Jessica Chastain is the Winner in “Molly’s Game”

I championed Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain\s film debuts as the first stars of the new millennium. Both have disappointed me, Shannon more than Chastain, as he embraced being typecast as a Frankenstein monster  and became more drearily offbeat with each rle, while Chastain naively followed every bad piece of direction she was given to the letter, resulting in letter-perfect mi-steps that endeared her with the amateur indie directors who so frequently employed her.  I hove kept up with both of them though, always hoping for a breakthrough that would rekindle  my initial love for their work,  Even though Shannon is always entertaining to watch, he is ultimately a bore, as most oddballs must be, as their shee oddness pre=supposes any true originality.  Chastain, however, always shows some promise, but is ultimately sunk by her adherence to the bad ideas of her directors, who obviously adore her.

For the record,  Shannon’s work for \jeff Nichols and Chastain’s work for Dan Ireland is impeccableWhatever

This year, Shannon took another freak step into the sideshow tent in the otherwise excellent movie The Shape of Water, while Chastain lit up the screen with energy and imagination as Molly Bloom not the Molly of Joyce, but the true life gambling queen who was indicted for treason for the role she inadvertently played in Russian mob money laundering. Whatever is true or untrue in Bloom’s book upon which the movie is based, or in the movie itself, is irrelevant, as the film, movie, and Bloom herself are subsumed in the monumental performance given by Chastain, and the enormous support she receives from her brilliant co-star Idris Elba, who brings new blood to what is generally the thankless role of defense attorney.

I was glued to the screen for the films entire 140 minutes, even when some aspects of it, such as the backstory with Kevin Costner as the psychologist father. and the miscasting of dullard Michael Cerra in a crucial role, were flawed.  Although  Molly’s Game is Aaron Sorkin’s debut as a director, it is apparent that he learned his lessons well in writing top-flight screenplays, including  The Social Network and A Fee Good Men.   Mollys  Game should  be a leading contender in this years Academy awards, and if it loses in any of the categories to the miserably smug clichés of Three billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri,  wich made off with underserved awards for both picture and actress, the FBI would be well advised to investigate the academy for collusion with the Russians.

Song of the Day

https://billwhite.bandcamp.com/track/would-i-be-a-fool

 

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Book Review Fire and Fury Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff

Donald Trump was a stooge whose purpose was to fracture the Republican party to clear the path to the white house for Hillary Clinton.  Neither he nor any of those working on his campaign expected him to win the presidency.  Michael Wolff’s sometimes enlightening document of Trump’s first year in the white house begins with the career fantasies of Trump and his cohorts, fantasies that withered with Trump’s election, an event that was to destroy all those involved in the fiasco.

Until now, most of what Americans know of their 45th president had been filtered through the propaganda machinery of the DNC.  Between the media’s spinning of every move the president made, and every lie the president himself told, here was no way the public could amass enough real information to have a valid opinion on anything that was happening in their government.  Wolff has provided a slight remedy with this book, which tells the story of Trump’s first year in the white house from the manifold perspectives of those jackals who have held prominent positions in that administration.

There is enough treachery in this book for a dozen King Lears.  But the treasonous ambitions of petty bureaucrats can make for some dull and repetitive reading.  it is worth struggling through the book, however, for the few insights it has to offer, insights that you are just not going to get from gluing yourself to CNN.  The emerging plot line is the ascent of ex chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is at present positioning himself to be the next president of the United States, and is every bit the monster that the Democrats have made Trump out to be,   When you finish reading Fire and Fury, your fear and hatred of Trump may well transfer to this much more diabolical creature.

Along the way to the unmasking of Bannon, the reader is treated to some humorous anecdotes such as Ivanka Trump’s explanation of her father’s  hairdo and why the color of his hair always turns out orange.  And the many plots, if America had a dramatist skilled enough to straighten them all out, would make for a chilling political thriller that would make the paranoid thrillers of the sixties such as Seven Days in May and The Manchurian Candidate look like middle school pranks.

Wolff offers a portrait of Donald Trup as a petulant rich boy taking revenge on all the little bastards who pretended to like him as means to their own ends, but even as it diminishes the president\s role in his own administration, it reveals a dysfunctional government that is far more threatening to global well-being than the incompetence of a single man.

