Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Small Town Tax Dollars At Work

Last fall, two minor projects got underway in the town of Milton. One was the installation of gates across at least two footpaths in town. The other was a new electronic sign to replace the old ‘Community Events’ sign at Main & Ontario, across from the Mall.

I can only guess that Parks & Recreation had a budget surplus that they needed to spend before the end of the year, because I can't think of any other reason for such busywork.

The gates struck me as particularly useless. They are of the type designed to prevent automobiles from going down bike paths, or I suppose to discourage bicyclists from speeding through and knocking pedestrians over. They aren’t especially attractive, and since there is open grass on either side they only seem to encourage walkers and bikers to go around and tear up the grass instead of staying on the path. Or people just open the gate.

The worst part of this plan was setting up these gates across the street from a High School. This of course resulted in one of them being torn completely out of the ground within a week of being installed.

The sign looked like it was going to be quite nice, although I wasn’t sure why the old one needed replacing. This was one of those signs that had stuff about local concerts, the Fall Fair, the farmers’ market, etc. You know, useful information. They had just finished some very extensive landscaping on that spot only two or three years ago that was now being torn up again. The price of progress, I suppose.

The new sign is one of those fancy electronic pixel boards that can scroll text, blink on and off, simulate fireworks, and do all kinds of other cool effects. Unfortunately it’s only half the size of the old sign, making the glowing letters difficult to read from across the intersection. And even with the letters that small you still wouldn’t be able to fit in as much text as before.

This doesn’t look like it’s going to be a problem, though, since all the new sign has said since it went online a month ago is… ‘Happy New Year!’ Then the date. And the time. And the temperature. Then ‘Happy New Year!’ again.

I suppose we should just be grateful that it isn't blinking '12:00'.

It’s ok though, ‘cause you can still read the handy local event information on the rental sign that they now have parked right next to the new sign.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Oscar Time!

The Oscar nominations came out yesterday. I must admit that I haven’t actually seen a lot of these, but I’m pretty sure that if you blog on the subject of film you are contractually obligated to say something about the Oscars. So here goes…

Best Picture:
I haven’t seen any of these yet (I know, my bad), but from the looks of things it will be between ‘Babel’ and ‘Letters From Iwo Jima’, with ‘The Queen’ as a potential dark horse. ‘Babel’ actually got some pretty lukewarm reviews, but it’s exactly the kind of star-studded international epic that Hollywood loves these days. ‘Iwo Jima’ has been getting raves all around, but doesn’t Clint already have, like, twenty Oscars already? ‘The Queen’ might come up the middle, but almost all of the talk has been about Helen Mirren’s performance rather than the film itself so I suspect they’ll just give it to her.

As for ‘The Departed’, there seems to be an unspoken and slightly embarrassed agreement that it’s really really good, but not quite as brilliant as some of Scorsese’s earlier films like ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Raging Bull’, ‘Goodfellas’, etc., that unforgivably did NOT win Oscars in the past. Therefore it will not win. This is why so many people have given up on this Oscar nonsense all together.

Best Director:
If they don’t give Best Picture to ‘Iwo Jima’, they’ll probably give Best Director to Clint as a consolation prize. Either that or they’ll use it as an excuse to finally give one to Scorsese for ‘The Departed’.

Best Actor:
Anybody but Leo DiCaprio. We’ve all had quite enough of him, I think. I was so pleased to see Ryan Gosling in there for ‘Half Nelson’. I was starting to wonder if I was the only one waiting anxiously for this little film to come out on DVD. If you haven't seen him in 'The Believer', go rent it immediately.

Really, I’d be happy to see any of the four non-Leo nominees win, especially my long time love Peter O’Toole. At the very least he wins the award for ‘The Oldest Guy I Wouldn’t Kick Out of My Bed’.

Best Actress:
Helen Mirren. No question. I’m surprised they even bothered looking for four other nominees.

