|Fast-paced meeting photo taken at high shutter speed in order to capture all the action.|
Sunday, December 8, 2019
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Scott D. Parker
You know what you get when you write a book outside of November and NaNoWriMo? Nothing special. Just writing a book.
So, as of last Sunday, it is now December, but the novel I started on 1 November as part of National Novel Writing Month was not complete. I kept writing, as an author does. Because, you know, the novel's not finished.
I had expected to be finished by yesterday--my birthday!--but I'm still not done. Good thing, though. The story's taking on a life of its own, jetting into a direction I didn't anticipate.
But already, my mind's sifting through the possibilities. All during this writing process, I'm literally writing into the dark, experiencing the story as future readers will. But my mind keeps looking ahead, and in yesterday's session, it took a turn I never expected.
Which is what making writing stories this way so fun for the author.
As part of my birthday celebration, I saw the new Rian Johnson movie Knives Out yesterday. Our own Claire Boothe reviewed it last Sunday. I intentionally stayed away from it (I've now read it) and everything before I saw the movie. Didn't want even a hint of a spoiler.
Boy, is that one delightful film. I knew going in there would be many a clue and we viewers would be able to sift through the evidence on our own to see if we could guess the ultimate solution. Well, I had a theory...that proved false. But I caught a few things, even tapping my wife's arm (more than once) and say this or that.
I really enjoyed it. The film was a nice 21st Century twist on the traditional murder mystery whodunit. Ain't gonna say more about it other than the cast was fantastic. Daniel Craig, however, was really, really good. Bravo to Rian Johnson who wrote and directed this film. He's now put his unique spin on time travel stories (Looper), Star Wars (The Last Jedi), and whodunits (Knives Out). I enjoy his take on stories, and he's now one of those writer/directors that I'll always watch, no matter the genre.
Friday, December 6, 2019
Today, Beau Johnson takes a look at Zero Saints by Gabino Iglesias.
Enforcer and drug dealer Fernando has seen better days. On his way home from work, some heavily-tattooed gangsters throw him in the back of a car and take him to an abandoned house, where they saw off his friend's head and feed the kid's fingers to...something. Their message is clear: this is their territory, now. But Fernando isn't put down that easily. Using the assistance of a Santeria priestess, an insane Puerto Rican pop sensation, a very human dog, and a Russian hitman, he'll build the courage (and firepower) he'll need to fight a gangbanger who's a bit more than human.
Thursday, December 5, 2019
It wasn’t the best Christmas present ever - picking one from the panoply I have received and continue to receive is an impossible choice. But it hints at the best present ever: Love. Creativity. A family that could fix a broken axle and a smashed seat and get across the lesson: it doesn’t have to be mint condition box-fresh or even cohesive. Whatever it is, it just needs to get you where. You want to be, and to do so in a way that makes you know you’re loved.
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Billy Bob Thornton as Billy McBride holds it all together, of course, and this year he features in a nutty quilt of a plot that makes a few overt references to the world of David Lynch. Sherilyn Fenn's death kicks off the season, and a casino Billy spends much time in has a lounge singer who croons a tune or two heard in Blue Velvet. Usually, Lynch references in films and shows make me roll my eyes, but Goliath does it in a clearly playful spirit that brought a little smile to my face. And in fact, with its group of rich men who gather at times in the casino's secret room to smoke something potent, with its evocation of some odd mental states, with its somewhat jumbled (but for a reason) chronology that creates its own disorientation in the viewer, the season has a slightly hallucinatory character. Then there's the whole thrust of the central plot, which revolves around water rights. This is California, and when you think water rights and a crime story, you can't help but think of Chinatown. But California has water issues now as much as it ever did, so that's a subject that never goes out of style.
Where Goliath is most fun, though, is with its characters, a gallery of eccentrics, some quite driven in their particular obsessions, some more laissez faire about life. Each season has had a sexual undertow that's been intriguing, with the season's heavies having decidedly odd sexual preferences. William Hurt's character had his in season 1, Mark Duplass quite memorably had his in season 2, and in season 3, we get a brother-sister duo, Dennis Quaid and Amy Brenneman, who have enough issues between them, and a love-hate relationship, that should have had them in therapy for years. Both actors play their roles to the hilt. The show also gives us entertaining turns from Graham Greene -- full of subtle menace here -- Griffin Dunne, Beau Bridges, Paul Williams, and the too rarely seen these days Ileana Douglas, who's funny as a bar fly. Besides Thornton, the other cast regulars return as well, with Nina Arianda as harried and amusing as ever.
How to say it? Goliath isn't a show I'd recommend to anyone to watch if they want a crime show that's heavy on social realism or airtight storytelling. But over three years, it's carved out a niche of its own with a distinct flavor, and I find I enjoy going with its flow. It lets itself be oddball without going overboard about it, and the actors clearly relish the characters they get to play.
I also have to say I'm glad next season will be its last. Ostensibly that will bring closure to the series and four seasons of Goliath sounds just about right. No need to kill the buzz by overdoing it.
Sunday, December 1, 2019
Knives Out: Rated PG-13 for Daniel Craig’s Southern accent, a mask-free Captain America, and an always bad-ass Jamie Lee Curtis.