Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays

Christmas wishes and blessings to the Muse and all who celebrate the season. To our Jewish friends,  a lovely and peaceful Hannukah.   And to everyone else, no matter your faith or belief, I wish you a lovely, healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nine Lives and Rough Waters for the Muse

Dear Muse,

What a way to get some advance publicity and a little material for future talk shows!   I mean, I know you have nine lives, but I think you've already used up a few of them haven't you?

All kidding aside, it must have been one hell of a scary day for you and to think that you made it almost all the way through the whole movie without something like this.   I was very happy about the fact but when I heard this, I had to happen to Gerry.  You know it don't you?   No matter how much we push past the barriers, they sometimes push back and this was one of those times.

I have great respect and not a little terror of the water.  I almost drowned once and that little incident set off a chain of dreams later in life that would plague me constantly.  I was on a motor boat and the life test in those particular dreams was always the same.  Two people I loved fell in the water in the ocean and I had to save them and I could only save one and I couldn't swim.  It was terror every time that dream came.   I would make the plunge and I didn't know what the result would be.

I've always thought that the thing that scares you the most is sometimes the thing that gets you and if this was would be the ocean....and I've grown up on it's doorstep.    When I got married, the water ski trips to the lake with a big group of people were always a test for me and the terror just pushed me to get up on the damn skis almost from the first because I dreaded going into the water.

I always pushed back a little and tried to forget fear in favor of exhilaration when I went parasailing or even going up on an "ultralite," (two seats strapped to a lawnmower motor with a propeller).  It's good to work through you fears...  I see you doing it constantly....That's what we humans do all the time.

One very frightening experience years earlier came when my daughter was small and my husband was diving with some friends off the beach in Puerto Rico.   She and  I were on the rocks, watching out not to step on the sea urchins, when she slipped and went into the water.  "This is it," I thought!   The test!   I was able to stay afloat and push her out before getting myself back out and not stepping on the dreaded urchins, but it was scary...and I hadn't drowned.
Later in life there were other dreams (or nightmares).  I would be smashing up against a wall and go up in flames.  It was a constant one.   I would sit up suddenly and scare the hell out of my husband with my scream.  It was always the same one.   Eeerilly enough much later in life I went to see "Fuerza Bruta" (brute force) in NY and had the epiphany that I could just have walked through those walls and they would burst like the paper walls did in the show. I would never smash up against a wall again because I knew I could walk right on through them.   It was very a sense.... and of course I realize the nightmares were frustration and fears working themselves out in my dreams.....but when I was having them  they were terrifying for me (for my poor husband too).

I've written this because it's my nature to be philosophical, but also because I sincerely wonder what went through your mind, besides terror, being held under those waves.  Did you say "damn, this is it!" or did you struggle against it?   Could you even struggle against that kind of force or do you just try to hold your breath and hope the bouyancy pops you up before the next wave strikes and all the while being strapped to a board that could conk you in the head?   Was getting the strap off your ankle a thought going through your mind?   Of course the current was going to drag you though through the rocks, so that had to be another fear.   I can almost feel it now thinking about it.  Brrrr!

See, I have a thirst to know how these things affect others...the imprint they leave, if any.  I have a feeling they'll leave one with you.  I could be wrong, but no, I don't think so.

My daughter is going surfing in Costa Rica with her new guy in January.  He's a surfer, diver, etc...and I'm a little nervous for her.  She says she's at home in the water, but I don't believe it.  She grew up around the surfers, but it's not until recently that she's taken lessons.  But then I have to remember that she was the only female on a father-son trip to do some "individual rubber canoe" white water rafting and her dad was so proud of his skinny little daughter  holding her own with all the gung ho guys, most of them six footers.  When she came home she just said her arms and shoulders ached, but she just kept paddling, going with the on this trip, sitting around the camp fires at night, as the guides cooked dinner, she realized how brilliant her father and his friends she listened to their conversations about science, the earth, physics and everything else.

It was a wonderful experience for them.  For him, it was having that pride in her... and for her...well, none of us could foresee then that he wouldn't be around in another two years.

I'll try not to worry about her now because, hopefully, she has good common sense along with the fact her boyfriend is very experienced and will be looking out for her.   And, if she gets in over her head, like the rest of us sometimes do, she will gather her wits,  push past the fear and do what she has to, like she did with the white water rafting.

As for you, I'm so glad you're okay, dear Muse!  On this blog, I've kidded about the sharks and the whales, but I was glad the waves hadn't tested you.  Well now they have and you will have a healthier respect for them and perhaps some residual fear. That's okay.  It's human.

It will be interesting to hear your comments later on.   I know you will have them and give them some humor.  However, for now the incident may push you to examine a little more about life and how precious and how fleeting and how quickly it turns on a dime.  I've seen it.  You've seen it.

Be safe!   And even if you've used up another of your lives, you still have a few more to go. I think you have a guardian angel looking out for you, you know?  But don't push it too far.  Even guardian angels are out to lunch some times!

Does life feel a little sweeter today?  If it does,  enjoy it!  You don't have to go all the way out to the edge for the thrill.  It will come to you when you least expect it!  I expect you know that by now....



Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Should men wield fingers, when tongues speak truer?

Dearest Muse,

If I may borrow a line from one of your movies and play around with it a little to come to your rescue (and have a little fun) after you were so rudely photographed and filmed during a recent luncheon in La La Land with some friends, I hope you'll forgive me.  While fingers and "swords" are sometimes interchangeable for some forms of recreation, I fear that you need a better substitute for this particular instance.

While you are not the first man (nor will you be the last) to enjoy your food, uninhibited by convention and heedless of Dorothy Manners or Emily Post,  it might behoove you to be a little more cautious where you let your lovely locks down when out and about.  I would like to make several suggestions in this regard.

Knowing that your every step is dogged by the paparazzi and being possessed of a very nice pink and agile tongue whose dexterity you have gone out of your way to display in photo and film alike, one would think you would put said agility to good use to dislodge food from your teeth, like the rest of us.

If that doesn't float your boat, how about hiding behind a napkin (as you've done before) while picking the troublesome debris from your pearly whites?

Failing that,  you could always take a drink and swish the water around a little.  That might do the trick, with no one the wiser.

I know, darling.  Talk about taking the fun out of life!  

I have to say it's a good thing you pushed your hair back (with a very familiar gesture) before you cleaned your teeth.  Good grooming is essential when you are always in the spotlight.

I am sure you are either laughing or mortified to find out they caught you again!  I hope it is a lot of the former and maybe just a little of the latter.  A little mortification is always good to keep us on our toes and remind us that the world is so bloody overcrowded, that when we are out in public, someone is always watching.

