Films that feel like October, Part II

On Monday, I wrote about a few films that make me feel the shift in seasons and the cooler weather. With Halloween approaching, many would consider horror classics that should be in the mix of film viewing this time of year. While I enjoy a good scare, those films don’t necessarily feel like autumn to me. Around Halloween I gravitate towards Tim Burton’s Ed Wood or the classic animation special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown brings back a sense of childhood and wonderment for me. I don’t remember watching it every fall, but there is something so feel-good and traditional about it. It makes me long for those evenings of innocent treat-or-treating, before girls suddenly dress in costumes that are suppose to be sexy. I’d be happy to eat some candy corn and watch it any day.

For something a little different though, there’s Ed Wood. I discovered this film while in college and became slightly obsessed with it at the time. Johnny Depp plays the overly ambitious, but troubled 1950s film director Ed Wood. The film is based in truth: Ed Wood was a Hollywood outcast and is often called the worst film director ever. (Perhaps you’ve heard of Plan 9 From Outer Space? That was him.) Wood befriends an eclectic group of friends including an aging Bela Leguosi -Hollywood’s original Dracula- to create his next “masterpiece” despite the consistent lack of support from the studio system.

Ed Wood is one of Burton’s less talked about films, but it’s one of my favorites. Depp transforms into Wood and it is a joy to watch. The film hosts another wonderful ensemble cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Bill Murray, Patricia Arquette and Martin Landau, who one an Oscar for his portrayal of Lugosi. I’m drawn to comedies and this is partly why I love this film. There is a bit of insider film humor included, but there’s also Wood’s drive. The determination to make his dreams come true resonates with everyone. How you get there is half the fun. (Plus, there’s angora sweaters! #SweaterWeather.)

To add to the mood of this Halloween weekend picks, make some hot apple cider (and spike if you like!) Whether or not you’re handing out Halloween candy or eating it on the couch while watching either of these titles, the cider will make a nice pairing.

What’s your favorite Halloween candy? What film puts you in the spirit of tricks and treats? Let me know in the comments!

Hot Apple Cider
from Southern Living

2 quarts apple cider
1/2 cup molasses
4 lemon slices, cut in half
12 whole cloves
2 (2-inch) cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup lemon juice
Garnishes: cinnamon sticks, lemon wedges, whole cloves

Bring cider and next 4 ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.

Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves with a slotted spoon; stir in lemon juice. Garnish, if desired.

Watch the films mentioned in this post:
– It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on Amazon, iTunes or add to Netflix queue.
Ed Wood on Amazon, iTunes or add to Netflix queue.
– Or even better, support your local rental store!

Films that feel like October, Part I

October has always been one of my favorite months. As a kid, I loved getting into the Halloween spirit and thinking of creative costumes. In my 20s, October seemed like the month when a routine for the season finally set in. I love that changes in temperature and maybe discovering a golden leaf. In the South, the break in the heat was a much-needed relief. In Los Angeles, the land of no-seasons, the change isn’t as clear. There are moments when the breeze comes through the window and we wake up to our apartment being chilly. Suddenly, autumn has arrived.

There are some films I revisit every October. They give me a sense of the autumn spirit and remind me of the passage of time no matter what the weather is outside. This is part one of two posts this week about films that set the autumn mood for me.

Good Will Hunting not only has the “back to school” vibe, but I feel the cool Boston air as the camera moves through the Harvard and MIT campuses. Robin William’s cozy sweater wardrobe can’t be ignored either. They are on point.

The story of When Harry Met Sally covers all the seasons, but the shots of Harry and Sally walking amongst those bright red and orange trees in New York City are saved like a screen shot in my brain. Watching that comedy is like preparing yourself for the oncoming holiday madness, no matter your dating or marriage status. As Sally mentions, you just have to get through Thanksgiving to New Years.

