Person of the Day – Martin Scorsese

It’s Mr. Scorsese’s birthday today. So, Happy Birthday, Marty!

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It took a while, approximately 25 years for me to understand the art of Scorsese. And I still haven’t watched all of his masterworks but these days he’s definitely one of my very favourite directors. When I explain what I want to do as my work, I always describe it the way that “I want to do something that I really love, that I really don’t want to quit doing ever, I want to be Martin Scorsese, who still at age of 74 keeps doing the most inspiring stuff.” So, I basically want to be Marty.

So, here’s to celebrate his amazing career and all those great things to become, my top-3 Scorsese films:

CAPE FEAR (1991)

I already saw this back in when it was released and I was only something like 12, so probably I shouldn’t have. But I did and I was so scared of Robert DeNiro’s Mad Cady but I also found him awfully attractive, especially when he was seducing this teenage girl played by always a bit dirty Juliette Lewis. Good stuff.

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THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013)

When I reviewed Wolf I’ve never gotten that much comments on any of my reviews. I know the film is still kind of wrong but I absolutely loved it! I don’t think any film that long has gone by so fast. And that drug scene! It is my favourite scene of Leo DiCaprio, who I obviously love, of all time. It is so funny! I need to watch this movie again.

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HUGO (2011)

If you love cinema like I do, or like Marty does, there’s no way you won’t like this film. Or love it, to be exact. It is one of the most heart-felt and the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. Truly amazing work and such a love letter to the art of moving images. ❤

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The Best of the Best – Disney Company Films

To celebrate 93rd birthday of The Walt Disney Company I wanted to list my favourite films produced by the company. Walt Disney is one of my biggest heroes. He was the man who made fairytales to become live. My all time favourite quote is his

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and I always try to keep that in mind when it feels I can’t. We all can. 🙂

There might be some films missing but I blame IMDb if not my fave Disneys are on the list, as these were the ones the search of ever reliable IMDb gave me. There are some minor SPOILERS in videos.

10)

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Ratatouille (2007)

9)

Enchanted (2007)

8)

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Freaky Friday (2003)

7)

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

6)

Mary Poppins (1964)

5)

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Frozen (2013)

4)

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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

3) (This breaks your heart. The best montage ever.)

Up (2009)

2)

The Lion King (1994)

1)

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Wall-E (2008)

Lovely, lovely films! It’s great that there are still people who make you feel good with creating this kind of films.

And there’s more to come like live-versions of Beauty and the Beast, Tim Burton’s Dumbo or Cruella with Emma Stone starring. Even the trailer for the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean looked promising. Mary Poppins also returns and Lasse Hällström is going to direct Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, that should be interesting. And yes, the live version of  The Lion King sounds scary idea.

Films of the Week Vol. 12

I’ve been so lazy at watching films. Then again, I’ve been working 7 days in a row and today is one more. But then I have some time off. And the last time I had time off, I watched some TV, read about it here. But during the last week I saw two films; The Hunger Games (again) and a bit newer stuff, Florence Foster Jenkins. Here’s my thoughts on them.

hungergamesposterTHE HUNGER GAMES (2012)

Directed by Gary Ross

Written by Gary Ross, Billy Ray & Suzanne Collins

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley & Lenny Kravitz

Synopsis (IMDb): “Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games, a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death”

Yeah, I know, everyone has seen the films already and bla bla bla but as I’ve reviewed three other parts already (here, here and here), then why not do the first one as well. I’ve already mentioned before I liked it, so there’s not much to add but as I still liked it, after seeing it, I don’t know, probably tenth time, I may as well say something about it.

It was a bit surprising that The Hunger Games still works. It was on TV and I watched it “live” with commercial breaks (I know! So weird.) and it took something like three hours but that time flew by. It is that good film. The pace is perfect, the introduction of situation
hot_jennifer_lawrenceis over quickly and in no time Katniss is on her way to the Capitol where they waste no time in introducing more characters and how our heroine works together with others. We even get couple of nice twists and then it’s game time. Even the emotional pace works nicely. So, well done Gary Ross, that’s the way you direct a film based on a youth novel.

