Award Show Round Up: Golden Globes 2018

Well, that was quite a night huh? I saw a lot of handwringing on the internet last week, about how the Time’s Up call for women to wear black would make the night seem funereal and dour. But it didn’t at all, the sisterhood and solidarity on display felt like a celebration. And while there were still of shady men winning awards, I think it’s pretty clear that the women in that room (and watching along with me on Twitter) don’t have any patience for it anymore.

I know I usually go chronologically with these recaps, but lets be real this moment matters more than anything Seth said at the top (though I did like his “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell” segment):

This moment had me crying and texting my mom, and it was everything. And then it was followed with this and my world was made:

(Sorry about the weird lightning bolt, I coulnd’t find a clean clip of this.)

I wasn’t actually jazzed about a lot the winners. (Willem Dafoe was robbed! As was Timothée Chalamet (screw you Gary Oldman, you talented abuser)! Three Billboards was over-awarded!) But there were some truly spectacular speeches:

I wanted Laurie Metcalf to win this category, but I’m never going to be mad to listen to an Allison Janey speech:

(And I haven’t actually seen I, Tonya yet, but it’s on the calendar for this week!)

Speaking of things I haven’t seen, I still have to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel but I am so here for Amy Sherman-Palladino winning awards and wearing hats:

My favorite won Best Actress in a Comedy, and she’s the cutest thing!

Amy Poehler joked a few years back at this very show, that Frances McDormand is the only awards guest she would save in a fire, and well, there are a lot of women in that room I would save, but I’m pretty happy she got to give this speech even if she was clearly censored even when not swearing. (You can’t say “shift” now apparently):


All in all a great kickoff to the season!

And the all-black look was fantastic as a cultural choice, but also some of the gowns were really cool:


75th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

Connie Britton in Lingua Franca sweater (Photo Credit: Getty)



Viola Davis in Brandon Maxwell (Photo Credit: Getty/Steve Granitz)


Samia Wiley (Photo Credit: Elle Sweden)


Kelly Clarkson in Christian Siriano (Photo Credit: Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock)


Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji and Jessica Chastain in Armani Privé (Photo Credit: Getty)


Laura Dern in Armani Privé (Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

75th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

Sally Hawkins in Dior Haute Couture (Photo Credit: Getty)

If you want to support these wonderful women and their truly inspirational work on behalf of women and men who face abuse in various industries, please join me in making a donation to the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund!


Images from the #NoBanNoWall Protest at Battery Park 1/29/2017

Apparently this is going to be a new blog series. This rally and march came together in under a day, and it was very impressive to see New Yorkers come together quickly, and strongly for the brave people being illegally kept out of our country right now.

 Senator Gillibrand summed it up pretty well:









Cher Horowitz would approve










Images from the Women’s March on Washington

I tried to write up my reactions to the Women’s March last night, but I couldn’t manage to be coherent. (Partly because it was a wonderfully overwhelming experience, and partly because I’m still pretty exhausted.) So, instead, here are a lot of photos I took of my parents and our friends and a bunch of strangers with their signs:


At Starbucks on the drive down, with our pussy ears. It felt like everyone we ran into on the way down seemed to be heading to the March


Mom and Allie up and ready to march



Dad after I asked him


Mom and I are still bad at selfies




We were under a parachute of a giant boob…




Dad watching Gloria







This was my favorite sign









I left my sign near Leia


This fence wrapped around the whole ellipse


Women dressed as suffragists


Rest stop on the way back, also filled with marchers

And the Nominees Are 2017: Round 5

BAFTA nominations came out this week! Which means that in addition to the movies I saw in the last week, I have a few catch up posts, and an even longer list of things to see! So this may be a bit of a long one, but there’s some great stuff.


Note: I wrote this review this summer, before the latest round of investigations into Anthony Weiner and their devastating implications for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Instead of rewriting it, I’m sharing it here as a time capsule of my initial thoughts on this film.


