Can You Ever Forgive Me? Review.

 

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“Back once again.” The reviews are back! Ger Canning has uttered this iconic phrase in countless G.A.A. matches broadcast on live television over the last number of decades. I reached out to him to ask would he record it for me so I could have it playing whenever someone opened an article of mine. Ger, ever the joker, replied via his family, agent and the Gardai, and said, “For the last time, leave me and my family alone. I rue the day I stopped and talked to you in Tesco in Mahon Point. Legal action will follow unless you stop cold calling me in the middle of the night. I don’t know how you got my house number. I am a human being and you are driving me insane. May God have mercy on your soul.” Ah Ger, what a chancer. If you’re reading this, I’ll get onto you later around 2 a.m. Keep the phone on!

Now, onto serious stuff. The movie Can You Ever Forgive Me? caught my eye due to the many nominations the cast received across multiple academies and committees. Also, it was the only thing that I knew would be quiet at my local cinema, the Reel Picture Blackpool ( hashtag ad). I knew it wasn’t a comedy but with Melissa McCarthy leading and Richard E. Grant in a prominent supporting role I had a feeling there would be some comic moments.

McCarthy plays Lee Israel, a down on her luck author who has just lost her job for drunken behaviour, has a fraught relationship with her agent and is months behind on her rent. Israel does not have any redeemable qualities that we can see and is told by her agent that she, “…is not famous enough to be an asshole.” She has a sick cat that she cannot afford to take care of and the biographies that she is writing to stay afloat are on the sale rack. After selling a letter of a famous author toa bookshop owner played by Dolly Wells, she quickly realises that she could make a hefty profit by forging letters of other well known figures. She has made a living writing books about other people so she knows she can impersonate them in her letters.
She meets Jack Hock, played by Grant, at a bar in Manhattan, remembering when she first met him and he went to the bathroom in a closet (hashtag Jonny Melia, hashtag ad). Hock is hilarious, flamboyant and the perfect positive tonic to Israel’s cynicism and misery. After letting him in on her secret cash cow and after duping half of Manhattan’s bookshops and collectible dealers into believing her ruse, she and Hock come under the suspicion of the FBI. Sabotaging her rathionship with Anna, the bookshop owner and Hock himself, Israel is finally caught and sentenced to house arrest, probation and monetary restitution.
The movie ends with Israel and Hock reuniting in the same grimy bar they met in. They bury the hatchet and he agrees to let her write a book about their escapades, ever his funny, charming self. This never happened in real life but it was a good end to a fine movie.

The movie itself is enjoyable if a bit slow. The topic of literary forgery does not sound all that interesting but the revelations that there are seedy characters in the literary world such as Israel herself, made it an easy watch. The fact that the FBI were involved in her subpoena was amazing to learn. The dynamic between McCarthy and Grant was brilliant and really saved the movie from being a bore. That said, it dragged towards the end and I did find myself looking at the clock on my phone. While I know that with a film such as this the devil is in the details but if the movie was about fifteen minutes shorter then it would’ve been a small bit more enjoyable.
I couldn’t think of anyone that I would recommend the movie to after watching, but it wasn’t a total waste of an hour and forty minutes. If I was to give it a rating out of a number that I will make up right now, I would give it a 3.5/5. Some funny moments but I’m not sure if this book warranted a movie. That said, the performances of McCarthy and Grant saved this production and both, especially McCarthy, deserve their nominations.

 

On the Banks of My Own Lovely Lee

It has been 375 days since I’ve last been in Cork. A year and ten days. Prior to this, the longest I had stayed away from the Rebel County was for four months when I studied in New Paltz, upstate New York. I was home that Christmas and didn’t really miss it as I was studying in this new, exciting environment. This time, up until the year mark I hadn’t really missed the People’s Republic at all. I missed the people, my family and friends and the craic we have, but I never really thought about the place that much. It was almost as if a switch was flipped on the 365th day. All of these fond memories came flooding back of places around the city and the countryside. I realised I missed Cork more than I let myself believe, and there is plenty to miss.

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I miss living a thirty second walk from the G.A.A. pitch, climbing over the fence to go smash footballs and sliotars wide of the post.
I miss living a ten minute walk from the local pub, the Country Squire, putting pints away until the wee hours.
I miss playing Championship in Ballinlough with Rathpeacon, especially when we beat Whitechurch in the football six years ago.
I miss going to town with the older lads on the team, getting into the Secret Garden at 18 years old because you knew someone who knew the bouncer. That was a great feeling.

