INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS: ADAM SANDLER’S BACK!

Independent Spirit Awards announced this year’s nominations and apparently one of the top contenders for Best Actor is none other than…..Adam Sandler! You can read the list of nominees here, as well as some background info on the award itself and the prerequisite for nominations.

Apparently, Sandler’s performance in the film Uncut Gems is impressing and surprising all who witness it. Truth be told, I haven’t seen it (yet) and didn’t even know of it’s existence until I read the article. I read about the film some more online and found the premise quite intriguing and look forward to seeing it. Sandler plays a desperate jeweler who has to figure out how to pay off his massive gambling debt before it’s too late. Check out the trailer as it’s pretty impressive:

Why does an indie film starring Adam Sandler rate mention in this blog dedicate mostly to the life, work and legacy of Lee Marvin? via my book, Lee Marvin Point Blank? I’ll give you a hint….

The cover of my first young adult biography for the People in The News Series.

Sandler’s nomination in the Independent Spirit Awards derby allows me an opportunity to do something I rarely get to do and we all wish that we could. That would be being able to be proven right about something several years down the road as I wrote the book in 2004.
Okay, maybe that’s a little strong but when the rest of pop culture and modern film community called Sandler an annoying untalented hack who’s career would be short-lived, I was able to champion his cause, especially after viewing his performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love.

Sidebars were required for the series so here’s one I thought fit the subject.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no Sandler cheerleader. In fact his extremely popular comedies of the 1990s had me asking the managing editor for hazard pay after viewing all those films. Her response to my request, by the way, was to tell me I should feel lucky, as they we’re going to ask me to write about Jackass! 
Anyway, here’s the section I wrote about Punch Drunk Love. Read, enjoy, dislike, whatever. It just maybe challenge you to rethink your dislike of Sandler one more time….
– Dwayne Epstein

Opening section in the chapter dealing with Punch Drunk Love.

Punch Drunk Love continued.

 

Punch Drunk Love section with photo (!)

….And in conclusion.

 

 

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PELOSI VERSUS TRUMP

“PELOSI VERSUS TRUMP” is not a headline seen lately (at least I haven’t seen it) but with the way things are going in the news these days, it’s bound to happen sooner rather than later. I would add that if I were a betting man, and a real headline of PELOSI VERSUS TRUMP came up,  I would bet everything on Pelosi. My reasons have nothing to do with political agenda. It has to do with my knowledge of Pelosi’s history, life and work. How do I know? I wrote the book on Pelosi…literally!

Cover of my 2009 young adult biography for Lucent’s People in the News Seres.

Okay, maybe not ‘the’ book on Nancy Pelosi. More like ‘a’ book on Nancy Pelosi. While I was researching Lee Marvin Point Blank (for almost 18 years!), I was fortunate enough to occasionally land a gig writing for Lucent Books’ People In The News series. Some were assigned, others were pitched, by yours truly. Naturally, the few I successfully pitched were the personal favorites and Nancy Pelosi was pitched, as retold on this blog previously.
However, with the recent events in the news these days, I’ve chosen to write about her again. Why? Well, as the subject line suggests, when PELOSI VERSUS TRUMP becomes a thing, as it eventually will, don’t think Trump’s slippery ways, manic base, or Republican allies will help him win the day. Oh no, not by a longshot. Here’s a few reasons why.
For all of his bluster and bullying, Trump is basically a political novice with a business degree.
Nancy Pelosi, on the other hand, has a decades long history of successfully taking on both corruption and the ire of the GOP, oftentimes in the same battle. How? Her father was the long time mayor of Baltimore (Tommy D’Alesandro), her mother was his trusted advisor (Anunciata Lombardi D’Alesandro), and the political savvy Nancy learned at their knee stood her in good stead since she entered Congress….way back in 1987!

(L-R) A partially hidden Nancy Pelosi, Presidet John F. Kennedy, mother Anunciata Lombardi D’Alesandro and father Tommy D’Alesandro at the 1961 swearing-in of Tommy as a member of the White House’s Renegotiation Board.

She also had other political mentors, such as fellow Catholic Democrats, John F. Kennedy and Tip O’Neill. She got her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from D.C.’s Trinity College, raised five kids while being political active the entire time and then entered the political arena as a deathbed promise to good friend Sala Burton….

