I heard the sad news that Natalie Cole had died. I worked on cleaning up my apartment, throwing out a ton of paper. I did have to take care that I wasn’t throwing away some of my lecture notes. After I watched CBS This Morning, I went over to the bookstore for their calendar sale. I took the 52 bus out to Albany, and I walked on over to the theatre to see “Brooklyn.” I thought it was a touching film that showed a lot of humanity and warmth. It’s rare these days that a movie contains real emotion, but this one does. We see Saoirse Ronan as Eilis, a young woman who travels from Ireland to New York to do something with her life. She goes through a painful adjustment to life in Brooklyn, and she suffers from homesickness. This feels like a change from other young women in movies, who are loud and self-centered. This movie, like “Carol,” takes place in 1952. Saoirse Ronan was in “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” “Brooklyn” is a major film in her career because she seems like a full human being in it. I’m not quite sure why she falls in love with the man who crosses her path, though. I couldn’t get over the thought that she was being a bit too passive in attaching herself to the first man who showed interest in her. I would be skeptical about someone who was semi-literate and kept quiet about his being a Dodgers fan. In several years, the Dodgers would leave Brooklyn. It’s kind of interesting that in both this movie and “Carol,” the department store was the place of employment. To see Eilis working so hard with her night classes was moving, and it made the world of the fifties seem like it was full of promise. It’s like the United States was still the land of opportunity. Both “Brooklyn” and “Carol” show that there was more to a woman’s life in that time period than the stereotype of the housewife. Eilis returns to Ireland and finds that people want her to stay. The whole sequence is about choices you make in life, and whether to take what feels like an easy and comfortable path, or to face the future bravely. Nick Hornby wrote the script with the thoughtfulness he showed in “An Education.” I felt that this was one of the memorable films that I’ve seen in the past year. It made a movie like “Creed” seem artificial. It seems evident that “Brooklyn” is the start of great period of Saoirse Ronan’s career. Movie fans and critics are going to remember her performance for a long time. “Brooklyn” is one of the few movies that I can recommend without reservation. It leaves a lasting impression on you. I felt happy for having seen it. It was a refreshing difference from something like Quentin Tarantino. I took the buses home and skipped the pizza. Back at home, I watched the replay of the Rose Parade. I watched the Partridge Family episode “The Red Woodloe Story.” William Schallert was Red Woodloe. Tracy had a little bit more to say than usual, although I’m not sure I believed that she was afraid of the dark. I also watched the NUMB3RS episode “Jacked.” The bad guys really thought that they could fool the FBI long enough to get away with 18 million dollars. They should have known better. I watched a bit of Johnny Carson on Antenna TV. The original air date was January 1, 1982, and the guests were McLean Stevenson and Eddie Murphy. I just kept wondering how all the years could have passed so quickly. I saw Billy Bob Thornton on the James Corden show. Has he lost weight? It looked like he’s aged a bit more since “Bad Santa.” I had to wonder if he left uncomfortable being on the show with younger people. I think I would have. What does James Corden know about anything? It was very cold when I finally went to sleep.
Some of the people who died on January 2 include Jack Carson (1963), Erroll Garner (1977), Bill Veeck (1986), Alan Hale, Jr. (1990), and Anne Francis (2011). Today is a birthday for Cuba Gooding, Jr. (48) and Jack Hanna (69). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for January 2, George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” reached Number One on the Billboard album chart in 1971. In 1983, “Annie” closed on Broadway after 2377 performances. In 1990, Alan Hale, Jr. of “Gilligan’s Island” died of cancer.