Best Supporting Actor & Actress:
Don’t know. Don’t especially care. Alan Arkin is probably the sentimental favourite, which is good because I have a physiological aversion to Eddie Murphy. The little girl from ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ is cute and may win their only award. Otherwise… neh.

Best Original Screenplay:
To my father, who dismissed ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ as ‘one of those awful horror movies you like’ and refused to believe me when I informed him that it was a real movie with serious award potential, I say…


There. I feel better now.

Best Adapted Screenplay:
It should go to ‘Children of Men’. It probably will go to ‘Borat’ because everyone liked it and there aren’t many other awards you can give it without looking stupid. Still, how does a largely improvised, unscripted riff on a TV show character qualify as having an ‘adapted screenplay’?

Other random nominations:

Best Editing:
I’ve only seen two of these and I usually don’t pay attention to editing. But having witnessed the jaw-dropping battle sequence near the end of ‘Children of Men’ that looks like an impossibly long single shot but was actually stitched together in post… yeah, that should win.

Best Original Song:
I’m glad that three out of the five are for ‘Dreamgirls’ - maybe they’ll just hand them one of these and leave it at that. Seriously, if I hear the words ‘Oscar winner Eddie Murphy’ I may become physically ill.

Best Foreign Language Film:
I would love, love, LOVE to see this one go to Deepa Mehta’s ‘Water’, but it ain’t gonna happen. It will be ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ all the way. By the way, I was unexpectedly pleased to see Mel Gibson’s ‘Apocalypto’ get passed over here. Sorry, but I haven’t had any desire to see one of his movies since he went completely barking mad.

Best Documentary Feature:
Isn’t it nice that this is a category people actually pay attention to now and that they can even go and see most of the entries at the video store? Thank you Mr. Moore, wherever you are.

Oh. ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. No question.

And On a Happier Note...

Last night marked the return of 'Studio 60'. Whoo hoo!! My life is once again complete.

I loved this line so much I actually wrote it down:

"With Harriet gone it's like someone moved his food dish"

Dialogue like that makes me unreasonably happy.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Doom doom, doombdy doom doom doom

< rant >

My husband does leather props and costume accessories. He's got several movies that feature his work prominently coming out within the next year (notably Skinwalkers, The Chair and Outlander), and it was looking like his courageous decision to leave the IT world and do this work full time was finally paying off.

Things aren't looking so rosy right now.

First there was the eviction of Cinespace, one of the largest studio complexes in Toronto. Then ACTRA went on strike. Now the producers are preparing to go to court to prove that ACTRA doesn't even have the right to go on strike since it's not an actual trade union. Meaning this could be tied up in court for months and months.

Just to make sure we all understand that this is truly the end, there is this in the Star. The article raises the seemingly obvious point that ACTRA going out on strike is destroying the careers of everyone involved in the film industry in Ontario, including the actors, and is harming the producers not in the slightest. Not exactly the desired result of a strike. I guess someone forgot to tell them that a production is just a script and a bag of money, and if it's even slightly difficult to shoot here they will just move it to B.C. Or Chicago. Or Prague.

Meanwhile, the governments of Toronto and Ontario are doing exactly... nothing.

I'm sorry, that's overly generous because what it really looks like is that they are deliberately sabotaging the industry on all fronts. But that couldn't possibly be true, could it?

My sister is also involved in the film and television biz, but happily she's out in B.C. where the worst trouble they've had recently is shooting around the snow. Unfortunately she's does post (compositing) instead of pre-production, so her contacts aren't going to help my dear struggling husband. Our only hope at this point will be if all of his Ontario contacts move out west and get him to ship his work to B.C.

It's either that or put our monumental amount of crap in storage, rent out the house and go camp out on my sister's couch.

< /rant >

Friday, January 19, 2007

Little Mosque Redux?

And here I thought I had lost my mind!

