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Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Trucker" Is A Pleasant Surprise!

left to right: Jimmy Bennett as Peter and Michelle Monaghan as Diane in "Trucker"


Michelle Monaghan and Jimmy Bennett in "Trucker"



Jimmy Bennett and Michelle Monaghan in "Trucker"


I won't lie. I was disappointed that no one commented on the last post. So I wrote my own comment just so I wouldn't see that sad zero staring at me.:)

Anyway, this has nothing to do with the last post, but it does show how my life is a little unusual. So I saw the ad for the independent film, "Trucker" in the local art film theater's schedule and I wasn't that interested. The name of the director intrigued me, because I knew someone who had the same last name and I wondered if maybe they were related. Well it turns out not only are they related, but my friend is the film maker's father!

His father and I met during the dark days after the 2004 election when no one wanted to believe that there had been election fraud in Ohio. But Nick felt we needed to do something and I feeling the same way decided to join him and a group of like-minded people who came to demonstrate with him. We were in the forefront of the whole movement, yet at the time people were still uncertain about being vocal about it. We stood out there with signs to honk and we did get more support than we thought. Remember this was December, 2004.

Anyway, getting back to the reason for this post, Nick and I know each other since then.:) So a few days ago I got this email from him inviting us all to go see his son's film, "Trucker".

"Aha," I said as I read the email. "They are related!" And now I needed to see the film. There's quite a bond between people who have stood in front of the FBI Building and demanded an investigation into the vote.:) (For anyone who would rather forget that election or feels there was no fraud, you can skip anything related to the demonstrating.:)) The thing is I needed to know more about this film before I commi
tted my entire family to seeing it.

I read the Marshall Fine review with the film info on the Jacob Burns Theater's website and was very happy to see that he gave it a good review. Also, I saw that Nathan Filian was in it and I knew that would be a drawing card for my younger daughter. Anyone who doesn't know who he is here is some information. Nathan Filian is adorable and sexy. He is an awesome actor who is genuine and natural. I don't think he has ever been given such a chance to express a character as in this film, but more later.



{Look at this picture. Women who are reading don't you agree?
Men you have the video interview of Michelle Monaghan.:)}


The review and Nathan Filian hooked my daughters and we hurried to get tickets. I figured this wasn't that necessary, but we thought it would be better to have them early and I did want to be there to support my friend. I pictured a half full theater, though Janet Maslin was going to be interviewing the director, James Mottern and one of the actors, actually the main actor, Michelle Monaghan after the movie. It was in the biggest theater too. Then the Roger Ebert review came out and I guess a lot of people came for Nick as well as the review. Also I found out they gave out free tickets to the theater's educational annex's staff. The theater doesn't have the usual stadium seating, but it is probably one of the most comfortable theaters in Westchester. When they ran out of seating folding chairs were set up against the second level. I had never seen that happen.:) The place looks very much like a more luxurious school auditorium.:)

"Trucker" My Review

"Trucker" is such an amazing film, because it is a throwback to the kinds of films made in the '70s as the director/writer said. However, what sets this film apart is that the main character is a woman. This woman is what John Wayne might be like if he were to come back as a woman and look like Michelle Monaghan.:) Diane is tough and good at what she does, which is being a trucker. She doesn't need men except for sex and she's like that lone cowboy who loves em and leaves em. However, there is a problem since her son's father - they never tell you if they were married or not- becomes ill with cancer and his live-in girlfriend played by Joey Lauren Adams has to attend her mother's funeral. There is no place for Diane's son now 11 years old and he must stay with her. Never having seen her and knowing only that she walked out on him as a baby this boy rebels and Diane tolerates his presence giving him minimal attention and dragging him around with her on jobs. Nathan Filian is her friend/drinking buddy and there is a ton of chemistry between them. Some reviews say that their relationship is undeveloped. Without giving anything away, I disagree. He is only playing the part of the virtuous ranch owner's wife or the woman who is married but has a man as a best friend. The roles are reversed. When you take the idea of a woman acting as a man it works. But you have to see it for yourself to understand this whole role reversal thing.

