Four documentaries that will restore your faith in humanity

While my husband and I are physically capable of sitting down and watching whathaveyou together, I tend to opt for an 8PM bedtime while he watches ESPN until his eyeballs fly out.

He also hates to watch my “stories”. Hate is a strong word; my taste in television “bums him out”. Between Trump’s freakish rise in popularity to the collective obsession with Making a Murderer, Mr. Swirley claims he’s emotionally tapped out. He wants unicorns and churros and stupid ESPN mascot commercials. Fine, those ads are usually pretty funny,

Anyway, in the spirit of compromise and covertly-rolled-eyes-while-I-smile-and-nod, I am actively dampening my innate killjoy instinct to instead ID less offensive shows.  If you want to join the club, check out some suggestions from the most thoughtful person ever, AKA me!

1. Mortified Nation. If you are OK with watching television through splayed fingers,  ADD THIS TO YOUR NETFLIX QUEUE. People read some of the most embarrassing passages from their teenage diaries (think exploring inner gangsta’ rap personas or incredibly unrequited love). IT IS GENIUS and your stomach will hurt from laughing.

Most exciting is that your city might be hosting live performances of brave fools willing to bare it all for your entertainment. Check their site for an updated schedule.

videogamesmovie2. Video Games: The Movie.  While I’m not big fan of the ole video games, I now better understand the history of the gaming industry and why people spent all of 1997 play Bond. No, that’s a lie; I still don’t understand why people love(d) that stupid game. But the movie is interesting.

3. To Be Takai. The d0c not only features a review of George Takai’s long cinematic career but chronicles his early life in a Japanese American internment camp thru his evolution into an international icon. So much Takai time only makes me want more. Call me, George.

tiny_flat4. Tiny: A Story About Living Small. Our little group of friends often discusses retirement because, well, working sort of sucks. Specifically, we plan on shacking up in some sort of freaky compound to better share costs and complaints. Enter the tiny house movement where folks are learning to “live small” in order to enjoy fuller lives. It’s an interesting concept that alot of people are most definitely embracing.

Who knows, a corrugated tin roof just might be in our future, however, I put my foot down at a lofted bed. These Diet Coke-filled bones will be hollow long before I enter retirement.

No one ever accused me of being rational. Follow Swirleytime on twitter @swirleytime and Facebook for interesting stories, links and a lot of self-deprecating humor.

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Awkward TV: Sometimes it’s Fun to Cringe

I’m definitely growing weirder as I age. Like a lot weirder. A few weeks ago a nurse asked, “how are you doing?”, to whit I responded, “I’m overbearing.” Yikes.

Luckily people seem to like weirdos (at least on television), which gives me a sliver of hope.

1. Mortified Nation. My childhood diary consisted of some snarky girl comments, the chronicling of a string of unrequited crushes and the story of that one time I got caught stealing my neighbors flowers.

Read more at ChicagoNow.

Easing the transition to Kindergarten one episode at a time

You guys!!! I have eight weeks until EK heads to Kindergarten. I know it sounds like a lot of time but honestly, it might as well be tomorrow.

I know, I know, it will be exciting and fun and blah blah blah. I’m terrified. Why?

– Tardy slips. I’ve toured those schools and seen the kids lined up one second after the bell rings to get a slip and march into class. I can’t even get my kid to the bathroom on time, let alone school.

– Goodbye impromptu vacations. Fine, we never took them…but we could’ve. We should’ve. [sob]

– This is the first step in my kid moving out and only calling me on the day after my birthday. I’m not complaining; I’ll take whatever I can get but COME ON! I can’t keep up with this new pace.

But let’s focus our attention on the kid who actually is about to get his life totally upended. For months, we’ve been on the receiving end of “I’m nervous to go to Kindergarten,” and “it makes me sad that I won’t see my pre-K friends every day”. Cue knife through the heart.

We found a few books to help with the transition, but I also thought it wise to assemble a list of shows and/or movies to illustrate just how awesome school really is…we’ve got to do something on those rainy summer days. Plus he’ll sit on my lap which is extra incentive for me to turn on the boob tube.

