About Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. Have loved my career (and was thrilled to teach the Common Core, which should not be thrown out due to public misinformation and paranoia) but am embarking on my own creative adventure, while the juices are still flowing.

And I thought the only “Gilda” was Radner

Ok, so maybe I’m not a film noir connoisseur. I had never heard of Gilda, but then again, I’m not a heterosexual male either. But wowee, Rita Hayworth certainly had pizzazz.

While the movie plot was pretty implausible (at least in 2020), I definitely felt the charisma between Glenn Ford (too boyish for me, give me Humphrey Bogart or Fred Mac Murray anyday) and Rita. Not to mention the sultry George Macready, who possessed a je ne sais quoi, and whose cheek scar was a real deal. Note to those afraid of Covid, his cheek scar happened due to a car crash where the closest doctor was a veterinarian AND he contracted Scarlet Fever since the vet hadn’t cleaned his animal utensils. hashtag: #wewillsurvivieaslongaspeoplestaycalm.

Glenn Ford, who I really didn’t know that well, won the Golden Globe for another oldie I’ll have to catch by Capra, “Pocketful of Miracles”.

Worth watching just to covet Rita’s lustrous locks, voice and body and for just a fun walk down memory lane.

With Regal closing, this may be are only ticket to ‘new’ films, films that are simply ‘new’ to us.

Dick Johnson is Dead, What a Way to Go!

Kirsten Johnson (writer and director AND daughter of Dickey J) originally made a splash with a doc called Cameraperson in 2016. I won’t pretend that I had ever heard of her before her recent and profound, “Dick Johnson is Dead”.

In Dick Johnson is Dead, Johnson walks her dad figuratively speaking through his Seventh Day Adventist beliefs about death and the afterlife as he meanders further into old age and dementia. While this may sound bleak, Kirsten makes it fun, by allowing her Dad to experience his hope for Heaven and biggest wishes.

This should definitely be in the running for the Oscar doc this year for three simple reasons: universal thematically, moving and unique.

Wildly inventive, this movie will make you seek out your own family with fresh eyes and patience. I only wish I had seen it Friday night, alas, most often, we’re lucky enough to live another day and improve.

And while I had thought it quite morbid, seeing Dick Johnson experience his funeral live (literally), I now understand my Grandma wanting to read her eulogy before the lights go out.

Now this is the Jenkins I Know: The Last Shift

Before “Kajillionaire”, I never suspected Richard Jenkins of any acting fraud. And with “The Last Shift”, which was suppose to be premiered before Covid took out the Sarasota Film Festival, Jenkins is back, possibly in his best role yet.

In The Last Shift his character is once again, down and out and awkward, but with Andrew Cohn’s amazing writing and direction, he is more than a character, he is a tragic figure. Bravo.

Equally as wonderful was Ed O’Neill, who should have catapulted to comedic movie stardom rather than be stuck in tv sitcom drudgery. Ed scene steals every minute he’s in. I love that man!

Shane Paul McGhie should also now be front listed for every part that Lakieth Stanfield turns down. He is a monster actor who evokes empathy while projecting keen intelligence. Birgundi Baker is destined for greater heights as well.

Go see this film. It’s real, raw and heartbreaking. You’ll want to go help a fast food worker afterward and rightly so, as these folks work thankless jobs for little pay.

Kajillion ways to improve Kajillionaire

I pat the couch like Sigmund and say, “Miranda, come sit over here. In fact, lay down and tell me what you wanted to communicate in this film.”

I really enjoyed Miranda July’s “Me You And Everyone We Know,” back when through lines were a thing. Kajillionaire was billed as a comedy, but if I laughed once, it was in delirium over how slow an hour and 36 minutes can actually feel.

A bit of an exaggeration. Yet Gina Rodriguez’s allure toward the grifter family didn’t make sense. Evan Rachel Wood seemed to be trying too hard to be weird, as was Debra Winger and Richard Jenkins. The movie just felt beneath them.

Evan Rachel Wood’s post tremor epiphany needed more explanation as to why she ignored Gina’s character, given that REW’s character had such an epiphany due to the child rearing and parent bonding classes she was taking.

Make us care more by not being so weird. Save that for a more capable eccentric, like Todd Solondz or Charlie Kaufman.

The Artist’s Wife: Almost 3-D

I really enjoyed The Artist’s Wife, but I have an old man crush on Bruce Dern, so own that bias. Actually I had a young man crush on him, too, even though I saw his younger man movies way after the fact.

