Monday, May 28, 2012

Top Ten Gary Sinise Movies

Greetings Pups,

So it's Memorial Day and it would probably be appropriate for me to do a moving tribute to the brave men and women we have lost over the decades. While I am grateful for them, I cried enough watching the National Memorial Day Concert last night and I just can't do it. However, one of the hosts of that fine program was Gary Sinise, my all time favorite actor. In case you don't know, he has done so much for our troops, past, present and, no doubt, future, it is overwhelming. I know some celebrities claim to support the troops and perhaps a couple of them do, but Gary Sinise truly does. So what better than to pay tribute to him and his film career.

Now I have to give a little disclaimer. A lot of his movies would not be considered "Gary Sinise movies". By that, I mean he is rarely the front and center star. He has been, but he tends to be something of a team player or a side man. Of course, he is. Come on, he's in a band, and he plays bass. And, yes, you will listen to that bass solo in the middle of the song, and you will enjoy it! And sad to say, he, like, many actors, has done a couple of movies that were not all that, let's just say it, good, but he is always good in them. So . . . it's all good. Here we go.

First - Honorable Mentions

The Forgotten - Believe it or not, from the moment I chose him as my favorite, it took about ten years for me to finally see him at the theater. For a lot of reasons, it just never happened. But it was this movie where I first saw him on the big screen. I was determined, and that time I made it happen.

Reindeer Games - Yes, I do call this my favorite Christmas movie, if for no other reason than my beloved Gary attempted to kill both Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron. Leave me alone. It was just a movie. And P.S. If you're going to watch this one, get the director's cut!!

Okay, I feel like I'm cheating, so, really this time, here we go.

#10 Impostor - Yeah, to be honest, this is one of those movies where I can't decide if I really, really like it or really, really don't. It literally changes from minute to minute. But you have Gary Sinise and, yay!, Vincent D'Onofrio in this one, and they have some good scenes together, though it was a lot of Gary running away from D'Onofrio. I don't get that. Why did he run? Looking at those two guys standing next to each other, you'd think Gary could have just taken out D'onofrio with his slingshot and one of the five smooth stones he gathered from the river. Anyway, while it has flaws, the good parts are so good, I have to give it a place.

#9 Mission To Mars - I bet a lot of people are on the fence about this one, too, but I find it rather interesting and entertaining. I refuse to give away the ending. Still, I love the fact that what is revealed in that ending probably made a lot of people who have made Jeff Foxworthy rich say "I knew it!"

#8 George Wallace - The problem with having a very likable actor play a real man who was pretty despicable is that, as you watch, because we all like Gary Sinise, we hear him speak the words of George Wallace and have the danger of slipping into thinking "Well, he kinda has a point." Though most of us would immediately retract that with a resounding, "NO! No, he does not!" But he did an amazing job portraying him from those early days to the time of his life where he actually wanted to seek redemption.

#7 Truman - Okay, I have to admit that I technically like the George Wallace movie better, but this one has a major advantage - no Angelina Jolie. Long story about that woman, but I just cannot deal with her anymore. But when it came to truly embodying the "character", the performance here by Gary was stellar. There's one scene where he is making a statement to the American people on television, and, as he speaks, the camera closes in on his face and you almost forget that you're looking at Gary Sinise. He became Truman in that moment.

#6 Apollo 13 - I know everyone thinks Tom Hanks where this movie is concerned, but I loved Gary's performance in this. He really played well to the roller coaster of emotions that the man he portrayed probably lived through. And, let's be honest, he ended up being one of the heroes of this story.

#5 Ransom - Wow, this movie was difficult to make decisions about. I mean, I obviously love Gary, but I also love (yes, I still do) Mel Gibson. It was like, "Who do I side with here?". Good news for Mr. Sinise, I am not that big of a fan of kids. Okay, yeah, his character took it to the extreme with dislike, but he did it so amazingly well. Therefore, his pure evilness was so appealing, this role had to be included.

#4 That Championship Season - I don't think a lot of people have heard of this one, which is a shame. Yet again, Gary Sinise is teamed up with Vincent D'Onofrio along with Terry Kinney, Tony Shalhoub and Paul Sorvino. I know, right. Calm down, people. This is the story of four guys getting together to celebrate their - what! - championship season of high school basketball with their coach. It takes place mainly within the confines of one house, so it, in my opinion, is reminiscent of a 12 Angry Men type of movie. You don't need anything flashy. You just need to get some phenomenal actors, lock them in a room together and let the magic happen. And here it certainly did.

#3 The Stand - And here is where it all began for me. This is where I first saw Gary Sinise. What were the odds? I was about 13 years old and in no way interested in anything Stephen King-ly, but I found myself watching this, nonetheless. Clearly, it was destiny, so this one always holds a special place in my heart. Even though it is still super creepy.

#2 Of Mice and Men - Not only do we get great acting here, but great directing. Yes, Mr. Gary Sinise pulled a Clint and did the behind and in front of the camera thing. Masterfully. And what a perfect choice it was to put him alongside John Malkovich in probably one of my favorite roles from him as well. And we also get a little Ray Walston here. Always a pleasure, sir. Hard to retell a classic story like this, but they did it.

