Movies

State Fair Nostalgia Celebrates Summer

Netflix recommended the 1945 version of State Fair and I clicked through. My Iowa cousin John had shared on Facebook that is was not a good day for going to the Iowa State Fair due to weather. I had heard lots of positive stories about the "best State Fair in the USA" from Iowans while on RAGBRAI. 

The actual words to the opening song is more Iowa humble, "My state fair is the best state fair in the state." How much competition is there in Iowa--do they have more than one state fair?? 

The movie is super charming. Margy is adorable and escapes a life of boredom with her unofficial fiance for a rogue of a Des Moines Register reporter. Apparently his new job as a columnist for a new Chicago paper is a metaphor for a player ready to grow up and settle down. Pretty funny. The son, Wayne, looks very old for a recent college graduate, but then his love interest at the Fair looks kind of old for him.

The parents subplots are charming--involving mincemeat and a senior boar. 

I have been to the California State Fair many, many times and I do not remember as much love in the air as in this portrayal of the Iowa State Fair. Even Blue Boy (the Hampshire Boar) has a romance!

It is fun and a great way to celebrate the last days of summer.

A LEGO Brickumentary Inspires

I bought A LEGO Brickumentary on Google Play so I could share it with my colleagues. We are looking for a way to educate the public about the proposed Delta tunnel project. This documentary inspired me to think of ways we could engage the public using LEGO bricks to build models of the tunnel boring machines and other project features.

I would be surprised if you did not find some LEGO applications for something in your life. This witty and whimsical documentary shows you the full range of possibilities and invites you to push the boundaries even further. 

You can rent it on Google Play for $6.99 or buy it for $14.99. If you have a Child, Teen or Adult Fan of LEGO in your household, then you should watch this film together. If you are already a LEGO builder then you will want to see this brickumentary and let your imagination run amok.

Just beware. You will experience some serious LEGO envy.

Love & Mercy

In the last few days I have watched two movies about musical creative geniuses struggling with mental illness. They both were creating music and struggling with bipolar disorder or something similar in the 1960s and 70s. It is intense to watch someone struggling with an undiagnosed illness, self medicating and being manipulated by other people. 

The first is the feature film Love & Mercy about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. The second was a Netflix original documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? about Nina Simone. 

Thankfully we have advanced in the treatments available and our understanding of mental illness in the last 40 years. We still have a long way to go, especially to remove the stigma. For example, it is frustrating that when someone is having a breakdown and you call 9-1-1, dispatch send a policeman to take the person to jail not an ambulance to take the person to the hospital.

Not every creative genius is mentally ill and not every mentally ill person is a creative genius, yet there is some connection--some gateway that is left open. 

It helped me appreciate the Beach Boys' music in a new way. And after a week of tumultuous lows and highs of shootings and Supreme Court decisions and funerals, it was healing to listen to Love and Mercy by Brian Wilson:

  1. I was sittin' in a crummy movie with my hands on my chin
    Oh the violence that occurs seems like we never win

    Love and mercy that's what you need tonight
    So, love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

    I was lyin' in my room and the news came on T.V.
    A lotta people out there hurtin' and it really scares me

    Love and mercy that's what you need tonight
    So, love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

    I was standin' in a bar and watchin' all the people there
    Oh the lonliness in this world well it's just not fair

    Oooooo-ooooooo-ooooooo
    Oooooo-ooooooo-ooooooo-ooooooo-ooooooo
    Ahhhhh-ahhhhhh-ahhhhhh-ohhhhhh-ohhhhhh

    Hey love and mercy that's what you need tonight
    So, love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

    Love and mercy that's what you need tonight