Tag Archives: Movies

Driver Picks The Visitor

The Driver saw a film recently called The Visitor. It is written and directed by Thomas McCarthy. When a writer/director is a good actor, one of two things happens. One, that person gets a chance to become a dictator and creates/destroys the pictures made. Two, that person adjusts the equation and makes brilliant pictures. Thomas McCarthy is the latter. In this case, he uses his knowledge of acting to write and direct a smooth piece in which he does not act.

The Visitor follows an ordinary professor, living life alone, as he happens upon an immigrant couple living in his rarely visited New York apartment. His encounter and subsequent connections with the couple (a Syrian musician and a jewelry maker from Senegal) bring a spotlight on his true separation from the world around him. As he begins to seek life again through the vibrancy of music, the rules of the world around him jeopardize his new friendship and then introduce the possibility of an even larger life.

This film is smart with rich non-American characters that we don’t find in American films. I happened upon this film not knowing the writer/director also made another Driver favorite called The Station Agent.

What I like about The Visitor is that I feel like I’m a fly on the wall of the lives of the characters. I could just as easily end up in these situations (they’re never out of the realistic realm of possibility,) and would feel the same conflicts. It’s much more vivid when I’m watching it play on screen than I’m sure I would feel if it were my own life. In the end, I feel resolution, but not an end. I like that. It leaves me wanting to write more of the story. Or at least wait for Thomas McCarthy to dream up something else. Whatever writing juice he’s drinking….the Driver wants some too, please.

Have Movie Heroine Will Travel

I’ve always considered myself a movie lover. Not a highfalutin film buff, just a person who likes to disappear in the dark for two hours (four if I’m breaking the rules and theater hopping on a Sunday afternoon-sorry Lord) and forget every single thing that exists outside the red curtains. Over time, my pals and co-workers have figured this out about me. Guess I’m not the enigma I’d hoped I be. Now I’m the go-to girl for observations and suggestions as to which movies might be best for their particular palette. Could that be a business? Like the magic wish machine in Big?

Driver is not your average girl when it comes to movies. I had two gigantic, but equally opposing influences: Brothers vs. Mom.  I have three older brothers and a big age gap from me to them. You’d think they wouldn’t take me anywhere, right? Mis hermanos were peaches among men and took me to lots of places: car rallies, the snow in Big Bear, Knott’s Berry Farm and to the movies-lots of movies. The seminal event on this side of the table was Star Wars. I was ten (yes, that dates me I know) and I got to sit in line for an eternity to see it opening day and was grateful for the privilege. I still can recite half the movie dialog by memory. A sci-fi geek I will forever be.

On the other side of the table were Saturdays with mom.  On Saturday afternoons my brothers would inevitably be out with friends, so mom and I watched the local channel’s classic movies show. Most were black and white and in the early years of our ritual and we liked it that way. I found out what a classically handsome man was when I watched Burt Lancaster, Cary Grant and William Holden, then was introduced to those fellas that the bobby-soxers (before my time) thought were the bees knees like Tab Hunter and Robert Wagner (met him recently-what classy guy and still darn sexy!).

I got to know women of strength and courage through Kate Hepburn (The Philadelphia Story & Desk Set,) Ginger Rogers (Kitty Foyle), June Allyson (Little Women & The Opposite Sex) and Judy Holliday (Born Yesterday.)

Saturdays were heaven. Here’s where I found my movie anchor. The one who made me believe movies were worth watching…even when they tanked: Barbara Stanwyck! Sure most know her as Big Valley’s Barbara Stanwyck, but no-this woman, the woman from films of the 40’s & 50’s was an actress wholly different in nature.

Classic Beauty

Classic Beauty

Actually her career ran nearly 60 years. The greats: Stella Dallas, Double Indemnity and Ball of Fire. My faves are The Bitter Tea of General Yen and The Gay Sisters. The latter I’ve seen only once. It’s not a standout in movie terms, but one scene still resonates clearly after a decade-THAT’S how good SHE was. I won’t tell you which scene, we’ll have to find it together at some point ’cause I can’t find it on video. She appeared hard as nails, but always had the gooey insides to make you love her characters. Side note:  B had a big secret affair with Robert Wagner when he was MUCH younger than her and she over 40! Hurrah for the cougars!

So two sides of the table helped me be open to everything, almost. I’m catching up on the horror genre. So I’m sure I’ll be talking about my insights on a wide array of movies and what might tickle your fancy for one reason or another (MY SECRET GEM OF A MOVIE RIGHT NOW….ELVIS AND ANABELLEJoe Mantegna is fabulous.) I try not to glom on to the expected as much as the next guy and I hope you take something I’ve listed as an introduction and put it on your Grab Bag Tag list of things to expand your own knowledge in this world. More on the Grab Bag of Tags in the next installment.

Oh and by the way, highfalutin is a word…from the 19th century no less~

Check out Barbara Stanwyck’s page in IMDB. Click Here.