I’ll admit I went to this basically because I wanted to go to the IFC Film Center, but I’m glad I wandered in. Look, Anthony Weiner seems like a difficult person, but I think he genuinely would had good policies as a mayor. Though one with an anger management problem. The real story here isn’t why he sexted (obviously that’s some combination of lust, ego and a maybe pathological need to be adored) but why that’s unforgivable when others things aren’t. And more importantly its about how amazing his wife Huma is. Not for putting up with his crap (how and why she did is her business. Note: Though I’m glad she’s gotten out now) but for creating boundaries for herself and sticking to them even when there’s a documentary crew in her house. She’s me new definition of grace under fire.


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

If you’ve read this blog, or ever talked to me, you probably know that the Harry Potter stories (I almost wrote universe, but I don’t like that. Maybe the Harry Potter mythology?) are incredibly important to me. In other words, this movie was made for me. And it was a delightful return to a world that I love. Plus Eddie Redmayne & Colin Farrell are 2 of my all time favorite actors, so I’m happy to watch them run around New York (including the museum I used to work at!) reducing it rubble.

The magical creatures are wonderfully rendered. I especially love the platypus like creature who collects gold in a pouch, which google tells me is a niffler. And I loved the sequences where Newt (Redmayne) walks his new, no-maj (aka muggle) friend Jacob (Dan Fogler) around his suitcase taking care of his animals. It was a lovely touch of warmth and whimsy.

Which honestly was needed, because the main plot of this movie is very dark, and the anti-magic Second Salem crusaders are super creepy. No spoilers, but until something towards the end becomes clearer about him, I found it very hard to watch Ezra Miller‘s character Creedance (and don’t get me started on his creepy little sister…)

But, as always, in J.K. Rowling’s world at least, there is hope in the darkness (and its usually in the form of a smart woman – I loved Katherine Waterston as Tina!)

And while I am not happy at all about the casting of a domestic abuser as the franchise’s new villain, I am happy to see where the story goes from here.


I wanted to like this movie so much. It tells the story of 2 French girls of color, one the daughter of an imam, growing up in the equivalent of the projects. At first it was giving me Fish Tank vibes and I was so in. But, I don’t know if it was the mood I was in or my over empathizing problem, but I could not get over my, ultimately justified, fear for these girls.

At every step along the way I wanted to save them from their self destructive decisions. I understand the point that writer-director Houda Benyamina, was making about the truly bone crushing stagnation of poverty, but I ultimately didn’t enjoy watching their naive attempt at escape (through the emulation of a local female drug dealer) grind them even further into despair.

That being said, the two actresses at the center here, Oulaya Amamra and Déborah Lukumena were remarkable and Kevin Mischel added a lovely touch of romantic relief.

20th Century Women

I love the way Mike Mills tells stories. I loved Beginners and this felt like a true companion piece to that. Not just because Mills has said this is his love letter to his mom the way Beginners was to his Dad, but they feel cut from the same stylistic sloth. And I love that cloth.

It’s a mixture of collage, nonlinear storytelling and other technical tricks with real emotional depth and sly humor. Every character in this movie feels like a real, full person, even the ones that easily could have been jokes, like Billy Crudup‘s post-hippie handyman.

Annette Bening is quietly wonderful as the older, single mom of a 15 year old boy (Lucas Jade Zumann) who she feels unequipped to raise into a “good man,” (Because, “who even knows what that means any more?”) She enlists the help of his friend Julie (Elle Fanning), and renter Abbie (Greta Gerwig) and while her plan doesn’t quite work out they all do their best along with Crudup to form a family.

And its beautiful, and at times absurd, and I’m a little concerned about how much I want to wear all of Annette Bening’s costumes considering she’s  a fifty something women in this, but whatever, the 70s are in. Anyway, this is a beautiful film, filled with empathy, and you should all see it.

Don’t Think Twice

Mike Birbiglia is one of my favorite artists in any medium, his stand up and radio stories are like comfort food to me. And this movie has a lot of the qualities that I about about his work: wry, observational comedy, self-deprecation that doesn’t wallow its way into self-pity, and a deep empathy for the frailty of its characters.

This movie, Birbiblia’s second as writer-director, follows an improv group that starts the move as a family of lovable losers and tracks the changes that occur hen one of them gets hired on a (very thinly veiled) stand in for Saturday Night Live. 

