February Favorite Fotos – Part One

We’re at the half way point for February…….good time to share my fave photos, so far, from February’s Daily Photo Challenge! The daily topic is noted under each photo!

Something Blue

Carrot

Water

Opposites

Card

Fave Smell

Pet

Friends

Love

Until we meet again……tootle loo!!!

 

Morning Visitor

This is why I don’t get much done around here in the mornings……I get up about 7:00 am…….take care of Megan – breakfast and let her out to take care of business and make sure the yard is the way she left it when she went to bed the night before…….and then I get on here, where I sit and look out at the bird feeders right outside the window, and get all wrapped up in the entertainment of the day – either by the birds or the squirrels!!!

And, so it goes…….

Ice, Ice, Baby – Feb 2019

The weather in Western NY has been……well……typical! hahaha We were socked in with a wicked snow storm and wind chills in the negative double digits, then enjoyed a few days of spring-like weather in the 50-60’s, and then found ourselves coated with a thick layer of ice…..all within about a week!!! That’s WNY for ya!!!

Here are some photos of the ice storm of yesterday and today……all taken from inside where it is nice and warm with a zoom lens……I’m not crazy enough to risk slip sliding around outside for a few photos! hehehe

Full disclosure – I didn’t take this one – a friend who stopped by took it cause she thought it looked cool and sent it to me!

A not so hot burning bush……

And……the funniest part……it didn’t get out of the 30s all day, today, but will warm up into the 40s starting about 8:00 this evening and increase into the 50s by midnight and stay in the upper 40s through the night before dropping back into the 30s and then 20s by morning and through the day tomorrow! Yep……it’s been interesting!

January Daily Photo Summary!

Yeah, yeah……I know……I’ve been absent on here this month!!! January is a tough month — the let down from the holidays — winter really digs in her heals — it seems like the longest month in history!!! But, all that aside, it wasn’t a bad month……I got a lot done “behind the scenes”, so to speak, and took some awesome photos in response to the January Daily Photo Prompts!!! Here are my favorites for January (the prompt is noted below each photo):

Hello

Currently Reading

Yellow

Breakfast

This or That

Pink

Starts With T

Handful

Glasses

Corner

Fence

Dinner

I Went Here

A Drink

Landscape

White

A Sign

The Sky

Empty

Monochrome

Morning

So, goodbye January……hello February……looking forward to Spring in LESS THAN TWO MONTHS!!!

Last Daily Photos of 2018

So, here we are at the final hours of 2018…….soon, we’ll start a new year and a new annual photo challenge! For now, here are the some of my favorites from December since the last post……right up to today’s final 2018 photo! The daily topic is below each photo!

Hat

Tree

Wrapping

Something Green

Together

Fave Animal

Self Portrait

Yay

This was my final photo of 2018 and the final sunrise of the year, as well!

And, now, for some of my favorite Advent Photo Challenge photos since the last posting:

Special Ornament

Act of Kindness

(Guess this needs a bit more explanation – a random stranger picked up my breakfast tab that day)

Wish

Holly Jolly

Ginger Bread House

Star

Nativity

Joy To The World

See you next year!!! 🙂

 

Movie Review – Mary Poppins Returns

I went to see Mary Poppins Returns on Christmas Day. We had our family “Christmas” on Saturday, so I was free to spend the day enjoying a movie at the theater with popcorn and a coke for my dinner…..well, to be fair, it was actually lunch and I made a pan of delicious scalloped potatoes and ham for my actual dinner later that evening, but you get the point! I love going to the movies on Christmas day and I’m always surprised to see how many other people also enjoy going to the movies on Christmas day – not sure why it still surprises me, but it does! I started going to movies on Christmas day years ago when life started making it difficult to spend Christmas on the 25th…..when kids become adults multiple families get in the mix and miles get in the way and you discover that Christmas isn’t a “day” – it is in your hearts and happens whenever family and friends can be together…..and, can even happen on multiple days! So, what started out as a way to forget that December 25th wasn’t being spent in a mad frenzy of family and gifts and food turned into a wonderful tradition that I have enjoyed for many years and actually look forward to! I start checking to see what movies will be opening on or just before December 25th to decide what I want to see that year! I usually look for something light, fun, and entertaining……and, I usually find just the right movie……well, except for the year Mom and I went to see Marley and Me when she was visiting me over Christmas in NC – what we thought would be a “feel good” movie about a cute dog left us depressed and sad the rest of the day…..LOL!!! This year, Mary Poppins Returns was my choice……and, I’m so very glad it was!!!

