Recovery and Convalescence Movies: Nephrectomy edition
Inspired by @karlalucia
- •A surprise diagnosisJust after Mothers Day 2013, and five months after my mom died, ER doctors found a slow growing kidney tumor—8 cm. People tell me that is very big—large enough for asthma symptoms from it impinging the left lung.
- •I had the best surgeon and hospital careThank you Providence Memorial and Rio Grande Urology. A delicate organ (thankfully, most of us have two), the anesthetist explained he would chemically "kill the kidney" before my surgeon removed it. This lessens the risk of hemmoraging.
- •Bottom line: Never try doing too much after major surgery.Two days after I was home I tried doing the laundry, but was back in bed for the remainder of the week. After 5.5 weeks, I drove alone to the nearest Starbucks. That was a big deal. The next time I drove to my dad's (17 miles one way, highway driving in July with 102°+ temps). I nearly fainted at the wheel exiting I-10. Things did begin to go black, but was OK.
- •With all the bedrest, musicals and a few dramas figured greatly in recoveryYeah, the musicals end up blue sky with cisgender traditional marriage or relationship. But their choreography, cinematography, and costuming are beautiful and charming, which is what you need when convalescing. Several dramas are detailed procedurals and based on popular books of their day
- •An American in Paris (1951)Stars Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. Features George Gershwin's "American In Paris" performed as a ballet sequence featuring Cyd Cherise. In a dream-like reverie vignette early in the film, the brilliant and acerbic Oscar Levant struggles to compose Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" in his Paris apartment.
- •Brigadoon (1954)Stars Gene Kelly and Cyd Cherise. Shot on sound studios with no outdoor locations, the film lends itself to the ethereal dreamlike concept of the little Scottish village that appears one day every 100 years.
- •Daddy Long Legs (1955)A sweet May-December musical with Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron, and based on the 1912 epistolary novel by Jean Webster. Set in post WWII France and NYC, the musical traces the love story of monied player Jervis Pendleton III and young French orphan he anonymously adopts named Julie Andre.
- •High Society (1956)The musical version of the wonderful "Philadelphia Story" with Cary Grant-Kathryn Hepburn-Jimmie Stewart. The film stars Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Celeste Holm, and Frank Sinatra. It is the only one in this group not set in Paris or GB, but Newport, Rhode Island during its famed jazz festival.
- •Funny Face (1957)Stars another May-December Astaire vehicle with Audrey Hepburn and Kay Thompson. Inspired by the work of fashion photographer Richard Avedon, the movie provides beautifully shot interior and exterior sequences of late 1950s Paris. Opener "Think Pink" sets the stage for the film's irreverent tone towards the beats and mid-century fashion cycles and promotion. Designs by Edith Head.
- •Gigi (1958)Based on Colette's novella, the movie stars Leslie Caron, Louis Jordan, Hermoine Gingold, and Maurice Chevalier. Actually, I'm shocked at the extreme high to low IMDB critiques. Many are dirty minded and cannot hear the lyrics. For me, it reads feminist with an appreciation of intergenerational relationships and choice.
- •Also, a few dramasSome with a bent towards teaching and procedurals
- •The Day of the Jackal (1973)Stars Edward Fox, Michael Lonsdale, Derrick Jacobi, Terrence Alexander, director, Fred Zinnemann, cinematographer, Jean Tournier. From the Frederick Forsyth novel. A law enforcement/technology time capsule that resonates with its intense focus on detective and assassin processes and outcomes. Favorite character dichotomy and details seen in the Jackal's subcontractors: Gunsmith (Cyril Cusack) versus Forger (Ronald Pickup). Watch the original not the sequel. Beautifully shot, acted, located.
- •All the President's Men (1976)Stars Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Jason Robards, Jack Warden, and Jane Alexander. Directed by Alan Pakula, screenplay by William Goldman, cinematography by Gordon Willis. Based on the titular book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Centered on the Watergate break-in at Democratic National Headquarters by Republican CRP aka CREEP (Committee to Reelect the President). Precise attention on the investigative reporting that ultimately lead to Nixon's resignation.
- •Milagro Beanfield War (1988)Stars Rubén Blades, Sonia Braga, Chick Vennera, Julie Carmen, and John Heard. Directed by Robert Redford who gets it right. Author Nichols with David Ward (The Sting) succeed at parring down the book's 400 characters for the film. Magical realism emphasizes the environmental and cultural extinction Redford sees threatening the land and ways of life. Truchas location excellently captures the land and light of Northern New Mexico. Having lived in Santa Fe, I'm glad the film was made.
- •Finding Forrester (2000)Stars Sean Connery, Rob Brown, F. Murray Abraham. Directed by Gus Van Sant. Sure it's an old white man (Salingeresque), saved while mentoring a young black writer and prep school scholarship student, but it works for me. As someone who loves manual typewriters, its scene of writers composing together is perfect. Includes issues of writer's block, accepting/giving criticism, what constitutes plagiarism, parsimonious editing, and writing what you know versus writing what you think you know