Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dog-Blog: Puppy's first walk up and down Runyon Canyon - part one...

On Saturday we took Cooper on his first walk to Runyon Canyon.  We drove up Laurel Canyon and took the infamous Mulholland Drive to start our walk at the top of the park.
View of Downtown Los Angeles from Runyon Canyon
Runyon Canyon is a 160-acre park in L.A. at the Eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains and has great views over sprawling L.A.  It is extremely popular with dog walkers (as it has an off-leash trail), hikers and fitness enthusiasts alike, plus it's not unusual to see some celebrities out for a walk with their dog or some shirtless gym buffed body running by to inspire you.
View of the hills with the Hollywood Sign
Sadly no celebrity sightings on Saturday, but we were accompanied by our friends plus Cooper's gal-pals, Dot and Ginger.
Cooper walking on his leash at Runyon Canyon
We met at around 5.30pm so as to be a bearable temperature for Cooper, who's usually no good outside before 6pm.
View of L.A. sprawl from Runyon Canyon walk
Our pup was brilliantly behaved on the three mile walk.  He's not so great on his leash at the moment (so roll on his training classes), but we took the risk of leaving off his leash and he loved it.  
View of Runyon Canyon walking trail
Having his favourite gal-pal Ginger and our friend Barry to follow like a shadow meant there was no danger of him running off, although I was more concerned about him knocking someone down on the steep trail or going over the edge if he got too adventurous.
Cooper and Ginger at Runyon Canyon
He was far too preoccupied trotting along, meeting new dogs and getting complimented by all the passersby he met - everyone loves a Lab puppy!
Infamous Hollywood Sign viewed from Runyon Canyon
Runyon Canyon is a great walk and took us about an hour.  There are fantastic views of L.A.'s sprawling cityscape, from the world renowned Hollywood Sign, the Griffith Park Observatory, Downtown skyline, the streets of Hollywood and beyond. 
View of the Griffith Park Observatory from Runyon Canyon
It's very hard to get any perspective in L.A., so it's a lovely place to get up high and get a view of the surrounding area.
Cooper's first Runyon Canyon walk
Not only is the trail very scenic, but it's also great for giving your dog a fantastic walk.  I was quite surprised that Cooper made it all the way around.  
Hot dog getting watered
He had a few rests along the way and there's lots of watering stops (plus we had our handy travel water bowl to hand), but our group plus all the fellow walkers helped keep him moving and motivated.
Side by side with Ginger at Runyon Canyon
I'm sure it won't be long before this is a daily occurrence, although I'm told Runyon Canyon is even busier in the weekdays when everyone is walking their dogs before and after work.

Come back tomorrow for part two of Cooper's first walk at Runyon Canyon...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Entourage - the story continues...

So like all good stories, this one runs and runs.


It's the continuing saga of the Entourage cast fifth season photo-shoot that I witnessed on 1st June and is currently the most popular post on my blog this month.
Entourage season 5 cast poster on bus in L.A.
Not only can you see the promotional poster, that we saw being photographed on Santa Monica Blvd, on billboards around L.A., but it's now on the sides of buses too (and a double-decker no less!).

We spotted this one at The Grove earlier today.  I'm sure I'll have a new showbiz story soon, but for now I'm going to milk this Entourage story for all it's worth!

Bye for now, we're off for Cooper's first walk up Runyon Canyon...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Dog-Blog: Happy homecoming...

Cooper was very happy to see his other daddy back from Tokyo and greeted him with a wagging tail and a bouncy welcome. 
Finger lickin' good
Unfortunately, it wasn't long before he was having one of his mad five minutes which entails him racing around the living room and launching himself on and off the sofa. 
Cooper with those guilty eyes
Then if the bedroom door's open, he's darting under the bed and chewing on some packing paper that's still there from our move and stealing entire toilet rolls from the bathroom and disappearing back underneath the bed to take big chunks out of it.
Naughty Cooper in the bedroom
He may look all cute and adorable (and he is), but he's a very mischievous pup at times.
A happy Cooper playing in the bedroom
Anyway it's the last holiday weekend of the Summer (it's Labor Day on Monday), so I'm sure we'll try and get out and about with Cooper and I'm sure there will be photos.  So until then...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Puppy downsides and delights...

