> Chapter1-Take1: March 2018

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen starring Ewan McGregor & Emily Blunt: Saturday Matinee #book2movie

Confession. I’ve never read Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday nor have I seen the film starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas. But I adore this trailer.

 I love when McGregor plays that sort of softer side of himself. In Salmon Fishing he’s playing the kind of character that Roger Ebert noted appears in certain British comedies: “the eccentric scientist with a narrow focus.’’ 

There’s just something lovely about seeing someone living such an insular life and watching as their world opens up. Like a little miracle. Seeing that it’s Ewan McGregor’s birthday today and the film is streaming on Amazon etc Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is our Saturday Matinee.

The film, McGregor and Blunt were all nominated for Golden Globes, but Ebert finds it disappointing, that the film misses the comic mark that Torday’s book, a political satire, intended.

“What’s left’’ Roger Ebert says “is the love story, which waltzes along with the schmaltzy score by Dario Marianelli.’’

Ah well, it could be worse! Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is available for a few bucks on Amazon, iTunes, YouTube and GooglePlay.


The Child in Time by Ian McEwan: My take on the book #book2movies #review

It’s time! Easter and April Fool’s are both just two days away, as is The Child in Time starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kelly McDonald. Based on the book by Ian McEwan, the BBC film premieres on Masterpiece Theater this Sunday as well. Here’s my take on the book.

The opening pages of The Child in Time are written in Ian McEwan’s often lean style, setting out an ordinary world, a daddy taking his small child, a three year old girl named Kate to the grocery store. The ordinariness of his language—never flowery, always deeply evocative—fits with the ordinariness of the day when a simple errand turns horrifyingly into the worst day, what will become a recurring nightmare, of his life. The child Kate, is stolen, leaving her parents, Stephen an accidental writer of children’s books and Julie, a classical musician, bereft and broken.

I read the novel, as I often do, because I knew a television show was coming. As good a guide as any, in my opinion, in answer to the age old book lover’s question, what should I read next?

Having seen the ads for the series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kelly MacDonald, I knew gut wrenching tears were coming as Stephen & Julie go quite mad with grief. Knowing what to expect ahead of time, I could steel myself so that the theme—the loss of a child—wouldn’t be too bleak, especially for a parent, to bear. 

What surprised me about the book, written in 1987, was the semi-dystopia McEwan created—beggars are licensed, given out badges, allowed to beg here but not there—amidst a world which otherwise, despite a worsening of climate change, feels mostly like our own. Despite my love for McEwan, I still don't quite know that he pulled it off, whatever statement it was, he was trying to make. The story of the stolen child, the damaged marriage, the troubled friend,  didn’t seem to require or benefit from being set in a somewhat frightening futuristic time period. 

I like McEwan for his insights into the human mind and heart, the way we double talk and sabotage ourselves, the way loss leaves such a deep imprint. I’m not sure how much of that will be present in the The Child in Time coming to Masterpiece Theater on April 1. They advertise it as a “heart-breaking exploration of love, loss and the power of things unseen.’’ 

The intention, at least, seems clear.

Would I recommend the book? Not really but the novel won the Whitbread prize and Christopher Hitchens called it McEwan’s masterpiece, so what do I know.

Let’s watch the trailer, although to be honest, The Child in Time hasn’t exactly knocked the TV critics socks off. But it’s Cumberbatch so I imagine I’ll be watching it anyway.

Have you read the book? What did you think? 
Will you be watching the show?
Fellow followers of Joy’s British Isles Friday

Four Books to Watch this Month: April #Book2movies

Here comes the beautiful month of April and with it some of the screen adaptations we’ve been waiting for. And one we have to keep waiting for! I’m entirely fed up that The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is opening in the UK on April 20th—on the big screen, mind you—followed by a spate of openings around the world but still no date for us here in the states, where it seems it’s going straight to Netflix ala Mudbound. So frustrating! But here in LA anyway, Mudbound Netflix distributed both in theaters and on their small screen platform so there's hope for the big screen fans. First up, Benedict Cumberbatch in The Child in Time based on the book by Ian McEwan.

