Monday, August 4, 2008

Stewardship: Rio Bravo and your crew at SNB

If you don't love movies, skip the movie night posts. If you're a film fan, get ready to enjoy the popcorn...

It seems that all the movies I love have foreshadowed my association with Stuart Ng Books. If you've seen these movies too, they can be your guide to the backstory here as well...

As many of you know, Stuart and I met at film school. He was the smartest one in a group of smart guys who got all the answers right on the tests in the technical classes. I was the slightly witty, mostly chubby girl that sat with the group. These friendships forged at film school are still with us today... the whole point of film school I think. Anyway, the guys I hung out with (including Stuart) could never understand how I got better grades on my student films than they did. Actually, they found it pretty galling. Technically, of course, their films were much better. My films were a mess (they are unwatchable now, trust me).... it was the quirkiness to them that got noticed. If they sparkled at all, it was because of the odd things like giant carrots, not the perfection. And basically that's the dynamic between me and Stuart. He's pretty gosh darn perfect and I'm so... not. If I had the time and talent to write funny personal essays like Annie Lamott's, the title of my collection would be: "If only I was as strong as my coffee"

Like most things, there's a movie that illustrates how we got here from there...

Case in point... Rio Bravo.

Now if, God forbid, you don't know this movie, stop right now and watch it.

A quick recap: this classic Warner Bros western from 1959 has everything going for it. John Wayne personifying the great American Sheriff, hiding his heart of gold behind an aura of gravitas. There's the trade mark banter and whipsnap directing from Howard Hawks. A supporting cast of Dean Martin (don't underestimate him, he's terrific in this), earnest Ricky Nelson, and trusty Walter Brennan as the crusty, dusty sidekick. Of course, every Howard Hawks pic has a gal in the mix who means trouble. In Rio Bravo, it's Angie Dickinson wearing fishnets and running from a wanted poster that has her description on it.

If you know Rio Bravo, you know your cast of characters here at SNB. Well, sort of....

Stuart's the stalwart Sheriff (Stuart's badge is his smile; and he carries art books instead of a rifle). He's got a job to do, and he's the only man in town who can do it. Sure, he'd be content to do it all himself... but the whole point of his character arc in this story is that he has to learn he CAN'T do it alone. Especially as the job gets bigger and bigger (and bigger and bigger and starts involving stuff in French) and could KILL HIM (working till 3 AM most nights...).

Help arrives in the form of Colorado.... the super skilled, super effective, super sidekick gunslinger with the sterling character. That's our Peggy (her nickname around here is "thank god for Peggy"). She's our long-time friend and a former co-worker of Stuart's from back in their days at the USC Cinema Library. Peggy's also a cinema grad. Her arrival last year saved me from a nervous breakdown.

The trio of comic relief characters are reflections of the Sheriff: Dude, the broken down gunslinger seeking redemption; Stumpy, the realist who is always complaining ("what would you do if I wasn't here to throw that dyneemite for yah?") and Feathers, the romantic dream the big guy can't resist even though he doesn't really have the time and she's probably more trouble than she's worth ("I'm just tryin' to help someone who doesn't want any help"). Since we only have 3 people on staff at SNB, I get to play all these comedy roles, often on the same day (but I don't wear costumes. Insert Edna Mode voice here: "No tights.").

When you contact us at we are the people who handle all the details of your inquiry. I just thought you'd like to know who you're dealing with :)

If you love movies like I do.... and surely you must if you've read all this... why not take another look at the movies that have shaped your life and see where it leads you.

Coming soon to our next movie night here at Behind the Scenes at SNB: 101 Black Labrador Retrievers.

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