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2FL Short & Video: Dave Gourdoux

Below is a collection of 2FL Short and Video reviews originally posted on 2FL's Facebook page.

February 5, 2013
2FL SHORT: TCM 31 Days of Oscar
by Dave Gourdoux

For movie history geeks like me, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a year round treasure. They not only show movies you can’t find anywhere else, they also treat every film they show, from the lousiest b-movie western to classic Bergman and Fellini, with the same respect. All movies are aired without commercial interruption, they run the credits at normal size and speed, and there are no annoying voice-overs or distracting animation or logos on the bottom of the screen. You get to see the movies how they were meant to be seen, and they’re never edited for content or running length.

February represents the best of TCM, as it runs its annual “31 Days of Oscar.” For 31 straight days, 
TCM shows only movies that received at least one Oscar nomination, from famous best picture classics to little seen and long forgotten gems that maybe only received an art direction or sound nomination. This year they are featuring films from a different studio each day, from Hollywood giants like Warner Brothers and MGM to lesser known studios like Walter Wanger Productions to Sweden’s Svensk Filmindustri.

TCM has created a web site with the complete schedule for the 31 days that includes, for each film, an article, a video clip, archived images, and a list of Oscar nominations. For us movie history geeks it’s an all you can eat buffet, for everyone else, it’s an opportunity to see some great films


November 13, 2012
2FL SHORT: The Temple of Air, by Patricia Ann McNair
by Dave Gourdoux

The Temple of Air, by Patricia Ann McNair, is a collection of short stories, loosely connected to each other by setting, a fictional Midwestern small town, and by characters who’s paths collide and intersect with each other over a roughly 40 year span. But the real thread connecting the stories is the distinctive voice of the author. McNair has a knack for bringing to life details that are achingly familiar - the slamming screen doors, the headlights illuminating the dotted line asphalt of the highways on the outskirts, the high school gymnasiums, the murmur and glow of distant televisions, the late afternoon shadows of an empty house – but her real gift is the creation of the deceptively familiar and complex characters who inhabit this fever dream of a landscape. It’s one thing to create characters we recognize, it’s remarkable when these characters consistently surprise us, when they make choices that are at first shocking but then, after we absorb it, we recognize as the only possible choice they could have made. McNair’s characters, like real people we know, are flawed and inconsistent, but she gives us enough information to understand the sources of the flaws and inconsistencies. From teenage kids at the carnival and the high school prom and on weekend visitations with divorced parents, to young married couples and middle aged cancer victims and survivors, they all are given psychological and emotional depth that makes the unexpected twists and turns her stories often take believable and credible. The stories are horrific and absurd and tragic. In the end, it’s the respect McNair has for these characters and their attempt to hang on to some shreds of faith against overwhelming odds and their ability to literally float above their circumstance that stays with you, that resonates and inspires.