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Finding old and new favorites

The Mommy Chronicles

January 27, 2012
Anne Blankenship ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

Larry and I have rediscovered the joy of movie night. Although like a lot of people, we enjoy going to the theater, we also just like sitting together and watching something.

Lately, we've been renewing our acquaintance with lots of great old movies and TV shows that we've missed. The great thing about the Internet is that it's possible to watch just about anything you want, just fire up your computer, TV, DVD player or game console and you have almost instant access to a huge library of content. The service we use has lots and lots of old movies and TV shows.

Larry is a huge fan of cheesy old science fiction and horror movies. As he says "I like watching it when they knew how to scare you, not just gross you out." Now it doesn't always work out that way. We watched a great, and by great I mean really lousy, old movie the other night: "The House on Haunted Hill." This was the original, starring Vincent Price and a whole lot of actors I'd I didn't know. Although there were a couple of people there who Larry and I both said "Hey, that's the guy who was in....". It was a real hoot. Lots of shrieking and screaming, although not a lot of real scares. We swore one actress's audition must have just been her screaming, since those were about the only lines she had in the whole movie.

"Welcome to my home."


"Have some wine."


"A little nervous?"


Her resume must have looked interesting, with most of her roles consisting of two words: Screaming and (insert name of role here).

But we discovered more than guilty pleasures. We also discovered several series that we had missed. The latest one is a British program called "Downton Abbey." "Downton Abbey" is about an upper crust family at the start of the 20th century. But it's about more than a bunch of snooty upper class types. It's also about the servants that take care of them. The amount of skullduggery and twists and turns among the servants and how that affects their employers is fascinating.

Now I know what you're thinking, I had to drag Larry kicking and screaming into the living room to watch it with me, right? OK, I did, at first. But soon Larry was as fascinated by the machinations and plotting as I was.

Perhaps the most interesting and delightfully proper character is played by actress Maggie Smith. Harry Potter fans will remember her as Professor McGonigle. In "Downton Abbey,"?she plays the Dowager Countess with great aplomb. She serves as the barometer for all things proper. She makes sure that everyone knows his or her place and lets them know when they are stepping above their station.

The cast also features a few dewey eyes ingenues, a couple of dashing young men who have gone off to fight in World War I, and some fairly nasty villains.

We were only able to watch the first season but discovered that it's now showing Sunday nights on public television. So now, every Sunday night is "Downton Abbey" night.



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