Me & Orson Welles

By Bob on October 14, 2010 6:33 AM

I have a deep and abiding fondness for the genius of Orson Welles. A scratchy black and white print of his legendary Citizen Kane is the backdrop to my university romance with Charlotte. So it didn't take much effort for me to add Me & Orson Welles to my Netflix queue.

Put Orson's powerful story in the capable hands of Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Slacker) and you have an unbeatable combination of drama and comedy. Linklater knows his way around a coming-of-age story, so the appeal is pretty strong.


He doesn't disappoint. Neither does his cast.


Christian McKay channels the famous Welles in a show-stopping performance worthy of the great man himself. Claire Danes (Shopgirl, My So-Called Life) is luminous as the apple of Welles' eye. And Zac Effron (the High School Musical franchise) is remarkably likeable (I wasn't prepared for this) as Richard - the "Me" of "Me & Orson Welles". As Kenneth Marrs said to Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein, "Nice grouping!"


The movie's premise is loosely based on Welle's 1937 staging of Shakespeare's, Julius Caesar. It was a time in American theater when the actor's ambitions were almost as big as their stage productions. Welle's Caesar remains a classic on the Great White Way and Linklater does it justice.




Broadway serves as a great setting for the messy love triangle of Welles, Sonja (Claire Danes) and Richard (Effron). The great man's difficulty staging the classic is the centerpiece to the drama. Before you can say, "Beware the ides of March," Richard is smitten by the lovely Sonja and Welles has him under his wing AND thumb.


Yeah, it's a coming-of-age tale so it's clear from the beginning hearts will be broken. Tears shed. And careers ruined. But, since it's directed and produced by Mr. Dazed & Confused, you can expect some laughs along the way. And you CAN.


My only complaint is that Linklater falls in love with Welles' Caesar (really, who can blame him?). Much of the third act includes (what must've been) a large part of the original stage production.


Compelling as it is, the shift from "movie" to "stage" slows the pace until you're not sure if you're watching an episode of PBS' Great Performances, or a modern-day movie. Both are good - in the right time and place - but like Bombay Gin and Dos Equis - they don't make for a great cocktail.


By the end of the movie, Welles' bombast has blown through Broadway and he's on his way to another adventure. Meanwhile Richard and Sonja are left to wonder what just happened.


It left me feeling the same way. 


Me & Orson Welles is like watching a tornado from a distance. You can't look away, because you're mesmerized by the sight.

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Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

ChickenBurritoBowlEverydayDiabetes 600.jpg

By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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Windy City

It's been almost 18 years since Alison Krauss gave us a solo album, but the wait is over with Windy City. The release (her fifth solo studio album) features ten covers of classic songs (and some bonus tracks) she picked with producer Buddy Cannon.

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