April 1: The Child in Time

Benedict Cumberbatch and Kelly Macdonald star as parents torn apart with grief when their three year old daughter Kate is stolen from her father's shopping cart. The book by Ian McEwan won the Whitbread Prize when it was published in 1987 I found the semi-dystopian setting a distraction. You can watch the trailer and see what I thought of the book The Child in Time here

April 1: Ordeal by Innocence (UK/BBC)

No word yet on when the series based on the book by Agatha Christie airs here in the US on Amazon but it should follow on the heels of the BBC production. It's a wonder it's airing at all, beset as it was by sexual allegations against Ed Westwick. His part was recast and reshot in less than 2 weeks with Christian Cooke in the part of Mickey Argyll. The cast includes Morven Christie, Bill Nighy, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ella Purnell, Luke Treadaway, Crystal Clarke & Matthew Goode in the key role of Philip Durant. Why isn't he on this poster?? Read more about Ordeal by Innocence here

April 19: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Based on the best selling book by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows, I'm expecting a Netflix air date any day now. The long awaited story of a writer penning a book about the islanders living under German occupation during WWII stars Lily James as Juliet with Michael (Game of Thrones) Huisman as Dawsey Adams, the pig farmer. Matthew Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay & Katherine Parkinson also star in the Mike Newell directed film. Watch the trailer and read more about The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society here

April 25: The Handmaid’s Tale/Season 2
“The Emmy-winning drama series returns with a second season shaped by Offred’s pregnancy and her ongoing fight to free her future child from the dystopian horrors of Gilead. ‘Gilead is within you’ is a favorite saying of Aunt Lydia. In Season Two, Offred and all our characters will fight against — or succumb to — this dark truth.” Watch the trailer for The Handmaid's Tale here.

Domhnall Gleeson says The Little Stranger is NOT a horror story. It's a ghost story. #book2movies

 Domhnall Gleeson sporting his Dr. Faraday mustache for The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger starring Domhnall Gleeson—and  reuniting him with Frank director Lenny Abrahamson—has been set for an August 31st opening, which is ages and ages away until it’s not. I need to read the book sometime before then. My twitter friend Teresa Campbell @IrishGalTeresa would never forgive me for skipping it as she’s been a huge fan of the book since day one.

In the meantime, I dug up a video featuring author Sarah Waters talking about the book and how a tale about the class system in England came to be a gothic ghost story. One, which she says, (somewhat shamelessly) alludes to other books in the genre—Rebecca, for example.

Sarah Waters on The Little Stranger

About the movie:

The Little Stranger tells the story of Dr Faraday, the son of a housemaid, who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country doctor. During the long hot summer of 1948, he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall, where his mother once worked. The Hall has been home to the Ayres family for more than two centuries. But it is now in decline and its inhabitants – mother, son and daughter – are haunted by something more ominous than a dying way of life. When he takes on his new patient, Faraday has no idea how closely, and how disturbingly, the family’s story is about to become entwined with his own.

Domhnall Gleeson (Dr. Faraday) says ... 
“I wouldn’t say [it’s a] horror,” said Gleeson. “It’s a ghost story – a very unsettling psychological ghost story, in a way that I think will be compulsive. There’s an oddness to it. You know like The Others and films like that – there’s something like that about it. Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You – it’s got that vibe to it. And Gaslight – not exactly that vibe because they’re older, but it’s got something of that oddness to it, creeping psychological dread, that I think is scary but not quite horror. The guy I’m playing is containing a lot of remorse and anger and sadness and sexuality.”

 Oliver Zetterström plays the young Faraday

The cast of The Little Stranger includes Will Poulter, Ruth Wilson and Charlotte Rampling.

Have you read the book? Are you looking forward to the big screen adaptation or dreading it in case they, as they often do, blow it? Five months away. We should be seeing a trailer, at least a teaser, soon. Give me a holler if you catch it first please. You can always find me on twitter @SimCarter

Little Women: The Louisa May Alcott classic is getting two screen adaptations this year #book2movies

I really didn’t think the latest Little Women series would come to fruition. I’d been hoping for a Greta Gerwig/Sara Polley iteration but it fell apart. Then I heard about a production starring Angela Lansbury and Emily Watson and some new younger actors. I’m happy to say as we move into spring, the PBS/Masterpiece series really is coming to our television sets. Or does that date me, like I’m straight out of the Civil War myself? The 2 part mini-series makes its debut on your device on May 13th. 

Maya Hawke—daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Therman—plays Jo, Louisa May Alcott’s semi-autobiographical tomboyish, bookish character. 

