She Has Moxie

I live near an awesome movie theater. It’s so awesome that living legends such as Meryl Streep have paid it a visit to accept its annual award.

None other than Jane Fonda was this year’s award recipient. My friend and I were in attendance a couple of weeks ago when she introduced a screening of her latest film, Youth, (in which she plays a minor role)* and did a Q and A afterward.

Introducing the film
Introducing the film











She was witty, gracious, and so youthful! She could pass for someone decades younger…seriously. I felt blessed to be in the same room with her. Add her to list of people whose autobiographies I want to read.

Jane has “moxie.”

Did you know that there is a 100+-year-old drink called Moxie? I didn’t…until I saw it on a grocery store shelf. I knew of the word “moxie,” believing it to mean “vivacious,” someone who has “nerve,” etc.










Well, I bought a bottle and looked it up when I got home from the grocery store. It turns out that it’s a local drink, founded in New England. I quite enjoyed reading about its history…its story is told in a cheeky tone that made me chuckle.

It has a fan club of Moxie lovers and Moxie haters…yes, it’s one of those products that one either loves or hates. It’s an “acquired taste.”

Gentian root is what gives it its taste (I think). I find it slightly medicinal in taste but not enough that it’s totally off-putting. At first slug, it tastes like a Coke…but then, suddenly, it’s not a Coke. Will I buy it regularly? No…but I would buy it again on impulse someday.

So that brings us to 29 list items left…almost a third of the way there.



* Short film review: Visually stunning, intellectual, quiet, haunting, brings one to tears at the closing scene. Paolo Sorrentino’s other film, The Great Beauty, had the same exact effect on me.

Demme and Ivory

Thanks to the Coolidge and the Brattle, I had the opportunity to see two acclaimed film directors speak this past week. The Coolidge presented Jonathan Demme with its annual honorary award. And the Brattle is hosting a weekend visit with James Ivory.

A number of colleagues showered Jonathan Demme with accolades at the award ceremony. Actors, screenwriters, authors…people who he has mentored. And HIS mentor, producer Roger Corman, was there also. Jonathan Demme has directed such a wide variety of films…he’s my kind of guy. Everything from a Talking Heads performance film, to Philadelphia, to Silence of the Lambs. It was a fun, celebratory evening.

Last night, my friend Lisa and I saw Ivory’s film Remains of the Day. It is such a different experience seeing films on the big screen vs. a television screen. It just adds so much. After the film, James Ivory came on stage with Ned and Ivy, who run the Brattle. They asked him questions, and then opened the discussion to the audience. It is always fascinating to hear the stories behind films, and filmmaking. I am always amazed at the numbers of people involved in making a film. It’s a wonder they ever get completed!! It was really great to hear more about his partnership with producer Ismail Merchant, and screenwriter Ruth Jhabvala. You just don’t hear about many decades-long creative partnerships and friendships like that.

James Ivory is 81, and still actively directing films. I hope that I still have the passion and energy that he has, when I am that age. He is an inspiration.

Jonathan Demme
Ned and James Ivory

Stop Making Sense

I feel like my life stopped making sense a long time ago…so I thought it fitting to watch the film Stop Making Sense at the Coolidge last night. I also wanted a chance to relive the ’80s…a simpler, slower time. Stop Making Sense is a Talking Heads concert film from 1984. It was directed by Jonathan Demme, who is being honored by the Coolidge next month. He is best known for directing Silence of the Lambs. He has directed quite an eclectic mix of films, so I am looking forward to attending the Coolidge Award ceremony next month.

It was an awesome film. “Burning Down the House,” “PsychoKiller,” “Once in a Lifetime”…remember those classics? The audience (the Coolidge audience, that is) clapped after every number, which I thought was funny. The music, clothing, and hairstyles made me feel nostalgic for the analog ’80s. I wonder how many other people start to feel like the world has gone to pot once they hit their mid-30s. I’m on a “technology is evil” kick right now. I have an urge to listen to my cassette mix tapes that I’ve saved…

It Is Cold

It is cold.

My week was action-packed. And now all I want to do is sit in bed and eat marshmallow peeps.

I walked in the Hasty Pudding Parade on Thursday. It was fun and wacky. It was the shortest, most disorganized parade of all time. I saw Anne Hathaway, but couldn’t manage to get a photo. There was a MOB around the car she was riding in the whole time. There was a marching band playing, so we danced as we walked along. We had dog treats to pass out to the crowd, which was kind of a bust since most of the crowd was composed of college kids who don’t own pets. Ah well.

Thursday evening I went to a special event at the Coolidge (thanks, Melissa!). The Sundance Film Festival screened films nationwide this year. The Coolidge was one of eight theaters across the country that screened a Sundance film, and brought the director along with it. We saw The Company Men, which was written and directed by John Wells. His claim to fame is writing and producing ER and West Wing. He did a great Q and A afterward. He was so down-to-earth and humble; it was refreshing. And we learned some great info about the film’s back story. The film is about three men who are laid off due to downsizing. It hit home to a degree, since I’ve been laid off a few times. The men worked for a shipbuilding firm in Boston.

John told us that the original idea was for the men to be working in the steel industry in Pittsburgh. But when he and the scouts went to Pittsburgh, they found that there were no remnants of the industry left! So he had to choose another manufacturing industry, and lucked out with shipbuilding. He found an old shipyard in Quincy, MA. He also told us that he interviewed hundreds of people who had been laid off, as well as HR people, higher ups, etc. It took about 10 years for the film to come to fruition. He went the independent film route because when he talked to the big companies, they wanted to change the entire outcome of the story! So he was fortunate to be able to go the indie route and stay true to his vision.

I also bought tickets for the annual Coolidge award ceremony. This year, Jonathan Demme is being honored. He directed Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Rachel Getting Married, and a bunch of other weird stuff in the ’80s. He also directed some concert films…I am going to a screening of a Talking Heads concert film from 1984. Burnin’ down the house!