Some Came Running

Even though I was a teenager when I first saw the 1958 movie Some Came Running on Saturday Night at the Movies in tsome came runninghe 1960s, I was impressed.  Ever after I considered Frank Sinatra’s Dave Hirsch, war veteran who returned to a small Midwestern town intent on writing a great American novel, to be the actor’s finest role.  Also impressive was Dean Martin as ‘Bama, boozer and gambler.  (This is sometimes viewed as the movie in which Martin proved he could act and was not just the crooner and straight man he’d perfected in his immensely successful comedy film outings with Jerry Lewis.)  I was shocked when the most pitiable character in Some Came Running was murdered at the end.

The author of the 1,200-page novel on which the film was based was James Jones, whose From Here to Eternity in 1951 caused a sensation and won him the National Book Award.  It took me three times to wade through the tome.  On that third try I kept imagining what a superb public TV mini-series it would make.  But the unrelievedly downbeat climax made me think twice about that.  In the novel the pitiable character of the movie became vile and nasty and was not killed.  Someone else filled that spot.  Knowing how the filmmakers had to my mind corrupted the story I felt I could never enjoy the movie again.  That changed upon the publication in 2013 of The Best Film You’ve Never Seen:  35 Directors Champion the Forgotten or Critically Savaged Movies They Love.

Richard Linklater, director of Waking Life, Before Sunset, and Fast Food Nation, selected Some Came Running as his forgotten movie, writing, “The movie just rips the cover off the mannered ‘50s era of America—just that whole mind-set of conformity.  It’s a wonderful melodrama.”  Like me, Linklater thought it was the definitive Sinatra movie.  Dave Hirsch was Sinatra.  Moreover, the movie showed how well CinemaScope could be used.  (“So much of what I like about this movie, I can’t articulate.  It’s just a feeling, like looking at a painting, the way the colors and the camera just all add up….It’s just something to be experienced.”)  So why was Some Came Running left in the lurch even though Shirley MacLaine received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination, Martha Hyer took a nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and its director was the esteemed Vincente Minnelli?  One reason is Minnelli’s other movie that year:   the large-scale, multi-Oscar-winning Gigi.  Also, as Linklater surmised, audiences didn’t want to watch such a dark film and have their faces rubbed in hypocrisy.

By Kim

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New Releases 9/29

Movies spy
I’ll See You in My Dreams
Return to Sender
Felix and Meira
The Connection

T.V. Shows  outlander 1.2
The Slap
Vera, Set 5
George Gently, Season 7
Jane The Virgin, Season 1
Grimm, Season 4
Bones, Season 10
Outlander, Season 1 Volume 2 silver lining

The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern by Tony Bennett & Ben Charlap
Wolf Den by Danielle Nicole

The Murder House by James Patterson and David Ellis
Robert Ludlum’s The Patriot Attack by Kyle Mills murder house
The Aeronaut Windlass by Jim Butcher
A Song of Shadows by John Connolly
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

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If You Enjoyed…

mad men 1After seven seasons, Mad Men reached its seemingly premature end this past May. There is no doubt the AMC hit left their viewers wanting more. Feeling lost on what to watch next? Check out the short list below of T.V. Shows, Movies and Audiobooks that are similar to Mad Men. Stop by the library today to check your favorite titles out.

T.V. Shows

Halt and Catch Fire- An American period drama set in the ’80s, Halt and Catch Fire, depicts former IBM executive as he plans to force his current company into the personal computer race. Much like Mad Men, the AMC series also follows the personal lives of characters and the changing social mores of America during the birth of the digital age.

The Hour- It was said that The Hour is slightly based off of Mad Men. Explore how a radio station team in England manages tensions, similar to those Don Draper handles, post WWII. Enjoy the espionage and mysterious aspect of the BBC T.V. Series.