Puppy parenthood starts to grate when you're woken for another morning at 5am. 

Here are a few Pros and Cons of living with an eighteen week old puppy...
Cooper under the stairs
THE BAD
  • 5am wake-up calls
  • Never having a lie-in ever again
  • Being chewed by puppy teeth
  • When he misses the training mat and piddles on the carpet
  • When he steps in poop and walks it round the living room
  • Being slobbered and dribbled on constantly
  • Bad puppy breath (no longer cute Cooper kisses)
  • Carrying around bags of poop at 6am in the morning
  • Trying to wash out puppy's ears - impossible!
THE GOOD
  • A wagging puppy tail
  • Puppy smiles
  • Cooper kisses (even with the bad breath)
  • Watching him trying to eat grapes
  • When he does a forward roll when he chases his tail
  • The look on his face when he breaks wind and then realises it was him - priceless!
  • How adorable he looks when he's sleeping
  • When he snores like a little piggy
  • Yay, his puppy teeth are falling out
  • Finally he starts to poop and pee outside
  • The pride of having the most handsome dog on the block
  • Unconditional Cooper love
As you can see the positives far outweigh any negatives and we won't be taking him back yet!
Cooper with a mouthful of toys at 18 weeks
In other news, I've just booked him into Basic Obedience classes at Chateau Marmutt.  Soon he'll be walking properly on his leash, coming when he's called and leaving things he's not supposed to - well that's the plan anyway.  

Currently the most powerful command in our arsenal is 'Sit', which we resort to whenever Cooper needs to calm down.

In another exciting development Cooper seems to have taken to his crate almost overnight and if you say 'Bed' he'll sleepily trot into it, making it much easier for me to go out without any drama (or having to pick up a 45lb puppy). He's even taken to popping in there on his own when he needs some quiet 'Cooper time'.
Cooper in his crate at 18 weeks
Don't forget to cast your vote for the future movie that you're most anticipating (can you believe those greedy buggers at Warner, putting back the release date for Harry Potter until next year because they've had such a bumper Summer with The Dark Knight?  That's not very fan friendly is it?).
Cooper with his toys at 18 weeks
According to the most recent poll, Mamma Mia was the favourite movie of the Summer so far, with 34% of the votes, whilst WALL-E was a close second with 31%.  If you don't agree with that, then make sure you cast you vote wisely this time!

Right then, I may just pop outside for some more sunshine on our roof deck, as not being in the mood for the gym after the early morning awakening today, I had a few hours by the pool this morning which was bliss.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's a hard life (but someone's got to do it)...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New additions to the West Coast...

As it's 'Comic Wednesday' i.e. the day of the week new comics are released, I thought I'd share with you some new framed artwork that now adorns our walls.  
The Uncanny X-Men 500th issue framed poster by artist Alex Ross
It has pride of place in 'Jason's Room', a place that Charlie keeps promising (threatening?!?) to put all my weird and wonderful comic, sci-fi and oddball stuff, to keep the rest of the apartment looking relatively sane and stylish (although with a four month old puppy that's becoming harder and harder). 
 
I know that I've lost at least 50% of you by now, but for those still with me, this is a framed poster of the 500th issue of The Uncanny X-Men by superstar artist, Alex Ross.  

This milestone issue marked a major turning point in the lives of the merry mutants as it saw the X-Men move from the East to West Coast of America, to their new home in San Francisco. 

Alternate Uncanny X-Men issue #500 cover poster by Greg Land
Alternate 500th issue cover for The Uncanny X-Men by Greg Land
Well not only have Cyclops, Wolverine, Nightcrawler et al taken up residence on the Marin Headlands, but now they're also officially on my spare bedroom's wall in West Hollywood, L.A.

Unframed Alex Ross Uncanny X-Men 500th issue cover poster
Ales Ross 500th Uncanny X-Men issue cover poster
Now I'd better get on, I've got comics to read, a puppy to walk and people to see (and cosmos to drink)...

