Excuse Me Mr. Bale, Meet Viggo Mortenson

Much like director Peter Farrelly’s movie career, [some highs comedy-wise with Dumb and Dumber and lows The Three Stooges, which was utterly disappointing even with my main man Larry David] Green Book was a 10 in its story and acting and a 1 for its trailer. Thank God for my watching the Golden Globes and discovering one of the screenwriters Nick Vallelonga is son of Viggo Mortenson’s character. Otherwise, I would have passed it off as ho hum based on the trailer alone.

So after the ol’ don’t judge a movie by its trailer, I was enthralled with the Green Book story and totally in love with both Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortenson. While both men were off the charts and Mahershala scored the Golden Globe, I am really hoping Viggo can win the Oscar. While Christian Bale had me at Dick Cheney, I have to say that Viggo’s role (similar weight gain) is a greater acting performance based on the Italian diction and overall mannerisms he performed with aplomb of a thespian acrobat. I also think that Mahershala’s truly outstanding work in Moonlight overshadows this less demanding role.

The most mystifying commentary regarding the film is how people raved about Linda Cardellini. Sure, she’s good as the devoted, eyes mist up when she reads her husband’s letters, but she wasn’t on screen long enough or showed any range to deserve the heaping praise given.

The essence of Green Book is that folks can evolve and learn to come together in support of one another despite our differences. A great message to carry in all of our hearts as we ride out the waves until 2020. Let’s be united and positive!

Watch for me by the “Moonlight”

On an afternoon when my head was spinning from too much play editing, I made myself calm down with a highly rated movie. “Moonlight”, adapted from a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney was just what the writing doctor ordered. (My title by the way, is an allusion to an Alfred Noyes poem I use to teach that the 7th graders loved called “The Highwayman”, a scintillating unrequited bad boy/good girl love affair).

In the movie Moonlight, there isn’t any unrequited romantic love, rather the worse elephantine version of a drug addicted mother too rattled to focus on child rearing. The best part of this film is the cautionary tale nestled inside the three part movie which traces the life of one young African American boy through childhood, adolescence and manhood. If I wanted to be snarky, it’s the real version of “Boyhood”. So, in case any parent with a young child ever reads this (not my demographic typically), may you get this message: ‘you reap what you sow’.

Down for the soap box I want to commend first the playwright (aforementioned McCraney), and second the director, Barry Jenkins (screenwriter and director). The Independent Spirit Awards have nominated both for the 2017 Awards, and I concur wholeheartedly.

The acting is nothing less than perfection. Notably, the actor who portrayed the middle Chiron (Black) played by Ashton Sanders and his boyhood mentor portrayed by Mahershala Ali.

I’d be sexist not to mention Chiron’s mother, Naomie Harris, but it’s the hollow Michael Fassbender syndrome, praising an actor for playing the villain. Ms. Harris does make you feel some sympathy for her which is the acting trick of the year. And if we want to give accolades for antagonists, and we should, someone has to be the ‘bad guy or gal’, let’s also notice the school bully of bullies played consummately by Patrick Decile.

One of the thoughts running through my head almost immediately was, ‘thank God we (the movie plus audience) are talking about the now, the present’. I worried America had lost touch with the present and felt all too comfortable in the long past or silly fantasies. If anything, maybe 2017 will be the time to get real.

Update: was in my glory last night with Awards season now upon us…..watched the Critic’s Choice Awards and am glad to say that Mahershala Ali did indeed score the best supporting actor award.

And if you read my next blog, you’ll discover another terrific winner!