I started getting excited about this movie when I first saw the trailers announcing it was being made and would be released in late 2018!!! Mary and I have a nice bit of history and I couldn’t wait to see her come to life, again! Mom took me and my best friend, Cathy Pinson, to see the original Mary Poppins at the movie theater on Main Street in Albion for my birthday when we were in the 5th or 6th grade. It is my first memory of going to an actual movie theater – we’d been to the drive-in a lot, but I don’t really remember going to an inside theater before that movie – oh, I may have, but just don’t remember! Cathy and I were mesmerized by the movie — we were totally caught up in the magic and the awe that was Mary Poppins! Mom bought me the sound track album and I wore it out playing it and learning all the songs……Cathy and I would sing the songs over and over and over – we knew them all by heart – I can still sing most of them! Mom, Cathy, and the Albion theater are all gone, now, but that day was on my mind as I drove to the theater and waited for the movie to start……and, I truly felt Mom and Cathy there with me for the show!

I was happy to see they didn’t “remake” the original – that would have been a mistake! They made it a sequel…..a continuation of the original story with many of the original characters…….and it was perfection on the screen! They kept the mix of live action and animation – which, of course, it had to in order to stay true to the story – and, with the modern advances in technology, the wild adventures that Mary takes the children on were even MORE magical and fun without losing the vintage appeal of the original (no flashy special effects – it is still Mary Poppins, after all)! I told a friend I was going and she said she already saw it and that I would LOVE it – her response to my question “Is it as good as the original?” was the best summary of the movie – I can’t say it any better, so I’ll plagiarize her……”it is enough of the same to be familiar and enough new to be different – but the same”….or words to that effect! 🙂

For those who are not aware……..the story this time is that Michael and Jane Banks have grown up and Michael is a widower with three small children and a housekeeper named Ellen (which, ironically, is the same name as the housekeeper they had as children). Michael, who lives in the family home with his children, has fallen on hard times and is at risk of losing the home. Along comes Mary Poppins to save the day! And, the next two hours are full of song, dance, and magical adventures!

Emily Blunt was amazing……she truly was the perfect choice to play Mary Poppins! Her look, her expressions, and her demeanor were spot on! I always enjoy seeing her in movies – her role in A Devil Wears Prada helped to make that movie great – second only to Meryl Streep’s character! So, I knew she’d make an awesome Mary Poppins……and, she did! This time, Mary’s sidekick is Jack – a lamplighter on the streets of London – played brilliantly by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Michael and Jane are played by Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer, respectively, and are just as you’d think Michael and Jane would be like as adults! Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson play Anabel, John, and Georgie Banks – Michael’s children – and they are just lovely! The absent minded housekeeper, Ellen, is a hoot – she is played perfectly by Dame Julie Walters (one of the three best friends on Mama Mia and Mama Mia, Here We go Again!). There is also an evil banker played by the wonderful Colin Firth and his bumbling sidekicks! Yes……there is a stellar cast with amazing performances and excellent characters brought to life brilliantly!

