Gina Vivinetto’s Greatest Hits

Archive for the category “Books”

10 Actors Who Have Played Literary Types

Midnight In Paris, Woody Allen‘s biggest hit in 25 years, features “cameos” by American literary expats F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein, among other authors.

It’s not the only recent film depicting the oft-wild lives of famous writers. John Cusack stars as goth author Edgar Allan Poe in 2012’s tentatively titled murder mystery The Raven – and if the candid on-set photos of the costumed Cusack splashed across the internet are any indication, anticipation for the flick is high.

Putting famous writers on the silver screen is hardly a new Hollywood trend. Check out these ten actors who’ve played literary types:

1. Nicole Kidman famously donned a prosthetic nose as the finishing touch on her Oscar-winning portrayal of British author and feminist icon Virginia Woolf in 2002’s The Hours. Spoiler: it doesn’t end well.

2. Gwyneth Paltrow starred as doomed American poet Sylvia Plath in 2003’s Sylvia, which focuses on both Plath’s stormy relationship with husband and fellow poet Ted Hughes (a pre-Bond Daniel Craig) and her increasing mental anguish. Spoiler: not a very happy ending here either.

3. It took not one but two Academy Award winners to portray massively prolific British author Iris Murdoch in 2001’s Iris, based on a memoir by Murdoch’s husband, John Bayley. Kate Winslet starred as the younger Murdoch, while Dame Judi Dench handled the author’s later years, including a heartbreaking descent into Alzheimer’s. Spoiler: You get the picture.

4. Stephen Fry portrayed irrepressible Irish wit and dandy of letters Oscar Wilde in 1997’s Wilde, which examines the personal and legal agony caused by Wilde’s gay affair with the much younger Lord Alfred Douglas. Wilde served time in prison for “unnatural acts.”

5. Steven Soderbergh made the bizarre decision to follow up on his winning 1989 debut Sex, Lies and Videotape by directing a mess of a 1991 thriller featuring Jeremy Irons as Czech writer Franz Kafka. Set in the dreary Prague of 1919, Kafka finds a fictional version of the “Metamorphosis” author embroiled in a conspiracy, outrunning villainous strangers, and other decidedly, uh, Kafka-esque goings-on.

6. Fred Ward and Maria de Medeiros tried their darnedest to capture the erotically charged affair between balding American writer Henry Miller and sultry French author Anais Nin in 1990’s Henry & June. Set in Paris during the 1930s, and also starring Uma Thurman as Miller’s wife June, the film is a celebration of sex, bohemian values, and Ward’s ridiculously visible shaved hairline.

7. Jennifer Jason Leigh slurred her way through the role of frequently drunk American writer Dorothy Parker in 1994’s Mrs. Parker and The Vicious Circle. The flick depicts the juice-fueled antics of the Algonquin Table writers in 1920s New York. Also features Campbell Scott as Parker’s fellow New Yorker scribe Robert Benchley; Lili Taylor as Giant author Edna Ferber; and David Thornton as celebrated American humorist George S. Kaufman.

8. Geoffrey Rush played the kinky Marquis de Sade in 2000’s insane asylum drama Quills, co-starring Kate Winslet. A French aristocrat, the Marquis made a career of exploring the darker aspects of human sexuality, was routinely incarcerated for his work, and left behind a literary legacy that inspired generations of fetish magazine editors everywhere.

9. Anthony Hopkins portrayed British writer and Tolkien pal C.S. Lewis in 1993’s biography Shadowlands, focusing on the creator of Narnia’s transformative love affair with American poet Joy Gresham (Debra Winger).

10. Australian actress Judy Davis played cross-dressing French author George Sand in 1991’s Impromptu, chronicling the tortured love affair between lusty, domineering Sand and hopelessly wimpy composer Frederic Chopin (Hugh Grant).

What other Hollywood stars played writers onscreen?

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Go-Go’s trivia courtesy of Belinda’s book

I recently went on a pretty bad Go-Go’s bender after reading Belinda Carlisle’s memoir Lips Unsealed. I couldn’t stop listening to the old albums or watching their videos for a solid week. Have you read the book?

Geez! Sex, drugs. And drugs. And more drugs. And some drinking. But mostly drugs.