I find improv very hard to watch. (I get so nervous for the performers!) but the performance scenes here act as great illustrations of the group dynamic. The whole cast is great and the story is realistic, painful and warm, and brutal and lovely. It’s an insightful depiction of how people define success differently for themselves and how that can be impossible to describe.

A Monster Calls

I wasn’t going to see this. I feel like the darkness of the trailer made me think it was going to be creepy, but it wasn’t at all. It was a lovely little fable about anger and loss and love.

I bet it was probably a children’s book (it was!) and the movies felt like walking through a fairy tale. The young boy at the center (Lewis MacDougall) has a great “British orphan” face, even though he doesn’t play an orphan. What I mean is he looks like a kid out of a Dickens adaptation. And this feels like it will take its rightful place in the long tradition of British children’s stories.

And, like a lot of those stories, this is pretty bleak. Connor has had to grow up very quickly, because his mother (the always lovely Felicity Jones) is dying of cancer, he’s bullied at school, and his dad, though generally kind, lives in a far away land (Los Angeles). His relief comes in the form of a Yew tree monster, delightfully voiced by Liam Neeson, who comes to help him come to terms with all of his conflicting emotions. It’s a tear jerker, and the animation is gorgeous. I feel like this isn’t getting the buzz it deserves. It’s definitely worth seeking out.


Film nerd confession: until last night I don’t think I had ever actually seen a Pedro Almodóvar film. I knew all about him, knew I should probably watch Volver at some point, and had even seen the very underrated musical adaptation of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown during its brief Broadway run, but I hadn’t ever just sat down and watched one.

Well, I don’t know how Julieta fits in with his work obviously, but I can say that I liked it a great deal. Based on a few Alice Munro short stories, the film follows the title character backwards and forwards through her life, slowly solving the emotional mystery of how bright, young Julieta (Adriana Ugarte) becomes the secretly sad, middle aged woman (Emma Suárez).

Almodóvar paces melodrama like a thriller, suspense heightening score by (Alberto Iglesias) and all. I love stories about complicated women that still feel real and this is a good one. I’m definitely going to catch up with more of his work now.


Songs That Hit Me Harder Now

I started working on this playlist a couple of days after the election. I was an emotional wreck. Like not sure I was capable of pulling myself out of bed levels of despair. I’m still very sad and angry, but I’ve begun to channel that energy in more productive directions. But certain songs have been making me cry that never did before. Some of their lyrics made a new kind of sense, and some I can’t really explain, but they listening to them and letting myself cry has been cathartic for me so I thought I would share them with you all:

Second Nature – Original Broadway Cast of Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson 

I understand why people have issues with this show. It definitely can be read as glorifying Jackson, and parts of it are really just dumb. But I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately and how American populism is often such a dangerous, violent thing. I think it’s, unfortunately, worth a revisit in our current climate.

My Shot – Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton 

Just as a corrective.

Truth No. 2– Dixie Chicks

Bread & Roses– Judy Collins
I know I’ve shared the Joan Baez and Mimi Farina version of this before, but literally every version has always made me cry and especially now…

Pompeii – Bastille 

Ghosts That We Knew – Mumford and Sons 

He Thinks He’ll Keep Her – Mary Chapin Carpenter 

OK this one doesn’t make me cry, but I don’t think I had listened to it before this weekend since I was like 10. And I really didn’t understand it before. Also, this video is such a find. Look at all of those powerhouses! (And all that 90s hair..)

If We Make It Through December – Merle Haggard 
Thanks to Stu-Bot on TBTL for this one.

Make Them Hear You – Brian Stokes Mitchell from Ragtime 

Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes

And the Nominees Are 2017: Round 1

I can’t believe it’s already this time of year again, but the Critic’s Choice Awards nominations came out this week (and I went to the movies twice this weekend) so its officially awards season! Here’s what I’ve seen so far from their nominees:

Hail, Caesar!

My notes for this movie are on the same notebook page as my Oscars dress list from last year, so I guess this awards season started super early. I don’t really understand why they didn’t put this up for Golden Globes at least in 2016.

