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Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Writer's Life 5/27 - An Adaptation & Insults

Given the negative press it received, I had low expectations for The Girl on the Train (2016), which I viewed last night courtesy of Netflix. I assumed the tale would unfold entirely on a train. Instead, what the protagonist sees and recalls during her commutes to and from Manhattan trigger action on solid ground. Although extremely downbeat, it is a good film. I was frustrated at first, as the scenario travels back and forth in time, and there was no close captioning to help clarify the dialogue, but was eventually won over as I began to understand what was happening. Based on the best seller by Paula Hawkins, it is the story of a recovering alcoholic divorce` whose flashbacks slowly begin to make sense to her. Emily Blunt, a Londoner, is outstanding in the lead. The film features an attractive cast, several of whom were only vaguely familiar to me: Justin Theroux, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans and Edgar Ramirez. TV vets Laura Prepon, whose voice intoxicates me, Allison Janney and Lisa Kudrow lend their considerable talents in support. Tate Taylor was at the helm, his sixth effort. He wrote and directed the highly regarded The Help (2011), which I haven't seen. Erin Cressida Wilson adapted the screenplay. I am unfamiliar with her other eight efforts, but her work here was solid. I incorrectly assumed the movie was a flop at the box office. Given the popularity of the book, it probably disappointed the producers, but it did bring in $75 million in the USA alone on a budget of $45 million. Add DVD purchases and rentals, and the foreign haul, and it's a winner financially. 102,000+ users at IMDb have rated The Girl on the Train, forging to a consensus of 6.5 of ten. I'd go to seven. Although it does not contain much violence, that depicted is intense. Anyone who is turned off by grim proceedings and a measured pace should pass. It runs less than two hours.

RIP MLB Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, 85. The Kentuckian finished his career with a record of 224-184, ERA 3.27. In 1957 he won 20 games for the Tigers. He won 19 four times, three times as member of the Phillies. On June 21 1964 he pitched a perfect game against the Mets at Shea Stadium in the front end of a doubleheader. I'd left the broadcast in midstream, not realizing what was underway, and later rued missing that rare feat, accomplished only 23 times in the history of the big leagues. In 1986 Bunning was elected to the House of Representatives and served until 1999. He was also a Senator from 1999-2010. Well done, sir.

The floating book shop experienced two interesting incidents today. A gentleman, 65 or so, approached and said he had a great deal for me. He's written a book about himself and Bensonhurst. He bought 20 copies at $14 a pop. He suggested I sell them for $10 each, with a 50-50 split of the take. I said I'd take one to start to see what would happen. I think he was insulted. What's preventing him from selling them on his own? I inadvertently insulted someone else too. A Russian mother and daughter noted the books in their native language. The mom made a call on her cell phone, and the ladies then headed toward 86th Street. Minutes later the husband showed. He selected 18 books, a mix of four hardcovers and standard paperbacks. I asked for $15, less than a buck a book. He offered five. I refused. Rather than making a reasonable counter offer of, say, nine bucks, he walked away in a huff. He later returned in the company of the women, and I caved as I always do to the wishes of the opposite gender. "I give back free," the guy promised. That would be nice. Anyway, my thanks to the other kind folks who made purchases, and to Mother Nature for holding off on the rain.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
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