Buy the unframed posters in the U.S.A:
Buy the unframed poster in the UK:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

House Bunny is fluffy fun and just a bit dumb...

I loved the movie Legally Blonde and after a bit of a drought of films I've wanted to see the last few weeks I thought I'd pop along and take a look at the fluffy bit of fun that is The House Bunny.
The House Bunny movie billboard at The Grove
So if you liked Reese Witherspoon's Legally Blonde, then you'll love this film, but don't expect anything original about it, absolutely nothing.  But as it's such a sweet and simple film and has left me in a happy mood, I'm willing to forgive that this film is fundamentally the same story with just a few character, location and scenario changes, but ultimately the blonde bimbo saves the day and learns a valuable lesson along the way.

Out goes the popular sorority girl turned spunky legal student and in comes Playboy Mansion Bunny turned sorority house mother.  Anna Faris plays the ditzy Playboy Bunny kicked out of Hefner's mansion following her 27th birthday and the star of the Scary Movie parodies is suitably endearing as the nice but dumb (but she really has a brain too!), Shelly.
The House Bunny movie poster
I don't want to go in to detail about the rest of the film, suffice to say that if I did, I would end up being too critical about just how simple and how text book a dumb blonde comedy movie it is.  

Don't even get me started on how the sorority girls of Zeta Alpha Zeta with their perfectly toned stomachs and gravity defying breasts are not at all like real-life misfits and so their ugly duckling to swan transformation is not that much of a stretch of the imagination.

There's no real surprises, but if you just give yourself over to the movie and let yourself enjoy it you won't mind.  With that in mind I give House Bunny 3-stars ***.

Funnily enough, the thing that made me smile the most about the film though was the fantastic trailer of Marley & Me I saw beforehand.  This movie adaptation of John Grogan's best-selling book is out in cinemas on Christmas Day in the U.S. and it reminded me so much of Cooper.

I've never read the book, but after seeing this cute trailer of Marley & Me and reading the book's synopsis I'm buying it on Amazon now - I'll let you know what it's like!

Buy the book in the U.S.A: Marley: A Dog Like No Other

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dog-Blog: Our weekly walk by the ocean and home alone with puppy...

Yesterday we did our weekly pilgrimage to the ocean and headed down to Santa Monica to walk Cooper.
Cooper & Jason walking in the park
Even though there's a lot of trees and lawns in West Hollywood, Santa Monica is much greener along the front by Palisades Park, so it's refreshing to take him there as a change from his daily neighbourhood walks.
Palisades Park palms
We're learning that we have to time our walks with Cooper carefully.  He's fine first thing in the morning until around 10am and then after 6pm, otherwise it gets too hot for him outside and either he doesn't like the hot sidewalks beneath his paws, or it's just too exhausting in the heat, as he ends up lying down in the shade on the cool grass and you just can't move him.
Puppy and his stick
He also gets easily distracted and loves picking up leaves, sticks, branches and all manner of things lying around on the floor.  Again with stick in mouth he'll flop down on the grass and chew away as if you're not there.
Happy puppy chewing on his stick
However, maybe with this big stick (below) he really has bitten off more than he can chew!
Cooper finds himself a new stick - it's too big boy
Luckily this behaviour happens less often when other dogs are around, so by keeping to the busy dog walking times in the morning and evenings we keep him moving and it also provides puppy playtime with willing dogs and their owners, which helps to tire him out, and if we're very lucky encourages him to go to the toilet outside.
Santa Monica Palisades Park
It's a real shame that we can't take him down on the beach in Santa Monica as I know he'd be in heaven and would really enjoy it.  I can't wait until he's got the stamina for a good long walk so we can take him to Runyon Canyon.
View from park of Santa Monica beach
Charlie is actually on a plane to Tokyo as we speak, off to Japan for work, so this week I'm home alone with Cooper.  
The Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica
I'm expecting some early morning walks and exhausting days with our four month old puppy and no change of shift to relieve me in the evenings when Charlie usually comes home and helps distract our energetic pup.
Santa Monica beach and pier
I'm sure he'll be no problem really and we'll keep each other company, so I'm sure the week will fly by.  
Jason & Cooper in Palisades Park
My gym trainer is back this week and I had a punishing session with him this morning, so some more of those workouts and a few cinema visits and excursions in the car should help me retain my sanity.