James Mottern has written a screenplay that is nuanced and doesn't pull punches. His direction is effortless and it shows in the performances from all of the characters including the boy. Having taught boys this age I recognized the expressions of a boy who is facing problems at home. His performance is natural and genuine. In fact, he is probably one of the best child performers I have seen this year. But the gem of this film is Michelle Monaghan who shows us from the very first scene she is a hard boiled trucker. Her demeanor is tough and yet she is still a woman. I remember her from films like "Gone Baby Gone" where I loved her performance. This blows away every female performance I have seen this year. Watching her is almost like watching a documentary of a woman trucker. I learned after the movie that she actually got her trucking license! So she did all the scenes herself! This performance is the one I have been waiting to see. If you wanted to see a woman's role where she didn't have to wear a lot of make up or a cat suit or be the butt of men's jokes or else be the wise girlfriend/wife this is it. Though I know I could never live that life, I admire anyone who could live the life of a trucker.

We didn't discuss it, but I think this film pays respect to the people who travel our highways night and day in huge tractor trailers bringing us everything from fresh produce, ice cream, bread and canned goods to appliances. Basically, truckers are the heart of our country and it's wonderful to see a movie that shows us how important they really are to us. Maybe next time you are next to a huge rig on the highway you will understand a little more about their lives. You must go see this film if only for Michelle Monaghan's performance and one of the best screenplays in years. James Mottern has made a truly American film that is honest and I am looking forward to seeing his next film.
***********************************************
So wasn't it great that I was able to greet my friend and tell him how I felt without having to lie.:) Also, I was able to meet the writer/director, James Mottern and I was very excited to meet Michelle Monaghan. She is so different than her character in the film. Of course, I didn't get any photos so you have to believe me.:) It's true, though. She is really delightful in person and I wished I had more time to speak with her.

One more thing before I finish this. On Monday I will be attending The Muse Online Writers Conference which is the brainchild of Lea Schizzas who I think cloned herself years ago and never told anyone. She puts this conference together every year and this is the 4th conference. With almost a thousand conference goers this is a huge event. The great thing is unlike other conferences where you need to get dressed, etc. you can attend this one in your p j's or whatever.:) You can attend as many chats and workshops as you can handle. The conference runs a full week and keeping my fingers crossed that Lea will be my guest for my second radio show: Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages. This will be airing on Thursday, October 22nd on Blog Talk Radio at 3 PM Central time. If you listened last month the show was one hour earlier. This time it is going to be at the regular time. I hope you will tune in to hear my confirmed guest Elizabeth Spann Craig, who doesn't write short stories, but her novel is short.:)

Until the next time thank you to all the people who have friended me and I hope to learn more about you. Thank you too to my regular readers to whom I apologize since I haven't posted for a whole week. Does this one make up for it?

I would be interested to know if there is anything you would like to share about your own life? I think it would be fun to share one thing you don't mind sharing.:)

1 comment:

  1. The following is a comment sent to me by Nick Mottern. He was unable to post it himself and asked that I do it for him. Here it is:

    Thanks very much Barbara for being so thoughtful to take your family to the movie; I really appreciate it. As you can imagine, it is very exciting for me to have a movie come out that my son has made, and I am thankful that so many of my friends were kind enough to come out and support it. The bonus is that it is a wonderful movie. I don’t know if that is just dad talking, but I don’t think so given reviews like the ones you mention.

    In your commentary I particularly liked your point about the film paying respect to truck drivers. It was very important to James that the movie respect working people who sometimes are treated in condescending way in the movies. I think this is at the heart of the power of the movie. Michelle Monaghan grew up on an Iowa farm and in this life, and I think this is why she can carry this role so persuasively.

    Thanks again Barbara and thanks for your constant efforts for justice and peace.

    I appreciate your persistence in getting this posted; I apologize for not being of the interaction links.

    Nick

    ReplyDelete

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