Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fantasy Gold

After doing three installments of "Fantasy Cheese" a month or two ago, I thought I'd do a list of really well done fantasy movies of the 1980s. The good stuff. Fantasy Gold, if you will. In looking at other lists, I found myself nodding in agreement a lot at this one. Why write one myself, then?

I'm not sure I'd put My Neighbor Totoro on the list (not because it's not awesome - it is, and I've got a lot of great memories of watching it with Connor when he was little - but because it just doesn't seem to fit the swords-and-sorcery mold. It should be No. 1 on a different list).

I realize The Beastmaster might not live up to every viewer's Gold standard. Perhaps it's nostalgia that makes me enjoy it. I admit it doesn't hold up quite as well as some of the other stuff on the list. It's a little too good for Fantasy Cheese, though. Don't forget, it was directed by Don Coscarelli, who's done some very good stuff.

If you know me, you know I love 1982's Conan the Barbarian; I think it's a flawless home-run of a movie and I'd have given it much higher marks than this guy gave it. I'd certainly have ranked it higher than Ladyhawke, which is, nevertheless, still deserving of a place on this list. Except for one glaringly obvious exception, I see very little that is cheesy in Conan the Barbarian. That exception, is, of course, Arnold himself, and I think casting-wise, Jason Momoa makes a far better Conan (even if they put him in a fair-to-middling film; certainly, it is the inferior of the 1982 film). But let's face it, if there was any role Arnold was simply born to play, it's Conan, the Terminator, or both. I find this movie beautifully shot, well-written, well-acted for the most part, with heavyweights like Max Von Sydow and James Earl Jones...it's also quite true to the Robert E. Howard books without actually adapting any of them. I could go on and on about this one (and may already have in another post - it's been a few years now on this blog and I've repeated myself more than once).

Otherwise, I'm pretty much in agreement with everything this guy says. I'm particularly happy to see his positive review of Excalibur, which is one of my all-time favorites. Highlander, of course, is also right up there.

If you haven't seen any of the movies on this list, they're all worth watching.

Movin' On.

I try to keep diary-type entries off my blog (because, really, who the hell cares? But then again, you could say that about the entirety of anyone's blog, including this one). But I've reached a turning point in life that ought to be recorded.

After many years (too long, in fact) I am leaving the newspaper business. I've taken a job with an international women's friendship and service organization as editor of a bi-monthly magazine and all in-house publications. I wasn't looking for a job, but an old friend recommended me. The rest happened pretty quickly. Now I find myself a week and a half out from a new job where I'll have grown-up stuff like an office, an assistant, benefits, and a salary that doubles (a little more, in fact) what I'm making now.

The money is great, as are the benefits. There's even some travel involved in the summer. But the most exciting thing is that I'll be editing, and that's it. No classified ad sales, no deliveries, no folding and stuffing envelopes. I don't resent that I have to do all that now: the newspaper business has been hit hard and I'm blessed to have had any job at all. My current (soon to be former) employers have been as good to me as they've been able. I'll always be thankful to them. I'll miss 'em.

But I'd be lying if I said I'd miss the newspaper business. I'm proud of my journalism career, don't get me wrong. When I was a kid, I said I wanted to be a rock star, teacher, or journalist when I grew up. Well, I came close enough to rock star (close enough to sort of lose interest in the "star" part - now only the music is left, which is the only part that ever mattered). I've worked at four newspapers, learned how to write, edit, and do graphic design, won several prestigious awards from the Missouri Press Association...I feel like I've "been there, done that," and I'm ready to move on.

As for that third childhood dream of being a teacher, well: I'm young yet. Check back with me in 10 years.

So goodbye to the newspaper world. I'm not making a big announcement about it; I'm not even writing a farewell column for the paper. I won't go out with a bang. I'll just sneak away.

Now I face the future with a bunch of excitement (and a twinge of fear of the unknown). But the bottom line is, after years of struggle, I made it. I was never good at making the "right" decisions in life, and now I'm in a position where I must make them, all the time, to keep this great new thing I've got. But I know I have it in me. One of the biggest lessons I've learned over the past decade is that other people often have far more faith in me than I have in myself.

Let's hope they're right.