Thrilling, Colorful, Over-the-Top Fun!

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Created by writer/director Ryan Murphy and Starring Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford and Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis Feud, the new limited eight episode series on FX, is a peek into the legendary rivalry, sort of friendship, oh-so-fun to watch making of the campy and surprisingly good Oscar nominated horror Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!

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Murphy is on a winning streak since Nip/Tuck, Glee, American Horror Story, The People Vs. OJ Simpson, and now Feud. When I heard about the idea for the show and then heard who would be playing the leads I was really excited because Jessica Lange (two-time Oscar winner Tootsie and Blue Sky) and Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking) are two of my favorite actresses. I knew the caliber of writing, production design, and acting would be bring this show to life and elevate it to an Emmy and Golden Globe caliber.

I WAS RIGHT!

Feud captivated me from the second the pilot started. I love Old Hollywood and I’m fascinated its Golden Age when actors and actresses worked for studios. I’m also a big fan of the movie Mommie Dearest starring Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford which I remember watching with my parents in the 80s when I was just a young child. I was pretty interested to see Jessica Lange’s take on Crawford and I knew Sarandon with her bubble eyes would sell Davis to the audience. Again, I was right. Here’s what I’ll say about the pilot and what I believe will be the rest of the seven episodes: Lange and Sarandon are ELECTRIC together and they light up the screen.

These seasoned veterans in the industry are powerhouse actresses that feed off of each other’s energy and give performances that I’m calling now will bring nominations if not wins in both the Emmys and Golden Globes.

What I love about the show is that it’s SO much more than just a cat fight, two women being bitchy and jealous, trying to sabotage the other. It goes way beyond that and shows the women at their most private and vulnerable moments. One of my favorite lines is from Olivia De Havilland played gracefully by Catherine Zeta-Jones when she says:

“Feuds are never about hate. Feuds are about pain.” – Olivia de Havilland

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On one hand we have Crawford who only ever seemed to want to be accepted by her female peers and only ever wanted to work… but also wanted to be the biggest and brightest star in Hollywood. She was ALWAYS, ALWAYS on. So, it leaves me wondering, who is the real Joan Crawford? Was everything about her an act? Joan was also beautiful and desperately fragile because she knew that her beauty wouldn’t last forever.

And then there’s Bette who was stubborn and opinionated but deep down had a good and genuine heart. Bette was ALL about the work, the art, the acting. She simply wanted to act and didn’t care who she had to bulldoze to get the part. She wanted the good, meaty roles and she knew how to play them, she had a great eye and gut instinct for how to make good films.

This show is a feast for the eyes with the glamor of old Hollywood and it’s vibrancy, a look behind the scenes of how “pictures” used to be made, and a treat if you love, really love, fine acting, the way I do. Great storytelling is great storytelling and that’s what this show captures, a really great story, that just happens to be based on two real life legends that were larger than life in SO many ways. If you’re a movie buff I highly recommend this show.

My Nurse Jackie Spec & Life Update.

I realized I haven’t really been writing much this year and that’s because 2016 has been the worst year of my life… and that’s saying a lot because in 2014 my mother died January 30th after being diagnosed with cancer on January 15th of that same year.

January 1st of this year my father fell, an ambulance was called, he was admitted to the hospital, and he declined fast. My brothers, nieces, sisters-in-law were by his bedside in the hospital on January 10th when he took his final breaths and that just started a downward spiral of a horrible year. I say all of that to say that this year has been rough but it’s on an up swing and I’m writing again. Since I’m feeling better, life is getting back on track, things are working out, and I’m feeling joy and hope again, I feel inspired to start blogging here and in my other blog: This is Who I Am 365! which is all about my coming and standing on my own two feet and finally feeling comfortable in my own skin.

So, with that said, I’m sharing some of my own personal writing… one of my best pieces to date, my Nurse Jackie spec titled: My Way. Just click the link and it opens in a new tab. You can save the file on your tablet etc. Enjoy!

Nurse Jackie: My Way (Spec Episode written by Joey Cosentino)

We All Have Our Own Gifts.

img_2504“What if we had food and shelter and safe streets and running cars, but no stories to tell? What would be the point of any of it? The world is screwed up; we’ve always needed security, but we’ve also needed stories to give us a sense of our place in the universe. Stories suggest there’s order in the chaos, the possibility of redemption for our mistakes, and the hope there’s something bigger and more meaningful pulsing underneath it all. 

I can’t balance a checkbook, but I can tell a story. If I tried to be a mechanic, I’d destroy your engine. If I tried to be a cop, I’d probably accidentally taze myself. If I tried to be a doctor, I’d kill you for sure. I greatly admire the people who do all those professions, but I’m not cut out for those things. The best thing I can do is tell stories, in film or books or whatever medium. 

