Way back in 1986, my mother and I had to travel to the city from my small town every month to get my braces adjusted. At the time, there was a new song by Anne Murray that was played all the time on the radio. I can’t recall exactly but I think I shushed my mother to be quiet one time when it was playing. As you can imagine, she wasn’t impressed. Among the comments that came out of her mouth was “I want to meet her…” and thus is the origin of the title of my screenplay My Mother Wants to Meet Anne Murray.
I kept that title stored in my memory bank for many years. At first, it developed into a short story about the trips to the orthodontist my mother and I took every month. Then, many years later, once I discovered screenwriting, the title appeared again. This time however, instead of a story inspiring a title, the title inspired a story of a dysfunctional family from Ohio who embark on a road trip to Canada after the mother wins a contest to meet Anne Murray.
The screenplay has gone through many drafts until now, that I’m satisfied that what I have written I can be proud to show to anyone. It would mean a lot to me to not only have this script optioned, but to have it made into a film. I think it would be especially well received in Canada considering the subject matter. The only problem (well, besides me getting this script optioned in Canada) is that I need the consent of Anne Murray – and she’s retired.
Getting her to pop her head out of retirement is not the only hurdle – my script also includes several of her songs (which need to be licensed); her name is a registered trademark; and she makes a cameo appearance at the end of the film. These were all major roadblocks until she DID pop her head out of retirement with her appearance on Family Guy last night.
It was a major coup for the show to get her. Even though Seth McFarlane explained his history between him and her music, you don’t get a major music act to make a cameo appearance as a voiced character with several of her songs featured on the show unless Seth is truly an admirer of Anne Murray. He may even (like so many others) be a closet Anne Murray fan.
Regardless, it was nicely done and surprisingly respectful considering Family Guy has had many other guest stars and has dragged them through both the mud and a meat grinder. I think it was a nice touch that she was able to mention the song’s writer – Gene MacLellan. It was a neat little feather in Anne Murray’s cap – a pop culture moment on her resume and probably generated more interest in Canada than south of the border – the U.S., not Mexico – because Anne Murray is one of the symbols of Canada, much like maple syrup, hockey and Canadian bacon.
Now that I know that Anne Murray has not totally gone into permanent retirement hibernation, the chances for my screenplay to see the light of day – or even having her make a cameo in the film have just increased tenfold! It’s still a longshot, but at least it makes me happy that the chance is there and the door is not shut tight. At least Snowbird will get a lot more airplay out of this.
You have to be from a northern country to truly appreciate the game of curling. Those in warmer climes knock the game by calling it shuffleboard on ice. On the surface, they have a point, but the game is much more than knocking granite around on a sheet of ice. Curling is popular where it is because of the personalities that rule the game and because of the strategy involved. I can’t think of one world-renowned shuffleboard player.
I have never thrown a curling rock. I have always wanted to – it looks like a lot of fun. What I know about the game is what I’ve seen on TV. My father liked to watch curling, so I guess that is where I got it from. For me, the connection to the game is more memory-related and it brings me back to the days when I was young and we used to watch curling on Saturday afternoons on CBC.
When I first started to get interested in the game back then, there was a young hot shot curler by the name of Colleen Jones who represented Nova Scotia. Back then, Nova Scotia was the furthest thing from a hotbed of curling as you could get. So when Colleen got to the final of the national championship, then won it a couple years later, it really cemented my interest in the game – mostly because no one from Nova Scotia had ever done what she had done. When she won it again 17 years later, it was her never-give-up, keep-working, never-say-die attitude that endeared me to her. It’s that kind of ethic that drives me.
Now, 31 years removed from her first national title, she’s back again at the national championship. It’s an incredible achievement – competing against curlers who weren’t even born when she won that title. During her dominance in the sport ten years ago, the advent of online forums and the ability for people to leave comments created a nasty underbelly to the fan aspect of the sport that continues to thrive today – no matter who is at the top of the game. Large personalities like Jones are always targets for so-called fans to level insults at them. I’ve never understood the psychology of that and why people do it. I’m sure someone has written about that. I’d sure like to read their report.
Other than that other winter sport that Canadians do fairly well at, curling is one of those unique sports that people usually don’t pay any attention to until this time of the year – a condensed, high stakes affair of national and world titles on the line within a couple months (and an Olympic title every 4 years). I don’t follow the game like I used to, but I’m sure I’ll peek at the finals when they’re on – especially if a team from Nova Scotia is in the mix.
When Milos Raonic burst onto the pro tennis tour in 2011, reaching the 4th round of the Australian Open, it was his booming serve that drew oohs and ahhs. Commentators and fans alike saw great things in the 20 year old. Few people remember that he had to win 3 rounds of qualifying just to get into the main draw – where he won 3 more rounds to make it to the final 16.
That tournament really was a stepping stone because a few weeks later, he was given a wild card entry into the SAP Open in San Jose – and we all know what happened after that – he won it. And again in 2012. And now in 2013, in the tournament’s final year, he has won it again. In fact, Raonic has never dropped a set in 3 years at the SAP Open and this year faced only 1 break point through the entire tournament. Amazing.
