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Susan Sarandon's extraordinary movie career is analyzed by film critic Betty Jo Tucker in SUSAN SARANDON: A TRUE MAVERICK. Why did the passionate and outspoken Sarandon choose acting as a career? How does she select her roles? What is her acting philosophy? What motivates her to promote social and political causes and why do some people object to this? How do critics rate her work and her movies? Answers to these questions and more are presented in this book along with a complete annotated filmography of Sarandon's films and selected reviews of her key movies by a variety of film critics.
Tucker admits to envying actors because they get paid for doing what most of us would love to do -- pretend to be someone else. She claims the best ones do it so well it helps the rest of us understand who we really are. And they make acting look so easy -- or, as Henry Fonda explained, they "don't let the wheels show."
Susan Sarandon would probably agree. Most of her performances exemplify this philosophy. That's one of the reasons Tucker selected her as the subject for this book. But it's not the only one. Mentioning Sarandon's name in almost any conversation will perk things up considerably. Controversial she may be at times, but during her 30 years in the movies, Sarandon has portrayed some of the most memorable female characters of the silver screen. So far, she has earned five Oscar nominations and won the coveted statuette for her brilliant work as Sister Prejean in DEAD MAN WALKING.
"Film critic Betty Jo Tucker is a graceful, intelligent judge of cinematic offerings. She approaches her subject with measured dignity and mature enthusiasm. Her bravura SUSAN SARANDON: A TRUE MAVERICK captures the full essence of Sarandon's world." -- Phil Hall, book editor for the New York Resident.
"SUSAN SARANDON: A TRUE MAVERICK is a fascinating read. It offers a different perspective from a conventional biography." -- Robert Ford, film critic, Australia.
"I love making movies with people who have a passion for their stories." -- Susan Sarandon
Wearing a slinky, spaghetti-strap black dress, her famous red hair flowing in all directions, Susan Sarandon looked every bit the glamorous movie star while gliding across the stage to accept her Maverick Award at the Taos Talking Pictures Festival 2002. By the time the tribute to this Oscar-winning actress was over, any doubts I harbored about why Sarandon was selected for this award were gone.
Of course, I knew Sarando's credentials as a great American actress were impeccable . . . and I was aware of the challenging roles she usually selected -- roles that offer a different model of the Hollywood superstar. But up to this point, the term "maverick" wasn't something included in my description of her. However, I realize now it's a perfect title for Susan Sarandon.
"This is so cool!" she said in her acceptance speech. "But when I heard about the Maverick Award, I wasn't surewhat that meant, so I looked it up. I found out there really was a Mr. Maverick. He refused to brand his calves. Now, we don't know why he refused. Was he onery? Or lazy? Or maybe he didn't want to hurt his calves. Anyway, the term maverick now means a person who doesn't conform. Well, maybe I am a bit of a maverick."
Review by Chris Mansel , Muse Apprentice Guild
In a world of so many film critics that it is dizzying to contemplate, one of the rare figures that stands out is Betty Jo Tucker. Ms. Tucker writes with an endearing quality of a true fan of the movies that haven't allowed her to be cast in the work she re-creates in her reviews. Her new book, SUSAN SARANDON: A TRUE MAVERICK, is not, I repeat NOT just the average book written by a critic to either get closer to a celebrity or to treat the work of the actor like the pinnacle of the craft. A TRUE MAVERICK guides us through the artistry and the sometimes turbulent life, private and public, of one of American Cinema's most talented actresses.
As you turn the pages of A TRUE MAVERICK, you realize just how much a maverick the author is herself; it is best stated in the following passage:
"As an anti-war protestor during U.S. involvement in Vietnam, I understand Sarandon being upset when people think she doesn't love this country. 'Peaceniks' were suspect back then, too. I remember my job being in jeopardy as a result of hiring the famous pacifist poet Daniel Berigan to teach in the Upward Bound program. Those were troubled times, and calling fellow citizens traitors for harboring opinions against military action didn't help solve anything -- nor will it now."