PHASE I: Getting them through the door.

51AB2AMG6QL1. Emily’s First Hundred Days of School. Emily (bunny) starts Kindergarten and thus a countdown to rage at the 100 days of school party. Her relationships with classmates grow closer as well as her understanding of new concepts.  I hear these 100-day parties are pretty common now, so why not get the excitement going early? And you can buy the book on which this animated tale is based here.

2. The Magic School Bus is a perennial favorite in our house. Subscribers can stream four seasons of the show via Netflix and watch their kids surrender to the awesomeness that is Lily Tomlin voice-overs educational field trips that they’ll never take in real life.

PRO TIP: Leave the room when the show starts to avoid getting the opening song suck in your noggin.

3. Leap Frog Let’s Go to School.These animals seem fairly trustworthy to my kid, so this episode seemed to resonate with him. Our fair protagonists take it upon themselves to ease a preschooler friend’s angst about starting Kindergarten and hilarity abounds. Fine, it’s not that hilarious, but it is effective in calming a little dude’s nerves.

PHASE II: Keeping them interested.

Have a curious kid on your hands? I mean, of course you do? I recently read a study reporting that the average four-year-old asks 390 questions a day. So use the next few weeks to teach them that learning kicks ass…especially now that you’ll have other adults to field some of these questions..

4. Modern Marvels. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Sit down, pick an appropriate episode and you might even learn something yourself!. Our favorite episodes include “Helicopters”, “Shoes” and of course “Stink”.

nye5. Bill Nye, the Science Guy. [swoon] We all know and love this goofball. He makes complicated theories easy to comprehend and maintains viewers’ attention effortlessly. The dude is inspiring for even the youngest of scientists – Hell, he makes me want to go back to school!

6. Sid the Science Kid. Sid might ask more questions than my own kid. If that’s the case, condolences to that dude’s parents. Anyway, I like this show because it presents elementary school as a welcoming place with teachers who work with the kids to solve 12 bazillion science questions. EK recently busted out his own “hypothothisis” thanks to Sid, so it seems like some of what he’s watching is actually sinking in.

Click here to like Swirleytime on Facebook for quirky shares,  links and a lot of self-deprecating humor. Follow me on twitter @swirleytime.

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Travel the world without leaving your couch thanks to Netflix

My husband I just returned from our first extended vacation together since our son was born in 2010. I know…WHY DID WE WAIT SO LONG?

IMG_1031Anyway, I almost ruined the vacation by using the wrong name on my ticket (maiden/married name, tomato/tomAHto), lost my voice and my husband tried to kill himself by eating tainted food. IT WAS A DREAM! Seriously!

If you have the chance to visit Montenegro and/or Bosnia-Herzegovina, I highly suggest you go!

Alas, we are back We were excited to return home and throw open the door to our sticky-handed kid. Well, I was, Mr. Swirley was still trying to kill himself.  But, in proper Annie fashion, I am now afflicted with the terrible disease known as wanderlust.

At 2 AM this morning, I totally wasn’t looking up flight prices for a trip abroad in April 2016. It was 2:30 AM. I also switched on the TV to speed up time and stumbled into some Netflix goodies that will no doubt sate my hunger to travel until just about Spring break next year. Next stop, Ghana or bust!

1. The Idiot Abroad – Ricky Gervais and friends underwrite the costs for their “token idiot friend” Kyle to travel the world. They then revel in the ensuing chaos. It’s a little mean-spirited and a lot of funny; should I admit that I often sympathize with Karl’s pessimism? Watch it for the commentary and scenery – thank me later.

294512. Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover from the Travel Channel is the perfect mix of local culture and food. The show’s quick pace keeps viewers entertained (and salivating) as “he [Bourdain] has only 24-48 hours to unleash an unpredictable story about a place, a people and their food.”

Bourdain, I don’t understand why we can’t just swap lives. The rotisserie chicken we bought this evening was PHENOMENAL…you’d totally love it here.