But……that’s not all……there are three cameo appearances that brought absolute joy to my heart to see……..first, Mary Poppins takes the children to visit her cousin Topsy – a delightfully whimsical character played by Meryl Streep! Then……I won’t give away the circumstances or when in the movie it happens, but Dick Van Dyke returns as the elderly son of one of the characters he played in the original movie – Mr. Dawes, Jr (he played Bank President, Mr. Dawes, Sr. in the original) – when he appeared, the audience in the theater applauded and when he “did his thing” (not spoiling it), the audience cheered and applauded with glee!!! What a treat!!! And, finally, Angela Lansbury appears as the Balloon Lady and was a pure joy to see!

OK, so…….I guess I don’t really HAVE to say it, but it is part of all my reviews, so here goes……..I loved this movie!!! It was the perfect way to spend my day! It met all my usual criteria for determining if it was a good movie – I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with the characters, and I left feeling good…..and, wanting to dance my way across the parking lot to my car!!! And, yes……I think Mary Poppins helped with a bit of magic for me, as well, as I did feel like Mom and Cathy were right there enjoying the movie with me…..we just had more comfortable seats this time! hehehe

I rate this movie a solid A+++++!!! I highly recommend it……go see it……I don’t care how old you are or if you ever saw the original or not…….go and let the magic seep into your imagination and lift you to heights only a balloon (or kite) can take you……and, at least for a couple hours, remember what it was like to be a kid and have an imagination that had no limits! Yes, it is a wonderful children’s movie…….but, it is so much more…….this 62 year old guarantees it!!! After all……per Mary, herself, “Anything is possible! Even the Impossible!”

And, here’s the trailer……

A Few Daily Photos…..

Let’s catch up on some of my favorite Daily Photos from the end of November and so far in December……the prompt is noted below each one!

Big

Small

Gorgeous

Walk

Sleep

Fave Vegetable

A Drink

A Good Habit

Under

Joy

Begins With “S”

Lights

Decoration

And, now for my favorites from the Advent Photo Challenge I’m doing……so far:

Waiting

Candy Canes

Fave Christmas Movie

Gathering

Hope

Holiday TBT

 

Seven Day B&W Photo Challenge

I just finished a Seven Day B&W Photo Challenge – the rules were the photos had to be B&W Photos of Life – No People – No Explanation! And I had to challenge one person every day to accept the challenge – some did, some didn’t! So – here are mine:

Day 1 of 7

Day 2 of 7

Day 3 of 7

Day 4 of 7

Day 5 of 7

Day 6 of 7

Day 7 of 7

I love doing B&W photos……maybe I’ll do this challenge again, sometime!

Thanksgiving on Long Island

I did something a little different for Thanksgiving, this year. I traveled with a friend to her sister’s home on Long Island! I had never been to Long Island – been to NYC many times, but never Long Island! So, I can check that off my bucket list……and a few other things, as well! It was a wonderful week of friendship, food, fun, and adventures…..definitely made a lot of memories……I am truly blessed and thankful!

On our first full day, we took the Long Island Railroad into New York City – we had tickets to see the Radio City Music Hall Rockette’s Christmas Show! It was a day crammed with lots of wonderful activities! I always wanted to go to NYC during the holidays…..and now, I have!

We caught the train out of the Ronkonkoma Station and arrived at Penn Station about an hour later

This sink is in the ladies room at Penn Station — it was sooooo cool!!! You put your hands under the far left side and get your soap, then move to the center to get your warm water, and then move to the far right for the air dryer!!! All in one bar……and there were several of these along a long shallow sink! I just thought it was worthy of a photo and mention here!!! I thought about taking a photo when I was in there, but didn’t…..then, my friends were surprised I didn’t, so I went back in to snap it! Yeah – I know – it’s the little things that make life so much fun!!!

We had to go in to Macy’s to see if Santa was there, yet…..we didn’t think he would be, but thought we could at least see it set up for him!

Macy’s is such a magical place! I remember my first time shopping in the “Mother Ship” of all Macy’s not long after I graduated from HS! And, after shopping there several times over the years, it still has a thrill I can’t possibly describe!

There is so much history there and they preserve it so well – like the original wooden escalators that snake up from floor to floor to floor!!!