To make the point, I once caught one of your past movie co-stars very busily digging into his nose on my way to the movies.  He was driving a very jazzy white, late model Mercedes and I was patiently waiting for the arrow to turn into a parking garage  at the theater and just happened to look over as he passed by, window wide open.

I was embarrassed for him and won't mention any names.  That would be cruel.

I am writing this, not to laugh at you but to playfully tease you, because as you will undoubtedly know from much experience, Murphy's Law being what it is, there is always someone waiting  to expose celebrities as being human, like the rest of us, so they can bring them down from the pedestal some people mistakenly put them up on, thereby feeling better about themselves.   It's a world that you choose every day, so keep laughing in the face of adversity because what else can you do?

Besides, on a one to ten scale (like on the Richter), this temblor barely rates a 2.  Only the meanies will keep talking about it.

By the way, dear man.   You know all that crying and the emotional roller coaster you were on during the Machine Gun Preacher promotion blitz?  Did you ever stop to think that some of it was due to the Chantix you were using to get off the smokes?  Check the side effects, love!

In the meantime, keep doing good work and having fun at it because life is too bloody short to sweat the small stuff.  And this incident is small stuff, believe me...

Everyone will quickly forget it if and when they get to see Machine Gun Preacher or they watch Tullus Aufidius go mano a mano with Ralph Fiennes' Coriolanus in the movie of the same name.

Although I must say, I almost like the scene where Aufidius shaves Coriolanus' head the best!

Stay warm and keep on watching out for the sharks!

Always fondly,

Zoni with a Z

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Thursday, November 24, 2011

It's Thanksgiving in America...

... and what  nicer way to start the day than with a photograph of a Scottish lad turned California surfer.

"Sweet dreams, may moonbeams find you..."

Hoping the Muse has found someone to cook him a nice bird with ALL the trimmings and wishing him a nice tryptophan induced snooze afterwards.

As we in America give thanks for all our blessings this day, we send good wishes to all those around the globe who share the planet with us and hope that you also have many blessings to be thankful for.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Monday, November 14, 2011

Deja vu?

Last night during "after the play" dinner at Drago Centro in downtown Los Angeles with friends,  I was looking over Celestino Drago's very prodigious wine list and was enchanted by the name of a 2008 Venetian Pinot Nero called Red Angel on the Moonlight.  We had ordered several different salads to share, two orders of their special White Truffle pasta with porcini mushrooms entree to serve as a pasta course, and three different fish and one chicken entree.  The dry Pinot Noir would go nicely with all.

As usual, we drank a toast to each other's health and happiness.  I then made a toast to the date, 11-13-11 and what has always been two lucky numbers I never fail to play in Vegas (my father having been born on the 13th of another month and that making it a special number for all his children).  Of course I raised a glass in a silent toast to G on his natal day, which, auspiciously for him, happens to fall on the 13th.

One of my friends present had finished reading one of my stories and I asked them  what they thought of the main theme, only to find out that,  though they had really loved the story, they had missed some of the nuances entirely. I ended up thanking them for taking the time to read the tighter revision of a draft I had unsuccessfully sent out to a few people a few years back and let the subject drop.

When I got home I decided to post some birthday wishes for the Muse, making it just under the wire and hitting the "post" button at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.  After that my curiosity got the better of me and I wondered if there was anything about Gerry's birthday and how he had actually spent it, on the web and found my way to a link to a twitter on an Italian site that mentioned  he had been seen at Cafe de la Presse in San Francisco. Experiencing a very quick moment of deja vu, I started laughing.

Is all of life merely a coincidence or is there an orderly way of things that we sometimes stumble upon by sheer serendipity?  I often wonder.  To me those little moments of deja vu are often regarded as "messages from the universe" with insight into a question I need answered or a problem that has plagued me.  For one who once wrote a novel on "timing" and its importance in people's lives and the scheme of things, I found this little moment a sure sign that it was time to kiss this particular story we had been discussing tonight over dinner, good by and send it out into the world one final time to sink or swim, as it will.  Nervous as I have been about doing it, it is time and so I shall.

As for the Muse, I wonder if he encountered any ghosts last night in said establishment.  The eatery, which was remodeled several years ago and appears entirely different from its earlier version, was that kind of place, among the many, for me.   San Francisco itself always conjures up so many lovely memories and serves as such a wonderful backdrop on which to place a story.

I hope he's enjoying his visits to one of my favorite cities while working nearby, and wonder if he took a ride down Powell Street?  The new and improved Gerry, with all his cardio workouts, could easily make the trek up on foot now and the ride down is so much more fun if only one didn't have to make any stops along the way.

I'll never forget one very irate Pakistani taxi driver, doing a Steve McQueen "Bullit" type of car flying thing, purposefully jostling three of us in the back seat and another up front, after picking us up from a club, where we had gone to keep partying after a wedding and lavish reception in Sausalito,  and he telling us, in his broken English, that "GOD does not love San Francisco!"

Of course we (and most other mortals) didn't share that notion and we just all rolled our eyes at each other and grinned!  Life was good in the city by the bay.  It still is!

The song is still a little out of tune, but I think the words are mostly right this time.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Favorite Muse

I was searching for something new to say in my birthday wishes this year, and went to your astrological chart online to see if there was anything there that might give me some inspiration.  I noticed that we share some dominant rulership by the planet Venus which rules my Sun and your Ascendant.  We both also share a Venus in Scorpio.   My dominant planets are Venus, the Moon and Pluto which rules Scorpio and yours are Uranus, Venus and Jupiter.

I don't really know what any of that means, except as some more trivia to clog the mind, but for some reason (not to do with Astrology),  I "get" you.

While many fans are always looking back and lamenting that the look of the boy that was, is no longer, I am seeing growth in the man that you are becoming as a result of your experiences, your travels, in your search for the spiritual (even though I kid you), and your work and generosity on behalf of those less fortunate.  It shows on your face and I like what I see written there these days.  I love it that even with that growth, there is that irrepressible part of you that is forever a kid.  Don't lose it.

This has been a good year for you, artistically speaking, with two  bloody good performances to show for it, if not a ton of money.   I must tell you that you've never done anything better on your knees (well perhaps you have) than the scene in front of the slain family in Coriolanus.  I have yet to finish my review of that movie, which I will post when I can stop musing over how unlikable a character Coriolanus was.  Suffice to say that you did yourself proud, holding up your end in a movie with such steller performances  by everyone, but especially by Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Cox.  To my way of thinking any overacting that was done in this one was NOT done by you, dear Muse.  I found Aufidius, next to Menenious and the poor Virgilia, the only redeeming characters in the story and you did a bang up job bringing him to the screen.

