We made it out to the movie theater for the first time in 2019 yesterday to take in "Green Book" starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali and directed by Peter Farrelly. It tells the story of classical and jazz pianist Dr. Donald Shirley (Ali) who undertakes an eight week tour of the deep south in 1962. To serve as his driver/bodyguard for the trip, he hires Tony "Lip" Vallelonga (Mortensen), a quasi-hood from the Bronx. This becomes a different sort of "buddy road trip" movie as the erudite "Negro" musician and the racist Italian-American set off on this tour. Neither guy is perfect, but both learn a lot from each other.
Both the movie itself and Mortensen and Ali have garnered lots of Oscar buzz and deservedly so. Interestingly, the film has been criticized by members of the African-American community (filmmaker Spike Lee, for example) and members of the Shirley family. A most interesting defense of the movie comes from basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and is worth reading:
We both loved the movie and highly recommend it. It gets a full Four Star rating from The Grandstander.
Ali and Mortensen
Donald Shirley and Tony Lip