Saturday, February 25, 2012

Raised Eyebrows And Near Disasters At Weddings

Given that we've been writing a wedding lately in the book, we thought we'd take a bit of time to amuse you with some off kilter wedding related imagery! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Romance On The Silver Screen

Scarlett and I thought with today being Valentine’s Day, we might share some of our favourite romantic movies with you, and suggest you tell us some of your favourites in turn. Mind you, these aren’t quite the sort of movies that will make you blush or anything…. unless your tendency to blush is rather unusual. Go ahead and admit to it, we won’t judge you, will we?

Of course not! But then, if you're a regular visitor to this blog and you're still blushing, well....

My first choice would have to be one of my personal favourites. Before Sunrise tells the story of an American (Ethan Hawke) who meets a French woman (Julie Delpy) on a train, and convinces her to step off the train and see Vienna with him on his last night in Europe.

The film plays out through the night as the two get to know each other, talking and seeing things in the city. And the audience falls as much for these two as they fall for each other. They’re both smart, well spoken, and appealing characters, we can’t help but like them. If you haven’t seen this yet, why haven’t you? And if you don’t like it… well, you must be lacking a soul. In which case, a team of exorcists will be coming to see you.

One movie on my list is one I found quite by accident: If Only. With over two hundred satellite channels, one would think there would never be a shortage of things to watch, right? Not so. So...while channel surfing one Saturday afternoon, I discovered this gem of a film about an American musician living in London (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and her British executive boyfriend (Paul Nichols). Ian's preoccupation with his work is a source of deep disappointment for Samantha, who would like more of his attention.

After an argument in a restaurant, she walks out on him—and is killed in a traffic accident. He's of course stunned to find her in his bed when he wakes the next morning. He soon discovers he's been given a chance to relive their last day together. Will he repeat his mistakes, or give his love one incredible last day on earth? What could have been a sappy, overblown romance is instead tender and thoughtful, reminding us that we never know what day might be our last...and that we should never take those we love for granted.

I’d never heard of that one, but that must be remedied post haste!

Another personal favourite of mine must be For Love Of The Game. Yes, it’s a sports movie. It’s also much more. During the last game of a bad season, a legendary pitcher (Kevin Costner) must decide if he wants to retire or not, and while he’s playing the game, he’s flashing back to what’s really important to him: the woman he’s had an on-again and off-again relationship with for the last few years (Kelly Preston).

Their relationship is the bedrock of the film, and the decision he has to make is tied directly to her in every way. It’s a beautifully told film, a terrific character study, and in the end, a satisfying romance.

Another Costner film is on my list: Dragonfly. It's a supernatural tale of love that overcomes death itself. When a doctor's pregnant wife—also a doctor—is killed while on a humanitarian mission in a third-world country, he is unable to accept his loss. He begins to have strange dreams in which his deceased wife seems to be reaching out to him, trying to tell him something.

She had a special fondness for dragonflies, as well as a dragonfly-shaped birthmark, and he's seeing dragonflies everywhere. Ultimately, his obsession leads him to the place where she died...where he discovers she was indeed trying to tell him something. He makes an incredible discovery that leads him out of the darkness of grief and gives him a reason to go on. This film reminds me of another favorite, Ghost.

One film that I frequently kick myself for not seeing in the theatre is The Lake House. The movie brings back together Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, in a manner of speaking. I say that because the two characters, though occupying the same home, are in two different time periods, and yet able to talk to each other, through letters left in the mail box.

None of it is ever explained, and there’s really no need for an explanation. They’re these two wonderful characters, perfectly suited for each other, and the story fleshes them out so well, all the while making good use of near-misses, the rules of time, and the idea that we’re all closer to each other then we realize…

I love The Lake House, too. As you might have noticed, I have a special fondness for love stories with a supernatural element. But I also love romantic comedies, which brings me to my next choice, Sweet Home Alabama. Reese Witherspoon plays a rising start in the world of fashion who keeps her redneck roots a secret—until her aspiring politician boyfriend (Patrick Dempsey) proposes and they start talking quickie wedding.

Before she can marry him, she must go home to Alabama and convince her estranged husband (Josh Lucas) to finally sign the divorce papers. Once home, however, “Felony Melanie,” as she's known there, finds herself with unresolved feelings for the man she left behind. Oddball supporting characters make this film as much fun as a romance can be!

Felony Melanie, huh?

And who can make a list like this without paying due homage to the best film of all time? Casablanca, the classic Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman movie, tells the story of a jaded American stuck in Morocco during the Second World War, and the woman who got away. This is the movie that has it all: a great love triangle, smart snappy writing, memorable characters, terrific villains, and a story that hinges on finding your idealism, courage, and doing what’s right, even if that means letting the person you love go. Oh, and it’s got the best final conversation in movie history.

Ah, Casablanca! Indeed it is the best film of all time. Not much more I can say to add to what James has already said. exotic wartime location, an incredible script...a winning combination that remains unmatched to this day!

So that’s our look at romantic movies for this Valentine’s Day. To our readers, we wish you a happy Valentine’s Day. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re spending the evening in between the sheets….

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Crossed Wires And Wedding Music

Scarlett and I had ourselves a rather odd turn while writing a specific passage in Same Time Tomorrow. We’ve been finishing off the wedding sequence, getting things polished off. This sort of thing gets passed back and forth between us as we go along, and we’d come to the point where the ceremony comes to an end.

Scarlett wrote a passage, and asked me what I thought of it. Of course, I loved it. It’s Chloe’s point of view during the kiss, and she started out by having Chloe thinking the exact same thing that Gabriel is thinking. Then she asked me what I thought of the Mandy reference. This is the moment that confused me. You see, one of the early moments between the characters has them interacting online, long before they meet. Chloe is most definitely a Barry Manilow fan. Gabriel is certainly not. Despite that difference, they find that they like each other anyway as they get to know each other, and the relationship grows from there.

I was confused by the question. I don’t know the song, beyond the tune and the title, so I looked at the passage, wondering if some little bit of dialogue or something else there referenced some obscure lyric of the song. In the end, that wasn’t the case. It turns out that Scarlett deleted the line before saving it, and hadn’t realized it.

This is one of those moments in collaborative writing where confusion runs both ways, and you find yourself wondering just what on earth is my partner talking about? Of course, it also makes it all the more amusing afterwards!

Have you ever had misunderstandings with a friend or colleague over something you'd written or omitted from an email? That's what happened here.  I've actually lost a good friend just because she misunderstood a text message from me (sarcasm does not translate well to text messages!). I almost had a serious rift with another good friend because of a similar error in an email. Fortunately, James and I didn't come to blows—though now that I think about it, blows might have been quite nice.

The important thing in a collaboration is to ask if something your writing partner has written isn't clear.

Otherwise you’ll be running into confusion unlimited!

In this case, problem solved. We wrote in a bit of a reference involving the violinist at the ceremony… playing, of course.... Mandy.