And as said 1001 times, Jennifer Lawrence is perfect as Katniss. She’s strong and vulnerable at the same time but she’s also genuine and manipulative. And a spectator can’t be sure of her motives. Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta is no match to her but I’m still totally Team Peeta. He’s still somewhat endearing. And those youngsters from areas one and two actually feel dangerous.

I also like how the film is set, the production design, make-up, costumes and obviously the music are nice too. The film is a bit one-dimensional and goes on a bit too long and some of the actors are wooden but otherwise; no complaints.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (2016)

Directed by Stephen Fears

Written by Nicholas Martin

Starring Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg & Rebecca Ferguson

Synopsis: “The story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.”

I have no idea how truthfully Florence Foster Jenkins is told but if it is, it is quite amazing which lengths people would go for their loved ones. That’s beautiful and quite moving.

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First of all, Meryl Streep is still amazing actress. I’m quite sure she again will gain an Oscar nomination for this role. She’s fearless and can, apparently, act anything. I also appreciated Simon Helberg’s work here and I’m so glad he gets recognition from somewhere else too than The Big Bang Theory. And it was refreshing to see Hugh Grant playing something else than single douchebag. I’m not sure how much make-up he has here but he’s old and that’s weird.

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Simon Helberg

I liked the way the film looked, it’s very pretty with all those clothes from 1940s and always fabulous New York and its Carnegie Hall. The film is nicely told, the pace is ok and it made me feel good. But that’s about it. I was a little bit bored, there’s not enough of story to be told, I think, and as the film is not too emotional, it’s a bit bland. I really wanted to like it more but it’s one of those films you will forget you even saw. Streep is great but as she is always, it’s nothing exceptional. Oh, there’s some nice music if you like classical music. There’s not much to say about it. I saw it and I’m quite sure I will never watch it again, it is just not interesting enough. I also wanted to give it 2,5 stars but as everything works, it deserved more.

Rating: *** 

Liebster Award #2

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Great JW at Film & Nuance nominated me for a Liebster Award for the second time in my blogging history. THANK YOU! It’s nice to be recognized. 🙂 Check out his site! And if you’re up to it, here’s my previous Liebster post.

Here are the questions he set up for all of us nominated:

1.What is your favourite movie in your least favourite genre. And why?

  • This is kinda hard to answer. There are three genres that I don’t like that much: western, war movies and mafia related films. But to be honest, all the films I’ve watched in the last genre mentioned, I’ve liked, so I should probably stop saying that I don’t like it. And I don’t remember watching any westerns that I actually liked. So, let’s say… Atonement. Can I call it a war movie? No? Well, hmmm, what about Inglourious Basterds? Still no? Ok, I’ll change genres back to western as I just realised (after checking my  IMDb ratings) that there is one western that I liked a lot: True Grit, Coens’ version. There you go, found it.

True Grit - Hailee Steinfeld -

2.If you had to favour a certain style (for directing a film,writing a book or any other art form of your choice), would you prefer a no-frills and direct approach, or an artistic and ambiguous one. Why?

  • I’d had to go with no-frills and direct as I enjoy those kind of films more than artsy ones. I do love beautiful writing in a book but without obvious story it just doesn’t work for me.

3.Name a movie you can watch any day.

  • That would be something silly and easy to watch like Legally Blonde, Mean Girls, Love Actually, Trainwreck etc.

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4.If you could keep an object that you had previously but by now either lost it,sold,misplaced,had it stolen or destroyed, what would it be?

  • Nevermind album by Nirvana. I used to listen to it all the time and got fed up with it and for some idiotic reason sold it. Same goes for special edition of Green Day’s Dookie. Idiot.

5.Pick an era to live in.

  • Hippietime, sometime around 60s to 70s. Interesting times, a lot of political changes, freedom and great music.

6.The best film you’ve seen this year and an unreleased 2016 film that you think might beat it.

  • Spotlight and I doubt there will be one but possible contenders are The Light Between Oceans, Silence, Arrival, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and La La Land. I’m really picky about films that I give 10/10 and there have been years when I haven’t awarded full points to any film. But La La Land is my the most awaited film of the year as I absolutely love both Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and Whiplash, that was made by same man, Damien Chazelle, was my absolute favourite from 2015.

7.Name a memory you would keep till your death.

