i see it now.

Bradley Cooper, Fresh Scratch, movie reviews

This year I actually saw all but three of the Oscar nominated films before the actual Oscar ceremony, so I’m feeling pretty in-the-know. Not as in-the-know as I would feel had I seen all of the films, but there’s always room for improvement next season.

And here’s my take away – all you ladies who love Bradley Cooper? I get it. I see it now. Prior to American Sniper I was the person who said, “I love Bradley Cooper’s acting, but he is not Ben Affleck to me.” In fact, I may have said this to Shara as American Sniper began rolling at the theater. But, Benny – you’d better make another movie soon so you can be all over the media, because Bradley is giving you a run for your money in the world of Mrs. Fresh Scratch.

So here are my humble reviews of three films you can {and should!} still see in the theater, along with two excellent rentals:

American Sniper

The day before the Oscars, I sat through three movies in a row at the theater. Yes, it was as awesome as it sounds, but it also was hard on the back.

This was the film I was least looking forward to seeing, but it was my favorite. For those of you who haven’t followed the true-life story, the film is about the life of Chris Kyle, a veteran of four tours in Iraq. Chris wrote a book about his experiences as the military’s number one sniper of all time and how this affected his civilian life. The trial for Chris’ murder was just wrapped up last week. The film really drives home the irony that he was in these terribly dangerous situations, yet was killed in rural Texas.

It’s directed by Clint Eastwood – hello! But it really didn’t feel like an Eastwood film. There was so much more intensity due to the use of close-ups, point of view shots, and just the subject matter in general. I think the essence of Eastwood that shined through was the message – our veteran’s need us. They’ve provided a duty to our country, and they really need the resources for proper counseling and mental health assistance after all of the things they’ve seen and have been through.

Bradley Cooper loses his Bradley Cooper-ness in this film. He is such a chameleon, isn’t he? I didn’t even recognize Sienna Miller as his wife. Actually, I thought it was some new actress who wasn’t very good at acting {harsh, I know!}, so I was surprised when it dawned on me that it was her.

The Imitation Game

This movie taught me something, which I always appreciate. It’s about the breaking of the German engima encoding machine during World War II by a group of highly-intelligent code-breakers in England. It’s also a film about tolerance – tolerance of women in the work place, homosexuality, and of individuals with Aspergers. During WWII and long after, these three groups were marginalized and disrespected in ways that really hurt to watch and that still happen today. It was a very powerful film.

Benedict Cumberbatch {my husband is forever calling him “Cumber-bunch”} – I get how awesome he is now. He did a beautiful job playing a man who saved so many at the expense of himself. And Tom Branson from Downton Abbey is here, too!

The Theory of Everything

Within ten minutes of the film starting, I wanted to leave. It was a brilliant and wonderful film, but I just was worried I would cry. It was so hard to watch Stephen Hawking become trapped inside of his own body. The one thing I knew for sure when I watched the Oscars was that Eddie Redmayne had to win for this role – I’m so glad he did. He totally earned it.

I love that this film was based upon Hawking’s first wife’s book about their marriage. It’s an examination of loyalty and sacrifice. He was given two years to live when they married. She hung in there a lot longer than that, and so did he. It was brilliantly done. I was glad I didn’t get up and leave at the beginning!

12 Years a Slave

I haven’t said it yet, but the best movies are usually the most difficult to watch, aren’t they? Because we all know what’s going to happen to Solomon Northrup at the beginning, there was a great pit in my stomach, wondering exactly how it was all going to go down – how was he going to go from a free man in Saratoga to a slave on a plantation in the deep South?

After he is kidnapped and forced to keep his identity a secret for his mere survival, we meet all kinds of people – children separated from their mothers, slave masters with a shred of humanity {again, Benedict Cumberbatch – the man is everywhere, y’all}, slave masters who are so insanely mean that you will never see the actor the same way again {I’m looking at you, Michael Fassbender!}. We meet Patsy, the role that gave Lupita Nyong’o her well-deserved Oscar for best supporting actress. Our heart bleeds for Solomon, who learns time and again that he is trapped and can trust no one.

And then Brad Pitt enters the scene, and, well, he is Brad Pitt after all – a good guy. And then it’s time for lots of Kleenex. This movie officially broke me – the Ice Queen melted a little. Okay, a lot. I didn’t just tear-up; the tears actually dripped down my cheeks. Happy now?!