Anyway, the book is filled with interesting tidbits about the late 1970s/early 1980s Los Angeles punk scene. And of course, Belinda shares plenty of stories about the Go-Go’s heyday.

For instance, how about this bit of trivia. In the “Our Lips Are Sealed” video, during Jane Wiedlin‘s “Hush my darling, don’t you cry” bridge, if you look closely you can see Jane’s not alone in the backseat of the convertible. Belinda, who was hungover and didn’t much feel like making something called a “music video” anyway, can be seen hunched over in the driver’s seat.

Take a look:

Neat, huh? Are you a Go-Go’s fan? A Belinda fan? Have you read the book?

As we were saying…

Are you ready to kick up your heels again with Gina Vivinetto’s Greatest Hits?

Let’s push this sucker to 2,000,000.

I want a ‘Buffy Staked Edward’ T-shirt

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In the Buffy-verse, the human girl isn’t a wimp. She kicks ass.

Get your “And then Buffy Staked Edward…The End.” shirts here.

Scholastic book orders: win

The fun kids over at the Once Upon A Win web site have brought back a very happy childhood memory for me: ordering Scholastic books in school! Did you? Remember the little catalogs? They were thin and bright and they looked like this, except without Rachael Ray, who I reckon is now so ubiquitous, she can infiltrate our very memories:

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I went through books like crazy as a kid, but my parents could afford to purchase Scholastic books only, like, once. I remember getting my shipment, but I don’t remember what the books were.

Last fall, when I returned after nearly 30 years to Palmer, the small town in Western Massachusetts where I started school, I was excited to visit the public library where I spent endless hours reading Amelia Bedelia, George and Martha (remember them? They were hippos!) and, later, Encyclopedia Brown books, wherein you got to choose your own adventure! (UPDATE: Actually, as faithful reader Mindy points out, you didn’t get to choose your own adventure in Encyclopedia Brown books, you just got to select from several different endings).

The Palmer library also housed a nifty collection of Dynomite! magazine. (I feel sorry for any kid who grew up without it).

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Alas, I was told by an old neighbor I happened across — yes, all the same people live in my little town — that the old colonial-era library had been torn down and a new modern one was built on a nearby street. I was devastated. Such memories. What new ones would have flooded my brain had I the chance to walk into that old library?

What are your book memories? Did you read a lot as a kid? What were your favorite books?

Last book read

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The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. Boy, was it good. Now I wanna see the movie starring Humphrey Bogart as hardboiled detective Sam Spade.

Have you read the book? Seen the movie? Can you recommend both?

Allen Ginsberg’s words of wisdom

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My advice to you is as follows:
one, learn meditation practice;
two, empower yourself with your own emotions –
don’t be afraid of grief, or heartthrob;
three, be willing to expose yourself and be a fool,
to not be intimidated in the presence of presidents
and rock stars, but come on as a gentle, living
flesh and blood human being.

Don’t treat people as icons.

If what you are doing is considered by all your friends
as too far out, think thrice –
so you don’t go outside the bounds of sanity –
check it out.

Get a good education in reading the Eastern and Western classics.
Avoid animal fat.
Be a slave to love.
Wear your heart on your sleeve.
Twenty rejections in a row are wiped out by one acceptance.

Happy Birthday, Bill!

Are you talking like Shakespeare today to celebrate what is maybe the Bard’s birthday? Or maybe it was yesterday? Because no one knows for sure.

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Methinks no one is really doing this (save for the Renaissance Fair people. Sorry: Faire).

Currently (re) reading: “Me” by Katharine Hepburn

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This is such an engaging memoir. Ms. Hepburn wrote it in a completely conversational style as if she’s actually talking to the reader. It’s jam-packed with stories and insights about key early Hollywood players like Louis B. Mayer, Judy Garland, Cary Grant, as well as Hepburn’s former beau Howard Hughes and, of course, her beloved Spencer Tracy.

If you’re ever hankering for a bit of Hepburn’s behind-the-scenes personality, you should start with Me. Unless you’ve already read it. Have you?

Happy Anniversary!

It’s Gina Vivinetto’s Greatest Hits’s eight month anniversary! Woo-hoo! Let’s celebrate with a clip from The Flinstones:

This blog is way more popular than I ever thought it would be thanks to you guys.

We’re going to get our 190,000th hit today. Can you believe it?!

XOXO

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