Gen Z Classic Movie Review

Ghostbusters (1984)

By Peter Mazzucco
Stratford High School

Who are you going to call when you are in trouble?  Many of us would say their mom, dad, a friend but hardly anyone would say Ghostbusters!! Dan Aykroyd had a belief in the paranormal.  His mom for one claimed to have seen ghosts. He wrote a book entitled, History of Ghosts.  He continued on to create the movie, Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters was released in June, 1984.  It was a movie of comedy, action and horror. Ghostbusters launched into a multi-million dollar franchise. This included TV shows, sequels, comic books, clothing, music and much more.

Bill Murray is a great actor in this movie. Andrew Pulver, a middle-aged male, stated that the humor in the movie is great with top of his game, Bill Murray and everyone else involved.  He wrote this review in Rotten Tomatoes. The review praised every aspect of the movie.  He quoted, “But really it’s the blizzard of college-humor smut purveyed by Murray- and occasional deadpan-nerd sallies form Ramis-that still make this such a treat, a quarter of a century on.”  One review by Janet Maslin states the negative.  It focuses more on the movie than the actual plot.

Ghostbusters is an action packed movie with a lot of neat effects such as when a transparent green-slime monster gobbles up a mouthful of hot dogs.  The plot involves an epidemic of psychic reports in Manhattan.

The actors, Murray, Ramis, and Aykroyd, defrocked parapsychologists whose university experiments have been exposed, create a company named Ghostbusters and offer to speed to the rescue like a supernatural version of the Orkin man.

Besides the  story about catching scary ghosts and the possible end of the world it also has the audience laughing at the jokes. Yes, there are some inappropriate language that we would not want others to hear, especially kids but parents can have conversations with them.  This was back in the 80’s so yes, they smoked in the movie.  Again, a discussion for parents to have and mention to their children that it was the era.   Make it a family movie night and talk to the kids after the movie about other characteristics of heroes and how others can save the day.

Almost all reviews online have been positive about the movie. Some do say strong language but in this day in age, what show or video game doesn’t have it?  Some I read are opinions and not actual facts.  See the movie for yourself!  I ain’t afraid of no ghost!!

December Art in the Library

Stratford’s Ellen Thees’ Oils on Display thru December

“Still Vignettes”

An exhibit of original oil paintings by Stratford artist Ellen Thees is the current art exhibit at the Stratford Library.  The exhibit, entitled “Still Vignettes”, continues at the Library through December 2022.  It is free and open to the public. Viewing hours for “Still Vignettes” are: Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m.- 8p.m.; Friday-Saturday: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Sunday: 1-5 p.m.  The display is located in the Main Lobby of the Stratford Library and will continue through December 2022.

Ellen Thees creates big and colorful still life oil paintings.  She renders objects at least double their actual size to highlight the wonder and beauty of the everyday.  The work has a clear sense of depth with elements of abstraction and surrealism.  Thees started teaching herself oil painting in her early twenties and painted for several years before focusing on building a career and earning a degree. The more Thees played with paints, the more she learned and the more excited she became. After a concussion from a car accident left her unable to continue the highly analytical work she enjoyed, she reluctantly retired.  Ellen then began painting every day, developing her style.

Thee calls the exhibit “Still Vignettes,” because many of the works suggest little stories about the personalities and relationships of the inanimate objects. Her paintings are mostly two to three feet wide. Thees lives in Stratford with her husband of 48 years and their cat.  Her artwork has been exhibited several times at the Milford Art Council’s galleries and she will be exhibiting at the Oxford Baking Company in February.

For further information, call the library’s Public Relations and Programming Office at: 203.385-4162 or visit:

Sister Cities Chorus Correction

In the December 2nd issue of the Stratford Crier the Chorus Director for The Sister Cities Chorus was misidentified.

Christopher Andrade is the Chorus Director.  He earned his degree in Music Education from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, and has done extensive graduate study in the field of choral pedagogy through Central Connecticut State University’s Summer Music Institute. He also has a long relationship with the Sister Cities Program, having been a member of the first student delegation to Stratford, Ontario while he was a student at Stratford Academy.  In addition to his work with the Sister Cities Chorus, Chris is director of choral music and instructor in music technology at Darien High School, musical director of the Trumbull-based Coastal Mix Barbershop Chorus (formerly known as Coastal Chordsmen), and director of music at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Trumbull.  In those moments when he’s not directing some ensemble or other, Chris enjoys spending time with his wife Maggie and their three children.

The Sister Cities Concert at the Stratford Library is free and open to all.

Please bring a non-perishable item to be donated to the Sterling House Community Center Food Bank.

“Books Over Coffee”

“Joan Is Okay” by Weike Wang

Stratford Library
Beginning December 28th
In Person or on Zoom

“A witty, moving, piercingly insightful new novel about a marvelously complicated woman who can’t be anyone but herself, from the award-winning author of Chemistry.