As for your birthday,  looking back on last years wishes, I wish you those again and more.  In addition, I hope (if you desire it) that you find that "other" who can fill you up for more than a night, or a week or a month, if that person exists somewhere in the universe.  If they do not or they do not cross your path this year, then I wish you joy for joy's sake and that you experience many moments of bliss and enough temporary loves to warm your cockles.

Remember to "live in the moment" (I think you already do) and keep on being kind to the little guys.  That is one of your most endearing traits.

Hope you had a wonderful party to celebrate your life and your year.  Stay well, be happy and keep striving for balance.

With affection and getting in just under the wire,


Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Swimming With the Fishes and Other Wonders of the Deep?

Looks like Gerry may be be sharing camera time with two of the ocean's larger inhabitants if they do any more "in water" filming for Mavericks.  Not only have there been white shark sightings off the California coast, but now there are larger than usual humpback whale sightings, as they are coming closer to shore to feed and have popped up surprising surfers and boaters.

With the shark attacks on the rise, hopefully the movie crews will have extra people stationed to keep watch for any unwanted visitations by the toothy critters and the playful mammals.  A professional surfer just pulled out of a contest and cited the amount of sharks being spotted in the waters as the reason why he withdrew.

Time constraints aside, I am sure the director and others involved in the shoot will ere on the side of caution to keep their cast  and crew safe and sound.... and out of harms way.   We share the oceans with these creatures, but it is their home and a healthy amount of respect for their presence is certainly warranted.

No one likes to be shark bait and a sweet, Scottish lad, a tasty morsel to many humans,  would certainly appear more so to a hungry shark or make a lovely toy to flip for a majestic humpback.  It is not a laughing matter, but when something scary threatens, levity sometimes lightens the worry.

Move cautiously and keep your eyes open  G!   And if you hazard upon any of the creatures, give them your best 300 Leonidas roar and show them your own pearly whites and, if that doesn't scare them off,  paddle like the dickens and get the hell out of the water and into the nearest boat!

You sure this shark repellent get up you're rigging works?

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Two Great Snaps from Santa Cruz

Back from my trip a few days ago and playing catch up, as the credit card bills start rolling in.  If anyone is interested I am posting some of the photographs and highlights of our trip on the other blog as I get them sorted out.

I need to catch up with what is happening in Gerry land, but I did  see several great  photos from the Mavericks' shoot in Santa Cruz and although they are already probably all over the internet, will post them here.

Smile for the Camera!
Meanwhile, hope all is well with the Muse and that filming is going smoothly.  It can't be too warm in Santa Cruz this time of year, especially in the early mornings.   University of California Santa Cruz was one of the universities D was accepted at eons ago and we made the trip up to check it out.  We stayed at a small hotel on the beach and heard the waves pounding all night.   The campus was beautiful as the smell of cannabis floated through the trees.

I have friends that live in Santa Cruz, but they live in the hills overlooking the city and have great memories of a lobster and crab fest at their home where they welcomed some of D's friends too.  Her friends thought my friends were the greatest.  All their kids surfed, of course.

D ended up going to another famous party school, UCSB and even though she partied as hard as the rest of them, she managed to make the Dean's List most of her time there.   I'm not sure how she did it, but I do remember those late night calls when she would pull all nighters before exams to go over some of her Spanish notes.  If those walls could speak!

Anyhow, I am going to the AFI Filmfest next week and have bought a special screening pass.  Am looking forward to seeing Coriolanus.  Also hope to catch Shame and Carnage (both Galas) if I can make it to stand in line.

Looking Good, Baby!

Am sending wishes for good weather to G. and company in Santa Cruz.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Confidentially Speaking...

...the cover of Los Angeles Confidential is lovely.  Gerard Butler wearing a stylish suit, slouching in a chair and smiling from ear to ear?   That's one I'll be picking up at the airport tomorrow on my way to NYC for a week and a second in Paris.  What the heck.  It's my birthday this week and I'll treat myself to a look at the muse on the plane.

Last time I saw him (at the Machine Gun Preacher Q&A) he was looking very fine, tall and slim.   At that venue I caught an apologetic little smile as he sat down and  looked around after the welcoming applause.

Those little glimpses of G are the ones that humanize him for me.  Don't know if they last long or anyone else catches them in the midst of so many changes in that very expressive face, but for me that is the guy that still somehow can't believe all the fuss over him, and has enough grace to be embarrassed by all the commotion.  I am sure there were many familiar faces in the audience, but perhaps that is his way of apologizing to the other part of the audience who is there for the movie and are not necessarily fans.   I kind of like that.  People's body language says so much.  However the magazine cover speaks for itself and is worth the space in the blog.

Gerard the Great?  Not really.  Gerard the enigma?  Well considering his following, fans as well as detractors who still hang in there to talk about him, there is something about him that still manages to interest people. For me it's something besides the way he looks.  I think it is a little about his duality....what he seems to be and what he isn't.   One moment he's serious and thoughtful and the next perfectly at home with a bunch of 10 year olds and being the biggest kid of all.  And then he gets in front of the camera and he is the urbane looking, sexy idol that raises women's blood pressures all over the globe.

But don't be fooled because the little kid is never too far from the surface!   He lurks in the corners of that very smile that says to me "Like me at your own peril because I'm only going to be me, ultimately."  And that "me" is one wicked little kid who loves to play and to entertain and likes to be loved for it.

Unless you are the paparazzi, of course.

Scowl for he camera, Gerry!

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Saturday, October 1, 2011

On Second Viewing - Machine Gun Preacher- Missed Opportunity


After a hair raising drive to get there in time for the 5:30 showing of Machine Gun Preacher at the Arclight Hollywood last Saturday (Murphy's law being what it is, traffic lights were down in an area just before the freeway and traffic backed up for 20 minutes),  I ran through the theater, preprinted ticket in hand at 5:30 exactly and sure they would not let me in.  Finding out what theater it was in, I headed for the stairs down, when I spotted Sam Childers, the preacher man himself,  in the lobby all by his lonesome.  On impulse, I put my hand on his shoulder in passing and said to him "Hey Reverand Sam, I'm on my way to see your movie!"   He gave me surprised smile and a "hey" back as I continued at breakneck speed down the stairs.

Suddenly realizing I had left my water in the car, I debated whether I had time enough to buy a bottle.  Deciding not, I scurried into the darkened theater where the previews were in progress, showed the usher my ticket and he directed me to the second row, second section.   I had thought I bought one in the first row, but the last preview was winding down, so I didn't bother to argue.    Oh, how I wish I had.

