Library staff member Barbara Slack takes us back to 1946 with one of the most outstanding classic films of all time,
In my opinion, The Best Years of Our Lives is one of the best movies ever made. It may even be number one on my top ten list. I saw it for the first time when I was in college, long before the large flat screens. In fact, I think that about eight of us watched this film on a TV about a foot wide. Even on that small screen, the movie hit me like a ton of bricks.
If I had to use one word to describe the movie it would be poignant — incredibly moving without being sentimental. There is an amazing realism to the movie, every scene rings true. The scene where the parents speak with their daughter late at night about their marriage, is one of the most accurate and affecting scenes I have ever seen in any movie. When I watch it, I almost feel as if I am in that room.
This movie was made in 1946 and is often summarized as soldiers returning home from the war to civilian life. If that was all I knew about this movie I would probably flip right by it. Although it is about three soldiers who meet on a flight home, it is also a movie that profoundly touches on the subjects of love, family and friendship in a way that makes it timeless. It touches on socially sensitive subjects including post traumatic stress and the complexity of relationships in a way you wouldn’t expect for the time period.
The casting of the movie is perfect — led by stars like Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo and Dana Andrews. But even minor characters in this movie are crucial to the film. It is the kind of film you could see many times, yet find additional nuances with each watching. If you are an old movie buff and haven’t seen this film, you need to see it as soon as possible. It will rock your world. And if you aren’t an old movie buff, this is one of the black and white movies that may change your opinion about classic films.
Find The Best Years of Our Lives in the library catalog.
For better or worse, Woody Allen’s been in the news these past few weeks. His personal life has been all over social media and this past weekend he came out of seclusion to refute 20 year-old claims of abuse. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Golden Globes. His new film, Blue Jasmine has just released on DVD and most agree it’s his best work in years. Cate Blanchett is nominated for an Oscar for her performance as Jasmine.
Find Blue Jasmine in the library catalog.
Browse all of Woody’s films and books in the library catalog.
YA Librarian Nicole Scherer couldn’t wait to tell you about her favorite new television obsession,
I know, I know…after four books and four movies (some of which were not very good) you are done with Hannibal Lecter. Maybe that’s why you missed the amazing first season of Hannibal on NBC. Take it from this horror-phobic librarian: it’s not so much scary as it is chilling. It takes a different approach than you might think: The show is set long before the famous cannibal is behind bars. Instead, its attention is on Will Graham, a criminal profiler with the gift (or curse) of perfect empathy. He can read a crime scene and practically see through the killer’s eyes. In order to cope with the intensity of his work, he seeks out the help of a certain psychiatrist, who happens to be moonlighting as a serial killer. This presents a whole new angle on the familiar story: We get to see Hannibal in practice, not as a prisoner or fugitive. Anchored by sublime performances from Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen, this is one of the most visually striking shows on TV. And it’s not too late to catch up on the story before Season 2 begins at the end of February – you can borrow Season 1 from the library!
Find Hannibal in our catalog.
The acting world lost a giant this past weekend. Philip Seymour Hoffman died on February 2, 2014 at the age of 46. Hoffman amassed a daunting list of incredible character performances in film and on stage in his 20 year career. The following are a few of our personal favorites,
A Late Quartet
Check the library catalog for over 30 films on DVD from Hoffman’s illustrious career.
Did the Grammys make you hungry to watch more music performance? Browse our DVD collection on the first floor for musical concerts and documentaries on great songwriters, performers and entertainers throughout history including Mozart, Gilbert & Sullivan, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, The Rolling Stones, and The Dixie Chicks.
Find the music section under Dewey Decimal System number 780.
Getting ready for the Winter Olympics or just love being outdoors this time of year playing sports? No matter what, the library has you covered. Browse our collection of sports videos in the DVD section under Dewey Decimal System number 796. Find videos on ice skating, snowboarding, back country skiing, winter camping and any other sport you can imagine. Don’t see something you think we should have? Make a suggestion at the Information Desk on the first floor. We’re your library.
Overlooked by the Academy for a Best Documentary Feature nomination, Blackfish is a must-see for animal lovers and people against cruelty of any kind. Blackfish follows the plight and abuse of killer whales at institutions like Sea World in Orlando, FL. You’ll never look at a zoo or aquarium in the same way after viewing this essential documentary.
Find Blackfish in our catalog.
In honor of the release of Armistead Maupin’s 9th book in the Tales of the City series today The Days of Anna Madrigal, we’ve got the re-release of his ground-breaking PBS adaptation of the first novel on DVD for you to watch. This sweet story about San Francisco in the 1970’s was banned on several TV stations in the South. 20 years later that idea seems more quaint than shocking. Maupin’s group of friends at 28 Barbary Lane join together and create their logical family (his phrase for the family we choose). For Hitchcock fans, there’s definitely more than a few nods in the mini-series. As the cover suggests, this is truly one of the best mini-series ever made.
Read the new book The Days of Anna Madrigal.
Watch the original mini-series Tales of the City on DVD.
Nicole Holofcener creates dark, introspective comedies that are never light weight but nearly always make you wake up and notice her characters. Her previous films include Lovely & Amazing, Friends with Money, and Please Give. She casts Catherine Keener in every one of her films. Her latest, Enough Said is worth seeing for many reasons but the one most people are familiar with is that it’s James Gandofini’s final performance. See Gandofini and Julia Louis Dreyfus in Holocener’s newest film, Enough Said.
Find Enough Said in our catalog.
from the film’s site,
Based on a true story and winner of both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, director Ryan Coogler’s FRUITVALE STATION follows the true story of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being better son to his mother (Octavia Spencer), whose birthday falls on New Year’s Eve, being a better partner to his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz), who he hasn’t been completely honest with as of late, and being a better father to Tatiana (Ariana Neal), their beautiful four year-old daughter.
See Fruitvale Station in our catalog.