Jean's Take

A blog about words, women, & whimsy

Category: jeanstake (Page 2 of 2)

HOMESMAN: Surrealism on the Barren Plain.

cowboy-brown-horseshoe-hiI like Westerns; I like Hillary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones.  They are good at what they do, so I settled back with a smile to spend the evening with them in the Wild West.  It didn’t take long to realize that something was wrong–the land was too barren, the town too small and the settlers too few.  Swank plays, Mary Bee Cuddy, a strong, stalwart, spinster tilling her own land and wanting more than anything a man, for various reasons.  Jones plays, George Briggs, a good-for-nothing drifter whom Cuddy finds hanging from a tree (the only tree I believe within a hundred miles) getting ready to offer up his last breath.  (I know what you’re thinking, but forget it.) As the story proceeds, Cuddy has volunteered–for want of a valiant ‘Townsman’ to do so–to take three immigrant women who had become quite mad, across the barren plain to get help.   Briggs comes along—not because he feels any debt to Cuddy for saving his life but because she agrees to pay him.

From this point on, ‘Homesman’ makes no sense and don’t wait for it to do so.  Cuddy picks up these immigrant women, who couldn’t hack it on the barren plain, in a wood-enclosed wagon with no windows and a lock on the door.  They are handcuffed inside in their flimsy nightgowns, and at least one has no shoes.  There is no baggage and even few supplies for this barren plain adventure—I’m beginning to worry.

Along the way, they get hungry and BEHOLD! on this barren plain, with absolutely nothing around but barrenness, sits a Victorian Hotel that looks very much like a gingerbread house.  Inside is the innkeeper, James Spader, with a full staff preparing a feast and acting much like that rabbit who was always late in ‘Alice in Wonderland’.  Next, the little party arrives at a thriving Western town and Briggs delivers his looney cargo to Meryl Streep, the minister’s wife.   “Aha,” I say aloud, a smirk on my face, “You can’t fool me.  You may think you look like Meryl Streep in that bouffant black dress and pretty little black bonnet but I know you are really the Queen of Spades!”

I wait for Tommy Lee Jones, who directed the film, to put everything aright as he has so many times, but no, the movie ends as he dances a macabre jig and a wooden grave marker floats down the river.

 

Enjoyed this post? Follow, like, and share here!
Share

Good for Grown-ups: ‘CAPTAIN PHILLIPS’ has Three Surefire Ingredients for Success. . . .

  • It stars Tom Hanks and he’s always a class act(or).   Here, he portrays Captain Richard Phillips with a competence and sensitivity that made this viewer feel empathy for a mangy, undernourished gang of captors that simply had a boat, a few guns, and nothing else to do.
  • It was developed from an intense and wild true story.  In 2009, the Maersk Alabama, a large freighter, was hi-jacked off the coast of Africa by Somali pirates.  The Somalis took the Captain as ransom when they left the ship on an enclosed lifeboat.
  • The Navy shows up and then the SEALS and, well, if you’re  like I am who still gets tears in her eyes during the proper performance of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’, you know the feeling.

 Mal-nourished pirates take-over Freighter on High Seas

Comments:

One thing about a well-publicized true story, we know the major details–we know that the pirates get on the ship, that the captain is taken hostage and that we get him back. But as the tension builds, I caught myself searching for logical ways to keep it from happening.  After all, the fact that four raggamuffin Somalis in a run-down motor boat could illegally board a large freighter with a crew of 30, take it over, leave with the Captain and $30,000 never quite seemed real even when I read it, but it does reaffirm that “truth is stranger than fiction.”

Wake up, Maritimers!!!

 

Enjoyed this post? Follow, like, and share here!
Share

An Evening with Bette Midler

Bette Midler or Sue Mengers?

Bette Midler or Sue Mengers?

In June, I spent an evening with Bette Midler.

Technically, she was on the stage and I was in the orchestra but the Booth Theatre is small and intimate, and I definitely felt a connection.  Now Bette– I feel we’re on a first name basis now–is the true definition of a ‘Broad’ and most of us gals like to think we have a little of whatever that is; besides, she’s packed with talent and, well, what’s there not to like?

When the curtain opened, she was sprawled on a sofa for a standing ovation.  It was obvious that this happened every time that curtain opened, because she threw us a pat wisecrack, “You might as well sit down; I’m not gettin’ up.”  And she didn’t the whole intermissionless performance.

It was a limited engagement of a new play called I’ll Eat You Last: a Chat with Sue Mengers written by John Logan and directed by Joe Mantello. For those of us not insiders, Sue Mengers was, at one time, a powerful talent agent who handled some of the biggest names in the business.  Her language was colorful and merciless; in fact, she was a perfect definition of that other ‘B’ word.

There were some good lines here and plenty of chuckles but, if it shows up again, unless you knew Sue Mengers or if it doesn’t star Bette Midler, I suggest you go for pizza.

 

 

.

Enjoyed this post? Follow, like, and share here!
Share

The Gay Tony!!!

