Judy Garland at 100!

The best of…The “best of” films are sometimes hard to find! Because people have different tastes and some bad “B” movies are the ones you really might be in the mood for some nights. I had a friend who worked in the old movie rental stores, and people would come in looking for something different. They would complain when she recommended films to people that were just not right for them. And that seems to be the way of it. Everyone has different tastes and standards, and it’s hard to find something to agree on with “Family Film Night!” That’s why you end up watching documentaries like “Call of the Wild.” What may be hilariously funny to you can leave others cold. And it’s the same with film reviews. I’ve seen people complain about bad reviews that just loved the films that I or others have panned. It’s a subjective thing-the subject of movies and especially “Best of!” Judy Garland at 100   For films of Judy Garland, the most beloved is one of my personal favorites. The Wizard of Oz has so much in the way of talent and beauty and it is a very family-friendly film. And yet, the fantasy takes you to places that Lord of the Rings lovers would agree are timeless. The realm of Oz is a fictional land of fantasy that really represents so much that is ‘the best’ of Hollywood. The Wizard of Oz captures the essence of what Hollywood can be at its heights. And it was made in a year that has come to be considered the ‘height’ of the Golden age of film. The year 1939 saw so many great films made, that stacks of books have been written about it. That was how Judy Garland came to be first seen, and then univerally beloved on celluloid. Some recommendations for her best performances include Wizard of  Oz as well as Meet me in St Louis and In the Good Old Summertime. The Harvey Girls is one of the #MeToo films for women who can see what women were depicted on screen in a favorable light during the Golden Age of Film. They were not always simply objects and there were so many great performances from strong female leads that it is important to highlight them. Some of Judy Garland’s later performances showed a complete metamorphosis of her character and physical appearance that it is almost startling. Judgment at Nuremberg is one of the darker appearances, but Montgomery Clift is even more pronounced in his character. TCM Highlights   For lovers of film noir, two favorites that have been shown frequently of late are Laura with Gene Tierney and The Big Sleep with Bogart and Bacall.  And those who can take a dose of dark humor, Kubrick’s classic Dr Strangelove is shown (with scenes that are unfortunately almost too real for these dark political times!) The Armchair Film Fest This month, those who love summer films may also enjoy some of the Bad B’s. Forbidden Planet is a sci-fi classic that is campy, but not really in the same category as the formulaic bad movies that make the grade! Plan 9 from Outer Space is a must-see, as well as the Attack of the 50-Foot Woman. There is also one called The Wild, Wild Planet which looks as if it fits the bill and checks every box for Bad B! Later this month, Mel Gibson fans can see a film fest that includes the original Mad Max (which also fits into the Bad B category with its dubbed dialogue for Mel making it completely campy!) Also, Mrs Soffel, (with a real-life sad version of this film recently seen in the news, as Soffel is also based on a true story of a woman seduced into helping a convict escape from prison.) The Year of Living Dangerously is one of director Peter Weir’s best, and also foreshadows the darker elements of Mel Gibson’s true character in this story. And on the subject of ‘bad boys,’  James Dean is seen on TCM in two of his big hits made during his short life. Rebel without a cause and Giant are both very good films. And I’ve often speculated about where the rebel character would have taken him in his film career. The James Dean Legacy in Film is a chapter in my book, 6  Degrees of Film, with the theory that Paul Newman and Steve McQueen  ended up taking over the mantle of Rebel that was Dean’s Legacy. They were the stars in the roles he would have been offered as the dark and mixed-up youth becomes the troubled young man and finally a haunted and despairing loner in later life. Friday Flix Recommends… Our online magazine, Friday Flix, highlights some of the revisionist westerns, including one of my all-time favorites, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. There’s a piece on some of Judy Garland’s ‘best films’ (See above!) And a beginner’s guide to American Film Noir. That is a new way to cover noir, (Noir means dark in French!) Noir is noir, and that can be American or French or any other combination of the above. In 6 Degrees of Film, there’s a chapter on the rise of Film Noir. It was a movement that gave a voice to many returning from war who were looking for meaning. And it also catapulted stars such as Humphrey Bogart to fame. That’s all for now film friends. Don’t forget to follow us each week at the newly re-vamped 6 Degrees of Film Facebook page! And sign up for the newsletter to receive updates and downloads from 6 Degrees of Film. Until next time, have a great summer vacation and see you at the movies!

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Your Monday Muse: Awakening your Enthusiasm!

