Sunday, January 28, 2018

"I, Tonya" Beautifully Done And Takes Ice Skating Movie Scenes To A Monumental Level

By PATTY SMITH*
CFS Guest Writer

The Regal Theater 12 in Bowling Green, Ky., was the scene of the recently released movie, "I, Tonya" about the life and almost career of Tonya Harding.
The ladies in the audience, along with myself, held their hands to their mouths and gasped as they watched Tonya's mother, played by Allison Janney, slap Tonya upside the head and throw things at her and slam her against the wall. As the movie progressed, nothing was ever good enough for the mother of the brilliant young skater, who began her career at age four. The trainer at first (played by Julianna Nicholson) did not want to take Tonya on as a student at such a young age, but watching her skate, she instantly changed her mind. Tonya worked hard even as a toddler and progressed through the months. Her mother supported her financially, but she never let her daughter forget the sacrifices that she made so she could skate.
Early on Tonya's dream was just to be in the Ice Escapade's (and she did win a title in her teen years, along with several more important titles).
Tonya's problems intensified when she met Jeff Gilloly when she was 15. She was love struck like a bolt from the blue and against her Mom's wishes the couple moved in together and later married. Having lived with her Mom's abuse, nothing changed for Tonya, however. As she and Jeff's marriage declined she would show up with bruises on her face. The police came to their small house many times, and as the film progressed, the abuse her mother handed her was nothing compared to what Jeff could do. Although he supported her career, Jeff continued to abuse Tonya.

Later in the film, despite all the abuse, Tonya's skills became more and more discernible. She was the first American skater who could do the "triple axle" and very hard move which included starting on the left foot, spinning three times in the air and landing on the right foot. It was amazing to watch.
Tonya's nemesis of the film was the wealthy number one skater whom she befriended and really set out to beat, skater Nancy Kerrigan. Tonya could have done this alone, but her husband Jeff and his friend (supposedly Tonya's "body guard", a fat and stupid man, played by Paul Walter Hauser devised a plan to get Nancy out of the run for the Olympics to ensure that Tonya would get a first place in the event. Originally the plan was just to send threatening letters to Nancy. But Hauser decided to hire a man from Detroit who for $1,000 would go into the arena where Nancy was practicing and "hobble" her legs. This he did, but was eventually caught.
The movie centered around who had done this deed, and did Tonya have anything to do with it. The final trial is in the final minutes of the movie as Tonya is tried and found guilty. Her sentence, to me, was overwhelmingly over the top. But I won't spoil the ending for you.
The movie was so beautifully done and the skate scenes were monumental. I wondered to myself if Margot Robbie who portrayed Tonya had done all the scenes herself, as you will wonder also.
I, Tonya, is a movie about a poor little girl who had the top talent as an ice skater and could have had an amazing career that ended when she was only 23. Did she get to participate in the winter Olympics in 1994, despite all that was going on? If you don't remember, or if you are too young to remember, go see "I, Tonya". Decide for yourself if Nancy Kerrigan was the victim, or Tonya Harding? I decided... you will too. "I, Tonya" is playing at the Regal 12 in Bowling Green this week. Go see it.

(*This is the first time in the history of CFS, that a guest writer has appeared in this blog since it began in 2010-Galen A. Smith Sr.)

"I, Tonya" Is A Very Good Movie And It Is Worth Every Penny To Pay To Go See

     I saw the new movie “I, Tonya” yesterday at the theater and I really liked it. It is a very good movie and it is worth every penny to pay to go see. Even if it costs us $22 for on-line tickets and $5 for a box of Junior Mints for my wife and me, was still worth it.  I learned a few new things about Tonya Harding and her ice skating career saga as well as her personal life while being entertained at the same time.
There was a sparse crowd in the theater. But for me, that makes the movie even more enjoyable. Because I tend to have anxiety in crowded movie theaters, I like the end seat of a row and I prefer small crowds. A less crowded theater always makes the movie more enjoyable and comfortable for me. But the only problem here in Bowling Green, I heard if a certain movie is not drawing many movie goers in attendance, most likely the movie will not hang around very long. (But hey, I got to see it first before it moves on away from Bowling Green and Southcentral Kentucky!)
I thought the movie was well done. My favorite scene was at the beginning when Tonya Harding arrives on the ice at the rink as a little girl and she was all dressed up in a little blue coat with a hood over her head. She had her ice skates on. She was a very cute little girl and was all smiles and happy. Her crass mom was smoking a cigarette while standing on the ice while trying to convince the skating instructor to take little Tonya on as one of her students. The instructor kept insisting that Tonya was too young. After a while and without much success, her mom tells Tonya to go ahead and start skating. Once she does, the instructor takes quick notice of little Tonya and her ability to skate at such as young age. And the rest is history.
For me, I loved the movie and I found it very entertaining. It was also somewhat funny but sad too at at the same time.  There's some cussing and domestic violence in some of the scenes. I kept trying to think in my head while watching the movie what I was doing when all of this was going on in 1994. I know where I was living and I know where I was working too. And I remember it being a major, worldwide news story in the beginning of 1994 prior to the dawn of the internet age and the Winter Olympics Games and prior to the O.J. Simpson drama being played out on TV in the Spring of 1994. This was in the days when television were first starting to get into all of the major worldwide media frenzy stories with all of their new computer and global satellite equipment and technology. I remember I had recorded some video footage of the newscasts on VHS. I still have the tapes somewhere in my house here but I'm not sure where they're at and if they even still work.  (Wow, it's been 24 years now since all of this happened! I can't believe it! Time sure does fly!) Anyway, I'll have to dig them out someday and see if they work. Because now my interest is peaked about the Tonya Harding ice skating saga again. I've never known much about Tonya Harding except what I saw her on the news and all of this being played back then. I know she did stop over in Bowling Green once around 2008 or so and played pool at one of our local pool halls.  I saw it on the news here on or Facebook or something like that.  I think she was playing in some kind of pool tournament publicity circuit tour that was touring all around the country.  That was about 10 years ago or so I suppose.  I didn't really pay much attention to it or what she said when she was in Bowling Green. I do remember that I was somewhat intrigued about her visit here though. However, I've always felt sorry for Tonya Harding and I remember did not really think much of the other skater, Nancy Kerrigan. who was the one who got her knee bashed in prior to the 1994 Winter Olympic Games by some stupid boob supposedly paid off by Jeff Gillooly (Tonya's husband at the time) and his fat friend, Shawn Eckhardt.
However, I'm going to cut to to the chase here and make it short and simple. The bottom line is, I don’t think Tonya Harding was involved in the planning of the bashing of Nancy’s Kerrigan’s knee prior to the Winter Olympics Games in 1994. I think it was strictly planned by those idiots-her former husband, Jeff Gillooly and his fat friend, Shawn Eckhardt, who was supposedly her bodyguard.  (Yeah, right! What a joke! Lol.) Anyway, they are the ones who hired those two stupid boobs to do the dirty work and botched up job of bashing Nancy's Kerrigan's knee.  Again, what idiots and how stupid can stupid get, right?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Story Behind The Story, Part 2: The Invention Of The Former "Folk Tales" Series At The Bowling Green (KY) Daily News

