MUSICOLOGY: VOLUME TWO, KID! IS FREE ON KINDLE!!!

MUSICOLOGY: VOLUME TWO, KID! IS FREE ON KINDLE WEDNESDAY 2/10-SUNDAY 2/14!

After Ruby Diamond’s shocking decision, the Circle of Ten results have been revealed. Now Ruby is about to drop another timebomb into Max Buckner’s hands, a dangerous secret that puts the show on a collision course with legal and financial ruin. As Max scrambles to find out which contestant is “The Kid” and save Musicology from scandal, the Circle of Ten start carrying out agendas of their own …especially the resident diva who will stop at nothing in her attempt to destroy every contestant in her path, dominate the competition, and take the Musicology crown. Vote for who you think will win Musicology at www.musicologyrocks.com.

GIGI TAKES OVER

Greetings. I am Karen and I am a novelist. Today I am introducing my owner Gigi, a parti poodle who will be taking over the blog this week. Gigi is a fledgling writer and has been working diligently on a story of her own. She asked me if she could write the blog this week for writing practice. I said certainly especially since I have been busy getting my next book Musicology Volume Four, Sweetie! ready to release in March. I thought it would be good preparation for her as she has shown an uncommon interest in the written word for a poodle and I could use the break. This was all decided on the condition that she would behave herself and not harm Tucker the Maltese. So, without further ado, here is my poodle Gigi.

Good afternoon. I am Gigi the parti poodle, canes lupis familiaris. I am the owner of a novelist and am studying to be a writer myself. I thought I would let my poor bedraggled novelist take a break and I would write this week’s blog. I must tell you this is most exciting. How often does a poodle like me get to express her point of view? This week I have been going over a long list of log lines from which I will choose one to turn into a book. This is not an easy task. My novelist taught me to make a list of ideas, one must create such a list one idea at a time. Thus, I followed her lead. She challenged me to come up with one logline every time she took the Maltese and me for a walk. I have to say it has been cold since my professional sheering and my novelist puts me in this rather stylish grey sweater with a skull on it which fits me well. But the point here is since we walk almost daily, I now have a bevy of ideas from which to draw my masterpiece.

The problem of course is narrowing it down to one artistic concept. It is important the idea I choose is one I am willing to stick to. We poodles have such short attention spans you see. But I think it is important to be knowledgeable about the subject one is writing so being a dog I have a unique view of the world. I see it from a much lower level than humans. And yet I can climb up to heights much loftier than my size. I can squeeze my way into places humans do not fit. I can smell things with far more accuracy, and I can hear things that are further away.

Because I sit on my writer’s lap in the evenings watching television series and films, I understand the shows you humans like to watch. Some are marvelous and some are dreadful. But I have learned much from both types and believe myself confident in embarking on the journey of canine writer.

I am still working on finding my voice. This is something I do not struggle with when Fedex, USPS, UPS or even OnTrac comes to the door. But when I am engaged in creating my prose, this becomes more harrowing. I am told my bark is much bigger than my diminutive size, a statement I find most insulting if I am being honest. One should not judge one’s bark by the size of one’s frame. Just the same I am experimenting with ways to bring out my own inimitable style. As I am a cultured creature and descended from one of the brightest breeds of dogs, I think I can safely say I will bring a literary voice to the table as none have before...

I am Tucker and I am a…

Get out of here, vile mutt or I shall bite your ear like…!

Gigi! You promised me you wouldn’t harm Tucker!

This is MY blog! It is not his blog! It’s mine! You promised me! This was supposed to be my week to take over! He should be…!

Tucker, you need to go back to your pillow now. Gigi is doing the writing this week.

But I just wanted to make an appearance. I am cute and cuddly and make good appearances.

Tucker, just…please.

My feelings are hurt. Gigi hurt my feelings.

Okay, well…Gigi, could you apologize to Tucker?

Not a snowball’s chance!

Gigi is sorry, Tucker. How about you come with me and you can curl up while I read.

I still feel hurt. I do not thing Gigi apologized to me. But I will go. I like curling up. It is comforting.

Good riddance! As I was saying, I believe I will bring a unique literary voice to the annals of literature…can you believe that insipid fluffball! Trying to steal my thunder! Self-serving little…anyway, thank you for your ear and I look forward to presenting my work to you in the future. Au revoir!

MUSICOLOGY: VOLUME ONE, BABY! IS FREE ON AMAZON THURSDAY, 2/4 UNTIL SUNDAY, 2/7!