Emily Watson is Marmee, with Kathryn Newton, Willa Fitzgerald and Annes Elwy as Amy, Meg and Beth in Little Women.

How bad is it that, except for the blond, Kathryn Newton who plays Amy, I can’t tell one from the other? There’s a strong resemblance so on the physical front, the young women definitely can pass for the March sisters. I expect each will stand out in her own way as we get to know them.

Guess what? There’s another Little Women in the pipeline. This one is a modern retelling and stars Lea Thompson with an expected fall release on September 28. Thompson plays Marmee with Sarah Davenport as Jo. No pics or trailer or buzz yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Which Little Women adaptation are you more interested in seeing? 

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock: I can't wait to dive in!

Hurry up Harper Collins will you? I’m dying to read The Mermaid & Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gower, published in January in the UK and already one of the UK’s hottest new fiction books of the year.  The book is on the list for The Women's Prize for Fiction—said to be the UK’s most prestigious prize for fiction written by a woman—as well as the Desmond Elliot Prize, called the UK’s most prestigious prize for first time novelists. Harper Collins is publishing in the US sometime this year.

I’m especially eager to read this book, not just because of its prestigious awards, not just because it sounds fantastic but because—wait for it—the film and television rights for the historical fantasy have already been nabbed up. And by a quality entity: Colin Callendar and his British production company Playground Entertainment, the company behind the exquisite Howard's End and Wolf Hall, which starred Mark Rylance and The Crown’s Claire Foy, and which we watched with slavish fascination. The book is 496 pages—I LOVE a nice long read—so a television series ala Wolf Hall sounds more likely than having to fit the novel into the constrains of a film.

I’m hoping some of our British friends will have read the book, which while it’s set in 1785 is said to be all about sexual politics and power games which resonate today.

About the book


One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid. 
As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr Hancock’s marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on… and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course, on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost.
Where will their ambitions lead? And will they be able to escape the destructive power mermaids are said to possess?
In this spell-binding story of curiosity and obsession, Imogen Hermes Gowar has created an unforgettable jewel of a novel, filled to the brim with intelligence, heart and wit.

Imogen Hermes Gowar: The author of The Mermaid & Mrs. Hancock is said to have done intensive research into 18th century courtesans

Callendar notes that Playground is ‘‘very excited to bring to the screen Imogen’s remarkable debut novel. We are honoured that she has entrusted us with her gloriously enthralling original story.”

Melissa Gallant, creative director at Playground UK, adds, “We instantly fell in love with Imogen’s extraordinary and spellbinding novel. It is such a vibrant and moving love story full of originality and purpose.”

The author Hermes Gowar previously studied archaeology, anthropology and art history and and it sounds like she brings that academic background to her work, enriching her novels in the same way that Deborah Harkness does with A Discovery of Witches. Gowar won the Malcolm Bradbury Memorial Scholarship to study for an MA in Creative Writing at UK college UEA.

Source: Deadline

Joe Wright & Tracy Letts bringing The Woman in the Window to the screen. #book2movies

Monday, Monday! This one is for the books. After a wild weekend—did you go to one of the thousands of March for Our Lives events? I’ve shared a few photos from the local march we attended over on my personal blog—comes the exciting news that the adaptation of A.J. Finn’s massive best seller is going forward with Joe Wright directing.

I’m one of those people who love it when a book I like gets optioned by Hollywood, but when a talent like Wright—Darkest HourAtonement, Ana Karenina—signs on to direct with Pulitzer Prize winning Tracy Letts (August: Osage County) writing the script, I get downright giddy. 

Even the producers—who can kibosh the end results with their big fat thumbs—give me hope that this adaptation will be an exciting retelling of the book. Not that it will be an exact reiteration, what would be the point of that? 

Can you see Timothee Chalamet as Ethan?

Have you read the novel yet? Please hurry so we can play the casting game!I’ve already pegged Timothee Chalamet as Ethan, and my twitter friend +Irene Acton has suggested  Anna Friel to play the reclusive Dr. Anna Fox, the actual Woman in the Window who has become a complete agoraphobe, never leaving her home but instead watching the world and spying on her neighbors from behind the glass. 

The only question is when does production actually begin. The in demand Wright may be tackling the screen adaptation of John Williams’ Stoner—we bought the book for my son for his birthday, I’ll have to borrow it.  If so, it’s not clear which adaptation would come first.  

