Jean's Take

A blog about words, women, & whimsy

Category: Uncategorized

*Everybody’s Fine, 2009, and Robert DeNiro

Everybody’s Fine’, starring Robert DeNiro is a fine film for Father’s Day. I must warn you, however, that I have a friend who won’t watch DeNiro in anything because of his ‘trash talking’ of President Trump. I wasn’t too surprised by it. I’ve watched him in the past on Letterman and he has trouble with conversation. Don’t you think that sometimes people who have trouble putting words together are very good with four-letter ones–and gestures? And let’s face it, in his craft he works with a script. But, should we judge artists by their private lives and actions–or their lack of ability to express themselves properly? That’s a real ponder . . . . .

Since Ring Cycle season is coming up at the Met, Richard Wagner comes to mind. By all reports, he was a nasty, unkind man with few scruples. He absconded with his best friend’s wife, rubbed shoulders with the Nazis and belched when he ate, but he wrote some of the most wondrous music ever written and is a towering figure in his art. I don’t approve of what he was but I could never cut him from my life.

On the other hand, Robert DeNiro is little more than a ‘Raging Bull’. I could easily join my friend and give DeNiro up–he’s done little that I fancy–but if I had, I would have missed his fine performance in Everybody’s Fine. DeNiro plays Frank, a recent widower and recent retired factory worker (he coated power wires with PVC tubing) who is expecting his four children home for a little reunion. When they begin to cancel at the last minute, he packs a bag and, against doctor’s advice, goes on a road trip to visit them. He winds up learning a lot about his children but even more about himself.

And my question? Well, I’m still pondering . . . . . . .  How about you?

Favorite moment: With Frank in the art store when he is shown his son’s painting of telephone poles.

*Written and Directed by Kirk Jones who adapted it from an Italian film, supporting cast includes Drew Barrymore, Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale

Rating: 3 carats 

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I have Trouble with Abortion.

I have trouble with abortion.  I think any thoughtful human being should.  It’s just not black and white. Cowardly, I do my best to ignore it, but this week it reared its perplexing head again with Ireland’s decision to overturn its abortion ban.  Now, Ireland has had the strongest abortion laws in Europe. Even taking an abortion pill could get you 14 years in prison and if there was a fetal heartbeat, a woman could die before she could get an abortion no matter the condition of the fetus. That’s what happened to 31 year old Savita Halappanavar, a dentist who had immigrated from India with her husband. I was in Ireland in August of 2013 when the newspapers were frustrated with her death and Irish women marched. She and her husband had begged the doctors for a therapeutic abortion even arguing that they were neither Irish nor Catholic, but that heartbeat did her in. When the less that human fetus aborted, she was so riddled with infection that she died three days later. That bothers me.  It’s not just black and white. Not long after, I read that a woman in England who found she was having twins aborted one fetus because she said that she couldn’t afford to raise two. That bothers me too. It’s not just black and white. I have trouble with Abortion.

(Did you know that Ohio, for one, has a ‘Heartbeat’ law?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Make an American Quilt, 1995, 117 mins. . . .

Winona Ryder stars as Finn, a graduate student at Berkeley attempting to finish her thesis.  She’s changed the topic four times and has the same trouble committing to her live-in boyfriend, Dermot Mulroney.  Finn decides to spend a month with her grandmother, Ellen Burstyn, who lives with her sister, Anne Bancroft, in a big old house by an orange orchard. Finn arrives into a Quilting Bee which includes five other women, Jean Simmons, Lois Smith, Kate Nelligan, Maya Angelou, and Alfre Woodard. As they stitch squares for a quilt themed ‘where love resides’ they attempt to help Finn with stories (shown in flashbacks) of their own marriages.

Favorite moment: The women tell her the quilt is for her.
Fun Fact:
taken from a novel by Whitney Otto that started out as her Master’s thesis.
Screenplay written by Jane Anderson; directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse 
Critic Corner: Caryn James of the New York Times wrote ‘we are not watching movie women but real women with shaky judgment and lifetimes of reasons to resent and forgive one another as well as all the men in their lives.’

 

 

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