Friday, June 29, 2018

Movie Review: The (Original) Parent Trap (summer family comedy, camp)

Movie Review: The Parent Trap (Walt Disney, 1961, 129 minutes, rated G for General Audience) - a classic family comedy with Hayley Mills, Maureen O’Hara and Brian Keith

Earlier this week, DogEvals reviewed the second Parent Trap (Lindsey Lohan, 1998) which we loved so much more so than the original. Then we went to a city-wide viewing of the original Parent Trap (Hayley Mills, 1961) and fell in love with the original all over again.

Comparing the Parent Traps

If you watch the Mills’ version first, you will prefer the Lohan version – more modern with a few incredible plot twists you will recall long afterwards.

Yes, both are dog films: the second features a golden retriever in two memorable scenes while a German Shepherd Dog makes a mere two brief appearances in the first.

Both versions feature known actors but the remake actors are younger and ‘hipper’ than Maureen O’Hara and Brian Keith. And we loved the London and vineyard settings more than the original Boston and California. In addition, fewer characters led to their fuller development in the Lohan version.

The Classic Original

Why is this movie so enduring? Was it the first-ever teen movie, or pre-teen summer flick?

In the early 60s, a cute girl with a British background and actor-father (therefore, excellent marketing connections) starred in Disney’s Pollyanna and charmed the world.

The following year, Mills was put into a delightful plot of a movie (The Parent Trap) that appealed to young teen girls and boys alike: girls wanted to be her and boys loved her spunkiness and antics. They also tried to figure out how one person could play two roles on the screen at the same time. Older teens loved the romantic parents.

Whatever Happened to Hayley Mills?

Mills starred in four additional Disney films, married a man 33 years her senior for a while, then became attached to a 20-year younger man for decades.

But, being British, she never mesmerized the US audience after Pollyanna and Parent.

Perhaps the times were “just right” in the early 60s for a young British girl in US movies. After all, it was also the time (1963) of Bye Bye Birdie with the American Ann-Margaret and the Annette Funicello beach party movies.

Which One?

For dog people, we recommend the second version. It is also more contemporary and has a slightly better plot but many lines and scenes repeat well. Or, better yet, perhaps you should show your grandchildren the original first and let them decide!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Dogs or Cats? That is the Question.

Cats on the Cover

A while back, DogEvals had an ongoing ‘thing’ about dogs and cats: which one  appeared more often in just-regular magazines. And, of course, dogs won!

Dogs vs Cats or Cats vs Dogs

I picked up an old Real Simple (May 2016 [couldn’t find the cover online so here is the 2018 May cover, sans cat])
magazine for 10 cents at a flea market recently and noticed beaucoup dogs in the pages, then I saw the “Cat on the Cover”! (First things first, of course.)


So, DogEvals decided to revive the competition and here are the results:

Inside cover: 2 dogs, 2 cats
Ikea ad: dog under a table
Editor’s Note: black lab (I think the editor has a dog she likes to feature each month)
Iams ad: Then and Now (puppy pic plus a few years later)
Purina ad: dog on left page, dog and cat on right page
Fibromyalgia pain med ad: two dogs
Litter ad: What else but a cat! And a cat on the package
Ask the vet page: dog in a car with hundreds of stuffies
Next page: smooching a probably bulldog with reference to Best Friends in UT
Heartgard ad: Fantastic! Dal against a polka dotted background
Purina: cat and on the right hand page, 2 cats
Purina ad: dogs
Eye allergy itch relief ad: dog
P 148 – dog
P 149 – cat pillow
P 150 – walkin’ the dog
P 191 – ‘cow’
P 193 – fish bones
Inside back cover – Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream cow

And the Winner Is. . . .

Fish – 1
Cow – 1
Cat – 7 plus the cover cat
Dog – 19

Need I say more? Dogs rule!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

OT Book Review: A Higher Loyalty (leadership, FBI, Comey fired)

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership by James Comey (Flatiron Books, 2018, 290 pages, $29.99)

Not a Teaser

Don’t you just hate teasers – a headline promising a solution, so you click on it, only to have to read a sub-headline reiterating the same fantastic prophecy (“Just wait! It’s coming! Keep reading!”) that they haven’t disclosed yet so you scroll down and have to read through a paragraph or three of background information about how serious the problem is when you want to quickly get to the solution. Then you have to scroll down through the history of the problem. Then, well, the more they can get you to scroll down, the more ads they can show you.