And, the “over the top” decorations throughout the huge store!

And, the place where Santa can be found…….

And…..Santa, himself!!! Yes, he was there!!! We were thrilled to discover that we could see him! I asked him if I could ride with him on Christmas Eve and travel around the world helping him……he said that, unfortunately, there isn’t any room for extra helpers on the sleigh……but, I was really just happy that I got to see the Macy’s Santa in Macy’s!!! Albion’s very own Charles Howard was the original Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Santa and he was an adviser on the movie Miracle on 34th Street……for many years, he taught Santa’s from around the world right here in Albion at his world famous Santa Claus School! I had my photo taken with him when I was a little girl at his school……and, now, I have completed the dream of seeing a real Santa right there in the original  Macy’s!!!

And, my friends did, too!!!

There was a lot to see on the walk from Macy’s to Radio City Music Hall

A lady making a pie in a bakery window!

And we finally made it!!!

They passed out Santa hats and 3D glasses to everyone as we walked in

The glasses were for a beginning part of the show where Santa takes the sleigh to NYC to see the show and the audience goes along for the ride! Real cool!

A high school chorus from Wisconsin got the chance to go on stage to sing a Christmas medley for us before the show — what a thrill that must have been for them!

Then, a curtain opened on each side of the stage and two organists played more Christmas music — it was FABULOUS!!!

I’ve seen the Rockette’s before, but never their Christmas Spectacular…….something I always wanted to see! I was not one bit disappointed!!! It was amazing!!!

The most famous kick line in the world!!!

Chandelier hanging above the lobby of Radio city Music Hall

Flags at Rockefeller Center with St. Patrick’s Cathedral spires in the background

We watched the skaters at Rockefeller Center for a bit

The tree was up, but was still scaffolded and being prepped for the famous lighting……so, we really couldn’t see it!

On the walk between Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, there was a long pool with lighted angels all along on either side!

One of many, many wonderful store window displays – this is one of Saks windows!

We went in St. Patrick’s Cathedral – another thing I’ve never taken time to do when in the city, but always wanted to!

We sat and listened to choirs singing…….so beautiful as their angelic voices echoed through the massive sanctuary!

And, then we stopped to see the light show on the Saks Fifth Ave building! Awesome show of lights to the tune of There’s No Business Like Show Business!!!

And, the Saks window displays!

Right behind us as we watch the Saks light show was the pool with the trumpeting angels we saw earlier – now all lit up! So beautiful!

We stopped for dinner at Megan’s – an Irish Pub!

NYC at night is so………amazing!!!

The Empire State Building was lit up in blue

We went back by Macy’s on the way back to Penn Station to see their windows lit up

The Macy’s windows tell an animated story as you walk by to view them all

The front of Macy’s where the parade passes and all the performances take place!

It was hard to see with the barriers and equipment trucks, but the street was already shut off and painted for the parade — it was Tuesday night, so two more days till the Parade!

No – we did NOT go back in the city to watch the parade – we watched it from the warmth and comfort of Linda’s living room while we worked on our Thanksgiving dinner, just like the rest of the world – no freezing temperatures (it was the coldest in the history of the parade), no crowds to fight, and much better views! LOL

 

Linda lives in a beautiful wooded setting on Long Island — so peaceful and full of nature! Lots of squirrels and birds and deer – we saw a huge buck wandering up her driveway, but couldn’t get our cameras out in time to get a photo, and we saw others while we were there, too!

This is her driveway in from the street

I got the best sleep while I was there…….I stayed in a wonderful room they have in the basement – it was cozy, comfortable, quiet, and dark……and I slept like a baby every night!!! I didn’t want to leave!!!

The night before Thanksgiving, Cathy and I were charged with making “turkeys”!

It was fun and they were really quite delicious!

Then, our Thanksgiving was full of family, food, and lots to be thankful for! This was taken BEFORE all the food was on the table…….it shows the stunning pottery plates and mugs made by Linda’s husband, John, who is an artist!