I dutifully taped 'Little Mosque on the Prairie' on Monday assuming it was going to be Episode #2. I based this assumption on a) the TV listings in StarWeek, and b) the CBC's endless on-air promotions.

Imagine my surprise when I went to watch the tape only to discover that it was Episode #1 - again!

Did my cable company screw up? Did the TV listings get it wrong? WTF?!?

As it turns out, it was all part of the master plan (ok, the revised master plan) at the CBC, as revealed in the Toronto Sun. Seems they had a bit of a panic attack when they realized they had an actual HIT on their hands and they had foolishly scheduled it against the Golden Globes and the '24' season premiere. Instead they decided to throw it against 'American Idol', which is somehow considered to be less of a threat.

See? What did I just say - PVR is gonna save television.

As for what I thought of Episode #2... it was good. Funny. I laughed.

If I seem a little underwhelmed, it's not through any fault of the show. I'm just not that into sitcoms. I'm more of a Studio 60 / ReGenesis / Slings & Arrows kinda gal. I suspect it might also have something to do with the half hour format. I hardly ever watch half hour shows, possibly for the same reason that alcoholics rarely buy mickeys: what the hell are they going to do for the rest of the evening?

I'll keep watching, though. I love Carlo Rota, and the fact that they had him running against himself on '24' on Monday, even briefly, amuses me. Sadly, it looks like we're going to have to wait a while for Episode #3. It seems CBC has defaulted back to their old standby - hockey, hockey, hockey! - for at least the next two weeks.

Definitely NOT the way to maintain an audience.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Not Another NATPE Post

Since my arrival in blogdom I’ve been reading several blogs that deal with television, particularly Canadian television. My absolute favorite is Denis McGrath’s Dead Things On Sticks, which in turn put me on to The Legion of Decency and Uninflected Images Juxtaposed. All three are written by very smart writer people who know a hell of a lot more about television than I do.

This week they’re all talking about the big NATPE convention in Vegas. NATPE (National Association of Television Program Executives) is apparently the Detroit Auto Show of the television world, where deals are made, shows are bought and sold, and the powers-that-be discuss the future of their industry.

Right now they are all very, very afraid.

I could try to summarize what the issues are and what it all might mean for Canadian television, but I’d just be talking out of my ass. Go read McGrath and Dixon and Henshaw - they know whereof they speak.

I will simply offer this, as a lowly but frequent viewer: that the widespread use of technologies like TIVO, PPV and broadband delivery that have the network execs pissing their pants right now will ultimately be good for television as an art form, if not as a business. Why? Because viewers will no longer have to decide between watching this show OR that show. They won’t lose interest in a good show because it was pre-empted one week by some football game. They won’t avoid watching something they might like just because it’s on at the same time as ‘Desperate Housewives’.

They won’t have to miss Vince D'Onofrio on ‘Law & Order: CI’ every Tuesday because they have choir practise that night and there’s too much else on and they only have two VCRs!!

(ok, sorry, that’s just me)

The point is, all the scheduling issues that frequently kill quality shows in the cradle will become moot and it will just be about the show. Not when it’s on. Not what it’s up against. Just the show and how good it is.

Imagine that.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Children of Men

The best science fiction functions as allegory, forcing us to look at contemporary issues from a different perspective. ‘Children of Men’ ranks among the best.

The film explores a wide range of issues: the environment, racism, xenophobia, and what it takes to tip a free society over into a fascist state. While most of the world has descended into violence and chaos, Britain maintains order by focusing the people’s anger on an arbitrary target: immigrants. Recent refugees and longtime citizens alike are rounded up and herded into ghettos and internment camps while they await deportation. The parallels to both Warsaw and Guantanamo Bay are disturbing.

In the midst of this despair, the baby serves as a small reminder of our common humanity. At one point a terrorist radical stops shooting, looks at the baby and says, "I’d forgotten how beautiful they are". The sight of it knocks the wind out of him.