I am a nice person and I try not to judge others, but I found myself annoyed to be sitting next to what appeared to be a contingent of middle age and older Gerry fans who talked, moaned and tittered through many parts of the movie. Every time G appeared in one scene or another, it made me cringe when a deep sigh escaped several of the women.   Not only did I feel a little embarrassed for them, but annoyed that their carrying on took a little away from the seriousness of the topic and the focus on the performances.   It seems that it doesn't matter how hard this actor is trying to give a good performance, for some people it is still only about his looks...that he is a sexy dude. Thinking about that, never mind being embarrassed for them, I felt bad for him.  Being seen primarily as a hunky piece of meat over an actor trying to be something more must seem like a futile endeavor sometimes.

Now it's okay to be an avid fan, but I honestly have to think that this kind of thing is such a turn off to regular movie goers that are there to see a serious movie and don't care about who the actor is.   It was certainly a turn off to me, and I am fond of this guy.

Now to the movie.  I still found the first part of it dark and some of it colorless and the truth of it is, that the only real technicolor part of it was Gerry's intense look, peering out from Sam's eyes.

While a couple of the preaching scenes were was hard for me to buy Gerry as a preacher but I think the problem here lies with me, not with him.   When I was very young I went to enough churches with my grandfather to see the born again, fundamentalist type preachers and even then, as a young child, felt the preaching was more about showmanship then anything to do with God.  That kind of preaching never connected or touched me as much as a quiet sermon from a kind face...where you could look at it and know that God was IN that person, not some exterior thing or diety that you beat people over the head with.  I'm the type of person who likes sitting quietly in old Cathedrals and feeling the weight of history, the quietness of prayer, the real personal nature of communing with something greater than yourself, but still knowing that that essence is still a very part of  YOU and that you are worthy of that piece of divinity because you can feel it's grace touch you.  When you are out in nature, particularly the mountain forests or watching the ocean at sunset, it sometimes takes the place of the is that same communing with the vastness that represents God.  So while he may have been very effective in these scenes, my old tapes were playing loud and clear.  My fault...not the performance.

In other parts of the movie, I can almost go down a list of scenes and grade them from A-C, according to how convincing his performance was to me. Funnily enough, the bathroom drug scene was brilliant.  The scenes in the car with his pal when they are shooting up was spot on.    The Bank scene.   The nervousness in the church before baptism.  The quiet moments in his bunk in Sudan.     Watching the footage on the TV of news of Garang's death and his anger towards the normality in his home, when he is still so full of Africa.  The chilling Africa scenes where he sees the horrors of an attack on the village.   Several scenes with the little boy William and most of the scenes with Deng.  He was so on and really with it.  I loved his performance in these moments.

I also thought Michelle's performance was very good.  She got the grit, but infused it with her own brand of sweet that came through and that was very effective.  Michael Shannon's moments on the screen were also excellent.

The not so great moments:  The grenade launcher scene at the bridge was not real.  It felt like it belonged in another movie.  There were several other moments like that one where it felt like they belonged in a different movie.  It was a case where cinematic license somehow didn't fit, where jazzing it up for general audiences, didn't work.

Some of my favorite things....the little boy William and the other children in almost every scene they were in.   The quiet face of Souleymane Sy Savane...saying so much with such little effort.  The hard to look at moments when Sam sees the women whose lips have been cut off, the little boy who is blown up by the land mine or grenade.

I thought that there were a lot more A moments then C moments in G's acting, but no matter how many double negatives he used, there is a certain brute force that comes in lieu of grey matter, that he couldn't quite capture.  I'm not saying Sam isn't smart, but when you've seen a lot of the world (like Gerry has) and experienced it, it comes through your eyes and it's hard to shove it back down and show a more narrowed focus of existence.  Yet Sam has probably seen a lot more than G in the suffering of children, the cruelty of man (including his own) so his is more a street smarts that you get only from being where he's been.

I still really liked G's performance in this and to be really honest, if I didn't know who he was and came in fresh off the street,  I may not have liked the movie as a piece of entertainment, but I would have remembered the impression the story and the actor made on me.   The catch 22 (yes there is usually one)  being that I probably would not have gone to see it had G not been starring in the first place.  But having seen it, I would have come away with a hunger to see more of this actor's work.

Like a lot of other people, the movie only took on a real life for me in Africa.   The parts in Pennsylvania, aside from the acting, were drab and colorless. And I got to thinking that perhaps that is the truth of Sam's life.  Perhaps he also finds it dull and grey at home and he only feels alive tackling something beyond that insular simplicity of church, work,  home and bar.  Perhaps none of that is a challenge for him and he has to find his meaning elsewhere.   Here it just happened to be Africa and the children who needed a savior....a hero.  Perhaps Sam needs being the hero to someone and his past tainted him at home.  And part of being a hero in the kind of world he grew up in... means carrying a gun and using force to achieve what you want.  In Africa it was okay for him to do so.  At home it was not.

After having that thought, all I could think of was how I wished I hadn't run through that lobby.  Sam was alone and I'm pretty sure had I engaged him in conversation while he was waiting for whomever he was waiting for,  he would have talked to me.  I would have liked to look into his eyes and ask him if he he had really been that bad a dude and decided for myself.  I've known men like Sam.  They need something from you and if you know what it is and give it, they will let you in a little.   It was a missed opportunity to ask the right questions and perhaps see and hear for myself if that passion for the kids was really there and what really lit it.

I thought maybe I would get another chance after the movie, but when I saw how the women next to me scampered off after Gerry and the rest of the Q&A panel walked out towards the lower lobby, I figured they knew just where to go to see their idol.  I've a feeling it is routine for them.

Being who I am, I always stay for most of the credits, feeling that a certain respect is due the work all the other souls put into the making of a movie, so when I finally walked out, Gerry and company were mobbed (backed against a wall), with people taking photographs and cell phone flashes going off all over the place.
I looked on from afar for a few moments, wondering if I should try to say something, decided it wasn't my scene and after a quick stop at the restroom, headed upstairs to the main lobby.

Really thirsty by now, I sat at the bar and ordered a short Campari and soda and a bottle of water and checked the e-mails on my Blackberry.   There was something wrong and they were not coming through, so I had to go in and reprogram the e-mail portion.  About 10 minutes later, while I was doing that, I happened to look up and saw the women who had been sitting next to me come up the steps into the main lobby.  I'm sure they got their photographs and their hugs.  Good for them.   It probably made their day.  I don't do photographs.  Don't take them, don't want to be in them.  A quiet moment of conversation would have been nice, but the frenzy surrounding certain people is not my style.  I am not a gushing type.  I want a little substance.  I give something and I want something of equal value back.  I usually get it, but not in this kind of scene.

I returned to my programming and the next time I happened to look up, I caught a quick glimpse of Gerry and his group, who had just come up the stairs, and one more fan asking for a photo before I lost sight of them as they made their way out of the theater.