Days of Heaven‘s stunning cinematography reminds me of how the days are getting shorter. Set in the early 1900s on the panhandle of Texas, this Terrance Malick film was shot mostly during “magic hour”. The sky glows beautifully during the harvesting scenes and its easy to get lost in this love triangle story. (I may have to curl up in a blanket and write a longer post about this one.)

As soon as the weather turns slightly cooler here, I start baking. Because we don’t have central air/heat, we are particular about when we use the oven. The moment I realize I can turn it on and it wouldn’t make the house too hot, my mind and stomach immediately goes to baking. I’ve been on a low FODMAP diet for the last several months for health reasons and including gluten is still a little tricky at times. While deep in the recipe-rabbit-hole, I came across a recipe for Pumpkin Granola Bars. I’ve made it each week for the past month (despite a short heat wave last week). So yes, we’re now a little obsessed with them. It’s perfect as a snack or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert. And it “feels” healthy because OATS, so that’s good, right?

What are some of your autumn favorites? Any non-horror films put you in the October mood for tricks-or-treats? Do you find yourself craving pumpkin (or do you hate the non-stop marketing and vow to eat all things non-pumpkin)?

Stay tuned for more autumn picks on Thursday!

Pumpkin Granola Bars
from The Well Balanced FODMAPer
*I have experimented a little with the amounts for this, using a little more pumpkin or adding ginger spice at times. It’s always turned out amazing, so go for it.

Should make about 10 smaller size granola bars. Serving size: 1 bar

2 cups oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon all spice

Preheat oven to 325°.
Blend all ingredients together. Press very firmly into lightly greased 8 x 8 square pan.
Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting.
Refrigerating will keep the bars firmer.

Watch the films mentioned in this post:
– Good Will Hunting – watch on Amazon, iTunes, add to Netflix queue
– When Harry Met Sally – watch on Amazon, iTunes, add to Netflix queue
– Days of Heaven – watch on Amazon, iTunes, add to Netflix queue (make sure you get the Blu-ray!)
– Or support your local rental store!

 

Sunday Mornings

For me, weekends are not always the relaxing type. As a consultant, work is whenever it needs to be. And sometimes that means a Sunday morning feels like a Tuesday morning.

But then there are those Sunday mornings that are exactly as they should be. Quiet streets outside. A cup of coffee (or tea) by my side. Magic hour sunlight. Sweet and cool tunes play through the hallway. An entire day lies ahead, ready to be seized. Those are the best mornings.

I’m on the older side of the millennial generation. Just the cusp of it. My parents read the paper on Sunday mornings. I grabbed the comics. While the internet boom quickly phased out that newspaper tradition for me, I appreciate the concept. Taking time to review the world from you robe. To reflect. To inform. To celebrate. To mourn. To educate. To be mindful of being alive and get lost in your thoughts.

This is that kind of post. Inspired by Joy the Baker, on Sundays-when possible-I’ll share a collection of cultural highlights. Not necessarily food or film related, but always something that sparks curiosity and life.

  • Have you listened to Radiolab’s side project More Perfect yet? Great listening for long road trips or flights. Or Sunday mornings. (One of my earlier summer binges.)
  • It’s boot season y’all. I can not allow myself into a DSW this time of year.
  • A dear friend of mine (who encouraged me to start this blog) and fellow crafter makes beautiful quilts. Putting in my quilt-of-the-future fabric request early with this and this. Dreamy!
  • VR is all the rage. Filmmakers, jump on it. It is the wild west of filmmaking. (More on that topic to come.)
  • Launch Vidiots into the next era!
  • Ask A Manager is one of my favorite blogs. And this is a fantastic post.
  • If you can vote on November 8, do it. Not just for the big crazy presidential election, but for your local leadership and propositions. That’s where real change happens and your vote matters most. (And if you’re working in another state like I am on Election Day, make sure you’re signed up for early or absentee voting.) Californians, there are a ton of Props on the ballot. Get informed here.

 

Thanks for reading.
Enjoy the day!
It’s going to be a great one.