A Lifely Film: My Almost Movie Role

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m posting something that’s a bit of an anomaly today; It’s something I wrote about a year ago, but haven’t been quite sure what to do with. I use this blog as a way to explore life – beautiful and messy – using literature as a foil. I also often read things with themes of “home” or “identity” as a lens, or at least a starting point. So here’s a short tidbit from my life – with scenes in Ireland and the US – that embraces those themes…with a movie (instead of a book) as the starring role: 

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Grit or Glamour? Your (Casting) Call: On Milkman and La La Land

milkman

Milkman, by Anna Burns

The Oscars just passed. I didn’t watch, although I love the movies. That being said, I’m usually behind in my screenings, so let’s tie this in to the Oscars two years ago. Bright side: I’m talking about an extremely current book. You win some, you lose some.

I love the movie La La Land, and I will make no apologies for that. I know there was a bit of a fuss during 2017’s Oscars season (and not just because Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty awkwardly announced – incorrectly – that it had won Best Picture) because there were so many more “meaningful” pictures that required attention. I’m a big fan of “meaningful movies,” so I understand the impetus toward criticism of this seemingly fluffy film. But I feel like there was a big component of La La Land that people weren’t acknowledging: The entire thing was cleverly framed as a Hollywood fantasy however you chose to interpret the story. (Hello, people are dancing on air in the Griffith Observatory.) Meanwhile, the other “best picture” contenders were powerful and gritty views of real-life issues. Continue reading

Let’s Get Real: Have You Thought of Fairytales Lately? On She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore

she would be king

She Would Be King, by Wayétu Moore

Yes, we’re 20 years late, but my husband and I have discovered The Sopranos. It’s taken a while (I mean, in digital-streaming, binge-watching parlance) for us to get to where we are – Season 5 – but it’s been an enjoyable ride so far. I’m still not sure that The Sopranos can top my all-time favorite show, The Americans, but that’s ok…not much can. (Sigh, I still miss it, and no, this is not the first time I’ve tied in a blog post to a television series.)

In a recent sub-sub-(sub)-plot, “Paulie Walnuts” – one of Tony Soprano’s underlings – moves his mother into a nursing home. Like many tight-knit communities, the Newark Italian-American community – particularly for those in their 80s, as Paulie’s mother is – demonstrates certain unwritten code as well as sneaky and pernicious ways of simultaneously projecting an air of inclusivity and deftly boxing out those who “lose” at the game of community hierarchy.

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