Friday, August 27, 2010

The Whole Wide World - Movie Review

Greetings Pups,

Last time, I wrote about some comparisons between two of my favorite television characters, one of whom is portrayed, or formerly portrayed, by Vincent D'Onofrio. And he happens to be one of my favorite people in reality. So writing about him, in a way, made me eager to share a little review of one of his movies, the best one of them in my opinion. It's called The Whole Wide World.

Yes, I know. Most people have never even heard of it, much less seen it. That is very sad, because it's amazing. But now that I think of it, many amazing movies have been unseen by the masses. We'll get to as many of those as possible, eventually. Moving on.

This movie is about a writer named Robert Howard, the author behind the Conan the Barbarian and so on stories. Of course, it does explore his writing, and it is does so in a very fascinating way. The main plot, though, concerns his relationship with a young woman named Novalyne Price, a teacher and aspiring writer who fits into the norm of society but is intrigued by the "out of the box" thinking of this pulp writer. D'Onofrio plays Howard, while Price is portrayed by Renee Zelwegger in one of her first roles. I believe this movie was made just before she got super famous with Jerry Maguire. Hmm? From Vincent D'onofrio to Tom Cruise? Hope she had a parachute. Look, I'm not saying that one is a higher caliber of actor than the other, though I do believe that; I'm saying that one is much taller than the other. That's the joke. I'm not good at this, am I? Let's press on.

Now, despite the fact that this man wrote the Conan stories, this film is nothing like the movies that spawned from them. This is a gentle, subtle, beautiful piece of art filled with some of the best performances I have ever seen from any of the actors here. That includes our two amazing leads, but also the late, great Harve Presnell, another actor that many of the young folks probably don't know about, but they should. And may I mention Ann Wedgeworth who played Robert's ailing mother. She was heartbreaking and brilliant, which may be my favorite acting combination

If you choose to watch this movie, you will find many great moments. However, if I must choose a favorite scene, few things are more enjoyable than seeing a little, tiny Renee in a shouting match with Vinnie D and having her be the one with whom you don't want to mess. I guess tough things can come in small packages. But besides that, there are many quiet and emotional parts where we see deeply into this complex, powerful and very real relationship. Even when they argue or take some cheap shots at each other, you can still feel the love.

The most incredible thing about this film is Vincent D'Onofrio's portrayal of Robert Howard, and not only because he is pretty much always a wonderful actor. I have seen him play other real people, Abbie Hoffman for one, but that is, in a way, easy. Or easier. Let me explain. Most of us know that man, his mannerisms, how he talked. D'Onofrio managed to grab the essence of who he was and become Abbie Hoffman. Robert Howard, on the other hand? Who knows what he sounded like or acted like? I personally have never seen any old film of him talking or anything. Maybe I didn't look hard enough. All I know of him is that he existed, and I'm thinking some people don't even know that much. And yet, when I saw the performance, I thought, 'Wow, he really reminds me of that guy' What?! I didn't know what Robert Howard was like, but it goes beyond what you can see or even what you know. You watch him act as this real life man and you can feel inside of yourself that he did capture him. It's undeniable and truly an amazing experience.

So, go on ahead and watch The Whole Wide World. I know that sounds like a command, but it is merely a suggestion. A good suggestion. If you want to see great actors at their very best, you will not be disappointed.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Friday, August 20, 2010


Greetings Pups,

Have you ever seen two people that technically have nothing to do with each other, but, for some reason they remind you of each other? I was reminded recently that I have been in that situation, and it made me start to think. As if I ever stop.

I had hit a dry spell during work on Monday and, hoping to find something inspirational to get my creative side out of its coma, I turned on the television. Turns out, I hit the mother load. At the same time, I found an episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent and an episode of CSI. It was a bit of a conundrum(correct spelling?) because I enjoy both of those shows. So I had to do some channel flip-flopping.

Anyway, as I gave my thumb a work out, going from one fictionalized crime replete city to the other, something occurred to me. I realized how much Detective Robert Goren and Gil Grissom remind me of each other. That thought hit me all of a sudden and I had no idea why, so I had to start analyzing the idea of it.

Okay, they are both extremely smart, but in very different ways. Grissom seems to have several pieces of paper to prove his intelligence. Not that he needs them, since he's happy to tell you how smart he is with a constant flow of useless info he gives whether you like it or not. That must be some breakroom at the CSI hangout. You just go to get some milk for your coffee while he's in there and you hear his voice. "Did you know that when a cow gives birth - ?" "No, I didn't know that, nor do I care. I just want my caffeine fix."

Goren, on the other hand, seems to be a bit more of an autodidact. I know nothing of his formal education, but the way he always rushes to the library while working on a case makes me think he has a thirst for knowledge. And, much like his counterpart, he pulls info out of his hat pretty quickly. Info that does not make me ask how he knows that, but WHY does he know that.

They also both can be quite humorous. Grissom can be dry and very possesive of punchlines. I mean, have you seen the looks he gives poor Greg Sanders when the kid tries to make a joke of his own? Goren, though, can be flat out hilarious. Not a bit afraid of the physical comedy, even in the background while his partner is talking to a suspect. I think, in those moments, "I should be listening to Eames in order to follow the storyline. I'm sure of it. But Goren is mimicking ballet dancers back there. How can I turn away?" Actual episode, right there.