Bruce Dern has that amazing charm to be able to be a total verbal barbarian, yet also be lovable (again stamp me ‘biased’). And in The Artist’s Wife, written and directed by Tom Dolby (wrote The Last Weekend which I need to see as a Patricia Clarkson fan) h certainly adds to this talent.

The acting in the film was superb. Lena Olin wins you over in the first five minutes. Her acting is real and her beauty just as genuine. Equally affecting was Juliet Rylance, in Frances Ha, but I was too in love with Greta Gerwig to remember her. Avan Gogia also does a bang up job, no pun intended, but it works (find out for yourself).

Ryan Earl Parker needs a shout out for cinematography for making winter look pretty in the NYC and Long Island area and Jeff Grace’s music complemented the film as well.

My only quibble is that the film was almost too pretty, all were gorgeous and rich. But I still felt the emotions, so in the end, the film definitely won me over.

The Devil All the Time (switch out Violence for Devil)

An often asked interview question is “if you could have four dinner guests, who would they be?” and typically, people name Jesus, Mother Teresa, Steve Jobs and Freud…you get the idea…

Based on my viewing The Devil All the Time, I’d like to dine with Antonio and Paulo Campos (writers and director of said film), the Safdie Brothers (Uncut Gems) and Charlie Kaufman (I’m Thinking of Ending Things).

Of course, I’d be tricking the Campos to attend what is really an intervention. One where I’d go, “Hey, Campos’ listen to the Safdie’s explain how small bits of violence have much more impact that constant slaughter.”
And Charlie would chime in with, “You realize you’re capable of creeping people out without a lot of bloodshed.”

And the Campos would pensively reply, “Oh yes, now we see, we thought Americans liked a violent waltz where on the three count, we strike with violence and then repeat.”

Luckily I didn’t read anything in advance of viewing except for a snippet that said Robert Pattinson stole the show. Trust me, I’m a huge RB fan every since the Safdie’s Good Time and felt this was probably accurate. However, I disagree. This was an epic acting collaboration and the only reason RB stuck out was, he was the only character not West Virginia slack jaw and depressed. (Note to West Virginia, which I suggest from direct experience since my great grandparents lived there and I visited most summers growing up: put Prozac in the drinking water pronto as 99% of the folks are clinically depressed, including all the characters except RB).

There are so many competent actors to mention, but I’ll just name the standouts: Riley Keough who is proving her acting chops rather than ride on her grandfather (ELVIS, yes, THAT Elvis’s coat tails), Tom Holland, and Jason Clarke.

The screenwriting as a story was well done and intelligent. Kudos should also obviously go to Donald Ray Pollock author of the novel on which the screenplay was based. Worth watching, I guess, as long as you turn your head or squeeze your eyes shut every ten minutes for the duration of two hours and 18 minutes worth. Hence, please Antonio and Paulos, come to my dinner party:)

The Nest Wasn’t Quite Empty Enough

Sean Durkin, director and writer of “Martha Marcy May Marlene” decided to spare us the word count with his latest of sparer title, “The Nest”. I wish his screenwriting could have also been trimmed.

Don’t get me wrong, The Nest is worth seeing, especially if you’re in for a moody, gray foreboding Surrey landscape. Not to mention, superb acting by Carrie Coon, Jude Law and even ‘their children’; Oona Roach and Charlie Shotwell.

So what’s my problem, you ask? Well, have you ever heard the Louis CK method of comedy writing (no not the ‘come into my hotel room’ one-lol), the write your heart out and then use you closer at the beginning and rewrite forward? If Sean had cut the first five, maybe even ten minutes off The Nest, his film’s pacing would have been tighter. Or possibly the ‘beating of the dead horse’….you’ll see.

But even with the bloat, I enjoyed The Nest, in addition, even the message at the end, which as I always promise, I won’t spoil.

Jimmy’s Middle Name Should be Joy: Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President

Jimmy Carter is one of those rare individuals who has truly lived a life of integrity. And I’m so glad Bill Flanagan helped write the documentary Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President. Additionally, I hope this is just the start of bigger projects for director Mary Wharton, though she’s no novice, having won a Grammy in 2004 for best long form video for the song Legend.

What struck me about the doc within the first ten minutes was how much Jimmy Carter (and wife Rosalynn) smile. Genuine smiles from grateful, earnest people. Boy is that missing in our world right now. If we have to wear masks until Christmas, PLEASE, let’s make them transparent. We need to see people smile.