What do you think? Are you as pumped as I am for this adaptation? Have you read the book?

Annihilation starring Natalie Portman: How Production Design took the script from Louisiana to London #book2movies

I shared my thoughts on Annihilationboth the book and the movie—and thought fans of Alex Garland’s screen adaptation would find this short Anatomy of a Scene featurette as interesting as I did. I was amazed to learn the swampy setting—which looks straight out of a Louisiana bayou—was actually recreated and filmed just outside London. 

Watch as director Alex Garland takes you through the scene  set, as he describes it in writing in his script
Exterior: Fishing Hut/Day.
“It’s a good example,’’ he says ‘‘about how production designers improve what is in a script.’’ He gives specific credit to Michelle Day, credited as the set decorator working under production designer Mark Rigby.

Annihilation, directed by Alex Garland, based on the book by Jeff Vandermeer, stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac, Tessa Thompson & Gina Rodriguez.

Roots 2016 Reboot is Just as Harrowing and Horrifying as the Original: #SaturdayMatinee #book2movies

Roots was a major deal back in 1977, the miniseries based on Alex Haley’s book based on his own family history became a television event that made history of its own. I remember watching the multi-night event, not missing an episode, watching Kunta Kinte get whipped over and over and over again. At the time I’d never seen anything so cruel. 

I somehow missed the reboot of Roots, produced by LeVar Burton—the original Kunta Kinte himself—with some extraordinary talent attached. The young man who plays Kunta, Malachi Kirby appears to be waiting to break out but you can catch him in Black Mirror as well as Dr. Who. 

Malachi Kirby is Kunta Kinte in Roots

Watching the first episode, I was particularly captivated by his performance as well as the always stirring Forest Whitaker, as the Fiddler, the talented violinist favored by the mistress of the estate and played by Louis Gosset in the original. 

Forest Whitaker as Fiddler

With a warning that the series is not easy to watch; the inhumanity is shown so vividly and realistically it hurts. I can only imagine what it must be like for black Americans, seeing how their history in our country began. In my opinion it should be mandatory viewing for every American. 

Roots also features Laurence Fishburne as Alex Haley, Ana Paquin, Jonathan Rhys Myers, Matthew Goode, Anika Noni Rose, and Tony Curran as a despicable overseer. 

The History Channel presentation is available to stream on Hulu (free with subscription) plus the usual: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and GooglePlay.

Ordeal by Innocence: It's not just the ending that's changed in the Agatha Christie adaptation #book2movies

Meet the Argyll family

“I took this idea of this f**ked up family and thought about the 1950s and to the horror of devotees, I’ve changed the ending. I’ve changed quite a lot.’’ Sara Phelps on adapting Agatha Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence for television. 

Set in 1954 the series follows the murder of wealthy philanthropist Rachel Argyll (Anna Chancellor), which arouses suspicion among her husband Leo Argyll (Bill Nighy) five adopted children, and significant others.

Speaking of f**ked up, it’s not just the ending that’s changed since I first posted about the series and pulled the photo above of the original cast of Ordeal by Innocence months ago: Luke Treadaway, Alice Eve, Anthony Boyle, Anna Chancellor, Bill Nighy, Ed Westwick, Matthew Goode, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ella Purnell, Morven Christie, and Crystal Clarke, photographed at the Ardgowan Estate, in Inverkip, Scotland.

The original photograph by James Fisher for Vanity Fair must be something of a collector’s item now. You see Ed Westwick was recast AFTER production wrapped, when allegations against him of sexual assault came to light. The actor insists on his innocence but the BBC decided to recast and reshoot his scenes anyway. Westwick was replaced by Christian Cooke shooting 35 scenes in just 12 days. 

The first episode airs on Easter Sunday, April 1st in the UK. Here in the US, we have to wait a bit.  Not sure when, in the meantime this short short trailer will have to do. 

It's a large cast but I'm in it for Matthew Goode. How about you?

Posted for British Isles Friday

Armie Hammer & Geoffrey Rush Star in Final Portrait: Based on A Giacometti Portrait #book2movies

Well doesn’t this sound extraordinary? Directed by Stanley Tucci, Final Portrait is based on the book, A Giacometti Portrait written by biographer James Lord. The book is a detailed breakdown of the week he spent sitting for a portrait by the artist Alberto Giacometti in the mid-1960’s. 

