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Saturday, November 26, 2011

"My Week With Marilyn"

In this most gentle late November last evening we strolled into Fort Green and BAM to see "My Week With Marilyn" about the tense filming of a 1956 "light comedy" in London. Based on a true story, the film dramatizes the relationship between the newly wed to Arthur Miller Marilyn Monroe and a young third assistant director working on his fist movie set.

I have been a casual fan of Monroe's since I first saw her in "Some Like It Hot" on TV when I was maybe 10 years old. Michelle Williams does an earnest job of portraying our cultural icon, Kenneth Branagh is brilliant as the aging Sir Laurence Olivier and Eddie Redmayne plays Colin Clark, the wide-eyed and innocent star struck man/boy at the heart of this story.

Beautifully shot on location, meticulous in every period detail, the film is an intimate behind-the-scenes look at a snapshot in time. While a valiant attempt to depict the mufti-faceted and layered personality of a Hollywood legend, this film seems to only reinforce the stereotypical notions that Marilyn was some sort of idiot-savant with no intellect what-so-ever. Michelle Williams' performance is complex and nuanced and readily worthy of high praise, but director Simon Curtis chooses to view his heroine through the soft focus lens of nostalgia. He gives us a Marilyn at once crushed by fame and disabled by insecurity addicted to both love and Tuinal with very little in between. There's not a moment in the film where she's not hiding behind dark glasses, preening for the camera, flirting with disaster by taking too many pills, or playing up to our adult male fantasy of Marilyn Monroe.

"Shall I be her?" Williams coos at one point in the third act. The "her" I wanted to see was the real Monroe, and there was nothing of reality in this love letter to a preconceived notion of the star.

Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh, Zoƫ Wanamaker as Paula Strasberg, Emma Watson as Lucy, Judi Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike and Derek Jacobi as Sir Owen Morshead (a cameo really,but always a joy) round out this all-star cast.

A must see for everyone who is up on everything Marilyn. Also recommended: fragments (2010) Poems, Intimate Notes and Letters By Marilyn Monroe.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I have so much to be thankful for...I know that is ending a sentence with a preposition...and for that I am thankful. I have an amazing wife with amazing friends whom we love and they take us on awesome adventures like kayaking in Maine during the summer of 2010 as pictured here. We were supposed to go see them this holiday and enjoy the peaceful rural environs of Meadowood in Palmyra VA. But due to circumstances beyond control we have been delayed. Our love is not lessened. Our thanks but deepened for all we have in the richness of our family and friends. We cooked our first turkey together, Jennifer and I. I have either worked or we have gone to friends for the past 12 years we have been together. It has been fun to cook together, just the two of us going nowhere.We wish all of our loved ones bliss this season of abundance and giving. Regardless of financial situation, while we draw breath, we have love to give.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Readiness is All

You know things are going a little crazy when you got to put your reading spectacles on and you are already wearing your glasses. It inspired me to take a few moments and get present. The Mrs. is in Montreal at a conference and I am home writing my next novel even thought the first draft of my first is still warm. I have come to the conclusion that when I am not at work as a building inspector I am a nut. (My co-workers might tell you I am nuts there too.) I can’t believe I am the age I am. Can’t believe the world is the world. Look at all the wealth and all the poverty; the darkness and the light; the good and the evil. Look at all the natural wonders, and then at the man-made, and just which is mocking which. How do we navigate it all? How do we stay on the right side of the road? Is insanity not just a little bit healthy in learning to cope with opposing forces that constantly pull and stretch at reality? It is a time of thanksgiving. I am very thankful for so many things; my wife, my family, my friends, my job, my city. But mostly today, I am thankful for my madness, my source of inspiration and vision. Here’s to a peaceful, joyous holiday season. One in which we take the opportunity to give aid to one another. To love one another just a little more than we did last year.