MUSICOLOGY: VOLUME TWO, KID! WILL BE FREE NEXT WEEK STARTING WEDNESDAY, 2/10!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: KEITH (2008)-Tubi

Todd Kessler co-wrote and directed this underrated realistic sleeper that is not your typical high school romance. This is the third choice in my Valentine’s movie series. We first meet Keith (Jessie McCartney) playing a game of pool with Al (Michael O’Keef) a man old enough to be his father. Keith tells Al he has figured out his concrete goal. When Al asks what it is, he tells him a girl. And when Al asks what Keith intends to do, Keith with a twinkle in his eye and verve in his voice says, “I’m going to have fun with her.” The her in question is Natalie (Elizabeth Harnois), who as Keith says is “smart, beautiful, popular” a “classic TGFY” (Too Good For You). Natalie is a hardworking likeable girl who is bound for Duke university on a tennis scholarship with a stellar grade point average. The question is why is Keith going to have fun with Natalie and what is the secret at the center of his cryptic plan?

SMART MOVIES FOR SMART KIDS: BOYS OVER FLOWERS (2009)-Netflix

This tremendously well-done romantic Korean television soap opera for the older kids is a genuine must see. Lower class Geum Jan-di (Ku Hye-sun) inadvertently rescues bloodied and beaten student Lee Min-ha from committing suicide by delivering his dry cleaning right before he is about to jump to his death at the Shin Hwa High School and grabs him in midair stopping him from plummeting to his death. Jan-di’s heroic act is awarded with a scholarship to the prestigious prep school. But there is a dark side to her reward: the F4. The F4 is a gang made up of the four wealthiest boys in the school: Goo Joon Pyo (Lee Min-Ho), Yoon Ji Hoo (Kim Hyun-joong), So Yi Jung (Kim Bum) and Song Woo Bin (Kim Joon) who drove Lee Min-ha to try and commit suicide in the first place and now have it in for Jan-di especially the leader of the pack Goo Joon Pyo.   

SCREENWRITINGU FREE CLASS FRIDAY: HOW TO WRITE CAUSE MOVIES

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Ten More Films That Are Difficult To Find On Streaming

Good Afternoon. I am Gigi the Parti poodle, owner of a novelist. As you know I have been steadily working on my own written works. I do a lot of speedwriting to help me get my thoughts out on paper. I have also written down a list of different log lines and concept ideas of which I am going to pick one and tell my tale. It has been going smashingly as I have a vivid imagination, uncommon talent for a Canis Lupus Familiaris. I may even be able to call myself a published writer one day. My novelist has been typing up my work on her computer and saving it in a file which I have been given permissions to access. It is lovely seeing my gorgeous prose sprawled out across the screen. Being involved in my work is taxing on my time. For instance, I cannot simply stop writing and go discipline the Maltese. I fear he may be getting away with more than he should. I might have to bark at him harshly and give his ear a good nip. Alas, I hear the word processer calling my name. But before I go, here is my novelist.

Greetings! This week I thought I’d post ten more films that are difficult to get on streaming. What I mean by that is they are not available on a streaming service like Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO Max etc. But I thought because they are all excellent films and worth a watch, if you can get them on disk or even find them in a different manner take advantage and give them a watch. Again, I realize this list is subject to change because what is available on streaming is always in flux. But for now, here is the list:

The Full Monte (1997)- Sometimes the Oscars will make a serendipitous nomination not only for Best Screenplay but also for Best Picture and shed light on something like this remarkable little gem. One thing you might notice in all the movies in this short series is that they nail their endings. This film nails its ending with a jackhammer. Set in Sheffield, South Yorkshire England where the once successful steel mills have closed, unemployed steelworkers, mostly men, are getting more and more desperate and question their value both personally and professionally. Then one day a Chippendale’s striptease act comes to town. Gary “Gaz” Schofield (Robert Carlyle) whose wife has left him and is trying to get sole custody of their son Nathan, notes how many women line up to see the show. Realizing the profitability of a male striptease act he encourages his overweight friend Dave Horsefall (Mark Addy) to help him recruit a dance group who include a suicidal security guard named Lomper (Steve Huison) and their older former foreman Gerald Arthur Cooper whom they find out takes dance classes with his wife Linda (Deirdre Costello). The four men hold auditions and recruit older but talented Barrington “Horse” Mitchell (Paul Barber) and attractive young Guy (Hugo Speer). The six men begin practicing their routine which becomes altered after Gaz brags to a couple of local women who are putting up advertisements for the next Chippendales show that his group is better because they go “the full monte”.

