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More Good Reads

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 30 Mar 2022, 11:31

I've been on a bit of a reading binge again. First up, Alan Cummings autobiography, Not My Father's Son. This was an interesting read and for anyone who doesn't know him, he played the role of Eli, in The Good Wife which is how I came to know him.  Alan's father was a bit of a psycho and he suffered badly from his bullying and abuse.  But in spite of all that, he got out and did very well for himself.  I won't say anything more about it, I don't like to give too much away but a good read and I would definitely recommend it.

On a similar theme, I was in the library 2 weeks ago and saw Operation Lighthouse by Luke and Ryan Hart.  I had heard them on the radio, the day before, talking about their lives and the book they had written.  Coincidentally, it was on the recommended display in the library when I went in to return the Alan Cummings autobiography so, I thought, I would give it a go.  

Luke and Ryan's father was also an abusive bully, controlling and manipulative.  He was never physically violent until he was completely murderous, and he shot and killed their mother and sister and then shot himself.  Their reason for writing the book was to show that while a relationship may not always be violent, it can still be abusive through the use of coercive control. Their father wanted to control every aspect of the lives of his family and did so through his bullying and demanding behaviour. They were also appalled at the sympathy shown to their father by the media after he murdered their mother and sister and how little sympathy was directed towards his victims.  I would highly recommend this, if for no other reason, than to open our eyes and minds to the quiet acceptance of abuse in society and the tendency towards victim blaming in the media.

Another, in the real lives genre, was Gavin Edward's biography of River Phoenix, Last Night at the Viper Room.  This tells the story of River Phoenix's life, from birth until his death, at aged 23.  Best known, in my house at least, for his role in Stand by Me, the Rob Reiner directed film, from the short story by Stephen King, The Body.  A favourite of my son's when they were growing up and one I still watch fairly regularly. 

River's parents were a couple of hippies who became part of the Children of God cult in the US and who travelled around and lived for several years in South America, preaching and recruiting on their behalf.  The leader of the Children of God cult, David Berg, advocated sexual relationships between children, and between children and adults.  River's parents parted company with them when they started prostituting women to attract more recruits but there is evidence in the book of River being introduced to sex at a very young age.

There is no doubt his death was a tragic loss. He was quite heavily into drugs and although, he had been clean for a couple of months while shooting what turned out to be his last film, the moment he got back to LA, he was straight back to the drugs.  How much of his drug use was a result of his upbringing, we can only guess at but the lack of education and involvement with the Children of God, I'm sure, played a part. 

I never knew that he was interested in music but it turned out that he was more interested in making music than movies, and there are some videos of him with his band, Aleka's Attic, on Youtube, if anyone is interested. Sadly, the talent he had, never got to play out into maturity, like so many before him. That's the thing about drugs, it only end one of two ways, you either stop or die.  But an excellent read and highly recommended as it also contains snippets about many of the other actors who came to prominence in the 1990's, like Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Leonardo Di Caprio.


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Weddin

Movies & endings

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 4 Sep 2017, 21:01

I went to see The Dark Tower last week, the film based on the Stephen King books.  I think this was a one off and it wasn’t a bad effort.  Although, I thought, Idris Elba was too young and fresh-looking for the role of The Gunslinger.  In the books Roland is ancient and has been around forever.  Also, it was all a bit too quick for my liking but I won’t complain too much about having to look at Matthew McConaghey, for an hour and a half, or Idris Elba for that matter!

The Dark Tower is a whole epic of 7 books originally (apparently 2 more have been added which I haven’t read) and were all very enjoyable, except for the ending.  If you haven’t read the series, then you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about now, but I’ll try not to give too much away in case they’re on your ‘to read’ list.  The problem I had with the ending, was the very same thing Stephen King referred to in Misery (great book, mediocre film), when Annie Wilkes pulls Paul Sheldon up for cheating with the story like they used to do in the old Saturday shows, when you were sure the hero had died going over the cliff in the locked, burning car, or some such, but by the next week he has somehow managed a miraculous escape.

The Dark Tower had one of those endings.  Roland had moved back in time and was leaving with the horn of Eld after the battle of Jericho Hill but that didn’t make sense to me.  I’m doing an Annie Wilkes now! He would have had to go back and re-fight the battle in order to win it and in my mind he would also have to go back to when he entered Hambry and save Susan Delgado.

I’ve read quite a few Stephen Kings, they are my pleasure in between the heavy stuff.  Misery is my favourite book, and my favourite film adaptation is Stand By Me.  The re-make of It, is out this week and if the trailers are anything to go by, then it’s something to look forward to.  I know a lot of people were disappointed by the ending in the movie first time around so I’m not sure how that’s going to be rectified but what works in fiction doesn’t necessarily work on screen.  Anyway, I won’t spoil it by giving away any details.  However, I will say that the endings of several of Stephen’s more recent novels were disappointing, Under the Dome was one and Joyland another, Revival too, was a bit of a let-down but my biggest disappointment this year, was not a book but a film, the final Planet of the Apes movie, War for Planet of the Apes.

Firstly, it wasn’t a ‘War’, it was a battle and not much of a battle either and from looking at the trailers beforehand; I was expecting WW3 with nukes.  Mind you, the way Donald and the Young ‘Un are squaring up, we could be headed for the real thing any day now!  I’m convinced Lil Kim, could make a case for an Ulster Scots grant with his name!

The big let-down, apart from the ‘war’, was all the emoting that was going on.  It was like an episode of Dr Phil!  Caesar was giving it all the dramatics of rage and burning anger, like an obstreperous teenager.  While Maurice, the big orangutan, was giving out so much deep and meaningful advice, I half expected him to be given his own talk show. 

Then, there were parts of the story that didn’t make sense either.  How did the soldiers manage to capture the other apes when Caesar was following them, and the other apes had been left behind??  Go figure??  The real pity is, the cgi was the best I’ve seen but like so many ‘epics’, too much thought given to the ‘show’ and not enough to the story.  Yes, James Cameron, I’m talking about your Avatar (great visuals, lazy, old, clichéd story) You think you would have learnt from the hash Lucas made with Star Wars!

Anyway, if the books and movies have been disappointing, at least music brings its own rewards and the God of Rock, himself, the one and only Mr Robert Plant, returns to the Ulster Hall in December!  And I will be there! 

The new Star Wars is out then too, lets hope that's 2 bright spots on the December horizon to look forward to.  May the force be with you or rock on!  Whatever, is your wont!


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