Yearning for Mothers

Happy Birthdays!

Gloria Steinem had a birthday this month, and she passed along her usual wisdom that reaches right inside and grabs the heart space. This time about mothers, or rather the lack of one. Her discussion, in essence, centered on the lack of opportunities for her mother’s generation.

I paraphrase her remarks here. “Women of my generation really did not have mothers. They were frustrated with the lack of education and the opportunities offered to their daughters.  Many worked two jobs, leaving their daughters to fill their own emotional needs. … Our female friends were our salvation. And it takes a lifetime to fill that gap.”

(Wait for SUMMER SUNSETS. I cover a great deal about that very topic through the main character SANDY JAMISON who is frustrated no matter which way she turns.) (SEE Synopsis on my webpage at 

It is June and I also want to honor Fredda Dudley Balling’s birthday. She was not my birth mother but she filled the gap Gloria Steinem speaks of. Fredda and I spoke every morning at 10:30 and we had lunch every Wednesday no matter where I was working, “to discuss and resolve the world’s problems,” she would say with a gruff laugh.

I had some pretty outlandish ideas back then and after listening intently, she would say, “Now, my dear,” and I knew a soft, sweet, gentle lecture was coming that related to the very thing I was groping my way through.  She never once put me down or in my place, and her guidance was invaluable to me then as it is now so many years after she has been gone. To say that I think of her, miss her, and send her my love would be an understatement about how I felt at the time and still feel to this day.

Hollywood Women’s Press Club Annual Christmas Party (Fredda, Gregory Peck, and Lois)

This picture was taken at one of the many Hollywood luncheons. Known by all, she was always kind, always upbeat, no matter how some of her assignments were.

The things she taught me are in the card that says it all: When I see her again, I will tell her, “I tried, I tried.” And I will see her beautiful, proud smile.

Along that line, yearning to know their fathers (vs. Gloria Steinem’s pragmatic approach): “The Adam Project” starring Ryan Reynolds, concerns time-travel, sci-fi and a good story in the family tradition but with a twist. It is an expression of the male longing to know their fathers. Very well done, indeed. Almost to the level of Steven Spielberg’s, “ET: Extra-Terrestrial.  

With a little more publicity and slowing down the hurry-up and show-em pace, Amazon has set for all their projects (and Ryan has made quite a few! SEE: Below for yet another one) and a little more work, they might have had the emotional, warm film of Spielberg’s.

Here, the fact that Adam gets to go back in time to see his father and have a relationship with him at the age Ryan, his son, was and added to Ryan’s curiosity about his own father, this brings out some of Ryan’s best acting. Along with the little bit of sci-fi, and dreamy sets, the film is a winner where all members of the family can sit back and enjoy the entire cast and the settings.

Mark Ruffalo is comforting and understanding as the father, and the young son—and who would not love him—was adorable.

I give a shorter review to “The Adam Project” because as it is, it was one of those special moments on film where bodies aren’t killed for no reason at the opening, and shooting follows everywhere.

This leads to Ryan’s film 6UNDERGROUND. Love you, Ryan, but really? What were you thinking?

6UNDERGROUND, with a full cast led by Ryan Reynolds, is either the darkest, cruelest movie made – or it’s the future of the film industry. To summarize, Netflix’s explanation is this: “After faking death, a tech billionaire recruits a team of international operatives for a bold and bloody (two key operative words) mission to take down a brutal dictator.

There are more bad guys and guns used to kill whoever got in his or his group’s way. The background locations are fantastic, and the yacht near the end and all the additions to make it yet another set, are fantastic. But with an opening where more than a half-hour into the movie there has been enough violence to last the entire film,–all I can say is the stunt men walked away or limped away with enough to retire on.

            Then there’s the issue of characterization. It was tough to see Ryan as the leader in all this murderous adventure as “1. The Billionaire.” No mansion, no chicks at his side. But then he hired a working/gun-toting crew with nothing more than a ‘buddy-type’ communication between them –with women –as usual—sexy and dressed to kill, literally having no connection whatsoever to the plot except to swing between bullets, have sex with men they did not know as they avoided getting killed. They never made a decision and never got to slide down the buildings to the ground (thank goodness?)

Question: Again, Ryan, with so many films to choose from, what attracted you to such a nothing, violent film?

If you saw a follow-up proposal for another film this violent, this pointless, this disconnected– except for the good ole’ boy game between the male characters, I would hope you would turn it down.  What kind of message were you trying to give your followers? Your audience? Or, do you even care? I miss the guy who can bring a joke in a serious situation–not all this useless violence. I mean gut-wrenching look away, over-the-top violence. Please do better so the audience won’t see as many empty seats next to him or her.

Not to leave Ryan with so many questions, knowing he can and has done better, take a look at “Red Notice” starring Ryan along with Dwayne Johnson (who seems to do no wrong these days)       His travels all over the world with this museum’s prize possession, a rare egg. The scenery as he travels the world to get away from museum guards, and his face-to-face attempted and successful escapes, along with his sardonic humor is what makes the movie so appealing. Relax and make sure you’re holding tight to your sodas as the laughs come quickly. Here, he is so loveable.

Have you seen MEMORY Liam Neeson’s latest film yet?

Great show. Timely topic and very well done. Very artistic. Riveting in the best form. Congrats!

Backing up to Neeson’s BLACKLIST which quickly disappeared from the theatres at a tough time when theatres were just re-opening after the pandemic; it seems to me like a “walk-thru” film; as if he was in an adjustment period of some sort.

            For instance, I don’t think he did any of the driving (except for face scenes in the driver’s seat) inside one of today’s hottest cars. Way too obvious.

            This is versus MEMORY where he was very present, very involved and very with it! Further, there are many tricks under his control along with fear from others which he creates so well.

Did anyone else notice this part?

The last half hour of the film is very moving. He returns to the old bakery of the past, while sitting there alone at the baker’s table he goes through his things, his past memories: Some of the best acting from him I’ve seen in quite a while. Wish to see more of that in the future as he moves away from his past films. He will have to weigh this change against his audience’s expectations of his toting a gun with a vengeance to right a wrong. 

            Don’t know if his fans will be happy with the ending of MEMORY; however, it is only one of many hopeful changes he makes in the future where he surprises his adoring fans who look to him to right the wrongs with weaponry versus more of the introspective type.  I’ll keep you posted on this!