Wonderful Things Happen In The Dark

January 16, 2018

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If he wasn’t working overtime, my daddy took me to the movies every week beginning when I was three years old. It was our “date.”

My favorite movie of all time, Gone With The Wind, came when I was around eight, and it helped shape my personality. Back then, a powerful woman was rarely shown on the silver screen, but in this movie, there they were, two of them; Scarlett scheming to get what she and her family needed to survive, and the lady Melanie, coming from her sickbed with her husband’s sabre to battle the damn Yankee.

My daughter’s name is Melanie. I should have named her Scarlett, and in fact, I recently began work on a book set in college days, and that is the name she’s getting … finally, Scarlett Mayse, an acting student who solves murders in her spare time.

This past Monday, I went with two friends to see All The Money In The World. We didn’t have to suspend our disbelief much at all. It’s more or less a documentary re-enactment of the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III. Everyone was fabulous. To think that Christopher Plummer shot his whole part in only ten days could be unbelievable, but we saw the results, and they were the work of a master actor at his finest.

On Friday, I went with one friend to see The Greatest Showman. Having lived in Venice, Florida for 35 years, it was more than entertaining.

My daughter graduated high school in the circus arena with the smell of elephant poo hanging in the air, and I still feel like part of the show. This movie is a wonderful adaptation from the stage, truly undiminished by the move from boards to screen. Showman is full of great songs and some of the most entertaining choreography ever, the best of which was Zac Ephron and Zendaya’s aerial ballet.

Saturday, my daughter and I went to I, Tonya. Every single member of the cast spun out a complete character, warts and all, and boy, did they have a lot of warts. As we left the theater, I said, “Allison Janney must have been foaming at the mouth when she read this script!” A role such as Tanya’s mother comes along once in a lifetime.

Today, I sat alone in the dark and watched Lady Bird. I’ve been a big fan of Laurie Metcalf going all the way back to Roseanne. While I am not a stranger to the mother/daughter journey, after those last two films, I consider myself blessed. Laurie’s powerful turn is balanced by Siorse Ronan’s teen-ager. She wrings every last drop from her character in this powerful look at a Sacramento girl’s senior year in high school.

So, having grown up in one movie house or another, I outdid myself this week. I caught four movies in six days. There are so many great scripts, so many great performances, so many fabulous life journeys depicted, and so little time to see them all … but I’m doing my best. I only wish my daddy could see them with me.

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