3. Enjoy checking out local, foreign food without having to sack up and eat it? (poor Mr. Swirley learned the hard way on our trips to Turkey and Bosnia) The Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods has you covered.

Join host Andrew Zimmern as he travels the globe from Uganda to Madagascar and all the way back to Pennsylvania (what? Yes) to introduce viewers to a wide range of regional cuisines and respective cultures.

4. In order to re-live our vacation, I strung together a bazilion shaky, three-second videos and created a rough movie of the trip. Realizing it wasn’t exactly up to par, I sought out movies filmed in Montenegro and BOOM, November Man popped up.

The formal summary goes something like…”An ex-CIA agent (Pierce Brosnan) emerges from retirement to protect an important witness, but he soon discovers that old friends can make the most dangerous enemies.”

I don’t know about all of that, but it certainly made me nostalgic for, um, last week.

5. Along the same vein, check out Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol and II. CIA moles, biological weapons, short guys…whatever. What I’m focused on is all that pretty scenery in the background. Take in England, Czech Republic, Spain, Australia and more without having to balance precariously from a ceiling harness unless you are trying to be all stealthy in eating treats before the kids are asleep.

I swear they have sonar.

screens.film.kolya6. Speaking of Czech Republic, Kolya (Eng. subtitles) is a simply wonderful film that also highlights the beauty of Prague and that whole human spirit thing.

Summary for you lazy asses: Franta Louka is a concert cellist in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia. He also loves the ladies…a lot. Alas,  Louka loses his place in the state orchestra and needs to make quick cash repay debts. How? It’s easy, marry a Russian bride in exchange for payment.  Yet she has different plans and quickly emigrates to West Germany where she moves in with her lovah. Oh, and that five-year-old? She ditches him with grams. Obviously the kid’s old babushka’s time is short on this earth and the he moves in with his step-papa, Kolya.

“…that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.’

Even if you hate looking at pretty European cities, you’ll like this movie. Also, what the Hell is wrong with you?

Click here to like Swirleytime on Facebook for quirky shares,  links and a lot of self-deprecating humor. Follow me on twitter @swirleytime.

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My Netflix lust list…you’re welcome

Listen, I’m a happily married woman. I think my husband is a stone cold fox. But that doesn’t mean mama doesn’t like a little eye candy now and then…ON DEMAND.

Just stop.

Just stop.

1. Honestly, I could stop here with IDRIS M’FING ELBA.I loved the Wire (Netflix, you need to step up your game and carry that series) and was quite pleased to see my boyfriend Mr. Elba on Luther. He is sooooo fancy with his accent and brooding demeanor. I want to have his babies. The show’s plot and acting are stellar as well.

Dear BBC – PLEASE KEEP FILMING THIS SERIES. Forever. OK? And Netflix, don’t even think about not picking it up.

2. Fine, I’ll keep going because I care about you all. Charlie Hunnam. If you don’t know him, you are officially dead to me.

Watch all SEVEN season of Charlie, er, I mean Sons of Anarchy and enjoy. Heads up, it’s pretty rough and tumble, but totally worth it for the story and badass Jax (Charlie’s character)/

kyle-chandler-670x350

Source: Kyle Chandler’s official twitter account

3. Coach Taylor makes not one but TWO appearances on Netflix. One, the obvious, Friday Night Lights, a show filled with pretty people (dare I say one of the most attractive casts ever assembled?), clear eyes, full hearts, and good acting. And two, the recently added Netflix original, Bloodline. In the latter, Kyle Chandler (aka Coach) plays a conflicted brother (and Sherriff) who has to navigate some pretty murky waters with asshole brothers and a lot of family secrets.It’s a little slow at times, but I enjoyed watching the series as it twisted and turned.

Bonus: The show’s been renewed folks. MEOW.