I sat and finished my drink and 10 minutes later, headed for home and a some soup and warm washcloths on my now green tinged bruise and swollen lower cheek, still thinking of the missed opportunity before the screening....when I would have had Sam Childers all to myself.

When I got home I pulled out my ticket and checked it...and sure enough, the dummy had directed me to the wrong seat.  Except then I realized it was me that was the dummy for not checking it before I went in
and kicked myself for more than one missed opportunity.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate


Did anyone else catch the line spoken by Sam in the movie where he said "with our last breath" in exactly the same intonation Gerry used in 300?  It made me wonder if it was a "nod" to his famous  role and made me want to laugh at a moment when it was supposed to be serious.

Ahhh Gerry....the ever present jokester is never far away.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Monday, Monday....Can't Trust That Day - MGP

Interesting day Monday.  I had plans to see Machine Gun Preacher at the L.A. Film School.  I particularly wanted to see it at this venue because it featured a Q and A with screenwriter Jason Keller and I wanted to hear what he had to say about writing this script without fans asking about Gerry.  When the making of this movie was announced I questioned how and whether  they were going to make Sam a sympathetic character or whether they would portray him with all his warts and the dark side that was still very apparent after reading the book Another Man's War.

Anyway,  the ticket was for two people so I called my friend T, who had just returned from an exhausting trip to Shanghai, to see if she would like to go.   Knowing it wasn't her kind of movie, I promised her a nice dinner afterwards where she could fill me in on all her recent adventures.   Though she has never heard of Gerard Butler,  I told her that the actor in the movie was the type of guy I had had in mind when I wrote my first script, which new revision she had read the week before and that the real Sam looked a little like her recent ex boyfriend.  Don't know if these two asides whetted her curiosity, but I told her a little about the story and even though the title was ominous, she agreed to go.  I should have listened to my better judgment and gone alone, but what the turned out to be an interesting evening.

I left my house at 5:45 and picked her up an hour later.   We headed directly over to the film school to get in line and assure ourselves a seat.  There was already a line, but I figured they would start letting people in around eight.

My friend was kind of bored, so she decided to go buy a bottle of water  and a candy bar across the street.  On her way back she met an attorney she knew, who was in line for the movie,  and who was the ex of one of the people that owns a condo in her building.  She brought him back and introduced me as a "screenwriter." I learned, in short order,  that, in addition to his being an lawyer, he had the acting bug, was doing improv, was a closet conservative who had just come from Tea Party headquarters....and his wife had kicked him out after a second stab at saving their marriage.  At the Tea Party comment my friend poked me in the rib, while I tried to keep a straight face.

Like a lot of people in this town and in line for this movie, he had been networking with others and had spoken to the girl behind him who had told him about a few organizations, including Women in Film, who mentored screenwriters.  Hearing this, my friend, a shameless networker in her own field, promptly asks him if he would introduce me to the girl.  Reluctantly I headed to the front of the line to meet the girl in question and exchange information so she could forward me some material about said organizations.  T is a very dramatic, forward person.  I am not.

After returning to my place in line, T starts giggling, telling me she can't believe she actually knows a "tea partier" (her first) and then starts wondering aloud about the political persuasion of his ex.  A few moments  later she starts looking at her watch and wondering how long before they were going to let us in.  She discovered she could see the CNN clock and every few minutes would tick off the time.  Miss Patience she isn't.

Thankfully, the two girls who were standing in line behind us had been watching us.  I knew they were actresses from hearing them talk and realized they were giving me covert glances when one of them spoke up and asked if I was a dancer.  She then proceeded to tell me that I reminded her so much of her ballet teacher when she was a little girl, a lady she had loved dearly.  She said I was very pretty, just like her teacher.  I thanked her for the compliment and then she went on to tell me I had such a nice way about me and a warm face that attracted strangers.  Seeing me blush, her friend, a stuntwoman/driver,  tells me that I looked very familiar to her too.  I told her that it happens a lot and that I have a double walking around somewhere in Hollywood.  T suddenly pipes up with her "She looks like a younger Elizabeth Taylor, doesn't she?"...  to which I choked on my spit, gave her a dirty look and told the girls my friend was blindly fond of me.  I resemble Taylor in absolutely NO way.

We joked for a while with them and were joined by the people behind them but soon all turned to wondering when they were going to let us in, as it was already 8:30 and the doors were still closed.  After ticking off the time again, I told T to go use her charm and see if she can find out what was going on.    She promptly goes to get the attorney and between them they got to the bottom of the situation.   It seems the digital projector had broken down and they were borrowing a regular projector from somewhere else and were waiting for that and also had had to send a messenger to the Writer's Guild to pick up the only copy of the film available.  They anticipated a new start time of maybe 9:15.

T had started clock watching again and hinting that we should forget about the movie and go directly to dinner.  I didn't say a word (although I was starving) and just stuck in line.  After waiting this long, what was a few minutes more?

Well to make an already long story short, 20 minutes later they let us in and I think the film started close to 10:00 p.m., with the guy running the show announcing that Jason Keller had agreed to stay and do the Q & A, even though it was going to be late.

They threaded the projector and started the movie.  Five minutes after watching Gerry (Sam) walk out of prison, I look over to see my friend covering her face and her ears.  This continued throughout a big part of the movie and the guy on my other side of me kept looking over at her.  Whenever there was shooting or some kind of violence or gory scene she would not look.   I tried to ignore the whole situation and concentrate on the movie, but if you know the story, you'll know how hard that was.

Sam and Gerry
When the movie was finally over, after getting a nice ovation, a bunch of people left.  Jason Keller took a seat and the guy doing the interview did likewise.  Settling in, the Q & A was very interesting.  Keller turned out to be a very hip guy, not anything like the guy who had appeared with Sam and the Evangelical preacher in the Church service that Gerry was supposed to, but luckily did not attend.  He was asked some great questions by the interviewer and what I found very interesting was when he finally admitted that he "personally" did not like Sam, but greatly admired the end result of his conversion, which was the heroic and dogged fight to save the kids and found the Angeles of East Africa. Although it was a cause he himself was now involved with,  he said that he, Marc and Gerry had all agreed they would not whitewash him...and though Lynn Childers had told him he had got it right, Sam was having a hard time with it....seeing himself up there and accepting the bad with the good.

He also stated that the three of them had all agreed they were not going to make a political movie and after seeing Mr. Tea P. in the lobby afterwards and asking how he liked it, he told me he didn't like the movie because they skirted the issue of the Muslim north being the real ones responsible for all the violence.  Of course I couldn't help myself and asked him if he hadn't heard Keller say they were not trying to make a political statement with this movie, but were just trying to tell Sam's story and that was perhaps a story for another movie.  He thought it was a cop out and, of course,  I was rolling my eyes. by that time.