Enthusiasms In the Bible, Romans tells us this: Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord-Romans 12:11. How wonderful it would be to become like a child again! Waking each day with enthusiasm for something new and wonderful. We are all children of God so that enthusiasm and wonder is still within us. When we wake each day, there is something in our core, our inner spirit, that can be awakened to perceive the wonder of something new in our lives. That zeal for living that is mentioned in Romans, is something we can find in our lives if it has been missing. When we help others, and if we are of service to those in need, we can find fulfillment and a new kind of zest for living. But when we are spiritually quiet and we find time to center our thoughts, we can explore new ideas and make plans and goals that will energize us.  And so it follows that when we are passionate about our lives, and thankful for the opportunities that are before us, that childlike enthusiasm can be found within us. Being Still Sometimes it is hard to be still in this world. Right now, I am preparing for the coming Tropical storm in our area. So the world moves at a faster pace around us. From past experience, I know that many people will ‘panic-buy’ and they will become agitated and at times even downright crabby and rude. It would be nice to just hand out cards that say: Be Still (& Chill) and Know God! The line we always hear that is easier to say and harder to do is to “Be Still.” That stillness is what we speak of as an inner peace that is not easy to grasp. But when we take the time to listen, it will help us to be still. In one book from Unity teachings, The Seven Whispers, author Christina Baldwin talks of being still and moving ‘at the pace of guidance.’ We are guided by many things in the course of our busy days. And when life is speeding up, it’s hard to listen and even harder to slow down. Meditation is one way to begin to move at the pace of guidance. But we should also look for signs during the course of the day, and trust in our own inner voices that will help find the space we need. By focusing on the thought that there is a higher power guiding us, who is the one in the drivers seat, it will help us to pace ourselves and discover the space of guidance that helps and heals. Awakening There is a wonderful movie based on a true story called Awakenings. It stars Robert De Niro as a man who has been in a comatose state and suddenly a new drug helps him to awaken and discover the world around him. Sadly, the drug has side effects and the awakening doesn’t last. And in the beloved movie that has lasted for about 80 years, The Wizard of Oz,  it tells of a young girl who awakens and finds herself in another realm of reality. She discovers that the power she seeks is with her all along, and it was a simple task to bring her back to the home she loved. Awakening to discover something new and exciting is one of the most joyful parts of our lives. When we see new babies and then grandchildren, or if we find love or have joy for those who have now discovered a long-lasting love, we want to celebrate. The story of the Prodigal Son ends with a joyful celebration for a beloved son who has returned at last. All of these are awakenings in our lives that bring us joy and energy. We spoke last week of doubts that are there to haunt all of us at times. When we trust in our inner voice to guide us and be still, we can awaken to new discoveries and joy in our lives. We awaken with enthusiasm each day when there is something new and wonderful out there on the horizon. The passage from the Bible in Genesis this week tells it all. Jacob awakens from sleep and realizes the Lord was with him all along, but he did not know it! That is the awakening that brings us our enthusiasms to begin each new day. Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place-and I did not know it!”- Genesis 28:16 Mantra: I will awake from sleep with enthusiasms and joy to begin the day. Each challenge I can meet with zeal and a renewed focus on what I want out of life. I will be still and know God and the holy spirit that I seek in my life through prayer and meditation and focus. And finally, I will plan for a new awakening to the continued enthusiasm and zest for life that is part of my own awakening.

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Monday Muse: On the calm before the storm in our journeys

Calm We have often heard the phrase, “The calm before the storm,’ when we know there is some incident that will occur to disrupt and upset the calm that is felt in our lives. We can connect the feeling with an undercurrent of unease. In our lives, there needs to be deep roots where we may travel, in our own minds and in our center of consciousness, and then find a calm that will last. In the Daily Word, the suggestion is to ‘enter the sanctuary of my heart.’ When we seek the inner peace we have often alluded to in our musings, we can understand that there is a centered place in our hearts and souls that will become a sanctuary of calmness in any gathering storm in our lives.   Journeys We often speak of the journeys we take in our lives. There is a wonderful quote from the late David Bowie that speaks to that. “The truth of course, is that there is no journey…We are arriving and departing all at the same time.” I believe our journey continues throughout our life, and that the core of what Bowie is telling us is the celebration of life we need to be aware of. The mindfulness and appreciation of the sights and sounds that we find each day become valuable when we realize the fleeting nature of time. And after the year of Pandemic, it also helps us to appreciate the journey we are on. When we travel to new places, or simply get busy with work and exciting new goals, we often lose sight of the world around us. That is the journey that we can appreciate when we focus our core being on the calm that is found within us. Those of us who love writing and film can appreciate the stories that tell of exciting journeys. One of my favorite films is still the original “The Wizard of Oz.” The tale centers on a fantastic journey to another realm, and yet the core of the story is about a young girl who wants nothing more than to return to her simple life in a farmhouse in Kansas. That speaks to the journey we are all on. We seek nothing more than love and happiness in its truest form.  Breakthroughs In our life, we are always looking for breakthroughs. New developments are some of the most exciting and even blessed of occasions. Witness the breakthrough we have all experienced with the miracle of a vaccine that has helped millions upon millions to prevent the dreaded disease of COVID-19! We all know of scientific breakthroughs, and the technological breakthroughs in our lifetimes. But in everyone life, there is a breakthrough of sorts when we discover something new about ourselves and about those we love. We often call them “AHA!” moments in our life. The breakthroughs that allow us to succeed and to learn and to find new ways to make our lives easier. These are all blessed events and exciting discoveries that we learn to look for and to pray they will help us in our journey. That is the reason the Growing Group is so called…Breakthroughs that allow us to grow in our spiritual journey can mean that we have the will and the strength to move mountains. The reason for the journey is a wonderful and transforming part of life that gives us hope and strength, courage and conviction each day. When we focus and find the inward calm, realize the journey of discovery allows us to meet new people and to seek out wonderful places and things. We can then allow that our entire life makes up a miraculous journey of discovery. The breakthroughs in our lives leave us with wonder and awe in our hearts and minds. And we realize the new challenges that we face each day allow us to arrive and depart at the threshold of a breakthrough in our spiritual journey of life. The Lord has made my Journey Successful- Genesis 24: 56  

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