Wild Oats

I know many people who have nothing but disdain for Shirley MacLaine and her unusual beliefs. I have always found her very interesting.  Her theories and experiences cannot be proved true or false. (Similar to one’s belief in a supreme being.)

Her new book ABOVE THE LINE is a first person account of movie making. The movie is “Wild Oats” (not yet released here?) Most of it was shot in the Canary Islands in 2012 in an area identified as ancient Atlantis. The movie is grossly underfinanced and the actors salaries are necessarily deferred. That means they are fourth in line to get paid, if the movie makes any profit. Nevertheless, MacLaine feels compelled to participate (along with Jessica Lange & Demi Moore, among others.)

As the adventure of film making unfolds, many parallels between Atlantis and our present world appear to the author. If you can tolerate her commentaries and her outré beliefs, there is much to learn here about how movies are made. The spice of gossip is lively and the mundane details of the work are revealed with MacLaine candor. I enjoyed this book, including the quotations sprinkled throughout and the distinctive MacLaine nudges to think outside the box.


The Nest

Four middle-aged siblings, each with his or her own struggle to “grow up”, are expecting a financial bailout from the trust established by their deceased father. The payout, the “Nest”, is due on the youngest sibling’s 40th birthday. While the father intended the funds to be an extra benefit in his children’s lives, the siblings have “counted their chickens” and are getting more and more anxious. Leo, the eldest has been bailed out of a scandal by his mother, who has used her access to the Nest to help him. Anticipation grows, as the siblings wait for Leo to repay his share of the nest.   He wobbles on the edge of rehab/relapse and his intentions are unclear. This is a source of anger and frustration for the younger siblings.

Author Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney captures the personalities of the family members and their significant others with vivid details and contemporary scenes of NYC life. Subtexts about responsibility, gossip, and same sex relationships give the novel enough heft for a good book club discussion. This is a quick page turner and, I believe, an inevitable and enjoyable movie.