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I miss going to the Woolen Mills in Blarney and looking at the Americans buy about twenty Aran sweater vests for their family portraits later in the year.
I don’t miss working there, though, for the exact same reason!
I miss seeing all the old school friends as we drink together in the Muskerry Arms, old stories retold, as funny as the day they happened, especially the ones about drinking underage in the GAA woods.

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I miss Dino’s potato pie meal, Hillbilly’s chicken tenders meal, but most of all, I miss Sloppy Foley’s from Murphy’s chipper in Blackpool. Pure perfection.
I miss walking through Blackpool to the city, passing by the Heineken Brewery and smelling the making of my favourite drink.
I miss the view of the Opera House as you come upon the Christy Ring Bridge.
I miss going to plays in the Cork Arts Theatre, the Opera House and the Everyman.

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I miss grabbing a coffee in Gloria Jean’s in the Savoy and then walking toward Grand Parade. You never know who you’ll see on your travels but you will see at least two people you know.
I miss walking up Washington Street, looking in all the shop windows before you see the gates of U.C.C. loom in the distance, and the beauty of Fitzgerald Park not too far behind on the other side of the road.
I miss grabbing a nice pint of Heineken in the Mutton Lane, the nicest bar in Cork, in my opinion, before walking through the English Market, smelling the fish, the cakes, the vegetables and listening to the chat.
I miss sitting in Peace Park watching the pigeons startle themselves in the water of the fountain.

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I miss going to Mahon Point and spending an absolute bomb in the food court and the Omniplex. Also, the Reel Picture in Blackpool is better which is a true fact.
I miss going to the cinema on my own, too, in fairness.
I miss going to the Guitar Shop on MacCurtain street and Pro Musica on Oliver Plunkett street, playing for a while before realising I’m broke.

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I miss the bars in Cork. I know the bouncers can be a bit tough to deal with sometimes but I can also be a drunken ass, so let’s call it quits when I’m back, yeah?
I miss the carnage that appears on Oliver Plunkett street on a weekend night. Good carnage, but carnage all the same.
I miss the taco sauce from John Grace’s, especially after a feed of beer.
I miss the music in the Oliver Plunkett or the Crane Lane.

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I miss my family and friends too and will probably mention them in different posts but this is just about a place. It’s also about mainly food and drink huehuehue. A place my family moved to when I was nine years old. It is the place that made me into a more confident young man and is the place where I made my best friends, bar college and woodlwan of course. I will be back next month for a while. Who knows how long for? I certainly don’t. It is funny that these thoughts only came into my head since the year mark passed. I don’t know how my friends out here who literally can’t go home have been able to do it for three years and some change. Fair dues to them. I think I could manage it but I can only imagine how tough it must be. I am lucky that next month I won’t have to miss it as I return to the banks of my own lovley Lee.

Differences

I’ve always been amazed at how fast time seems to go the older we get. I read that it is because when we are young, we are experiencing everything for the first time, such as school, inside jokes or playing sports. Time was not a blur of routine and familiarity that it is now. Indeed, the first time you take a new route to work or try a new bar or restaurant will stick clearly in the mind for longer than your fiftieth time at the same place, or the monotonous ride on the 4 train.
It is still alarming, however, to know that the older you get, the less new experiences you will get to enjoy. Then you realize that it’s already August and that colder weather is not too far away. The G.A.A. season is almost over in New York and the euphoria of the summer will be replaced by the contentedness of the Fall. That’s not a bad thing, but it leads me to question how many memories I will retain of this summer, or even of the whole year! Truthfully, it has been probably the best year of my life, narrowly beating out my years in college.
It doesn’t seem like a year and a half since I left Ireland, and I will be returning in the New Year. I have no doubt that I will be back to the States after my Masters but I know that initially I will struggle with whether or not I made the right choice of leaving this place that is filled with money, the craic, more women than I can handle and my best friends. It is something I struggled with after finishing college too, but I soon realized that not everything can last, and you have to do what you think is right. I am still in contact with the people I consider my best friends from U.L., and I know I will be in contact with both groups of lads for the rest of my life. As I said earlier, I’ll be back! I’ll probably do a post just for myself on some funny memories in the future. For now, I’ll get away from the totes emosh side of things and give you what I think are the major differences between New York and Cork. Forget about the weather and the money; this is some real shit!