4.. Captain Hilarity, er, I mean Will Arnett tops my list of skilled actors/comedians who have my heart. It makes me so sad that he and Amy split – they were my marriage dream team. Anywhoo, I thoroughly enjoy watching him throw his comedic spray all over Netflix. Arrested Development? Four seasons with another in the works, fools.The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret? Yah. Mansome? Ew. And yes. This last item is a documentary with Morgan Spurlock that “examines what defines masculinity in our modern culture of male grooming products and suave celebrities.” Plus a few other cameos.

Arnett is my celebrity spirit mate

5. And finally, Jesse Pinkman (IRL Aaron Paul).

Don’t mind Aaron…he’s JUST TALKING ABOUT HIS WIFE. Come on, how sweet is he?

That’s right, friends! It’s not past me to say that a meth-head turned meth cook and dealer is attractive. Watch as Paul’s character evolves over all five seasons of Breaking Bad and then tell me you aren’t enamored. Plus there’s that whole critical acclaim thing associated with the show.

downloadAnd I’m just going to say it: I think both Walters are cute too. So there.

Call me a pervo or say I’m objectifying celebrities. Whatever. Everyone listed above is a highly skilled actor and welcome in my house any day. You hear that? ANY DAY.

Click here to like Swirleytime on Facebook for quirky shares,  links and a lot of self-deprecating humor. Follow me on twitter @swirleytime.

Don’t rely on fickle Facebook for updates. Subscribe to Swirleytime below for more stories of screw-ups, caregiving and weird observations. Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Stream these 5 hilarious comedies while feeding your new baby

My friends Dave and Sio just popped out a fresh-baked baby. She’s sweet and sleepy and loves to eat. A lot. Sometimes I forget about the time spent pumping,nursing and bottle feeding. Or pretending to pump/nurse but really just needing a break. And then I meet a new baby and it all comes rushing back.

Read more at ChicagoNow…

Caregiving Chronicles: 4 “must-stream” feely movies on Netflix

My friend Mary Tyler Mom wrote the most exquisite piece on caregiving for aging parents. It’s candid, tragic and perfectly articulates the complete and utter bullshitness that is our health care system in the good ole US of A.

We don’t talk about the ugly side of aging much. I know the term “sandwich generation” is now part of our cultural vernacular, and will continue to gain popularity as the Baby Boomers age out of retirement and into the ugly end of life stuff we don’t want to discuss. Plus caregiving isn’t sexy (unless it’s for my mom who is offering up used lingerie).

However,  while it’s not incredibly popular in Hollywood, I’m pleased that there exists some representation of those ill as well as their sometimes reluctant caregivers. If I have leanred anything from Mary Tyler Mom, it’s that caregiving can be isolating; whether it be in a movie or a support group, hearing someone say aloud your darkest thoughts can sometimes be more validating than ten bazillion dollars spent on counselors’ co-pays.

Still interested? Below are a few movies you can stream courtesy of Netflix that ring true to life and offer an intriguing plot line.

tumblr_inline_n26f921BIE1qjdjby1. A few months ago I watched Nebraska (2013), starring Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, and Bob Odenkirk. Dern picked up a “Best Actor” award at Cannes and the film was nominated for six, yes six, Academy Awards. It’s phenomenal.

Dern plays a father showing the early signs of cognitive impairment (no diagnosis offered) and Forte, his son, takes his father on a fool’s errand from Big Sky country to Nebraska to shut the old man up. The film is simultaneously humorous and depressing in its depiction of confusion brought on by the aging process as well as family members’ responses to new and unpredictable behavior from their loved ones.

Whether the plot hits close to home, or you are a sympathetic soul with a sense of humor, this bittersweet movie is worth your eyeballs’ attention.

2. Steel Magnolias (1989) will forever be one of my top ten movies ever made; armadillo cake, helmet hair and undying devotion to loved ones make this emotional drama such a fabulous (and exhausting) way to spend an afternoon.

tumblr_msfbpolLqW1sbhxjro1_250A close-knit group of six Louisiana women come together at Truvy’s (Dolly Parton’s) beauty shop to laugh, cry, drink orange juice and shoot birds. The film follows them through the years as they take care of one another through good times (weddings, babies) and bad (unexpected deaths, abusive relationships). It’s a movie that highlights the fact that life is beautiful even when it’s ugly.

