AGMA goes to the movies


Gene Siskel  – step aside…

There’s a new movie reviewer in town.

While AGMA is not a movie fanatic with one of those Regal Unlimited or AMC Stub A-List movie passes, she sees her fair share of movies.

Not really.

Honestly, I watch most of the movies I see on international flights on a screen that measures (if I’m lucky) 6″ X 5″.  Not exactly the ideal situation for a sweeping cinematic blockbuster.   But hey – it’s free and if I’m stuck in my little, teeny, itty bitty seat for 8 hours, it’ll pass the time.

Plus, if a movie sucks, I can change my selection and am not out ticket money.

I save going to the “real” movies for ones I REALLY want to see.  For the last few years, it’s been the Marvel Universe Avengers movies.

(But not the Deadpool movies.  Ick.)

The only comic books I read when I was younger was Archie and Friends.  I know – that’s just sad and pathetic.  I think they tried to make an Archie movie once, but it turned out sad and pathetic as well.    I mean, Betty or Veronia?  Pick one and move on with life for God’s sake.

So AGMA is unable to explain my fascination with the Marvel movies.

It could be as simple as Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan or Chris Pratt.

Wildlifepedia says of the cougar,  “A capable stalk-and-ambush predator, the cougar pursues a wide variety of prey.”

Why yes she is and does.

But it was more than just the handsome faces and buff bodies.  Extremely buff bodies.

Imaginative stories, amazing special effects, great humor and some fine acting made these movies ultra enjoyable for AGMA.

And extremely buff bodies…

But last week, AGMA was part of a nationwide Fan Event and got to be one of the first to see the Downton Abbey movie.

Hot diggity dog!!

For some odd, unknown reason, there were 7 PM DA showings on 9/12 at movie theaters around Atlanta (and other cities around the US.)  AGMA follows Downton Abbey on Facebook (I know – I’m a geek) and they were advertising this Fan Event on the 12th in their posts.  Evidently there were supposed to be snow globes given out as well, but our theater must have missed that memo.

I would have ended up selling it on Ebay anyway.

I was nervous as we walked into the theater.  AGMA loved the PBS series so much, I thought it might be a let down.  And I was distressed when I read a few days before that two of my very favorite characters – Denker and Spratt – were not in the movie.

VERY 1st world problem.

I know that the movie won’t be released for general consumption until the 20th, so no spoilers…

The movie picks up 18 months after the series finished.  I think the ads have been extensive enough so that everybody knows that major plot is a visit from the King and Queen.  And of course, it wouldn’t be Downton Abbey if there weren’t a plethora of sub-plots.

It was absolutely delightful seeing everybody again (minus Spratt and Denker – boo hiss!) And Julian Fellows had the costume department working overtime – the dresses the “upstairs” ladies wore were breathtaking!  And of course, the sets were fit for a King and Queen, and Highclere Castle was as beautiful as ever.

But (I’m so sorry to have a but…) AGMA found some of the subplots predictable.  Hubs and I guessed the outcome of several of them correctly.

And everything seemed a bit rushed.  But I guess that’s the nature of a 2 hour and 3 minute movie.   There is just no time to really develop a story.  I mean, it took 5 seasons of the DA series for Carson and Mrs. Hughes to hold hands for Pete’s sake!

Because the movie was so short (compared to the 56+ hours in the series), some of the major characters had relatively minor roles.  Or none at all (Denker and Spratt…)  Mr. Bates is there but has a minor role.  I guess he was exhausted after all the dramas he was involved in in the series.  Understandable.  And we never get to meet Anna’s son or Mary’s daughter.

However, Maggie Smith was given loads of wonderful zingers and delivered them beautifully.  Of course.

Who else wants to be just like the Dowager Countess when they grow up?

Also, some of the story lines that were left dangling at the end of the series get somewhat resolved.  And the scene with Mr. Molesley serving the King and Queen has to be one of THE funniest in the annals of DA.

Overall, fans of the Downton Abbey series will enjoy the movie.  It was a delightful romp with characters we’ve (I’ve) grown very, very fond of over the years.  AGMA has to say that it was a wonderful treat to see them again!

I was actually a bit sad after the movie was over thinking that may be the last time we would encounter the Crawley family and servants ala 1927.  Just like AGMA was sad after the Avengers:End Game  movie.

Time moves on.  Dang it.

Oh…I need to say that while some of the plot twists were pretty obvious as to how they would end up, we didn’t guess the plot twist at the end.

No spoilers, but bring a tissue.

AGMA movie rating of Downton Abbey: 11 champagne bottles out of 10!!












Wanted: more joy



AGMA has noted of late that my posts aren’t the light-hearted romps into absurdity that they once were when I started blogging nearly 6 years ago.