  1. PigeonsImage result for pigeons album cover

     

    This is no joke. There is a stark contrast between the pigeons and general birds we see around Manhattan and Cork City (and I’m not just talking about yer wan from Gurran, wha!). The pigeons in Cork are numerous and annoying. They’re everywhere, sparking rumours of a gang war between the pigeons and the emos on Paul street. However, they’ll get out of your way in a hurry if you walk towards them, alerting all the other pigeons in their gang to the danger of human feet. A blur of grey-blue wings is all that meets the eye when you assert your dominant authority. Pigeons in New York, on the other hand, are a different breed. They’re arrogant and have no intention to give you the right of way. They’re like every other C You Next Tuesday on the feckin’ street that stops dead in the middle of a busy street to get their bearings. You walk towards a cluster of pigeons in Madison Square Park and they have the absolute audacity to look at you as if to say, “Oh, you tryna get through?”, and then move into your path. As you walk around them, they say, “That’s what I thought, bitch.” I enjoy cooing at pigeons as I walk by them. It’s funny for me, weird for passers-by and I assume, confusing for the pigeons.

  2. Public Transport 

    Cork’s public transport is seen as a bit of a joke, mainly with regards to buses transporting people outside of the immediate city limits. Now, I’ve never had any trouble with the buses I’ve needed to take, and while I might have had to wait for the next bus to Limerick once or twice, I decided to smoke a few rollies and move on with my life. However, I wasn’t in a rush and I have read enough posts on Facebook to know that waiting two hours for a bus to Bishopstown or Balincollig is not ideal. Not that I’d set foot in either of those places, am I right keeds?!?!?! NYC’s public transport system is full of problems and train delays and the like, but is only really seriously scrutinized by New Yorkers. I’ve cursed the 4 train and the R train and every other feckin’ letter train but without it I’d be lost. Since my schedule changed I haven’t had to deal with rush hour as much anymore, but By God would I prefer to be waiting in Parnell station for the 215 for forty minutes rather than chain smoke while everybody around me chain smokes, waiting a half an hour in the baking heat for the 34 bus or the 16. Everyone crams in, pressing up against people you don’t know and body parts you didn’t even know existed. Harrowing stuff. I still get nightmares and wake up screaming, “Please stand away from the door! Please stand away from the door!”

  3. Television 

    For the love of God, make sure you have a Netflix/Hulu membership or download Showbox or Megabox onto your phone or tablet because the amount of ads on television over here is sinful. Half an hour sitcoms are split into three or four parts, depending on how many times Celino and Barnes want to tell us that they are the best injury lawyers around. It will still only be a half an hour of your time but the enjoyment of your show will be diminished because of those two amadans. Catchy tune though. “Celino and Barnes, Injury Attorneys, 800-888-8888”. Although the T.V. in Ireland consists of sport in the summer and Friends reruns all year round otherwise, at least we don’t have to put up with ads every five minutes.

  4. FoodImage result for pizza's here

    NYC wins in the food department. Local bars and restaurants in Woodlawn serve up delicious food, and the area surrounding us in Yonkers also has plenty to offer up. Meatloaf from the heritage is just class. Unreal. Followed by about eight pints of Heineken. Vitamin H. Unreal.
    Pizza from Angelo’s in Woodlwan and Bravos in Manhattan would put Fast Al’s to shame but I must say that Centra, Spar and Dunnes delis are a mile ahead of their New York counterparts. Give me a chicken fillet roll over a greasy, manky, end of the line chicken cutlet hero. Blegh.

  5. The Craic 

    I’m afraid to say that New York wins out again. I love nights out in Cork. It is great craic on a Thursday night when all the students are out and the weekend is fantastic with the older crowd and a load of Spanish Erasmus students floating about! But there’s something about the phrase, “Yeah, we went out in the Brooklyn to a concert in the park and then went to karaoke in Koreatown.” It sounds cocky and pretentious but that’s how it is. Don’t @ me.Image result for the craic is mighty

 

So with my limited time left in the Big Apple for the foreseeable future I’ll probably start doing some really clichèd ideas like, “5 best bars to go to”, or, “Best spots for a night out.” “5 really shit ideas for a blog,” would be a good one too. I’ll put my own spin on it but like I said, it’s all a bit of craic at the end of the day!