A History of Violence (2005)- This fantastic action-thriller written by Josh Olson who received an Academy Award nomination is based on the graphic novel of the same name by John Wagner and directed by David Cronenberg. In a small town called Millbrook, Indiana lives a mild-mannered diner owner named Tom Stall, his strongminded lawyer wife Edie (Maria Bellow) and their two children teenager Jack and young daughter Sarah. One night while closing his cafe, two killers come in to rob the place. To everyone’s surprise Tom kills both men expertly. At first the incident seems like freak luck…until a gangster named Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris) shows up claiming Tom is not who he seems.

The Hustler (1961)- One of the finest films ever made but not easily found on streaming. Based on Walter Tevis’s fantastic novel and starring Paul Newman in his greatest performance ever, this classic has been called “A Greek Tragedy played out in pool halls”. “Fast” Eddy Felson (Paul Newman in an Oscar nominated performance) is a talented but reckless pool player hustling his way from joint to joint who dreams of playing and beating the best of the best Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason in his Oscar nominated performance). After finally getting a game with the champ Eddy plays and ultimately loses to him. Devastated, he wanders into a bus station where he meets intelligent but handicap Sarah Packard (Piper Laurie in an Oscar nominated performance). The two are smitten with each other until Eddy allows agent Bert Gordon (George C. Scott in an Oscar nominated performance) to bank roll him.

Red Rock West (1993)- This modern film noir has a great cast and is a whole lot of fun! John Dahl (Rounders and The Last Seduction) co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Rick and directed this smart tale about a Texan named Michael (Nicholas Cage) who travels to Montana for a job on an oil drilling crew. When the job falls through, he finds himself mistaken for a hitman by a man named Wayne (J.T. Walsh) who believes he hired him to kill his wife Suzanne (Laura Flynn Boyle). But Suzanne is onto her husband’s plan and offers Michael money to kill Wayne instead…until the real hitman Lyle (Dennis Hopper) finally shows up.

Bad Santa (2003)- What would the holiday season be without this classic? Directed by Terry Zwigoff it’s the uplifting story of a drunken safe-cracking conman named Willie (brilliantly portrayed by Billy Bob Thorton) and his partner in crime dwarf mastermind Marcus (Tony Cox) who dress up as Santa and an elf respectively every Christmas, get a gig at a department store and rob it on Christmas Eve. Every year Willie swears he’s retiring and by the time the holiday season rolls around he’s broke again and forced to play the Grinch…until one year he meets a likeable bartender named Sue (Lauren Graham) and moves into the house of a plucky but tortured boy known only as The Kid (Brent Kelly) and his grandmother (Cloris Leachman) whom he planned to rob.

Repulsion (1965)- Here is a film that messed me up for days when I first saw it. I recommend it highly. A young beautiful innocent Belgian immigrant named Carol (fantastically played by Catherine Deneuve) lives in London with her older sister Helen (Yvonne Furneaux) and works as a manicurist. Carol is introverted, says little and as Helen puts it is “sensitive”. Helen has a typical a-hole boyfriend named Michael (Ian Hendry) who really ticks quiet Carol off. Carol just wants to be left alone but in addition to having Michael at the apartment more than she’d like she also must deal with a likeable but clueless suiter named Colin (John Fraser) who is captivated by her. And then Helen and Michael make the brilliant decision to take off on a weekend trip to Pisa, Italy and leave Carol alone in the apartment. That’s when the real fun begins. Masterfully written and directed by Roman Polanski and shot in glorious black and white this is one of the most terrifying films you may ever see. And not for the reasons you think.

The Lookout (2007)-This is a great little crime thriller with a lot of depth and compassion. All the performances are great and the stellar script with a terrific premise “Whoever has the money has the power” was written by Scott Frank who also directed. Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a high school star hockey player from a well to do family with a promising future ahead of him…until one night when he takes his girlfriend, his best friend and his friend’s date out for a drive to show his lady the fireflies. The event leaves Chris brain damaged working as a janitor for a bank and living with a blind roommate named Lewis (Jeff Daniels) who sells flower bouquets over the telephone. Into Chris’s life comes an old high school classmate asthmatic Gary Spargo (Matthew Goode) who introduces Chris to the beautiful but questionable Luvlee Lemons (Isla Fisher) and presents a proposition to Chris which Chris believes will turn his life around…or will it?

Easier with Practice (2009)-Based on an autobiographical GQ article What Are You Wearing? by Davy Rothbart this is a wonderfully unusual film that meditates on loneliness, intimacy, and perception. Introverted novelist Davy Mitchell (Brian Geraghty) is on a road trip with his gregarious womanizing younger brother Sean (Kel O’Neill) going from small bookstore to small bookstore to promote his unpublished book. Davy, though likeable and intelligent has a difficult time communicating with women and after watching his brother score repeatedly, becomes disillusioned and burned out. That is until one night while staying in a cheap motel he gets a call from a stranger, a woman named Nicole. They quickly start a phone sex affair that brightens Davy’s outlook on life. But as their relationship deepens Davy finds he longs for and needs their long-distance affair to become flesh and blood regardless of the consequences.     

