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(COLUMN) Rice: Just Another Gal from Casper – Watching ‘Green Book’

Kate Rice


Just as Die Hard isn’t a Christmas movie…except it is, Green Book’s one of my Christmas flicks. I’ve written about it before, and now that the holidays are here, I’m gonna remind you to give this one a try — or another watch, if you’ve already seen it.

Green Book refers to the publication African American travelers consulted when looking for places they could safely patronize in the days of segregation. Set in 1962, it’s the story of classical pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), his tour through the Deep South, and his need for a driver who can take care of him when the inevitable crap goes down. Shirley interviews Tony “Lip” Vallalonga (Viggo Mortensen), an out-of-work Italian-American bouncer, for the job. Even though he’s reluctant, Tony eventually agrees to the gig. They’ll be on the road through the holidays, returning home by Christmas. At first, it’s a pleasant journey but a prickly situation. Nice weather and accommodations, but Tony’s a common, vulgar goon, and Shirley’s a stuffy, educated snob.  

Eventually, the circumstances flip — as the two men get to know one another, they become friends. Tony’s still vulgar, but his racist words and beliefs are waning. And Shirley’s icy personality begins to thaw. Their journey, however, becomes more tense, uncomfortable, and, at times, dangerous. Shirley plays concerts to audiences who fawn over his musicianship but won’t let him use their bathrooms or eat in their restaurants. Tony does what he’s paid to do — drive and protect. 

I’m a sucker for a “This experience changed my life” movie, and watching these two develop a friendship just makes me feel good. And the performances are incredible. 

Green Book’s based on real stories and people, and it generated some controversy when it hit theatres — especially winning Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars. Despite this noise, I’m still a fan — and these History Vs. Hollywood clips show the story — and its main characters — in a realistic and positive light. I was especially happy reading the comments section (possibly the first time those words have ever been written) because it seems that, like me, many others viewed the movie in a positive light, too. The first one breaks down a few movie facts from fiction…

The second addresses the Green Book Controversy…

Search Green Book streaming options or buy it through Amazon, eBay or businesses like Sonic Rainbow, Best Buy or Target.