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1.04.2011

Odds and Ends...

We bought a Toyota Prius about ten days ago and promptly backed it into the garage door with the hatchback up. Now that little sucker is getting a new spoiler and Jeanne has my truck this week for work. No worries, though, as I'm starting my off-time at the college. I've had a couple of leisurely mornings with Lyla this week before putting her into the jogging stroller and running her down to her daycare before coming back to work on a pair of writing projects. Both stories are set here in Northeast Florida, and both seem to be unravelling quickly and well.

I edited sixty-four pages of the book I largely wrote in the last six months of 2010 yesterday. It's solid, and I'm excited for where it might go when it's finished later in the year.

True Grit (2010) is a pretty fantastic film (B+). The writing, as is the hallmark of much of the Coen Brothers' typically excellent work, shines here. The characters eschew contractions, using English the way it was originally intended. Peppered with period-appropriate phrases (the scenes with Mattie trading with the pony broker are priceless), this story is just delightful to listen to.

Jeff Bridges is excellent as Rooster Cogburn and Hailee Steinfeld should get an Academy Award nomination for her turn as Mattie Ross. It's beautifully filmed by Roger Deakins, and the pacing is excellent. I love the establishing shot of the town, just prior to the public hanging. They spared no expense on set design.

My only problem with the story is its third act. Mattie's predicament, when coupled with the poorly rendered CGI vipers, just doesn't feel realistic given the more pragmatic hurtles she and Cogburn clear over the first two thirds of the story.

Still, I highly recommend the film. It deserves all the critical praise it's been earning.

And finally, here is a chilling tale of life beyond the grave. Angel Leigh McCoy's "Oral Tradition" is an engaging yarn--a horror story both gruesome and touching in its way. The title is appropriate, as the story has a handed-down, word-of-mouth authenticity that meshes well with the plot. It's about reconciling family history and expunging the atrocities of the past. Oh, and that little bit of inheritance in the final act? Sheesh...

Very good piece, and nicely performed by Ben Phillips (he does a nice Southern accent)...

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