Dear Erma: How Did You Do It?

Last week a friend (who had taken his “nice” pills for the day) said that I should be writing a regular newspaper column; he hinted that I had a little “Erma Bombeck” in my style.

That was quite the compliment. While I am not of the age to send clips to newspapers and ask for a spot, I have another question. Erma, how did you do it…so many columns on so many subjects? Didn’t you run out of ideas?

This week, my idea cup almost runneth dry…until the compliment. If she can do it, I, too, must be able to pull something together.

I know. I’ll become a movie reviewer!

Tom Hanks

In recent weeks after a favorite movie theatre, Green Valley Galaxy Theatre (with reclining seats) opened, my friend Tom and I have seen three movies. Not many folks had opted for the movies we chose, so we were almost the only patrons seeing our afternoon movies. Tom always buys popcorn; I use a gift card given to me by a friend a year earlier. We have our routine and frankly, because of the sparce audience, we couldn’t imagine catching covid in the movie theater. (Our masks may have disappeared in the dark.)

Tom picks the movies for us. He’s a veteran with 20 years of service experience so he’s disciplined about checking the newspaper, the Internet and Entertainment Weekly. (“Discipline” does not appear in my vocabulary.) Tom’s first choice was “News of the World” starring Tom Hanks. Frankly,I couldn’t imagine a Tom Hanks movie that I wouldn’t like so agreed to go. Turns out I liked this film and its rather unusual premise. Tom Hanks is an educated man who travels early Western towns reading the news to eager townspeople. He has a few adventures along the way, but all in all this is a kind nice film, a definite departure from the day’s news. We both enjoyed the film, even through its pace “could” have been a bit faster.

Francis McDormand in “Nomadland”.

Next up was “Nomadland”. I didn’t know much about this film. After Tom chose it, I saw on that Nomadland was well reviewed, so I was in. Frances McDormand stars in this story about a widow without means who sells what little she has, purchases a small van and lives the life of a nomad traveling the U.S. My friend Dorothy joined us for this film and frankly, Dorothy did not like the film and thought it was not authentic (Dorothy having once owned a large travel trailer). Tom was so-so about the film, thinking it was a bit slow. I loved the film, intrigued by its unusual story and sympathetic to the independent nature of the main character. By the way, the 60-something McDermand has a nude scene that is just beautiful.

This non-fiction book, only given a mini shout-out at right was great fun. The author is a chronically anxious woman who seeks to become braver by seeking out the kinds of experiences she’s spent her life avoiding (and that means seeking a mid-life love life as well).

The last film Tom selected (and Dorothy joined us for this one, too) was called “Land” and it stared Robin Wright as a widow, having had a family tragedy. She decides to buy property and a cabin in the hills of Wyoming to get away from the life that caused the loss of her husband and son. The cabin is far from comfortable and lots of difficulties ensue. At one point, Wright’s character is injured and almost freezing to death when strangers and kindness arrive. We then see Wright gain back her will to go on. All three of us enjoyed this film and commend Wright for her performance and her direction of the film.

I don’t know when and how these films were made but we were all happy to escape the home TV for a big screen. Yes, I particularly enjoyed the female-centric films (and a recent female-centric non-fiction book, too, “Okay Fine Whatever” by Courtenay Hameister) but we are also looking forward to more men on the big screen. Upcoming are a new James Bond film, “No Time to Die” and a film called “Nobody” starring Bob Odenkirk as some sort of action hero. I remember Odenkirk from TV’s “Better Call Saul” in which he was anything but an action star. We are intrigued.

OK Erma, this article PROVES that a regular column can be produced even when no conventions are in town, no new physical ailments have appeared and laziness has overtaken the interviewing process. Thanks for the inspiration.


8 responses on “Dear Erma: How Did You Do It?

  1. Diane, you’re a writer – always were, always will be. Move over, Erma. You’ve got company.

  2. Excellent! I know Paul and I would be more likely to trust a review from a friend or peer than an actual movie critic. They are looking at movies in a different way than just a couple of entertaining hours.

  3. So do you do crossword puzzles to broaden your vocabulary? Just thought I would ask.
    You guys are lucky to see films you like.

  4. I’ll be on the lookout for these movies when they come to DirectTV, especially the Tom Hanks movie. Thanks for your reviews.

  5. TY for doing a review on each of the movies. I, like Dorothy, am not into personal growth and mid-life crisis type genre. Strength, honor, courage qne valor mixed with si-fi or fantasy with a good story line are movies I might consider seeing. My closest movie theater (25 miles away) is closed, another became a restaurant/bar and the big one (1 hour away) burned down….so, TV, Acorn, Netflix and Hulu are about it for me. I’m so very glad you enjoy just about everything and everyone…a wonderful way to go through life!

  6. Life goes on and you prove that over and over again with your articles on other interesting ways to enjoy life.

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