Nana Plays Oscar…What I got WRONG! Winners are in BOLD

Okay…For me this is almost like a game of sorts.  I am going to list my picks for the Oscars. I am not going to weigh in on why I am picking these films, actors, actresses, directors and such because I go with my gut, so like the rest of the movie going public, I could be wrong–and in the case of the Oscars I don’t care if I am right or wrong.  Me and a few friends used to do to just have a bit of fun so here goes…

BEST PICTURE:  Lincoln          *Argo*

BEST ACTOR:  Denzel Washington (and if not him, it will most likely be Daniel Day-Lewis).  Daniel Day-Lewis won it!

BEST ACTRESS:   Jessica Chastain (I know Jennifer Lawrence has a good shot though).   *Jennifer Lawrence*

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:  I say Tommy Lee Jones but DeNiro might do it…  *Christoph Waltz*

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:  I say it’s gonna be Sally Field.  *Ann Hathaway*

BEST DIRECTOR:  Stephen Spielberg (but Ang Lee might do it.  I think Michael Haneke deserves it though). I don’t care if “The Artist” won last year or not…  *Ang Lee*

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:  John Gatins (Flight) *Django Unchained*

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:   *Argo*

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:  *Brave*

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:  *”Life of Pi”*

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:  Lincoln *Anna Karenina*

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:   *Life of Pi*

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:  Pi’s Lullaby *and it’s a hell of a lot better than the Skyfall theme–sorry to all you Adele fans. She’s great but this song is simply too beautiful*. *Adele-Skyfall* (damn)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:  Life of Pi (and if not that one I’ll say Snow White and the Huntsman)…

Anything else you guys can come up with in these or other categories, feel free to comment!

Well the ones in bold with NOTHING BEFORE them are the ones I got right. I still say although Ang Lee won–and was great, Michael Hanake should have gotten that nod.  So am I the only one who got the botched the big ones here? LOL  At least I got a lot of the other ones right… 😉

Dark Shadows: The Revival…Getting “Revived” via fans?

Some will think this is crazy but it is true! The 12 episodes of the Revival series are getting more attention since the Depp/Burton trailer has been released.  Hulu.com is getting more traffic for that version now.  Why? Fans are wanting to see what the fuss is all about and the Revival series offers a true Dan Curtis version in only 12 episodes. The curiosity is aroused once again. Curtis retained creative control over all of his productions until his death.

Ben Cross now owns the role according to his fans and he's gaining new ones! He is getting some well-deserved and long overdue respect as is the rest of the Revival series cast. Perhaps Hollywood should take note of this when making films...

Now my question is, why not release to 2004 pilot so fans can compare differences?  I do know this much–the new fans of the Revival series that are coming on board are saying that Ben Cross now owns the Barnabas role since the trailer’s release. Some of these new fans prefer the original but now appreciate the portrayal of Barnabas by Mr. Cross more now than they did in 1991.  Like it or not, Cross stayed more true to the basic instincts of such a character than most.  He tempered that battle between beast and man and is somewhat different from Frid in his approach to it.

I always say that Jonathan Frid made him more human to me as a small child, but Ben Cross made him a real “being” to me a few years back.   That being said, I am glad that finally the cast of the Dark Shadows Revival series is getting some long overdue positive recognition for their attempt to breathe fresh life into the show.  The late Jean Simmons was phenomenal as Elizabeth…RIP…Adrian Paul–outstanding…So was the rest of the cast–especially the duo of Ben Cross and Joanna Going.

I’ve heard the complaints about Ben’s mullet….I’ve heard the complaints about the Day for Night shots, but I’ll take that over a comedic farce any day of the week and that is what the new version will end up being–this time around.  If you are fans of the Revival series, there is a page for it on FB here:  https://www.facebook.com/DarkShadows.Revival .  For fans of Ben Cross, his page is here and he’d love to hear from you:  https://www.facebook.com/actorbencross …I’m sure Adrian Paul wouldn’t mind either…Here’s the link to his page–and he’s a phenomenal human being!  Look at the things he supports!  https://www.facebook.com/adrianpaulofficial  If you ever watched “Highlander’ you know who Adrian Paul is, kiddies.

I also suggest Mr. Depp do one thing for his next film…Skip the White Face make up. It will not  help with the Lone Ranger remake he is in either. Barnabas looks like a cross between Beetlejuice and a Vulcan. Here are both pics…Once you look at them go back and think about Beetlejuice (which starred Michael Keaton wearing the same make-up), Sweeney Todd, Edward Scissorhands, Etc…All are relatives in Depp’s character genealogy.  Enough with it already!