      In May of 1990, I was hired on in the newsroom at the BG Daily News or more commonly know back then as just "The Daily News."  It was one Bowling Green's and Southcentral Kentucky's premier news outlets at the time besides the local television station WBKO.  Of course, we also had and still do, our fair share of radio stations in the area.  The early 90's, were long before the days of the "Super Information Highway" or just the "Internet" as we know it today.  Nowadays, as we all know there's a lot of competition where people get their news even for local news.
     
I always had a strong desire to write every since my English classes in high school where we learned to journal and developed the"first person voice" in our writing style.  I suppose the writing bug stuck with me even into college. But at first, I was a little confused and wasn't quite sure what areas of study I wanted to go into.  But eventually I found my way into print journalism and developed a keen sense and interest in the "human interest" story. 
     After a year or so of working in the newsroom, I brought the idea of a human interest story series for the newspaper to Don Stringer, the former longtime managing editor of The Daily News.  He loved the idea and decided to call it "Folk Tales."  He gave me a $25 gift certificate to O'Charley's restaurant for giving him and the newspaper the idea.  It was one of my proudest accomplishments while working at the newspaper.  The series featured in depth news articles about local and common people in Bowling Green and Southcentral Kentucky community or just plainly spoken, "the folks of Bowling Green and Southcentral Kentucky."  I had the honor of writing several of these stories and they were always published as front page stories with big and bold headlines.  One of the stories that I wrote and was published, I was the one I wrote about J. Frank Gerard, a local and retired dairy farmer who was 81 years-old and blind at the time.  Of course,  J. Frank has been passed away for many years now.
     J. Frank had lived in Bowling Green and Warren County his whole life and had a dairy farm on Cemetery Road on the outskirts of town where the gated Rivergreen community is located now and where Sen. Rand Paul lives among other prominent and wealthy citizens of Bowling Green and Warren County.  I had met J. Frank originally through our one of elderly next door neighbors on a street where we used to live.  Patty and I used to drive our neighbor and J. Frank and take them out to eat.  But J. Frank always on insisted on paying for our dinner.  He loved to tell us stories about growing up in Bowling Green and what the town was like back in the "good ol' days" and what it was like being a dairy farmer back in then too. 
    Eventually, I asked him if I could write a story about him and he said, "Sure, I would love it! It turned a out to be a fantastic story for the newspaper with great reception from everyone I knew and who had read it.  I received lots of compliments from readers in the community.  Eventually, the Folk Tales series had run its course and was disbanded. But the one quote I remember most that J. Frank said about his dairy farming days in the story, he said he remembers when the milk was "sweet as ice cream!" Now, that's one quote for the history books, folks!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Spirit, The Soul And The Sparkle Of An Eye

"Patty and I attended a funeral today of one her classmates from high school. Yet we are reminded again that life is fleeting and that death is eminent for all of us. This old body is just a shell. The life of a being is the spirit, the soul and the sparkle of an eye."-Galen A. Smith Sr.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Goodbye 2017

"Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness, its opposite, never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes."-Miguel de Cervantes

2017 was a good year for me. The biggest thing I have learned is that I don’t have to be in control because I am the master of my own destiny. I also learned to put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door in my mind and not get caught up in other people’s drama and gossip. I have learned to not react to those figurative “snakes” in life. I learned that’s okay to be me and accept who I am. I am assertive, confident and I am an observant participant in our community and society. I cannot change the fact who I am. The money will always come because I am a professional at what I do for a living. I love God, my church, my wife, son and dog. Also, I love all my family members, friends and coworkers. But some of them are challenging and they are the ones who give me a gift. Their gift to me is that teach me things about myself that I didn’t even know about and they help me to grow as a person. They help me to change for the better. Thanks to all of you that I know and love and have a chance to interact with many times throughout the year whether in person or on social media. Happy New Year to you and your families and God Bless! I look forward to seeing you in 2018!