North by Northwest- Matthew Weiner, creator of Mad Men, has often credited Alfred Hitchcock as inspiration. North by Northwest is very similar to Mad Men as it follows a New York advertising executive. Foreign spies mistake the New Yorker as an American spy and chase him cross-country in an attempt to eliminate him.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying- Mad Men sparked the revival of the 1967 Broadway classic in 2011 featuring Danielle Radcliffe as the lead. Enjoy the 1967 version as the ambitious young window cleaner, J. Pierpoint Finch, attempts to get ahead in the New York business world.


Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand- Atlas Shrugged was actually featured in Mad Men, and it’s to no surprise as capitalism is at the fore front of both the show and Rand’s novel. The book depicts society’s most prominent and successful industrialists and how they abandon their fortunes in response to aggressive new social regulations.

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates- Much like Mad Men, Revolutionary Road explores social implications in America post WWII. A young couple move to a big city in hopes to not only explore their marriage but also themselves and the decisions they have made down the road. If you enjoyed the audiobook, check out the movie adaptation of Revolutionary Road featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

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New Releases 9/22

The Farewell Party arrow
In the Name of My Daughter
Growing Up Trans

T.V. Shows  
The Red Road, Season 2
Arrow, Season 3
The Flash, Season 1
Modern Family, Season 6
The Last Man on Earth, Season 1 songs from the arc of life

Songs from the Arc of Life by Yo-Yo Ma & Kathryn Stott
Didn’t He Ramble by Glen Hansard
Digital Vein by David Cook
Threat to Survival by Shinedown
Honeymoon by Lana Del Rey
In the Cards by Robert Delong

Audiobooks  come rain or come shine
Come Rain or Shine by Jan Karon
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Killing Reagan by Martin Dugard & Bill O’Reilly

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TV Crime Shows: The Same New Story, or: Writers’ Block?

Once upon a time TV’s law enforcers kept their private lives private and solved crimes against “Joe Citizen.”   Dragnet, M Squad,dragnet The Untouchables, The Detectives, Peter Gunn and 77 Sunset Strip are examples from that earlier era.  With the advent of such programs as Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue the protagonists of crime series not only became involved in their own family issues but also spent an increasing amount of time dealing with crimes against themselves and their agencies, e.g., bogus accusations of cover-ups, corruption, evidence tampering, and even murder.  Moreover, today’s criminals are wizards who know that (1) crime labs and medical examiners’ facilities are so security light that almost anyone can enter and blow them up or take hostages (CSI:  Miami, NCIS, NCIS:  New Orleans, Scorpion), (2)  a law enforcement officer’s brother or child can be easily kidnapped (Hawaii 5-0, CSI), (3) it is simple to become  intimately familiar with the movements of every Behavioral Analysis Unit employee (Criminal Minds), (4) a CSI’s car can be wired to explode without anyone seeing the activity taking place in the parking lot (CSI), (5) underground para-military/corporate/governmental organizations must be created to ensure public safety (Person of Interest, The Mentalist), and (6) even a mentally ill hacker savant can use a psychiatrist’s files to murder a client and wait years before targeting the therapist, now a high level federal agent (CSI:  Cyber).  As super malefactors, they are incredibly familiar with investigative procedures and have the time, funds and ability to recreate scenes of the crime (CSI) and taunt their pursuers (The Mentalist).  Law students and their attorney mentor can kill clients and spouses (How to Get Away with Murder).

In short, the overarching theme of virtually every contemporary network TV crime series is the police/NCIS/CIA/FBI/crimeperson of interest lab investigating itself or being investigated by another law enforcement agency.  Solving crime on the streets is secondary.  On Person of Interest, the ostensible rationale of helping unknowing citizens from suffering at the hands of average hoods was jettisoned rather quickly in favor of a nebulous mission by rival super computers and their human attendants to destroy each other in order to save humanity from itself.  Similarly, The Blacklist, in which law enforcement  employs former criminal mastermind Remington to locate and defuse the nasty intentions of international criminals, degenerated into Remington fighting for his life—and his FBI handler learning that her husband is a plant.