It’s freaking perfect.

91e1Q2-hzAL._SL1500_3. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1994) stars a young Johnny Depp and even younger Leo DiCaprio. Meow Depp’s character, Gilbert, is charged with caring for his morbidly obese mama, cognitively impaired seventeen-year-old brother (DiCaprio) and little sisters, whilst working at a dead end job in a sad little midwestern town. Cue a love interest and the inner turmoil that follows weighing wants vs. responsibilities.

Both intense and lovely, the film does an excellent job illustrating the many conflicting thoughts of a caregiver.

4. If you haven’t seen Silver Lining Playbook (2012), you should sit yourself down on your couch and immediately stream this eight-time Oscar-nominated sucker. Bradley Cooper portrays a bi-polar protagonist just released from the psych ward and into his parent’s care. Jennifer Lawrence, AKA the queen of everything awesome, plays a recently widowed 20 (30?) -something who has her own set of coping issues. After meeting meeting Cooper, JLaw’s character offers to help him reunite with his wife in exchange for pairing up with her for a dance competition. Obviously.

Through their odd relationship, they come to care deeply for one another AND enable each other to move through their respective pain and accept their own neuroses. It’s a charming movie that addresses mental illness and promotes conversation in a sensitive and respectful manner.

What did I miss? Please share your recommendations  below!

Click here to like Swirleytime on Facebook for quirky shares,  links and a lot of self-deprecating humor. Follow me on twitter @swirleytime.

Don’t rely on fickle Facebook for updates. Subscribe to Swirleytime below for more stories of screw-ups, caregiving and weird observations. Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Bonne Bell lip smacker is dead

I am not sure I want to live in a world that doesn’t include Bonne Bell Lip Smacker, but according to the news, that’s exactly what will happen on March 29, 2015.

From Crain’s Cleveland Business:

The company plans to close substantially all the manufacturing and distribution operations at its location at 1006 Crocker Road in Westlake, resulting in the permanent layoffs of 91 employees there, according to a letter Westlake Mayor Dennis M. Clough received on Thursday, Jan. 29.

Berry Heavenly was my JAM!

Berry Heavenly was my JAM!

That’s messed up, man. How many Christmas mornings did you wake up to a candy-cane tubed filled with Watermelon, Strawberry and Dr. Pepper lip glosses? Or the uber-sparkly tubes that came out in the mid-90s? I could almost smell my angst when I recently popped open a rancid tube of silvery balm goodness.

Maybe the buyer, Markwins International Corp. (also owner of Wet ‘n Wild) will keep the shelves stocked with lip smacker; HEAR OUR PRAYER, MARKWINS!

But until we know the fate of our favorite flavored lip coatings, I suggest you revel in Netflix-enabled nostalgia to the tune of high bangs, caboodle loving teenage girls and everything that made the 1980s so God-damn amazing.

MV5BMTI2OTk5NTE5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODA0NTQzMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_1. Pretty in Pink. We all know the plot. What you don’t know is that my friend in high school fell madly in love with a guy she dubbed “Andrew McCarthy”. They never talked or anything, but we spent many a night making mix tapes, slathering on our mom’s beauty creams and coating our lips in Bonne Bell lip glosses just because. I mean, Molly Ringwald’s lips are/were luscious, why couldn’t 13 year-old girls aspire to such great aesthetic heights.

I re-enacted this scene in front of a nurses station at Northwestern Hospital just a few weeks ago.

2. Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Yes, I admit this film is an unexpected choice, however, it was my first exposure to unabashed cussing. If you know my family, this fact is honestly more surprising than anything. Anyway, my best friend and fellow lip-gloss aficionado introduced me to the film and we felt like real badasses. Plus the John Candy/Steve Martin duo is unbeatable. Movies like this turned us from little girls into slightly bigger girls.

Don't tell me these ladies AREN'T wearing lipgloss.

Don’t tell me these ladies AREN’T wearing lipgloss.

