The Ice Storm

Mother’s Day: Movies and DVDs [Recommendations!]

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Over the last year, my mom grew increasingly unhappy about primetime TV…

…so I started buying her second-hand DVDs on Amazon. Since last summer, we came up with a small movie collection.

For years, her favorite movies dealt with personal / family issues, loss, new friendships and fierce, strong women. In the past, she has loved movies like…

Now, with Mother’s Day coming up, I give you a quick run through these DVDs: The ones that she enjoyed. The ones she didn’t like. And the ones she postponed.

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‚too dark‘ / ‚too violent‘:

Clint Eastwood: Mystic River [Link: imdb, 8.0]

David Cronenberg: A History of Violence [Link: imdb, 7.6]

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banal / disappointing:

Jason Reitman: Up in the Air [Link: imdb, 7.6]

Jason Reitman: Thank you for Smoking [Link: imdb, 7.7]

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okay – but not great:

Joe Wright: Atonement [Link: imdb, 7.8]

Fatih Akin: The Edge of Heaven / Auf der anderen Seite [Link: imdb, 7.8]

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competent, likeable… good!

Alexander Payne: Sideways [Link: imdb, 7.7]

John Curran: The Painted Veil / Der bunte Schleier [Link: imdb, 7.5]

Alan Cumming, Jennifer Jason Leigh: The Anniversary Party / Beziehungen und andere Katastrophen [Link: imdb, 6.3]

Joachim Trier: Auf Anfang (Reprise) [Link: imdb, 7.3]

Brad Silberling: Moonlight Mile [Link: imdb, 6.7]

Thomas McCarthy: Ein Sommer in New York – The Visitor [Link: imdb, 7.7]

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high score! movies that my mom LOVED:

Woody Allen: Match Point [Link: imdb, 7.8]

Philippe Claudel: I’ve loved you so long / So viele Jahre liebe ich dich [Link: imdb, 7.6]

Atom Egoyan: The Sweet Hereafter / Das süße Jenseits [Link: imdb, 7.8]

Frank Capra: It’s a wonderful Life / Ist das Leben nicht schön? [Link: imdb, 8.7]

David Fincher: Benjamin Button [Link: imdb, 7.9]

Lisa Chodolenko: The Kids are all right [Link: imdb, 7.2]

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DVDs she has had for a while, but never opened/watched:

Stephen Daldry: The Hours [Link: imdb, 7.5]

Sofia Coppola: Lost in Translation [Link: imdb, 7.8]

Ang Lee: The Ice Storm / Der Eissturm [Link: imdb, 7.5]

Ang Lee: Brokeback Mountain [Link: imdb, 7.7]

Hans Canosa: Conversations with other Women [Link: imdb, 6.9]

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recent DVDs she hasn’t opened / seen yet:

Todd Field: Little Children [Link: imdb, 7.7]

Tom Hooper: The King’s Speech [Link: imdb, 8.2]

Lone Scherfig: Italienisch für Anfänger [Link: imdb, 7.2; the DVD arrived defective. I’ll order a secoond copy soon. I’m pretty sure that she’ll love the movie!]

Horatiu Malaele: Nunta Muta / Stille Hochzeit [Link: imdb, 7.6]

Jae-Young Kwak: My Sassy Girl [Link: imdb, 8.1]

Clint Eastwood: Changeling / Der fremde Sohn [Link: imdb, 7.9]

Vadim Perelman: House of Sand and Fog / Haus aus Sand und Nebel [Link: imdb, 7.7]

Jean-Pierre Jeunet: A very long Engagement / Mathilde – eine große Liebe [Link: imdb, 7.8]

Todd Haynes: Far from Heaven / Dem Himmel so fern [Link: imdb, 7.5]

Mike Binder: Reign over me / Die Liebe in mir [Link: imdb, 7.6]

Joe Johnston: October Sky [Link: imdb, 7.7]

Tassis Boulmetis: A Touch of Spice / Zimt und Koriander [Link: imdb, 7.4]

Brad McGann: In my Father’s Den / Als das Meer verschwand [Link: imdb, 7.6]

Woody Allen: Vicky Cristina Barcelona [Link: imdb, 7.2]

Pedro Almodóvar: All about my Mother [Link: imdb, 7.9]

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related Links:

The Stories of John Cheever [great short stories 02]

John Cheever (1912 – 1982) wrote four novels – and 61 tense, bitter and sardonic short stories about life in the suburbs and the American dream of the Space Age: cocktail parties, swimming pools, spotless kitchens and the tragic, tender, middle-class atomic family.

A predecessor to ‚The Ice Storm‘ and ‚Desperate Housewifes‘, Cheever’s stories describe the domestic and sexual dramas of the 1950ies and 1960ies:

If you like ‚Mad Men‘ and/or easy, accessible stories about domestic struggles and hidden traumas, Cheever provides you with dozens of quick, witty variations of these familiar themes.

In 1979, his collection ‚The Stories of John Cheever‘ won the Pulitzer Price.

Out of 61 stories written between 1947 and the mid-1970ies, I can recommend the following:

  • Torch Song
  • The Cure
  • The Worm in the Apple
  • The Trouble of Marcie Flint
  • The Country Husband
  • Clementina
  • The Seaside Houses
  • The Ocean

…and, my three favourites:

Cheever repeats himself a lot. Stories from the same collection that seemed tired and poorly thought-out:

  • The Sorrows of Gin
  • O Youth and Beauty!
  • The Housebreaker of Shady Hill
  • Brimmer
  • The Death of Justina
  • A Vision of the World
  • Reunion
  • Metamorphoses
  • Montraldo
  • The World of Apples

Get the paperback on Amazon.com or Amazon.de.

Or get a new – but incomplete – German translation from 2009.

All in all: 4 of 5 stars. Straightforward, intelligent and entertaining short stories… but often repetitive.

Nothing you need to read front-to-cover. But excellent summer reading, nonetheless!