I’m pretty sure the change started on November 8, 2016.

And with each

  • mass shooting (#MassacreMitch’s once again sending his NRA inspired thoughts and prayers to Midland/Odessa…)
  • report of innocent children being ripped from their parents, caged and denied basic health care
  • hurricane/drought/deadly heat wave/flood event/tornado outbreak
  • environmental protection dismantled
  • edict meant to take protections/rights away from GLBTQ people/racial minorities/women/immigrants/the military/labor
  • ally alienated
  • enemy of America, democracy, and human rights embraced
  • conviction of criminals placed in high government positions
  • innocent person killed because of the color of their skin, their place of origin, their sexual orientation, their religion,

AGMA strays farther from the “very light-hearted” state of mind.

Add to that the normal “stuff” of living and I’ve been downright morose.

Plus, I gained 8 lbs since the beginning of the year and my normal “mammoth petite” clothes are too tight.


“Mr. Fader, you sound like a real delightful guy!” to quote Roseanne Roseannadanna.

Two things this past weekend slapped me in the face like a cold sockeye salmon and screamed, “You REALLY need to figure out how to put some joy back in your life AGMA!!”

First was dinner with Son#2.

Now I need to say that Son#2 has always been a bit like Eeyore.  He has a touch of SADD, and likes living in Atlanta with all the sunshine in the winter months.  He’s not one who would be called a raging optimist.  Much like his mom.

Hubs and my discussion at dinner centered around:

  • our sadness at the banishment from seeing our grandchildren in the foreseeable future for reasons beyond our understanding (which we have been told is temporary, but we’ll see…)
  • the devastating effects of climate change and how more catastrophic storms like Dorian will be happening with more frequency (Hubs is a bit of a climate change expert.)
  • the book Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson that I had just finished to listening to on Audible.  It chronicled the migration of African Americans from the Jim Crowe South to northern and western cities between 1915 and 1970.  A long book and a very intense examination of the violence and systemic racism in both the South and North against African Americans.
  • the anniversary of Emmett Till’s murder in 1955.  He was a 14-year-old African American from Chicago visiting family in Mississippi.  His parents were part of the Great Migration.  He was lynched and his body desecrated in Mississippi on August 28, 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store.

OMG…weren’t we just a barrel of fun?!?!

And Son#2 called us out on it.  He said, “Can we talk about something that’s happy?  You know, there has to be something happy we can talk about.”

For a moment, AGMA bristled.

“Sure,” I thought, “Let’s just pretend that none of this injustice and corruption and sadness is in the world and we’ll act just like everything is just peachy dandy, and ignore the assault on humanity that is going on all around us.”

AGMA has been known to be a bit dramatic…

We changed the subject and started talking about fluff.

But it made me think.  Is there a way to hold both the righteous anger that comes from injustice assaulting us on so many different fronts, and the simple joy and delight in living?

Clearly AGMA has not been doing a very good job at that.

Second, I heard a piece on NPR about research study that concluded that optimistic people lived longer.  And that optimism can be taught to a certain extent.


I need a course in Optimism 101!

Maybe I need to sign up for Optimist International?

This weekend, after realizing that I DID need to do a better job of finding my joy, I took definitive steps.

I started watching….

Wait for it….

The Downton Abbey marathon that was on PBS this weekend!

Nothing says cheer up like the Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess telling her American DIL, Cora, played by Elizabeth McGovern, “I’m so looking forward to seeing your mother again.  When I’m with her, I’m reminded of the virtues of the English.”

I tuned in and out of it the entire weekend.  I managed to see the very first episode on Saturday and the last episode in Monday with a number of episodes in between.

I was in my happy place!

Keep in mind we have all of the seasons on DVD.  But I would never think of watching them sequentially.  That would just be crazy.  Watching them as I had time during the weekend seemed less like I was wasting my day staring at the TV, and more like I was becoming reacquainted with old friends in bits and pieces.

Only in the mind of AGMA…

And to make things even better, the DA movie comes out in the US this month on September 20th!

Son#2, who normally would poo poo the idea of something like Downton Abbey, said that a number of his friends, to his amazement and surprise, couldn’t wait for the movie to come out.   He was actually considering seeing it.

I told him I would be happy to loan him our DVD’s of all 6 seasons so he could get caught up with the 52 episodes he missed.

At which point his eyes rolled back in his head…

Then we laughed.

While we shouldn’t, we absolutely can’t, ignore the big things that are assaults on our fellow human beings and our Mother Earth, we also need to recognize and embrace the little joys that come into our life in unexpected ways.

AGMA promises to try to find more joy and happiness in the little things that move my heart and spirit, and turn those moments into a deep reservoir of hope.

And more light- hearted posts.

I promise!