3. Coming to America. I might have written about this film before, however, I don’t care – it’s just that good. Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Samuel L. Jackson (what? Yes) and SoulGlo. A prince moves to Queens to find his Queen and, as expected, 1980s-esque hilarity ensued. We watched this beast on repeat when moms and dads weren’t home whilst pressing on fake nails and lubing up our lips.

4. CLUE. OH MAH GAD. I can still hear the sound of the over-watched video tape grinding in the VCR while it played almost every weekend for the better part of the late-1980s. Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Tim Curry and Michael McKean were but a few of this all-star cast. I considered it an educational film as I learned about french maids, deception and the definition of the term, “red herring”.

I find myself referencing this line weekly.

5. Clerks came out in my grunge phase when I desperately wanted a boyfriend, but had no idea how to go about procuring one. Watching dudes like Jay and Silent Bob “work their magic” probably wasn’t the best way to learn about the male species, but hey, it was high school and I was clueless. I still had fun though, which is all that matters.

I plan on reliving some of my lip-smacking glory days via streaming movies and suggest you do the same. Seriously. We have to cope with this loss somehow.

Click here to like Swirleytime on Facebook for quirky shares,  links and a lot of self-deprecating humor. Follow me on twitter @swirleytime.

Don’t rely on fickle Facebook for updates. Subscribe to Swirleytime below for more stories of screw-ups, caregiving and weird observations. Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

5 movies whose soundtracks are as good as their plots

I wish I could consider myself an audiophile. Don’t get me wrong, I love music. It’s always blasting while we attempt to complete household chores, read books, hell, I leave it on when we aren’t even home because I am an AMERICAN and Americans live to waste energy. However, aside from giving tunes a thumbs up or down on Pandora, I can’t tell a treble clef from an ampersand.

I also love movies. Love love love movies. But not musicals because they creep me out. Anyway, since our DVD collection consists of a few HIGH QUALITY films (e.g., Clue, Overboard, The Man With Two Brains), I rely solely on streaming my entertainment.

if you like your music subtly integrated into films, check out these five films available via Netflix that boast outstanding soundtracks. The movies aren’t too bad either.

Roayle with cheese, please.

Roayle with cheese, please.

1.Pulp Fiction (1994). Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta are only three of the ridiculously talented array of actors starring in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. With plot lines weaving together here and there, the spectacular soundtrack really ties the film together.

I remember listening to this CD on repeat in high school and falling in love with Bill Withers and the idea of “perfectly round potbellies”. Plus Tarantino movies are so deliciously gory that they demand an equally pleasing soundtrack for your earholes.

almost famous2. Almost Famous (2000). Who didn’t want to be in a rock band in the 1970s? Well, I didn’t. I wanted to be Strawberry Shortcake, but whatever. Now that I am older and wiser, I have since realized my mistake and live vicariously through the ponytailed protagonists in Almost Famous. I also get all squishy-nostalgic listening to the movie’s soundtrack which includes artists like David Bowie, Elton John, Led Zepplin, YES and Simon & Garfunkel. It’s like my mom put this compilation together for the world to enjoy.

amelie3. Amelie (2001). Follow “impish” Amelie as she searches for the owners of a trove of toys found in her apartment. The soundtrack for this five-time academy nominated film is primarily composed of songs pulled from French composer and musician Yann Tiersen‘s first four albums. If you enjoy accordions, harpsicords, guitars and other whimsical sounds plus a quirky protagonist, I highly recommend checking this film out. I still play the CD from time to time. God, I am really dating myself here.

waynes world4. Wayne’s World (1992). OK, yes this movie is over twenty years old. And IT’S STILL AS AWESOME as the first time I saw it with my dad and he kept laughing at Garth’s mono joke (I was very confused at the time.). Dudes live in Aurora, IL, have a public access show airing out of Wayne’s mom’s basement and RAGE when it comes to music. It’s a cute movie that really brings back the awesomeness of the 90s and Saturday Night Live. It also shared the music of historic bands like Queen, Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper with a new generation. Thank you, Wayne and Garth. THANK YOU.