Such series are also full of clichés:  stalkers/serial killers have (1) photographic expertise and never tire of taking and enlarging in their darkrooms pictures of their law enforcement targets (they seem unfamiliar with the digital revolution), (2) unlimited funds to build and equip unseen their chambers of horrors, and (3) the ability to construct ultra-sophisticated explosive devices.

Do writers find these scenarios so compelling they must be used ad nauseam?  Have we come to the end of network TV series imagination?  Is it impossible to come up with anything new in a 24/7 TV world?

By Kim

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New Releases 9/15

Movies cinderella 2015
Little Boy
The Overnight
Love & Mercy
Heaven Knows What
Blind Chance
The Seven Five

TV Shows big bang theory season 8
The Jinx- The Life and Death of Robert Durst
Empire, Season 1
The Big Bang Theory, Season 8
CSI, Season 15
CSI: Cyber, Season 1
Sleepy Hollow, Season 2
Happy Valley, Season 1

CDs  Leona-Lewis-I-Am
I Am by Leona Lewis
I Cry When I Laugh by Jess Glynne
Paper Gods by Duran Duran
Repentless by Slayer
Ones and Sixes by Low
So There by Ben Folds
Illinois by Brett Eldredge
Chopin: The Complete Preludes by Yundi
Anthems for Doomed Youth by The Libertines
Return to Forever by Scorpions
Hollywood Vampires by Hollywood Vampires
Picking up the Pieces by Jewel

Audiobooks the end game
Eve by William P. Young
The End Game by Catherine Coulter & J.T. Ellison
The Scam by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg
Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling

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If You Enjoyed…

woman in goldWoman in Gold was one of the most highly requested movies over this past summer. There is no doubt that so many enjoyable aspects of the movie can leave you craving more. Below is a list of Movies, T.V. Shows and Audiobooks that are similar to Simon Curtis’s Woman in Gold. Stop by the library to check out some of the titles.


The Pianist: If you enjoyed the flashbacks of Woman in Gold that depicted the horrors of World War II and Maria Altman’s (Helen Mirren and Tatiana Maslany) harrowing escape of Nazi occupation, give The Pianist a try. It follows a Polish Jew’s traumatic journey escaping Jewish ghettos during the Nazi occupation of Poland.

Mortdecai: If you found yourself enjoying Maria’s fight to recover her family’s artwork, you may enjoy Mortdecai. The film follows art dealer Charlie Mortdecai as he races to recover a stolen painting that he believes contains a code leading to Nazi gold.

Big Eyes: Take a step away from WWII and into the late 1960s with Big Eyes. Similar to Woman in Gold,  in regards to art theft, the film depicts the legal difficulties artist, Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), battled after her husband claimed credit for her work.

T.V. Shows:

Foyle’s War: If you were particular to the crime that occurred during WWII, Foyle’s War is a perfect match. This PBS Masterpiece Theatre television show follows English Detective Christopher Foyle as he solves crimes in the midst of WWII.

Damages: If you enjoyed Randy Schoenberg’s (Ryan Reynolds) story line in Woman in Gold, Damages depicts similar aspects of how lawyers can become obsessed with their cases.


Art Forger by Barbara Shapario: Again, a huge part of Woman in Gold surrounds artwork and the legal implications of thievery. Explore another aspect with the legality of artwork in Art Forger. While artist Claire agrees to forge a painting that was stolen, a mystery begins to rapidly unfold.

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert Edsel: In Woman in Gold, Maria not only wanted to regain her family’s heirlooms but also to obtain justice from the damage the Nazis caused. Explore the the true life story of a little-known WWII Allied division whose mission was to track down European art and treasures that had been looted by the Nazis at Hitler’s command with Edsel’s audiobook. Check out the movie adaptation of Monuments Men too.