 

Listener’s Picks Top 10 songs from Bill White Music Archives Jan 9-15 2017

Top 10 songs from Bill White Music Archives Jan 9-15 2017
click on links for free streaming of complete songs

1. In You https://billwhite.bandcamp.com/track/in-you
from the album Selected poems 1967 – 2017
2. Tired World
https://billwhite.bandcamp.com/track/tired-world

from the album Thats What it Sounds Like
3. Walt Disney On Ice https://billwhite.bandcamp.com/track/walt-disney-on-ice

from The the album K-Mart Tapes Volume 2
4. Old Road Sycamore Street https://billwhite.bandcamp.com/tra…/old-road-sycamore-street

from the album The Nickel Ride
5. First the Wind
https://billwhite.bandcamp.com/track/first-the-wind

from the album Ashes and Embers
6. American Boy https://billwhite.bandcamp.com/track/american-boy

from the album Tales from the Forsaken Art House
7. Sex Dreams https://billwhite.bandcamp.com/track/sex-dreams

from the album It Takes Two
8. Ribbons https://billwhite.bandcamp.com/track/ribbons

from the album Manicure
9. Drab https://billwhite.bandcamp.com/track/drab

from the album Manicure
10. Cold Cambridge Streets

https://billwhite.bandcamp.com/track/cold-cambridge-streets  

from the album Home from the Hill

Sex Dreams

 

What I am watching

A Fantastic Woman Poster

 

A Fantastic Woman

Sure, this movie is propaganda for marriage equality, but  Chile could use some legislation to protect the rights of same sex couples, because what this transgendered person goes through when her lover dies is a nightmare. But it is its value as cinema that attracts me, and from the opening shots of one of the worlds most glorious waterfalls to Daniella Vega’s  climactic interpretation of the Sposa son disprezzata aria from Geminiano Giacomelli’s opera La Merope,  A Fantastic Woman is an emotional and intellectually riveting piece of cinematic art.  It is Chile\s candidate for the foreig film Oscar, and it would be  crime were the academy to overlook it. Vega’s  tour de force performce will soften the hearts of the most intolerant viewers, who should walk away from this film with a broader appreciation for the inter-relationship of humanity and human rights.

Song of the Day

I wrote this song with Lavon Hardison after watching Mick Jagger and Tina Turner perform a cover song on television in the mid eighties.  Since I had a friend with some connection to Jagger, I thought I had a chance to get this song to him, as I felt a original duet between him and Tina Turner could be a smash.  But alas, it never happened.

https://billwhite.bandcamp.com/track/sex-dreams

Rebel in the Rye and American Boy

What I am watching

Althugh I make no claims for its being a great movie,  Rebel in the Rye had me riveted from start to finish.  Most movies about writers are generic duds, but this biopic on JD Salinger hit all the right notes in its depiction of the struggle of the young writer to first find his voice, then subordinate that voice to the story, and finlly to maintain ones integrity in the face of publisher’s demands.  The acting was believable, even Kevin Spacey did a good job as the editor of Story magazine and Salinger\s teacher and mentor.  I disliked all the period detail, from the burnt copper tones to the costumes, but there was so much of interest going on that such distractions were overlooked and soon forgotten.  While the Emily Dickenson picture, A Quiet Passion, is a better film,  Rebel in the Rye tackled many subjects of personal interest in a more immediate and relevant manner.  All writers shoould check this one out.

song of the day from the bill white music archive. 
click on link to listen free. https://billwhite.bandcamp.com/track/american-boy

AMERICAN BOY

I never learned how to shoot a gun
Never in my life have I hit a home run
I never learned to drive a car
Never fell in love at the end of a bar
These are not the things that bring me joy
Never wanted to be an American Boy

I was born under ancestral sin
Spawn of the killers of the Indians
All my life Ive heard nothing but lies
About the blue and the gray and the red and the white
I want to raise my voice in a song of joy
And forget about the myth of the American boy

I knew a kid whose father
Walked on the moon
Looked back at the Earth
Like a dish at a spoon
When that kid grew up
He rode with the Klan
Set fire to a church
And murdered a man

Lets forget about the myth of the American Boy
And find something better find something joyful
Sing something sweeter Sing Something true
About what you think of me and what I think of you

A handful of dust from a burned out star
Fell into the mud and here we are
Moving like flashes of light in a picture show
And what we really are I don’t think anybody knows

Never wanted to be an American Boy
Playing with the world like it was my little toy
Lets find something to share that we all can enjoy
And forget about the myth of the American Boy

Forget about the myth of the American boy
I never wanted to be an American Boy

We Are Falling to the Bottom of the Sky

Song of the Day from the Bill White Music Archive
from the album Legends
 
click on link or picture to listen
 
 
it happens in the twinkling of an eye
an eye that twinkles
We are falling to the bottom of the sky
a sky that crinkles
and it keeps getting smaller
 
love connects the time
between the powder and the rainbow
when you fall in love
where does the rain go?
connect and coalesce