Zero Effect (1998)- Jake Kasdan wrote and directed this fantastic sleeper shot in Portland, Oregon about a sociophobic private investigator genius named Daryl Zero (phenomenally played by Bill Pullman) who may also be an erotophobic, genophobic, philophobic, and/or sexophobic as well but in a delightfully charming and eccentric way. Zero spends most of his days in his multi-locked apartment that is as secure as Fort Knox. His disgruntled and droll associate Steve Arlo (Ben Stiller) is his one and only connection to the outside world and sets him up with gigs promoting him as “the best private investigator in the world”. Zero’s latest job is for a businessman named Gregory Stark (Ryan O’Neil) who has lost the keys to a safety deposit box and is being blackmailed by an unknown person.

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)- The best weirdest film you’ll probably ever see. Based on the novella by Joe R. Lansdale, Elvis Presly (Bruce Campbell who is great here) is alive and well living in a nursing home along with John F. Kennedy (Ossie Davis). Elvis claims he got tired of being famous and switched places with an Elvis impersonator named Sebastian Half. He really doesn’t like being old and spends much of his time pondering his life and being patronized by The Nurse (Ella Joyce) and longs for purpose in his old age. Into his life comes a cursed mummy named Bubba Ho-Tep (Bob Ivy) who begins consuming the souls of the nursing home’s elderly residents. When Bubba attacks Elvis, Elvis fends him off and afterwards enlists Kennedy to help him triumph over the evil creature.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the first two books in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!, and Musicology Volume Three, Twist! on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will will Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK- UNTAMED HEART (1993) HBO Max

Continuing with my Valentine theme here is a wonderful little film with a lot of heart and poignancy. Set in Minneapolis, Minnesota, beauty school student Caroline (Marisa Tomei) makes ends meet as a waitress where she works with her wisecracking friend Cindy (Rosie Perez), a dishwasher named Adam (Christian Slater) and her boss Jim (Joe Minjares). Caroline has a bad habit of picking one loser guy after another and finds herself alone during the Christmas season after her newest boyfriend dumps her. One night a couple of guys come into the café where Caroline works and harass her. Caroline is the closing waitress and after the guys leave, she walks home as usual. But once she gets part way home the two guys who harassed her show up planning to rape her. She attempts to fight them off until one of them knocks her unconscious. Unbeknownst to all of them Caroline has a stalker who has been following them and throws an unexpected wrench into the situation.  

SMART MOVIES FOR SMART KIDS: SURF’S UP (2007)-Netflix

This wonderfully droll animated feature tells the story of young up and coming rock hopper penguin Cody Maverick (Shia LeBeouf) as he prepares to compete in the Big Z Memorial surfing competition on Pen-Gu Island. He meets fellow surfer Chicken Joe (Jon Heder) a rooster from Wisconsin. Cody finds himself smitten with gentoo penguin Lani Aliikai who works as a lifeguard. Cody met the surfer Big Z, for which the competition was named for years ago when he was a child. The Big Z gave Cody a necklace and Cody which he has worn ever since. So, when he sees emperor penguin Tank “The Shredder” Evens defacing Big Z’s memorial Cody challenges him to a surf competition and loses badly and loses his precious necklace in the battle. Lani saves the nearly drowned Cody and takes him to her Uncle Geek (Jeff Bridges) who teaches him to be a better surfer.

TEN MOVIES THAT ARE DIFFICULT TO GET ON STREAMING

Good evening. Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce my novelist. This has been a relatively mundane week except of course for the Maltese getting a home haircut as he is more inclined to sit still than I. I must say he looks a bit better…as much as a Maltese can I suppose. My novelist believes he will need another going over and a nail trim but for the most part he is groomed. As you may know, I have been working steadily on my own writing project. It is a tedious undertaking, but I feel compelled to share my thoughts through the written word. I will keep you abreast of my anecdotes as the weeks go on. Until then, here is my novelist.

Greetings! I thought would be a good week to start choosing some Valentine’s Day movies for my Stream of the Week section. And speaking of movies, I have found there is a list of exceptionally good films out there that are difficult to get on streaming. Films I have wanted to feature in my Stream of the Week section and haven’t because they do not appear to be on a streaming service like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, HBO Max, Showtime, Peacock etc.

