Monday, January 04, 2010

How far would you go?

Well, I've officially started off my new year with a dud. I forgot I was supposed to blog today - so apologies for being late with this post. So much for my New Year's resolution to stay on top of things right out of the gate this year.

One of the things I did over the holidays (besides eat and laugh and hug the grand kids a LOT) was watch a lot of movies. I'd DVR'd several to have on hand for a lazy day which I like to think of as a mental health day (some might call it a sofa slug day) and committed myself to nothing but my blankie and my sofa and my remote control. I made certain to fit one of those in yesterday, actually, before I started back in on my current WIP today.

So here's a morality question, cloaked in a movie review. Of all the movies I watched, an obscure little film entitled: Saving Grace was my favorite. The film was set in Scotland and was written and produced by Craig Fergesun (CBS late night Fergesun) and was about a middle aged woman - Grace - who had just become a widow. It's soon discovered that not only was her dearly departed a philanderer but he also left her deeply in debt due to some bad business decisions. She'd been a housewife for her entire life whose only skill is growing orchids in her little greenhouse outback of her house - a house she's about to lose along with everything else she owns because the bill collectors are pounding at her door.

Enter Fergeson, her likable, Peterpan man of a grounds keeper, who loves to grow himself a little recreational pot behind the Vicar's quarters. Hoping to cheer up Grace and give her something to think about other than her financial difficulties, he asks her about his ailing hemp plants, hoping she can tell him how to bring them back to life. Being a master gardener and unable to ignore a sick plant - no matter what it is - Grace helps him not only save the plants but make them thrive. Of course one thing leads to another and before you know it, her orchid house turns into a marijuana hot house with the plan to grow it in bulk, sell it in London for oodles of pounds, get her out of debt then close down the operation.

I've got to tell you, the movie was charming, with a wonderful supporting cast of colorful characters who all pitched in to save Grace by either acting as look outs to keep the law away (or the cops themselves, turning a blind eye to the light display at night when Grace would lite up the hothouse to speed up the growing process).

I found myself cheering for Grace as she traveled to London to find a dealer to sell her pot. The scenes of her on the streets in her white 'pimp' suit, trying to entice buyers were priceless.

In any event, the character of Grace growing pot was so far fetched but Ferguson and cast managed to sell it brilliantly. If you get the chance, find this movie and watch it. You'll love it.

Here was a woman in desperate financial straights who reached far outside her own moral code and comfort zone to find a way (albeit an illegal way) to save herself and because she was such a stalwart, stand-up soul, unwittingly engaged the assistance of an entire village to help her obtain her 'ill-gotten' gains. It got me thinking. What would I do when faced with an impossible situation? How far would I go to save myself? And how would I feel about someone who had to 'stretch' the moral boundaries a bit to manage this thing called 'survival'?
Anyone have any thoughts on this interesting moral dilemma?
Or, has anyone seen any 'not to be missed' movies or movies that you would NOT recommend lately? Still waiting for a review of Sherlock Holmes!!



Terry Odell said...

Questions like these are why readers read (or movie watchers watch), and what authors strive for. To give their characters situations where the reader says, "I wonder what I would do?"

Will add this to our Netflix queue. We're decades behind in movies, so any recommendations are always welcome.

Cindy Gerard said...

Very good point, Terry and one I considered making. Somehow I knew some smart rider out there would make it for me.
BTW - this was a 2000 film so it's available on Netflix, no problem. I absolutely loved it!!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Like Terry, I'm adding Grace to my queue. Thanks, Cindy. Love Craig Ferguson, even though I'm not a big "Late Show" watcher.

This s exactly the kind of dilemma I love to read about and would love to explore more in my writing. I've always been a "good girl," law-abiding citizen, basically a rule follower. But when you start looking at where rules come from, who made them and why, you really have to question. And questioning is a good thing, even before you reach the point where it's a matter of survival.

So how far would I go? If it's a question of keeping the kids alive, I think I'd do what I had to do.

Short of interesting to contemplate the shades of gray. You know, you can be right about something and end up sacrificing way too much in pursuit of the principle. Remember the movie "Flash of Genius" about the guy who invented intermittent windshield wipers and fought with the auto industry to the point of losing family, friends, virtually everything but his principles? Greg Kinnear played the guy, and the movie was pretty slow, but interesting because it was true and presented this kind of dilemma. All too often the rules don't benefit the little guy.

Helen Brenna said...

I saw this movie years ago and absolutely adored it! I didn't know Craig Ferguson had written the screenplay, but that makes sense.

I have no idea what I'd be capable of if boxed in a corner like Grace, but I imagine I'd surprise myself.

If you haven't seen Waking Ned Devine (came out I'm guessing around the same time period) don't miss that one either! It's another "What would you do if ...?" type plot.

David Smith said...

