8 March 2019

Blogpost

What do you do on a miserable Thursday when rain is siling down and your appointments diary is empty? In my case, I rode on the number 82 bus into the city centre. heading once again to The Showroom Cinema.

I went to see the 12 o'clock screening of "Green Book" starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. I had a rough idea of the plot and of course I was aware that the film won the "Best Picture" oscar at this year's Academy Awards.

Two hours later, I left The Showroom having been thoroughly entertained. "Green Book" is charming. It takes you on an American road trip and it reflects upon racism in the early nineteen sixties. It made me laugh and it made me cry and I enjoyed the chemistry between the two lead actors.

It isn't hard-hitting or gritty, it has a certain lightness of touch. However, one image that has stayed with me is of a quiet moment in The Deep South when Tony (Mortensen) and Don Shirley's (Ali's) hire car has overheated. Tony raises the hood (English:bonnet) to see what is going on and concert pianist Don Shirley also slides out of the vehicle. In a field across the road, black farm workers are quietly tilling the soil.  They look up in puzzlement as Don Shirley looks back at them. Nothing is said and soon the travellers move on. It is as if Ali's character had arrived from a different planet where Afro-Americans might have a chance to make something of their lives.

Yes. I enjoyed "Green Book" and I can see why it got the nod for "Best Picture". It wasn't setting out to dig deep into the reality of American racism. It was setting out to entertain and that it did. It was a real "feelgood" film.
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In other Pudding news. .. In January I finished reading "Endeavour" by Peter Moore. I blogged about it here. Later I e-mailed the author praising him but also raising a niggling question. I wanted to know why he had twice described Whitby boats passing "the mouth of the Ouse" when he should surely have been referring to "the mouth of the Humber". I pointed out that there is an inland point where the Yorkshire Ouse and The River Trent meet and that is where The River Humber begins.

Peter Moore kindly wrote back to me. He had taken on board my point. He wrote, "Most importantly, you'll be pleased to know that you caught me just in time and the Ouse has been transformed into the Humber for the Endeavour paperback which will be published in the summer. Thanks for that - appreciated!"

How delightful! I guess this will be the closest that I ever get to immortality. After all, time is running out - as it is for all of us.

21 comments:

  1. It's nice that the author took constructive criticism with so much grace. Good for you on setting the record straight!

    I almost never go to the movies to see films. It's expensive and the volume is always too high for my comfort. So I'll probably end up seeing Green Book in about 5 years or so. :)

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    1. I paid $8 to see "Green Book". I agree that some authors might have been combative about such criticism

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  2. I loved the film.

    Yorkshire Pudding, geographical consultant to novelists, sounds grand

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    1. It's a job I could do well because I am a geographical boffin.

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  3. When I read about "Green Book", I thought I'd like it. Your description further confirms that. There are currently about 3 or 4 films on my list of want-sees, which is amazing, as most of the time, I couldn't care less about what's on the silver screen.
    I'm glad Peter Moore got your suggestion in time for it to be included in the paper back! Never underestimate good editing.

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    1. I hope you get to see "Green Book" and one or two of the other films you have earmarked.

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    1. Say hello to Sweety Patel for me and if Mr Achetbir Singh is reading this - eat s*** m**********r!

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  5. Well that Mumbai man really loves you;) You lead a busy and exciting life in Yorkshire, not sure where our nearest cinema is, probably Malton. The good thing about Netflix is that all films come around eventually.

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    1. I love to see films on big screens in dark cinemas. Much more absorbing than on one's home TV.

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  6. There's been a lot of blow-back here on Green Book. A lot of people see it as one more example of how a kindly white person "saves" a black person. But as you pointed out, it did entertain from what I've heard.
    You keep those authors straight, Mr. P.! Seems like you could get a part time, at-home job being a geographical fact-checker for publishing houses. Obviously they need some expert help!

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    1. The thing about "Green Book" is that the black guy - Don Shirley is far more cultured and intelligent than the white guy - Tony Lip. It is so easy to knock. Perhaps the knockers should get together and make a better film...if they are capable - very doubtful.

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  7. I haven't seen "Green Book" and I just can't get very excited about it. An "entertaining" film about racism, with a "lightness of touch"? To me, the subject matter demands gritty treatment and some serious self-examination, not a pastel-hued nostalgia trip. It sounds like "Driving Miss Daisy" with the races reversed. But as I said, I haven't seen it, so I'm admittedly pre-judging.

    I love that you found an error in the author's book! You really should have been an editor.

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    1. The excellent film critic Mark Kermode has also compared "Green Book" to "Driving Miss Daisy".

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  8. What do I do on a Thursday afternoon when it's raining? Take Rick for a walk! I do all my film watching at home with Netflix, subtitles and a glass of wine.

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    1. Subtitles? Is that because of your hearing problems or is it that you only watch foreign language films?

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    2. Both. My daughters think it is perfectly normal to watch television with subtitles because it's always been that way with me.

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    1. Good heavens! I have only just got back from Mumbai. There's no way I will be checking out escort services in Bangalore!

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  10. I'm not a film buff of any sort and only knew it must have had some importance by some of the criticism. I gather it's based on a true story and the driver's family were commenting that the relationship wasn't as the film portrays. I don't know and I'm not concerned. One day I'm sure the film will arrive on tv and , as you said it was feel good then I'll probably watch it.

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  11. Mahershala Ali has been a very busy actor of late. He received the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in this movie, too.

    He is also in the third season of "True Detective"...streaming on FoxtelNow....Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey who both starred in the first season of "True Detective" (each season is entire unto itself) also are the executive producers of all three seasons.

    Ali was also in the Oscar winning "Moonlight" back in 2017.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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