As talented as Mr. Depp is as an actor, I am beginning to wonder what other shows I loved as a  child will get laid to waste? People on Facebook and other sites are asking this also. Hopefully he will start paying attention.  He is one of the best actors there is, and I will never understand why he and Burton seem to be putting more of the shows in their cross hairs.  It is said that he’ll make “The Night Stalker” into a movie also. God forbid! Even the ABC ran version based on the original was not good!

The Great White Alligator of Baines Parish Louisiana (Part 2)

It was quiet for the rest of the afternoon around the house.  Felicia went into the front yard and sat on a bench outside by the front sidewalk.  The sun was peeking out from behind a few clouds that were beginning to disperse.  She then  pulled out  a book and began to read it when a young man was walking by. He was a sandy-haired young man in his late 20’s.  To Felicia he was gigantic, however he did stand at around 6’2″.

” ‘Ello!,” he said smiling, “And how is that little girl named Felicia who teased my father?”

“Daddy isn’t coming home.” she told him.

“Oh love…I’m sorry.  I’ve come at a bad time and I was going to invite your family to our housewarming–”

“I don’t know what a housewarming is.  It can’t be cold in there.” she said.

“Well,” he said as he smiled slightly at her response, ” it is actually a get together neighbors have when a new person moves into the area–it’s like a party.”

“I don’t know if a party is a good idea now.” she told him.

“But why Felicia?” he asked.

A  tear escaped her eyes.

“Everyone is really sad right now. Daddy died in the war and I don’t remember him.  He went away when I was a baby.” she told him.

“Oh my.  I am so sorry.  I’ll come back at another time, alright.,” he said to her as he came inside the gate and knelt to be at eye level with her, “But my father did say to give you this book. If your family needs anything, please let me know.”

“Thank you. I forgot your name, I’m sorry–”

“It is Stephan. I’ll see you later, okay?” he said.

“Okay.  Thank you for the book. I’ll read it.” she said.

Stephan stood back up and Ida appeared at the door.  “Is there something I can help you with, young man?” she asked.

He went to the door and introduced himself.  When Ida realized that he was their new neighbor–along with this father, whom Felicia had already met, she invited him in.

They talked for a few minutes and he did take her up on her offer of muffins and coffee.  Annie did not come downstairs.  Ida then explained that although Michael had been missing since Felicia was a baby, she was concerned at the impact that knowing he was never going to return would have on the child.

“I’ve worked with a lot of children, and I think she will surprise you.  She is very bright and resilient.” he told her.

“Why thank you,” Ida said, “You’ll also find that she has a very large imagination when things get back to normal.”

“Oh yes! She already told me of the white alligator! It is actually a fascinating folk tale.  There is an old Indian in town that told me of it two days ago. I tend to think that he actually believes it!” he grinned.

“Big Bear.  He’s a full-blooded Lakota Sioux Indian and he always looks out for Felicia when we go into town.  He tells her all kinds of stories and tales, but she loves the one about that alligator! Big Bear can see things sometimes. He told me when Felicia turned one that her father would not be found alive. I didn’t want to believe him either–for my daughter’s sake.” Ida told him.

“Well, I thank you for your hospitality but I must really be running along now.  I am truly sorry for your loss. If you need anything let us know. I’d like to know when the service is if that is alright. My father and I will be there for your family.” he said.

“Why thank you. I’ll let you know Mr.–”

“Just call me Stephan.” he said as they went to the door.   Felicia thanked him again for the book and went quickly upstairs.  She laid the book on her bed and looked at Michael’s picture.

Grandma was right. You really aren’t coming back. I’m sorry, Daddy.  I’ll see if I can find the alligator another day so Mommy will be happy again. I’ll still talk to you though. I promise.” she said as yet a few more tears welled up in her eyes. It was becoming real to her now.  She took his picture to the bed and set it next to her pillow. She then fell asleep.

Meanwhile, Stephan went back to his house.  The painters were painting the outside a very pale bluish-grey color.  It was at that point his father, Jack, stepped outside.  He then went to the mailbox as Stephen approached.

“Well where have you been off to? I got three phone calls from different schools already.” Jack said.

“Then I’ll call them back, Dad. It’s not a big deal.” Stephan smiled.

“Was that little girl home today? She hasn’t been by and she usually comes by just to see what your old man is tearing apart!” he grinned.

“Dad, Felicia may not be around for a bit.” Stephan told him solemnly.

“What on Earth do you mean? She didn’t get into some kind of trouble or anything–”

“No, Dad…Her father was killed in the war. Her grandmother told me that he had been missing since she was a baby but this has to be devastating for her.” he said.

“I am sure that it is. Just let me know when the services are.  Does Felicia have a mother? Jack asked.

“Yes but I have not met her. I only know because her grandmother, Ida, explained that she hasn’t left her room.” Stephan said.

