SarahH's blog

Movies that Tell the Story of America

Fourth of July fireworks

The holiday weekend promises to be a hot one! Stay cool inside with a movie about American history and culture.

As a child, I looked forward to the Fourth like it was Christmas in July. I wasn't especially patriotic or anything, it was just that the Fourth of July was the one day in the whole year when all of the kids ruled the neighborhood. We had a bike parade, an ice cream social, a block party that took up the whole street, and we shot off fireworks from the time we woke up until midnight, starting with caps and snakes in the daylight and ending with the most dramatic, colorful, and highest-flying for a nighttime spectacle (I didn't grow up in Denver so I wasn't breaking any laws!)

The Royal Treatment

Royal Film

It pays to play the king (or queen, as the case may be.) Whether it's comedy or drama, on television or the big screen, we love a good portrayal of the British royal family. And a small number of talented actors and actresses have been rewarded for just that--delivering award-winning performances as British monarchs.

I've been a Colin Firth fan since I first saw him in Shakespeare in Love as the snobby and sniveling Lord Wessex, and I've been an Anglophile for as long as I can remember, so there was no way I was going to miss him play the stammering King George VI in The King's Speech. I saw it this past weekend, and it actually rendered me speechless--a rare moment. Firth is magnificent in this clever film, which is about much more than George's speaking difficulties.

Scotland Rocks!

When most people think of Scottish music, an image of a man in a plaid skirt comes to mind. But there's a lot more than bagpipes and fiddles going on north of Hadrian's Wall.

I'm the sort of person who really likes music, but who doesn't really care a lot about bands. My friends (who are in a very good band called My God Micah) must get exasperated with me because I never know who sings any song and am totally clueless about which bands play what shows where.

Sherlock Holmes: The Game is Afoot, Again and Again!

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are back — in many different guises. Not only are Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in the process of filming Guy Ritchie's anticipated sequel to the motion picture that was a well-deserved box office hit in 2009, but Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman star in Sherlock, a BBC TV adaptation set in present-day London that surprised me with its cleverness and creativity.

Sherlock, which recently aired on PBS's Masterpiece Mystery, was created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat (co-creator of another great BBC series, Coupling), and they do a phenomenal job of mixing Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories with modern situations and technology.

Roaring Twenties

I confess--I often judge books by their covers. That is, I'm quickly drawn to things that have great design and a sense of style. So while I haven't seen a single episode of HBO's acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire, about Prohibition-era Atlantic City, I love the glitz, glamour, and gaudiness of the 1920s that it depicts.

If you've seen Boardwalk Empire, or even if, like me, you haven't, you might be interested in these books and movies related to the Roaring Twenties, Prohibition, and the Mob that ruled it all.

Books:

Dining, Mad Men Style

Mad Men is one of the best shows on TV, and my friends and I have begun a little tradition surrounding the Sunday night episodes at 8 pm on AMC.

Each week, we not only get together to watch the latest antics of Don, Peggy, Roger, and Betty, but we also eat and drink like it's 1964. A recent menu involved a champagne jello salad, meatloaf, and Grasshopper Pie, complete with hors d'oeuvres of a cheeseball with Ritz crackers, celery sticks with cream cheese, and green olives with pimientos. The following titles contain some vintage recipes to help you get dining and entertaining a la Mad Men:

Movies that Blow Your Mind!

Were you amazed by Inception? Are you staying up at night trying to figure out the plot twists, dream worlds, and levels of reality?

If so, you might be interested in these other mind-bending movies:

Armchair Travel

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There's nothing like a good vacation, and summertime always makes me eager to travel. This summer, however, a complicated schedule and lack of funds are keeping me from exploring the world. Fortunately, I can be consoled with books whose settings and plots take me all kinds of places, even from my Denver living room.

The best writers, in my opinion, create a setting that is so vivid that it almost becomes a character.

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