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PPL’s Choice Awards

posted: , by Patti DeLois
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture


It’s Awards Season, culminating in the big Academy Awards ceremony on February 28th.

In keeping with the season, we at the Portland Public Library have put on our finest clothes, walked the orange carpet, and selected a few of our own favorites to receive the following awards:

Presenter: Elizabeth Hrickman


Winner: This award is presented posthumously to Alan Rickman. RIP


Presenter: Patti


Winner: The Madness of King George

This movie won three BAFTA awards (the British equivalent of the Oscars) including Best Picture and Best Actor (Nigel Hawthorne as King George.) Videoport owned this as part of their collection, and soon it will be circulating at the Library.


Presenter: Thaddeus


Winner: “My prestigious award for “Best Thing In a Box” is from the 2008 movie Se7en, with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. Pitt plays Detective Mills, a brash, passionate crimesolver who is roped into working on a serial se7enkiller case with weeks-from-retirement Detective Somerset, played by Freeman. Someone is killing people who have committed the Seven Deadly Sins, and is always one step ahead of Mills and Somerset as they follow his clues to an ultimate, gut-wrenching showdown. The brilliant movie is full of twists and turns and an intensity that has been lost on more modern thrillers, and comes to a heart-stopping climax when Mills, near the end of his sanity, screams to Somerset “What’s in the box?!” that the killer had delivered right to their feet. And what is in the box? Why, the winner of my award.”



Presenter: Mary

Category: DOGS

“The international film critics got it right when they began to award The Palm Dog Award during the Cannes Film trampFestival.  Begun in 2001, this award goes to the best performance by a canine (live or animated.)  Look at all of the great performances that came before that date!”


BEST PERFORMANCE BY A CANINE (live): Nikki in Nikki, Wild Dog of the North

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A CANINE (animated):  Tramp in Lady and the Tramp

BEST DOG FILM (comedy):  Best in Show

BEST DOG FILM (drama):  Greyfriars Bobby


Truman ShowPresenter: Hazel


Winner: The Truman Show




skeleton-twins-dvd-cover-50Presenter: Patti


Winners: Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig in The Skeleton Twins



Presenter: Kelley


Winner: Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire)

As a Teen Librarian, I have heard many an adult dismiss works of young adult fiction without having read them. My hackles go up, my feathers get ruffled - how can you criticize something you haven’t taken the time to experience? So, it is with just a tiny bit of shame that I say to you that I have never and will never watch the movie City of Angles starring Nicholaswings of desire Cage and Meg Ryan BECAUSE IT SHOULD NOT EXIST. There should be a law about remaking films this good. You know you agree with me.

I have an undergraduate degree in German (long story). In 2001, I was going to school in Berlin, and there was a movie theater in the center of the city that played Wings of Desire on a continuous loop throughout the day. This made total sense since the film was shot in Berlin just a few short years before the Wall came down, and captures a divided city in flux and decay. What an amazing experience it was for me to (1) skip school and sit alone in a dark theater watching this masterpiece, and (2) then be able to walk through the historic and changed city I saw so beautifully captured on film.

One of my favorite scenes shows an elderly gentlemen, Homer, wandering through a deserted field on the site of Potsdamer Platz near the Brandenburg Gate. In 2001, Potsdamer Platz was once again a thriving, modern business and shopping center. In the film, it is an abandoned wasteland around the Wall. Through the medium of his guardian angel, we hear and see Homer’s stream-of-conscious thoughts and memories of this place. This and many other scenes in the film will leave you hollow and aching with the solitude of the human experience.

Bonus awards: as if this film isn’t excellent enough in it’s own right, Wings of Desire wins extra credit for featuring the following: Colombo (Peter Falk), Nick Cave (performing! hot!), a traveling French circus, and the amazing interiors of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (State Library), where every reader is watched over by invisible angels.




jaguar hearsePresenter: Raminta
Category: BEST CAR
Winner: The 1965 Jaguar XK-E hearse in Harold and Maude
“The car was a first in its stylishness and form, despite being dropped off a cliff.While these types of car mash-ups were happening across the globe, no movie has done it in a way with such class and style. Sadly the car truly was one of kind and was actually destroyed during filming.This car paved the way for all other car mash-ups including the whole fleet of mash-up cars in Mad Max: Fury Road, all of which had multiple clones as the cars kept getting destroyed during that movie’s filming.”



Presenter: PattiJulie and Julia


Winner:  Meryl Streep as Julia Child in Julie and Julia




United 93 Presenter: Patti


Winner: United 93

Paul Greengrass directed this account of the ill-fated flight of United 93, using people who were actually working at the National Air Traffic Control Center to reenact events as they happened. On the plane, there are no recognizable stars to root for, just ordinary-looking people who reenact events as best we can reconstruct them. What makes the film so compelling and heartbreaking is that we in the audience know how it will end, and the passengers don’t.