And….after dinner, there were the desserts!!!

The next day, we ventured out to do some shopping on Long Island – yes, we went out on Black Friday – the stores and mall we went to were not too crowded and we had a very pleasant experience! We stopped at Zan’s Kosher Deli for lunch — this is my corned beef on rye sandwich! YUM!!!

The pickles were good, too!

On Saturday morning, we had bagels at Linda’s son’s home and then drove to Montauk to see the lighthouse……We drove through all the Hamptons on the way and had lunch in South Hampton!

We stopped at this lovely cemetery in East Hampton on the way!

There were swans on a mostly frozen pond

The stories on many of the head stones were so interesting!

It was just a small fenced in strip between the main street and a side street and was fenced off, but it was loaded with history and awesome stones and crypts!

And, there was this incredible crypt with a stone knight’s armor lying in rest on top!

He was a Lord and came from Holland to settle here!

We spent quite a bit of time at the Montauk Lighthouse – it was a beautiful place at the tip of Long Island with the ocean on one side and the sound on the other and views of Connecticut in the distance!

As we were leaving, this silly creature was wandering around the entrance to the lighthouse and parking area delighting the children of all ages who were there!

As we drove through Flanders, NY on our way to Montauk, we saw the Big Duck — listed on Roadside America as a quirky American site (click here to read about it)! The duck was originally the location of a shop where a local Long Island farmer sold ducks and eggs – it is now a gift shop! On our way to Montauk, they were just starting to decorate it and when we saw it on the return trip, it was all decked out and ready for photos!

We also saw a flying pig at a restaurant of the same name!!!

No trip is complete without a visit to a local ice cream parlor……this was a delicious treat from McNulty’s in Miller Place, NY

We also got a slice of amazing pizza from Uncle Giuseppe’s in Port Jefferson…..it is a grocery store that is truly awesome – like if Wegman’s and Trader Joe’s got married and took steroids – LOTS of steroids!!! They even had a little Italian guy wandering around serenading the customers!!!

It was sooooooo good!!!

Sunday evening we went to Linda and John’s church for mass……St. Francis Chapel in Miller Place

It is a Friary – an old Monastery with Father Frank – a wonderful “hippy” priest who runs Hope House Mission – a program that helps addicts get and stay clean! It is a great program that Linda volunteers for and has had great success in helping so many!

It isn’t big and elaborate, by any means, but it is warm, inviting, and Father Frank’s message was extremely inspirational…..and the Hims and Her Choir of recovering addicts was a very emotional experience! Although I’m not Catholic, I felt like a welcomed part of the service and felt really good about being there and left with a full, warm heart!

One of our other days, we went to the shore —- the ocean was really active after the rain and wind from the night before – HUGE waves!!!

But, it was a gorgeous day to be on the beach……a bit chilly, but sunny and bright and very pleasant!

We found this little green guy enjoying the sun……

There were several people out walking on the beach and a few dogs, too

And, LOTS of seagulls!

Don’t look, now, but you’re about to get wet, my friend!!! LOL

This is a place I could spend hours just sitting and walking and taking photos!!! It was so relaxing!

This is the spot on Long Island where TWA Flight 800 took off from JFK on the evening of July 17, 1996 and 12 minutes into the flight crashed just off shore, here! There were no survivors! This International Memorial was established to honor those who died in the crash and those who worked tirelessly in search and recovery efforts.

It is a beautiful tribute with benches and information and inspirational quotes!

This little building caught my eye – it is across the street from the ice cream parlor we went to that is close to Linda’s home — it is an old school house turned into a Free Library!

It seems like everywhere we went, we saw ducks and swans!!!

