Monthly Archives: October 2013

“Rhapsody In Blue” and the Movies


My daughters’ high school orchestra took a field trip to hear the San Diego Symphony rehearse George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.  Gorgeous music!  It is so fun to hear a live symphony perform.

This piece of music was composed in 1924 and has so many themes and emotions to it, that it is useful music for soundtracks.

Here it is in an United Airlines commercial:

Fantasia 2000 (1999 PG) uses the entire Rhapsody in Blue to tell an animated story of three lonely people in 1930’s New York City. It makes me cry a little!  The Simpsons TV show has used Rhapsody in Blue twice (in the 2010 episode “Elementary School Musical” and again in 2012 in “The D’oh-cial Network”).


The Great Gatsby (2013 PG-13) brings the 1925 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald to life.   Nick (Tobey Maguire) finds himself drawn to his mysterious millionaire neighbor Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), and helps him reconnect with his former love, Daisy (Carey Mulligan).  Gatsby throws over-the-top parties in the hopes that Nick and his cousin Daisy will come by.

The movie matches the novel’s words and settings and characterizations perfectly.  But the music is a bit odd.

Instead of using music of the 1920’s, director Baz Luhrmann uses modern music by artists such as Beyonce, Kanye West, and Jay-Z.  Until he breaks through and uses authentic 1920’s Rhapsody in Blue to amazing effect.  Watch it here:

Amazing!  Beautiful, fun, music!

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Filed under Classical Music, Movies

Funny and Touching and in Spanish

Instructions_Not_Included-966231091-large Instructions-Not-Included-poster

I’ll start off this post by just telling you to go see this movie.

Go see this movie.

Yes, it’s in Spanish.  You will have to read the subtitles.  But it is worth it.

Instructions Not Included (Spanish, 2013, PG-13) is a charming comedy directed by and starring Eugenio Derbez, who is a well known comedian in Mexico.  Valentin (Eugenio Derbez) is a young man who spends his days wooing beautiful tourists in Mexico until one returns to abandon his baby daughter on his doorstep.  He rushes to Los Angeles searching for the baby’s mother, Julie (Jessica Lindsey), only to end up staying in LA after finding work as a Hollywood stuntman.


The movie cleverly shows the passing of time as daughter Maggie (Loreto Peralta) grows to age 7, and he grows in his skills as a father.  He has built a beautiful life for Maggie, although unconventional and imaginative.  All is well until Julie, Maggie’s mother, returns and wants to be a part of their lives.


The movie is funny and a little outrageous with the Hollywood stuntman scenes, but not too much.  Throughout the film Valentin’s only concern is for his daughter’s welfare, and it is lovely to see how he cares for her.  When they go to court, that is the only time the movie comedy is borderline stupid.


The serious issue of the movie is, who is best for this little girl? Watch it, reading along in English, and see the way star Eugenio Derbez answers the question.  Fun movie!

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Filed under Movies