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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Report Card---"Saving Mr. Banks".

I only saw "Mary Poppins" once, when it was on TV in the late 60's.
I didn't enjoy it.
As a result, I don't remember it very well.
I didn't even recall that it had cartoon penguins.
As a result, much that was told about the making of the film was a surprise to me.
I certainly didn't know that the author of the novel had to have her arm twisted to allow the film to be made.
""Saving Mr. Banks" is essentially two movies: one was about the making of "Mary Poppins",  the other, flashbacks to the author's childhood.
It takes a long time for the two movies to get tied together.
There has been much written about whether or not the movie was accurate.
I haven't the foggiest idea, and it does not reflect my overall reaction to it.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Just about everything dealing with the making of "Mary Poppins" is interesting.
Almost everything that takes place in the flashbacks isn't.  And way too much time is spent in the flashbacks.

Compelling even?

I'll go as far as occasionally really interesting.

Is it controversial?

It seems to be very controversial to those more "in the know" than I.

Is it a story worth telling?

Depending on it's accuracy, which is apparently in doubt.

Is it good storytelling?

Too many flashbacks and questions of motivation.

Is it well written?

I wasn't bowled over by the level of dialogue writing.

Is it well cast? Well played?, Well shot?

The cast, led by Emma Thompson, with Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, is excellent.
Special kudos to Paul Giamatti.

Is it too long? Too short?

It dragged during the flashbacks.  The rest of it zipped along.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

Yes, and yes, mainly because of the performances.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

Again, less predictable and more surprising for me than most.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

No.  It doesn't even make me want to re-watch "Mary Poppins".

Is it funny?

On occasions. 

Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies?

No sir.

Is it impressive ?


Overall grade: B-.

Giamatti, as Emma Thompson's chauffeur, steals what there is to steal in this one. 
He's on my list for Best Supporting Actor.

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not
e-books. But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one. If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at

And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."