So……I’m not sure what I expected Long Island to be like — I guess I thought it would be little quaint beach communities……well, there was definitely plenty of those, but it was so much more! First of all, it is a LOT bigger than I thought! I guess I thought it was just a small strip island with just beachy communities…….it has a LOT of rural space and wooded areas and many both quaint little shopping spots and bigger malls – including a Tanger Mall! And, it is a HUGE island — I think it took us a little over an hour to get from Miller Place to Montauk and Miller Place is about 1/2 way up the island!!! But, whatever I had pictured in my head, I found Long Island to be a beautiful place to visit with tons to do and see! I had a really nice time and knocked several items off my Bucket List and/or did things for the first time ever: See the Radio City Music Hall Rockette’s Christmas Show, see NYC decorated and lit up for Christmas, get my photo with a real Macy’s Santa AT Macy’s, visit Long Island, add the Montauk Lighthouse to the list of amazing lighthouses I’ve seen, went inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, drove through the Hamptons – all of them, and even saw a little green man on a beach!!! And, so much more!!! It was a great week of wonderful memories!

November Photos – Part 1

November in pictures…..so far:

Taken today in Mount Albion Cemetery! I always love going to Mt. Albion in the autumn and seeing the deep leaves that have fallen from all the trees throughout the cemetery – covering all the roads and paths. Due to weather and / or being busy, I hadn’t been out there during the peak colors until today! I was instantly disappointed in myself because the maintenance crews were already hard at work blowing all the leaves into piles and vacuuming them up with their big hoses into trucks and hauling them off! Most of the paths and open areas were already cleared. I was so sad that I missed the blankets of leaves everywhere you look! But, I was still able to get some great shots and see and enjoy quite a bit of what makes Mt. Albion one of the best places on earth during the weeks that the trees shed their beauty!

“This Rules!”

This one was today’s Daily Photo Challenge pick…..

And, now, for others from the November Daily Photo Challenge…..so far…….

“Morning Sky”

Three days deliberately combined to tell the story of:

“I Want”, “I Have”. and “I Need”

“Fave Fruit”

“Strong”

“In My Kitchen”

And, one more look at:    “This Rules!”

November is going to be an awesome month for photos!!!

The rest of a colorful month in pictures

I really enjoyed doing the October Photo A Day. The topics all related to colors in some way. Here are the ones I took since the last update on here.

Gold

Silver

Two Colors

Pattern

Bright

Pop

Contrast

Black and White

Pastel

Rainbow

And, now……..on to November!!!

Movie Review – A Star Is Born

I have now seen all four versions of the amazing movie “A Star Is Born”! I have to say that I was, at first, reluctant to see the current version. While versions 1 and 2 were very good, version 3 – the Streisand / Kristofferson version – was so incredible it has the honor of being one of my (if not THE) all time favorite movies….I still get chills and a little teary eyed just thinking about it! It was movie perfection!!! So, when I heard they were working on yet another remake, I thought – oh, hell no……they can’t possibly top the 1976 version, so why waste the time and money! Then, I heard who they had cast in the lead roles — Bradley Cooper in Kristofferson’s role…..OK, that could work……..and Lady Gaga in Streisand’s role – WHAT? Seriously? No Way!!! So, right from the start, I was refusing to even consider going to see it!

But, then, I started seeing the trailers, clips, and interviews and thought……heck, this might be good, after all! Lady Gaga does have an incredible voice and the over the top image she had early on is being replaced with that of a strong, impressive woman! So…….maybe she can be effective in the role. So, yeah, I started getting excited about it coming out. And, by the time it got released, I was chomping at the bit to go see it! It opened two days before I left for Bermuda, so I had to wait to see it……then, going the week I got back didn’t seem to work out……so, my friend and I went to the matinee show on Monday, the 22nd – two days before my birthday – Happy Birthday to me!!! 😀

So…..did it live up to the hype I built in my mind about it or did it fall flat? I’ll go into more detail in a bit, but – in a nutshell – YES – it was amazing and definitely did NOT fall flat or disappoint me in any way!!! I LOVED IT!!! That said, however, the 1976 Streisand/Kristofferson version still reigns supreme and has not, in my opinion, been derailed as THE best version of them all…..and, therefore, still on the top of the leader board for my all time favorite movies!!! But, that doesn’t diminish the splendor of the current version, which I rank # 2 of the four versions and one I will definitely see again and again and again!!!