I'll let you know how I get on...

P.S. don't forget to vote for your favourite summer movie so far, I can't believe there aren't more Dark Knight fans out there with its phenomenal box office success!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A lovely Summer's evening at the Hollywood Bowl, Donna Summer that is...

Last night I enjoyed an evening with the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer, at the Hollywood Bowl.

The concert showcased her first collection of original songs in 17 years, from her new album Crayons, plus a selection of her classic disco hits.
Dance the night away with Donna Summer in concert at The Hollywood Bowl, 23 August 2008
It was a sold out show, so around 17,000 people (mostly gay men) danced the night away with Donna Summer in the lovely L.A. night air.
Donna Summer's new album of original material - Crayons
Following a lovely picnic beforehand, where we marveled (or bitched) at the fashion faux pas on display in the local park, we merrily took our seats for the 8.30pm start.

I really enjoyed the concert, but I couldn't help compare it to the other Bowl performances I had seen there Les Miserables in Concert and Tchaikovsky, Lang Lang & Fireworks, and can't help but think the fantastic venue is more suited to grander classical performances, rather than pop concerts.
Donna Summer in concert at The Hollywood Bowl, Saturday 23 August 2008
She's getting on a bit now and you couldn't help but notice when Miss Summer relinquished some of the trickier vocals to her backing singers, plus it was really jarring that this disco diva with new contemporary dance material and pumping classic disco hits wasn't able to move about enough to do them justice. Sadly, it just wasn't the same. 
Queen of Disco, Donna Summer, in concert at The Hollywood Bowl, 23 August 2008
Saying that, I do like the songs from her new album, Crayons, and had already downloaded my favourites a while back for my gym playlist, so I enjoyed her new material - 'Mr. Music', 'Stamp Your Feet', 'Fame (The Game)', 'I'm A Fire', 'Bring Down The Reign' and more.
Donna Summer in concert - The Hollywood Bowl, 23 August 2008
But it was really those classic dance anthems 'Bad Girls', 'Hot Stuff', 'On The Radio', 'No More Tears (Enough is Enough)' and 'Last Dance' that really got the crowds on their feet (myself included).

For me the biggest disappointment about the whole concert was her backing dancers.  Oh Lordy, they were abysmal.  
Donna Summer in concert at The Hollywood Bowl, Saturday 23 August 2008
Donna Summer is trying to to make herself relevant to today's youth with her new music and yet her three dancers choreography was so dated and reminiscent of bad 90's dancing, that rather than an homage to that time, it just looked really amateur.  It was really shocking and I couldn't stop thinking about it the whole concert.

So my top tip for you Miss Summer ditch your dancers, add a few more to make it more of a spectacle, and it would be a much better show. 

Luckily, the energy from the ecstatic crowd and classic disco tunes more than made up for it and there were a lot of happy faces at the end of the night.

By the looks of it that was my last Hollywood Bowl visit of the season (but you never know there's still time) and I'm really glad I've got to experience such a diverse selection this year.  

I can't wait for the 2009 season...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Another day of ears, bellies, bleary eyes and celebrity sightings...

On Friday I whizzed Cooper over to the vet to be told that he had a bit of an ear infection, which Labs, are prone too apparently.  We'd already been washing out his ears regularly but obviously we'd not been doing a very good job, mainly because Cooper doesn't like having ear cleaning solution poured into his ears, so now we have another ointment to put in there too - so double the fun.

He now weighs 45lbs and this is the third vet to tell us he's slightly overweight, so we're moving him from his Brita feeding system which his breeder recommended, to feeding his twice a day from his bowl.  Let's see how that goes and see if it stops him getting a fat belly.  Although saying that the various vets and assistants there are always giving him treats and chews and making a fuss of him!
Cooper enjoying his chew
After a session at the gym where I desperately tried to remember what my trainer has been teaching me (he's had a week off as he got married last weekend), I rewarded myself in the evening with a fab Thai curry at one of our favourite Beverly Blvd haunts, Buddha's Belly.  

