Lady Bird, John Hartford and Jimmy Dean

By Mike Stevenson

I finally saw Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird at a matinee show yesterday. Loved it.

I enjoy going to the movies at weekday afternoon shows. The theater is usually near-empty, tickets are a bit cheaper, and I usually sneak in a glass of wine and a bite to eat. I don’t mind being alone for a movie – in fact I think I prefer it. We form a  relationship – just me and the film. I offer the movie a sip of wine and nibble of cheese. She politely says, “No, you have it.”

A few thoughts about Lady Bird:

  • I was so blown-away by the inclusion of the John Hartford song “The Eve of Parting” in the movie. Hartford has been a favorite of mine since my late twenties, when a used-record store purchase satisfied my curiosity about the brilliant composer of the classic “Gentle On My Mind.”  It’s always a bit disconcerting when a popular movie or tv show features an obscure tune or artist that belongs secretly to you (or is this a me thing?) “Curse the thought of your existence… Loving every flaxon hair…” wow. Hartford was such a great lyricist. Is it selfish of me not to want to share John Hartford with the masses ? Probably.

  •  Lois Smith is really excellent in a small supporting role as Sister Sarah Joan. I wonder if young Saoirse Ronan chatted with the octogenarian actress about her experience acting with James Dean in 1956 East of Eden?
    Lois Smith as Sister Sarah Joan

    Like most guys my age, I was crazy about all three of James Dean’s movies, especially East of Eden, and I was smitten with Lois Smith in her very small role as the saloon girl (she sweetly says to Dean/Cal, “Yer just a kid, ain’t ya?”) Here’s Lois Smith’s screen test with Jimmy. She is strikingly beautiful here, at about the same age as Saoirse Ronan is today.

  • Lady Bird’s mom – Laurie Metcalf – steals the movie and will a Best Supporting Actor award. She made me cry, and I love to cry alone at the movies.

One thought on “Lady Bird, John Hartford and Jimmy Dean

  1. I agree with you about “The Eve of Parting.” I had never heard it before, but it set me on learning about John Hartford. I found a two CD set that comprised five of his early albums, and included “The Eve of Parting” in Australia. I bought it despite the cost.
    Haunting lyrics against an appropriate melody delivered with a rich baritone voice—I love it.
    I was sure the movie would get Best Picture at the Oscars.


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