Tucci says that he became obsessed with bringing Lord’s book, which he found ‘the best book ever written’ about the creative process, to the screen.

‘‘I was always interested in Giacometti’s work. Then I found a book called A Giacometti Portrait upon which the film is based. I just loved the book. I felt it was the best book ever written about the creative process. I always thought about trying to make it into a movie. I finally got the guts years later to ask James Lord for the rights. It took 13 years to get it made, but we finally did it.

But I wanted to explore the dynamic of someone being painted and the creative process, the frustrations, the highs the lows of it, the intellectualization of it, the impulsiveness of it, the seriousness of it and the comedy of it. Because to me it is funny. And Giacometti had all of that, because he was so self-effacing.

Watch the trailer. Geoffrey Rush is amazing, energetic and crazed as the artist while Armie Hammer is steady, grounded, confused but determined to get it down. For those of us who became re-enamored of Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name, this is a must see.

A Giacometti Portrait opens in NYC and LA the weekend of March 23, before it hits screens countrywide. The rest of the world had a chance to see Final Portrait last year when it seems to have screened all over the place in 2017.

Source: Metro.us

The Handmaid's Tale starring Elizabeth Moss: What's Season 2 all about? #book2movies [trailer]

Elizabeth Moss in The Handmaid’s Tale/Season 2

In anticipation of The Handmaid’s Tale 2nd season coming back to Hulu on Wednesday, April 25th, the streaming service recently hosted a screening and Q&A.  The new season veers into places Margaret Atwood’s novel never took us, while the characters and their stories seem very much in line with Atwood’s vision.

About the new season:

 “The Emmy-winning drama series returns with a second season shaped by Offred’s pregnancy and her ongoing fight to free her future child from the dystopian horrors of Gilead. ‘Gilead is within you’ is a favorite saying of Aunt Lydia. In Season Two, Offred and all our characters will fight against — or succumb to — this dark truth.”
While Elizabeth Moss wasn’t in attendance, I gleaned some intriguing comments via Vanity Fair and a couple of the actors who were.

One-eyed Janine, played by Madeline Brewer, is banished to the Colonies for a life of hard labor in The Handmaid’s Tale, Season 2.

 “The first season was a lot about Janine taking herself out of reality and out of her present situation, and in the second season she’s just grateful to be on Earth,” explained Brewer. “There’s a little bit more of her finding her own personality within the guidelines of Gilead. There’s so much more to her than meets the eye!”~ Madeline Brewer

Moira (Samira Wiley) is comparatively happy living as a refugee in Canada.

“Moira is trying to figure out who she is now that she’s escaped Gilead. She now has all these wonderful things; she’s no longer getting raped every day, has access to health care. But on the other side, she’s in a foreign land and nothing is familiar. So she’s trying to figure out how to live as this different person.”~Samira Wiley

Series writer Bruce Miller told the audience that motherhood is one of the driving forces of the season.

“When we start the season, it is confirmed that Offred is pregnant, and the people around [her] find out. But now she is thinking about how to protect her child, Hannah, and also thinking about the future of her unborn child. It’s like a volatile chess game; all her moves are about that unborn child, and what the future will be for that child and her daughter.”

I am soooo ready! How about you? Have you watched the trailers? 

This isn't your grandmother's Book Club: Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen & Mary Steenburgen READ

Okay. This movie is NOT based on a book but ... with a title like Book Club about a group of older women who read Fifty Shades of Grey ... how can I resist making sure you know about it? Thanks to my bookaholic friend and neighbor Lucy for giving me the heads up.

The logline

Four lifelong friends have their lives forever changed after reading 50 Shades of Grey in their monthly book club.

 And look who those four women are ...  

Jane Fonda 

 Diane Keaton

Candice Bergen

Mary Steenburgen

The movie looks like a laugh—four women in various stages of that time in your life when you say Not so fast, world, I’m not done yet! Fonda, the sexy playful one. Bergen, the smart serious one who seems to be more comfortable keeping that side of herself buried. Keaton, who appears to be playing a similar character to Erica in Something’s Gotta Give. And Mary Steenburgen, the married one who decides it wouldn't hurt to stir things up. 

The cast includes Don Johnson as Fonda’s fling, Andy Garcia paired up with Keaton, Richard Dreyfuss coupled up with Bergen (at least in this trailer) with Craig T. Nelson in the role of Steenburgen’s hapless husband.

