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Oh, how times have changed

Truth is, I’m not a huge movie person. I’m the one who says, “I want to see that!” but somehow never actually goes. I also learned a long time ago that, generally speaking, if the critics love a movie, I very likely won’t. Doesn’t leave a lot of room for a blog on my favorite Oscar winning movie, does it?

Anyway, in the spirit of the occasion, I put on one of my red-carpet outfits (sweats and slippers) and found myself a list of movies that had won an Academy Award for Best Picture. Honestly, I wasn’t very hopeful about actually finding one I’d seen and loved, but I did better than that…I found two. One I no longer love the way I used to but, once-upon-a-time, adored with all the girlish fervor of my teenage heart. The other I saw not that long ago and fell in love with—Gigi (Best Picture 1958) and The King’s Speech (Best Picture 2010).

Hmmm…I just realized both are period pieces and, while I didn’t see that before, it’s really no strange thing for a history fanatic like me.

So, Gigi, set in turn of the century (1800s-1900s) Paris is billed as a romantic comedy about the conquest of love over cynicism and is really a coming of age story. The title character is a young woman (played by Leslie Carron), born into a family of courtesans, being groomed to eventually join the “family business”. Along the way she is sent to her great-aunt to learn the tricks of the trade, including how to move in the best circles without embarrassing herself. In the end, the ‘hero’, a free-wheeling playboy and much older than her, who has known Gigi since she was a child, realizes he’s grown to love her, and offers her ‘carte blanche’. She in turn tells him basically to eat shit and die, because she doesn’t want her life to be a constant round of looking for the next protector when the one she has grows tired of her. Yeah, liberation!… except… she’s in love with him and changes her mind, deciding she’d rather be miserable with him than without him. Anyway, in the end, he realizes he’s in love with her too and asks for her hand in marriage.

It’s a beautifully lush movie, in the same vein as My Fair Lady, but from a Humanist point of view, there are so many things wrong with it, I can’t even begin to tell you. All I will say is, keep it away from your impressionable tweens and young teenage daughters, unless you’re giving them an object lesson in how life shouldn’t be lived. Why did I love it back then? Because for a young girl without an ounce of self-confidence or sense, it seemed like a fairy tale romance—the kind of thing I’d want to happen to me when I got older. I grew out of it and now, when I think of Gigi going from playing hopscotch in the street with her friends to being dressed up and paraded into Maxim’s as a tart, it makes my teeth clench. I know I shouldn’t judge a generation on the messages in one movie, but if that was acceptable in 1958, I’m glad I wasn’t around.

If you want a movie night with your daughters, rent The King’s Speech instead. Teach them about perseverance, dedication, the power of honor and standing up to your responsibilities, even when taking on the job is the last thing you want to do.

A much better choice.

Journeys Through Seduction

Anya Richards/Anya Delvay books available from Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Chapters Indigo.

Movies We Love

Hello Everyone!

It’s time for the Oscars again. So many good movies have won a coveted Oscar, but I was told I had to pick my favorite.

My favorite Oscar winning movie would have to be Avatar.

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I LOVED this movie. I even paid to watch it in the theaters three times. This is an unheard of thing for me. Very very seldom do I watch a movie in the theater twice, let alone three times.

And then of course I bought it on Blu-Ray as soon as it came out. LOL

But seriously. From the moment I saw the first preview of this movie, I had to see it. And now I catch myself comparing other movies to it. Sometimes my mom and I will go to the movies while the kids are in school and my hubby is at work. When he asks me how I liked the film, I will say things like, “It was good, but it wasn’t Avatar good.”

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, go get it.

Check out The Fire Inside and see why Night Owl Romance gave it Five Stars and a Top Pick!


Best wishes,

Virginia Cavanaugh

Oscar Favorites

I have no room to talk about the films that have been nominated for Oscars this year – or in the past several year. I’m a migraineur. Movies are a major trigger for me, so I very rarely go. This from someone who spent a huge portion of her childhood in a movie theater consuming story after story. Not to mention the fact that I blame a movie for making the twelve year old me mad enough at how a film ended that I borrowed Mom’s typewriter and rewrote it the way *I* wanted it to end.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s done that.

Looking at a list of Oscar winning films past, I see that I actually have seen a few of them. Gladiator – powerful story, amazing production and worthy of the awards it won, but it doesn’t haunt me. In 2009, it was the movie that didn’t win that stuck with me: Up – the animated movie based on something that actually happened in my neighborhood. Though it didn’t win, that movie was 100% worthy of the Oscar if only because it spawned a meme. “SQUIRREL!”

MEnglish Patienty favorite is The English Patient and not just because I had a terrific crush on Ralph Fiennes character. Incredible cinematography. For the gorgeous desert shots alone, it was worth seeing in the movie theater (and yes, I had to leave at one point to take migraine meds so I could see how the movie ended – it was worth it).  The plot summary from IMDB: “Beginning in the 1930’s, “The English Patient” tells the story of Count Almásy who is a Hungarian map maker employed by the Royal Geographical Society to chart the vast expanses of the Sahara Desert along with several other prominent explorers. As World War II unfolds, Almásy enters into a world of love, betrayal, and politics that is later revealed in a series of flashbacks while Almásy is on his death bed after being horribly burned in a plane crash.”

