Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

[rate 4]

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (the Wilder original) is still campy, corny, and crazy. But watching it years after childhood, it takes on a new tone.


Yes, in my rewatch of this classic children’s flick I discovered just why it appeals to all ages. It’s not just the universal themes of rewarding honesty, punishing greed, and (of course) candy; it actually has a hilarious script with smart, witty dialogue that make it truly enjoyable for even those of us who learned its lessons long ago.

In this revisit, the opening act particularly struck me. It’s full of hilarious cutaways depicting news segments and eager ticket seekers. The bits have a dry, sarcastic tone that I’d never picked up on. Actually, much of the movie does – Wilder’s performance especially. When he emotionally and joyfully reveals that Charlie will be given the factory we too are surprised and our hearts are warmed thanks to the use of emotional contrast.

It’s definitely worth a revisit if you haven’t seen it in some time. And if you have seen it recently, you too can attest to the zest the movie adds with maturity.

4 stars out of 5.

Doubt (2008)

[rate 4]

I recently got a Netflix account on a free trial from a friend. It has instant streaming.

It’s awesome.

The instant streaming feature alone is worth the price of admission (which, for the time being, is zilch for me). The first movie I watched on Instant Streaming was the 2008 film Doubt, starring Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis.

I’d seen it in theatres, but seeing it again reiterated the initial impressions I had of the movie. As a friend said, it’s a “battle of the actors” – throw the finest film actors of our day on screen and see who comes out on top. In this case, everyone wins, but I wonder at what cost. The ambiguity that made the stage play so powerful is lost in the film, perhaps in part to the crispness of the performances, or Shanley’s very composed, angular visual style. The actors are at the top of their game, but to a degree they go too far, and while it’s still a compelling story, it loses the mystery that made it so much more on stage.

I still grant it four stars – these actors are at their technical peak, and watching their layered characterizations (in spite of how clean or meticulous they may seem) proves that.

Surviving the business world

I’ve been a follower of Becky McCray on Twitter for quite some time, but only today did I begin following her website, SmallBizSurvival.com. I don’t know what took me so long, the site is awesome! It’s packed with great articles, tools, and tricks for small businesses. It has a rural focus too, which is excellent for my area. As a web designer who has had success finding a niche in a b2b market online (primarily being outsourced to do work from other consultancies) and having a bit of trouble translating that success into direct work with businesses offline (eliminating the middle man) I’m finding a lot of great advice on the SmallBizSurvival website that will hopefully get me on a good track in this other focus of my business.

Some of my favorite articles:

Next questions from starting your first business
Checklists for starting your first business
Five common mistakes

I also enjoy the weekly “brag basket” posts. Hopefully I’ll have some accomplishments to share in the near future!

SmallBizSurvival is a great blog and it’s highly recommended for any entrepreneur, big or small. It’s already given me some great advice and I’m sure you can find something valuable too!