This Gentle Land Will Own Me



I was born on this prairie that I call home

The last of my line, bound to be alone

Lost in this world, I just had to roam

And try to find a peace to call my own


Tomorrow, this gentle land will own me

My spirit flowing through this haze of beauty

And I will find my peace in your loving memory

And the grasses waving in the prairie breeze


I was lost in the memory of days gone by

Riding in the sun, riding to the sky

You came upon me, a glimmer in your eye

And promised to stay until I died


Tomorrow, this gentle land will own me

My spirit flowing through this haze of beauty

And I will find my peace in your loving memory

And the grasses waving in the prairie breeze

There are things between us I need to say

Before tomorrow makes another day

You gotta keep giving when I go away

And don’t blame the prairie where I lay


Tomorrow, this gentle land will own me

My spirit flowing through this haze of beauty

And I will find my peace in your loving memory

And the grasses waving in the prairie breeze

Music and Lyrics by Paul Wake Baker © 2014


Jack Goes BoatingJack Goes Boating

This movie is about two relationships going in opposite directions.  One of them, just beginning, is very sweet and the other is clearly at the end of its shelf life.

 Jane Eyre 1996Jane Eyre (1996)

Adapting a classic novel to the big screen is always a dicey proposition.  The screen writer and director have a limited amount of time, yet there is so much in a classic novel that readers depend on for a satisfying experience.  Indeed, there is so much that is germane to the internal logic of a novel of depth that the story itself is resistant to adaptation within a two hour format.  Director Franco Zeffirelli brings this film in at slightly under two hours.

Jane Eyre 2011Jane Eyre (2011)

This adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel Jane Eyre was produced in 2011.  Directed by Cary Fukunaga from a script by Moira Buffini, this is clearly the best of the recent movie versions of the novel.  Ms. Buffini’s script is faithful to the novel, yet innovative in the way it tells the story, bringing a passion lacking in the other attempts.

jayne mansfields car

Jayne Mansfield’s Car

This 2012 dramatic film, written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton, looks at the effects of war on two families.  Set in 1969 in the little town of Morrison, Alabama, the film revolves around the death of Naomi Bedford.  Robert Duvall, Thornton, Kevin Bacon, and John Hurt head a terrific ensemble cast!

Julie-e-Julia-sonypictures_-com_-brJulie and Julia

Released in 2009, three years before the death of its writer and director, Nora Ephron, Julie and Julia is probably the best film that the bright and nimble director ever made. Best known for her iconic romantic comedies, most notably Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally, Ephron was gifted at both major behind-the-scenes creative skills.  The film world will not be the same without her.


The story of a teenage girl named Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) who gets pregnant and decides to carry the baby and give it up for adoption to a needy couple, this movie really delivers great comedy and great drama.  Page is so natural and relaxed in her performance that she is completely believable and she literally carries the movie. The Academy Award-winning script by Diablo Cody is a wonder.

The Art of Getting By

Art of Getting By3In The Art of Getting By (2011), George (Freddie Highmore), a high school senior living in New York City, falls into a fatalistic funk.  Although he is a gifted artist, he realizes that he’s going to die some day and asks himself: What is the point of trying?  Seeing no point, he gives up working on his school assignments, skips class and tests and just skates by as a loner.  Facing this failure, he is placed on academic probation.

Skipping out to the school roof, he encounters Sally (Emma Roberts), also a senior, smoking a cigarette, but when a teacher discovers them, George pretends that he was the one smoking so that Sally doesn’t get blamed.

Although he remains aloof, Sally finally pierces his loneliness and pals around with him. In an effort to get his affection, she flirts with the adult artist who has inspired him and dances with her ex at a party, which only prompts George to get drunk and fall asleep in an alley.

Although the film mostly concentrates on their effort to figure out their relationship, it ultimately addresses the question of why we try… why we go on… and it does so very well.

There are excellent performances by young British actor Highmore as George and by Roberts as Sally. They really make what might have been a run-of-the-mill coming of age story into something quite engaging that piques interest, develops a certain amount of honest tension and delivers a very satisfactory conclusion.  As coming-of-age movies go, this one isn’t bad at all.

There are likeable kids, a good plot, it is well directed, with great music and great shots of New York City. All in all, it’s a very good film.  I highly recommend it.

Trouble with the Curve

Trouble with the CurveReleased in 2012, Trouble with the Curve is a fun little baseball movie that looks at changes in the world of scouting. Directed by Robert Lorenz, the film stars Clint Eastwood as Gus Lobel, an aging scout for the Atlanta Braves nearing the end of his long, successful career.  Although he is having some serious issues with his eyesight, Gus insists on traveling to look at prospects close up, claiming that it is the only way to spot true talent.  A younger scout, Phillip Sanderson (Matthew Lillard) insists that using statistics and computer projections is the way of the future, while the head of scouting, Pete Klein (John Goodman) sides with Gus.  They decide to send Gus out for one more assignment, to look at a prospect, Bo Gentry (Joe Massingill), a kid with a big bat and a big ego to match.

Pete begs Gus’ daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), to go on the road with her father to make sure he’s alright. Mickey is a successful lawyer who is gunning to make partner with her law firm and is in the middle of a big case, so she turns him down, but goes to see her father anyway.  Gus and Mickey have had a strained relationship ever since Gus sent the little girl away to a private school following an incident when she was traveling with him and was nearly raped.  They both have difficulty dealing with the death of her mother, especially Gus.  When she finds him burning his food and sees his difficulty getting around, she changes her mind and decides to join him on the road.

While watching their prospect, a former pitcher now scouting for the Red Sox, Johnny “The Flame” Flanagan (Justin Timberlake), who had originally been recruited by Gus, renews his friendship with the old man falls for Mickey. The central part of the movie deals with their courtship and estrangement following the draft when the Braves take Bo over Gus’ objections that he can’t hit a curve ball.  Gus had assured Johnny that the Braves wouldn’t take him and when they do, Johnny feels betrayed by the father and daughter.

Although the story isn’t really original, nor the script especially creative, the acting carries the movie. Eastwood is delightful as the crusty old scout and gives a truly inspired performance.  Amy Adams is as lovable as ever as tough cookie Mickey who can see the things that Gus can’t.  Their chemistry as a father and daughter feels authentic and gives the movie the heart that the script failed to deliver.  Justin Timberlake is believable and extremely likable as Johnny and he and Adams develop a chemistry that makes the romance work.  It is pure delight to watch these three actors work together and they make the film one that can be enjoyed over and over again.

It may not be award-winning material, but this is a movie that deserves a place in any “feel-good movie” library.