Hey, Cindy!
I saw Saving Grace and I agree that it's adorable. I love Craig Ferguson and didn't realize he wrote the movie. Since I think the pot laws are ridiculous I had no problem with the moral question. But if she was selling guns to children well, then I'd have to ponder it (grin.) Another movie to see? It's Complicated, just out recently, with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin. Despite lukewarm reviews the hubbie and I found this completely charming and funny. And it's SOOOOOO good to see middle-aged people having sexy romantic dilemmas. God bless Meryl in all her un-Botoxed glory. As for Sherlock . . . saw it Saturday and was disappointed. Downey and Law are fab, the settings and costumes and steampunky Victorian England grime are WONDERFUL, but it would have been nice to have a story that made sense and a conflict we actually cared about ... just my humble op...

Deb Smith

David Smith said...

P.S. from Deb Smith

I agree about "Waking Ned Devine." How come the Brits know how to make these oddball human comedies with so much whimsy and heart? And what was the movie with Helen Mirren . . . Calendar Girls? Another great one. Number One in the celtic charm category HAS to be "Local Hero," an oldie but goodie.

Also look for "Seducing Dr. Lewis" which can be rented off NetFlix or Amazon. It's the story of a jobless English village that needs to secure a permanent town doc in order to lure a big corporation that wants to build a factory. When a big-city doc is sentenced to do community service there the townsfolk begin scheming to make him stay . . .

Cindy Gerard said...

Kathy - you're going to LOVE this movie! I've always been a good girl too. Couldn't even bring myself to lift a bic pen from work when I was in the 8 - 5 grind :o) And I've wanted to see the Flash of Genius film so I'll add it to my list!

Cindy Gerard said...

Oh - and Kathy - you're right. Anything to save the kids. I worked for the Welfare system in Iowa for 28. I've seen both mothers and fathers in desperate situations and if I had been in their shoes, I might have lied to to feed my kids!

Helen - I'll have to get Waking Ned. Thanks for the rec. And didn't you just love the scene where Grace was in London trying to attract the attention of some drug dealers? Talk about a fish out of water LOL!

Cindy Gerard said...

Deb - Yep. Per the credits, he was a co-producer and writer. And he's a damn good actor, too. Loved his character in the movie.

Have heard good things about It's Complicated and now must see it as well. This is the first I've heard about Sherlock. Rats on the convoluted story line. Maybe they should provide us with crib notes :o)
And thanks also for the rec on Seducing Mr Lewis. Plus you're right about the Brits. They can come up with the most fun plots. Loved Calender Girls.

Terry Odell said...

I did a whole blog post on Sherlock after we saw it Christmas Day. It would have been a much better movie if it hadn't "pretended" to be about Sherlock Holmes. They went too far astray by making him an action hero.

catslady said...

Oh, I stay up to watch Craig Ferguson all the time - he's my favorite. Even put up with Letterman first lol. I am definitely puting Saving Grace on my list. The only new movie that I've seen is Avatar and I loved it. I wish I could have seen it in IMAX but I did see the 3D version. I totally recommend it.

Cindy Gerard said...

Thanks, Terry. Great review.

Catslady - I don't watch Ferguson - he's on too late but i might have to DVR his show and watch it earlier, while I'm still among the conscious.
Have heard great things about Avatar, as well.

KylieBrant said...

Cute movie idea. And basically is the premise behind the cable series "Weeds", isn't it?

I'm so far behind on the new movies. I swear as soon as I get this book done (if I ever do) I'm taking an afternoon with or without hubby and going to the theater to take in two or three of them at a time!

Cindy Gerard said...

Haven't seen weeds but I've heard about it and plan to get the DVD's of the first season soon!

Movies are mostly good for the soul, I think. Not as good as a good book, of course, but still good :o)

Michele Hauf said...

Must find this movie! And Kylie, I thought Weeds right away too.

I loved Ned Devine. Still picture that naked old man riding the motorcycle.

Anyone ever see Millions? WIth the precious little kid who finds a bag full of money? Another 'what would you do' flick from the Brits.

Cindy Gerard said...

You'll love it, Michele. I DVR'd it months ago and almost deleted it to make room for something else but decided to watch a little of it before erasing it. I'm so glad I didn't. I'll have to check out Millions.

Christie Ridgway said...

"Waking Ned Devine" is a wonderful one and I remember when "Saving Grace" first came out. Don't know why I haven't seen it.

Don't know how far I'd go if I needed money. I'd probably start with selling my French enamelware collection, though that would only be a crime of the heart. My heart.

I watched "Every Little Step" via cable Movies on Demand. Wonderful. It's a documentary about the revival of "A Chorus Line." Highly rec.

Helen Brenna said...

I saw Millions. Can't remember it as well as Waking Ned Devine, but I think it was cute.

Yeah, the old neked guy on the bike scene is one of the most memorable I've ever seen, Michele. Makes me smile just thinking about it.

I love these quiet, sweet British films.

Cindy Gerard said...

Every Little Step. Got it, Christie. Thanks!!