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Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Writer's Life 10/1 - Grey Matter

I'm hesitant to watch a movie I've already seen and admire, as my opinion and enjoyment of it might diminish. My thoughts about The Grey (2011) have not changed. It is highly under-rated, scoring only a 6.8 of ten from 204,000+ users at IMDb. The film manages to be at once highly suspenseful and an intelligent meditation on life. The plot is simple: a plane carrying employees of an Alaskan oil company crashes in the frigid, snowy wilderness - in the territory of wolves, setting off a fight for survival. Liam Neeson stars, a perfect part for him, a combination of his early serious works and his latter action hero roles. Although the actors are cloaked in heavy clothing and many of the scenes are in the dark, making them difficult to recognize, this time around I enjoyed the work of screen veterans Dermot Mulrooney and Frank Grillo, a native New Yorker. Joe Carnahan was at the helm and also collaborated on the screenplay with Ian Mackensie, who wrote the short story, Ghost Walker, on which the film is based. Carnahan has 12 credits as a director and 16 as screenwriter. I am unfamiliar with his other work except for three episodes of The Blacklist, a series I would dub lively, not good. I particularly love two scenes in The Grey, one in which the entire screen is black except for the yellowish eyes of the wolves, and the final one in which the camera is in closeup on Neeson's eyes. The film has echoes of the work of Sweden's Ingmar Bergman, but a decidedly American feel. I suppose I should now re-watch my other favorite from the past decade or so, The Book Thief (2013). Anyone expecting The Grey to be like the Neeson flicks that feature constant action would likely be disappointed.

I know not many people care about the following. Haters of hockey superstar Sidney Crosby must be even more furious now that he has led Team Canada to the World Championship. This, along with two Stanley Cups, should put an end to the ridiculous claims that he isn't great. It's his demeanor that gets under people's skins. Not only is he an incredible talent, I have never heard of him being in any trouble off the ice, unlike so many modern athletes. Message to his detractors: Judge using grey matter, not emotion.

 A new policy at the University of Michigan allows students to choose their preferred pronouns — including the gender-neutral “they” and “ze” — to appear on class rosters. Grant Strobl, chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom board of governors, decided to lampoon the administration by requesting his pronoun to be changed to “His Majesty.” Although Storbl says he has “no problem with students asking to be identified a certain way,” he thought it important to show how ludicrous it is for colleges to institutionalize the use of “arbitrary” pronouns and threaten disciplinary action if students and staff repeatedly fail to use them. He said: “I henceforth shall be referred to as: His Majesty, Grant Strobl. I encourage all U-M students to go onto Wolverine Access and insert the identity of their dreams,” That's a proper use of grey matter.

After a solid September, October has begun slowly for the floating book shop. My thanks to the woman who bought the Nathaniel Hawthorne classic, The Scarlet Letter. At least it didn't rain.
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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