Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Category: Texas Page 1 of 4

“One of These Days:” A Snapshot of Small-town Texas Life at Hands On Contest

 Bastion Gauthier (Writer/Director) takes the topic of an annual endurance contest (Hands On) in Texas to win a pickup truck and turns it into a small-town tragedy. The contest promises thrilling entertainment to spectators and the chance of a lifetime for the participants, but it ends in real tragedy.

The contest organizer, Joan Dempsey, well-played by Carrie Preston, will be remembered by fans of television’s “The Good Wife” for playing Elsabeth Tascioni, a slightly off-beat but brilliant attorney. Carrie played the part in 14 episodes from 2010 to 2016 and won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outtanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series in 2013. She was nominated again in 2016. Joan is organizing the competition for Boudreaux’s Auto and Truck Dealership and she is very believable as a small-town employee of that car dealership.

The central contestant role is played by Joe Cole as Kyle Parson. Kyle and his wife and infant child are struggling, financially, and, as the script says, “He really needed a win.”

The rest of the cast of competitors who show up to try to win the truck by outlasting the others is a motley crew, with 20 people who seem to fit the bill often described as “poor white trash,” one of whom declares that what they are doing “isn’t rocket surgery.”

THE GOOD

In addition to Carrie Preston, who is always good in her roles, the “bad guy,” Kevin, played by Jesse C. Boyd, becomes a central figure. There are a variety of types that we can recognize from small-town life, whether it is the completely self-absorbed ear-bud wearing guy beating rhythms to the song that only he can hear on the truck’s chassis or the Bible-quoting Fundamentalist who occasionally requests that they all number off. We get a pretty good idea of the twenty competitors still standing, during the 119 minute movie, and there are those we root for and those we’d like to see quit or be disqualified—perhaps just on the basis of general nastiness.

The film won a special mention at the Zurich Film Festival and was a nominee for awards in Nashville.

THE BAD

Three things really detracted from the film:

#1) Cinematographer Michael Kotschi felt it would be a good idea to have the camera action be jerky at times, shooting forward down streets without any real attempt to focus. We can’t really call it “cinema verité (“Z”). It’s Cinema “F” as in “Failed.” The effect did nothing to enhance the film, but it did a lot to detract from it. I gave my GoPro camera to two eleven-year-olds to film a wedding over Labor Day; they did a better job of filming. The only good thing is that Kotschi did this hand-held herky-jerky treatment primarily on shots of streets, not when we were focused on the inter-action of the contestants in the parking lot of the Hands On contest. My advice to Michael Kotschi: STOP THAT!

#2)  For reasons I do not understand Writer/Director Bastion Gauthier ended the film and then added 20 to 30 minutes of additional background on our male lead, Kyle Parson. The information conveyed to us at the END of the film, (when Kyle is no longer a factor in the competition to win the truck), helps us to understand the plot’s events.. Adding the information at the end of the film was an odd and not very logical placement. It definitely belonged in the film, but chronological order would have been a better choice than tacking it on at the end.

#3) We never learn who won the truck.

I found the film to be interesting, aside from the three complaints mentioned above, but it had the potential to be more.

Jonathan Baker, Director, to Guest on Sept. 3rd on Weekly Wilson Podcast

         Milos Forman, Director

Thursday night’s Weekly Wilson podcast (7 to 8 p.m. on the Bold Brave Media Global Network) will feature aspiring director Jonathan Baker, whose film “Inconceivable,” featuring Nicolas Cage, Gina Gershon and Faye Dunaway, was released by Lionsgate and was the director’s first feature length film.

Jonathan had director Neal Thibedeau follow him as he contacted a variety of famous directors around and asked them to share their experiences shooting their very first film(s). Among those featured prominently in the documentary entitled “Becoming Iconic” are Taylor Hackford (“Ray,” “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “The Idolmaker”), John Badham (“Saturday Night Fever”), Adrian Lyne (“Fatal Attraction,” “Jacob’s Ladder”), Jodie Foster (“Little Man Tate”) and comments attributed to Warren Beatty, Ridley Scott and others. (See William Friedkin of “The Exorcist” pictured, below).

I had the pleasure of speaking at some length with Taylor Hackford the year that the Chicago International Film Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary. It was supposed to be a “group interview” with a number of film students from Columbia College in Chicago present, but I got the call to come and participate and it seemed, to me, that it was a good thing that there was at least one adult in the room who had been following Taylor Hackford’s career all the way back to “The Idolmaker” with Ray Sharkey breaking out in the role (a very young Peter Gallagher played the idol), because the twenty-something students only asked Hackford about “Ray.” They asked him about “Ray” with Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles over and over and over, but his career is about

so much more than just that film. However, I seriously doubt if the rest of those present had seen all of The Big Ones, as I had. Hackford, who, in real life, is married to consummate actress Helen Mirren, was a a very articulate and willing participant in the “group interview” and, at its conclusion, I felt that it had almost been one-on-one, since I was the only one who followed up with questions about the relationship between Richard Gere and his leading lady in “An Officer and a Gentleman,” for example.

Director Richard Linklater (“Dazed & Confused,” “Boyhood”) at the Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards on March 7, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Connie Wilson).