The Q & A didn't wind down until around 1 a.m. and we left there at l:15 a.m. and headed for The Standard (the only place I could think of that was still serving food) where I hungrily attacked a plate of crispy fish tacos, a green salad and a glass of Pinot Noir because, by that time, my stomach was sure my throat had been cut.

After dropping my friend off at 2:30 a.m., I drove home, having the road all to my self and made it in almost half an hour.  Although I didn't fall asleep until 5:00 a.m. after checking out my e-mails and showering and washing my hair, I went to bed thinking about the movie.

In all fairness I think my viewing of this movie was impaired by two things, the constant repulsion of the violence by my friend and the fact that I was too busy watching Gerry's performance that I missed seeing other things along the way.  This is something I will remedy with a "paying " ticket to the 5:30 show at the Arclight on Saturday, when I hope to see it with fresh eyes and give it a more honest critique.    I know everyone involved with this movie is promoting it like I've not seen a movie promoted in a long time.  The cause itself deserves it.  They want so to see it succeed and the critics, for the most part, are not helping it.  The message of the movie is a good one, but it is put together in such a way that it is not an easy movie to love...and not just because they show Sam with all his faults, but perhaps maybe because they couldn't quite connect with the man who would do such a heroic thing in saving these beautiful kids by what is portrayed on the screen. Is something missing in the telling of the story?

I have to say this is the best performance Gerry has given since The Jury. He was very good as was Michelle Monaghan.  I also think even though most people think Gerry is at his best doing action and being violent with his manly image....those that loved The Jury or Dear Frankie (and even in parts of 300) loved him for what he could say with his eyes, his silence, his tears...not just his brawn or his swagger.  I did love his performance in Machine Gun Preacher, but I wanted to love the movie itself a little more.  Perhaps it will seem a little less disjointed upon second viewing.

Oh, and what did my friend say about it?   "Boy that Gerry actor is one lovely hunk of manliness, isn't he?"

I just nodded and wanted to say...I think he's more than that.   But I didn't.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Monday, September 19, 2011


This morning I opened my newspaper to the entertainment section and found a photograph of Warren Beatty under "Classic Hollywood" where he was being cited for having starred, produced, directed and co-written the script for the charming movie, Heaven Can Wait.

I love these little moments of serendipity.  

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Don't know why...

...but when I glanced at this photo of Mr. B. and his manager and producing partner, Alan Siegel,  arriving at LAX, all I could think of was the mental snapshot I was getting from one of my dad's favorite movies,  Heaven Can Wait.

Joe Pendleton and Mr. Jordan?
While G prepares for his guest appearances on several talk shows in the area to promote Machine Gun Preacher, let's hope his odyssey leads him to an Oscar nomination and not to a walk in those particular kinds of clouds.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Guy in this Photograph...whoever he is...

is a handsome devil... and pretty much how I envisioned the protagonist (hair and all) in my very first stab at screenwriting too many years ago.   I am posting the photo without further comment because it needs none.

Coriolanus Press Conference - TIFF

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gerry's Night - TIFF Machine Gun Preacher Premier

He looks happy and excited and is displaying his usual enthusiasm and showmanship for the fans that have gathered there to see him.

I  hope the reviews for the film cap off the evening on a positive note and that word of mouth translates to a good audience for this movie.

Here are some of my favorite photos from this promotional blitz that started in Chicago:

No Caption Necessary
Chicago Screening

The following two I've dubbed "The Chameleon strikes Again"

Before the Magic Wand
Arriving Toronto with Alan Siegel
Gerry Transforms into the Swan
AFPJ fundraiser with Paul Haggis

King Leonidas Teeth Full Frontal
AFPJ Fundraiser Arrival

"See all the fans, Mum?  I think I've finally arrived!"
Gerry photographing crowd of fans from his car.

Unposed and Natural Human

The look that launched a thousand sighs?

"What does all of this mean now?"

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Blue on Blue...

That is what came to mind seeing the photo and reading the L.A. Times interview with an emotional Gerry.  Yes, that is the name of a very old song as well but it seems to fit Gerry's emotions as he starts up with the promotional tour for Machine Gun Preacher.

I've had the feeling, watching him, that he would like to concentrate on perfecting his surfing for the upcoming Mavericks rather than revisiting the past and answering all kinds of questions from reporters regarding this emotionally charged movie that may have big consequences for his career. He's a trooper and he'll slog through it, but I really think he dreads it.

Finally catching a wave in Malibu!
From the sunny beaches of Malibu to the blitz of  "being on" in endless interviews is no picnic for a stoic person.  For an emotional person who tends to exhaust himself before he reaches that point of balance that allows him to function in these kinds of environments, it can take its toll. Being unable to control his tears could be the result.

Some people may call them crocodile tears, but there is a lot riding on his performance in this movie and how well it does, so it's natural that the internet buzz generated by these interviews is a big weight on his shoulders.   While his life may look endlessly glamorous to those on the outside,  it can be a stressful roller coaster ride waiting for the next phone call that signals the next role or source of income that will keep everyone on his payroll happy and in the manner he and they have grown accustomed to.  That is the beauty of endorsements for Swiss watches.  Fame can be fleeting and he knows that as well as anyone who plays the game.

And how the game goes all hinges on his talent...and his ability to maintain his equilibrium in the topsy turvy world he has chosen to live in.

Good luck G.  You can get through it.  You always do.  Put a smile on your face and screw the negative and the intrusive.   And, if the tears start to fall, just tell them you're a very emotional guy having a nervous breakdown.  Say it with a smile, even if a little part of it is true.   They'll think you're kidding. Your jokester reputation will see you through.

And remember to get some sleep between the curtain calls.  That one small investment pays such big dividends in the real world, dear muse.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Alan, Gerry and the Sword

Gerard Butler wearing his Roger Dubuis.
And the sword in this case is the one Gerry is brandishing in the photograph for the Excalibur  Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon watch advertisement.  As the new face for this expensive timepiece by Roger Dubuis, he is expanding his endorsement deals that started with L'Oreal, into the rarified air of those with enough money to be able to afford the six figure kind of luxury this watch represents.

I have only one thing to say to this.  GOOD GOING ALAN SIEGEL!  Kudos to you for trying to show your boy in the kind of light that counterbalances the sometimes "still rough around the edges" kid from Glasgow image he often unwittingly presents to the public and furthering the "don't box me in" enigma that keeps people guessing about his footing in the worlds he inhabits.

You do your early counterparts in Hollywood justice and it's sad people behind the scenes usually only get the blame for what goes wrong and not the credit for what does.   It must sometimes feel almost as thankless as being a writer, except you get a percentage and the right to exercise power for your successes!  Not too shabby.