We even spotted Z-list celebrity and personal trainer J.D. Jordan from Bravo TV's Workout Season 3 there picking up some takeout.
Dog with goggles - having fun helping us to decorate
A thirsty Cooper woke me at 5.15am (hence the bleary eyes) and kept me amused for a couple of hours before I needed a much need return to bed whilst Charlie took him for an early morning walk.

Speaking of eyes, I thought you'd like this fun picture of Cooper (above) helping us to decorate in his goggles last weekend.

So after a lazy morning it's off to the Hollywood Bowl tonight to see Donna Summer in concert (leaving Charlie to puppy-sit with copious amounts of cheese and chocolate, for him, not Cooper)...

Friday, August 22, 2008

10 best feel-good movies of all time (according to Jason in Hollywood anyway)...

You know there are those films you can watch over and over and never tire of, the ones that can always bring a smile to your face or a tear to your eye (you know the ones), well here's my top pick of the ten best feel-good movies of all time (so far), according to Jason in Hollywood (I tried to make it the five best, but couldn't bring myself to leave out the rest).

The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert movie poster
What's not to love about a road-trip movie with three drag queens driving a bus called 'Priscilla' across Australia, full to the brim with sequins, feather boas and a young, buff Guy Pearce (Memento)?

Hugo Weaving (The Matrix Trilogy as Agent Smith), Terence Stamp (Superman II as General Zod) and Guy Pearce are all equally convincing as Sydney drag queens Mitzi, Bernadette and Felicia in this quintessentially Australian movie.

There's also amazing costume designs and a great soundtrack featuring drag favourites from ABBA, Gloria Gaynor, Peaches & Herb, CeCe Peniston and more.
The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert movie poster
You'll meet fantastic characters, learn some fun new things to do with ping-pong balls and just fall in love with the outrageousness of it all.

It's such a funny, uplifting and touching film that you can't help coming it back to it time and time again.

Favourite line:
Bernadette (Terence Stamp):
"It's funny, we all sit around mindlessly slagging off that vile stink-hole of a city, but in some strange way it takes care of us. I don't know if that ugly wall of suburbia has been put there to stop them getting in or us getting out.
Come on, don't let it drag you down, let it toughen you up. I can only fight because I've learned to. Being a man one day and a woman the next is not an easy thing to do."

Muriel's Wedding movie poster
The movie that launched the careers of Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense) and Rachel Griffiths (Six feet Under, Brothers & Sisters) is a fab 'ugly duckling wins the day' movie.

Aimless, ABBA and wedding obsessed Muriel dreams of getting married one day but the prospect looks unlikely, so after a series of unfortunate events, she steals some money, leaves her frumpy life in small Australian town of Porpoise Spit and moves to Sydney.

Changing her name to Mariel, she enjoys life with her newfound friend Rhonda (Griffiths) and even gets her own fairy-tale wedding. Unfortunately life catches up with her and she's forced to take a good look at herself and make some difficult decisions for her future.

Muriel is such a sweet character you can't help but root for her and the genuine friendship she shares with Rhonda is the heart of the film.

Favourite scene:
When Muriel comes back for Rhonda and they wave and shout good-bye to Porpoise Spit in the taxi at the end of the movie.

Dirty Dancing movie poster
Who doesn't want to be able to dance like they do in Dirty Dancing? This is such a sweet love story and who can forget - that nose, that lake, that lift!

It's the perfect film to enjoy on a rainy afternoon, just lying on the sofa with a box of guilt-free chocolates and maybe a sneaky glass of wine too. Isn't it just a grown up version of Grease, with raunchier dancing, a bit more sex and a darker Danny Zuko-esque bad boy in 'Johnny Castle' (Patrick Swayze)?
Dirty Dancing movie poster with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey
For me it's one of those films where you wish you were actually one of the characters experiencing the story. I'd be 'Baby' of course, in the early 1960's sneaking off to learn how to dance with the enigmatic wild guy in his black vest. At the end he'd come back for me and I'd suddenly find the courage to do the 'big lift' from the dance sequence and we'd all dance in formation down the aisle of chairs, then get everyone up to dance with us (just like those kids from Fame! did all the time).

