Born Standing Up – Steve Martin

With friends in Idaho, in 2018 I saw Martin Short and Steve Martin LIVE in An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life.

It was hilarious.

That was Steve’s return to stand-up after decades.

Steve is age-74 now. Everyone of my generation loved his comedy. Indeed, I thought he was an overnight success — like Robin Williams.

Not so as I learned in his 2007 memoir Born Standing Up. Steve Martin paid his dues. He had many, many very hard years breaking into the business.

It chronicles his early life, his days working for Disneyland, working at low tier coffee shops and clubs as a comedy act … and the reason why he quit stand-up comedy altogether at the height of his fame in 1981. …

The audiobook is read by Steve. I recommend it.

Brittany Runs A Marathon

This charming little movie is 89% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Brittany Runs a Marathon is a 2019 American comedy …

It stars Jillian Bell  and  Utkarsh Ambudkar.

Jillian Bell is FUNNY. A former writer for Saturday Night Live.

Utkarsh is hilarious too.

The film follows an overweight woman in New York City who sets out to lose weight and train for the city’s annual marathon.

The story of Brittany was inspired by a real person – Brittany O’Neill, who appears in photos before the end credits.

 

The Mule – Clint Eastwood

I can’t recall a Clint Eastwood film I didn’t enjoy. He is a master storyteller.

He’s a curmudgeonly Republican in real life. And is very believable as a politically incorrect old man in his recent films.

It is Eastwood’s first acting project since 2012’s Trouble with the Curve, and his first starring role in a film directed by him since 2008’s Gran Torino. …

He is facing financial ruin and is estranged from his ex-wife Mary and daughter Iris, for always putting work before family. … Desperate for money, he … becomes a “mule” transporting cocaine through Illinois for a Mexican drug cartel. …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Once upon a time in Hollywood

Once upon a time in Hollywood is a fictionalized version of the Manson murders.

I’ve seen all the Tarantino films.

My reaction to this one is similar to the rest. He’s a talented director with important things to say — but each movie would be better if he wasn’t so self-indulgent.

The highlight is his version of Hollywood 1969. It was a weird and special time and place.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I did enjoy the ensemble cast.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 85% …

The Hollywood Reporter said critics had “an overall positive view”. Some calling it “Tarantino’s love letter to ’60s L.A.'”, praising its cast and setting. Others were “divided on its ending.”

Blood Work by Michael Connelley

Blood Work is a novel written by Michael Connelly which marks the first appearance of Terry McCaleb.

The book was used as the basis for the 2002 movie of the same name, starring Clint Eastwood. …

McCaleb was a top man at the FBI until a heart ailment forced his early retirement.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Children of Men by P. D. James

P. D. James is one of the greatest crime writer all time. She died in 2014 (aged 94).

I’d read a number of her books over the years — but nothing like The Children of Men (1992).

Set in England in 2021, it centres on the results of mass infertility. James describes a United Kingdom that is steadily depopulating and focuses on a small group of resisters who do not share the disillusionment of the masses. …

In 1994, the sperm count of human males plummeted to zero …

In 2006, a film adaptation was directed by Alfonso Cuarón, starring Julianne Moore and Clive Owen. …

The movie plot is much changed. Far more dramatic.

The book is subtle. Slow paced and philosophical.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The shocker of the book is when one of the protesters gets pregnant. And delivers the first baby in decades.

I can’t say I enjoyed this book as much as James’ usual whodunnits. But it is well executed if you are interested in this kind of dystopian novel.

While reading this tale on Kindle, I was simultaneously listening to The Testaments (2019) by Margaret Atwood. The sequel to another dystopian novel of infertility.