And so, for that reason this week I am going to list ten of these treasures and encourage you to try and see them if you can. Now, I realize this list is subject to change because what is available on streaming is always in flux. But for now, here they are:

Bound (1996)-The Wachowski siblings are best known for The Matrix films. But in my opinion, this is their finest work by far both in its direction and its extraordinary script. Recently paroled professional thief Corky (Gina Gershon) takes a job as a plumber in a mob-owned apartment building. She quickly meets mafia money launderer Caesar (brilliantly portrayed by Joe Pantoliano) and his sexy girlfriend Violet (Jennifer Tilly). When Violet loses a precious earring down the sink, she enlists Corky to come to the rescue. Things between the two women heat up fast and as they fall for each other they began to plan an elaborate scheme to steal $2,000,000 blood-stained dollars Caesar brings home one night. Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly have fantastic chemistry here and the tension is so strong you could cut it with a knife…or gardening sheers.

Bridesmaids (2011)-This laugh-out loud comedy is as smart as it is raunchy and was nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo and Best Supporting Actress for Melissa McCarthy. Loser in love Annie (Kristen Wiig) wants to be the Maid of Honor for her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph). Unfortunately, the two women have drifted apart more than Annie realizes when she finds herself competing for the position with Lillian’s new friend Helen (Rose Byrne) who is a Master of Social soirées. Thus, begins Annie’s sometimes funny sometimes poignant journey from her dependency on her booty calling friend with benefits Ted (Jon Hamm) and her journey to growing up with some help from her fellow bridesmaids: self-made dog loving Megan (Melissa McCarthy), naive Becca (Ellie Kemper), sharp-witted Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covy) and a likeable traffic cop named Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd) Annie meets getting a speeding ticket.  

Sex, Lies & Videotape (1989)-If any film was responsible for kicking off the independent film era at the end of the twentieth century, it was Steven Soderbergh’s first full length dramady. This was one of those rare movies that blew me away on first viewing and would make an excellent Valentine’s Day movie pick. Ann (Andie MacDowell) is a beautiful smart young married woman who is obsessed with garbage. Why? Because her arrogant lawyer husband John (Peter Gallagher) is cheating on her with Ann’s acid-witted bartending younger sister Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo). Unexpectedly, John’s old college chum Graham (James Spader who rightly won best actor at Cannes for his performance) comes into town. Graham was just as wild as John back in the day. But now Graham is on a pilgrimage to reinvent himself with a little “personal project” which inadvertently proceeds to spin everyone’s life out of control.

Yanks (1979)-This underrated little romantic gem directed by John Schlesinger finds a slew of World War II American soldiers including Technical Sergeant Matt Dyson (Richard Geer) and Captain John (William Devane) shipped to England to help build up the Normandy landings where they each find themselves falling in love with local women. John falls for the married Helen (Vanessa Redgrave) and Matt falls hard for young innocent Jean Morton (Lisa Eichhorn) who is engaged to a British soldier named Ken (Derek Thompson). Because of her engagement Jean and Matt keep their relationship platonic. But when they find themselves thrust into an unexpectedly dire situation; they begin to question the paths they are on. One of the great things about this film is the intelligence of one of the love scenes. I doubt many films today would handle a scene like that with as much poignancy as this film does.

The Wrestler (2008)-To this day I cannot give any logical reason as to why Mickey Roark who won every acting award out there did not win the Oscar for best actor for his landmark performance. It was one of those situations like Memento which after winning every writing award out there lost the Oscar for best original screenplay to the unbearably boring and forgettable Gosford Park. Darren Aronofsky masterfully directs this wonderful character study about aging wrestler Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson (Mickey Roark) who’s years of abuse force him to retire from the ring after he has a heart attack. Into his life comes aging stripper Cassidy/Pam (Marissa Tomei in an Oscar nominated performance) a single mother who provides Randy a chance at a normal life and even encourages him to reconnect with his daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood). But retirement is challenging for the former star who begins working at the deli counter in a grocery full time for a surly jealous boss.

Gattaca (1997)-When he is at the top of his game, Andrew Niccol is one of the best science fiction screenwriters around. And this film certainly proves it. Set in the future where parents can program the baby they are going to have with all the perfect genes through the eugenics program, Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) comes from a natural conception and is thus an “invalid” susceptible to genetic disorders. Doomed to live his life on the lower rungs of society due to genetic discrimination, he cuts a deal with Jerome Eugene Morrow (Jude Law) a “valid” who was recently paralyzed in a car accident. Eugene is willing to provide Vincent with all the samples he needs to take his identity and secure a job at the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation to allow Vincent to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming an astronaut. But Vincent’s plans are put into jeopardy when he meets and falls for his coworker Irene Cassini (Uma Thurman).