The doc details Jimmy’s humble upbringing (probably the antithesis and main curse of our most angry US clientele these days, meaning spoiled folks raised in luxury who now subconsciously suffer due to never having any real hardship, aka, ‘so let’s create one’) and his listening to radio music and his Sunday worship gospel songs.

We are what we watch and listen to and the point is hit home by countless musicians within the doc, too many to mention. The largest screen time goes to Willy Nelson, Gregg Allman, Larry Gatlin, Nile Rodgers and Bono.

While I loved the entire documentary, my highlights were:
Seeing Dizzy Gillespie have such a blast making Jimmy ‘sing’ Salt Peanuts, and Jimmy Carter’s Inaugural Gala where Aretha in all her beauty sang “God Bless America” and Paul Simon sang “American Tune”. This should be mandatory viewing for anyone angry these days. Get back to the music, y’all!

A Kaufman Plug: Woman Under the Influence

Charlie Kaufman’s an influencer, not the Instagram type, more of the cinematic and literary type. Having attempted to read a book he mentions in Antkind (The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty, blech, a shallow, yet ironic attempt to analyze our fixation with beauty), I took a crack at Woman Under the Influence from 1974 (after the characters in “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” talk about the film at great length) by the late great father of Independent Film-John Cassavetes.

I did finish the movie as uber difficult that it was due to my own PTSD from domestic squabbles in my youth. Yet now I have to go back to “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” to grasp the critique of the female character. I’m hoping (and almost sure) she recounted how the people surrounding the Woman in Woman Under the Influence were just as crazy as she. The Woman by the way was portrayed marvelously by Gena Rowlands for which she won the Golden Globe, aside trivia: Cassavetes wife.

Peter Falk wasn’t just kooky Columbo, he was a powerhouse actor as Gena’s equally insane husband. I loved his angry ‘we’re going to have fun kids!’) mentality. I think Adam Sandler would do a great rem-make of this as long as the Safdies’ are willing to direct. I thought a lot of the Safdies’ during this film, as their upbringing was almost as chaotic and brought to film wonderfully in Daddy Long-legs.

I literally was concerned about the welfare of the three children in the film as the scenes they had to perform were traumatic. On IMDB, it appears the two boys made it out alive into adulthood, but the little girl (Christina Grisanti) doesn’t not have an internet footprint which worries me. If you want to know the extent of extremes, Christina was dragged around by her arm several times by Peter Falk, had tea (praying it was cold) splashed in her eye and ran around naked in a house full of people. Can you see why I became a School Counselor?

At any rate, the movie certainly will stick with you and is available for free on HBO.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things, But Confusion Set In, Instead

I’m fixated on Charlie Kaufman lately, immediately falling in love with Antkind, his new epic comedy novel. So when it piggybacked (great callback that no one will appreciate unless they see “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”) a new movie he adapted from a novel by Iain Reid, I was in.

But wait, an hour in to the Netflix release, I was so creeped out and overwhelmed by the experience (it was night), I called a time out. Finishing it a day plus later IN DAYLIGHT, I was confused, but impressed.

What to say first: I said it first (though Charlie repeats it in “ITOET”, that he is the accessible David Foster Wallace…and given the title of this movie, I do worry about him. How can one many possess so much obscure knowledge and creativity? Iain Reid of course is due much of the credit here, supplying the story, but I wonder whose idea the dance sequence was…guess I know have to read the book though to be frank, I JUST read the summary and it sounds way way violent, where Kaufman’s genius in “ITOET” was creeping me out without bloodshed. How did he do this? Let’s talk about the images which won’t spoil anything:

Like Kubrick’s The Shining, there’s nothing like a snowy, blizzardy dark night for fear. Use the creepy lonely repetitive sound of windshield wipers on a dead night and you amp that up. Lukasz Zal is the cinematographer from the great black and white film “Cold War”.

Like Lynch, add in some minor characters of overly giggly fake looking women juxtaposed with sad hideous folks.

How about continuous scenes with a different face appearing to speak out of nowhere?

How about three power house actors whose moods change on a dime? Toni Collette (I bow at your feet), Jesse Plemons and Jessie Buckley all fantastic.

How about a cellar door with bloody scratch marks and tape marks like it had been manically taped shut? Or a black spot in the hay where an animal had died?

How about frozen dead animals?

See, stupid gratuitous violent movie makers, you can do scary without your stupid simple minded violence and gore! Let this be a lesson for you.
So watch this film, in daylight, in two chunks. You’ll still get the mood, trust me!