I’ve had better. So see you later 2018.
I’ve had better. So see you later 2018.
She is very funny, and this book and its multiple, episodic stories adds to the story of her success.
Some of the stories are already familiar from her appearances on late-night comedy shows, such as the Groupon swamp tour in New Orleans she took Will and Jada Pinkett Smith during the filming of “Girls Trip.” That story touched upon a few points that made Haddish’s story so effective: it marked a moment of her place within the world of entertainment as a relatable up-and-comer suddenly finding herself not only working with Hollywood superstars, but also socializing with them.
The distance between them, with Haddish and most of her audience on one side, and the Smiths on the other, only deepens (and the comedy, too) when it becomes clear that the Smiths didn’t know that a Groupon is just kind of a coupon and that they swamp tour isn’t private but open to the public. (Another nice touch of separation in the story is when Will Smith gets in Haddish’s car and says, “I can’t remember the last time I was in a real car.”) It’s a winning story, and the book has lots of them that make Haddish relatable. Continue reading
Wonder Woman came into my life in the form of Lynda Carter in the TV series of the mid-1970s. Not being that into comic books, I didn’t pay her much attention until the Patty Jenkin’s directed film came out last year. The 2017 movie reminded me that Wonder Woman has been a firm part of my consciousness throughout my life, often with the theme song playing in my head (Wonder Woman, the world is waiting for you…).
I never thought much about the people behind her creation, and so The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore, published in 2014, was a fascinating read, especially Wonder Woman’s ties to such important figures in the history of the American feminist movement like Margaret Sanger, who opened the first birth control clinic in 1916 (and was arrested for it, along with her sister, who went on a hunger strike during her incarceration).
I recommend the story collection Insurrections by Rion Amilcar Scott.
The stories offer glimpses of life in the fictional town of Cross River, Maryland, a largely black settlement founded in 1807 after the only successful slave revolt in the United States.
In “Good Times,” a troubled man with a wife and child finds his way back into the good graces of his family through the help of a neighbor and a ratty old Cookie Monster costume. In “Everyone Lives in a Flood Zone,” a man searches for a brother who is linked to criminals in a flooded out section of town and finds unexpected solace with strangers.
And in “Juba,” a young man is mistaken for a pot dealer named Juba, and gets arrested. Angered, he tracks down Juba and finds not only a pot dealer, but a man on a mission to capture and save the dying language of Cross River. He is even translating the Bible into the language that used to be spoken by the black residents of Cross River.
What Scott achieves with this story, and many others in the collection, is to let readers experience the strangeness and joy of these kinds of unexpected encounters. The narrator of “Juba,” for example, is on his way to a job interview when he is arrested. The police action—they throw the narrator to the ground when arresting him—echoes the kind of violence against black people in America that has given rise to the social media hashtag #LivingWhileBlack. That Scott is able to take his story (and his readers) through such an undercurrent of social injustice and violence, while also bringing his narrator deeper into a drug world, and toward concerns of language, and not just language in general but a specific kind of language of a people in a specific (if fictional) place that is being lost.
What an amazing place to take a story. Scott is a writer that earns a reader’s trust and willingness to go wherever his stories lead. It is one of the main reasons why spending time in Cross River is so enjoyable. Check out the book now. You can buy it from the publisher, University Press of Kentucky. A new collection of Cross River stories, titled The World Doesn’t Require You, is slated for publication in 2019.
Rion Amilcar Scott won the 2017 PEN/America Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction for Insurrections. His website is http://www.rionamilcarscott.com and you can also find him on Twittter at https://twitter.com/ReeAmilcarScott.
I like to think that Lady Bird is a little bit like the writer-director Greta Gerwig herself: charming, quirky, capable, and maybe, as the kids say these days, a bit extra.
The teenager’s coming of age is a perfectly enjoyable film that deftly covers plenty of the rising and falling action of major teen desires and dramas: Can I get into the college of my choice? Will my parents get off my back? Will I find love? Will I find friends? Who am I?
Writer-director Christopher Nolan has created some of the most memorable cinematic moments: the effect of the near-permanent daylight on a LA detective in Insomnia; the slippage of time between places created by a wormhole in Interstellar; the three-action-sequences-at-once in Inception; and the backwards in time unwinding of the plot of Memento. What these all have in common is a concern with time and how it functions—through the duration of a film, on the characters, and on the audience.
Though I have come to think of Nolan’s films as having great ideas, if not always satisfactory stories (the love conquers time as central to the plot of Interstellar, for example, felt like a let down), I was still eager to see Dunkirk. That the film’s running time was an hour less than Interstellar also helped.
“Bright” isn’t a bad movie.
The reviews haven’t been kind. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 26%. New York Times: “a loud, ungainly hybrid”; CNN: “a bloated, expensive mess“; Chicago Sun Times: “a tired buddy-cop movie dressed up in bizarre trappings.” Ouch.
Sure, the world-building could’ve been stronger (more on that later), and it would’ve been nice to see more of Jacoby’s back story, but there’s a lot of good in the movie. Great performances by Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, and, yes, that it is a loud, ungainly, expensive, bizarre buddy-cop movie. For an escapist flick, it is different and an altogether enjoyable ride.
What drives the story isn’t so much the buddy-cop angle with wondering if an Orc can get along as the first Orc in the Los Angeles Police Department; rather, it is the presence of terrorists, a rogue Elf, the hunt for a powerful wand, and the possible return of The Dark Lord. If you don’t think too much about it, and let the movie’s strangeness wash over you, it is a fine cinematic time.
The problem with the movie is that it is both too much and not enough. Perhaps this is a fault of marketing that foregrounded the Orc-Human buddy-cop angle, and not enough of how it is really a chase movie through a world that is both familiar and strange.
A moment from when I was in college: A group of teens in hoodies, torn jeans, fake leather jackets on a warm fall day sit on a sidewalk in Evanston not far from a busy shopping street near the lake.
As I approach where those kids are, an older woman coming from the opposite direction eyes those kids hard and says loud enough for me to hear, “It looks like the ‘60s, hanging out. Boy you have a lot to live up to.”
“Up to?” I say, not knowing what she meant but wondering what it was that that generation left us to grow up with Ronald Reagan, cuts to taxes, and cuts to welfare, and leaving to a sudden rise in homelessness and people on the street. I was also thinking about a research paper I had just done about the underground press of the 1960s, the flourishing of a counter-cultural literature and how the FBI infiltrated it by creating their own underground presses, and how most of the magazines died out, though a few became alternative newsweeklies. That, to me at that time, was what the ‘60s was—a flowering, a wilting, a fading away.
The woman looked at me like I was crazy, or maybe she was crazy, saying “Up to? Up to? Up to?” to me as she walked away. (The kids, by the way, just sat there and watched this all unfold—a silly sideshow to whatever it was they were up to that day.)
That moment came back to mind when I recently saw the Broadway production of the play “The Children” at the Samuel J Friedman Theatre in Manhattan. It features the same crew from the Royal Court production: directed by James Macdonald; and starring Francesca Annis, Ron Cook and Deborah Findlay. The play is written by Lucy Kirkwood.
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