I saw the same friendly, gracious individual onscreen as I had met during that group interview, and, as a long-time movie buff, I liked the documentary “Becoming Iconic” very much.

It reminded me of another I attended at the Music Box in Chicago which was a full-length film focused on Brian DePalma’s movies.

Tune in on Thursday, September 3rd to hear Jonathan Baker and I talk about his career and don’t forget that this is a “live” show and you can call in at 866-451-1451.

Suzi Quatro Performances

 

 

 

Jennifer Berliner, Heart Transplant Survivor, on Weekly Wilson on 4/30

Weekly Wilson of 4/30 with heart transplant survivor Jennifer Berliner brought in a record number of phone call questions.

There were 5 callers, [although one left line before we could get past the commercial to take the question].

One was from Colorado. I don’t know anyone in Colorado. One was from area code 301. (What state is that?)

Jennifer was the great guest I knew she’d be and we covered her cancer experiences (at age 15), her heart transplant, and the diabetes she currently fights. We also covered the costs associated with having a heart transplant, which Jennifer told me is her most popular YouTube video.

I jotted down just a few of the figures, with $640,000 for her hospitalization, $70,000 for the heart surgeon, $200,000 for the anaesthesiologist, and $80,000 for the cost of removing the donor’s heart and transferring it for transplant. She also mentioned the $35,000 a year that it costs for anti-rejection drugs and a total figure of $1.2 million. One of our callers wanted to know her out-of-pocket costs and we got figures that were in the $14,000 range for the first year.

The hour went by quickly, and I directed callers to Jennifer’s blog (www.anewheartrocks.com) and told them that it would be relatively easy to find the show when it is archived and goes up on my Weekly Wilson blog. (www.WeeklyWilson.com).

Next week’s guest is Dan Decker, AFI graduate, founder of the Chicago Screenwriting School, and author of the books Anatomy of a Screenplay: Writing the American Screenplay from Character Structure to Convergence and The Prime: The Dark Side of Light. Dan also holds dual Italian/United States citizenship and his brother is also an author.

Heart Transplant/Cancer Survivor Gives Sheltering Tips on 4/30 WEEKLY WILSON Podcast

Jennifer BerlinerMy guest on my Weekly Wilson podcast on the Bold Brave Media Global Network and Tune-In radio on April 29, Thursday, at 7 p.m. (CDT) will be Jennifer Berliner (pictured below and to the left).

At 15 years old, Jennifer was treated for bone cancer (Askin’s Sarcoma) and one of the drugs used afterwards, known as “red devils,” caused heart failure 8 years after her treatment.

Therefore, at 39, Jennifer had a heart transplant.

Four months later, doctors diagnosed breast cancer and she underwent a double mastectomy. To add to this litany of woes, Jennifer’s mother died from ovarian cancer just before her 41st birthday.

Through it all, Jennifer had “kept on keeping on” and has maintained a positive attitude using techniques that she studied in college as a social work major and others she had developed to keep her attitude upbeat in trying times.

This is a live call-in format (866-451-1451) and we welcome callers (be prepared to hold for a bit) with questions. Tune in to learn more about how to “shelter in place” successfully from a woman who knows more about face masks and staying inside for months at a time than any of us knew before the pandemic.

Jennifer Berliner

Executive Producer Ed Dezevallos Shares on Weekly Wilson Podcast

Home podcast office in Texas.

Tonight’s guest on “Weekly Wilson,” Ed Dezevallos, the 75-year-old Executive Producer of “Lone Star Deception” (now streaming on Amazon) was my guest tonight at 7 p.m. CDT.

Ed was an especially great guest, as he could “take the ball and run with it” conversationally, and, therefore, you get to hear less of me and more of him. His accomplishments are many, including a number of real estate developments over his 50-year career. I regret that I didn’t get to hear the rest of Ed’s “bucket list,” but being involved in making a film was one of those “bucket list” wishes and he spent 2 years shepherding the Eric Roberts, Anthony Ray Parker film to the screen. Last week, I interviewed Eric and Eliza Roberts,both of whom played roles in the film.

The other project that Ed has supervised was one designed to help young people learn about a variety of careers. Called www.soyouwanttobe.org, we spoke about this colorful and useful series of videos. I tried to play its upbeat cheery theme song from my laptop—3 times. No dice. (I had warned my guest that, if it were a technical matter, it probably wouldn’t work.)

If you would like to hear an interesting story about becoming the Executive Producer of a film at 75, it is cued up for your entertainment. Check it out.

Easter During the Pandemic in Austin

(L to R) Scott Wilson, Craig Wilson, Jessica Wilson, Stacey Wilson, Connie Wilson (seated).

It’s Easter Sunday and my family and I are still sheltering in place in Austin (TX).

On Thursday, April 9th, the long-awaited interview with Eric and Eliza Roberts went off without too many hitches, and you can hear it for yourself by clicking on the button on this page. The couple couldn’t have been more gracious, and I am hoping they call in to ask their Executive Producer, Ed Dezevallos, a question when I talk to him this coming Thursday at 7 p.m. (CDT) on Weekly Wilson, the podcast, on the Bold Brave Media Global Network. (7 p.m. to 8 p.m.; listed as 8 p.m. on the BoldBraveMedia.com page, because the engineers are in Long Island, NY).