Joan is a thirtysomething ICU doctor at a busy New York City hospital. The daughter of Chinese parents who came to the United States to secure the American dream for their children, Joan is intensely devoted to her work, happily solitary, successful. She does look up sometimes and wonder where her true roots lie: at the hospital, where her white coat makes her feel needed, or with her family, who try to shape her life by their own cultural and social expectations.”  Book Browse

Books Over Coffee program has returned to a live, in-person format in the Lovell Room while also continuing on Zoom through December 2022.  The monthly book discussion program has been a popular staple at the library for over 40 years.   It is free and open to the public.

Scheduled for December is “Joan Is Okay” by Weike Wang (December 28).

Copies of all books are currently available for loan at the library’s Circulation Desk.  The titles are also available for loan on Kindle and Nook eReaders.  Zoom links for each book discussion are found on the website.

For further information, call 203.385.4162 or visit the Stratford Library at 2203 Main Street in Stratford, Connecticut. Timely information is also available on the library’s website at:

Final Fall Feature For Stratford Library Film Series

Monday Matinees

Top Gun: Maverick with Tom Cruise
Monday, December 12th at noon

Top Gun: Maverick on Monday, December 12th, shown uncut and on widescreen in the Lovell Room.

After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him.  Blockbuster sequel to “Top Gun”.   PG-13, 131 minutes.

“Top Gun: Maverick” was named best picture by the National Board of Review, the organization announced Thursday.  Cruise’s legendary career has seen him earn three Academy Award nominations across 40 years of acting and producing, the films he’s produced have taken in a staggering $11 billion total. With Maverick, he’s also largely responsible for saving the business of blockbusters after the pandemic throttled the theater industry. His latest was the mark of a return to normalcy and the film industry as a whole is better for it.

For information call: 203.385.4162




“The Brightest Thing in the World”

Girl Meets Girl in Yale Rep Premiere

If You Ask Me

By Tom Holehan
Connecticut Critics Circle

Currently on stage at the Yale Repertory Theatre, “The Brightest Thing in the World” is a world premiere by Leah Nanako Winkler. The play has been commissioned by Yale Rep and ultimately proves an odd and rather conventional choice for the usually more adventurous theatre.

Straight out of a Hollywood rom-com, two young women meet at a trendy Kentucky bakery where free spirit Lane (Katherine Romans) is serving the coffee and pastries. The more reserved and intellectual Steph (Michele Selene Ang) feigns indifference but slowly warms under Lane’s insistent charms. A romance ensues…with bumps along the way, naturally.

Covering a three year period (2016-19) and set in Lexington, Kentucky, “The Brightest Thing in the World” covers familiar romantic ground, albeit with a same-sex bent. The ladies are obviously perfect for each other but we soon learn that Steph is a single mom whose parents are raising her child and Lane is a recovering heroin addict. Lane also has a successful older sister, Della (Megan Hill, sucking all the oxygen out of the room) who is unmarried and used to playing mother to her wayward sister. With a running time of just over 95 minutes (without intermission) the play proceeds with little surprise or invention. By its final scene you may find yourself thinking, ”Well… that was a play”, and little else.

Director Margot Bordelon has elicited very broad performances from her actors who seem to be having a great time working together. There’s some charm here to be sure, especially in the quieter moments which, upon reflection, seem few and far between. Miss Ang’s occasional loud outbursts, for example, can shatter glass while straining credulity in the process. Even in a hectic sequence where an overdose victim is splayed on the floor clinging to life, Bordelon goes for big laughs and broad business which only works if your name is Tarantino and the movie is “Pulp Fiction”.

Scenic Designer Cat Raynor provides two lovely settings for the play that includes the aforementioned bakery as well as Della’s upscale home decorated festively for Christmas. Graham Zellers’ lighting has some magical touches that enhance the mood and Travis Chinick’s costumes are individually distinctive for each actress.

“The Brightest Thing in the World” continues at Yale Repertory Theatre, 1120 Chapel Street in New Haven through December 17th. Masks are required. For further information, call the box office at: 203.432.1234 or visit:

Tom Holehan is one of the founders of the Connecticut Critics Circle, a frequent contributor to WPKN Radio’s “State of the Arts” program and the Stratford Crier and Artistic Director of Stratford’s Square One Theatre Company. He welcomes comments at: His reviews and other theatre information can be found on the Connecticut Critics Circle website:

Stratford Alive with the Sound of Music

Holiday Concerts at Stratford Library

Final Program in Celebration of the Library 125th Anniversary Year

Sunday, December 4th at 2 p.m. in the Lovell Room, The World of Harmonica presented by harmonica virtuoso Bob Hennessy is an effort to expand the awareness of the instrument.  Using Story Telling, Historical Facts and playing the instrument in many styles including holiday classics, Hennessy tells the story and plays the music that will open ears and minds to this unique instrument. The program includes a PowerPoint presentation.  It’s small enough to carry around in your pocket, about as inexpensive as a musical instrument gets, and capable of evoking a variety of sounds and moods.  Hennessy will take his listeners through the metamorphosis from the 10 cent harmonica of the mid-1800s to the adaptable midi-harmonicas of today. It’s a great trip filled with toe-tapping rhythms and well-known tunes that punctuated America’s growth from a young country to its most recent past.