Well credit where credit is due.  And, if by chance this contact/contract was all Gerry's doing, then he's learned well at your elbow and good for him.  The right little bauble adorning a wrist  can say so many things about one.

Touring Roger Dubuis watchmakers in Switzerland.

As Executive Producers on Machine Gun Preacher, I wish you both luck.   I hope this is the vehicle that will make good on Gerry's early promise as an actor and help him attract the kinds of  roles in movies he wants to make, as well as put some of his disenchanted fans back in the theatre seats.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Outlandisher - Chap. 20 - Small World, Isn't It?

18th Century Inverness, Scotland

*Sassyhack McFraser
Clairevoyant "Sassyhack" McFraser sat over the bottle of ale, her chin resting in her hands.  Trying to find Gerremy McButler hadn't been as easy as she had anticipated when she had started out for the Red Bull Inn yesterday.    Like so many of the things that had happened to her since she had gone through the stones at Crai Na Comicon, she had again found herself thrust in the midst of a feud between the owner of The Red Bull and the owner of the land on which the building sat.

Apparently the owner's son had run off with the landowner's only daughter and as a consequence, the tenants were being evicted.  Since there was no one to claim his things... all of Jamie's belongings, including the godawful mirror, were sitting in the middle of the road.  After some bargaining with the innkeeper, she had paid the rent due on the room and, in exchange for the use of a wagon and the manpower to transport the mirror back to her cottage, she had removed a large, ugly wart from the landlord's wife's nose.  She was particularly interested in keeping the mirror since she vaguely remembered McButler mentioning such a one as the mode of his transport into the 18th century.  Whether it was this particular one, she aimed to find out.

Truth be told, she was missing Jamie and she wanted him to come home from wherever he was.  The only way she was going to find him was by finding Gerremy McButler and, if she could not get to either one of them, she would have to figure out a way to bring them to her.    She was pondering this dilemma when the wagon with Jamie's belongings arrived and she was enlisted in trying to figure out where she would put the blasted mirror.

New York City - Present Day

One week since their exploits at the Cock and Ball and several similar venues and Gerremy McButler and Jamie McFraser were no closer to locating their prey, one F. Neil McRandall, captain of his Majesty's 10th Dragoons.  The City had swallowed him up and they could find no trace of him anywhere.

In another week, Gerremy would have to report to Salt Lake City to start filming "Runway to Nowhere" and Jamie, much as he was enjoying the wonders of this century such as real toilet paper and the comfort of Calvin Klein briefs, was getting a hankering for Scotland and his wife,  the loopy Sassyhack also known as Clairvoyant Beachie McFraser.

Puppet on a string.
Jamie McFraser kept returning to ponder on the fact that no matter how much he traveled or where he went, even this little strange trip through time, he could not escape the feeling that he was a puppet on a string being controlled by some nonsensical spirit who would, under no circumstances, allow him to enjoy the physical charms of any but his wife, much as he might want to.   This made it very difficult, under the circumstances, what with Gerremy McButler trying to hook both of them up with varied female partners and taking him to places where they were sure to be surrounded by a cadre of good looking women he was having a hard time resisting.

Every time he would feel his manhood stir over some nice looking female fawning over him, this female puppet master who lived in his head and her constant voice over narrative served like a  bucket of ice water poured over his genitals and he was getting very sexually frustrated indeed.  He was also exasperated trying to explain the feeling to McButler who was starting to think he was a eunuch of some sort.  He did, however, tell Jamie that acting felt a little like someone else, but at least a visible someone, was running the show too. McButler had also added, as an aside, that his own cock had a mind of its own and often led him around by the nose regardless of his resolve not to stick it into certain places.  His nose he meant, of course.

Jamie had nodded in understanding, but looking at McButler's now sunburned nose, he suddenly had an image of those two disjointed body parts, outfitted with little tiny arms, holding hands and jumping into the metaphorical fire.  McButler's commiseration had done nothing to make him feel better, but that picture in his head had made him grin.

The truth was, that  no matter how much cotton Jamie put in his ears, the constant thrum of that voice driving him to live a kind of  "goody two shoes" existence,  was what had originally driven him out on his journey of discovery.  Now  it only sent him as far as the Latin bar down the street where the salsa dancers and the bongo drums were the only things that seemed to drown out the whiney voice.

McButler was convinced he had a crush on one of the girls who frequented the bar, but the fact was that he was developing a taste for the music and found that he was having trouble keeping his hips and his feet still all the time he was there.  He liked the way his kilt twirled around his legs, but besides that, it was the only place he seemed to be out of reach of the unseen hand driving his life and putting a curse on the natural response of his genitalia.  It was almost as if he only existed as a figment of some female's imagination and was not a living, breathing, lusty 1800 century male set loose in a 21st century world.  He loved his wife, but come on...this was perverse.

Well, he'd better get going, as he'd promised to meet Gerremy for lunch and sitting around thinking about his problem wasn't going to make it any less of one.

West Village, New York City

The formidable, but charming Giovanni.
Gerremy was approaching Bar Pitti Pois  in his cab.  His P/A had called Giovanni and asked him to hold a table and in typical Giovanni fashion, he had been warned he'd better be there in 30 minutes or he would not hold it.  He had picked up a few magazines on his way, as there were several articles where his name was featured and he wanted to check them out.

As his taxi pulled up to the restaurant to let him out, he saw Jamie peddling up the street.  The Highlander liked to walk but he had also learned to ride a bike and used that mode of transport whenever it was feasible, although yesterday he'd almost had a teardown, drag out fight with a cab driver who who  had almost mowed him down.  Riding alongside the cab and banging on the driver's window while holding onto the guy's door through rush hour traffic had not sat well with the cop who had come upon the scene.  A tough SOB,  McFraser was not one to back down easily when he was wronged.  The cop hadn't known what kind of a ticket to give him though, and he had gotten off with a warning after presenting what the policeman thought was a logical argument.  It hadn't hurt that the officer's name was MacDonald either.

The Pakistani cab driver had complained that McFraser was calling him indecent names, but since he was doing it in Gaelic, it was only his tone of voice that had given offense.   The fracas had been filmed by a tourist and hit the evening news.  Watching the two go at each other, each in a unintelligible tongue, with the poor cop in the middle rolling his eyes and trying to keep the peace, had made for an entertaining end to the newscast.

Greeting each other, Gerremy had gone in search of Giovanni to see about the table while Jamie locked up the bike.  After sitting down and ordering something cool to drink, they perused the menu and ordered.  Jamie excused himself to use the bathroom and Gerremy pulled out a copy of Vanity's Faire  and started turning the pages.   A minute later Jamie returned and sat down.