‘Children of Men’ is so astonishingly detailed that it warrants multiple viewings. I look forward to buying the DVD.

(for a differing opinion, check what Murray Townsend said in the Champion)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The hits just keep coming

This is apparently "Beat the Crap Out of Canadian Film and Television Week". And I didn’t even get you a card.

First there was the news that Cinespace, one of Toronto’s largest movie studio complexes, is being evicted by the City of Toronto because they want to start on their long-awaited waterfront development scheme - tomorrow, apparently. Cinespace is begging them to hold off another 18 months until the big new Port Lands studio complex is finished. The City claims that Cinespace has known about this for well over a year and had plenty of time to make other arrangements. I don’t know who to believe any more, but regardless of who’s being the biggest moron here the fact remains that the already desperate shortage of studio space in Toronto is about to get positively dire.

Then ACTRA went on strike, with what are really some perfectly reasonable demands. Unfortunately, this may serve as the final nail in the coffin of the already struggling film and television production business in this town. Regardless of their good intentions, they may just end up putting themselves and all the other poor schlubs who work in and depend on the industry (like my husband) out of work for good. Current productions may be continuing, but upcoming ones like ‘National Treasure 2’ have already canceled and come the summer they’ll be staying away in droves unless this is resolved very soon.

(anyone got a couch we can sleep on in Vancouver?)

Then there’s this yutz:

Cable mogul threatens to withhold millions used to support Canadian shows

Great. That’s so helpful. Makes you wonder why he got into the Canadian cable TV business in the first place when he obviously doesn’t like Canadian TV… oh, I’m sorry, he’s a BEAN COUNTER!

I cannot begin to tell you how sick I am of hearing people like this bitch and moan about how if these shows or movies were any damned good then everybody would want to watch them and we wouldn’t have to subsidize them with our tax dollars.

Read my lips: GOOD does not equal POPULAR. If it did, most of the top grossing movies (‘Big Momma’s House’?) and top rated TV shows (‘Dancing With the Stars’?) would actually be at the bottom of the list, and HBO would regularly beat the tar out of the U.S. networks for ratings.

I find I have a lot to say about why the arts cannot and should not been subjected to the market economy, but I shall leave that for another day. I’ve been making a lot of very long posts already, and besides…


The Good, The Bad, and The Ceeb

Tuesday was the big debut for the much-touted ‘Little Mosque on the Prairie’ on CBC, and I’m happy to say that it didn’t disappoint. Thank the Gods, because if had been a clunker it would have just added ammo to the anti-CanCon camp.

Admittedly, not every joke was a direct hit and the comic timing sometimes seemed a little off (I think in some places it may have been bad editing). Still, the writing is smart, the characters are interesting, and the show is obviously not afraid to go places like having one character interrogated at the airport for ‘Flying While Muslim’. And I laughed out loud.

Following ‘Little Mosque’ is ‘Intelligence’. Now, I was a huge ‘Da Vinci’s Inquest’ fan, so when I heard that Chris Haddock was doing a new Vancouver-based show with Ian Tracey I was all over it. I’ve been watching it religiously since it debuted in the fall, and I think I can now safely say…

I don’t like it.

I know, I KNOW! I’m SORRY!!

I tried to like it. I wanted to like it. This is pretty much the last domestically produced Canadian network hour long drama left on TV (except for ReGenesis but that’s not really network produced), and given that the nearest alternative is CTV’s ‘Whistler’, I really NEEDED to like it.

Maybe it’s just me, but watching ‘Intelligence’ every Tuesday has become like eating my vegetables.

I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out exactly what I don’t like about this show that has the same creator, same writers, and some of the same cast as my beloved ‘Da Vinci’, and managed to come up with a few specifics:

1) I’m just not as interested in the subject matter. The organized crime side of it is vaguely interesting, but there’s not much new there except maybe that they’re Canadian, they deal in weed, and they aren’t Italian. And does anyone really believe that CSIS is such a fascinating hotbed of intrigue? I was far more interested in missing prostitutes, safe injection sites, and what the hell ever happened to Emily Perkins’ character anyway?!

