by Sam Juliano
Out very dear friend, the gifted mountain of effervescent and good will, the irrepressible midwesterner and erstwhile holistic practitioner Laurie Buchanan was a big winner this past week of a huge honor at Sonia Marsh’s “Gutsy Living Site”:
Laurie’s ‘Gutsy Story’ which was selected by voters of the five that were nominated is titled “I Thought I was stupid, but now I have a PhD” will be published in the site’s ‘Gutsy Story’ anthology in the Fall of 2014! Congratulations to Laurie, who has been achieving all kinds of professional milestones as of late! More on that at a future date.
My Caldecott Medal series will be running until next Monday morning, when I will have a full list of predictions and round-up of the remaining books that I won’t be able to cover over the coming week in advance of the January 27th announcements by the American Library Association. This past week the site received an incredible honor when acclaimed illustrator Carin Berger left an appreciative comment (two in fact) under my review of her extraordinary book Stardines Swim Across the Sky and other poems. The wonderful Ms. Berger (author and illustrator of the fabulous The Perfect Day) is the second illustrator after Aaron Becker (Journey) to acknowledge the series, and I can only say “wow” to that! Certainly it is the ultimate honor to a writer to have his subject respond, and in such glowing terms. Thank you so much Carin Berger! And best wishes to you on Monday! Hours later a third illustrator, the distinguished Bob Staake, creater of Bluebird weighed in with his fabulous reaction to the review here on Facebook. And late yesterday a fourth illustrator, Yuyi Morales who created Nino Wrestles the World responded favorably on Facebook.
The Oscar nominations were announced on Thursday, and there were a number of surprises both by way of inclusion and exclusion. Plans are to have Dennis Polifroni and myself do our annual Oscar gig on a video sometime in early to mid February, but readers are welcome (and encouraged) express their reactions on this thread and on future ones. Suffice to say it is becoming clear where the voters will be going, and I can’t say I am particularly pleased, but heck what else is new? Ha!
Lucille and I saw three films this past week, though one was so God-awful that even to soil these pages with a report on it seems like wasted time and space. The real question is why I heeded the suggestions of one of my kids (Danny) who was interested in seeing it. Even he later admitted the rror of his ways:
Like Father Like Son **** (Friday night) IFC Film Center
Big Bad Wolves *** 1/2 (Saturday night) Cinema Village
The Devil’s Due 0 stars (Saturday morning) Starplex
Quentin Tarantino has heaped lavish praise upon the gory Israeli thriller BIG BAD WOLVES, and he’s not completely off the mark. But there are some loose ends unattended to and the film leaves a kind of disturbing aftertaste. But deadpan humor and dysfunction are negotiated most effectively. Most of the film is set in a dingy basement.
THE DEVIL’S DUE is about as bad a movie as anyone is ever likely to see, but that doesn’t answer the question of why I wasted money seeing it even at $5.00 matinee prices. I have no valid defense as I surrendered to an in-house “request.”
Our very good friend Sachin Gandhi of “Scribbles and Ramblings” named the Japanese film LIKE FATHER LIKE SON by the master Kore-Eda as his top film of last year. It will count for 2014 for me, as it open stateside this weekend. I saw it with Lucille at the IFC and thought it another example of deft craftsmanship with a man who has a gift with children. Never sentimental, yet an aching film about couple who finally realize they are better served by leaving things as are. Keenly observed and superbly acted.