Frankly, it’s a crappy summary, because the film is rich with layers, and parallel stories, and cause and effect. Beautiful story telling – all the more because the story touches on the kinds of betrayals that would make you hate a character – and I couldn’t hate anyone in this movie. Except, of course, the Nazis. So why has this movie stayed with me after so many years?

Because while I disliked some of the choices the characters made, I understood them. And secretly, I’m not sure whether I wouldn’t have made the same deal-with-the-devil choices were I faced with similar threats to my loved ones.

Keep the Oscar love coming. I’m really enjoying seeing which movies resonated for other people. Is there a movie that years later, you can still see in your mind’s eye (and feel in your gut)?

A Little Oscar Magic with a Huge Message

Here you go, my lovely ManHandlers! A little shot of delicious to get you through you day.

With the Academy Awards fast approaching, we’re all chatting about the movies of the year. We’re also discussing our favorite Oscar winners of years past. Those of you who know me won’t be surprised at my pick. Those who don’t know me well? Hm. I don’t know how you’ll feel, but let’s find out, shall we? If I can get a drumroll, I’ll drop this happy little bomb. My favorite Oscar-winner is…Philadelphia.

When Philadelphia came out, it was met with such mixed reaction in the small town I lived in, and the idea seemed to underscore the very message of the film. I fought with my parents for the right to go see the film, and I’m so glad they relented. The movie left me broken on several levels. I literally wept at the main character’s arc (played by Tom Hanks), from starting out happy and healthy and quietly gay to being forced to “out” himself. He faced discrimination in the workplace as well as in the hospital where he was supposed to be receiving “care,” and his life became a bit of a public spectacle when he chose to sue his former employer for letting him go for suspect reasons after it was disclosed he was gay.

One of the scenes that hit me hardest was the one where Denzel Washington’s character rushed to the doctor to find out if he could have contracted AIDS/HIV from simply shaking Hanks’s hand. That scene, the homophobic lawyer who is uneducated in regards to the disease and overreacts? That personified the town I lived in. It was a (VERY) small, rural New Mexico town. We were 100 miles from Target, for Pete’s sake. The nearest airport was 3 1/2 hours away. We were isolated, incredibly remote and the town was filled with small-town ideology. My mindset was considered radical and liberal because I was a strong proponent of equality across the board. I didn’t care what the reasons were someone had been shut out. I just wanted them included. And I wanted the small-town fear that surrounded the AIDS/HIV reality of the 90’s to be squashed by education and tolerance.

Philadelphia was more than a 90-minute Oscar-worthy performance for Tom Hanks. This movie was a message to those who needed it most. The real shame of it all was that those who truly needed it most probably missed it thanks to homophobia, discrimination or fear of learning their beliefs could be logically challenged.

I’ll always be grateful that Philadelphia came along when it did and that Hollywood recognized it for what it was — as much message as movie.

I’d like to the thank the Academy…for love in all its beautiful variations #Oscars

Even though I love movies, I have not seen a single film nominated for the Oscars.  Not one. No time.  ~Lesigh~  The only movies I manage to sneak in are with my kid as a family activity and half of those, I pay for on demand, months after they’ve been in the movie theater.  No complaints really.  My life is full. So I’ll talk about my all-time favorite Oscar films with a focus on love.

While there are truly many great Oscar-winning films (list here), if I only had two of them, my film library would be complete.  The first is quite simply one of best films about love ever made—Casablanca (3 Oscars including best picture in 1943).  No HEA here.  In the world of Casablanca, where the world hangs in a balance with World War II in full blaze, we see and feel the sacrifices that people, flawed and beaten up, are willing to make for love.  It’s love at its most unselfish and its most painful.  Sometimes the price of love is the ability to say good bye, to let go for a greater good. Or because it is what’s best for the one you love.


Because life is not always such a downer, my other favorite must-have Oscar winner is Lord of the Rings: Return of the King  which ran away with 11 Oscars including best picture in 2003.  Actually I love and own all three of the trilogy, but this one took best picture so I’m going with it.


While LOTR has an HEA—the world is saved,  Aragorn and Arwen get their happy ending,  Eowyn finds love in Faramir, and Sam discovers the courage to win his Rosie—the real love this story celebrates is friendship.   The relationship between Sam and Frodo grounds the movie and enables all the others to get to their happy ending.  Sam, who never wanted to be a hero or leave the Shire, stays with Frodo to the bitter end.  Even if Frodo cannot himself throw the ring, Sam’s dogged loyalty and reliability got him all the way to that precipice in Mt. Doom and home again.  Love should always bring you home.


So how have award winning movies captured love at its best?  Which of them are must owns and why?

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