#BostonStrong: Why This New York Transplant Will Always Be a Boston Gal

Hollywood loves Boston. 2007’s Best Picture winner was The Departed, after all. The cops were tough and didn’t take any crap from anybody.  During this past week, I have been visiting my parents in the Boston in suburb which I grew up. Never in a million years would I have thought that two bombings, 4 deaths, nearly 200 injuries, and massive manhunt would happen over the course of the week. It’s only a matter of time before Person of Interest, CSI, or even Boston native, Ben Affleck, condense these events into some sort of Hollywood epic.

However, there is a time and a place for everything. Honestly, it’s going to take time for healing to happen; both for the victims who lost their limbs and those who witnessed the horrific events. Even when we were stuck in our homes yesterday, with our eyes glued to various local news stations, it seemed like an out-of-body experience. It was as if we were watching something unfold as part of movies like this year’s Argo, or Ben Affleck’s other directorial effort, The Town. In fact, having SWAT teams and police officers go door to door in Watertown seemed as if it could have only been written by someone in Hollywood. It was as if Ed Harris’ character from The Truman Show were real and someone behind the scenes was calling the shots.

As we digest the past few days, and go forward into the next few weeks and months, we have to remember that this was in fact, real. Real lives were lost, real people became heroes. That’s one thing that Hollywood can’t duplicate. They will never be able to recreate the spirit of Boston residents, the sheer panic that we felt when it was happening, or the relief that we felt when it was all over . Some situations are best left alone and not tampered with by Hollywood. Allow us time to heal, grieve and yes, even be wicked pissed off that these horrific events have happened on our home turf. I may have moved to New York City six years ago, but my heart and my family are all in Boston. I will ALWAYS be a Boston gal. ALWAYS.  BOSTON STRONG FOREVER.

Whatever Happened to: Billy Zane?

Billy Zane as Caledon “Cal” Hockley in James Cameron’s “Titanic” (1997)

What do you do if you’ve been in the most successful film of all time? If you’re Kate Winslet, you go on to win both the supporting and the lead Golden Globes for two different performances in the same year, AND the Oscar for Best Actress. If you’re Leonardo DiCaprio, you go onto to produce, act and be a global activist, all while maintaining superstar status and talent for the craft. If you’re Victor Garber, you’ve been in countless hit movies, television shows and stage productions, most recently appearing in this year’s Best Picture winner, Argo. If you’re Billy Zane…you…wait, whatever happened to Billy Zane??

He was in the most successful movie…EVER. So, what happened? Maybe it’s because he played an asshole. Whenever you play a douchebag character as an actor, beware. You might slip under the radar because people might actually believe you’re the character. Either that, or you’re just an asshole. Anyways, Billy Zane appeared in Back to the Future, and spent most of Dead Calm (also on a boat) with his shirt off. Women swooned. Men were envious. Apparently, he was cast in Titanic after James Cameron saw him in the Phantom (Yeah. Really…) But, where the heck is he? Isn’t it sort of a given that if you’re in the highest grossing movie of all-time that you have a successful career? I mean, that’s how it works.

Oh, no no no my friends. As actors, oftentimes, we have to start all over—go back to the start of the game, and rebuild things. An actor’s biggest fear, ask anyone from an Oscar winner to someone like me who is slowly building a career, is that we’ll never work again. Believe me, I’ve talked  about this with Piper Laurie, Patricia Clarkson, and Jessica Chastain. We all fear the same thing: Obscurity. We, as actors, want to always keep going. We always need to keep working to keep our senses sharp, our instruments up to date and our names relevant. It’s a constant struggle. If it’s hard for people who are established (i.e., have agents, managers and recognizable credits,) it’s about a million times harder for those of us trying to build a network of people (i.e. get an agent, manager, and recognizable credit.) Everyone starts somewhere. But we might just end up back where we started.

The case with Billy Zane is not that he’s out of work. Far from it. He’s working. It’s just that very few people are taking notice anymore. Most recently, he appeared in the Single White Female rip-off, The Roommate, playing a professor. He’s also done minor projects, guest spots, and even owns a production company. It might not be of the same status as DiCaprio or Winslet, but guess what? That means he’s your everyday working actor. And that’s not a bad thing.

Emilio Estevez Directed “The Way” (2010)

Other than the fact that I think Emilio Estevez is awesome because he just so happens to follow me on Twitter, he is also one of my favorite directors. More people know him from his work as an actor (The Breakfast Club, Mighty Ducks Trilogy to name a few) or his famous family (Charlie Sheen is his brother and his father, Martin Sheen also stars in The Way.) As a director, though, he shines. Much like this year’s man of the moment, Ben Affleck, Emilio directs and co-stars in nearly all of the movies he has directed (Wisdom, Men at Work, The War at Home, Rated X, Bobby and The Way.) It’s not a bad thing to do, especially if it is done well. In both the case of Ben Affleck and Emilio Estevez, they pull off such feats quite remarkably well.

Here’s the wonderful trailer:

What’s most impressive other than the obvious fact that Emilio Estevez directed his own father in the film, is the literal journey they took during the filming. The short summary of events, according to IMDB is, “A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the “El camino de Santiago,” and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.”  According to trivia on IMDB as well, filming took 40 days which, as a Catholic, I find kind of funny seeing as the Lenten season lasts 40 days. But again, my sense of humor tends to be sort of warped seeing as I went to Catholic school my whole life (even college.) Anyways, Estevez does a brilliant job at capturing the emotion of the story and the beauty of the locations within the film.

The thing that I find most interesting about the story of The Way, is the premise seems like such a simple one. Yet, the complexities of human nature and relationships that develop throughout the film stand out as one of the highlights. Much like this year’s Argo, at the heart of the film, it’s about the people in the story. With The Way, there are no special effects and there is virtually no budget. It’s low budget, indie film making at it’s best, “Filmed with a small crew of fifty people and a couple of cameras for filming. No trailers were used, and, as Estevez jokingly remarked, neither was a director’s chair.”

The fact that Martin Sheen is one of the most remarkable actors of the past 50 years bears repeating. He’s fantastic. He’s Method. He truly takes what his current circumstances are and infuses them into his roles. As the grieving father, Tom, Sheen takes the same journey (literally) that his character is taking. In some ways, I think the physical journey helped the actors portray their characters in a more truthful light. Since the moment I saw this film, I loved it. I have to apologize for not summarizing or going more in depth about the film. That being said, everyone takes a different journey. Someone might have a different view of the film than myself and it might effect them differently than it did me. I think it’s one of the those films that makes you turn inward and examine yourself, your life and your relationships. It’s fantastic and I think more people need to see it. For what it’s worth, it’s available for both rental and instant stream on Netflix. The Way is a film that, whatever your religious beliefs, spiritual or not, it’s message of love and the power of human interaction is truly amazing. See it. Now. And Emilio Estevez, if you’re reading this, I just want to let you know that you and your father are on my list of people I want to work with one day.