Daily Archives: December 19, 2008

“Last Chance Harvey”

As I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, Christine and I see lots of movies this time of year — at last count we’ve seen 16 since Halloween, crazy! — and though most of them are awesome and totally award-worthy, they are also almost uniformly serious. So, when we see a funny, well-made romantic comedy this time of year, they usually stand out…big time.

One such movie from year’s past was “Miss Congeniality” — which we still love, despite the constant heckling from our friend’s Matt and Wan — and this year’s stand-out is the sparkling romantic comedy, “Last Chance Harvey”.

"Last Chance Harvey" #1

Starring Dustin Hoffman and a luminous Emma Thompson — seriously, beneath her frumpy, every-woman costumes, Thompson has star power to burn in this flick! — the bulk of “Last Chance Harvey” takes place over a 24-hour period in a beautifully-shot London, England.

I know it’s kind of cliche to say that “the city itself is a character” in a movie, but, I swear to God, London has never looked more vibrant and sunny than it does here. Even if you’re not big old UK geeks like us, this movie will make you want to visit London like never before. All burnished orange sunsets and crisp, yellow foliage, merry old England looks absolutely gorgeous here!

And the performances in “Harvey” are just as lovely and delicate as the setting. Playing two of the saddest, loneliest characters ever put to screen, Hoffman and Thompson are pitch-perfect as the star-crossed couple who “meet cute” and then spend the rest of the movie literally walking and talking around London.

I know, could be a total snoozefest, right? Well, trust me, it’s not. Working at the top of their game from a touching, often-hilarious script by director Joel Hopkins, the stars imbue every word they say with a depth and longing that is positively heartbreaking.

"Last Chance Harvey" #2

"Last Chance Harvey" #3

And that music…wow…the score, by composer Dickon Hinchcliffe, calls to mind the gloriously giddy work of Badly Drawn Boy’s killer “About a Boy” soundtrack. If you haven’t heard that score, or seen that movie, stop reading now and rent them both. Amazing!

But, back to “Harvey”. While on the surface it may sound like your classic boy-meets-girl romantic comedy, in reality what the filmmaker’s have crafted here is a wistful, Baby Boomer “Before Sunrise”. And if you knew how much Christine and I loved “Sunrise” and it’s arguably-better sequel “Before Sunset”, you know that is high praise indeed, amigos. Those movies were all about character and dialog and they made you laugh as much as they sometimes tore your heart out. Well, same thing goes for “Harvey”…this movie rocks!

So, if you’re looking for some holiday cheer this season, skip the bloated “Benjamin Button” and see “Last Chance Harvey” instead. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and, hand to God, you’ll walk out of that theatre smiling…

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Christmas Wishes on KOST FM

OK, I know I sound like a broken record going on and on about the all-Christmas playlist at KOST 103.5, but, seriously, the only thing Christine and I love more than their non-stop Christmas jams are the sad-ass Christmas Wishes that the station grants their listeners every holiday season.

I’ve never called in a wish myself, but it works like this: from Thanksgiving through Christmas day, anyone with a hard luck story and a truly dramatic Christmas Wish can call into KOST at 818-520-2035 and possibly have their wish granted on the air. I know, awesome, right? And as gratifying as it probably is to have your wishes granted by the big-hearted DJ’s at KOST, listening to those teary-eyed phone calls is even better!

Christmas Wishes on KOST FM #2

Christmas Wishes on KOST FM

I swear to God, the stories these people tell will break your heart. And if the wishes don’t move you, than Michael Gore’s classic “Terms of Endearment” theme, which they play in the background during every segment, surely will.

I can’t tell you how many times Christine and I have sat in the car openly weeping to these sobby Christmas Wish segments. And from what we’ve gathered from our many KOST FM-loving friends and family in the Southland, we are not alone.

A favorite wish of ours from a couple year’s back was from the Grandmother who’s grandchild’s bedroom had been infected with toxic mold. Not only was her grandchild sick from the mold, but all of her favorite books and toys were ruined. Like they always do, KOST swept in with a whopping triple digit gift card from Target to replace everything and give that family back their Christmas. So cool!

And while most of the calls involve someone wanting airfare to visit a sick relative or something like that, two of our favorites this year involved something much more simple…

The first was from a woman who’s mother recently passed away. Her sister is the sole caregiver for their ailing father and since they have no money for extras of any kind this year, the woman drives a totally beat-up car with crappy tires. So, the Christmas Wish this lady asks for are new tires for her sister’s car so she can drive Dad to his doctor’s appointments. OMG…I was blubbering so hard I couldn’t even hear everything that KOST offered this poor woman. Sad!!

But, the best one I’ve heard so far this season came from an emotional gentlemen named Rick whose wife is dying of stage four breast cancer. Already, that’s enough to make anyone cry…but rather than one last trip around the world or a fancy vacation, all Rick wanted for his beautiful, long-suffering wife was a new mattress so she could sleep better at night. Gulp…

If I wasn’t crying so hard, I woulda called in and offered to buy that dude a mattress myself. Seriously, what a tearjerker! And, as always, KOST was quick to grant Rick’s wish with a fluffy new mattress from Living Spaces. You go, KOST!

If you’d like to hear some of these touching and insanely-sad Christmas Wishes yourself, check out the live internet feed here. I can’t get it to play on my Mac, but, since every radio in the house is tuned to KOST right now, it’s not a problem. Happy listening, amigos…

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