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Sandra BrownOrdinarily you’d expect me to blog about books, a topic near and dear to my heart! And I’ve been reading some good ones lately. Ever read Jack Ketchum? Sadly, I hadn’t until my son, Ryan introduced me to him, and while browsing in my local bookstore recently, I ran across a reprint of an early book of his called The Lost. Ketchum is a horror writer but this book is a thriller – in the strictest sense of the word. The prologue is gripping, and it never lets up. It’s not a book for the faint of heart, but I couldn’t put it down.

Okay, see, how obsessed I am with books? I can’t help myself. I set out to do a blog about movies, and instead I’m talking about books and writers. By the way. . .bear with me, this is cool. There I was at the ThrillerFest cocktail party, mixing and mingling, and trying not to make a complete fool of myself when introduced to the book industry’s best. Then, I happened to glance over my shoulder and spotted my husband Michael in conversation with Clive Cussler. Clive Cussler! Whom I’ve never even met. Michael waved me over and said, “Sandra, this is Clive,” like they’d been friends for years.

Turns out, it was actually Mr. Cussler who approached Michael and introduced himself. Someone in the crowd had pointed out Michael as a car collector. Mr. Cussler has 105 classic cars, so they had a lot to talk about! I was dazzled, not only to be in the presence of a fiction legend, but to learn firsthand what I’d been told – Clive Cussler is a class act, a gentleman, and as nice an individual as anyone could possibly hope to meet.

Oh, this was cool, too. The following day, when Michael and I disembarked at DFW and were on our way to baggage claim, we passed an airport bookstore. Front and center were books by Clive Cussler, Jon Land, Lee Child, Brad Thor, James Patterson, Douglas Preston, Harlan Coben. . .all of whom we’d been with the evening before. I realized how fortunate I am to know so many outstanding talents. And those are just the writers who have new books out and presently in the front racks.

Smoke ScreenOh, right. . .movies. I thought I should blog about that since this is the summer movie season. (Not to be confused with the summer book season and the BIG book this year – Smoke Screen.)

Ahem. Habit. I’m sorry.

I want to see “Mamma Mia!” I saw it on Broadway, and you can’t beat the music. And what a cast! Eye candy for sure. I plan to check my brain at the door, have a bucket of popcorn, and dance in the aisles to “Dancing Queen.”
I love movies. I’m often asked, “What’s your all-time favorite?” Impossible to say because there are so many. Some I’ve watched dozens of times. And you can bet that, if I come across a favorite while channel surfing, I’ll join them in progress and stay with them until they’re over. “The Godfather,” is one. “Shawshank Redemption” is another. A second with Morgan Freeman, “Driving Miss Daisy.” I have to watch until Hoke feeds her a bite of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.

I can’t not watch “Legends of the Fall.” I adore “One Fine Day” and “Love Actually.” That last scene in the airport when people from everywhere in the world are being met by loved ones while “God Only Knows” is playing. . .well, I get choked up every time.

Dear FrankieAnd if you’ve never seen “Dear Frankie,” with Gerard Butler and Emily Mortimer, get it. A friend recommended it and I fell in love with this quiet little film. I’ve watched it at least a dozen times. I dare you to watch it and not get teary-eyed.

Is it just me, or do you miss movies about people? Grown up people. Real people. Not spoofy, goofy people or comic book characters personified, but actual human beings. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate special effects and animation. I think they’re terrific. I can’t wait to see “The Dark Knight,” the new Batman movie, and I’m a big fan of “Toy Story,” and “Cars.”

But I miss movies where the story is the star and the main characters are relatable. I don’t mind a bit — indeed I look forward to — watching all six hours of the BBC’s production of “Pride and Prejudice” with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. I’ve sat through it ten times, yet I never tire of it. But my taste is eclectic. I’ve done the same with “An Officer and a Gentleman.” I could practically recite the script. It never gets old.

Property CondemnedI miss the movies of the great Sydney Pollack, who died not long ago. “This Property is Condemned“, starring “newcomer” Robert Redford, I saw the summer I graduated from high school, on a date. I loved it then, and still do. “Love With the Proper Stranger,” with Steve McQueen and Natalie Wood. Black and white, but fabulous. “The Way We Were,” “Tootsie,” and one of my all time favorites, “Out of Africa.” When the lion and lioness come and lie on Finch Hatten’s grave. . . Here I go again. Pass the Kleenex.

You’re bound to note a partiality to love stories, but I like war movies and westerns, too. I like historicals and contemporary. I don’t mind nudity (depending on who’s nude) or graphic language, although the four letter words can get a bit boring. My one criteria is the story. It’s all about the story. Just like books. . .
See? It’s compulsive.

If you have a must-see movie list, I’d love you to share it.

Contest Alert! Five lucky winners will be chosen to receive an advanced copy of Smoke Screen!  What’s the catch?  We want reviews!  Either on your own  blog, or right here at the pond.   All you have to do is comment on this post with some of your “must see movie” suggestions for Sandra.  Good luck!