2) Nothing happens. All right, stuff happens in the sense that stuff happens in soap operas. But in amongst the ‘continuing story lines’ that are so popular these days, it’d be nice to have the occasional single episode story arc. Like, someone gets killed and they figure out who by the end of the episode. Otherwise, anyone who hasn’t followed every single episode from day one isn’t going to have a clue what’s going on. Hell, I’ve been following it from day one and I get confused sometimes.

3) Too much say, not enough do. Normally I dismiss this particular writing criticism because it tends to be applied to people like Aaron Sorkin and David Milch who could write a grocery list and make it sound like Shakespeare. Sadly, neither of them write for ‘Intelligence’. As it stands, aside from the occasional drawing of blood the only action we see is people driving, walking along hallways, or sitting in offices while they discuss what just happened, what is happening, and what’s going to happen next. And yet, nothing seems to actually happen.

4) No Nicholas Campbell. This show really needs a Nicholas Campbell. Or a Donnelly Rhodes. Matt Frewer’s in it but he isn’t being very Matt Frewerish at all so that’s not much help.

Having said all that, I still don’t think ‘Intelligence’ is a bad show, and I suppose I will continue to watch it every Tuesday just because I subscribe to the kind of magical thinking that makes me believe that my watching a show will somehow help to keep it on the air. But please, let’s have a little meat with the vegetables once in a while!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

2006 Movie Wrap-Up

It’s not a Top 10 List or a Top 5 List. These aren’t necessarily the best movies I saw in 2006. It’s not even a list of movies that were released in 2006, except maybe on DVD.

No, this would be my...


Hard Candy

If you have a teenage girl, or are a teenage girl, or ever were a teenage girl, you absolutely must see this movie. If you are none of the above, viewing is optional but highly recommended.

Canada’s own Ellen Page (‘ReGenesis’) plays a 14 year old girl engaged in a flirtatious online relationship with a 30-something year old man. One day he convinces her to meet with him IRL, and they end up back at his apartment. And as you curl up in your seat dreading the inevitable… everything gets turned completely around. I won’t say much more, but it’s a profoundly disturbing movie that will keep you thinking for days afterwards.

And don’t blink or you’ll miss Sandra Oh.


Noir seems to be experiencing a weird renaissance lately. "The Black Dahlia" and "Hollywoodland" are two recent big budget examples, but "Brick" is kind of a low budget, Gen Y addition to the genre (and don’t you be arguing with me about how none of these fit the classic definition of ‘Film Noir’ - you know what I mean).

Imagine, if you will, a movie like ‘Chinatown’ or ‘The Blue Dahlia’ set in a modern high school. Same dogged gumshoe, same criminal kingpins, same dame-in-distress. They even talk like they just walked out of a Sam Spade movie, which makes the fact that they’re all fifteen or sixteen years old that much more interesting. And a bit eerie.

Several of the young stars in this are names and faces you might recognize from their even younger days (notably Joseph Gordon-Levitt from ‘3rd Rock’ and former child star Lukas Haas), but they have all grown up and matured into a really interesting group of actors. Some more promising young actors of this ilk appear in…

Dear Wendy

Another movie about teenagers (can you tell I have a teenage son?), this one takes place in a strange little company town where the parents are largely absent for one reason or another. All the angst-ridden, misfit teenagers in town are drawn together and form their own society centred around guns, honour, and a really interesting fashion sense.

‘Dear Wendy’ was written by Lars von Trier, and it definitely has the surrealist edge you would expect from one of his films. But before you start gouging your eyes out or fleeing in the opposite direction, this is no ‘Dogville’. It’s still rooted in some version of the real world, even though it’s a version created by people who dress like Lord Byron goes to Deadwood and believe that guns and pacifism are not mutually exclusive.

