The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Tony Bouza

2.jpgOne of my all-time favorite people is Tony Bouza, whom I run into now and then at my local coffee shop. Tony, as you may remember, was a former police chief for the city of Minneapolis. Of course, Tony doesn’t know me from Adam, but I always say hi and shake his hand. Today, I suggested that someone should write his biography. (Of course, I didn’t say that I should be the one to do this, but I’ve sometimes thought about it.) Tony looked at me and said that a biography about his life “would keep people up at night” and might give some insight into how things actually work. I said, “Naw,” and he laughed. It made me think, though. When did intellectual curiosity die? Has it now become politically incorrect to be curious about how our government works? I wonder what Tony would say? I’ll have to ask him the next time I see him.

By the way, you can catch Tony doing his thing on YouTube.

December 24, 2007   Comments Off on Tony Bouza

Leash Laws in the Burbs

There is an article in the Star Tribune this morning about Plymouth, Minnesota allowing an exemption to their leash law to allow cats to roam free. It turns out most suburbs have leash laws for both dogs and cats and allow no exceptions. Anyway, you have to apply for an exemption and it requires a signed statement from your vet to the effect that your cat is too wild to be confined indoors and would have to be euthanized if not allowed outside. This is mildly interesting. New of the weird, of course, but not remarkable.

What’s remarkable is what comes next. The author of the piece can’t express his own personal opinion, because he’s a journalist, right? Wrong. He finds an expert whom he quotes as saying, “An ordinance that allows cats to roam free is a death warrant.” There’s even more. He found someone at the Human Society who said that they “…strongly advise against cats running loose to prevent transmutation into road kill, dog chow or victims of ill-tempered neighbors.” By this point I’m laughing. Transmutation into road kill? Dog chow? The guy must be from northern Minnesota or a former official at the White House. Is this supposed to terrify me? My god, I guess to. I was so impressed I started a new category on my blog called, “What Passes for News.”

I’m certain the Star Tribune fancies itself as both objective and a major newspaper. What do you think?

December 24, 2007   Comments Off on Leash Laws in the Burbs

The Secret Life of Words

secret_words.jpgWhat is it about good titles? Like this one, “The Secret Life of Words.” Why are words so powerful? (In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.) In this film, the hero and heroine both have terrible secrets, which we discover as they begin to establish a relationship. Both have paid steep prices for their sins, real and imagined. Of course, they fall in love.

I hope that wasn’t a spoiler!

The film isn’t remarkable for the story, as much as the perfect pitch of Sarah Polley and Tim Robbins. In fact, it may be Tim Robbins’ most remarkable performance since “The Shawshank Redemption.” It is Sarah Polley who is amazing, though. As she comes out of her shell, we believe every word she tells us, and when her secret is fully revealed, we feel the full horror of it.

As you can tell, I liked the film and highly recommend it. Include it in your Netflix queue. Don’t expect a major Hollywood production, though. This is an art house film and understated, despite the depth of emotions it touches.

December 24, 2007   Comments Off on The Secret Life of Words