Jim Ivins insisted that his daughter have a respectable name.
Ivins – an oil executive nicknamed “General Jim” – chose Mary Tyler Ivins. His wife disagreed; so, eventually, did their daughter (shown here).
This was no mere Mary; by 12, she was 6 feet tall and brash. She re-named herself Molly Ivins.
She would become a newspaper columnist, known for both her wit and her venom, and then a “60 Minutes” commentator. She had a great little life (dying of cancer at 62) and is the subject of a great movie.
I’m writing this to tell you two things:
1) If you get a chance, definitely see “Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins.” Like the woman it profiles, this documentary ripples with humor, humanity and passion. It’s currently in some theaters and will reportedly reach Amazon Prime next month.
2) And whenever you can, go to a film festival. I happened to see this at the East Lansing Film Festival, which continues through Thursday (Nov. 7); see www.elff.com.
You can still catch some top films there. At 4 p.m. today (Wednesday) is “Blood Memory,” a moving documentary about American Indian kids taken from their homes, for adoption or boarding schools.
And on Thursday is the finale – the wonderful “Raise Hell” at 4 p.m., “Saint Frances” (a drama-comedy I’ve heard good things about) at 6:30 and “Extra Ordinary,” a drolly funny Irish film that includes Will Forte, at 9.
When the Ivins film was shown Sunday, there was a sold-out crowd that seemed delighted. Afterward, Maryedith Burrell, one of the producers, described the seven-year struggle to make the movie.
Yes, that’s the same Burrell who, almost 40 years ago, was one of the key people on ABC’s “Fridays.”
The show (a “Saturday Night Live” knock-off) was a disappointment, but its newscasts – with Burrell as on-scene reporter – were first-rate. And some of the show’s regulars would go on to better things.
Larry David would co-create and run “Seinfeld” … Michael Richards would co-star in “Seinfeld” … and Burrell would help produce a truly terrific movie.