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Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Writer's Life 6/17 - Nocturnal

Some movies are downright puzzling. Such is the case with Nocturnal Animals (2016), a story within a story. I caught up to it last night courtesy of Netflix. Things did not bode well during the opening credits, which features a fat, naked woman from start to finish. She is part of an art exhibition run by Amy Adams' character, whose career takes a back seat to two other plot elements: the affair her husband is having, which goes nowhere, and the arrival of a manuscript from her ex, whom she left 20 years ago, presumably because of his refusal to give up writing. He has dedicated the book to her. The novel is about a family of three that crosses paths with the vilest of criminals, a standard story told so many times. Jake Gyllenhaal plays both the writer and the novel's victim. As far as I can see, the book has no correlation to the couple's past, which is made manifest by the fact that Adams imagines another woman in the part and that she herself has a college age daughter. And therein lies the rub. What is this film about besides the obvious? Adams is fine in her role, her third in 2016. Gyllenhaal has never been better. The flashbacks to the marital difficulties hit home for me. Why would any woman stick with a failed writer? It's a question I've asked myself many times. The film is notable for the performances. Two others are first rate. The ubiquitous Michael Shannon was nominated for a supporting actor Oscar as a cop in the "fictional" part of the scenario. He was in ten movies in 2016! Laura Linney is as terrific as usual as Adams' mom. Unfortunately, before her five minute scene, she is needlessly identified as a Republican - as if a Democrat couldn't be as cold and calculating. Anyway, 130,000+ users at IMDb have rated Nocturnal Animals, forging to a consensus of 7.5 of ten, way too high in my estimation. Seeking a better understanding of the film, I ran a search, and was relieved that Anthony Lane of the New Yorker reacted similarly, although a lot more harshly. I didn't feel quite as dumb after perusing his thoughts. I don't think it's a bad film. I just think it would have been more interesting if Gyllenhaal's character would have based his fiction on his relationship with his ex-wife. Based on the novel by Austin Wright, it runs just short of two hours. Tom Ford adapted the screenplay and directed, only his second stint at the helm. It did not do well at the box office, its worldwide take falling short of the production's overall budget. It probably turned a slight profit after DVD rentals and streaming. I'm not sure anyone but those curious to see how the novel was adapted to the screen, and fans of the actors would find it interesting.  

The top ranked golfers in the world are Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy. Each missed the cut at this year's U.S. Open.

An article in the NY Post warns of a future scam - theft of finger prints, which would be used to open phony accounts. It never ends.

The floating book shop was open about 15 minutes when it began raining. I'm now contemplating setting up just as soon as I'm done with this evening's shift on the computer. It would depend on finding a parking spot near the scaffold at my regular nook. I'm not optimistic.
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