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Green Book Gets the Green Light! [MOVIE REVIEW]

It’s the 1960s and Don Shirley, originally from Jamaica, a renowned classical pianist, is the darling of the east coast wealthy elite. While he’s not the outspoken civil right advocate type, he believes that displaying his talents in the segregated south might help to change the rigidly racist views held in that part of the country. So Shirley (Mahershala Ali), or Dr. Shirley, as he was referred to because of his Ph.D., and his record company hired-bouncer, Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) to serve as his driver/bodyguard during the trip south. The odd couple has very little in common. Shirley is highly educated, cultured and lives alone in his Manhattan penthouse. Vallelonga is a family man, not formally educated and steeped in the customs of the Bronx Italian American community where he lives.

Green Book is everything a film should be. It’s amusing, entertaining and educational. The film’s title refers to the real publication, The Negro Motorist Green Book, which guided black travelers as to what hotels and facilities they could stay in, eat at and/or have their vehicles serviced while traveling through segregated states.

The two characters exchanged views and disagreed on about everything from food to music, to driving habits, and even on writing letters. There’s a validity to positions taken by both of them. And Dr. Shirley’s lack of familiarity with black performers such as Chubby Checker and Aretha Franklin shocks Vallelonga.

The fact that the screenplay’s co-written by Nick Vallelonga, and the director, Peter Farrelly results in Vallelonga’s character being a bit more credible and consistent. Dr. Shirley’s character is written where he knows well the rules of the Jim Crow south and seems to accept them but without any explanation tries to reject them. Like when he suddenly insists on eating in the formal dining room at a club where he played. This had not been an issue before or thereafter. So why in that scene?

However, in a very subtle and effective way, the screenwriters capture the doctor’s loneliness as a well-educated and refined single black man who would never be accepted as a part of a community of people he performed for; and did not have much in common with most black Americans at that time.

Based upon a true story set in the early 1960s, the film’s dialogue has some current day phrases like traveling while black. And the often heard rhetorical question about strange behavior: Who does that?

Part of the Green Book’s success is due to the excellent performances of the two lead characters. There has been Oscar buzz about both Ali and Mortensen. The selection of the darker Ali to play lighter hued, Dr. Shirley, raises an issue that black journalists have discussed before: why are famous black people played by actors who look nothing them, i.e. the fair skinned, light eyed, Terrence Howard playing the South African leader, Nelson Mandela. While how much a performer looks like the famed white person he or she will play, is always a factor.

The characters reflect not only the rich diversity of cultures in New York City but how very different communities reside in close proximity. Vallelonga’s folksy Bronx neighborhood was very likely no more than a mile or two from Dr. Shirley’s wealthy Manhattan enclave.

The cast of the film is diverse. However, it’s difficult to grade the diversity of the cast of a true movie. It has to be assumed that the scenes accurately reflect the races of the people at the time the events occurred.

Ultimately, Green Book is more than a movie; it’s an experience. It gets a See It! rating. It’s rated PG-13 for language, smoking, violence, and some suggestive material. Green Book is 130 minutes in length.

The 2017 Golden Globe Nominations Are Released

Taraji P. Henson, Nate Parker, Birth of a Nation, and Barbershop 3: The Next Cut, Get No Love from Golden Globes

The nominations for the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards were announced this morning on NBC's "Today" live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Denzel Washington, Ruth Negga, Mahershala Ali, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson, Issa Rae, Courtney B. Vance, Thandie Newton, Donald Glover, Kerry Washington, and Sterling K. Brown are among the actors vying for a Golden Globe Award. Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, and Benjamin Wallfisch are nominated for Best Original Score – Motion Picture for Hidden Figures. The song, How Far I'll Go (Moana), written by Hamilton creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is nominated for Best Original Song – Motion Picture.

Although Washington received a nom for Best Actor in a Movie, Drama category for Fences, he failed to receive a Best Director nomination for directing the film. The movie, based on the August Wilson play of the same name, which also stars Viola Davis, who received an acting nomination, also failed to receive a nomination in the Best Picture - Drama category.

Filmmaker Barry Jenkins received a nomination for Best Direction – Motion Picture for Moonlight, and the film received a Golden Globe Best Motion Picture – Drama nomination.

Actors Don Cheadle, Laura Dern, and Anna Kendrick were joined by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Lorenzo Soria, Dick Clark Productions' executive VP of television, Barry Adelman, and the Miss Golden Globe trio — Sophia, Sistine, and Scarlet Stallone in announcing the nominees. Yes, the young ladies of the Miss Golden Globe trio are related to actor Sylvester Stallone; they are his daughters and will assist in handing out the trophies during the ceremony.

Produced by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Golden Globe Awards will air live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel on NBC on Sunday, January 8, 2017, at 8-11 p.m. ET/5-8 p.m. PT. The ceremony will be hosted by comedian Jimmy Fallon.