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New Releases 9/8

Movies age of adaline
The Age of Adaline
Beyond the Mask
Queen & Country
The Weather Station
Love at First Fight
Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show
Misery Loves Comedy

TV Shows homeland season 4
Homeland, Season 4
Vicious, Season 2
Supernatural, Season 10
Gotham, Season 1
Blue Bloods, Season 5
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Season 2

Music horizons
Got Your Six by Five Finger Death Punch
Yours, Dreamily by The Arcs
Horizons by Painted Palms
The Gates by Young Empires
The Book of Souls by Iron Maiden

Audiobooks dance of the bones
Dance of the Bones by J. A. Jance
The Hanging Girl by Jussi Adler-Olsen
The Lost Landscape by Joyce Carol Oates
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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What We Are Listening To: Zoey

Here’s what I’ve been listening to these past summer months. Stop by the library to pick up some of your favorites.

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Zoey’s Staff Picks for September

Here’s what I picked for this month, including short reviews:

Girls girls
wr. & dir. Lena Dunham ft. Allison Williams, Adam Driver, and Jemima Kirke

“From writer/director/actor Lena Dunham and comedy veteran Judd Apatow, this scripted half-hour series focuses on a group of 20-something women in New York and their adventures in post-collegiate floundering. Over the course of Season 1’s ten episodes, the four girls try to figure out what they want from life, from boys, from themselves and each other.”

I’m only on Season 3 at the moment but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to rant and rave about Girls for my monthly staff pick. I was a little hesitant to pick up Girls due to the media’s mixed reaction to its success and my indifference for Dunham’s Tiny Furniture. I am, however, glad that I gave the show a try because I instantly fell in love. Dunham is fearless when it comes to writing and being on screen. She tackles controversial topics like mental illness, not-so-great relationships and post-collegiate hardships with grace and a genuine sense of humor. What resonates with me the most is the dense honesty that is put into the four main characters. Many people are turned off by self-centered Hannah, naive Marnie, unreliable Jessa, and immature Shoshanna but I adore how the characters are imperfect. Anyone and everyone can relate to a character in Girls. You can’t expect T.V. show characters (or characters in general for that matter…) to be perfect and well rounded, that’s not realistic. Dunham really hits the nail on the head when portraying real life people. I’m in my “20 something’s,” a recent college graduate and my relationships with my friends do, in fact, echo some of the drama that surrounds Girls. Even though you may not be a 20 year old girl living in NYC with little to no paychecks, still give this show a shot. Dunham’s fresh and witty writing won’t disappoint. Don’t take the show too seriously, as some people may do. While the show does discuss real life topics, it’s also a comedy. At the end of the day, you’re meant to laugh at the ridiculous, and often times eccentric, plots the girls find themselves in.


The Book Thief book thief
by Markus Zusak

“Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel– a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.”

It may seem strange that I’m going from discussing the comical Girls to the thought provoking and critically acclaimed audiobook, The Book Thief. Perhaps my September Staff Picks attest to my wide ranging tastes in, well… everything. Don’t let the genre placement (Young Adult) dissuade you from reveling in Zusak’s writing. I recommend this audiobook to all ages. What makes The Book Thief unique is the featuring of Death as the narrator and the differing perspectives Zusak offers. The Book Thief follows what it was like growing up in a sympathetic German household. Forced to coincide with the Nazis, orphan Liesel, and her foster family, must face the terror of rebellion and compassion for those attacked during World War II. There is a philosophical element present, which I think sets the book apart from the rest. Liesel, towards the beginning her journey, did not know how to read but learns to throughout the book. Towards the climax of the novel, when the frail Jewish man arrives, she is charged with compassion and the desire to build a relationship with the him—they achieve this through books and words. The Book Thief validates the strengths of the human spirit and how even the smallest amount of love can save someone’s life.

Check out the movie adaptation too. In my opinion, it is one of the best book to movie adaptations of 2013.

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