JMcF:  Crimson ballocks!  What the hell is this?

Jamie was pointing to the page Gerremy had folded back in an effort to read an article.   Startled by the outburst, Gerremy turned it over to see what was making McFraser's mouth hang open in astonishment, only to find a large black and white photograph of a man looking very much like their missing Captain, dressed to perfection in an expensive looking tuxedo and surrounded by two men and a woman.  The man with a hand on McRandall's shoulder suspiciously resembled designer Tomson Fordham.

Upon closer inspection, his eyes bugging out,  Gerremy gasped.

GMcB: Well fuck me blind!  It IS Fordham!

"Dare to live large!"
With that, he proceeded to read the caption under the photograph to an equally incredulous Jamie.

GMcB:  "Designer Tomson Fordham  introduces his new protege, Francois McRandell, at a celeb studded party, which included the likes of New York artist Enronymous Youngsmith and socialite Tissy Fairhair featured here talking to the pair."

Jamie was goggling at a second photograph, which featured a tanned McRandall in what Gerremy deduced was apparently part of an ad campaign shot by Thierry Ricardosan for the designer's new season over the caption "Dare to live large!"

After taking a few moments to explain to Jamie about the people involved and the significance of the photographs, they sat there, mouths open trying to understand what they were looking at.

Incredulous:  WTF?
When the Italian waiter approached with their food, he smiled and pointed to the photograph with his chin.

Waiter:  "Ahhh.  Quello che un uomo delizioso, eh?   I wait on heeem last week when he came in with Marty Scorsese!  They maybe make movie of McRandall's life, so he say."

GMcB: (incredulous)  Scorsese?  WTF?   I can't even get the time of day from the guy and this wacko manages to have lunch with him?  Talk about a fucked up world!

Jamie sat there and watched in amazement as Gerremy McButler almost wept.   It was not long before the frown was replaced  by a very Machiavellian look.

GMcB: (evil grin) I think I know how to locate and grab our friend and perhaps create an opportunity for me to talk to a certain snobbish director.

JMcF:  If the fella is sae famous now, wilna he be missed if he suddenly disappears?  I'm thinkin' ye'd better be taking that into consideration, no?

GMcB:  (frowning)  Yer right.  I didn't think o' that.  My publicist will have a cat and a cow if I'm arrested again.  Shit!

JMcF:  (confused)  A cat I can see, but where the devil is this publicist going tae find kine in these parts?

Disclaimer: This is a work of pure fiction that exists only in the twilight zone of the writer's mind. Any and all resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental. 

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate
*1940's screen star Anne Sheridan

Friday, August 19, 2011

Exciting Days For Gerry

Having his profile and name sharing equal space with Ralph Fiennes on the New Coriolanus movie poster and the release of the Machine Gun Preacher poster and trailer,  this has to be a very rewarding week for the Gerard Butler.

With another movie starting to come together with the hiring of an actor to play the central character (Mavericks), the announcement of a promising role in the spy drama The Bricklayer, and the good buzz for his turns in both Machine Gun Preacher and Coriolanus, he must feel like a million bucks.

It was a bold and savvy move by Ralph Fiennes (and/or producers-distributors), giving Gerry face time in that kind of poster, which almost insures bringing in the 300 male fans who fondly remember Gerry's turn as the "kick ass" Leonidas.  Where Ralph's reputation may bring in the Shakespearean fans, Gerry will bring in the action guys.  The more serious movie fan will discount the poster altogether and go for the performances of a stellar cast.  Win win for Ralph's directorial debut and passion project.

As for Machine Gun Preacher, I liked the trailer and I think G looks to give a good performance.   I will withhold raves until I see the movie though. Like everyone else I worry a little about the accent. But to be honest, if he captures the emotional center of the character and the director has done his job well, the accent will not matter.

I wish Gerry sunshine and shooting stars with this one.  If it's good and brings in the kind of audience that usually goes to action films (and again that includes the 300 young male fans), as well as those that already know about the topic,  the hope is that it brings a little awareness to the plight of these innocents in Sudan to a segment of the population that might not normally give attention to it.

The arts should illuminate dark corners and perhaps this movie, along with others in this vein, will do that for some people.   Even if parts of the real Machine Gun Preacher's (Sam Childers) life has its own darkness, the good things he's done and continues to do, hopefully balance the scales in his favor.

And if Gerry, in his performance,  should come across as a little more sympathetic than the real Sam, well all the better for Sam's cause and the children that stand to benefit from the likewise sympathetic people who will respond to this movie, hopefully with their supporting $$$ for the Angeles of East Africa and other charities like it.

Perhaps I'm being overly Pollyanna-ish in this, but one can hope.

Machine Gun Preacher Poster

Link to HD Machine Gun Preacher Trailer

The happy face looks genuine for Mr. B. and with good reason.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hitting the Waves Again

*Gerry looking fit.
Good to see Gerry hitting the waves again in Malibu in preparation for his role in Mavericks and hopefully for the thrill of the sport too.

And on the topic of waves, I went to opening night of the LeRoy Grannis exhibition at M & B Gallery in West Hollywood last month.   It featured some wonderful limited edition framed photos by the well known local Hermosa Beach surfer/artist who passed away earlier this year.  I would have loved to purchase one of them, but settled for a book of his work instead.

While I was browsing several other books at the exhibition,  one of the  surfers of the era was showing me his vintage VW parked on the coast in one of the photos as he and his friends headed down to the beach with their boards.  It was very cool and the guy still looked good and very fit/slim.  In his sixties, he was still surfing, of course.  Grannis surfed well into his 80's.

Old Shows:

I grew up near the beach so it was very nostagic.  Now I live a couple of blocks from some popular surfing spots where old timers mix with the new kids.

There used to be several fraternity houses right on the strand in Hermosa.  A very large house is still standing on First Street (painted bright yellow now) and has been renovated and made into a private residence again.
Actor and surfer, Jonny Weston

Some nice memories of spaghetti and beer bashes with live bands there and some very dedicated surfers who never went to bed some nights, partying, then hitting the books before surfing the waves in the morning before school.  I still remember the names and the faces.

But back to the movies...

Mavericks finally  has a lead in the person of Jonny Weston, who will play Jay Moriarity to Butler's Frosty Hesson in the Curtis Hanson directed surfing flick filming this fall.

It's looking like a good year for the muse, with the promotions for Machine Gun Preacher and Coriolanus gearing up and the buzz for both films very positive.

Life is sweet for Mr. B. at the moment and it looks like he is enjoying it, despite the paparazzi.

Life is a beach (and a good wave).

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

*Photo courtesy of JJ.