February Happenings

I made it a goal this year to write more on this site. I only wrote 7 posts on this site last year, so more should be easier. Yet, I’ve struggled for the first 5+ weeks of this year on formulating a full post. I have a few things brewing that I’d like to finish, but I also want to get into the exercise of just writing.

That’s always been a great unlock for me to get more out and of course more writing = more published. So for this blogpost, which I made a calendar invitation to complete, I’m just going to write about a few things I’ve been seeing lately. Some favorites, if you will.

An Article – “I Don’t Want To Be The Strong Female Lead” by Brit Marling

I loved Another Earth and have been anxiously awaiting getting-my-shit together to see the rest of the movies that she wrote, starred in, and co-produced. I don’t know why I’ve delayed. (Potential here to be persuaded to watching The OA too which is her TV show).

Her article came out just today in the NYT Opinions section and she has some revelations about her sadder times navigating both Hollywood and the corporate world as she moved out to L.A. from Chicago.

Here’s just one anecdote:

The lone female V.P. on my floor and my mentor at the time gave me the following advice when she left to partner at a hedge fund: Once a week, open the door to your office when they finally give you one, and place a phone call where you shout a string of expletives in a threatening voice.

The advice is essentially a charade. That the V.P. felt strongly enough to recommend playing a character—the strong and tough female—showed her early on what it could take to be a woman in power.

Beyond that, she shares her eaction to Parable of the Sower, the Olivia Butler book that I had the pleasure of reading a few years ago.

I won’t summarize the article too much but it was impactful. Marling’s conclusion is expansive, but here, in a way she is thinking about the shaping of narratives, is some of it:

They choose who we can find empathy for and who we cannot. What we have fellow feeling for, we protect. What we objectify and commodify, we eventually destroy.

A Movie – Waves

Sometimes in life I have this odd meta-moments where I think about how strange it is to be wherever I am. I ask: how did I get here? What oddness has to transpire to make it happen? It’s an entertaining way to remember that not only is much beyond our control, even those things that are in our control can surprise it.

About an hour and forty minutes into the movie Waves I had the same reaction about the movie itself. Somehow we were in a Missouri hospital and the plot had still moved cohesively (sort of). There was no feeling of loss of control in being where we were as viewers. This was fascinating: too seldom do we find ourselves so far from the first budding of character and plot in such a short time—without jumping through time, of course.

Waves still jumps. (What a sentence). I won’t spoil anything but there are some breaks and inconsistencies in the narrative—not quite like Moonlight’s three acts, but not so far from it. And at times the movie feels a bit like Moonlight—the ocean scenes in the warmth of south Florida and the bright and brilliant colors. They are both named for phenomenons of nature and yet deal with their characters in a very real, and a very raw way.

I thought about the word ‘Raw’ several times during the movie. I had read it described as such. I found myself jumping to it. But what did that mean? It was still being acted—it was still a movie. Perhaps raw means removed of the same tropes or gloss as Hollywood often puts on. Maybe? But that seems lackluster as an explanation. I’ll have to think on this.

What I can say is simple: the movie was affecting and emotional. There are times you’ll gasp and times you’ll hold our stomach tightly waiting to see what happens. It’s not my favorite movie and I don’t know a scenario where I’ll watch it again fully but it was an absolute gift to see it once and to know movies like it are being made.

A Show – The Sopranos

No introduction needed nor do I need to wax entirely on this. Perhaps one day I will. But last week saw me finish the entire Sopranos series—yes, for the first time.

It was long, gripping, and at times frustrating. But it was excellent and I looked forward to each and every episode as I got closer to the end. And then there was the ending which brought on a whole day’s worth of reading.

My thoughts a week out? I miss it, certainly. The characters were so rich and the show so unconcerned with building tension just for the sake of doing so (my opinion) that I’ve missed the cadence of being both enthralled with a TV production and somehow feeling like it was so “everyday” that whether I watched or not the world would exist. I don’t know how to explain it better than that—somewhere deep in me there was a supposed reality of that happening just across the state line in Jersey and being reproduced on my television. The structure of episodes and seasons came just as a frame to keep it from dragging on. I don’t know if I’ve seen a TV show that’s given me the same reaction; or ever will.

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