“Damned dreadful.” Jack said as he went back to the house.   Stephan could see Felicia’s house from the curb.

“Poor kid.” he said to himself.  He then got into his own car and headed into town.  He remembered how distant he felt from Jack after his own mother died when he was 8.  He thought it was totally heartless to not shed tears, but then one night a month later, he got up to go to the bathroom and saw Jack talking to her picture as rain was pounding the roof.

“God I miss you, Kate.,” he began as a tear did escape his eyes, “I cannot let him see me like this. He’ll think I am weak.  The truth is, I don’t know how to do anything the way that you did.  I was always a man’s man, but you had a way with kids that I just do not have.  Your mother suggested that I read him stories and such and I will try that, but I can never be you. I love that boy with my life and I’m so afraid to let him see what I feel. I want him to be strong–and I am not.”

“Dad, you’re a lot stronger than you think.  I found that out when I broke my leg that summer playing football.” Stephan thought to himself as he pulled into the store.  Big Bear, who stood at 6′ 4″ was sitting on a stump beside the door.  Stephan got out of his car, a brand new Chevy Volt and was about to enter when Big Bear uttered:

“Felicia will unite this place.  You are good with her. That will bring you great reward.” he said.

“Okay.  Thank you–”

“No need. You do it, not me. You see things that she sees. You understand her. Other grown ups do not, but they will.  Through her eyes, this town will be strong again.”  he said.

“I’ll be right back, Big Bear.” Stephan said, still unsure of what to think of this.

“I know.  You will by eggs, milk, bread, meat and more candy for Felicia.” he said.

“How did you–”

“Dropped your list. Felicia likes those home-made lemon drops.  She’s allergic to nutmeg though so steer clear of Emma’s grab bag. Makes the girl break out in hives.”  Big Bear said as he picked it up off of the ground and handed it to him.

“Thank you.” Stephan grinned.

“You are welcome. You and your father will both learn much from her.” he said.

Stephan really wasn’t sure how to handle what Big Bear told him, but several of his neighbors told him that they always go to him when they need advice.

Meanwhile, his father, Jack sat at the kitchen table scratching his head.  He was grateful that he and Stephan were close, but was even more grateful that he learned that tears were not a weakness before it was too late.  He opened up his brown leather wallet and looked at a picture inside.  It was one of himself, his wife Kate,  and of Stephan when he was a baby.   His eyes got misty as he talked to it…

“You would be proud of him Kate.  He has grown into a strong man with a big heart–just as you had hoped.  He still has to put up with the old man being himself though.  We  still have that piano and the drum set.  I still have the jewelry. I couldn’t part with it.  Maybe one day our son will have a daughter but who knows? I often wonder how things might have been had you been here today. No one could ever begin to understand me as you did…”   he mused as the phone rang. His brother from Surrey was calling…

Jack talked to his brother Ike for a long time.  45 minutes had passed when he looked up at the clock…”Just like his mother…Shops until he’s broke or talks until his tongue falls out!” he laughed.

Stephan picked up the items on his list and then walked back over to Big Bear.

“You think I’m crazy but I’m not. I see things. Felicia needs a real hero. You’re it.” he said.

“I hardly know her–”

“The spirits say you will save her. They don’t lie.  They say your father will learn to dream again too.” he said.

“Well I appreciate your thoughts.” Stephan said as he went for the car.

“And she’ll love the book.” he replied.   This really threw Stephan off. Only he and his father knew of it.

Stephan’s thoughts were on Felicia all the way back to his house.  He felt her emptiness. He felt her pain.  He was determined to speak with Jack about it as well.

As he pulled into the drive, the sun was still shining down on the neighborhood since it had cleared up.  Since Jack insisted on having the painters out, he was grateful that it didn’t mist or rain.   When he walked in, he noticed Jack had fallen asleep while in his recliner so he quietly carried in the groceries and put them away.  He then went outside and called the numbers to the three schools Jack had written for him. He then looked over at the stove and noticed that his mother’s favorite tea kettle was on the counter beside it.  He then looked over to the left and saw her favorite biscuit jar too–one she picked up when they went to Japan one year for a visit…She loved cranes and it had pictures of cranes on it.

He smiled and looked back at his father. “Dad you always strive to keep her alive around here.  I suppose that’s good, but I’m grown now so should you decide to put out those beer steins out she didn’t like, I’ll think you want her to come back to haunt you!” he said softly as he remembered how mad his mother got at Jack for gambling to win them.  She found out that they were worth a lot of money later and decided maybe she should leave him be over it.  These spats always gave Stephan a laugh or two as a child.