Foul Play (1978)-A smart funny film that was quite popular when it first came out but is difficult to get your hands on for streaming. Shy librarian Gloria Mundy (Goldie Hawn) finds herself divorced and alone. One night after leaving a party she by chance finds a man in a broken-down car by the side of the road. He introduces himself as Bob “Scotty” Scott (Bruce Solomon). The two hit it off and he invites her on a date to the movies. He tells her he is trying to quit smoking and insists she take his last pack of cigarettes from him. Gloria takes the cigarettes. But when she goes to the theatre to meet Scotty for their date, he tells her to “beware of the dwarf” and then dies. The next day after work Gloria is chased by an albino man and attacked in her home by a man with a scar whom she ends up stabbing with a pair of knitting needles. The events lead her to contact police officers Lt. Tony Carlson (Chevy Chase) and his partner Inspector “Fergie” Ferguson (Brian Dennehy) neither of whom believe her bizarre story. Dudley Moore is fantastic as a would-be British philanderer named Stanley Tibbets.

Head-On (also known as Gegen die Wand) (2004)-This Golden Bear winner is an absolutely riveting brilliantly realized love story about an unlikely Turkish couple with suicidal tendencies. Cahit (Birol Ünel) is a forty-year-old man whose girlfriend has abandoned him. One night after his job picking up empty bottles at a club, he decides to drive his car into a wall (“Gegen die Wand” translates to “against the wall”). Failing to kill himself he finds himself in a psychiatric hospital where his psychiatrist gives him a piece of advice: “If you want to end your life, end it. You don’t have to kill yourself to do that”. Before he leaves the hospital, he meets a young woman named Sibel who has also tried to kill herself. Sibel is insistent she get to know Cahit and the two go to a bar where Sibel attempts to strike a deal with him that they marry so she can have the freedom from her family to go out and sleep with anyone she wants.

The Good Girl (2002)- One of Jennifer Aniston’s finest performances and an excellent dark comedic script written by Mike White. Thirty-year-old Justine Last (Jennifer Aniston) is stuck. She lives in Texas and works a steady but boring job at a discount store called Retail Rodeo along with her equally bored and sardonic co-worker Cheryl (Zooey Deschanel) and devoutly religious security guard Corny (Mike White). Justine is married to pot smoking house painting husband Phil Last (John C. Reilly) and begrudgingly puts up with Phil’s creepy pot head friend Bubba (Tim Blakely). Growing increasingly bored with her mundane life Justine strikes up a friendship with a new introverted young cashier named Holden (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is obsessed with The Catcher in the Rye. Their friendship starts out well and each one seems to nurture the other’s best attributes. But though their mutual company causes their lives to improve, their friendship causes the other people in their lives to become vicious.

How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989)- This truly original and wacky dark comedy is a must see especially for Richard E. Grant’s (as always) stellar performance. Advertising executive Denis Dimbleby Bagley has lost his mind. He cracks after trying to come up with a brilliant add for pimple cream. As his mental breakdown begins, he spies a rather large boil on his shoulder while looking in the mirror. After awhile the boil begins to take on a different and more sinister form.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the first two books in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!, and Musicology Volume Three, Twist! on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will will Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK- THE CENTER OF THE WORLD (2001)– Tubi

It has always perplexed me why some critics do not like this movie apart from some like Roger Ebert and Richard Roper who’s reviews I agreed with. Especially what Ebert points out about this being a story about the mind games more than the sex in his critique. But then Ebert wasn’t your average critic. It is an explicit film but a provocative one which examines the power of sex, money, and emotions with the help of two fantastic and brave actors. Richard Longman (Peter Sarsgaard) is on the brink of his IPO going public. But like many computer nerds (and incels) though he is highly intelligent he lacks the social skills he needs to meet and keep a personal relationship. Richard frequents a local café where he meets Florence (no last name) who reveals to him she is a drummer but makes her money working as a stripper. Surprised but titillated by this information Richard starts frequenting her club, buying lap dance after lap dance. Finally, on the eve of his company going public Richard, burnt out from constantly working, invites Florence to go to Las Vegas with him for a weekend. When she turns him down, Richard offers to compensate her with ten thousand dollars. But Florence quickly sees this as a business transaction. Not wanting to be viewed as a prostitute but in need of the cash, Florence writes a list of demands for the trip which Richard initially agrees with. But once in Las Vegas, a place neither of them has visited before, the lines in the sand begin to blur.