#1 Forrest Gump - Duh, right? Well, I'm sure this is his most famous character and everyone knows it. He knows it. He named his band after this character, so obviously, it has been embraced. Look, there is no doubt that this is one of his finest roles to date and it is totally unforgettable. Everyone loves a lovable jerk, and that's what Lt. Dan was. And if Forrest liked him , how bad could he be? The best thing is that he has used this character to parlay into all the fine work he has done with the troops. Though I'm sure he would be doing it anyway.

So there it is, people. I could go on forever talking about how wonderful Gary Sinise is, and not just as an actor. He is an incredible man and a hero to heroes. I hope God will continue to bless him in all he does. And they better not cancel CSI:NY ever, because, if that was a movie, Mac Taylor would have made this list.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Monday, May 21, 2012

For Robin

Greetings Pups,

Yesterday was a tough day for me. We've lost someone else, and, this time, it was someone who I held even closer to my heart, Robin Gibb. I'm almost at a loss for words. It's difficult to express just what an impact this man made on my life, but I'll do my best.

Like everyone my age, I grew up knowing who the Bee Gees were. Some of us liked that, while others probably did not. It wasn't until I reached the age of sixteen that I truly embraced how wonderful and even inspirational they were and actually still are. After learning all the ins and out, ups and downs of their lives and career, I also learned a valuable lesson from them. You can't really give up on your passion. Sure you can hit roadblocks and fall for them, but if you are meant to do something you will do it. Even if the whole world is against you, you will not quit. As an artist, of course there have been moments where I thought it would be easy to just stop, but there was always something about the Brothers Gibb that kept me going. Something that I may have mentioned before, but I should do it again, nonetheless. I think of any time in their lives that they could have stopped, and then I think of all that they did after that point. I never want to think that I have the potential to do something great, but I never get to it because I gave up.

Now, while I do love all of them, I held a special place in my heart for Robin, for a lot of reasons. Maybe it was his voice or the fact that he sang my favorite song, I Started a Joke. Not just my favorite Bee Gees song, but my favorite song period. I had distanced myself from him and my memories of the group since Maurice died, since that turned everything very bittersweet. But I still loved them and him, and this is quite devastating for me.

I remember clearly when Maurice died and that was difficult as well. Mostly because it was so sudden. I mean, it was like two days and he was gone. Too fast and shocking. With Robin, at least, we had some time to prepare, since he had been so sick for so long. You pray and hope for the best, but you always prepare. It doesn't make it that much easier though, and since it has been scarcely a day, I'm still dealing with the loss.

I suppose I can take comfort in the fact that, despite a falling out in the years since Maurice died, he and Barry had made amends and as far as I know they were on good terms. Sometimes God gives us time as a blessing. Of course, I regret that I never got to say thank you to him for all he did, but I hope that he knew. I'm sure he did. And, despite what anyone tries to tell me, I knew my prayers did not go unanswered. They never do.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Friday, May 18, 2012

Endless Summer

Greetings Pups,

Forgive the kitschy title, considering the serious topic of this post, but there is no better word than "endless" to describe my love and admiration for the great Miss Donna Summer.

As everyone knows, we just lost this best definition of a diva and I am extremely saddened by this news. It could be the shock since none of us knew she was sick, but I think it takes someone leaving us to truly remember how amazing they were. Sure, none of us ever doubted her talent. Yet now that she can no longer share it with us and since we are being overwhelmed with the sound of her music, all I can think is "Wow, she really WAS one of the best."

Now sadly, I missed the firsthand experience of her disco days. Actually, there's a chance that many people my age will only remember her as Steve Urkel's Aunt Oona from Altoona. No seriously. But thank God she had a very good career beyond that disco era. That persistence to never give up on her passion was what kept her around for all these years. I must say that, as a writer, I love the fact that she was not merely some "do what she's told" pop singer. No, she was a songwriter who kept control of her publishing. Yeah, that makes her way smarter than some people I could mention. It's just one more thing to add to her pro list. Most importantly, she was apparently not scared to say she was a Christian. Now, of course, one way or another, I don't know what is truly in a person's heart. No matter what, though, I do hope that she is now in a much better place.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer

Monday, May 14, 2012


Greetings Pups,

Okay, so I know it's been over a month since I posted a blog, but I have a good reason. While I did do one after Easter, somewhat about Easter, in the month of April, I had to spend that month devoted to something else. April is, after all, National Poetry Month. Therefore, I had to give most of my time to working on my poetry. But then, more bad news. Halfway through NPM and ending about now, I took a month away from my thankless, abusive, commoners job to spend every minute writing. Writing poetry, books, songs. You'd think that would mean I should have been writing this blog like crazy. But when you've got your face and your pen buried in your journals and notebooks and there is nothing like a horrible job to interrupt, it's amazing how focused you become. I would pick up a pen and write and write and write until I was too tired to remember to do this. Sorry. I did get a ton of work done doing this sabbatical, so much that I pray God will let me do my writing and nothing else (because, despite what the uncreatives say, ART IS WORK!). But now that this blissful month is over, I can get back to doing what I promised to do at the beginning of the year, which is pay more attention to this blog. I do have plenty of ideas and will work on sharing them.

Love and full moons,

Becky the Writer