Sunday, December 11th at 2 p.m. in the Lovell Room.  The New England Guitar Society, a favorite of Stratford Library audiences, offers the best of classical guitar in a seasonal mood for the December 11th concert.  The New England Guitar Society is one of the committees under the umbrella of the Milford Arts Council.

Sunday, December 18th at 2 p.m. in the Lovell Room.  The Stratford Sister Cities Chorus is Stratford’s own choir which represents the town on an international level.  Their holiday concert on December 18th will conclude the Library’s holiday music series.

The concerts, held in the Library’s Lovell Room at 2 pm each Sunday, are free and open to the public.

It is sponsored this year by the Janice Daponte Memorial Fund.

For further information call the library at: 203-385-4162 or visit its website at:

Holiday Rom-Com “Joy Meets Girl”

Searching for Love

Holiday Readers Theatre Set for Stratford Library
Saturday, December 3rd at 2 p.m.
Free and Open to the Public

The Stratford Library will have a special holiday readers theatre event on Saturday, December 3rd at 2 p.m. in the Lovell Room.  A new play, “Joy Meets Girl” by Kimberly Hill, will be presented in a staged reading in the Library Lovell Room.  It is free and open to the public.

“Joy Meets Girl” is a Christmas screwball romantic comedy about a woman’s desperate search to find love in her hopelessly neurotic relationships and the truth of life – before wedding bells chime. She has 20 minutes.

Playwright Kimberly Hill has written for the TV series “Cheers, “Family Ties”, “On Day at a Time”, “Facts of Life”, “Empty Nest” and “It’s A Living” among many others.  She developed pilots for Paramount and, in New York, wrote a script for Macy’s NBC Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The cast for the Library reading includes Carolyn Savoia (Norwalk), Qesar Veliu (Shelton), Tom Rushen (Stratford), Richard Warren (Milford), Joan Barere (New Haven) and Sib Law (Stratford).  Law, who will direct the reading, is Co-Founder of SquareWrights Playwright Center, which has debuted hundreds of works by emerging playwrights. He is also a Featured Playwright of Alaska’s Last Frontier Theater Conference.

“Joy Meets Girl” is recommended for all ages.  General seating will be available beginning at 1:30 pm.

Swing Into The Holidays

Coastal Mix Holiday Concert

Stratford Community Concert Band
Sunday, December 4th, 1 p.m. at Milford Senior Center
Tuesday, December 6th at 7 p.m. at the Baldwin Center

Stratford Community Concert Band will be holding holiday concerts on Sunday December 4th at 1:00 the Milford Senior Center and at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday December 6th at the Baldwin Center.

The concerts are free.  The Stratford (CT) Community Concert Band was formed in 1961 and for many years existed as a conventional concert band. However, over the past decade, and under the direction of Wayne Hiller, the group has evolved into a 40-member swing band. Its repertoire is largely devoted to the performance of classic and modern swing arrangements. Members range in age from high school students to retirees and hail from the Stratford area and beyond. Free concerts are held both in December and throughout the spring and summer months at a number of locations.

​The band welcomes not only musicians who play woodwind or brass instruments normally associated with a swing band but also French horns, baritones/euphoniums, tuba, and double reeds. Rehearsals are held on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 at the Baldwin Center.  Rehearsals are fast-paced and musicians should be proficient on their instruments, but there are no auditions or membership fees. If you have questions, feel free to contact Bob Sherman.

Wayne Hiller, Music Director, graduated from Stratford High School, where he was a member of the band and chorus. He attended Susquehanna University and the University of Bridgeport. He has a BA, an MA, and a 6th Year degree in Music Education.

His fifty year career includes membership in the US Navy Band as well as a diverse career of entertaining in Hawaii, Connecticut and New York.  He has been arranger and instructor for many drum corps and marching bands from coast to coast, including Stratford’s own Connecticut Yankees and the Anderson Dunn and Kochiss American Legion Posts.

Wayne is a member of MENC and the Eastern All American Judges Association. He was a DCA judge for fifteen years and judged eleven national championships. His career in education includes band directorships at Darien, Central, and Harding High Schools.

In addition to serving as conductor/arranger for the Stratford Community Concert Band, Wayne currently performs with a trio, quartet, and octet. Additionally, he is the music arranger for the Paul King Band, the Wayne Hiller Octet, and the Westchester Brassmen.

We look forward to seeing you either on the stage or in the audience!

Advent Concerts at First Church

Weekly mini Advent concerts at First Church Stratford, will be featuring pianist and organist Dr. Joe Utterback, celebrated American jazz pianist, composer, and recording artist.

“Dr. Joe” Utterback is a featured performer throughout the United States. From the Tony Awards dinners in New York City to music festivals across the country, his high-energy piano jazz delights audiences. Joe infuses familiar blues, ballads, Broadway, and jazz classics with a captivating, dynamic style.

The concerts will be held in the church sanctuary, 2301 Main Street, at 3 p.m. Wednesday, December 7th, 14th  and 21st.

There is no admission fee. Come and enjoy the wonderful music of the season!

For more information about the concert series and other church events, please visit