My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Tuesday, January 14

August: Osage County

I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to catch up on all the new movies I want to see, especially the ones that are getting Oscar attention. I flipped a few coins and decided to see August: Osage County. I mean, how can one forego any performance by Meryl Streep? And as a bonus, the side dish Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts. Osage County, Oklahoma, flat as a prairie can be and desolate as tired wind through telephone wires. It takes place in a dark, beat up farmhouse, Violet Weston (Meryl Streep) stumbling down stairs to confront her husband Beverly (What kind of parents would stick a son with the name Beverly?) who is hiring a young Native American girl to care for his ailing wife. Her face is pasty white and wrinkled, her eyes red-rimmed, her hair gray and ratty like someone had cut it with sheep shears. We learn that she has cancer of the mouth (How appropriate and symbolic is that?) but she retains her shrill, nastiness when she speaks to Beverly. Flash forward to Beverly (Sam Shepard) going out on a nearby lake and drowning himself. Flash forward again to the arrival of three daughters and their significant others—Barbara Weston (Julia Roberts), Ivy Weston (Julianne Nicholson), Karen Weston (Juliette Lewis), Charlie Aiken (Chris Cooper) and his wife Mattie Fae Aiken (Margo Martindale), Violet’s sister, Bill Fordham (Ewen McGregor), Barbara’s estranged husband, their daughter Jean Fordham (Abigail Breslin, no longer “little Miss Sunshine”), and Little Charlie Aiken (Benedict Cumberbatch). They have all except Little Charlie just returned from Beverly Weston’s funeral. It’s a family get-together that echoes Tennessee Williams, O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey, Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. The food and dishes fly everywhere, the verbal bombs from one member to another find their marks, and Violet Weston is shrillest and strongest (according to her own assessment) of them all. She is hooked on prescription pain medication and she smokes almost continuously, almost sexually admiring the smoke and flame of her cigarettes as she prepares another volley to fire at her children and her sister. It’s one screwed up family. The review in Entertainment Weekly made two points about this movie with which I must agree: the distance between an audience and the actors on stage in the Broadway play could better cope with the invective than a movie audience having to see and hear these people close up, face to face (and not very attractive faces at that); and I found myself simply watching these people more as actors than as people in Osage County, Oklahoma. Meryl Streep is a great actress, but I kept thinking about all the gestures and facial tics as pre-planned. The same was true of the others, a great cast doing some great acting. But I was unable to willingly suspend my disbelief. Streep will certainly be nominated again for this role, and she may even win it. But I’ll be rooting for Cate Blanchett for her role in Blue Jasmine.
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