June 2020

A Century of Film

Costume Design

Costumes have been important since the early days of cinema.  Imagine what some of the classic silent films like Intolerance or Hunchback of Notre Dame would have looked like without good costumes.  But once Technicolor arrived and things could really pop on-screen costumes went to a whole new level.  So it’s completely ridiculous that the Academy waited until 1948 before giving out an award for the category; they missed out entirely on the career of one of film’s greatest designers in Adrian and missed the chance to heap another award on Gone with the Wind (even if my own award goes to Wizard of Oz).

But, the Academy did finally come around in 1948 even if other awards groups would take much longer.  Since then, they’ve often done a good job (read the note after my Top 5) and think of some of the costumes through history that have made a film so memorable, from the brilliant work in Amadeus to the green dress in Atonement.

My Top 5 Costumes in Film History:

  1. Amadeus
  2. Dangerous Liaisons
  3. Barry Lyndon
  4. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  5. Marie Antoinette

This is the rare category where I don’t have to spend any time debating what my #1 pick is all-time.  It’s interesting that all five of these films won the Oscar (as, of course, they all deserved to) but all five of them lost at the BAFTAs which I find to be really strange. (more…)

It is worth remembering that this blog began 13 years ago tomorrow.  It grew out of a project that Veronica had to do in library school (create a website) that she designed to allow the family members who we weren’t seeing very often (which was all of them as we had recently moved to Boston) to watch Thomas as he grew up.  So the Welcome to our new blog. was filled with pictures from Thomas’ third birthday.  Sadly, we’re about to move again (just 50 yards down the hall to a bigger apartment), so this is the fourth of his last seven birthdays with most of our stuff in boxes (not to mention all the stuff we normally do for his birthday – the Zoo, movies – closed because of COVID).  But today we are celebrating our boy (who’s not learning how to drive so don’t even ask) by taking a look through the years. (more…)

The Song of Achilles

  • Author:  Madeline Miller
  • Published:  2012
  • Publisher:  HarperCollins
  • Pages:  378
  • First Line:  “My father was a king and the son of kings.”
  • Last Lines:  “In the darkness, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk.  Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun.”
  • Acclaim:  Orange Prize for Fiction
  • Film Version:  none
  • First Read:  Spring 2018 / Spring 2020


There has been a recent trend going around on Facebook apparently in which people put up 10 albums that influenced them.  The problem is that it’s supposed to be just one album at a time and you’re not supposed to list the reasons why it influenced you.  What’s the point of that?  Why list something that was influential but not give any idea as to why?

Well, my brother Kelly thought the same thing.  He put together a list of the 10 albums that really influenced him.  Except there are a few things.  1 – He didn’t want to put up just one a time because it works better as one story.  2 – He wanted to make certain to include that story as part of it.  And 3 – Like me, he’s not on Facebook.  So when he sent me his list to read, I offered to put it up on the blog for him.  So here, in my older brother (six years) Kelly’s own words, are his 10 albums that influenced him: (more…)