Also, maybe it's just me, but have they started to look alike in the past few years? I know pretty much everyone goes gray and gets a bit of a Pillsbury doughboy physique when they get older, but I get a real through the looking glass moment with those guys.

Finally, the most important similarity - they both abandoned me! Oh, well, it's a good thing I'm a forgiving person.

Love and full Moons,

Becky the Writer

Friday, August 13, 2010

Piece of Work of Art - Day 10

Greetings Pups,

First things first. I think I will no longer put a little number on the days. I'm starting to annoy myself with that and it has been hard enough trying to come up with titles for all of these entries. Maybe I'll stop that as well.

Moving on to tonight's topic.

I understand that, in life, you often have to take the sour with the sweet, but I hate when a wonderful idea can be tainted by (I can't believe I'm saying this!) the truth. By that, I mean the truth about how people really are. Some great individuals and the Bravo Channel decided to create an amazing show called Work of Art, of which I watched every episode. Despite the fact that my own art doesn't lean much toward visuals, I was happy to see a place for artists to be allowed to express themselves. That is usually a very good thing. Now, of course, I did prepare myself for the fact that some of the art may be not to my liking due to content. In short, I don't generally don't consider a picture of a bunch of naked people art. Sorry. I did not, however, prepare myself for the way that some of the "artists" showed themselves to the world in a non-artistic way.

Look, I am the first to admit that some people who call themselves artists can be a little pretentious or obnoxious and I was certainly exposed to quite a bit of that in this show. I won't mention names, but, if you saw the show, you will know to whom I am referring. I feel as though many supposed artists are so incredibly caught up in the idea of being an artist that they can become a bit annoying. Often, due to the fact that sometimes art is unappreciated, they may put themselves on their own pedestal and that pedestal can be too high. Then, instead of others noticing them and their work up there, everyone says,"Hey, get down, you're bothering me".

So, if you are an artist, a tried and true artist with a lot of talent, then just be that. Be who you were made to be without trying to be something you're not. Like I always say, if you don't have truth, you don't have art. Oh, crap, that sounded pretentious!

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Monday, August 9, 2010

Night Out - Day 9

Greetings Pups,

I wonder if people often think about why they are the way that they are. I do, sometimes. For example, I wonder sometimes why I'm such a loner. A lot of reasons come to mind, but every time I go out with certain friends of mine I think, Oh, yeah, that's why.

I'm not saying my friends are horrible, but we all know people who have special little quirks that can drive us bat crap insane. One of my flaws is that I let things like this bother me. But I'll do my best to explain myself.

Recently, I went out with some friends to the movies. Now I do not tolerate people talking during the show, and I will shush them if need be. And I'm talking about a hardcore, tough "I have a degree in shushing" shush. Of course, I can usually only do this if I go to the movies alone. I have one friend who hates when I do that. Apparently, some people think that if I throw out a shush, the receivers of the shush are going to jump us when we get outside. My response to that is, first of all, MAN UP! And second I say, "Look, just because I would do something like that to someone doesn't mean that other people would".

And while on the subject of going out with friends, I'll mention something else. Does anyone else have that one friend who no one ever wants to drive? And the reason no one wants them to drive is because of the chance that you might stop by the drive thru. Now, personally, when I go through the drive thru, I'm fairly nice even if they screw up, which is often, but I never talk mean to them and we all know why. I'd swear at a missionary before I say anything to those people. But we all have that friend that will insult them because that's just what they do. As soon as the phrase, "What are you, an idiot?" goes from the driver's side window into the little menu speaker box, we all think, Great, I just wanted ice in my drink. Now I'm gonna get spit, or worse. So, yeah, I have friends who are permanantly in the No Drive Zone.

On the positive end though, we all have flaws and so do the people we know. Despite that, friends should be cherished. But keeping them in check is no sin either.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Theater Parts - Day 8

Greetings Pups,

I know I've been a bit negative lately with things I have to say. So tonight, I have something positive to say. Yay, right?

Okay, first, let me just say that I have a way of showing approval and that is, subtly, a nod and a smile. With disapproval, I give a shake and a sigh. You don't want that second one from me. Not at all. But, good news, this evening I will be giving a nod and a smile, and I will be giving it to the fine people at the Cinemark theater in Monaca, Pa.

Now I could say that I'm doing this because the floors are always non-sticky and the folks at the concession area are so nice. Of course, those people have to be that nice when they're charging that much for popcorn and drinks. It's like, "You wanna make that a large?" "No, my rent is due soon."

While those things are true, I have to dig a little deeper. I would like to give a major compliment to their bathroom. If you're like me, the thought of using a public bathroom can be a bit, oh, let's say horrifying. And I think, in most cases, those feelings are justified. They're either all wet all the time or there's no TP or they are just plain rude. Yeah, that's right. I called a non-living thing, a room rude. Know why? Because I can. But the bathroom in this theater is like a slice of a happy dream.

Not only is it always clean, which is, let's face it, a rarity, but just look at it. It's gorgeous. And the best part is that it's old school. There are knobs and levers and buttons. Not like these other places that are trying to keep up with the Jetsons, telling you to move your hand or other body parts here or there to get the water to turn on or the toilet to flush. I mean, I don't do yoga, and I can't meditate my way into being able to wash my hands. I just want to do what I have to do and get out. There are previews I don't want to miss!

So, once again, a nod and a smile to the fine people at the Cinemark, and I'll definitely be back.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer