Susan Marie Molloy

🌺 Life in the Oasis 🌴


At the Movies: “Black Panther”

We went to the show yesterday, and out of the nine choices we had, the only one that met our criteria for watching was “Black Panther”.

The basic plot of this film is the king of Wakanda, T’Challa, rises to the throne of the technologically advanced, yet isolated, country. However, his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s grievous error.

The story was alright, but it was the cinematography and costumes that impressed me the most. The way this was filmed was creative, and naturally, there is a lot of computer-generated graphics. But it all worked for me.

The costumes are colorful and creative with an Afro-centric feel. The citizens of Wakanda are, in fact, former members of five different tribes, so they continue to dress in their former native cultures. That gives a feeling the “one composed of many” theme. Think E Pluribus Unum.

There are scenes in “Black Panther” that are obvious rip offs of “Star Wars.” Specifically, there are scenes where a spaceship zigs and zags hither and yon between high mountain sides and through cities. In one scene, the pilot plays just another version of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo. It’s that obvious.

What is another plus for this movie, is that there is very, very little bad language, which could have been left out anyway.

Overall, this is a good movie to spend a couple hours with a comic book superhero on the silver screen, bigger than life.

Now, if I can only stop thinking they were talking about Wauconda, Illinois in the movie.  Wakanda and Wauconda are pronounced the same.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.



At the Movies: “Samson”

Samson. The Original Superhero.

General plot: A man is given superhuman strength by God so the man can save his Danite people; based on the Book of Judges (13-16).

My Opinion: It was a good presentation, if you can get beyond the film’s depiction of Samson as Mattell’s superhero character, He-Man. I say this because, when Samson asks God for strength to slay his enemies, his intonation and body language is very reminiscent of He-Man screaming, “By the power of Grayskull . . .”. I could not think otherwise each time I saw Sampson on the silver screen scream his plea and his hands and body shaking mightily.

The Players:
Taylor James was an OK Samson.
Jackson Rathbone was a good, evil Prince Rallah. (NOTE: Rathbone is a distant relation of the actor Basil Rathbone.)
Billy Zane was a cartoon, laugh-out-loud King Balek.
Lindsay Wagner was Samson’s mom, and not the Bionic Woman.

Conclusion: When my beau and I returned home to our cottage, we dug out the 1949 version of “Samson and Delilah” with Victor Mature, Hedy Lamarr, George Sanders, Angela Lansbury, et al. We compared the two movies. I liked the 1949 version much better because it is lush, its characters have depth, and Mature’s Samson comes across more reverent and masculine.

So, the 2018 version is OK, and I like the 1949 version much better.

By the way, there were only 5 people in the theater at the showing we were at.  Interesting.

That’s pretty much how I saw the plot of the latest Biblical-themed movie at the show on its opening day this past Friday. This is my serious review of “Samson,” not a satirical panning as I did with my review of “Winchester.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


Book and Movie Reviews: “‘Way Down East”

It’s a play!  It’s a book!  It’s a silent!  It’s a talkie!

The other evening, my beau and I had a few spare hours to research something to watch in the way of a film. We came across one I never heard of, “’Way Down East,” with Richard Barthelmess, Lilian Gish, Mary Hay, et al. This is a 1920 production by D.W. Griffith (145 minutes running time).

The bare bones plot: The film opens with Anna Moore, a poor rural relation to her rich Boston family, getting ready to visit them in hopes of borrowing a few dollars to keep her and her sick mother afloat. At a party, Anna meets the nefarious Lennox Sanderson, who tricks her into a phony marriage (he’s hot for her; no love), and she quickly finds herself alone with a baby (out of wedlock) on the way and deserted by Lennox. The sick baby passes away, Anna gets a job with Squire Bartlett on his farm, David (the squire’s son) falls for Anna, but because of the guilt of her past, she rejects him. Town Gossip Martha spreads rumors, Anna runs off, only to be caught on an ice floe headed for the falls, and David rescues her from sure death. The films ends with a triple wedding, and life is happy.

Lillian Gish in the famous ice floe scene! (1920 silent film version)

For a Griffith film, this is an outstanding work. I didn’t see anything that was Griffith-esque, that is, racially distasteful. and the like.


Rochelle Hudson and Henry Fonda in the 1935 soundie.