Alicia Silverstone, Ed Begley Jr. & Wallace Shawn round out the cast. The film comes out on May 18th.   Check out the trailer.

Can you believe how young Fonda looks? It begins with  her incredible bone structure, a chin, a neck, that I would kill for. A lifetime developing the discipline to say no to all the foods most of us can’t resist, and a rigorous exercise program. Beyond that it’s all smoke and mirrors, hair dye, makeup, and let’s be real, some pricey cosmetic surgery, but she looks amazing.

To be honest, just knowing she is 80, kind of creeps me out! Is it anti-feminist of me to wish she didn’t feel the need to try so hard to look young? It’s not just the part, the photo above is from this year’s Emmy Award show. Do we have to aspire to youth our entire lives? For the average older woman the routine nips and tucks, the barrage of Botox, Juvederm, Kybella, hairpieces, hairdressers and skilled makeup artists on call are financially out of reach. We have about as much chance of achieving Fonda’s youthful looks as we do of having another child. At what point is it okay to allow ourselves to age gracefully? When will we embrace our grey hairs and our silver locks for representing the lives we’ve lived, the wisdom and joy we’ve accumulated with the years the way, to my mind, the more naturally lovely Diane Keaton does?

Or am I just jealous?

James Corden gets Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon & Mindy Kaling to Spoof A Wrinkle in Time

Hmmm. Well, here’s something a little different. James Corden took over the Pacific theater at the Grove here in LA for a live action re-enactment of the movie A Wrinkle in Time. It’s a supposedly funny bit done for his TV show utilizing Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and young star Storm Reid who invade the theater for this bit of schtick. 

The Grove is the closest theater to me, a ten minute walk, it’s where I see most movies. It’s where I saw A Wrinkle in Time and I’m wondering how it would have felt to be sitting in the audience when James Corden breaks through and takes over the showing. They must have known, right? The audience must have agreed to be in on this little bit of late night television madness?

Give it a watch and let me know if the silliness equals success.

Fried Green Tomatoes starring Kathy Bates, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary Louise Parker & Jessica Tandy: #SaturdayMatinee

It had been ages since I watched Fried Green Tomatoes. Even after watching the trailer, I’m so old I couldn’t remember the half of it! That’s why I had to watch it again.

(Pssst. I’m not that old but I am turning 65 this year! Old enough for Medicare for heaven’s sake, I’m feelin’ it, you know?)

The movie, based on the book by Fannie Flagg, came out in January of 1992. My father was dying in a hospital in Sherman Oaks from liver disease that month so I wasn’t spending much time going to the movies; in a surprising bit of synchronicity, Carol Sobieski who co-wrote the Academy Award nominated screenplay with Flagg, died from liver cancer just before the film came out.

Beautiful, British born Jessica Tandy was nominated for best supporting actress. She was a ripe old eighty at the time with a half century of film work behind her including her Oscar winning turn in Driving Miss Daisy and Cocoon, with Nobody’s Fool still to come. She lost out to Mercedes Ruehl in The Fisher King. I’m sure she didn’t give a fig. 

 “Face it girls, I’m older and I have more insurance.’’

Of course the movie also belongs to marvelous Kathy Bates and who doesn’t remember that classic scene where she gets the last word on those younger women in the parking lot. 

But the beautiful relationship between Mary-Louise Parker and Mary Stuart Masterson—were they friends or lovers?—is central to the plot. The way I see it, not unlike Armie Archer’s character in Call Me By Your Name, Mary Stuart Masterson’s character (Idgie), such a strong, independent free spirit, is one that whether man or woman, you couldn’t help falling in love with. You either wanted to be Idgie, or you fell in love with her. That’s about it. I don’t see how you could dislike her or maintain your neutrality. 

And Ruth, like the rest of us,  certainly fell for her. Fried Green Tomatoes, this week’s Saturday Matinee, also stars Cicely Tyson and Chris O’Donnell in a heartbreaking and short appearance. 

That bee scene in Fried Green Tomatoes still freaks me out. How’d they do that?

The film is available to watch free OnDemand for HBO subscribers, and to stream on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube and GooglePlay for about three bucks. Check your Netflix account, like a lot of great films, it comes and goes. 

Watch the Fried Green Tomatoes trailer 

And because it is my birthday in a couple of months, a look at the 'best birthday ever' scene from the film.

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