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“The Glass Castle” tells of a dysfunctional family

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By Shirrel Rhoades
Columnist

Saturday, August 12, 2017

“Don’t let Hollywood get its hands on your story,” writer Jeanette Walls was advised. “It’s too complicated. They’ll Hollywoodize it.”

But just the opposite happened.

Gil Netter, producer of the Oscar-winning “The Life of Pi,” optioned “The Glass Castle.”

“If he could make a movie about a tiger and an orangutan in a boat, I thought, maybe he could figure out how to turn my story into a movie,” says Walls.

Netter hired relatively unknown Destin Daniel Cretton (“Short Term 12”) to direct. And Cretton also “got it,” this story of a dysfunctional family.

He and fellow scripters wrestled what Walls called “my messy story” into a manageable movie. They focused on the relationship between a young woman and her “loving, destructive, damaged father.”

Moving all over the country to outrun debts, Rex and Rose Mary Walls dragged their four children along with them, from tumbledown house to converted railway station to their parents’ houses. Rex was an alcoholic; Rose Mary an eccentric painter; their children prisoners of squalor.

Based on the same-named book, “The Glass House” stars Oscar-winner Brie Larsen (“Room”) as Jennifer Walls. Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts play her dad and mom.

“Yes, they altered details, telescoped a few scenes, fleshed out a minor character into a more significant one, but always with my input and always with a passion for authenticity,” Jennifer Walls says of the finished film. She was happy with the results.

As she sums it up: “It was, I had thought, a shameful story, one I’d hidden for years, a childhood filled with poverty, alcoholism and homelessness. But it was also one filled with joy, pride and deep love. One day, challenged by mother to ‘just tell the truth,’ I wrote the story.”

And Hollywood told it.

“Inconvenient” sequel

about climate change

Al Gore is a dreamer. And he had hopes of changing Donald Trump’s viewpoint on the environment. But instead, the President backed out of the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement. As a result, Gore had to reshoot the ending of his new documentary, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.”

A decade after Al Gore’s documentary called “An Inconvenient Truth” brought climate change to the attention of moviegoers, this follow-up film shows how much progress we’ve made toward an energy revolution.

After “An Inconvenient Truth” won an Oscar for director Davis Guggenheim and contributed to Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize, the former vice president became known as a “warrior for the earth.” He has spent the past 10 years convincing governments to invest in renewable energy. And he’s made some notable progress, like convincing India to invest in solar rather than build 400 new coal-based generation plants.

While we applaud Al Gore’s Herculean efforts in battling man-made climate change, the film seems a little too self-congratulatory. Sometimes this documentary seems more about Gore than about the environment.

Nonetheless, progress has been made: In Texas, one town has achieved 100 percent reliance on renewable energy resources. Some states have nearly reached 100 percent fossil fuel independence. In Chile, the production of renewable energy has grown by several thousand percent. Even China has committed to the movement.

The film is at its best when it focuses on the statistics of these earth-changing developments.

Good sequel or not, the inconvenient truth remains that climate change is a reality.

Top ten fave

movie lines

What’s your favorite movie line? The American Film Institute published its 100 Greatest Movie Quotes of All Time. You can Google it and read the AFI’s list. We agree that it was a giant undertaking to review hundreds of movies to find that line – that quote-that saying – that we all remember – and they published some terrific quotes from extremely notable and important films.

On the other hand, all moviegoers do not universally accept the AFI selections. So, we asked movie maven Sheldon Davidson to pick his Top 10 movie quotes that didn’t make the AFI list but are still notable:

10. Tie: “Wall Street” (1968) – Gordon Gecko (Michael Douglas) tells his philosophy: “The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works.” And “The Asphalt Jungle (1950) Doc Riedenschneider (Sam Jaffe): “One way or another, we all work for our vice.”

9. “The Big Sleep” (1946) – Philip Marlow (Humphrey Bogart) explains to General Sternwood that he had met Sternwood’s daughter in the hall. “She tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up.”

8. “Goodfellas” (1990) – Gangster Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) turns Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) into a trembling punk when DeVito turns Hill’s minor compliment: “Tommy, you’re funny,” into a threatening moment: DeVito: “I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh; I’m here to amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?”

7. “How to Marry a Millionaire” (1953) – Schatze Page (played by Lauren Bacall) refers to the idea of older men marrying younger women: “Look at Roosevelt, look at Churchill, look at that old fella what’s his name in The African Queen.”

6. “To Catch a Thief” (1955) – John Robie (Cary Grant) and Frances Stevens (Grace Kelly) on a chicken picnic lunch: Stevens: “You want a leg or a breast?” Robie: “You make the choice.”

5. “Casablanca” (1942) – Ugarte (Peter Lorre): “You despise me, don’t you?” Rick (Humphrey Bogart): “If I gave you any thought, I probably would.”

4. “A Night at the Opera” (1935) – Otis B. Driftwood (Groucho): “It’s all right, that’s in every contract. That’s what they call a sanity clause.”

Fiorello (Chico): You can’t fool me! There ain’t no Santay Claus!”

3. “Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) – Darth Vader (James Earl Jones’s voice) speaks to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill): Vader: “Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.” Luke: “He told me you killed him! “ Vader: “No, I am your father.”

2. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937) – The Evil Queen asks: “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”

1. (Tie) “…And Justice For All” (1979) – Judge Rayford (Jack Warden): Mr. Kirkland you are out of order!” – Arthur Kirkland (Al Pacino’): “You’re out of order! You’re out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They’re out of order!” And “Midnight Cowboy” (1969) when Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) yells at a cab driver and yells while he bangs on the hood of the cab: “I’m walking here! I’m walking here!”

What are your favorite movie lines?

srhoades@aol.com

 

 

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