Monday, April 30, 2012

At the Codfish Ball

Nice title for last night's Mad Men episode, which was filled with brilliant moments, but the shot of Sally, in her grown-up dress, trying her trout at the Cancer Society gala was right up there. A little benign adult moment before she spies her pseudo-French-grandmother and pseudo-date Roger Slattery engaging in some "dirty" behavior.

Anyway, another benefit of the title was that it led me to its source material, and this video of Shirley Temple dancing with Buddy Ebsen. If you haven't seen it, watch it. Shirley Temple was not just a round-faced girl; she had real talent.

Flynn's World (2003)

After the brilliant (and Edgar-winning) one-two punch of Fletch, and Confess, Fletch, Gregory Mcdonald's mystery novels got progressively worse. I still read them because of the wit and the prose-style but the books became vehicles for Mcdonald to spout off on whatever political clap-trap was rattling around in his brain. This book (it's readable, well, I read it) is pretty insufferable, with each of the small-scale mysteries that Inspector Flynn of Boston solves just there so Mcdonald can make a point.

John D. MacDonald occasionally did this as well (inserts his opinions) but he never forgot that the most important thing about the book is the story and characters. They should always come first.

Poetry Monday

From the recent Boston Review:

For My Son

After Weldon Kees

To marry Alison, Robert, will be to haul water
from a deep well for the rest of your life.
It will be to worry about beauty
instead of enjoying it. Strange men
are likely to be calling in the middle
of the night. You love her soul, you say.
but Robert, a soul is unmapped territory,
an adventure, and, Alison, trust me,
is a great soul and an adventure
you won’t come back from the same.
You’re not afraid of change, you say.
Well, you’ll have to learn a new language,
hers, which she expects to be understood
before it’s spoken. And she’ll expect you
to enter a jungle with a fondness
for creatures that can rip you apart.
You’re not afraid, you say again. Okay,
appreciate her, she’s fabulous, but know
she can’t balance a checkbook,
and her desires range from expensive ova
to cuttlebones and chowder. Robert,
no one can make a marriage or the world
behave as he wishes, and I won’t
be a broker for what’s so breakable.
I just try to make things that last.
I’ve made you up; I’ve given you a chance.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New story in Nine

My story, "The Married Andersons," has been published in the inaugural issue of Nine. It's not my usual type of story. It's a mystery but with a supernatural bent. You have to subscribe to Nine in order to read it. Please do, if you are at all inclined. Any subscribers get at least one free drink from me.


Fifty Most Handsome Men in Hollywood

Charlene showed me how to look at the browsing history of my blog and I discovered, not surprisingly, that the most visited page, by far, was my post on The 50 Most Beautiful Woman in Film. So, in order to promote gender equality on Armchair Audience, I offer up The 50 Most Handsome Men in Film, as chosen by me.

Some criteria:

The actors must be in movies and not just in television.

They must be film stars, meaning they've starred in a film and not just appeared in one. Idris Elba is pushing this particular envelope because he is still primarily a television actor, but he's Idris Elba so I'll make an exception.

This is no reflection on acting ability.

Lastly (and obviously) this is a subjective list (except for the top six or so, all scientifically proven to be handsome). I'm not trying to provide anything definitive. Just offering up my list of the men in film most likely to cause me to switch sides. Enjoy.

50. Joseph Gordon-Levitt

49. Ricardo Montalban

48. Jude Law

47. Andy Garcia

46. David Niven

45. Rex Harrison

44. Hugh Grant

43. Marlon Brando

42. Gabriel Byrne

41. Clint Eastwood

40. Linus Roache

39. Herbert Marshall

38. Timothy Olyphant

37. Colin Farrell

36. Roger Livesey

35. Bill Nighy

34. James Mason

33. Damien Lewis

32. Harrison Ford

31. Gene Kelly

30. Chow Yun Fat

29. Colin Firth

28. Clark Gable

27. Brad Pitt

26. Ewan MacGregor

25. James Garner

24. Jean Luc Picard Patrick Stewart

23. Clive Owen

22. Joel McCrea

21. Yul Brynner

20. Robert Redford

19. Laurence Olivier

18. William Holden

17. Denzel Washington

16. Hugh Jackman

15. Alain Delon

14. Peter O'Toole

13. Idris Elba

12. Montgomery Clift

11. Daniel Craig

10. Gary Cooper

9. Steve McQueen

8. Errol Flynn

7. Michael Fassbender

6. Rock Hudson

5. George Clooney

4. Gregory Peck

3. Sean Connery

2. Paul Newman

1. Cary Grant