Presenters: Sonya and Patti


Winners: We have a tie!big blue bug

Sonya’s Choice: Big Blue Bug Solutions from Dumb and Dumber



what's love got to do with itPatti’s Choice: The Ramada Inn sign in What’s Love Got to Do With It





 Presenter: PattiFredo


Winner: John Cazale

You remember him as Fredo in The Godfather movies. You remember him from The Deer Hunter, and from Dog Day Afternoon. You remember him because every performance he gave was memorable. His friends remember him in I Knew It Was You.


That’s all for this year’s awards. Thank you to all our presenters, and we’ll see you at the after party.


For the latest Oscar news, click here.

For a list of Oscar winners from the Criterion Collection, click here.


Movie of the Month: Eve’s Bayou

posted: , by Patti DeLois
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Art & Culture

eve's bayou“The summer I killed my father I was ten years old.”

From this intriguing beginning, our narrator, Eve Batiste (played as a 10-year-old by Jurnee Smollet-Ball) weaves a dream-like story of memories and visions from the summer of 1962.

The story begins at a party at Eve’s home, hosted by her parents, the charismatic Dr. Louis Batiste (Samuel L. Jackson) and his wife Roz (Lynn Whitfield), “so beautiful men fought for the privilege of saying her name.”  They are clearly the It couple in their community, and while Dr. Batiste dances with his older daughter Cisely (Meagan Good), Eve runs away in a snit and hides in the carriage house, where she falls asleep. When she wakes up some time later, she witnesses something she was never meant to see and does not fully understand. She reports this experience to her sister, who persuades her that she has, indeed, misunderstood the situation. From here on, doubts, mysteries and misunderstandings abound, and these are exactly what make the story so compelling.

There’s also some voodoo, and some psychic visions, and a possible curse, all of which may or may not be real, and all of which contribute to the exotic atmosphere of the Cajun bayou. The story is dark, although not without humor, and the movie itself is beautifully shot–the landscapes are beautiful, the actors are beautiful–and while some critics have seen this as a black version of a family drama, I would simply say it is a good family drama, and a refreshing change from movies about pretty white people.

Other recommendations for Black History Month can be found here.





Capes Optional – A New Graphic Novel Blog by Thaddeus Moriarty

posted: , by Sarah Skawinski
tags: Library Collections | Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Art & Culture

The “graphic novel” is a contentious thing. Some people, perhaps even yourself, consider them to be nothing more than long comic books with little to contribute to literature or society, dimming the brains of our youth by not being “real” books. Others, conversely, find them rich and entertaining, a juxtaposition of artwork and prose that adds an artist’s layer of imagery onto a story apart from, or perhaps in addition to, the author’s. Some simply find them a great way to keep up with their favorite comics, as most comic publishers will bind 5 or 6 issues of their comic books into graphic novels for easy consumption.

Sin City Whatever your outlook on graphic novels is, it is undeniable that their existence has had a profound effect on media, both within and beyond literature. Did you know that many of the blockbuster movies of the past twenty years (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; The Dark Knight Rises; 300; A History of Violence; Sin City; The Adventures of Tintin; and so many more!) were at the very least influenced by graphic novels?

And graphic nMausovels have also made lasting effects on characters we all know and love, too! After (and before) DC Comics’ Barbara Gordon was Batgirl she was the wheelchair-bound information broker Oracle, which came from the events in Alan Moore’s renowned graphic novel The Killing Joke. Looking for education in your graphic novels? Art Spiegelman’s masterpiece Maus is considered by many in academia to be an important opus of Holocaust literature, and there has been myriad research conducted around it.

V for vendetta

Graphic novels can be so much more than entertaining, just like any other book. They can be thought-provoking and allegorical (like Moore’s V for Vendetta or Watchmen); they can be disturbing and frightening (such as Scott Snyder’s Wytches); they can be beautiful (Lee Bermejo’s artwork in Batman: Noel is breathtaking); and they can be for readers of all ages (Smile by Raina Telgemeier is a smash hit with kids, teens and adults alike at PPL). And they certainly don’t have to just be about superheroes!

In this monthly blog, I’m going to do my best to open your eyes to the world of graphic novels and comic books, sharing with you and the rest of the PPL community my thoughts and discussing books old and new that you can find on the shelves. With a year full of new superhero movies (Batman v Superman; Captain America: Civil War; X-Men: Apocalypse; Doctor Strange; et. al.), and with the resurgence of old “nerdy” franchises such as Star Wars and The X-Files in popularity, the prevalence of graphic novels in society is only going to grow.

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