1. I've written about this before, but I love watching women over about the age of thirty-five in movies. I've listed my favorites before (Patricia Clarkson, Joan Allen, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney, Hope Davis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Catherine Keener, etc.) and today, watching Maria Bello in "The Cooler", I enjoyed her fierceness, tenderness, sensuality, wariness, surrender, playfulness, intelligence -- not just her character's -- hers, Maria Bello's. She was the center of the movie for me.
2. In "The Cooler", Maria Bello helps William H. Macy avenge the noisy sex guy in the next door motel room. It's as fresh, frisky, and frolicsome a bit of prankish mischief as I've ever seen. Anyone, anyone who says this movie just replays old cliches of all the Vegas down on your luck movies must have had to take a pee and missed this scene. It's among a half a dozen or so set pieces in "The Cooler" that astonished me. This one was the best, though.
3. I hadn't sat down and shot the breeze over dinner with Randy and Marla Trox for about thirty-five years -- or so it seemed -- and we had a wonderful time. Marla prepared a smashing stir fry, Randy popped open a refreshing Merlot (he told me it had peppery subterranean flourishes or something...I just thought it was good), and we talked over old times and quite a few new ones.