The movie stars Jamie Bell, who you might have seen as ‘Billy Elliot’ or, more recently, as young Jimmy in ‘King Kong’. I find him fascinating to watch and I’m glad that he’s making such interesting choices with the movies he’s making. He also starred in ‘Chumscrubber’, which is another great movie I would add to this list if it weren’t so full of teenagers already.


This is a very, very, very low budget Canadian movie that has been shown almost exclusively at places like the Idaho International Film Festival, Cinefest Sudbury, and the 2006 Comic Book Expo. Word of mouth has been spreading like wildfire, and now that it’s out on DVD it may end up becoming the most successful Canadian movie never released in the theatres.

It’s an odd, funny, charming little tale of a mild mannered office drone who discovers that his better looking and more popular co-worker has bone fide superpowers. Being a comic book aficionado, he decides to help him develop his powers so he can use them for good. Sadly, the guy’s character isn’t quite as sterling as, say, Superman’s, and things start getting a lot darker.

Like ‘Clerks’, this movie was bought and paid for entirely with credit cards. I think a large chunk of the budget was spent on the only name actor in the cast, Daniel Baldwin (the sweaty Baldwin brother), who is oddly miscast as a local comic book store owner. My husband pointed out that they could have saved a lot of money by hiring some guy off the street and getting him to change his last name to Baldwin. It would have had the same draw and they might have gotten a better performance. Other than that, it’s a wonderful movie.

Bon Cop, Bad Cop

This one you might have actually heard of from the brief but intense TV ad campaign on CBC. Unfortunately, the ads gave the impression that this was just another odd couple-buddy-cop movie with a French-Canadian twist. And yeah, ok, it kinda is. So why did I want to see it?

For one, it stars Colm Feore who I utterly adore. Second, it’s a Canadian film that looked like it might actually make some money. And in fact it went on to become the highest domestic grossing Canadian film in history, largely because it is in both English and French and thus takes advantage of the huge Quebec market.

But the main reason I wanted to see this movie was something they never showed in the ads. They did a piece on it for MovieTelevision that shows the incident that brings these two cops together in the first place - a dead body draped over a highway sign that says "Welcome To Ontario" on one side and "Bienvenue à Québec" on the other. I thought that was hilarious.

This isn’t the best movie I saw all year. The plot’s a little thin, and I’m pretty sure the whole hockey obsessed serial killer thing was meant to be a joke. But both Feore and Patrick Huard are absolutely wonderful, there’s plenty of action and humour to keep things interesting, and if you’re lucky enough to speak French you can enjoy all the jokes that apparently don’t get translated in the subtitles.

So, how do I hear about these movies? Sometimes through ‘MovieTelevision’, sometimes through trailers on other similarly obscure DVDs, sometimes just through stream of consciousness surfing on IMDB. I’m not even sure if some of these were ever released in theatres up here except maybe at the Carleton or the Varsity in Toronto. Thankfully, it seems like someone at my local Roger’s Video (and I think I know who) has a taste for off-the-radar movies like this and makes a point of ordering them. Whoever you are, thank you.

Friday, January 5, 2007

This is Milton, not Mayberry

The Champion hasn't printed my latest letter yet, but they did publish this sad little tale in the 'Letters to the Editor' section today.

Call me uncharitable, but reading this person's account of his wife having two weeks pay stolen out of her purse after leaving it in a public washroom brings two questions immediately to mind:

1) How can anyone possibly be surprised at this? Seems to me the same thing happened in "It's a Wonderful Life", and while everyone was upset, no one was really shocked. I'm guessing these people would also be shocked if they accidentally left their front door unlocked, went away for a weekend and returned to find their plasma TV stolen by wicked, heartless thieves.

You know, if her purse had been returned with the cash I'm sure there would have been a heartwarming letter about the honesty and integrity of the good people of small town Milton.

