Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Movie and Lunch Club - In the Heart of the Sea




For this month’s outing, my Movie and Lunch club picked In the Heart of the Sea, a Ron Howard film based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s nonfiction book about the real-life incident that inspired Herman Melville to write his classic Moby Dick. The film even incorporates Melville’s interview with the last living survivor of the Essex whaling ship and it cuts to that interview from time to time during the movie. His book, you might remember if you ever had to read it for a class, was 752 pages. Phibrick’s was 144 pages and that got translated into 122 minutes of onscreen time. The movie swung from an action-packed adventure involving a vengeful whale in the first half to an agonizing survival story as a handful of men in lifeboats drifted at sea for 90 days. Spoiler Alert: I shouldn’t but I’ll give you a hint on how some of the whalers managed to stay alive: Donner Pass.

I read several reviews before seeing the movie. RogerEbert.com only gave it two stars and wrote a long, negative tirade of how they thought the story coulda’, shoulda’ been told differently. IMDb gave the film four and a half stars. Their description of the storyline? Short and sweet: “A recounting of a whaling ship's sinking by a giant whale in 1820 that would inspire the great novel, Moby Dick.” (It never fails to impress me how they can sum up a complicated story in one sentence like that.) Another reviewer warns people who are “squeamish about the thinning whale populations” that they won’t like the film’s gory depiction of whaling practices. It was historically accurate for a period in history when they depended on sperm whale oil in the same way we depend on Mid-East oil today, so I wasn’t shocked. (Side note: I have a small and much loved collection of whale oil lamps.)

All five of the reviews I read criticized Howard’s framing in the movie---RogerEbert.com called it “chunky”---and I had no idea what that meant, so I googled it. At the ‘For Dummies’ website they explained framing this way: “In film making, shot compositions, sizes, and angles enhance how you tell your story. You may want a close-up when two actors are talking if the conversation is an intimate one. A wide, or ‘establishing’ film shot may be appropriate if you want to show that the actors are surrounded by a barren wasteland.” Okay, framing might be something industry insides might get picky about but I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn't read the reviews. I would have thought Howard was just trying to be artsy-fartsy when he showed a tad too many ultra-close-ups. The burr in Ebert’s nickers, I think, was caused by them forgetting that this film was not the retelling of Melville’s book, Moby Dick, but rather the story of how fiction and non-fiction married up to tell a historically accurate story. It didn’t pretend to be knee-deep in symbolism, of good vs. evil and all the other rich sub-texts in Melville’s novel---how could you even do that in 122 minutes? The bottom line is that all seventeen of the ladies in My Movie and Lunch Club thought the movie was great and we’d recommend it with thirty-four thumbs up. 

The theater where we saw the movie had just hosted a Star Wars Marathon the night before, showing all seven Star Wars movies back-to-back on twenty screens ending in the morning just before the start of In the Heart of the Sea. I can’t imagine sitting through 1,050 minutes of Star Wars but from the looks on the faces of the mostly guys leaving the theater I'd say they had no regrets. Our local theater was one of only a handful of places world-wide to get Disney’s permission to run a pre-opening day marathon like that. A true sign of the times, though, the theater had assigned seating and didn’t let anyone into the marathon who was wearing a face mask (with their costume) unless you were under eight and you couldn’t bring in a toy weapon no matter what your age. 

I love my Movie and Lunch Club. It gets me out of the house once a month to see first-run movies and to go to the newest restaurants around town. It gets me some chit-chat time with widows from the senior hall. It also gives me something to research and think about, to share on my Facebook page and write about here. All that for roughly twenty-two bucks. Not a bad deal. ©



16 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fun day indeed. I can't remember the last time I went to a movie. It's been many years.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. If I was a boater like you, I'm not sure I'd want to see this movie. Just kidding, but I'll bet whale watching would be off the table for a while.

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  2. OK! Now I'm going to start a movie group! Something different to do .... and affordable for once a month! Do you each take a turn choosing movie and lunch?

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  3. There are over 50 people on our movie and lunch email list but not everyone shows up. It's usually 15 to 20 and not always the same people. There is a committee of two who picks the movies and restaurants, make the reservations and sends out the emails. I don't think it would work to take turns because not everyone is dependable to carry through with all that is involved and the club would fall apart if that happened a few times.

