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Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Writer's Life 3/4 - Horizons

Peter Berg has been prolific in his Hollywood career, amassing 48 credits as an actor, 32 as a producer, 21 as a director, and eight as a writer, although that figure is misleading, as he wrote many TV scripts for shows such as Friday Night Lights. He is equally comfortable working in movies. Last night I watched Deepwater Horizon (2016), which works well as a disaster epic. If political statements were intended, they are too subtle to be important, and they are overwhelmed by the spectacular effects. This, of course, is the story of the catastrophe that occurred when gas pipelines exploded on an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven men perished. Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell play the heroic employees of the rig, which was leased by BP. The BP execs come off as lax and cavalier, interested more in the bottom line than safety. According to the script, the disaster started during safety tests. The screenplay is based on articles by three writers. One aspect that is a bit odd is that Russell's character, after warning of the dangers, leaves the helm to receive an award, on site, and then takes a shower. That seems to contradict the urgency he was preaching previously. I have no idea how historically accurate the narrative is, so I'll leave it at that. I was displeased that the statements flashed on the screen at the conclusion were not balanced. It cited, fairly, that DH was the worst oil industry disaster ever. I would like to have seen one that said how many billions BP has put into reparations and clean up. Gina Rodriguez, currently TV's Jane the Virgin, is the only female presence, at least that I spotted, on the platform. Kate Hudson represents the suffering of all the wives. John Malkovich is interesting as the BP point man, playing well short of outright villainy. The film did not fare well financially in the USA, where it brought in "only" $61 million on its budget of $110 million. That's a big gap to close in foreign box office receipts and DVD sales and rentals. 74,000+ users at IMDb have rated Deepwater Horizon, forging to a consensus of 7.2 of ten. On a scale of five, I say three. The film will appeal most to lovers of disaster flicks. The best scenes occur after all the excitement - the reuniting of the survivors with family. Those are touching. Peter Berg has made a lot of solid entertainment. Only in his early 50's, he has plenty of time, and the talent, to do something great.

When I was in college in the late '60's and early '70's, a 40-yard-dash time of 4.7 seconds was considered good speed, 4.6 outstanding. I don't recall anyone at WMU besting that back then. At the NFL combine yesterday, University of Washington wide receiver John Ross came in at 4.22 seconds, breaking long time pro Chris Johnson’s 2008 record of 4.24. Wow. Will that necessarily translate into success at the highest level? No, but Johnson was stellar his first six years in the league. Overall, he has rushed 2118 times for 9537 yards, an average of 4.5 per carry. He missed almost all of last season with an injury. Good luck, Mr. Ross.

Winter returned with a vengeance today, putting the kibosh on the floating book shop. Back at 'em tomorrow. My thanks to whomever downloaded Five Cents to Kindle this week. I took care of a number of chores this afternoon, including the purchase of a pair of shoes, which I'll wear a handful times a year, weddings, most likely funerals at this stage of my life. I'm 80 pages into the first proofing of the novel I plan to self-publish next January. To my surprise, it's only 180+ pages. I hadn't looked at it in years. I would have guessed 250. It may end up eclipsing Five Cents as my shortest. It will be a fast read. It seems 75% dialogue.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
Vic's Short Works:

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