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It's a bird! It's a plane!

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)

The newest incarnation of Superman is set to hit the theatres on June 13th and no doubt will be hugely popular. The trailers actually look quite good for this one and I'm sure it will do very well for itself and spawn all sorts of lunch bags, giant drinking cups and kid's pajamas. Superman is actually one of my more favorite Superheroes and I am likely to go see it. But thinking about the new Superman got me thinking about the old Superman and that of course got me thinking about Christopher Reeve.

Now he didn't have a chance to make a lot of movies before his terrible horse riding accident in 1995 which left him a quadriplegic. But what he did do I liked a lot. All of the 1, 2, 3, 4 Superman films that he made were not equally good, but I enjoyed the first one very much. However I do have two other films of his to recommend. One is Deathtrap starring another of my favorite actors, Michael Caine. This one is just unexpected fun with some good twists and turns. The next one is the bittersweet Somewhere in Time with Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer. I just re watched this one recently and it still makes me cry---I give it a 3 out of 5 in the soggy hankie category. And you would be hard pressed to find a more lovely sound track. He also had some small roles in a couple of Ivory and Merchant films, including Remains of the Day and The Bostonians.

Confined to a wheel chair for his last 10 years he lived a life of meaning, using his fame and his own circumstance to advocate on behalf of spinal cord injuries and stem cell research.

After he died in 2004, a number of memorial cartoons were Superman-themed. Many artists drew Reeve as Superman flying away from the wheelchair. In one picture, Superman came to Reeve's grave with flowers. In another picture, a grief-stricken Superman reads the news of Reeve's death in The Daily Planet newspaper and says to the reader, "He was my hero." In another, Captain America, Spider-Man, and Batman come to Reeve's grave with Batman, commenting, "He really was a super man." In another, a young boy in a wheelchair tells the reader, "He was the Man of Steel. He had incredible vision. He used his powers to save people. Nothing could stop him. And I think before that he acted in some Superman movies."

You can also read two book written by Reeve, including Still Me and Nothing is Impossible: reflections on a new life. There is also a pretty inspirational DVD from 2002 which follows his life after the accident and his stunning ability to regain partial muscle control; Hope in Motion.

Grab the Hankies

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What is is about a good cry? After the puffy red eyes and running nose settle down we feel a lot better---sad tears are even shown to be chemically more complex than regular tears! So grab the hankies and prepare to cry your eyes out with the saddest movies I could think of. Be warned, there are some devastatingly sad choices here!

Terms of Endearment---1983. With Debra Winger, Shirely MacLaine, and Jack Nicholson, this one garnered a lot of Oscar nods, and a win for best director to James L Brooks. A tear jerker of the highest magnitude.

Awakenings---Robert De Niro and Robin Williams turn in great dramatic performances in this 1990 movie about a catatonic patient and the doctor struggling to help him.

Steel Magnolias---from 1989 there are almost too many big names in this one to mention, including Julia Roberts who received an Oscar for best supporting actress. This also has Shirley MacLaine, who come to think of it has done a few weepers over the years.

Pay it Forward--- from 2000 about a boy who tries to make the world a better place. This one might require extra hankies.

Brian's Song---Based on the real-life relationship between football teammates and the bond established when one of them discovers that he is dying. Might even wring a tear from the menfolk with this one from 1971. Starring James Caan and Billie Dee Williams.

Old Yeller---A perennial Disney heart-breaker; if you own a dog, this movie will rip your guts out.

Recommended by a co-worker as heart-wrenching try out (with sub-titles) I've Loved You So Long from 2008 with Kristen Scott Thomas.

Currently being acquired by CPL, put your hold on this oldy but goody from the Bette Davis collection...Dark Victory from 1939. Also starring George Brent, Humphrey Bogart and Ronald Reagan (you did remember that he was once an actor, right ?). A little melodramatic, but still a great cry.

If you aren't already wrung out like a dish rag, try the following, although you will have to look elsewhere as CPL does not currently carry them. Mask from 1985 with Cher, Sam Elliott and a young Eric Stoltz. This is a real favorite of mine and I never fail to watch it when it turns up on television. Always with Richard Dreyfus, Holly Hunter and the last performance by Audrey Hepburn. And the movie that I'm sure is on most lists as the saddest movie ever made...Beaches from 1988 with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey.