Review: Obvious Child

I thought this was honest and brave and beautiful. Jenny Slate gives a very compelling central performance, and Jake Lacy is excellent, too. Recommended.

Side note: I wrote a poem inspired by this film, although the poem is related only to some of the visuals, not to the content of the movie. Here’s the poem.

A truly great Western

The_Man_from_Laramie_Poster Last night I watched The Man From Laramie for the first time, and it joined my select list of favorite Westerns, along with Tombstone and Silverado.

The Man From Laramie stars Jimmy Stewart in his fifth and final collaboration with director Anthony Mann. Mann directed Stewart in five Westerns in five years: Winchester ’73 (1950); Bend of the River (1952); The Naked Spur (1953); The Far Country (1955); and The Man from Laramie (1955). Also featured in this film are five-time Oscar nominee and Tony winner Arthur Kennedy; Oscar winner Donald Crisp; film noir favorite Cathy O’Donnell; and Oscar nominee Aline MacMahon. Jack Elam, known for playing villains, has a small but important role.

I was surprised by the dark tone of this film. It’s nearly Shakespearean in the way the tension mounts as one violent accident after another befalls Stewart’s character. The darkness of the plot is in sharp contrast to the gorgeous scenery and daytime action. The Man From Laramie was one of the first films shot in CinemaScope, and it really captures the majesty of the New Mexico landscape.

As always, Stewart is never less than compelling. I’ve always been a fan of his Western work in the radio drama The Six Shooter (listen), made during the same period as the Mann films, and it translates well to the screen.

Here’s what the New York Times had to say in 1955, and a more recent essay.

Highly recommended.

POEM: if tonight were the last night

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if tonight were the last night

if tonight were
the last night
you are the one
I’d want to be with

if the waters
were rising I’d
reach for your hand
pull you close

if the moon fell
to the Earth below
I’d watch the sky
darken with you

if this were
my last dance
I’d want you
in my arms

if the strings
began playing
as the screen
faded to black

if there would
never be any
chance to
go back

if tonight were
the end of all nights
you’d be the one
the only one

/ / /

Jason Crane
5 February 2015
Oak Street

NOTE: I wrote this quickly over the end credit music of Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World.

Everything Is Stargate: (#2) The Rock

My favorite TV show is Stargate SG-1. I’m also a big fan of Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe, and the original Stargate movie. Given how many episodes of those shows there were, I’ve noticed that nearly every English-language studio movie of the past 25 or so years, and nearly every sci-fi TV show, has somebody in it who appeared on a Stargate property. And if you include crew members, it’s even easier to make connections. It rarely takes more than two steps. In this new “Everything Is Stargate” series, I’m going to post photos from films I’m watching that contain people from Stargate.

Last night I watched The Rock. And there he was again, Willie Garson, who appeared as Martin Lloyd in three episodes of Stargate SG-1, and also in my first Everything Is Stargate post. Willie’s in the middle:

stargate_therock

I also loved the show West Wing. Hi, Leo!