What is even more impressive is how he won it – aggressive, solid, composed, firing on all cylinders. Over the past 2 years, weaknesses in Raonic’s game beyond his world-class serve have been exposed and commented on by tennis commentators – his return game, net play and movement. His improvement on these important links to his game were emphasized as critical to his advancement into the top echelon of the game.
Raonic is no dummy. He knows what he has to do to improve his game. The problem with many armchair tennis commentators and so-called fans of today’s game is that they expect instant gratification and results – something that is inherently wrong with society on a general level. Applying this attitude to tennis (or any other sport) shows a lack of knowledge of the game.
So, over the past 2 years, Raonic has worked hard – very hard – to close loopholes in his game and become stronger on the shots that need improvement. I’m not privy to his training, but it’s quite obvious that he is a different player than he was a year ago – and an almost completely different player than he was 2 years ago. The serve is still booming – but it’s his solid approach shots to the net, net play, return game and movement that have just started to show signs of a player headed to the next level.
He showed off all of these hard-worked-for attributes at the SAP Open where he was completely dominant. Keeping this in perspective – the arena where the SAP Open is held is a fast hard court held indoors away from the elements. This is Raonic’s best environment. Moving this newfound improvement outdoors, to clay and to grass will be the real test.
The next few hard court tournaments leading into the European clay and grass season will be the stepping stone for Raonic. I really believe that this latest win is the first step that will propel him forward into the Top 10 where his game belongs. It’s going to be an exciting spring and summer for him and his fans.
This will come to many people as no incredible revelation, as drivers in Calgary have gotten used to their fellow motorists not signaling before they make a right or left turn or changing lanes – especially on Leadfoot Trail… I mean Deerfoot Trail. (Whoops! My bad!) This has been happening for years, but the province (bending to the whims of the Society of Idiot Drivers) has now made it legal for no one to use their turn indicators – no matter how safe or prudent it is.
All vehicles being sold in Calgary now no longer have turn indicators so that all vehicles are now a menace on the streets. Anyone caught trying to signal using their arms or hands will be put in the stockades for one week and be forced to listen to Rob Anders as he insults veterans, atheists, women, homosexuals and the CBC by quoting from the Reform Party handbook while he randomly fires his shotgun.
Vehicles that currently have turn indicators will be required to go to their nearest overpriced car dealership to have their indicators removed. Low income Calgarians who can’t afford to have these ancient devices removed can call a member of the Society of Idiot Drivers who will come to their house and rip the wretched turn indicator from their steering column in a now-patented fit of road rage. No, these vehicle owners are not allowed to set up lawn chairs and charge admission to their neighbors as the SID’s member’s blood vessels pop on their forehead.
All newcomers to Calgary will be required to undergo extensive re-training to reflect the Calgary way of driving – unsafe, ruthless, reckless and entitled. People that have pacemakers should be aware that this extensive re-training involves substantive use of electric currents.
If any driver sees another driver who attempts to be courteous, safe and law-abiding by signalling where their vehicle is about to turn, they have the right to take both hands off the wheel and call or text the proper authorities while they continue to drive without regard for anyone else around them and force this safe driver off the road where they belong.
This major change to the Highway Safety Act comes about for two reasons: no one uses their turn indicators anyway; and these instruments have become bothersome to those that fix their hair, eat their lunch, text their friends, have their mangy purse dogs in their laps and make goo goo eyes at other drivers. These darned turn indicators have just become a nuisance to the modern driver!
Yes, it is high time we finally got rid of these horrible devices! When driving behind you, I don’t want to know which way you’re going to go until the last possible nanosecond. Don’t show anyone which lane you’re going to move into. I insist you slam your vehicle into the side of another car or clip its front end – you own the road – I forgot. How dare that safe driver get annoyed when you lurch over into another lane while you text your friends on Twitter about the deal you just got on spaghetti sauce at Safeway. The nerve of them!
I hope this announcement doesn’t irk the minority of safe drivers in Calgary too much. You’re going to have to get used to it. It’s Calgary after all – where the vast majority of drivers got their driver’s licences from the bottom of Cracker Jack boxes.
I’ve decided to create this list here on my blog – an extension and an expansion of the list currently on my website www.trevorscott.ca I’ll transfer that list to here – adding content to the original reviews and commentary on each film. I’ll also add new films to the list.
As I state on my website, these are not necessarily the best films of all-time – though they do make up at least 90% of the list. Each of the films in this list is here because they are 1) good 2) classic 3) an example 4) entertaining 5) well-written 6) well-acted 7) personal to me. In this list I’ll explain what each film means to me and why.
Films are favourites to us because they connect with us on a personal level. A film can reach out and grab you because of the writing, the acting or the directing – these are tangible things. But when a film reaches you and causes a visceral reaction, it has touched something deep inside you that goes beyond what you see on the screen. It may remind you of happier times, social issues, current events, your childhood, your parents and other loved ones and times of grief and hope.
Films are the great escape. We all have our favourites. At the top of my list is Citizen Kane. Below that is a race of about ten films for the number two spot. I won’t be listing them in any kind of ‘countdown’ order ie: “…and in at number three with a bullet!…” Alphabetical seems to be a good compromise. However, when this list is complete and I see another film that belongs on it, I’ll have to add it later.
And now, on with the countdown! Oh right…
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