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Archive for August 31st, 2015

american-graffiti-5

By Marilyn Ferdinand

One thing I’ve learned from a lifetime of moviegoing is that every story is unique, and at the same time, universal. Despite the wide variety of life on earth, in essence, there simply aren’t that many ways to be human, and that is why we can look at life in India, Japan, Argentina, France, anywhere, and find things to which we relate. This is especially true of reminiscences of childhood, be they Richard Linklater’s fictionalized version of his Texas upbringing in Boyhood (2014), Steve Tesich’s kaleidoscopic look at coming of age in America through his immigrant eyes in Four Friends (1981), or Jean Shepherd’s affectionate look at his life in 1940s Indiana in A Christmas Story (1983). All children are subject to the authority of those more powerful than they are, and they all have to learn how to become those people as they stretch toward adulthood and, eventually, life on their own terms.

American Graffiti is a highly particular look at teens on the cusp of independence in the California car culture of director/screenwriter George Lucas’ adolescence. The hot rods, drive-ins, and cruising strip are rendered with such loving detail in the glow of a pleasant California night that Lucas’ adolescence has become iconic of everyone’s youth, a supposedly more innocent time that tends to meld all of our teen years into “the best years of our lives.” But Lucas provides more than a gauzy look back for retirees and those nostalgic for a time they were too young to experience. He presents an array of types—the cool greaser, the slut, the nerd, the straight arrow, the smart observer, the street gang—and through his astute casting and smart script and direction, turns them into real people who show exactly how the endless summer of youth really feels for those living it. (more…)

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SVA

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by Sam Juliano

Our 19 year-old daughter Melanie’s move into NYC for the opening of the college fall semester at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) was our primary focus over the past week, though the same support and preparation was afforded to young Sammy, who begins classes at Bergen Community College in Paramus.  Though Melanie is a year older than Sammy, she took one year off after high school to make sure of what direction she wanted to take in moving forward.  Though Melanie will be living at the SVA dorm, she plans to return home nearly every weekend, and we will be active to make that happen.  Sammy, on the other hand will be commuting by bus, so he will be staying under our roof.  Getting him to the bus stop at 6:15 A.M. every day (some days I will no doubt just drive him there outright I am sure) will be ushering in a new and drastic change of focus for us, and to be sure we now know what our central priority is.  In the meantime, Danny now enters his Junior year at Cliffside Park High School, which is also the location where Jillian starts as a freshman.  Jeremy will be our final child to leave the Fairview School system, where he enters the eight grade on Wednesday.

The Childhood/Adolescent Countdown continues to advance with deceptive speed, and basically is down to its final six weeks.   The authors of the reviews must again be commended for their brilliant coverage.  many thanks to those who have been part of this great venture.

With much of the week taken up by shopping in clothes and bed stores, and visiting the respective colleges for orientations, and luncheons, Lucille and I didn’t see any new films in theaters, though we did watched some stuff on her HD screen at home, and on Saturday evening attended a staged reading of a new play from a lifelong friend, Peter Danish, titled “Herb and Lenny” at the Antrim Playhouse in Suffern, New York.  The work focused on the two most celebrated conductors of the past century, Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein. (more…)

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