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Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Writer's Life 12/24 - Finest Hours

Just last week I viewed Hell or High Water (2016), which paired Chris Pine and Ben Foster as bank robbing brothers. They worked together again in The Finest Hours (2016), this time as antagonistic crew members of a small Coast Guard vessel sent to rescue the survivors of a large ship torn in two by waves whipped up by a Nor'easter. The story is based on a non-fiction book by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias. The year is 1952, the ship is the SS  Pendelton, the location is New England. Casey Affleck plays the cerebral loner whose genius keeps the larger craft afloat long enough for help to arrive. I didn't understand how the device he conjured worked, but it was fascinating, bringing to mind the Archimedes principle : "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world." Since it is obvious the rescue will be successful, the suspense lies in which of the men will not make it. As expected in the age of CGI, the effects are spectacular, the sets authentic. Those are the flick's strengths. I wasn't crazy about the love story, which adds length to the narrative and doesn't rise above standard, but it did introduce me to Holliday Grainger, yet another Brit who flawlessly plays a Yank. Not yet 30, she is in the midst of a fantastic career, already having played Lady Chatterley, Lucrezia Borgia, Bonnie Parker and Estella of Great Expectations, among many other roles. Unfortunately, The Finest Hours never rises above solid. Produced by Disney, it is rated PG-13. I don't recall any profanity and I doubt anyone would be squeamish about the violence the storm inflicts. The film runs less than two hours. 37,000 users at IMDb have rated it, forging to a consensus of 6.8 of ten. On a scale of five, I say three. It did not fare well at the box office. Made on a budget of $80 million, it brought in a little more than $51 million worldwide, according to Wiki. It was directed by Craig Gillespie, an Aussie, with whose work I was previously unfamiliar.

I just ordered another proof copy of my next novel, Five Cents. The process was a lot easier this time, as the requirements were fresh in my memory from less than two weeks ago. When I first moved to submit, the procedures were foreign, as a year had passed between books. I hope I flushed all the errors from it so I don't have to do a round three. I will give the first proof to my biggest fan, my sister,

Merry Christmas. Let's eat!
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