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Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Writer's Life 8/6 - Joy

The main reason I rented Joy (2105) was because Jennifer Lawrence is its star. She has the most commanding presence in cinema, and the acting talent to match. She may not leave the legacy of a Katherine Hepburn or Meryl Streep, but it will be a glorious one. She has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress four times since 2011, winning for Silver Linings Playbook (2012). Joy is loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano, who invented the Miracle Mop and who holds patents for many more items. Her last name is not used in the film, a wise decision, as the narrative changes many elements of her personal life. After all, this is a Hollywood movie. Dysfunction is celebrated, political correctness, feminism and inclusiveness are imperatives. In fairness, Mangano praised the film for capturing "the essence and spirit" of her life (quote from I enjoyed it because its lauds an entrepreneur, which is rare from Tinseltown, which usually praises only artists, reporters and political leftists. Of course, most of the other business people are portrayed negatively. That is to be expected. The supporting cast is excellent: Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, Isabella Rossellini, Diane Ladd and Edgar Ramirez. The identity of two actresses was a mystery to me until I researched the film. I don't know how I failed to realize Virginia Madsen as the mother, since I've seen her each week for two months on TV's American Gothic. Elizabeth Rohm, who played the ADA in 85 episodes of Law & Order, dyed her blonde hair black for the role of Joy's half-sister. Russell wrote the screenplay, adapting it from a straight up bio scenario submitted by Anne Mumolo, who receives "story" credit. She wrote the wildly popular Bridesmaids (2012) screenplay. I'm impressed that Russell makes films that are far different from the usual fare. My favorite of his remains Three Kings (1999). I was disappointed by both Silver Linings Playbook (2012), for which JLaw won her Oscar, and American Hustle (2013). I expected too much from them. 74,000+ users at IMDb have rated Joy, forging to a consensus of 6.6 of ten, which is right on the money by me. It runs two hours. It does not drag. The soundtrack overdid it a bit, although a CD of the songs would be a good buy. At the box office, Joy came up just short of breaking even in the USA. I'd bet it more than recouped the loss through DVD sales and rentals. Rated PG-13, I doubt anyone but the most prudish would be offended by any of the content. Another element of the film I enjoyed was the faux soap opera with which Joy's mom was obsessed. It featured Susan Lucci and Donna Mills. Here's a side by side of the actress and the woman she played:
   There was moderate joy at the floating book shop today. Like Donna Summer, I "worked hard for the money." The humidity was thick. My thanks to the woman who donated a crate of books, and to Mike, her super, who hauled it to me with a handcart. There was a great blend of non-fiction and classics from her granddaughter's school days. Thanks also to Monsey, who purchased a book on healing. Recently, her sister passed away unexpectedly. Thanks also to the gentleman who bought Othello, and to the studious 15-year-old girl who opted for Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, a huge textbook on basic math and, at my recommendation, Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Hauling it all back to the old Hyundai was not easy.
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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