I am so glad that, as time goes on, there are more books like this, more films like this, more stories told that are so like this one. I even heard that one of the plantations outside of New Orleans is a slave history museum.

Everyone’s story matters.

The One I Love

Okay. I cannot stop telling people about this film. The Mister and I watch a rom-com every Valentine’s Day. This year, this was the closest thing we could find on our Netflix instant queue. I’d heard an interview with star Elizabeth Moss when it came out at the theater this fall, and it went something like this:

I wish we could talk more about it! But, you know, you’ve got that big twist after the couple leaves for a weekend to work out their problems. Like, everything shifts early in the movie, and we just can’t talk about that without giving it all away.

Yes. Thanks. Intriguing!

Basically you’ve got a married couple and their therapist {Ted Danson! Ha!}. He has decided the last resort of saving their marriage should be going away for the weekend to a house in the country that he sends a lot of his couples to. They get there, and then things take a turn in the Twilight Zone direction, music and all. It’s not scary! Just really awesome. Like, on-your-toes, what-the-heck-is-going-on, how-will-this-be-resolved awesome. The kind of awesome where it felt like the whole movie was twenty minutes long.

In other words, rent it.

To summarize, in case you didn’t get the gist already, these movies were each amazing in their own way. Not a crappy one in the bunch.

You’re welcome!


insta.friday, fresh scratch

Hello. You still there?

It’s been a week that was supposed to zig, but has instead zag-ed beginning Monday morning with a certain daughter throwing up at school. There’s been a domino effect from that moment that I don’t even want to begin to trace for you.

It’s been a week where all of my routines have had to be let go, and that’s hard for me. To indicate what a creature of habit I am, an old student who works at the grocery store said, as I was closing it down Monday night as the last customer, “Mrs. Samson! What are you doing here this late at night? Where’s your kid? I wondered where you were this afternoon!”

All I can say is it’s all life. We’ve all been there, done that. I am not the first person to have a week like this. I know. Every now and then having kids reminds me that I am not in charge of my life.

So thank goodness for the nice secretary at my school who scrambles when I need a sub RIGHT NOW, for editors who offer grace when the deadline can’t be met, for friends who listen to my laundry list of crap, for in-laws who check on me because there hasn’t been much of a blog all week, and for a husband who tries to clean up the mess.

Here were the good parts amongst all the crazy, as captured on my iPhone and posted over on Instagram, where I am mrsfreshscratch:


A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Last weekend was all about the Oscars. As it should have been. It was my High Holy Weekend.

My sis-in-law and I joined Shara at the movies all day Saturday to see half of the Oscar-nominated films. Gluttonous? Absolutely! We sat for hours, watching these awesome films, eating popcorn, Junior Mints, Thin Mints smuggled in via my purse, and some tea/water/an orange for good measure.

Shara had watched the other half the week before. I’m jealous!

As long as things keep on the up and up, I will fill you in on exactly what I thought of these films next week. But for now I’ll say that, unexpectedly, American Sniper has been on my mind for days.

I closed out the weekend at Shara’s Oscar party, eating fancy desserts and movie candy and freaking out the one time the camera panned to my man Benny Affleck. It was an awesome weekend. In hindsight, I’m glad I stocked up on all that awesome before Monday morning!


A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

I’ve been working on a story for my reporting gig about a local baker who hasn’t given an interview before. After lots of rescheduling, it finally happened Monday afternoon, and, man, was I glad to escape my house for a little while!

The interview was one hundred percent worth the wait.

As were these Madelienes he made me to apologize for the delay. When you bake a lot, not many people bake for you. So when things like this happen, it blows me away and makes me feel like I am the star of a parade or something.

Then Thunder Road came on in the car as I was eating a couple of these, and pretty much the heavens opened up.


A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Momastery posted this on Instagram earlier this week, and I had to re-gram it. We can all use this reminder at one point or another.

A very nice lady at work said this to me when one of my lovely senior students made me ugly cry one day. She found me on the floor behind a cabinet just taking a moment to be a total mess and told me not to lose my tender heart. I have never forgotten her kind words.

So, I will leave you with that this weekend. Take some time to soften up. Give thanks for the people that help you stay that way.

After all, we get to start all over again come Monday…


mrs. fresh scratch

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