  • I don’t think I can single out one memory. I have a lot of those that I’d like to keep. I haven’t done anything THAT spectacular that I could point it out.

8.Ice-cream or popsicles?

  • Ice-cream

9.Where do you stand on the Harambe case?

  • I wasn’t aware of this case but went and read about it. Idk, to me zoos are no-no anyway, so… But I think the staff acted the best way they thought was suitable at the moment. In case there’s someone as clueless as me, here’s the story.

10.Favourite type of music? And what does it mean to you?

  • These days I listen to all kinds of music from classical music to hard rock and anything between, also EDM. But I guess my favourite kind is still rock especially classic rock e.g. Led Zeppelin.

11.How do you cool off after being upset/angry?

  • Music. It always works. My ex-roommate aka one of my best friends used to say it was easy to know my mood by the music I was listening to. I use music to manipulate my feelings. It affects me a lot.

There you go. Something about me. Now it’s your turn. I should nominate ten blogs I guess but I’ll settle with half of them. Here are the blogs I love to follow and I hope they will get a lot more followers! I know it should be under 200 followers but I choose not to care. 😉 Check them out!

So, here are my questions for you guys and girls:

  1. What kind of a role in a film would be the most interesting to you to play?
  2. If you read, what is the book you always go back to?
  3. Three things that would make your life better?
  4. Who is your ultimate celebrity crush and why?
  5. Who’s your favourite dead director?
  6. If you could choose to study whatever despite the future earnings/finding a job/the place of the study/etc. what would you study?
  7. What film do you think will win the best picture Oscar next February?
  8. Your dream vacation spot?
  9. The best movie memory?
  10. Do you have a schedule for blogging?

That’s it! Good luck and haveagreatweek_minion

 

Stranger Things Review

I’ve been away for over three months and that I apologize. I’ll get back to that but now the stranger_things_posterreview for my new favourite TV show. Again, like usually, spoiler-free.

STRANGER THINGS (2016)

Created by The Duffer Brothers

Starring Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer & Charlie Heaton

Synopsis: “When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back.” (IMDb)

Few days ago I read a review of Suicide Squad where the writer complained about that there’s no more heart in filmmaking when everyone is just following same script and making same kind of superhero movies that have worked during the few last years. And I know what that person means. It’s all been about making money lately. Who gets the biggest opening, who hires the biggest starts, who has the biggest audience and especially who makes the most money. I’ve liked quite a few of those films but then again, I’ve kind of forgotten them almost immediately. On TV side there’s been amazingly great television lately but for some reason it’s glorious and looks amazing but it’s cold, dark, brutal, sad, violent and makes you feel dirty. To be honest, Stranger Things is also dark, actually very dark, especially literally and it is sad and a bit violent and people are dirty in it. It’s also cold in it. And brutal too, I guess. But what matters the most, it has huge, beating heart in the middle of it.

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When watching Stranger Things you can feel the love. Love towards filmmaking, 80’s, Spielberg, King, fairytales, good, old-fashioned good vs. evil. All those things that made you (or at least me) to fall in love with movies. That “larger than life” thing, you know? Besides that you can feel it, it is there to see in all those big and little details. You can easily see it in those photos of the set, how they look, how the setting is and obviously story owes so much to all those stories before it but yet again, it’s original and somehow weirdly fresh. And with a lot of twists.

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It’s always risky placing a kid in the centre of your film as child actor can easily ruin your story. It’s even riskier to put a bunch of them there but in Stranger Things all kids can carry their parts and even more. I loved every character, especially the lads in the center of it all and even more specifically Finn Wolfhard as Mike as he brought such maturity to the role that kind of variety might be hard to reach even for an adult. And none of these kids have THAT long careers behind them yet. And same goes for guys who created the show, Matt and Ross Duffer aka The Duffer Brothers. As directors both of them (they’re twins) have four (!) credits in IMDb. Not much. So kudos to them; well done! I wonder if they’re both married. :p

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The Duffer Brothers

Back to Stranger Things. Besides the great cast (only Winona Ryder was a bit too much for me from time to time), set decoration, all production design is basically flawless (surely some have already found flaws); it feels like you’ve watching some strange and much, much scarier E.T. And on that mark, do remember to give this excellent series its whole credit and watch it in dark after the sun has set. And how fun it is to spot all those popular culture references? At least to me it never gets old.

