It'a book! It's a movie! It's both! YAAAAAAAAAYYY!
I don’t usually watch the previews on the DVDs I check out from the library. Mostly I feel like the previews are a waste of time. But somehow, I must have gone into the kitchen or something after loading the disc because I came back and Ashley Judd was on my screen. And then Jenna Elfman passed by in a wedding dress. What the what?!?! I love Jenna Elfman. She really hasn’t had a good role since Dharma and Greg got cancelled. Sigh. Ok, now I was in. I had to watch until the end. What was this masterful work?
When the credits rolled, they said the movie was called Big Stone Gap and it was based on the novels by Adriana Trigiani. Oh yeah. I knew that author’s name. I’d never read anything by her, but I always thought her books look good. You know, in the same way that Jennifer Crusie or Carly Phillips books are good. I put myself on the holds list for the movie, but it was kind of long, so I headed for the book shelf. To my luck, we had all four of the books in the Big Stone Gap series on the shelf so they came home with me that day.
Basic premise: Ave Maria (pronounced just like you think) is living with her momma in the Smoky Mountains of Virginia, just across the state line from Tennessee. Somehow she’s become the town spinster and when her momma dies, not unexpectedly, she gets some shocking news. You can also throw in a crazy love triangle between her best friend Theodore and Jack Mac, a visit from Elizabeth Taylor, and a cranky co-worker, which gives us a recipe for a good time. (PS There are some actual recipes in these books but the one I tried for Coca-Cola cake didn’t not rock my world. It just wasn’t as good as my grandma’s recipe for chocolate sheet cake.)
The movie was actually adapted for the screen and directed by Trigiani, which helps explain why it was as close to the book as it was. There are changes here and there, but she kept true to her own story. I don’t know how I missed it the first time around, because this movie also has a great cast: besides Judd and Elfman, we get Whoopie Goldberg, Anthony LaPlagia, Patrick Wilson, and Jane Krakowski.
So if the end of summer is bumming you out, take one last road trip to Big Stone Gap. It’s gotta be cooler than Nashville in August!