Sunday, January 20, 2013

Silver Linings

I saw Silver Linings Playbook last night. It was a great film.  I enjoyed the characters and the story was interesting.  I laughed a lot more than I have at other comedies I’ve seen recently.  Jennifer Lawrence was great even though I had a hard time believing her character was old enough to have been married as long as she was at her age.  She is an incredibly talented actress who apparently is a good dancer.  Bradley Cooper did an amazing job in the lead.  Robert DeNiro led a supporting cast which was fantastic.  It’s a great look into the world of someone dealing with a mood disorder.  It’s also a great tale of someone dealing with life and an imperfect family. 
I hope to pick up the book the film was based on soon.  I hope it is great like the movie.  You should see it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Aspiring Author and Poet

In describing my writing I use the terms aspiring author and poet.  I have read many authors opine on when someone can consider him/herself a writer. Opinions vary but I decided that publishing a short story, novella or novel would definitely qualify for that title.  It may also apply to someone who has completed a number, maybe one but probably more, of those works and feels that the idea the author wanted to convey and the story on paper is in a form that the author believes tells the story that was imagined.   A friend of mine, J. Gunter Brett, has finished his first novel All Stars©.  It is great.  I enjoyed reading it so much and was actually sad when I finished it because I wanted to read more.  I was so happy for him at crafting such a fine work. Whether it is ever published or not, I believe that book alone is enough that he should consider himself an author.  Another person reading your novel, enjoying it because it is good and recommending it to others is certainly worthy of the title “Author.”
I had one short story and another short piece of fiction published in a high school project which the teacher told my class would include a work by each member.  She told us that we could all say that we were published writers after its publication.  That doesn’t count to me.  I have no idea where my copy of Spectrum, the publication’s name, ended up.  I do have a single short story that fits the criteria I set forth above.  To me, that isn’t enough to remove the aspiring from in front of author or allow me to say I am a writer.  I don’t know if there is a number of unpublished works I might reach that would change my mind about my classification.  It really doesn’t matter so long as I don’t quit writing.
I do consider myself a poet and it has nothing to do with being published.  I have written poems outside of class for almost twenty years.  On two different occasions separated by more than a decade, I was moved to share my poems with the young lady who inspired my verse.  The first time, a beautiful smile was accompanied by her telling me that these were really, really good.  That I should do more. 
The next time was even better.  After much revision and reorganization I gave a copy of a poem which explained why my love made me feel the way she did and why I knew I would always feel that way.  Circumstances kept me from being there when this was read.  But when she said that, “No one had ever said anything like that to her.  It was the most beautiful thing she had ever read and it made her cry she was so happy,” I really couldn’t have gotten a better response.  Publishing that poem or a hundred more wouldn’t equal the joy I received that reply.  So today, at the least, I am a poet.

Sante “Sonny” Boninsegna, Jr.

January 5, 2013
January 8, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Jack Reacher

I love going to the movies almost as much as I love reading.  So when a book I have enjoyed is made into a movie(although I prefer seeing a movie before reading the book if given a choice), there usually is no hesitation in deciding to see it.  I had read One Shot which served as the basis for this initial adaptation of Lee Child's novel.  It was great.  But I wasn't anxious to see Jack Reacher when I first heard that about it  because  that news was accompanied by the revelation that Tom Cruise was going to play the title character.  I have been a reader of the Jack Reacher series from the beginning.  The stories are well written and fast paced.  They are all great candidates for being made into films.  But like many other people, I just couldn't see Tom Cruise playing the physically imposing former military policeman.  It had nothing to do with Cruise's acting ability.  I had no problem believing him as Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible series.  But Reacher's physical size, 6'4" and 225-240 pounds of chiseled muscle, is an indispensable part of the character.  I imagined watching the film would be like seeing David Spader take on the role of James Bond.
Another reason for hesitating to see the movie was my first experience with seeing a movie Cruise starred in which was a cinematic adaptation of a great book:  The Firm.  Of all of the books of John Grisham which have been made into movies, The Firm was by far the least enjoyable to me.  I believe a large part of that was the fact that the script deviated more from the story line in the book than any of the others.  Also playing into my decision was a similar problem in Hollywood's treatment of Michael Connelly's incredible novel Blood Work and David Baldacci's incredible Absolute Power.  After seeing those films, I was amazed at Hollywood's inability to leave a fantastic story alone and decided that I would not rush to see films based on novels I really enjoyed.  It just wasn't worth the risk.
 After seeing an essay story about the film written in the online magazine for Apple's iPad, Noir, by my favorite author, Connelly, and why Cruise pulled off the role.  I decided to give it a shot.  After all, the last time I followed Connelly's recommendation, I discovered the wonderful writing of Nelson DeMille due to a blurb on the cover of Plum Island.
One of the things I hate most about reviews is spoilers.  Spoilers are wrong whether they are in a review or a movie trailer that reveals too much of the plot.  So I will not go into specifics about the story.  This I can say.  The story was quickly paced and very believable as far as action films go today.  There was humor but the script mostly stayed away from one-liners, which was an incredibly pleasant surprise.  The suspense was well developed.  The acting was strong across the board.  Rosamund Pike is as talented as she is beautiful. Robert Duvall delivers a fantastic performance.   The setting of Pittsburgh was very good.  The cinematography made the city look great.  I can't say there weren't some moments when the physical difference that resulted from Cruise playing Reacher didn't cross my mind.  But it never was for more than a moment nor did it make me believe that the story was contrived.
If you enjoy the genres of action and/or suspense films, I believe you will find it to be an evening well spent.  Hope you have a Happy New Year and that 2013 is the best year of your life so far.