Unfortunately they had to go and make Dirty Dancing 2, never a good move!

Favourite lines:
Baby (Jennifer Grey):
"I carried a watermelon".
Johnny (Patrick Swayze):
"Nobody puts Baby in a corner".

Boys on the Side movie poster
I remember renting this film years ago and loving it as I sobbed through the end of movie.

It's another road-trip movie where Whoopi Goldberg (Sister Act) shares a car journey with Mary-Louise Parker (The West Wing) and are joined by the free spirited Drew Barrymore (The Wedding Singer). The movie is a tale of unlikely friendships and how people can make their own kinds of family.

The film has a really sad ending, so expect loads of tears, but also makes you feel happy about life and everything you have too.

Favourite scene:
When Whoopi's character (who's in love with the dying Mary-Louise Parker's character) sings Roy Orbison's 'You Got It' and the camera pans around the room passing the dying Parker in her wheelchair, then over her friends and family, then fades to black and the camera moves around the room again without the people and comes to rest on an empty wheelchair. It's the saddest, emotionally charged scene ever and gets me every time.

Elf movie posterFrom a really sad, sweet movie to possibly the happiest movie ever! Or at least the happiest elf ever.

I'm not a big fan of full-on comedy movies, so I wasn't expecting much from this movie, but a best friend and a tub of ice cream in Brighton changed all that after we'd seen and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's now one of my favourite Christmas movies and must-see to get me in the mood for the festive season each year.
Will Ferrell as Elf movie poster
Will Ferrell (Semi-Pro) is simply magical as Buddy, the adopted human 'elf' who leaves his home in the North Pole with Santa's elves to find his real dad (James Caan) in the Big Apple.

It should be too saccharine sweet to work, but there's something about Will Ferrell's 'Buddy' that make you smile (he's like a human puppy) and through a series of misadventures in the real world he brings the spirit of Christmas to New York and changes his dad's cynical outlook on life. And they all live happily ever after!
Elf snowglobe movie poster
Favourite scene:
Love interest, Zooey Deschanel (The Happening), starts singing a Christmas carol and the rest of the jaded New Yorkers join in and all the positive Christmas spirit powers Santa's sled and he's able to take off into the winters night.

The Muppet Christmas Carol movie poster
This is by far the best Muppet movie and another Christmas favourite.

Michael Caine (Get Carter) stars as a great Scrooge, followed on his journey of self discovery by comedic duo, Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat.

I think what makes this film so great is that the usual stars like Kermit and Miss Piggy are relegated to minor roles, which is great as I've never been that much of a fan of Miss Piggy (she's so annoying). Plus there's lots of cameos by favourites such as Beaker, Statler & Waldorf (the original old gits), Fozzie bear and Sam the Eagle.

It's a great re-telling of a classic tale and the use of new Muppets as the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future is very clever. Unlike the other Muppet movies Treasure Island and Wizard of Oz, which were real disappointments, it's real gem to have in your movie collection.

Favourite line:
Rizzo the Rat:
"Light the lamp not the rat, LIGHT THE LAMP NOT THE RAT"

Tootsie movie poster
Before Mrs. Doubtfire, before Priscilla, before Too Wong Foo, Thanks for everything Julie Newmar, there was the original man dressing up as a woman movie - Tootsie.

Oscar-winner Dustin Hoofman (Rain Man) is fantastic as the out of work actor so desperate for work he pretends to be a woman to get a part in a TV Soap Opera. The scenes where his 'creation', Dorothy Michaels, ad libs when they are filming the soap scenes are hilarious.

It's a joy to see such a usually serious method actor do such a fun role and have a ball at the same time. Tootsie is refreshing in that it's not your traditional drag queen movie - there's no angst about sexuality, it's not hyper camp or a total bitch fest, it's just a well performed entertaining story which makes you laugh out loud.