Curious, I looked around for any other possible film interpretations. There is a 1935 sound version (80 minutes running time) with Henry Fonda, Rochelle Hudson, Andy Devine, Margaret Hamilton, et al. This version starts with the character Anna Moore looking for a job at the squire’s farm. All else in her past is woven into the present story. This version doesn’t end with a wedding, but here, Lennox dies, and life is happy nonetheless.

There’s a book, too. but first, before any of the above, there is the play. It was written by Charlotte Blair Parker in 1897 and first called “Annie Laurie.” It seems it was a big, long-running hit before Griffith purchased it to make his 1920 silent. As of this writing, I haven’t found a copy the play to read.

However, I did find the book, which is a rewritten work of the story by playwright, actor, and director Joseph Rhode Grismer and published in 1900 as, “’Way Down East: A Romance of New England Life”. This version begins – not with Anna Moore getting ready to visit her rich city family, nor with her interviewing for a job with the squire – but with a football game between Harvard and Yale. There is where Anna meets the nefarious Lennox, and the rest of the story follows, with David and Anna marrying at the end, and Gossip Martha intimating Lennox was a scoundrel (as if she wasn’t!).

No matter which version of the story you read or watch, it is a good tale of trust, guilt, gossip, evil, and good.

As always, I feel like I hit a goldmine when I find books and plays that precede the movie. I hit the motherlode here.

To watch the 1920 silent: Way Down East
To watch the 1935 talkie: Way Down East
To read the book: ‘Way Down East: A Romance of New England by Joseph Rhode Grismer
To read the play: still looking for it

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


At the Movies: “Winchester”

It was a spur-of-the-moment decision yesterday afternoon to hit the road and mosey on into town to see the latest that Hollywood has to offer: “Winchester.” Following is my take on the film.


Helen Mirren exhibits a stunning performance as Old, Tormented, Haunted America who wears a black veil to mourn her violent, gun-ridden past.

Jason Clarke is the foggy-minded doctor dope fiend hooked on laudanum who does not see the state of the Union (the United States) until he is dope-free and his mind clear. Not only is he tasked with trying to find out what Old, Tormented, Haunted America really wants, he plays a dual role as the personification of the United Government/Congress.

Sarah Snook is New America, hopeful for a new beginning, a female Diogenes of sorts, looking for the truth and carrying a lighted lamp hither and yon through the maze of confusion to lead the way to a new, violent-free existence.

Eamon Farren is the Ghost of America Past, a man who personifies all mass shootings and the constant civil war he wages. He cannot be stopped until the dope fiend doctor’s refurbished magic bullet is put to a better use than murder.

Laura Brent acts as the personification of Confused People throughout history who committed suicide with a rifle (or any type of gun), because, you know, guns are evil.

Tyler Coppin plays a convincing role as The Anti-Gun Lobby who must help Old, Tormented, Haunted America (Mirren) get through the confusion of guns versus no guns.

Douglas Embry represents a shackled black slave, a reminder of slavery, “that peculiar institution,” which also suggests the Second Amendment also is a “peculiar institution” that must be abolished.

Angus Sampson: The Builder who works behinds the scenes.

Finn Scicluna-O’Prey is the Future of America, a victim of circumstances.


Thirteen Nails. In an Oscar-worthy performance, these represent the Original Thirteen States. Throughout the film, Old, Tormented, Haunted America insists that thirteen nails, and only thirteen, must be used to shut rooms (or all avenues) to keep the Ghosts of the Second Amendment locked up so they won’t continue to hurt people. Subtly stated, they teasingly infer that the damnable Second Amendment should have been killed with the Founding Fathers of the Original Thirteen States and have not even seen the light of day.

The Black Veil. It makes a stunning performance on Old, Tormented, Haunted America’s head to denote the shame, shame, shame of allowing guns in society. Or maybe guns, in general. Either way, it’s a dramatic and classy performance.

The Intercom System. Its role was magnificently played out to emphasize “Who out there in America will hear The Cry of Gun Control? Hello? Hello?”

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. It’s brought out of retirement to play the part of shaking up things and shaking sense into American society to realize that gun control is the way to go.

The Greenhouse Garden. The Womb of a New America, where the dope fiend doctor finally can “see,” his head is cleared about the evils of guns, and engages his Refurbished Magic Bullet to do the deed.

The Refurbished Magic Bullet. The magic bullet (The Vote to Repeal) that kills the Second Amendment and provides hope to all with its motto, “Forever Together” engraved on its casing.