SMART MOVIES FOR SMART KIDS- BACK TO SCHOOL (1986)-Amazon Prime

This one is for the older kids. This smart funny gem stars Rodney Dangerfield as a successful millionaire businessman named Thornton Mellon, a jolly high-spirited guy who graduated from the school of hard knocks but not from college. When his disheartened son Jason (Keith Gordon) heads off to university and his wife cheats on him, Thornton gets a divorce and enrolls as a student to keep his son’s spirits up and ends up falling for his English teacher Doctor Diane Turner (Sally Kellerman) and drives his business school professor Doctor Philip Barbay (Paxton Whitehead) up the wall.  

SCREENWRITINGU FREE CLASS FRIDAY-ANALYSIS OF BRIDGERTON

You can sign up for the class here. ScreenwritingU Free Friday Classes are always at 12:00 noon PST and are teleconferences unless otherwise noted.

TAKING A TRIP AS YOUR CHARACTER

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce my novelist once again. This has been a glorious week as Monday was the release of the third book in my novelist’s Musicology book series Musicology: Volume Three, Twist! One of my favorite and funniest scenes in this comedic series occurs in this volume which deals with a rock and roll fellow named Robbie Sexton and his strange but amusing proclivities. I for one roared.

I did too! I am Tucker and I am a Maltese.

Firstly, you cannot read. And secondly, I am still livid over that vile picture of yours you decided to photobomb my novelist’s post with. Shame on you, filthy cur!

I thought I looked cute.

No one thought you were cute. They were looking at my pictures and thought I was majestic.

I am cute.

Whatever. Without further ado here is my novelist.

One thing I found eye opening and useful as a writer was to travel somewhere through the eyes of a couple of my characters. Right now, of course, travel is sketchy. But I thought I would talk about this experience I went through that I thought was a whole lot of fun and useful when I was writing my book series Musicology.

Musicology takes place primarily in Burbank, California. The first part of the story where Max and Ruby are traveling around to find contestants takes place in different parts of the country. But the bulk of the story is in Burbank. However, there is an important and sizable chunk in the latter part of the series which takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Living in the Northwest, Las Vegas is a relatively easy and frugal vacation. And Las Vegas is fun because it has something for everyone. Although I did have a dentist once who abhorred it. I, however, enjoy its imagination and even its garishness and as I was writing my books I thought, I have a chance to go there so I will experience my trip through the eyes of my characters.

While I was in Las Vegas, I took a lot of pictures of things one does not normally think of taking pictures of on vacation like the pattern of the carpet, garbage cans, long hallways, sconces, ceilings, shuttles, bedspreads, artwork in the room, etc.  I wanted to see the world through the eyes of my characters and have a vivid memory of the little things they saw.

In addition, I tried to experience Las Vegas in the way my characters would instead of the way I would. What do they eat and what do they think about what they eat? Are they concerned or not concerned about the price? What are things they might purchase or not purchase? What types of shows would interest them? Could they afford to go or not? How do they view the strip as they walk down it? What catches their eye? What repels them? What entices them? What does it lend to their ideas and ambitions?

I am not advocating to go out of your way and pay a lot of money to go on a trip and certainly not during Covid19. But if you do have an opportunity in the future to visit where your characters live or travel to, whether it be your own back yard or a destination location you happen to be going to I very much encourage doing so in the mindset of your character. You might think of it as method acting for writers. I found it to be one of my most enjoyable vacations.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the first two books in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!, Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!, and Musicology Volume Three, Twist! on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will will Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: ELECTION (1999)-Prime Video

As many of you know, sadly and shockingly the actress Jessica Campbell died recently at the age of 38 at her home in Portland, Oregon. She had stopped acting and became a homeopathic physician. She was known for her role as Amy Andrews in the television show Freaks and Geeks. But she was most notable in her role as Paul Metzler’s angst-ridden sister Tammy Metzler who throws a wrench into things in the fantastic Indi film Election. When election first came out, I was fortunate enough to go to a question-and-answer session with Jim Taylor who co-wrote the screenplay with Alexander Payne (who also directed) and Tom Perrotta who wrote the original novel Election. He was fantastic to listen to. During the session we got to see the alternate ending of the film which is closer to the novel and would have been my choice over the original hands down. I will not tell you what it is and spoil things. But if you do watch the movie and would like to see the alternate ending here is the link. Election is a terrific satire with a terrific premise which is “So, is this a moral situation or an ethical situation? What’s the difference between morals and ethics anyway?” And it’s all played out in a high school during a student body president election. Attractive and ambitious Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) is determined to become the student body president. But her teacher Jim McCallister (Matthew Broderick) detests her…or does he? Mr. McCallister sets out to find the perfect opposing candidate in likeable, popular, clueless Paul Metzler (Chris Klein). But when both Paul and Mr. McCallister manage to tick off Paul’s sister Tammy, all-out war ensues.