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What else? Nothing really, just watch it. I don’t know anybody who hasn’t liked it. To me it was total 5/5. The best new series since Sherlock (I watched that later than GoT). I don’t know how Netflix manages to do this, finding such talents, but I do hope they will continue doing it.

Rating: ***** (out of same amount)

 

The Best of the Best – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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I was thinking of saving this for later when MCU is ready with its plan but they probably will continue making those films as long as there’s audience for them, so as I really liked new Cap America, let’s list things to celebrate the success of Marvel!  So far there have been 13 films that are part of phases one, two and three. Obviously there are tons of other films that are Marvel branded, e.g. X-Mens but I will only include films surrounding The Avengers.

avengers-age-ultron-hulk-mark-ruffaloUsually I have in my Best of the Best lists some bubbling-unders and will do that this time too. Though there are only three of them. I’m not a big fan of The Incredible Hulk, the whole Hulk-thing didn’t work for me at all until Mark Ruffalo came along. He’s genious. So that is on the bottom of the bunch and next up is Captain America: The First Avenger, it’s way too American for my taste. Plus Cap is kinda boring. And unfortunately I have to leave Ant-Man out of the final Top-10. I love Paul Rudd but that film was just ok.

10)

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Captain America: Winter Soldier

This is really hard as I’m a fan of the whole universe and all these films are entertaining enough and often more. Well, Cap, until the last chapter, has been way too oldie goldie for me and thus this is my number 10 pick.

9)thor_chris_hemsworth_smile

Thor

I love, love, love Loki as many of you might know but if you take him away from Thor films, they are not very entertaining. Especially the first one.

8)

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Iron Man 2

Perhaps. I just checked and I’ve given all three Iron Man movies 8/10 at IMDb. So… I don’t know.

7)

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Iron Man

Yeah. Still don’t really know.

6) iron-man-3-poster-ben-kingsley

Iron Man 3

Right now it feels like I enjoyed this one the best, I really liked Ben Kingsley’s character.

5)
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Thor: The Dark World

Loki. And London is a plus. But mainly Loki.

4)
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Avengers: Age of Ultron

It’s a bit messy and too much but I just love it when they’re all together. And Hawkeye’s storyline worked for me. And it was a bit sad too which is usually nice touch to this kind of action films.

2) dancing_groot_gif

Guardians of the Galaxy

It’s basically tie between this and number two but like said, I love my avengers, so Star Lord and his crew lost. Then again that killer soundtrack gives it an edge. It’s a tie.

2)

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Captain America: Civil War

Like said and like I wrote few days ago, the latest installment to the series is a great one! Go see it! Spidey! Whose side your on?

1) Loki_Empire_header

The Avengers

But it does not beat the original. Josh Whedon is king of this film, the script is absolutely great. And you know; Loki. 😉

What do you think? What’s your favourite?

The Best of the Best – ROM-COMS

heartsTime for some love and laughs! There’s never enough of those two. Especially these days.

Romantic comedies are my “skeleton in the closet”. I just love them! I can even watch really bad ones. It kind of feels that I’ve seen all romantic comedies. I haven’t really, I do have some kind of limit (read: “made for TV”). Unfortunately there aren’t that many really good ones. Rom-coms are like horror films, only bunch of them are classics. But I do have them on this list (at least almost all of them). I admit, there are some screwball comedies missing, as I still haven’t watched them and the list is also missing When Harry Met Sally because I didn’t really like it. But I did like all these 18 films that I mention next quite a lot.

Like always (see my previous lists like the best cinematographers, directors or TV characters) I have few honorary mentions:

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Sideways that, to me, is more of a buddy dramedy but as all these listed came up from IMDb when searching genres of “romance” and “comedy”, is one of my favourite films that really feel real. And as a wine fan, I love it! Sideways, as a film, is better than some of those in actual TOP-10 but as I don’t see it straightforward rom-com, I left it out. Trainwreck that came out only the last year was a blast and it might end up my eventual TOP-10 but I’ve only seen it once. Pitch Perfect is also great but again, not exactly rom-com. One of the great surprises in the genre lately was Warm Bodies. I’m not a fan of zombies (or movies about them) but this one warmed my heart (and body). One of the classics that I have here bubbling under is Some Like It Hot, that is one great film! And should probably be up there but when I did my list, those 10 were easy to list. Same goes for Groundhog Day. The last one that I have outside of my best ten, is Jerry Maguire. I would have never ever counted it as a rom-com but IMDb does, so here we go. One of the best romantic scenes in films (obviously spoilers):

And now the actual TOP 10.

