Tuesday, March 16, 2010

4 days and a movie tip or two...

While working the reference desk today I received a call from a patron inquiring about the availability of a few movies. I happily checked into each of the titles on her list – most we had, but some we didn’t. Only a few though. After jotting down the items which held a place on our library shelves, I ended the call by saying that if there were any on her list that I was unable to find I’d give her a call back. After a quick goodbye and the click of the receiver I ventured into the stacks, list in hand.

Treasure found, I sat down and began the process of placing courtesy holds on the DVD’s which she had requested. Entering in the barcode of the first DVD and proceeding to the next I realized this wasn’t just any list. The list was selective, consisting of seemingly worthwhile, albeit superior content. This person had taken her time in choosing what to watch. Possibly what to allow her children to view. I couldn’t help but wonder where the titles had come from. Had this patron found the titles on some other list? Where? That’s one thing about working at a library, I always wonder, “where do the questions come from?”

I found myself reading the back descriptions of each film selected and taking note, creating my own “to view” list based on her selections. Considering the sorry sum of what’s on at any given time I snap on the tube, and also taking into account the short supply of time I afford to being a couch potato, I recognized the value of this list. It’s such an interesting list, films highly regarded yet I’ve only heard mention of a few. If you’re like me, you take pleasure in the discovery of a good film, a can’t-put-downable book, or a new recording artist on the advice of another. I work in a library. I live for this stuff. As the old saying goes, so little time, so many books, or songs, or films...and never enough time.

For your spare time (which is precious), here’s the list:

Grizzly Man
(non-fiction documentary)
Body of Lies
(with Leonardo DiCaprio, who I liken to our time’s James Cagney)
Half Nelson
(Ryan Gosling, Shareeka Epps and Anthony Mackie)
(a film by Gus Van Sant, not about elephants)
In America
(scads of Oscar nods a few years ago)
(noted by the Chicago Tribune as quite possibly “the best music film of our generation”)

There you have it. Visit your local library and check one out. And while you’re at it, take a peek at the non-fiction DVD section. You’d be amazed at what you’ll find. Who needs American Idol? The real gold is on the shelf at your local library. Just a little tip from one who knows...

“I’m not a cabdriver, I’m a coffeepot.”
(from one of MY very favorite QUALITY films – Arsenic and Old Lace, 1944)



  1. Ah! I surely will see the docs as I get them...
    And I really felt very nice reading your comment...
    Thank you very much!
    I'll treasure your valuable support all through!

  2. I like your blog, and I love 'Arsenic and old lace' but I'm here asking for a favour. Would you consider following:


    a distinguished Irish journalist who has only a passing handle on what the English language should look like, but writes on music, musicians, and the music industry in a most informative way. I see that you like music of all sorts, so ... Love, Alec

  3. I love Arsenic and Old Lace and I love,love Cary Grant. Actually, I just love old movies. There was nothing better than the Canadian t.v. program Saturday Night at the Movies with Elwy Yost. He loved movies and would tell great back stories to go along with the double features that were played every Saturday on TVO.

    Have you ever seen Gaslight? It stars Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. What about Auntie Mame, Sweet Charity, His Girl Friday? There were so many good movies...

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