This is not that kind of opening.

I will be upfront about this book: it’s great.

Fast-reading, like a mystery book (even though it’s non-fiction and we all know how it ends) and inspiring. (I read that Comey went to the College of William and Mary, and I was familiar with the name but being from the West Coast know only that I should look it up on Wikipedia – and I did. I also looked up James Comey again.)

So I Read A Higher Loyalty

I wanted to learn more about the Clinton emails and the firing of Jim Comey even though I have highly respected the man for a long time and had diligently followed the events in the news. My view of him has not changed, except possibly for the better.

So, imagine my disappointment (at first) when I discovered I had to wade through Comey’s chapters about being bullied, about moving from NY to Jersey (a world away), about bullying someone else in college, about his work in NYC as an attorney, about. . . .

“But Wait! There’s More!”

It was fascinating!

And interspersed throughout A Higher Loyalty was his view of leadership – a definition, a couple of role models who were not famous but helped make him the leader he is today. Comey is soft-spoken and strong, supportive and challenging at the same time, a leader who has the best balance of self-confidence and humility.

The subtitle of A Higher Loyalty is Truth, Lies, and Leadership. Comey’s book is primarily about leadership but is also a source that now uses the word, lies, in talking about our current president, something that has come about slowly in the media.

As a matter of fact, it’s all about leadership. And I believe I would follow Comey anywhere because I share his ethics.

Just Came Out

It’s June and the book came out in May. I had been on a short waiting list at my public library and now will view his recent interviews with the media.

Proud to be Fired

I would be proud to be fired if I were the wise James Comey and the person firing me was the current president (note that I did not say Leader – of the Free World). It would mean that there is something higher, better than the current state of the world today – or the country – or its ‘leaders.’


Next on my reading list is Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump Whitehouse and Born Trump: Inside America’s First Family.

Final Word

I sincerely hope A Higher Loyalty becomes required reading in leadership courses at our military academies. It is that good and will stand the test of time.

And More: Update

James Comey has been interviewed recently by everyone (it seems) in the media and come across as very ethical, however, some negative points have arisen, true or not (or perhaps a function of several people using their subconscious biases to see what they see). Stay tuned to the media to see how it all turns out in the long run. We have nearly reached our saturation point on this subject but realize we have a responsibility to learn all the facts.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

DVD Review: The Parent Trap, 1998 Style (summer camp fare, dog, twins)

A classic golden retriever remake!

The Parent Trap, with Lindsey Lohan, Natasha Richardson and Dennis Quaid (Walt Disney Pictures, Rated PG, 1998, 128 minutes, remake of the Hayley Mills’ version of 1961 with Maureen O’Hara and Brian Keith)

An Improvement on the Great Original, Yes!

Parent Trap’s more modern remake in 1998 is memorable for its stars: introducing a young and innocent Lindsey Lohan, freckles and all; the adorable late Natasha Richardson*, and ‘hunk**’ Dennis Quaid along with a familiar and comforting supporting cast.

This parent trap is also memorable for the improved plot – the summer camp is in Maine, one twin lives in London with her wedding dress designer mother while the other lives on a California vineyard with her hunk of a father. Although the camp scenes are not terribly realistic (two campers live alone in a cabin and all the campers seem to do the activities they please when they please). The California ‘family’ camping antics are hilarious and unique and all loose ends are expertly tied up together in the end of this fairly long but thoroughly captivating movie experience.


And yes, this Parent Trap IS a dog movie – a California golden retriever to be exact is in perhaps the three best scenes (this is not a plot-spoiler so you will have to look for the lovable smart-as-a-cracker golden yourself!)

Why We Reviewed This Version

Firstly, we are reviewing movies in which dogs appear and there are so many!

And secondly, in a few days, at a classic movie event, we will watch the original version of The Parent Trap. We remembered how much we loved the remake and thought, what better time to give away this copy to a lucky member of the audience.

*Natasha Richardson, of the Redgrave family, died after a fall during her first snow skiing lesson
**’Hunk’ was used by Quaid’s movie daughter (and many movie viewers)