12 January 2019

Green Book

The Negro Motorist Green Book was an annual guidebook for African American road trippers. It was commonly referred to as Green Book. It was originated and published by Victor Hugo Green, a mailman in New York City, from 1936-1966. This was during the era of Jim Crow laws when open and legally prescribed discrimination against non-whites was widespread in the United States. The guide provided information about services and places (gas stations, motels, restaurants, etc.) relatively friendly to African Americans.

GREEN BOOK is a comedy-drama film about classical and jazz pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) who hires a chauffeur, Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), for his concert tour of the Deep South. Tony is given a Green Book and studies which places he can take Dr. Shirley. The screenplay is written by Vallelonga's son Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, and the film's director Peter Farrelly.

At first glance, it is unique seeing a white Italian American driving a car with an African American in the backseat in 1962. There is even a scene where they stop, due to car trouble, in front of a farm where Black people are working in the fields. The workers are frozen and stare in amazement.

Overall, the writers' choice to make GREEN BOOK a comedy-drama offers an uncommon way to share a story about racism. As a result, the audience is able to get a sense of the time period and its troubles, but additionally focus on the unlikely friendship that develops between Dr. Shirley and Tony. The movie is inspired by the true story about the eventual, respectful relationship these men shared.

GREEN BOOK is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is https://www.universalpictures.com/movies/green-book.

03 January 2019

If Beale Street Could Talk

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK is a breath of fresh air. It is a romantic drama with an African American couple (KiKi Layne and Stephan James) at the story's center. Also, the movie shows how supportive some family members can be during a crisis.

Writer and director Barry Jenkins has done a phenomenal job with IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK. The movie is honest and pragmatic. Furthermore, the story is set in the 1970's, and James Baldwin's novel, which the screenplay is based, accurately illustrates racial discrimination. And sadly at present, not much has changed.

The cast, especially Regina King, and crew are outstanding. The musical score is exquisite. IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://bealestreet.movie/.


My new novel, THE TWO SISTERS, is available for purchase:  The Two Sisters by Terri Dawn Arnold . The story has crime, drama, and mystery. L...