Ms. Tucker focuses a special section of the book on The Myelin Project, and even has stated that all proceeds she receives from the sale of the book will go to this worthwhile fund. Susan Sarandon became involved with The Myelin Project while making the film "Lorenzo's Oil." Another excerpt from TRUE MAVERICK:
"When Lorenzo was five years old, he began doing strange things like bumping into objects. Augusto and Michaela soon received the horrifying news that their son had a rare, incurable genetic disorder that would cause him to lose all his bodily functions and die before he reached his teens. This disorder, known as adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) only affects boys, but it is passed on through the mother. The Odones refused to look at this illness as incurable, so they began doing research on their own. After two years of fighting with the medical establishment and parents of other ALD boys, they discovered a blend of plant oils they thought would help their son."
A TRUE MAVERICK is as far-reaching and as endearing as Betty Jo Tucker herself. From the films of Susan Sarandon ("Dead Man Walking" and "The Cradle Will Rock") to the activism of an American citizen, you can call her a True Maverick, in a time when standing out in the crowd can't be the safest place.
Review by Donald J. Levit, Online Film Critic
HER INFINITE VARIETY
Vampires and baseball are two longtime passions. Underrated "The Hunger" and praised "Bull Durham" are among the best modern movies of the two. But though both star Susan Sarandon, I had never quite been swept onto her bandwagon. Until now.
Three years after CONFESSIONS O A MOVIE ADDICT, her humorous, human reflections on a half-century love affair with the world of cinema, Betty Jo Tucker’s SUSAN SARANDON: A TRUE MAVERICK (both Hats Off Books) does the same for her more specific subject, the ageless/gracefully aging fifty-six-year-old superstar out of Edison, New Jersey.
This is thankfully not your cradle-to-now biographical chronology of fan factoids like baby steps and foods and adolescent crushes. Nor is it content simply to unleash the standard-issue encomium-after-praise. Balancing lots of compliments from a variety of sources, are the complaints of nay-sayers (particularly regarding her public stances on political and social issues), many conveniently grouped in the chapter, “Her Critics Speak Out.” Instead, it is a portrait of la Sarandon in her many facets as high-profile celebrity, woman, mother, significant other and social activist as well as a performer who tackles a range of on- and off-screen rôles which reflect on one another.
In this age of information and misinformation blitz, Tucker’s book seamlessly organizes a literal ton of material and makes it fun (even to the 1867 surname origin of the word maverick). Combining interviews, reviews (favorable and negative), articles and Web sites to bring her subject to readable reality, Tucker equally includes unfortunately lesser known activities such as the star’s work as Special UNICEF Representative, spokesperson for The Myelin Project (growing out of her portrayal of Michaela Odone in Lorenzo’s Oil) and fund- and consciousness-raiser for a number of human rights, women’s and health causes. Tired of sometimes not especially aware entertainment figures espousing this or that, I find myself convinced here, won over by the reasonableness of Sarandon’s giving something back, not telling the public what to think but helping it to know enough to make intelligent choices.
Adjectives recurring in others’ comments indicate the versatility of the woman and the actress--from tough/aggressive and yet vulnerable, sexy and also mature, crazy and at the same time no-nonsense--who herself speaks of a fondness for those “with a passion for their stories.” Tucker, too, is obviously such a person. The only regret is that there are not more pages of the author here. The book is short, with fully half taken up by a filmography, bibliography, list of Web sites and selected reviews, which are helpful but available elsewhere and in some cases already noted within the text. Though this is a way of saying that one wants more of this good thing, still the book will reward fans and amaze and convert others (like myself).
Reviews for "Susan Sarandon: A True Maverick"
|Reviewed by Poetess of The Soul Sheila G
|I love my book! I read it while in my School bus! and I loved your story on her!
Warmed in the Spirit, Warrior Purple Lady Sweet Sheoxoo
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