Book Review: JOHN WAYNE: THE LIFE AND LEGEND by Scott Eyman (Simon & Schuster)


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He’s a walking contradiction, partly truth, partly fiction” –

Kris Kristofferson, The Pilgrim

He was a football star at USC who also starred on the debate team. A primitive that could quote Shakespeare, Keats, and Churchill with ease. A two-fisted, hard drinker who was adept at chess and bridge. A man some called racist whose three wives were all Hispanic. To his friends, he was Duke Morrison, but to the world he was known as John Wayne. This definitive, well researched biography by Scott Eyman was released in hardcover in 2014, and is now available in trade paperback form. Eyman, who also wrote the definitive book on John Ford (1999’s PRINT THE LEGEND: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN FORD), spent years to make this the last word on John Wayne, separating the man from the myth, in this in-depth study of how the boy from Winterset, Iowa became…

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A Most Violent Year Is A Most Unexpected National Board Of Review Winner!


A Most Violent Year

The National Board of Review has spoken!  They named their picks for the best of 2014 earlier today and — to the shock of many (especially me) — they picked JC Chandor’s crime drama A Most Violent Year as the best film of the year!

I love surprises!

Now, a lot of us were expecting A Most Violent Year to be an Oscar contender, with practically everyone expecting Jessica Chastain to either be nominated for best actress or supporting actress.  (The NBR named her best supporting actress.)  But I think a lot of us were expecting to see the NBR select Boyhood, Birdman, or maybe Selma.

Also of note is that Clint Eastwood won best director for American Sniper, which appears to be coming on strong as a potential Oscar nominee as well.

(Also of note: Foxcatcher was totally ignored by the NBR.)

Here are the NBR winners!

BEST PICTURE
“A Most Violent Year”

BEST DIRECTOR
Clint Eastwood, “American Sniper”

BEST ACTOR (TIE)
Oscar Isaac, “A Most Violent Year”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”

BEST ACTRESS
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Edward Norton, “Birdman”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, “The Lego Movie”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Inherent Vice”

BEST ENSEMBLE
“Fury”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM 
“Wild Tales”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“Life Itself”

SPOTLIGHT AWARD
Chris Rock for writing, directing, and starring in “Top Five”

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCES
Jack O’Connell, “Starred Up” and “Unbroken”

DEBUT DIRECTOR
Gillian Robespierre, “Obvious Child”

WILLIAM K. EVERSON FILM HISTORY AWARD
Scott Eyman

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
“Rosewater”
“Selma”

BEST PICTURE NOMINEES (alphabetical)
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“Fury”
“Gone Girl”
“The Imitation Game”
“Inherent Vice”
“The Lego Movie”
“Nightcrawler”
“Unbroken”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE NOMINEES (alphabetical)
“Force Majeure”
“Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem”
“Leviathan”
“Two Days One Night”
“We Are the Best!”

BEST DOCUMENTARY NOMINEES (alphabetical)
“Art and Craft”
“Jodorowsky’s Dune”
“Keep On Keepin’ On”
“The Kill Team”
“Last Days in Vietnam”

BEST INDEPENDENT FILMS (alphabetical)
“Blue Ruin”
“Locke”
“A Most Wanted Man”
“Mr. Turner”
“Obvious Child”
“The Skeleton Twins”,
“Snowpiercer”,
“Stand Clear of the Closing Doors”
“Starred Up”
“Still Alice”