Monday, March 8, 2010

Post-Oscar Post: Books and Screenplays Worth Watching

The Academy Awards were last night and the Academy did good...They did not, as predicted, give Best Film to a spectacular spectacle with a cliche of a screenplay...That big award went to "The Hurt Locker," which richly deserved it for delivering both stunning visual spectacle and edge-of-your-seat-ness, and had a succinctly gripping original screenplay to boot.
Other nominated scripts included "Up in the Air" adapted by Jason Reitman from the novel by Walter Kirn and "Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire" which won adapted screenplay award. Not much mention was made of Sapphire throughout the night (or in the previous month), which seemed odd. That novel and her other books are available on Amazon, here. See more about the poet and author Sapphire.
One subtle joy throughout the awards presentation was the co-hosting by the always-cool Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, an exceptional writer himself. Author of the memoir "Born Standing Up," Martin also penned a personal favorite of mine, "Shopgirl," a wryly comic novella that poignantly captured a turning point in a young woman's life; he adapted the book into a spare yet elegant screenplay, which became a fine film starring him--no mean feat.
I've just started "Wolf Hall" winner of the 2009 Booker Prize, which will no doubt soon be a BBC series and eventually a Hollywood epic, if we can all handle seeing another take on Cromwell and More.
Like all good historical fiction, this sprawling novel depends on more than plot--in order to transport the reader, it must be rich in the feel and the day-to-day details of another time. My most recent favorite in the genre is "The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire" by C.M. Mayo, a book I never tire of recommending (and speaking of books that will be eventually be made into movies!).
Meanwhile, here "On the Waterfront", the weather has been stormy and Watchfire was rearing and stamping in her stall (slip) some yesterday as the wind whistled through her rigging and tilted the nearby masts. Russel is installing the new Spectra Watermaker, more on that and other boat projects later this week.