Favourite line:
Dorothy Michaels (Dustin Hoofman):
"Do you know what. I think I'm going to give every nurse on this floor an electric cattle-prod and instruct them to just zap him in his bedoobies".

9 to 5 movie poster
I'm starting to sense a common theme here - three men dressed as ladies, three women on a road-trip and now three office workers take on their chauvinistic boss in the 1980's.

Jane Fonda (Barbarella), Dolly Parton (Steel Magnolias) and the highly underrated Lily Tomlin (The Incredible Shrinking Woman) are fantastic as Judy, Doralee and Violet, three very different women who form an unlikely alliance and friendship when they come together to take revenge on their sexist and egotistical boss. The comedy comes through a series of mishaps (including near death by rat poisoning) that escalate out of their control.

The great news is they've just made 9 to 5 into a stage musical and it's playing here in L.A. in September and October before going to Broadway - I'm booking my tickets now!

Favourite scene:
The pot induced fantasy segment with Violet (Tomlin) in a Snow White homage putting poison into her Boss' coffee with the aid of animated woodland creatures.

Grease movie poster
...is the word, don't you know. Grease is such a big part of my childhood as it was shown nearly every Bank Holiday without fail (along with the Sound of Music and a Bond movie) and it was my version of what High School Musical is for kids of today.

I loved the whole fabulous 50's America world of colourful diners, sassy Pink Ladies and cool T-Birds. This movie classic flawlessly blends together a fantastically memorable soundtrack with high energy dance sequences.

In today's overly moralistic, squeaky clean society you'd never get away with the 'Sandy' transformation into a skin-tight lycra clad minx, smoking a cigarette because it was the epitome of cool (but you can forgive it as it's appropriate for the 50's era that it was set in).
Grease movie poster
For the life of me I was always confused why they had High School teenagers played by thirty-something year old actors and wondered why none of the kids at my school resembled a Pink Lady or T-Bird (thinking maybe they fed children something different in the U.S.).

The whole High School dance, sleep-overs, cheerleaders, stock car racing and school fun fairs were also so alien to someone growing up in the UK that it was like being transported to a totally different, more vibrant, fun-filled world (that I'm sure never really existed anywhere).

Just for the record, I don't mind Grease 2 either (although Maxwell Caulfield may have a lot to do with that).

Favourite character:
It's a toss up between beauty school drop-out Frenchy (Didi Conn) or misunderstood bad girl Rizzo, but I think Frenchy wins it with her ditzy nature, squeaky voice and Easter egg pink hair.

Favorite line:
Rizzo (Stockard Channing):
"We're going to rule the school".

Love actually movie poster
By now you should know that I love sentimental romantic comedies and happy endings, so what better film to finish on than 'love actually'.

Crammed with various strands of relationships between friends and relatives, husbands and wives, fathers and sons, rock stars and their managers, Prime Ministers and their aides, it's another of my essential pre-Christmas viewing movies.
Love actually heart movie poster
With an all-star british cast, the film packs so much in, but you never feel that anyone's story is being under served.

The tears flow when Colin Firth asks his Portuguese cleaner to marry him in his very stilted attempt at her language, you cheer along when the boy races through Heathrow security to say goodbye to his childhood crush, you feel for Andrew Lincoln in his unrequited love for his best friend's new wife (Keira Knightley), you swoon over Rodrigo Santoro as Laura Linney's love interest 'Karl' and cry over her commitment to her mentally ill brother as she gives up a chance at her own happiness, you punch the air as Hugh Grant as British Prime Minister tells the arrogant and slimy U.S. President (Billy Bob Thornton) to pretty much P!$$ @?? and there's so much more.
Love actually movie poster
Favourite scene:
The heartbreak when Emma Thompson realises that her husband (Alan Rickman) is cheating on her when he gives her a Joni Mitchell CD instead of the necklace she'd found before in his Christmas shopping, with 'Both Sides Now' playing in the background.

And people wonder what I do with my time!

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed my brief round-up of the ten best feel-good movies of all time (according to me, that is). If you like the look of one of these movies and don't own a copy already, why not buy one today?

Come back soon, for more of my favourite movies...

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