For those who are clueless and don’t know the story line………this movie is the story of a burned out star (in this version’s case, a country singer) who meets, falls in love with, and boosts the career of a rising star (in this version a pop singer). They have a rocky relationship as her career soars and his starts to fade. I won’t do any spoilers…….but, suffice it to say, if you go see it, you’ll want to take tissues —- lots and lots of tissues!!!

Lady Gaga does do a phenomenal job as Ally. Her voice is amazing and she breathes life into the character in a way that both surprised me and felt completely natural. I think we’ll see more of her on the big screen……at least I hope we will! Bradley Cooper……well, duh!!! He was perfect as Jackson (Jack) Maine – those gorgeous eyes of his – they penetrate from the screen to each and every viewer – in every role he plays he manages to ensure everyone who watches feels a personal connection! And, as usual, he portrayed the character easily and brilliantly! BTW – he also directed the film AND co-wrote the screenplay!!! And…..if Bradley Cooper wasn’t enough eye candy for one film, they threw in Sam Elliott as Bobby – Jack’s brother and manager! OMG……just a bit of handsomeness overload going on in this film!!! The surprise was Andrew Dice Clay as Ally’s father…….I kept looking at him thinking “that man sounds and sorta looks like Andrew Dice Clay”, but he wasn’t his usual “in your face” comic with dark hair and a black leather jacket, so it threw me off — I had to read the credits after to see if it was really him and – yes – it was!!! I liked this Andrew…..I hope to see more of him in roles like this!

So, how does it compare to the other three versions? I already told you it didn’t knock the 1976 version off its pedestal, but it did come a very close second. All four version, of course, have the same basic story line……but, they all have their differences to make them stand on their own. In the 1937 (original) version, the stars were Janet Gaynor and Fredrick March and the lead characters were Esther Victoria Blodgett – an aspiring actress who took on the screen name of Vicki Lester – and Norman Maine – an actor at the end of his career. The 1954 version had the incomparable Judy Garland and James Mason and they kept the same names for the lead characters – the difference was the addition of a musical element, as Esther (Vicki) was a singer with Norman being an actor breaking her into Hollywood. The 1976 version really shook things up with Barbara Streisand as Esther Hoffman – a singer who refused to change her name – and Kris Kristofferson as John Norman Howard – a larger than life rock star! The current (2018) version kept music as the primary theme – Lady Gaga’s character is a pop singer known only as Ally and Bradley Cooper is a country music star whose name is Jackson (Jack) Maine (bringing back the last name of the earlier versions). Some of the most notable, memorable scenes are consistent from version to version, but there are other subtle differences – aside from the names and careers of the main characters – in each (the first two are most closely matched). Not to spoil it for those who have not seen any version, yet, but to let those who have seen it and have an expectation of the ending……the current version ends the same, just differently…..so, yes, you’ll need tissues – lots of tissues!!!

         

Yes – I enjoyed ALL four versions — I’d rank them in order of least to most favorite as: 1937, 1954, 2018, 1976. And, for someone who didn’t want to consider a remake after the 1976 version, I actually can’t wait to see how they do it next time…….hope they do it again in my lifetime – the first three were ~20 years apart (give or take) and the last one came 42 years after the best one — guess that was smart! So — my rating: I give this one a BIG TWO thumbs up and a solid 4.8 out of 5.0……only because it didn’t top the 1976 version and I didn’t sob quite as hard as I still do every time I see Streisand/Kristofferson – even after at least a gazillion times, so I probably unfairly deducted 0.2. Go see it……whether you’ve seen the other versions or not……and, work towards seeing them all at some point! You won’t be sorry!