SMART MOVIES FOR SMART KIDS: WALT DISNEY’S ANIMATION STUDIOS SHORT FILM COLLECTION (2015)-Netflix

This really is a must see. A collection of twelve fantastic and different animated shorts from Walt Disney Studios. Some are Oscar winners like Paperman and Feast, some are poignant like The Little Match Girl and some are technically innovative like Get a Horse! All of them are worth watching for both kids and adults alike.

SCREENWRITINGU FREE CLASS FRIDAY: TAKING FEEDBACK FROM PRODUCERS

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MUSICOLOGY: VOLUME THREE, TWIST! IS ALIVE AND KICKING ON AMAZON!

GET MUSICOLOGY: VOLUME THREE, TWIST! TODAY!

THE THIRD BOOK IN THE MUSICOLOGY BOOK SERIES!

HERE IS THE BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Who is Donnie Trojan? The Circle of Seven have been revealed and the pressure is on. The resident diva exhibits her conniving zenith as she continues making carnage of the other contestants’ careers. But Ruby Diamonds is on to her and enlists the help of an old friend and an unlikely budding romance to set things right. Amidst the drama Devon embraces the unexpected rising ratings and Max scrambles to figure out who “The Kid” is before the show takes another damaging turn and obliterates his career. 

MUSICOLOGY: VOLUME THREE, TWIST! RELEASES MONDAY, JANUARY 11TH!!!!

Good afternoon. Gigi the parti poodle here and I must say this has been a most momentous week. Firstly, because my novelist is releasing her third book in her Musicology series, Musicology: Volume Three, Twist! but more importantly because I received my first professional haircut since the dawn of Covid19. I must admit I am terrible at allowing people to style my hair. I am a feisty poodle after all. And so, my novelist and I went round after round for months with her trying to use the Wahl clippers and scissors on me to disastrous results. Therefore, I was escorted off at 10:30 on Tuesday morning to have my locks sheared. My novelist took me to my usual groomers who have extremely strict Covid19 regulations. My novelist was not allowed inside the shop. No one who was not a dog or professional groomer employed by the shop was allowed entrance which of course delighted my hypochondriac novelist. I was whisked inside where I was bathed and trimmed and of course had my nails done. One must always have one’s nails done. Being it winter in the northwest I am quite chilly now but exquisite to look at as is illustrated in my before and after photos below. As anyone can clearly see I am a fine specimen of the Canis Lupus Familiaris variety. I will now allow you some time to gaze upon my beauty as one does a famous painting and contemplate the extraordinary art of my being. And without further ado, here is my novelist.

On Monday, January 11th, my third novel in my book series Musicology series releases! To kick things off here is the description:

Who is Donnie Trojan?

WHO IS DONNIE TROJAN?

The Circle of Seven have been revealed and the pressure is on. The resident diva exhibits her conniving zenith as she continues making carnage of the other contestants’ careers. But Ruby Diamonds is on to her and enlists the help of an old friend and an unlikely budding romance to set things right. Amidst the drama Devon embraces the unexpected rising ratings and Max scrambles to figure out who “The Kid” is before the show takes another damaging turn and obliterates his career.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the first two books in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby! and Musicology: Volume Two, Kid! on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. Musicology Volume Three, Twist! will release this Monday, January 11, 2021. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will will Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: BEST IN SHOW (2000)-Showtime

Christopher Guest makes very funny films. His most notable is This is Spinal Tap which essentially put the mocumentary on the map. Best in Show is in my opinion his second-best work. Set in the world of televised dog shows the movie depicts and spoofs different wacky characters all vying for the coveted blue ribbon at the Mayflower Kennel Club competition. Among the dogs are a standard poodle, a bloodhound, a distempered Weimaraner, a pampered Shih Tzu and a Norwitch terrier. One of the standouts in the movie is Fred Willard as Buck Laughlin a dysfunctional announcerwho makes varying bizarre and hilarious comments about the dogs and their owners.

SMART MOVIES FOR SMART KIDS: PUSS IN BOOTS-Netflix

A lot of folks like Shrek but for me Puss in Boots albeit a spin-off is the smarter better film. This wonderfully droll tale explores the formative years of the would-be notorious feline Puss (Antonio Banderas) and his childhood friend Humpty Dumpty (Zack Galifianakis) who may or may not have deserved to fall off that wall. The villainous Jack and Jill add chaos and spunk as outlaws who have gotten their hands-on Jack’s magic beans. The film also introduces Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) who is just as smart and engaging as our anti-hero. Their dance-off in the milk bar is a whole lot of fun.   

SCREENWRITINGU FREE CLASS FRIDAY: GET PAID TO WRITE SCREENPLAYS.

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PHOTOBOMB!!!