Here is the full list of 2017 Golden Globe nominations:

Best Motion Picture – Drama:

"Hacksaw Ridge"
"Hell or High Water"
"Lion"
"Manchester By The Sea"
"Moonlight"

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

"20th Century Women"
"Deadpool"
"La La Land"
"Florence Foster Jenkins"
"Sing Street"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama:

Casey Affleck – "Manchester By The Sea"
Joel Edgerton – "Loving"
Andrew Garfield – "Hacksaw Ridge"
Viggo Mortensen – "Captain Fantastic"
Denzel Washington – "Fences"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama:

Amy Adams – "Arrival"
Jessica Chastain – "Miss Sloane"
Isabelle Huppert – "Elle"
Ruth Negga – "Loving"
Natalie Portman – "Jackie"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

Colin Farrell – "The Lobster"
Ryan Gosling – "La La Land"
Hugh Grant – "Florence Foster Jenkins"
Jonah Hill – "War Dogs"
Ryan Reynolds – "Deadpool"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

Annette Bening – "20th Century Women"
Lily Collins – "Rules Don't Apply"
Hailee Steinfeld – "The Edge of Seventeen"
Emma Stone – "La La Land"
Meryl Streep – "Florence Foster Jenkins"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

Mahershala Ali – "Moonlight"
Jeff Bridges – "Hell or High Water"
Simon Helberg – "Florence Foster Jenkins"
Dev Patel – "Lion"
Aaron Taylor-Johnson – "Nocturnal Animals"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

Viola Davis – "Fences"
Naomie Harris – "Moonlight"
Nicole Kidman – "Lion"
Octavia Spencer – "Hidden Figures"
Michelle Williams – "Manchester by the Sea"

Best Director – Motion Picture:

Damien Chazelle – "La La Land"
Tom Ford – "Nocturnal Animals"
Mel Gibson – "Hacksaw Ridge"
Barry Jenkins – "Moonlight" 
Kenneth Lonergan – "Manchester by the Sea"

Best Original Screenplay:

"La La Land"
"Nocturnal Animals"
"Moonlight"
"Manchester By The Sea"
"Hell or High Water"

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language:

"Divines" – France
"Elle" – France
"Neruda" – Chile
"The Salesman" – Iran/France
"Toni Erdmann" – Germany

Best Motion Picture – Animated:

"Kubo and the Two Strings"
"Moana"
"My Life As a Zucchini"
"Sing"
"Zootopia"

Best Original Song – Motion Picture:

"Can't Stop The Feeling" – "Trolls"
"City Of Stars" – La La Land
"Faith" – Sing
"Gold" – Gold
"How Far I'll Go" – Moana

Best Original Score – Motion Picture:

Nicholas Britell– "Moonlight"
Justin Hurwitz – "La La Land"
Johann Johannsson – "Arrival"
Dustin O'Halloran, Hauschka– "Lion
Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Benjamin Wallfisch – "Hidden Figures"

Best Television Series – Drama:

"The Crown"
"Game of Thrones"
"Stranger Things"
"This Is Us"
"Westworld"

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy:

"Atlanta"
"Black-ish"
"Mozart In The Jungle"
"Transparent"
"Veep"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama:

Rami Malek – "Mr. Robot"
Bob Odenkirk – "Better Call Saul"
Matthew Rhys – "The Americans"
Liev Schreiber – "Ray Donovan"
Billy Bob Thornton – "Goliath"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama:

Caitriona Balfe – "Outlander"
Claire Foy – "The Crown"
Keri Russell – "The Americans"
Winona Ryder – "Stranger Things"
Evan Rachel Wood – "Westworld"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy:

Anthony Anderson – "Black-ish"
Gael García Bernal – "Mozart in the Jungle
Donald Glover – "Atlanta" 
Nick Nolte – "Graves"
Jeffrey Tambor – "Transparent"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy:

Rachel Bloom – "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – "Veep"
Sarah Jessica Parker – "Divorce"
Issa Rae – "Insecure"
Gina Rodriguez – "Jane the Virgin"
Tracee Ellis-Ross – "Black-ish"

Best Limited Series:

"American Crime"
"The Dresser"
"The Night Manager"
"The Night Of"
"The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for
Television:

Riz Ahmed – "The Night Of"
Bryan Cranston – "All The Way"
Tom Hiddleston – "The Night Manager"
John Turturro – "The Night Of"
Courtney B Vance – "The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

Olivia Colman – "The Night Manager"
Lena Headey – "Game Of Thrones"
Chrissy Metz – "This Is Us"
Mandy Moore – "This Is Us"
Thandie Newton – "Westworld"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

Felicity Huffman – "American Crime"
Riley Keough – "The Girlfriend Experience"
Sarah Paulson – "The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story"
Charlotte Rampling – "London Spy"
Kerry Washington – "Confirmation"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

Sterling K Brown – "The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story"
Hugh Laurie – "The Night Manager"
John Lithgow – "The Crown"
Christian Slater – "Mr. Robot"
John Travolta – "The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story"

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