Archive for the ‘author Phillip Johnston’ Category

by Phillip Johnston

     If ever you visit Flannery O’Connor’s Andalusia home in Milledgeville, Georgia, make sure you have detailed directions because, like a good man, the immortal author’s beautiful homestead is quite hard to find. Luckily, my friends and I had good directions for our visit a few weeks ago, but I was still unprepared to drive through about three miles of retail world before arriving at O’Connor’s farm, a property that must have been situated in the middle of nowhere when her mother purchased it in the early 1900s.
After turning off the highway, we were greeted with a blast of lush Georgia summertime green, trees in full bloom, birds diving across the scenery—it really is a beautiful place, entirely separated from the Wal-Marts and car dealerships that surround it. About a quarter mile up the drive, on the right, is the main house where O’Connor lived with her mother from 1951 until her death from Lupus in 1964 at age thirty-nine. (more…)

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Screen Cap from Ridley Scott's 'Robin Hood'

by Phillip Johnston

     You know the story well: it is a time of tyranny and injustice in 12th century England.  The law is oppressing its people and France has become an imminent threat.  Peasant and nobleman alike have taken a stand on the fields of battle under the leadership of King Richard the Lion Heart, but when their fearless ruler is shot down in battle, the country is plunged into a sea of doubt and desperation. 

     Richard’s thoughtless younger brother John rises to the throne and with his rule comes unfair taxation and shoddy leadership.  “There is no Kingdom without loyalty,” John calls out in an attempt to quell an angered people, a leadership motto that wins him no public acclaim.

     Robin Longstride is one among the angered masses and he has the courage and brawn to stand up and say that in tyranny there can only exist endless failure.  He doesn’t steal from the rich and give to the poor as much as shoot rhetorical arrows into the heart of injustice.  The masses like that.

     Adding to the conflict is a traitor named Godfrey whose loyalty to King John is all for show.  In one of his first scenes, Godfrey plunges an arrow into the heart of a loyal fellow Englishman.  The dying man cries out, “But you are English!”  “When it suits me,” responds the deep-voiced, balding traitor.  He’s played by Hollywood’s new favorite villainous persona Mark Strong, who you may have seen in Sherlock Holmes and The Young Victoria in a variation on the same role.  (more…)

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by Philip E. Johnston

The opening night selection of this year’s 40th annual Nashville Film Festival was director Marc Webb’s Sundance hit 500 Days of Summer.  Distributed by Fox Searchlight and set for a limited release on July 17, the film is Webb’s feature film directorial debut and proves itself a concise and entertaining treatise on young love in a postmodern world.

The first five minutes are immediately transporting.  There is a narrator, there are attractive leading characters, the music is zippy, and Webb introduces his leading players as if they were walking in a narrative music video.  It’s a beautiful amalgamation that can’t help but prompt an ear-to-ear smile. The story gets even more interesting directly following this masterful introduction when the narrator makes the audience a promise: “This is not a love story.”

So, in the spirit of the film, I’ll put an embargo on the word “love” from here on out. It’s just one of the ways this story is atypical – its a boy-meets-girl story the likes of which we haven’t seen before and one that is completely necessary to publicly state the romantic inclinations of millions of postmodern 20-somethings.


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