Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rachel Forrest's 'Wine Me, Dine Me'

We have a great friend who writes about food in the most eloquent way. Please read Rachel Forrest's "Wine Me, Dine Me" blog, and you'll be glad you did. She has a beautiful style and is a lovely person, too. We're happy to add her to our list of favorite sites.

Read Rachel here:

-- LT

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Long Form Gossip: The New Epic Poems Of Our Times

By Lars Trodson

Last week we were all briefly united through the dominant art force of our time: gossip. The saga of Sandra Bullock and her husband, the TV reality star Jesse James, created a national drama.

I had seen some early reports -- or, rather, the headlines of James' alleged infidelity on my Comcast homepage. But I find so many of the headlines for Comcast links to be misleading that I hardly even bother any more. So I skipped it.

But as I drove into work the next morning, I switched channels on the radio and heard an endless stream of people commenting on the Bullock/James story. It certainly seemed to unfold rather quickly -- the next thing I knew Bullock had moved out, canceled an important appearance due to “unforeseen circumstances” and then James issued a public apology.

Everybody had an opinion. Rick Sanchez on CNN asked why anybody would cheat on Sandra Bullock. He wasn't the only one. The implication being that it is unfathomable why you would cheat on a beautiful, rich woman but easier to understand if your spouse is unappealing and broke. Why bother to make a distinction; isn’t cheating cheating?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Roundtable Pictures Takes A Look At The Workplace

By Lars Trodson

There is an essay in today's New York Times Book Review called "Take This Job and Write It" and it focuses on why writers tend to avoid the workplace as a subject. "In normal times," writes Jennifer Schuessler, "(writers) tap away at their 'offices' at Starbucks, thanking their lucky stars for the book contracts that allowed them to give up their day jobs. But in recent months a cry has gone out for fiction writers to get up from behind their laptops and get back to work, real work -- or at least to start writing about it again."

Two years ago, when the economy got the shakes, Mike Gillis and I did just that. We placed our focus on the workplace and created a little film called "Elevation." We worked on this for months, from a script I wrote, and honed it with the actors Lisa Stathoplos and Gregg Trzakowski. We shot it in one day in an office in downtown Portsmouth. 

In Praise Of Rose

By Lars Trodson
The wacky neighbor has a long and honorable tradition in the world of sitcoms, as does their habit of just bursting in the apartment or home of the actual stars of the program. That these sidekicks almost invariably outshine the leads is a cause for celebration by the audience and no doubt annoyance to the people who are ostensibly heading up the cast list. (Think Sean Hayes and Christine Baranski.)
I don’t know why I’ve always been fascinated by second bananas. It may be for the same reason that when I look at a photograph I’m always much more interested in what is happening way off in the background than I am in the so-called subject. It could be that I am a huge fan of Art Carney’s, and he was the first guy I remember seeing just bounce into an apartment unannounced. I loved the fact, also, that no one ever seemed to mind. Jackie Gleason’s Ralph Kramden was always stewing about something, but he never asked Ed Norton to knock.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Oscars Honor The Future

By Lars Trodson

The most significant event of Oscar night was not Kathryn Bigelow winning an Oscar as Best Director. The fact that this happened in 2010 is not something to be celebrated as much as it is something to be slightly embarrassed by. A woman wins an Oscar for making a movie 90 years after she gets to vote? Wow, America, don't go crazy.

“The Hurt Locker” wasn’t my movie anyway. I liked it, but I thought it was a series of sketches -- it had no narrative thrust, which is what a movie is supposed to do. James Cameron, with “Avatar”, proved once again he can keep a huge piece of machinery chugging along without leaving the audience behind, which is what a good director should do. But my movie was "A Serious Man", which I think was basically shut out from any wins.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Two Adult American Comedies, Seventy Years Apart

By Lars Trodson

In 1940 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer spent a little money on an adult romantic comedy called “The Philadelphia Story.” It was, at least partially, a story of the very rich; the Lord family at the center of the farce was the kind of family that Grace Kelly came from. It’s the kind of family that probably still exists but doesn’t command the front page of the society section any more.

It was also a comedy aimed at adults. This was a mature comedy -- it wasn’t Andy Hardy or a Gene Autry western.

What got me thinking about “The Philadelphia Story”, oddly enough, was a movie that is about to be released called, simply enough, “She’s Out Of My League.” This is the story of a fella, we would call him a nerd, who suddenly finds himself vying for the affections of a very beautiful young woman.