You remind me of the babe. That and really tight pants.

You remind me of the babe. That and really tight pants.

5. Labyrinth (1986). Well you fools knew this was coming. I mean, I just went to the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art to watch this film and was so close to donning a Jareth Mullet wig. Then I wrote about Labyrinth-inspired Xmas gifts and how David Bowie was my first crush. Anyway, you know the plot:Teenage Sara (Jennifer Connely) wishes her baby brother away to the Goblin Kingdom, then enters the Labyrinth save her annoying little beast of a sibling from Jareth, the Goblin King. I am willing to sing each song from this soundtrack to you if that is your wish, or you can just watch the movie and listen to David Bowie croon his way into your pants heart.

Click here to like Swirleytime on Facebook for quirky shares,  links and a lot of self-deprecating humor. Follow me on twitter @swirleytime.

Don’t rely on fickle Facebook for updates. Subscribe to Swirleytime below for more stories of screw-ups, caregiving and weird observations. Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

5 Netflix movies you can stream with grandma this Thanksgiving

The holidays are upon us and you know what that means…watching sex scenes with grandma. Er, I mean, eating turkey and stuff.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have rented a movie, popped that sucker in and then coughed/rolled my eyeballs/used the restroom during inappropriate sex scenes and/or gross violence. Call me immature, but watching Clerks with my grandpa or little cousin doesn’t get me into the holiday spirit.

As a favor to you and your sweat glands, below are some movies you can stream via Netflix to avoid an awkward situation all together. Consider it an early holiday present from yours truly.

school of rock1. The School of Rock (PG-13).Jack Black plays a rock musician who refuses to grow up …much to the chagrin of others. He assumes his brother’s identity and lands a job as substitute teacher in a prestigious private school. Initially not wanting to exert too much energy, Black’s character “plays it cool” only to then enlist the “help” of his class to win a Battle of the Bands. On the way, he falls for Joan Cusack‘s character, an uptight-turned-awesome principal, and learns a lesson or two. The kids add a fun component and make this a family friendly movie.

Common Sense Media ranks this as a movie appropriate for ages 11 and up.

2 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (PG-13). I’m not going to lie, I often have trouble figuring out what in God’s name Johnny Depp’s character, Captain Jack Sparrow, is muttering. So, if you have someone hard of hearing joining in on the viewing party, this might not be for you. That said, this is a pretty solid film for everyone in the family. Romance (not enough to make you shift in your seat) + action + comedy = 2:23 minutes not spent listening to your great aunt recount her trip to Walmart.

Common Sense Media ranks this as a movie appropriate for ages 12 and up.

holes2003cdcover451883. Holes (PG). I love this movie. Based on the bestselling Louis Sachar’s novel by the same name, a young Shia LaBeouf is sent a youth detention camp that forces inmates to dig holes day after day. For what? I guess you and granny will have to wait and see. You should watch this even if your younger cousins are downstairs texting each other instead of talking like the post-mod freaks that they are.

Common Sense Media ranks this as a movie appropriate for ages 10 and up.

4. Scrooged (PG-13). Yes, this movie is from the 80s, Yes, it includes some gore (I mean, what Christmas doesn’t include massacres?) and mention of a third nipple. But I still think it’s a solid pick if only for the fact that Bill Murray is the leading man – good old Scrooge. It’s cute, festive and retro for your teen cousins who are SOOOOO into misusing the term “irony”.
Common Sense Media ranks this movie appropriate for ages 12 and up.

How_to_marry_a_millionaire5. How to Marry a Millionaire (NR). This 1953 film is just perfection, aside from that whole “women should marry a man for money” thing. Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe play three models looking to land themselves a millionaire. However, as you already know, choosing a mate based on net worth alone doesn’t always work out in one’s best interests. It’s a cute comedy that might be appreciated by the older generation hogging couch space.

Common Sense Media ranks this movie appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Feel free to pass along an suggestions for holiday movie-watching fun!

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