10) The Proposal

I gave this only 7/10 in IMDb when I first saw it but I’ve seen it since something like five or six times and it always makes me laugh and perhaps tear up a bit. And Sandy is hilarious and you know, I never get tired of watching Ryan Reynolds to take of his clothes.

 

9) Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris is better than it’s standing but as I find the best rom-coms actually laugh out loud funny, this one just isn’t one of those, thus it’s place as number nine. But it is my favourite Woody Allen film and I love the writing and characters in it. I first saw it in the middle of summer and it is beautiful and suited to that warm, dark August night better than anything.

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8) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

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This is what I call rom-com! It even has Matthew McConaughey in it! Before his later years career, obviously. And I loved him already back then. His lovely, cocky Texan ways. I think I’ve seen, if not all, most of his rom-coms because he just is the MAN in them! And Kate Hudson is funny and beautiful and this one is a classic in the genre.

 

7) The Great Race

I actually haven’t seen this oldie with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood for years and years but it was my favourite when I was a kid and I remember laughing so much. I still remember the funniest stuff. I should definitely watch it again. Great fun!

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Ok, now we come to those six ones that are THE rom-coms to me. I watch them over and over again. And love them! Despite the cheesiness or anything. These are the films to watch when you feel down.

6) Legally Blonde

Some of you might remember how Ally McBeal had a theme song to make her feel more confident with “yes, I can” mentality. Well, Legally Blonde is my theme movie. It’s my encouragement, I always watch it when I feel I can’t. I don’t think it as a rom-com that much but of course it is. BUT the main thing is that Elle doesn’t need a man to be successful and happy and I like that. Plus Reese Witherspoon is genuinely funny.

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5) Never Been Kissed

Yeah, I’ve seen this ten or more times. I’m not a huge fan of Drew Barrymore but here she shines. And all those supporting characters are great too. You should check this to see young Jessica Alba and James Franco. Cheesiness factor is quite high but who cares.

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4) Love Actually

As this is already my Christmas number one and the film that I wish would survive after armageddon (with few people as there wouldn’t be any point otherwise), I’ll let it slip and put it my number four on this list. But it is still ultimate rom-com. And British do it better. They are funnier.

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3) Bridget Jones’s Diary

I hate the fact that Bridget so desperately needs a man in his life (and I don’t like the second part, she’s way too silly in it) and that she looks, well, maybe, actually, real with her idiotic clothes and desperate need of a cut -hair and is way too ridiculous but maybe that’s the point. We can relate. Where’s my Darcy? Plus genuinely funny! The scene where Bridget introduces the author of Kafka’s Motorbike, I still can’t watch it, too humiliating. And super-funny. And come on, Colin Firth is… Well, Colin Firth. Love him. Who wouldn’t like to be liked “just the way you are”?

 

2) Notting Hill

Have you been to Notting Hill? I would love to fall in love there too. Or in London, generally. Like I said, British do it better; they’re funnier, more real and romantic, apparently. Notting Hill with that Ronan Keating song might be too much to some but not to me. I still laugh, especially when Horse & Hound is interviewing other cast members or Spike is doing anything, or when William says “upsy-daisy”, so hard when watching this. Oh, and I cry so much when watching this film. And in the end I’m so in love and uplifted. That’s why this genre exists.

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1)  Four Weddings & a Funeral

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I should probably thank Richard Curtis for making my life better (thank you, Mr. Curtis) as all four in my top-4 are written by him. Four Weddings being THE romantic comedy. (Thanks for Hugh Grant, apparently, too! I didn’t realise before that he is my ultimate rom-com leading man…) I also always say I’m not a big fan of 90’s films. I guess I’m lying. Thank you also introducing me to W.H. Auden.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

OK, now I want to watch all these great, feel-good flicks. I’m glad they exist.