March 25, 2008

A Perfect Union

It's not always easy to sit down and watch something that reminds you of sophomore American History class. It's also hard to sit down and watch something that reminds you of the time your family took an educational family trip to Boston where your mom made you stand on the porch of some colonial house, point off into the distance, and scream, "The British Are Coming!" (Said trip also concluded with the family's Plymouth Horizon breaking down on the side of the highway which led to all sorts of other fun drama.)

Anyway, it was with a reluctant spirit that I originally felt obliged to watch the HBO John Adams miniseries that had been stockpiling on the DVR. It felt like having to eat my broccoli. And yet, five minutes in, I was hooked. (Never mind that it took me at least 15 minutes to understand Paul Giamatti's New England patois.) References I was once forced to memorized for random multiple choice quizzes suddenly came in handy... "The Customs House!"..."no taxation without representation!"..."The XYZ affair!!!!"

Aside from brushing up on my history, I found the characters to be totally engrossing. Laura Linney, as Abigail, was luminescent and spouted off truisms I wished I had thought of. Paul Giamatti was great as the conflicted, grudging and grumpy leader, delivering lengthy, inspired monologues with ease. They both deserve an Emmy (ditto for the makeup crew who aged the first couple, warts, liverspots, blackened teeth and all.)

The early episodes and the ones set in France were the most engrossing (later references to his loser children started to wear thin.)

I think TV needs to devote more time to the historical miniseries, especially since, with the advent of DVRs, we can now watch them at our leisure. I'm sad the series has wound down, but here's hoping its success with viewers will convince some exes that we need more of this ilk. It's like Schoolhouse Rocks for adults, only without the catchy tunes and crude animation. So what if The Washington Post questions whether HBO got it right.

March 19, 2008

Casting A Wide Net

As Sarah Connor on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, actress Lena Headey is all combat boots and cargo pants, spouting off voiceover monologues as frequently as she knocks out obligatory "tough girl" chin ups. Now, the actress has joined the cast of Tell-Tale, a loosely inspired take on Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart.

Meanwhile, our Brit-in-training, Kim, will be disheartened to hear that Orlando Bloom has pulled out of a Nick Hornby-written project, "An Education" that will be filming throughout London, Oxford and Paris. Dominic Cooper (a.k.a. Willoughby in "S&S") takes over for Bloom, and the film will also star Rosamund Pike (a.k.a. P&P's Jane Bennett), Olivia Williams (a.k.a. Jane Austen in "Miss Austen Regrets"), Sally Hawkins (a.k.a. Persuasion's Anne Elliot) and Emma Thompson (who needs no introduction, quite frankly.) Despite what this cast list might imply, this is no period drama, unless you consider a 1960s coming-of-age drama to be period. Speaking of 1960s coming-of-age dramas, go rent To Sir, With Love if you've never seen it. And Georgy Girl. Good movies to dust off every now and then and have a good laugh.

March 10, 2008

True Romance: Amy and Mike's Wedding

If Romancing the Tome co-author Amy ever adapted her true life love story for the big screen, it would probably resemble a witty romantic comedy from the 1930s or '40s--something along the lines of The Philadelphia Story or It Happened One Night. Amy would be portrayed by an actress who is incredibly smart, strong, and independent, yet equally romantic--a modern day Kate Hepburn perhaps, with a confident and charming Cary Grant as Mike, her romantic lead. On the path to her happy ending, Amy's character would face hilarious and poignant challenges until, like that magic moment in The Lady Eve when Henry Fonda looks up at Barbara Stanwyck while he's strapping on her shoe, she will finally meet her match. (I will leave Amy to tell the story by whatever medium she chooses at some future date, but suffice to say that when she does: look out Diablo Cody, Amy knows how to tell a story.)

It was so fitting then that Amy and Mike's fabulous wedding at the historic Union Station in Los Angeles had the vibe of a classic Hollywood soiree, from Amy's elegant walk down the aisle on the arm of her father to the glamorous art deco supper club where we feted the newly hitched couple. Amy and Mike are two of my dearest friends and I'm over the moon that they had such a fantastic send-off for what I know will be a happy, adventure-filled life together.

(Thanks to the marvelous Meg for the photo of Amy and Mike.)

March 4, 2008

Came a Cavalier

While visiting the Beauregaurd-Keyes House in the French Quarter two weeks ago, I purchased a battered copy of a novel Frances Parkinson Keyes (rhymes with "prize") had written while living in Normandy and for which I was told she'd been awarded a French Legion of Honor medal. The first half of Came a Cavalier is a somewhat typical romance novel about a beautiful American Red Cross "Searcher" being pursued by various handsome suitors while she is stationed in France at the conclusion of World War I. The second half, on the other hand, is a real page-turner as the heroine, now a Baroness and French citizen with two grown children, must survive occupied France during World War II. The book, no longer in print but available on eBay, etc., would make a thrilling TV miniseries of the North and South variety. --Kim

March 3, 2008

New Wes Anderson Film to be Adaptation Animation

Wes Anderson will adapt Roald Dahl's The Fantastic Mr. Fox with Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, and George Clooney supplying the voice talent. (via The List) --Kim