Automatic Writing. In a heroic performance outside of its comfort zone, it not only writes, but draws interior room designs to denote the struggles of writing new, never before used verbiage to kill the Second Amendment.

Laudanum. The proverbial enabling ostrich with its head in the sand.

The Winchester Repeating Rifle. As always, its role is to repeat the mantra, “Guns, bad. Second Amendment repeal, good.” Lock, load, and repeat, ad infinitum.

The Second Amendment. The Snidely Whiplash of this film. ‘Nuf said.


The intelligence of the American movie-going public.


At the end, The Thirteen Nails pounded into “the nails in the coffin” of the Second Amendment, is scarily pushed out, one by one by the National Rifle Association (who had no face nor lines in the film). Rumor has it, the NRA wasn’t paid nor was credited, either.

Before the film started, I noticed that there was a plethora of film trailers touting upcoming paranormal movies. That’s because the subliminal message to the audience was that “Winchester” is a movie about the paranormal. I wish it was.

Yeah. Right. What a crock this film was. It’s all about attempting to brainwash the public about gun control.

It made me laugh, then scoff at the film in disgust.

It’s too bad that these wags used the real Sarah Winchester, an heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company to peddle their transparent message.  I wanted an entertaining movie, not to be preached to.

And, finally, what’s up with the similar movie poster to “My Cousin Rachel?”


©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


Chili con Carne, Life in the Oasis, and Writing

A little bit about me, my blog, and outlook on life:

You, probably like me, have been hearing ad infinitum how blasted cold it’s been lately. And if you live in that cold weather, I feel for you. I grew up in Chicago, where wintry winds off the lake fuel the bitterly cold air temperatures. Oh, yeah, and then there was the short time when I lived about 50 miles from the Manitoba, Canada border, where it seemed winter lasts 48 weeks out of the year. So, I know cold.

It’s been cool here, too, in Florida. The air temperature actually got into the 20s*F the past couple nights. Who would’ve thought? Well, so much for escaping the Midwest’s cold winters! To warm us up, I made a large pot of homemade chili con carne, and used chunks of beef instead of ground beef, for a change of dining pace.

As we were eating, I was thinking about when I started blogging, which was about 6 years ago. How it started was when my beau suggested it. His own blogging began when he retired from his long public service career and became a real estate broker, which led to him moving into the property management business, which, after that flamed out (rather, he burned out), led him to writing about beading art and wire work. Now, his occasional blog explores and comments upon the twisted side of life in It’s a Twisted Life According to Gene.

Which brings me back to my blog. I went from one leitmotif to another, and I didn’t seem to find my comfort level. Right now, if you flip through my blog, you will only find blogs as early as 2014, and those are just book reviews. Unfortunately, I wiped out a lot of articles I wrote because, in a fit of non-confidence one day, I got rid of blogs I thought were goofy. Or stupid. Or boring.

How silly.

Yes, it took me awhile, but I found what’s comfortable for me. My blog is subtitled, “Life in the Oasis”. What it means is, that my life – my world – is rich, lush, productive, and a sanctuary, while the world outside might be a foreboding wasteland at times. Moreover, my beau – my husband – is my own oasis, where he is, and always was, the one person I could always find refuge in, comfort, and happiness when the world outside was demanding, cruel, and inhospitable.

So – life in the oasis is a place – tangible and intangible – where harmony, fertility, cheerfulness, and optimistic thinking reign.

My blog focuses on the positive aspects of life, and the things I like. I write about my mundane daily life, movie and book reviews, how my beau and I keep love flaming hot, my discoveries and adventures, our travels, tips on homemaking, and other whacky subjects. I share my poems and photographs and share your blogs that grab me. And there are a variety of topics that can’t be particularly categorized, but they make it to this blog.

Since I left my glamorous 9 to 5 job (sarcasm) this past summer, I’m working at home now doing things I love (writing, reading, creating art, homemaking, travelling, being a wife, waiting on His Lordship and Her Ladyship – our two dogs, Toby and Trixie).  My blog has gently become an oasis where I hope you will find a few minutes to stop by and discover pacific, nurturing, and hilarious topics that somehow enrich your life, as your blogs do for me.

Welcome to Life in the Oasis.
Thank you for stopping by.
Sharing is cool.
Your logical, well-thought out comments here are what I live for.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.