Plans continue to be put forth and, so far, it appears that, after Ed Dezevallos on April 16th, the next week’s guest will be an epidemiologist in charge of the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Bill Kohl, talking about the COVID-19 pandemic. Tune in and call in (866-451-1451). The last Thursday of April, Jennifer Berliner–who was featured in a big article in the Austin American Statesman recently—will give us some tips for sheltering in place. She has this down as a heart transplant recipient (www.anewheartrocks.com).

As we move into May, plans are much looser and still under discussion, but the tentative schedule has Dan Decker, author and founder of the Chicago Screenwriting School, on May 7; Michael Serrapica, an author and frequent guest with whom we discuss politics, on May 14th; Linda Gratz, author of “Redlined,” a story about Chicago’s housing policies that targeted black home owners; and Anita S. Oswald from Colorado, the author of “West Side Girl,” also a Chicago memoir.

In June, I’m working on shows with Suzie Quatro (June 4), Cathy Moriarty (“Raging Bull,” “Neighbors”) on June 11th and author Heather Graham on June 18th, but June is still under discussion and a long way away…or is it.

HAPPY EASTER!

Do you have coronavirus anxiety? This could help.

 

“Keep Austin Weird”

Tune In to Weekly Wilson, the Podcast on Thursday Nights (7 p.m., CDT)

Home podcast office in Texas.

The upcoming guest list for the Weekly Wilson podcast on the Bold Brave Media Global Network, while subject to changes in these uncertain times, looks like this through mid-May:

April 2, Thursday, 7 p.m. CDT – Texas author Charlotte Canion will speak with Connie about her book, “You Have to Laugh to Keep from Crying,” which is about coping with elderly parents when you may have health issues of your own.

April 9, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Film star Eric Roberts and his wife Eliza (also an actress) are re-scheduled after the shutdown of the network caused the cancellation. We’ll talk about Eric’s storied career, his role in “Lone Star Deception” and other topics of interest.

Eric Roberts & Anthony Ray Parker.

April 16, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Ed Dezevallos, Executive Producer of “Lone Star Deception” and the force behind a series of instructional videos for young people called www.soyouwanttobe.org will drop by.

April 23, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Dr Bill Kohl, an epidemiologist in charge of the University of Texas in Austin’s response to the Corona virus, will share insights and information.

April 30, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Jennifer Berliner, heart transplant and cancer survivor and blogger (www.anewheartrocks.com) will share various tips regarding “sheltering in place” and remaining positive in the face of adversity. (Read up on Jennifer’s background at her blog)

May 7, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – TBA

May 15, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Author Michael Serrapica returns to talk politics with Connie.

As always, listeners can find the podcast (Thursdays, 7 p.m. CDT on the Bold Brave Media Global Network) and phone in “live” at 866-451-1451.

Texas Lt. Gov. Patrick Calls for the Wrong Kind of Sacrifice

Democratic National Convention, 2008, Denver: CNN Headquarters.

(*This is reprinted from the Opinion page of the 3/25 Austin American Statesman, who responded to the news that Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick had made some remarks about re-opening the economy, which were not only controversial, but stupid).

“Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has offered a reckless and false choice: Let some seniors die or watch as our economy crumbles.

“Let’s get back to work.  Let’s get back to living,” Patrick said Monday evening on the Fox News show “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “Let’s be smart about it and those of us who are 70 plus, we’ll take care of ourselves, but don’t sacrifice the country.”

It that means taking “a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren, Patrick said, then “I’m all in.”

The suggestion from Texas’ second-highest elected official is not only wrong-headed and cold, it’s dangerous.  The coronavirus pandemic doesn’t solely affect the elderly: about 40% of those hospitalized so far in the U.S. were ages 20 to 54 (50% in California).  Encouraging people to “get back to living” disregards the warnings by public health experts and risks further spread of this highly contagious disease.

Morally, we cannot accept the argument that the deaths of our neighbors of any age are a necessary trade-off for the health of our economy.  And, from a practical standpoint, economists tell us this is not true: going back to our old way of life while the coronavirus spreads will lead to more sickness and death, more lost wages, more strain on our hospitals and medical professionals, making it even harder to climb out of the recession that is likely already here.

Our best bet to help the economy is to contain the virus that is hurting it.

Governor Greg Abbott has worked to do so by temporarily closing schools and dine-in restaurants statewide, boosting the number of nurses and hospital beds, and asking for President Donald Trump to issue a major disaster declaration that would provide more badly needed federal aid to Texas.

Yet there is Patrick, Abbott’s self-professed wingman, undermining all of those efforts by suggesting we ditch the social distancing efforts that are the heart of our public health response.

Patrick’s statement comes as Trump is also pushing to reopen public life while public health experts urge isolation, creating a cacophony of mixed messages when Americans need clear, consistent direction. Lives are at stake.

Yes, we all want this emergency to end.

But Patrick is asking Texans to make the wrong kinds of sacrifices to get there.”

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