I am sooo tired of Neil Patrick Harris and his ‘Gay Tony’!  He emceed the Tony Awards again last night.  Last year he opened the show with a robust song about how they can now admit they’re gay.  During the song, he ran around the theatre pointing, tapping people on the head or shoulders singing, “You’re gay, you’re gay, you’re gay”, throwing out an occasional, “You’re not.”

This year, among other things, he had a clever play-on-words to announce that the audience was ‘fifty shades of gay’.  I would think that ‘straights’ in the audience would begin soon to think this tiresome and complain to CBS–even if they are almost extinct–according to Harris.

Now, I don’t care if Harris is gay, shades of purple, came from outer space, or was born in a log cabin and walked to school, he is quite a talent and, last year, I tuned in just to see him–I tuned out during that opening song.  I guess he needs to express his sexual orientation, especially since he plays a straight lady’s man on his sitcom, maybe that bothers him.  But I think he’s gotten the word around and most people don’t care, maybe that bothers him too.

The Tonys are not about sexual orientation and I doubt that anyone who was there with a nomination for anything did it thinking–I’m gay or I’m not. 

But maybe I’m wrong.  In that case, maybe we should have a Gay Tony and a Not Gay Tony; now, all we have is a ‘one for all’.

In any case, that’s my 2 cents!

 

 

Enjoyed this post? Follow, like, and share here!
Share

Bad WalMart!!!

I just read David Barstow’s expose’ in the Sunday NYTimes of  Wal-Mart’s latest shenannigans,  “Vast Mexican Bribery Case Hushed up by Wal-Mart After top-level struggle  which exposes bribes, pay-offs and cover-ups as Wal-Mart was developing their monster chain in Mexico.  Horrors!!!  Did you know that one out of five Wal-Mart’s is in Mexico.  Do you think Wal-Mart may have something to do with Mexicans coming here?

Now, I don’t like Wal-Mart, and I won’t shop there.  I don’t like the way they treat employees, especially women–but people still work there and lots of women; I don’t like the way they crowd the ‘Mom and Pop’ stores–but that’s what capitalism is all about.  I could give you a page full of reasons why I don’t like Wal-Mart–in pica print–but the thing I dislike the most is what I see as an arrogant attitude as they change communities in a self-serving, self-righteous manner–this annoys me mightily.

I read the article with relish, eager to read bad stuff, smirk abit and nod my head knowingly, but I was disappointed, it sounded like old news and I doubt that I’m alone.

Over more than a decade, we have been bombarded with Enrons,  irresponsible bankers, an unrestrained Wall Street, unscrupulous Hedge Funds, private interest groups, a paralyzed government encumbered with self-serving bureaucrats, and worst of all, a sad and sinful war.   Wal-Mart seems little by comparison.

After all we’ve been through, it’s easy to want to say, “They all do it, WalMart just does it bigger”; but we can’t.  If we don’t address BAD then how can we expect BETTER.  I’m going to remember that the next time Wal-Mart is naughty.    And for that, I thank the press, and in this case the NYTimes and David Barstow for reminding meThat’s Jeanstake, what’s yours?

Enjoyed this post? Follow, like, and share here!
Share

Would Margaret Thatcher have liked ‘The Iron Lady’?

I’m surprised that women have not questioned the substance of the film, The Iron LadyAll we’ve done is gush and goo over how well Meryl Streep plays an old woman with Alzheimers, how good the make-up is and how much Meryl Streep looks and acts like Margaret Thatcher.  Yes, ladies, Margaret Thatcher, one of the most prominent ‘one of us’ in the 20th Century.

The Margaret Thatcher I knew was a gutsy lady who took on one of the biggest and surely the oldest ‘old boys’ clubs, the British Parliament, to become the first female Prime Minister and then serve in that post for over eleven years.  She never backed down to the IRA who tried to assasinate her or even on the Falkland Islands whom many thought were hardly worth the effort.  She was a good friend of Ronald Reagan and the USA during the Cold War, and earned the title, The Iron Lady, because of her fortitude and uncompromising attitude.

But that woman isn’t in this film.  In her rare flashes of lucidity, she seems to question her earlier decisions–the IRA, the Falklands–is she really doing that?  How do they know?   Makes you wonder if IRA sympathizers wrote this, thinking they can get even because now she’s old and sick and can’t fight back . . . .

On top of all this, her dead husband is walking around reminding her that she was an MIA wife and mother, and her son won’t talk to her and her daughter is angry.  I’m angry too, we should all be angry that women are judged, even now, in the 21st century because we didn’t stay home with the kids.

I’m concerned too.  I’m concerned that no one has tried to set the record straight.  That the film has not caused an unprecedented amount of writing about the real Margaret Thatcher.  Perhaps we should be mindful of Thatcher’s own words . . . .

In February 2007, when she was already ill, she was honoured with a statue in the Houses of Parliament.   In a brief speech she said, “I might have preferred iron – but bronze will do … It won’t rust.”

 

 

Enjoyed this post? Follow, like, and share here!
Share

Page 2 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Like what you're reading? Spread the word!