Had a nice and quiet Christmas (twice, really, as my sister spent hers with her husband's family in Ireland so we had a second Christmas dinner on their return) but don't really do New Year. So, the decorations are down, the tree is in the back garden awaiting dismemberment and I'm trying to get back to getting up at a sensible time in order to get on with things. And feeling a bit better about that than is normal.
I'm a few days away from beginning the first draft of a current project that has seen several outlines. Rather excited about that and working on it with some great people.
Hope to perhaps earn a little from writing this year as well. We all do, I suppose, but there's no sense in thinking small and never seeing the potential in your skill.
I'm also watching more movies so far this year - last week saw my introduction to Spaghetti Western maestro Sergio Corbucci. I wondered what all the fuss was about with Quentin Tarantino's love of the guy, so I watched 4 of his films over 2 days:
His first solo Western, Minnesota Clay (1964), with Cameron Mitchell as a wronged convict out for revenge before his encroaching blindness takes his sight.
|Cameron Mitchell shortly before he uses his ears to take out the bad guys.|
The original Django (1966), with the legend that is Franco Nero, which was great and muddy, although I kind of wish we hadn't learned what he kept in that coffin he dragged around, even though it was key to the story.
|Django and his "burden" - more mud than McCabe & Nrs Miller could shake a stick at.|
The Great Silence (1968), a fantastic bit of harshness amongst snow with a mute Jean-Louis Tritignant and Klaus Kinski on top form as a bounty killer and one of the bravest endings I've seen to a movie.
|One of the genre's greatest SOBs. Still unsure whether Kinski dubbed himself, though.|
Finally The Mercenary (1968), a Zapata Western combined with a buddy movie with another great performance from Franco Nero. I enjoyed it a lot also but found it a bit meandering at times. Some great moments, though, particularly when Nero's character is offering his mercenary services one step at a time to Tony Musante's revolutionary during a pitched battle with the Mexican military
|Corbucci loved his machine guns...|
|Jack Palance's amazing perm. Yes, the villain is called Curly.|
|Possibly my favourite duel scene in a movie.|
Corbucci seems to enjoy blowing thumbs away from gunslingers and inflicting physical handicaps to his protagonists, placing him a bit higher in my estimation that Leone it turns out. I hadn't realised that Django was banned in the UK but, amongst all the guhn deaths, forcing a character to eat their own severed ear didn't impress the censors back in the 60s. Who knew?
Also going to read as many scripts as I can as well. It's not just the act of writing that makes you a better writer. The more you read, the more you learn also.
Today's reading: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Ol Parker, adpated from These Foolish Things by Deborah Mogach.