    We usually go mid morning because the theater discounts the tickets. We go the 3rd Friday of the month because that's when the new movies come out. We get the email on Wednesday telling time and places and have until Thursday to respond so they can make the reservation at the restaurant for after the movie. Some people just go to the movie, some just go out to lunch depends on what else is going on in their lives.

    We go to a big theater and often times an alternative movie will be given if it starts about the same time---5 or 6 ladies really like action-adventure thrills. We all meet in the lobby a half hour before the film/s start to buy our tickets, etc. Of all the things I do with the senior hall crowd, this is my favorite.

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    1. That should read we have until LATE Thursday to respond.

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  4. Twenty-two bucks? Not a bad deal at all. H wants to see "In the Heart of the Sea." I know it's had mixed reviews, but it sounds like you and your friends enjoyed it. Yes, I think it's mostly men and boys who love Star Wars. I think H would like to see it over the holidays with my son and the grands. A lot of raves for this latest one.

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  5. Actually, it's usually less that $20. $7 for the early bird tickets, $10 for lunch and $3 for a tip. $22 if I have coffee with lunch.

    H will not be disappointed in "Heart of the Sea." The depiction of 1820s Nantucket with all the sailing ships was interesting, too. They actually built a whaling vessel for the movie.

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  6. I'm one of those who is squeamish about thinning the whale population, or any animal population except stinging insects and garden interlopers. I'll sit this one out LOL

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    1. It's sinful that whales are still killed for their oil and bones, isn't it. I was able to disassociate the whale rendering part of the movie from modern day because I knew the "whale" being rendered was built in Hollywood and because history is history, we can't change it.

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  7. The Philbrick who wrote the book is a cousin to one of my readers, who's now retired in Panama, and also writes. Richard (my reader friend) grew up in Orleans, on Cape Cod, where his family had a snack shack on the beach. He's worked boats and lived aboard them for decades. Very interesting.

    One of the great delights of my sail from Hawaii to Alaska was cruising Glacier Bay, and having up close and sort of personal encounters with Orcas. They're such beautiful creatures. Spare me Moby Dick, though. I have enough to deal with, let alone a grumpy whale.

    I love that you have some whale oil lamps. I don't have any of those, but I do have a very small collection of miniature oil lamps. I love them, and despite a recent impulse to sell some of them, they're all back in their accustomed places. It's not time.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that about Philbrick and Glacier Bay. I love details like that.

      We went on a vacation in the '50s to New England and I got really hooked on primitives and silhouettes. I had my whale oil lamps packed in a box last summer to take them to the auction and then I pulled them back out. I'm so glad I did. Miniature oil lamps are cool, too. I have one that came from my family so it will be with me to the end. I guess it's good to challenge ourselves from time to time on why we're keeping what we do.

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  8. Yikes! That Star Wars marathon sets a whole new standard for "binge watching." -Jean

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    1. I know! I wish I knew how much it cost to go to that marathon. Tickets were sold out several weeks before the event. They must have gotten some nice promo with the tickets because they were all carrying green plastic bags when they left. One of the ladies in our group shouted out a question about was it worth it and got several positive answers back and lots of smiles.

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  9. MY VIEW FROM HERE: I apologize but I accidentally deleted your comment instead of publishing it! I'm going to blame my dyslexic here. And even worse I only read the first line before doing it so I don't know what you wrote after that. You mentioned something I should have caught, that Roger Ebert is died, so he couldn't have written the review. You're right but his website is still churning out reviews and you can be sure I'm going to make corrections above to reflect that. LOL Sorry about the rest of your comment getting destroyed! I feel terrible. At least I didn't crown the wrong beauty queen.

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    1. LOL. It wasn't anything profound. Just confessing my inappropriate crush on Chris Hemsworth who reminds me of my boyfriend, Brad Pitt.

      That beauty queen quip still has me laughing. Nope, you are fine with an inadvertent delete. hahahaha

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    2. Thank you for understanding. I did that once or twice before and I still don't know how I could make such a bad mistake.

      Christ Hemsworth is a cutie. Brad Pitt is your boyfriend? I thought it was mine! I love that guy---his looks, his acting, his ethics and his charities.

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