To all of those who celebrate this day, Happy Easter! As it is a holiday long celebrated my family, I’m engaged in many of the rituals I grew up with. So, I’m cooking up a storm and, of course, there is movie watching involved. But before I get to the food and the wallowing in pop culture, I must chat about an extraordinary book I just read.
Subversive and Sublime
A few weeks ago, I mentioned Sarah Freligh’s new book. Well, I read it this week and was completely blown away. Though it is a collection of poetry, it reads like a novel. Here’s the review I submitted to Amazon.com:
Sarah Freligh’s poetry collection, Sort of Gone is as subversive as it is sublime. To say it takes such American icons as Baseball and the 50s American family and turns them on their ear is understatement. She explodes them, and the shrapnel tears the reader apart. It is worth the ordeal to experience the complex lives of these fascinating characters. To Al Stepansky, baseball is salvation. It is an escape both figurative and literally from his sad and abusive household. Playing baseball gives him lofty goals to pursue, then the fame he thought he craved and toward the end of life, his only moments of true happiness. The poetics of baseball is not sort often seen on film and heard from orgasmic sportscasters. Baseball for Al and his father is order in a world that is often cruel and crushing. It is a connection between a parent and child in a fractured relationship. Sarah makes the reader understand how fans and players can lose themselves in the intricacies and rhythm of the game. Even if the reader has never watched a baseball game, the importance of the sport to its fans is easy to see and understand. Sarah accomplishes this with sparest use of words. Her economy and fluidity in driving her love of the game and her keen insight into family, sex, aspiration and disappointment home would be the envy of Al Steapnsky and perhaps to Mickey Mantle himself.
Do click on the highlighted title and buy one!
The Sublimely Bitchy
Jon and I are working on probably the most complicated script character-wise that we’ve ever done. [Yes, we are working on a script while prepping to shoot a film. It’s rare when we aren’t working on a new script] One of the key characters is a very beautiful woman who is a big personality and a big talent. However, she is vindictive and sometimes thoughtlessly cruel to the people she loves. It was a quandary as to how to demonstrate that she had qualities that would make people deeply care about her. So we rented the best bitchy film of all time, All About Eve to see how they handled the queen of all bitchiness, Margo Channing (Bette Davis). If you’ve never seen the film, it’s a must. The dialogue is razor sharp. The performances are complex. It’s an all around good time. And the viewing helped us figure out how this one character of ours should be written. Pulling that feat off is another matter.
The Sublimely Cheesy
Holidays for me are chances to connect with loved ones who aren’t in LA or who are gone forever. To that end, I indulge in the holiday rituals that I grew up with. Well, some of them. I don’t get my hair hot pressed and curled and put on thick leotards and my Sunday best. I like entertaining at home now, because I can wear pajamas. They look more lounging clothes, but they are pajamas. However, I do cook everything that we would always have during holidays. I even dyed Easter Eggs. We used a Spongebob dye kit (it was on sale), and I didn’t do many. And there is far too much candy in a place with only two people and no children coming by. All these things evoke very fond memories of holidays past.
Along with food and visits from our more interesting relatives, we would watch the epic holiday movies played on TV every year. There used to be a vast array of what I called holy movies, but now, there is only The Ten Commandments. When I was young, my brother and I just enjoyed it for the spectacle. My brother thought Yul Brenner’s Pharoh was really cool. He’d walk around for days after saying ‘So let it be written. So let it be done.’ As I got older, I realized that this was one wacky film. Everybody is chewing up the scenery. And then, there are all the really creepy characters like Vincent Price who, if he had one, would have been twirling his moustache in evil glee. Then there’s the inexplicable presence of Edward G. Robinson, who manages to be really creepy and incredible annoying. Why they didn’t leave him wandering in the desert alone, I’ll never know. John Derek wasn’t creepy in the film, but one can’t help thinking of how amazingly creepy he would be later in life. I don’t know when it dawned on me that Yul Brenner’s character was lusting after then married his own sister. But the film is delightfully wrapped in such tasty cheesiness, that it can’t help but be a fun time. Since we’ve lived in LA, Jon and I made sure to watch it with friends and comment all through it a la Mystery Science Theater 3000. A fun time is thus had by all. And I know my Mom would have approved.
The Gunslinger Trailer Update
Jon achieved picture lock last week. We then shipped all the files to the wonderfully talented Vic Mignogna to work on the sound and the music. Vic will be on screen in the feature version as Sheriff Mark Clayton. He seems very excited about pulling a gun on Shadow (Travis Willingham). I wonder if I should worry about that. We’re still on schedule for an April release of the trailer. The date for starting the feature is up in the air because of scheduling issues and a really huge logistical challenge, but we’ll know the where and when soon. Stay tuned.
A Soldier’s Fate
I am inputting diligently, and I’ve found a reliable proofreader. I’ll be shipping the book out in chunks to her as I input them. Thus, then when I finish the last of it, she’ll be close to completing the corrections. We’re still on schedule there. I feel almost organized!
CSI: Miami is new tomorrow. I will, no doubt, be kvetching about it next week. I can’t wait!