When someone once told Mother Teresa they wanted to join her in her charity work in Calcutta, she responded, “Find your own Calcutta.” So don’t think you’re less important than somebody else because you can’t throw a football or read a medical chart or practice law. We all have our own gifts. Find yours and use it. You aren’t called to be someone else, you’re called to be you.” 

-Chris Easterly

My writer friend wrote this and posted it on FaceBook. I thought it was great and wanted to share it.

Beauty in the Storm.

I’ve been having the worst time lately. The list of disasters and heartache in my life would be too long and too upsetting to list. It’s one of those seasons in life where faith is tested, endurance is tried, and thankfulness is brought to the surface… while waiting in the drive-thru to pick up a prescription that ended up not being available to pick up and feeling so powerless to change ANYTHING in my life I look up and noticed the way the evening sun light landed on this big beautiful tree about 100 feet from me.

Even in the midst of heartache, fear, worry, and enormous stress I found myself writing a poem in a feeble attempt to capture the beauty that was before me. I found such a peace as I watched the living painting in front of my eyes. Below is the first draft, hand scribbled version and also the edited typed up version. I also included a picture of the tree.

The Autumn Sun.

Have you ever noticed the Autumn sun? 

How its glow sits upon the trees, heavy, thick, like pure honey; sunflower yellow, and amber in color. 

It drips to the ground like pure heavenly gold from on high. 

It’s warm, makes one feel fuzzy as if all the world is grand, as it’s egg yolk yellow rays land upon the earth, the grass, the trees. 

The leaves are luminescent, burnt orange, caramelized sugar, heavy under the warmth as it breaks through the chilliest of fall days. 

Yes, have you ever noticed the Autumn sun? 

by Joey Cosentino

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For Loretta,

I can’t stop thinking about my cousin Loretta so I decided to blog and write something to try to get into words how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking.

This Is Who I Am!

The Girl with the Golden Curls

Our sweet Loretta. A gift you were from the day of your birth. An adventurous soul, abounding energy, a light in you that not even the darkest disease could quench.

You were the heart of our family in so many ways, from the love you gave, the laughter you ignited, the way you made us feel special, how you would give your undivided attention.

To be in your presence one felt like the most special person in the world. All because of you.

Loretta, or Retta as I called you when I was so young and you were a giant to me in every way possible, my big cousin, my leader, my protector.

Loretta, my childhood friend, the bearer of my secrets, the little girl who taught me to read while sitting on the stoop watching the rain, and journeyed with me on countless…

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I’m in NEED of a MIRACLE!

It’s crazy how the biggest opportunities in life come at the worst possible times. I wonder why that is? Maybe God is testing my faith? Maybe it’s a test to see just how badly I want it… It being this dream of working in TV as a writer. Who knows… all I know is that an opportunity has fallen into my lap and I’d be STUPID NOT to take advantage of it. So, even though I don’t have the resources to make it happen, the opportunity has come at the worst time, I need a Miracle with a capital “M”, and things look bleak, I’m still going to RUN through this open door and take this chance of a lifetime.

Dear Friends and Family,

As you know, my life has not been easy lately… the death of my parents really set me back and put me into a major depression. It seemed my life was going nowhere, fast. My health and finances reached an ultimate low. However, there is hope for me! I have THE opportunity of a lifetime to finally move on in life and pursue my dream, writing for television. Through the kindness of a friend, I can live rent free for a season in California as I get established. While I’m there I’ll work as writing partners with my friend Kandice Johnston on television scripts, go to writers meetings, pound the pavement looking for an agent to sign us, enter fellowships and contests, and look for grunt work in the TV industry as a PA or Writers’ Assistant. It’s just $3000 holding me back from allowing this opportunity to happen. I need $1500 for the cross-country move from New York to Riverside, California and another $1500 to take care of my car and other logistics before I leave. Would you pray for me and consider helping me take this step in life? The Lord has really swung open this door for me and opportunities like this don’t come around all that often. I really need to take this gift, move on to the next chapter, and start my life. I don’t want to miss this chance to finally make the big move to California. As my writing mentor Karen Hall once told me: “If you want to make it in TV, you’ve got to be in California, near LA. There’s no way around it.” I believe her. She’s been working steadily as a TV writer since she got her big break through Alan Alda who got her a job on the writing staff of MASH! 

~Joey

I Started a GO FUND ME! I know everyone does them but I thought it would be an easy way for people to lend a helping hand!

The photos below are from the week I spent in LA in May of 2014 when I started the Act One Writing for Film & Television Program.