 

The blah blah blah of Writing…Characterization and random thoughts…

Have you ever reached a point to where you just want to kill off every character you put in your own story, much like they did in the “Black Adder” series once?  Well I have…I have heard it all this week…”Send the character over the cataract or make them a bloody messiah!”, “Give your main character a tragic flaw”, etc…etc…etc…

When breathing life into or smothering my characters to death, I do not see the logic in having   “A” tragic flaw rather than several.  I also see no logic for NOT having at least one sardonic bitch in my story be it male or female. I have met men who make better bitches than some of the other females that I encounter anyway.  I also like putting dark wit wherever possible.  Also my “villain”  might be someone people can actually empathize with–much to my mentor’s dismay…She likes villains to be pure a-holes–clearly defined as EVIL.  Why?  In reality you can say Charles Manson is an ultimate villain of sorts. But in reality, was Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton or even Obama?  OR is it a matter of perception only?  It’s just a thought I felt that I should toss about because anyone who has ever been pissed at a politician of either side of the coin can relate to it.  Better yet, are WE our own worst enemies in labeling people as such?  Hmmm…What a question to pose given the political climate of the past 35 years or so…The “villains” I had most empathy for in my lifetime were Barnabas Collins of  “Dark Shadows” (the 1992 version with Ben Cross–it seemed more plausible and realistic) and  Bruce Dern‘s portrayal of  astronaut Freeman Lowell in “Silent Running” (1972).   Quite frankly, I’d really LOVE  to see Mr. Cross and Mr. Dern work together…I know it probably will not happen, but they are both freaking brilliant in their portrayals of any character thrown at them.

I also had a tremendous empathy for Jonathan Frid‘s version of Barnabas…I felt that he was “bullied” by Angelique.  If I had met Lara Parker as a child, I am 100% certain that I would have kicked her in the shins and ran for my dear life! I was a kindergartener that ran home every day to watch the original version!

For those who have never seen “Silent Running” I strongly urge you to watch it.  Here is a damned good clip with Mr. Dern here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji67t8xJF-s

And for those of you who really admire how Ben Cross played Barnabas, here is a clip–which he played pretty damned well, I might add…I used a clip showing the bad side of him too–and after watching it, I certainly wouldn’t want to be on that actor’s shit list! Not that he’d be like this, but that voice alone would definitely command some freaking respect, don’t you think? :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_zoTfRmm9o

Anyway there are times I write purely for my amusement and my version of Dark Shadows is one of those projects…One can tell when they read it, it is much inspired not just by my love of the show, but from movies such as “Spirit of the Beehive”, “Frankenstein”, “Paperhouse”, which is a strange movie but deals with the perspective of child emotions rather well, and I also deal with the perspective of a severely abused child–my main character, who thinks that while Barnabas guided her from his crypt, was only an imaginary friend. Barnabas, however, was meant to guide her in the present time.  Much of their encounters took place prior to her departure from Collinsport at age 8 to attend private school in Boston, per Elizabeth and Roger after they get guardianship of her.

In my version, the child is going to grow up to be the catalyst for resolving all things past and present.  I was really pissed off that Barnabas “declared” his love for Angelique in the end of the ’72 series when in fact, any psychotic bitch that did to a man what she did to him would never have been loved, but rather LOATHED.  To me that was unrealistic and done in haste.

While I am not giving my whole story away, I am going to point out there that I only wrote it because I get pissed off at all the crap that people toss  about with regard to characterization.  To resolve it and answer questions as to HOW Barnabas  knows about certain aspects of technology and historical information in the present, an outside character really has to be used for this. The characters of Willy, Maggie and others are “boxed” in due to the original adaptations of it, so I dug my own “good little girl” in the form of my character from the deepest recesses of the pit of my imagination.  Believe me, given what she has endured at the hands of her crazy bitch mother, the fact that she is actually “good” is amazing–but there are flaws she has…She trusts nobody-really…She keeps to herself even as a celebrity, and she feels that all she experienced was in her imagination.  She fears things that she remembers from time to time.  Her best friend up until she returns to Collinsport (outside of her band) is her dog…Can you fans of the ’92 series guess what I named him?    😀

I will reveal one thing…If anyone plays the part of the ghost of my new character’s dad someday (if I ever get this out there), I hope to hell it’s  Matthew McConaughey because he’d be perfect for that part.  As for the part of younger Barnabas there would have to be two younger people playing him as a boy and a young man, and then an older man to play him at age 50-55 (the namesake) in the present time.  Don’t ask…I won’t tell how that works, but it’s in there 🙂 !  I dug deeper than hell to explain things in a logical light…That time-space continuum that my character has to fix is a bitch to deal with but I finally worked it out…

Now for the big decision…Do I make my characters “messianic” and admirable, make them grey or send them all over the bloody cataract?  Stay tuned…Same bat time! Same bat channel!