And 2), what the hell was she doing with two weeks pay IN CASH in her purse?! You know, we have these things called banks now that will give you debit cards and such so you don't have to walk around with hundreds of dollars in your purse. There was a reference in the letter to a mortgage payment, so presumably they at least have a mortgage account in a bank somewhere and aren't depending solely on Money Mart to manage their finances.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there is some valid reason why she had to cash her pay cheque instead of depositing it. Maybe she pays her mortgage in cash. Maybe she was going to buy a really, really expensive winter coat somewhere where they don't take debit.

Maybe I'm just a cynical bitch, but I really don't think anyone should be shocked to discover that people in a small town are just as susceptible to temptation, or carelessness, as anyone else.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

They Paved Paradise...

Here's my latest letter to the editor of the Milton Champion:

Dear Editor,

It pains me to say it, but Murray Townsend’s recent comments about the grocery store situation in Milton may have inadvertently hit the nail on the head.

When I first moved here 13 years ago, I was a new mother with a husband who commuted to Toronto. Because we only had one car and I rarely felt like getting up early enough to drop him off at the GO station, I spent most of my weekdays without a vehicle. Happily, our house on Commercial Street was within easy walking distance of everything I needed - the post office, the bank, the drugstore, Harris Stationary, several parks, and most importantly, a fully stocked grocery store.

Today Quality Greens is gone, the A&P has moved out to the far edge of town, and Loblaw’s will soon be moving as well. The south end of town still has the Food Port and the very excellent La Rose, but both are considerably farther than I care to walk with armloads of groceries.

If this trend continues, the time will come when no one will be able to live in Milton without driving. The Milton Transit system is improving but is still focused mainly on getting people to and from the GO station, not the grocery store. And when people have to drive to get food they tend to drive to get everything, especially when all the other stores form a ring around town rather than a central core.

This is the kind of town planning that is killing the planet and making us all fat. It’s not just the housing developments or the Wal-Mart, although both contribute to the problem. No, it’s the exodus of grocery stores to the outskirts of town that will ultimately turn Milton into yet another suburban wasteland.

I can’t tell you what the solution is, or even if one is possible at this late date. I do know that Town Council should have moved heaven and earth to either help Quality Greens stay in business or ensure that it was replaced with another grocery store. As it stands, there are some beautiful boutique stores and many wonderful restaurants in downtown Milton, but without a grocery store to draw local people there on a daily basis I fear that it will become, at best, a quaint and lovely place to bring the relatives when they visit.

At worst it will become a ghost town.

Your truly,
Jennifer Smith

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Just Call Me Roger

I recently teamed up with columnist Murray Townsend to write movie reviews for our local paper. Murray (in case you don't know) is primarily a sports writer who also does a regular 'slice-o-life' column for the Milton Champion. Kinda like Andy Rooney with a hockey stick.

For years now, Murray and I have had an ongoing dispute over his terrible taste in movies. He would write about how much he hates all Canadian movies and anything by Spike Lee, and I would submit a rather eloquent letter defending both. Then he would spend the next few months mentioning my name in his column, usually along the lines of "This is really boring and highbrow - I bet Jennifer Smith would love it".

Up until recently, this war of words had been confined to the 'Letters to the Editor' section of the paper. Then one day I suggested that we do an 'Ebert & Roeper'-style column, and the next thing I knew I had become...

A Professional Journalist!

Ok, so it's only 150-200 words once a month, and a significant percentage of what I get paid for it is reimbursement for the movie ticket. But it's a start.

You can read our most recent review column at The Milton Champion by searching on 'Jennifer Smith'. I've added links to older reviews, published and unpublished, on the sidebar and I will be posting future reviews here. Our next review is due out January 12th.

It's NOT a New Year's Resolution

It's more of a theme for the year, really:


As in get off your ass, stop thinking about promoting your writing through a blog and actually set the bloody thing up.

So here it is. More to come.