Free This Week for 2019 Mother’s Day — 50 Must-See Movies: Mothers

Posted on May 6, 2019 at 7:00 am

Copyright Columbia Pictures 1994


In honor of Mother’s Day, my ebook 50 Must-See Movies: Mothers will be free on Amazon from Monday, May 6 to Friday, May 10, 2019.Image

No relationship is more primal, more fraught, more influential, more worried over, more nourishing when good and more devastating when bad that our connection to our mothers. Mom inspires a lot of movies in every possible category, from comedy to romance to drama to crime to animation to horror, from the lowest-budget indie to the biggest-budget prestige film. A lot of women have been nominated for Oscars for playing mothers and just about every actress over age 20 has appeared as a mother in at least one movie. From beloved Marmee in “Little Women” (three great movie versions, a modern-day adaptation, and a PBS miniseries, and a forthcoming film directed by Greta Gerwig) and Mrs. Brown in “National Velvet” to mean moms in “Now Voyager” and “Mommie Dearest.”  Oscar winning classics and neglected gems, based on real-life like Sally Fields in “Places in the Heart” or fantasy like Dumbo’s lullaby-singing elephant mom, these are all must-see movies.



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Jon Hamm in “Stinker Lets Loose!”

Posted on January 9, 2018 at 3:58 pm

It almost seems like there really was a movie back in 1977 called “Stinker Lets Loose,” part of those affectionately remembered cornpone road films like “Every Which Way But Loose,” “Cannonball Run,” and “Smokey and the Bandit.” There should have been, anyway. And now there sort of is, with the novel and audiobook (exclusively from Audible) starring Jon Hamm.

Author Mike Sacks and director Eric Martin have created a fully immersive cinematic audio experience with an all-star cast. Stinker teams up with old pals Boner and Jumbo, plus new friends Buck and Rascal the Chimp, for a crazy ride across the highways and byways of Bicentennial America and meets scores of beautiful Southern gals, reams of treacherous villains, and even the Big Man!
Jon Hamm as Stinker
Rhea Seehorn as Gwyneth
Andy Daly as Boner
John DiMaggio as Jumbo and Sheriff Sledge
Paul F. Tompkins as Clarence Macleod and Mr. Walsh
Jessica McKenna as Buck
Kimmy Gatewood as Betty
Mark Gagliardi as Big Red
Justin Michael as Pip
With James Urbaniak as President Jimmy Carter and Jeremiah King
Guest starring Andy Richter as Orville Max and Phillip Baker Hall as the Big Man!
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Interview: Ron Hall of “Same Kind of Different As Me”

Posted on September 12, 2017 at 1:01 am

Copyright 2012 Ron Hall

On the Huffington Post, I interviewed Ron Hall, whose wife inspired him to befriend a homeless man named Denver Moore. Their book, Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together inspired a film starring Greg Kinnear, Djimon Hounsou, and Renee Zellweger. It will be in theaters this fall.

He wasn’t really looking for any friends. He considered himself like the lion in the jungle. He had this very angry persona that was his protection and his self-preservation. I wasn’t looking for any friends like him either, truthfully, I was only doing this to repay Debbie for the forgiveness that she had shown me after my infidelity. At her insistence I pursued him for about five months until I finally got him in my car. I took him to breakfast and he thought I was in the CIA. He said, “Why would some rich white man be trying to follow me around?” We ordered breakfast and I found out a lot more about him. He came from a plantation and he had never been to school in his life. He said “Well, so what is it you all want from me?” I said, “Well, I just want to be your friend. Straight up, that’s all I’m looking for.” That in a way was kind of a lie. I was wanting to be more friendly, I wasn’t really wanting to be his friend in the real sense.

That’s how arrogant I was. I didn’t think he had anything to offer me in a friendship. In my mind if he cleaned himself up a little bit, behaved himself I would let him hang out with me for lunch and things like that, and take him around and show him a few nice things and try to make him feel bad about making all the bad decisions in his life that keep him from being like me. I didn’t have any respect for homeless people at the time because I felt most of them laid their own bed and they will have to lay in it.

Anyway after a couple of weeks I saw him taking trash out of the dumpster so I stopped by and I said, “Hey, you want to go get some coffee?” So we were sitting there at Starbucks and I’m trying to explain to him what an art dealer does and he was totally uninterested in that so after a few minutes of me talking he said, “Are you through talking? Tell you the truth there’s something I heard about white folks that really bothers me and it has to do with fishing.” He said, “I heard when white folks go fishing they do this thing they call catch and release.” I said, “Yeah, Denver, they sure do because it’s a sport, don’t you get it?” He said “No, no man I don’t get that at all. Back on the plantation where I grew up we’d go out in the morning, we’d get the cane poles, dig us a can full of worms, we’d go sit on the riverbank all day long and when we got something on the line we were really proud of what we caught and we’ll share it with our folk. It occurred to me that if you are a white man that’s fishing for a friend to catch and release, I ain’t got no desire to be your friend.” My mind flashed back to Debbie’s dream of a poor man who was wise. If I ever heard from God in my life it was at that moment and I knew that I had to accept that friendship and I had to catch and not release. I said, “Okay Denver, if you will be my friend I will not catch and release,” and he said to me “You have a friend for life;” and I said, “Okay, you do too.” The fear I had of him or becoming his friend evaporated.

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