A page from my book in which I describe how Pelosi entered politics as a middle-aged Democratic activist.

Pelosi is shown being sworn-in by then Speaker Jim Wright in the presence of her aged father, daughter and Calif. Senator Alan Cranston. Her father would pass away a few months later.

Once in Congress, she quickly learned the ropes and became a rising star of the Party, climbing through the ranks to eventually become the first female Speaker of the House in U.S. History. She successfully fought President George W. Bush from privatizing both Medicare and Social Security. Earlier, she spearheaded the challenge of cleaning house of Republican corruption that found then GOP House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (among others) guilty of money laundering.
There are of course many other great accomplishments in her resume but the ones mentioned were pointed out for a reason. She rarely if ever took on a fight or lost cause unless she knew she could ultimately win, and win for the right reasons.
Some Democrats complained when she didn’t pursue impeachment charges against Trump until now. They didn’t know what she knew, that the evidence was not yet there and now that it is, she’s ready for Pelosi vs. Trump. Pity is all that’s left for Trump and the Republicans.
Oh, and according to the U.S. Constitution, now that Vice-President Mike Pence has been implicated in the Ukranian phone call scandal which is on track to unseat both him and Trump, next in line for the presidency?
As the Master-at-Arms would say, “Ladies and gentlemen, I present Madame President……”


–  Dwayne Epstein

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FROM ADAM SANDLER TO LEE MARVIN IN LESS THAN 10 YEARS

People In The News: Adam Sandler (2004) published by Lucent Books, and then Lee Marvin Point Blank in paperback format as published by Schaffner Press in 2014.

Adam Sandler’s impressive comeback via his Netflix projects proves that talent will win out, especially following his recent disastrous, high-profile and expensive flops. Although not a huge fan of his output, I could have predicted his comeback, even though his core audience has grown up. How do I know? Bear with me…
A possible connection between Sandler and Lee Marvin is of course anything but obvious. However, with yours truly at the helm of this blog, there becomes one. To put it another way, there would never have been 2013’s Lee Marvin Point Blank had there not been 2004’s People in the News: Adam Sandler. Hardly clarifies, now does it? Heh, heh. I shall elaborate.
I came in contact with the good folks at Lucent (alternately known as Gale, Greenhaven and god knows what all) by good fortune and discovered their People in the News series. They promptly offered me either George Bush Jr, Eminem or Adam Sandler. The choice became obvious. Thank god Sandler made Punch-Drunk Love or I never would have survived!
They also informed me of certain writing requirements for each title in the series. Chief among them was to not only write each chapter chronologically (duh!), but more importantly, emphasize an important theme within each chapter. THAT dear reader proved to be the best lesson and ongoing exercise I ever got in biographical research and writing. Readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank may hopefully see the chapter themes as well as the overall theme of Marvin’s life and work. It was a direct result of my writing about Sandler and later other prominent contemporary figures. I actually wish those books were still being published but alas, the likes of Wikipedia’s popularity put an end to the series. Ahh, well. Such is life.
I came up with the chapter titles based on those themes I came up with in researching Sandler’s life and work, as shown below….

Copyright page and table of contents for Adam Sandler People in the News.

I also discovered no matter how easy you might think writing the introduction might be, ALWAYS write it last. It may seem obvious but it took me some frustrating rewrites to discover that the intro is the end game, since you never know what the main theme is until the project is written. Good lesson. It also created a new respect for Sandler’s output and his resiliency. I did the same with Lee Marvin Point Blank which proved to be the theme AND title of the book. My Sandler intro below, bears this out…

Introduction to Adam Sandler People in the News and the theme therein.

It must have worked since the the editors liked it and I did write several more as a hired gun. I never received royalties so I never knew if it was selling well or was well-received. Imagine my surprise when I saw this review on Amazon on April 29, 2015: “Delivered promptly and in excellent condition. My 11-year old son wants to be a comedian, and this was the perfect book for him and he even received school credit for reading it.”
Cool, huh? I guess discovering the theme of Sandler’s work, no matter how corny or distasteful it may be to some, proved successful, after all. Yeah, Sandler’s going to be around for a while, Hopefully, I will, too.

Here’s proof that I had nothing to do with the choice of photos used or the captions that were written. I would not have chosen this photo and if I did, I surely would have mentioned that looks on Dana Carvey and especially Phil Hartman’s faces.

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