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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.

Wednesday, September 3

Begin Again

I’m a fickle lover of film and the ladies who inhabit the film world. As I’ve said fairly often in this blog, I fall in and out of love with actresses over and over, going all the way back to Liz Taylor when she and I were young and the world loomed ahead of us, and Gene Tierney in Laura, and on to Julia Roberts and Scarlett Johannson. Odd that I never fell in love with Debbie Reynolds, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, or Shirley MacLaine. Debbie was just too feistily energetic for me; Marilyn was lovely enough for me to have a copy of that famous nude picture when I was in Korea but not enough to win my heart; Judy portrayed my early fictional love, Dorothy in the Oz series, but she just wasn’t my type; and Shirley had too many freckles. See how fickle I am? We went to see Begin Again, and again I fell in love, this time with Keira Knightly. I first saw her in Pride and Prejudice in 2005 and tipped seriously to the left. Her beauty is so unique, with that uniquely funny little smile and crinkly nose. And I was smitten. But then I didn’t see her in any of her films for almost a decade, and my initial attraction vanished. Until Begin Again. Seriously smitten this time. Gretta (Keira) and her lover/boyfriend Dave Kohl (Adam Levine) have just returned to New York after Kohl has won international fame for his singing and songs (most of which were written by Gretta). He’s there to promote a new album, and she’s just along for the ride, a ride which gets seriously bumped when she finds out he’s now in love with an assistant at the record company. She plans to return to England as soon as possible, but runs into an old buddy from back home who lets her stay with him until she leaves. And then she runs into Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a down-on-his-luck musical agent/promoter who’s just lost his job, drinks like a fish, is pretty much broke, drives a Porsche that had seen better days, has an ex-wife Miriam (Catherine Keener) and daughter Violet (Hailey Steinfeld) who don’t much care for him.
In a sleazy performance bar, he hears Gretta reluctantly singing one of her songs at the insistence of her English buddy. The bar crowd ignores her, but Dan is enraptured, hearing in her performance the new voice/song writer he needs to carry him back to the top (or at least up a step or two) of the music business. And there you have it. A fairly predictable plot, but a really great way to spend an afternoon listening to songs, the lyrics of which actually make sense set to lovely music instead of repetitive howling or rapping. Mark Ruffalo is excellent as the rough-on-the-edges promoter, a role he seems to excel at. Keira Knightly, thank heavens, decided (or maybe the director decided for her) not to lip-synch to someone else’s vocals, instead doing a very serviceable Norah Jonesish job on three or four songs. Adam Levine, in his first film role, surprised me with his voice. I knew him only from the few times we watched him as judge on The Voice. His version of “Lost Stars” at the end of the movie renewed my faith in modern music and modern singers. Then there’s my love for Keira.
In Pride and Prejudice, she was as beautiful as makeup artists can create beauty, and in Begin Again, she was just plain Keira, warts and all (a nod to Oliver Cromwell), and I and a bunch of other male viewers fell in love with the interior Keira and not just the exterior Keira. Go see this movie, and in a time when there isn’t all that much to feel good about, you’ll feel good for a long time. And you might even fall in love with her just as I did.

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