It’s interesting, I loved parts of it – anything involving Alden Ehrenreich as Hobie Doyle, the tap number with screaming gay (sub)text, Scarlett Johansson trash talking mermaid.

And, as a Best Picture person, I loved all the winks and nods at Ben Hur, but I’m having trouble with the Communist subplot. Is their point that the Hollywood 10 were a bunch of treasonous yet ineffectual criminals? Or that gay people in Hollywood in the 1940s were all closted communists ready to turn over their country, because that’s what they said here. (With hindsight, I think I may have been taking things a bit too literally…)

The Jesus stuff was interesting though (& the scene with the faith leaders was great.)


My response to Sully is sort of paradoxical. I found it to be both memorable and forgettable. First the memorable stuff: Tom Hanks gives a wonderfully quiet portrait of a man silently questioning himself in the face of adulation and defensive criticism. (Not surprising to anyone who saw in Captain Phillips a few years ago.) Aaron Eckhart and the supporting cast of everyone you saw in a supporting role in a TV show in the last few years are also good.

The very memorable bits are what you would expect: The sequences off the actual water landing, particularly of the passengers as they brace for impact are truly terrifying. I found myself involuntarily bracing in my seat. I fully expect to have nightmares that feature flight attendants chanting “Brace. Brace. Heads Down, Stay Down.” (And this is the first movie since Titanic to make me feel physically cold while watching it. I had forgotten that this landing happened in December.)

Now on to the less than memorable:

  • It breaks my heart to say this, but there is no point to including Laura Linney in this film. (Another Captain Phillips parallel to Catherine Keener as a pointless wife on the phone.)
  • As interesting as Sully’s psychological journey is. I was never in doubt that he was in the right. (Not just because I remember the actual events.) There just wasn’t much dramatic tension outside of the crash scenes.

This, overall,  is a portrait of a group of people who were good at their jobs and saved a lot of people. Which is great and should be celebrated, but celebration isn’t really Clint Eastwood‘s thing. So, instead we get the cinematic equivalent of a terse, proud nod.

Because during the press tour for this, Clint said some truly stupid things about race, women, and Trump. I donated twice the ticket price to the Hillary for America campaign.


I’ve never seen anything like this before. Not just because it tells a story of a gay, African-American man and Hollywood’s attitude towards race is a well documented disaster. But also formally and visually Moonlight is a wholly original piece of work. The way director Barry Jenkins, uses light alone had me crying at certain moments.

The use of three actors to tell Chiron’s story at different points in his life could have been jarring, especially because the actors don’t particularly look alike, but there is an emotional continuity that runs through each segment, helped by Naomie Harris‘s remarkably raw performance as his addict mother.

The plot summary could read like a movie of the week, or a cautionary tale about drugs and violence or even bullying, but Jenkins makes it into poetry. No gesture, laugh, or ocean sound effect is misplaced here and it all adds up to a piece of art totally grounded in compassion for its characters. To bring back my refrain from a few awards seasons ago, this movie is incredibly human it hurts.


I saw this movie the Friday after Trump was elected, I was planning on going the day after the election, but that was before my worldview collapsed around me. I’m glad I waited until my tears subsided, because this movie is gorgeous and important but I don’t think it would have made for great catharsis.

Although it deals with the couple whose court case brought down miscegenation  laws, this movie is very subtle and deals with the details of Mildred & Richard Loving’s domestic life rather than the courtroom drama or political rhetoric surrounding them. This is surprising for an awards season historical drama, but not a Jeff Nichols film. (Which by the way is my way of asking for more Nichols awards season films.)

In other hands this story would be sweeping, culminating in the dramatic day at the Supreme Court (see the pretty terrible Showtime version starring my eternal talent crush Timothy Hutton), but that’s not who the Lovings were. They were just two people who wanted to live together in their rural Virginia home. The closest this movie comes to speechifying if Joel Edgerton (as amazing here as he has been in everything I’ve seen him in) stumbling over telling his lawyer that he loves his wife.

Don’t take this to mean I wish it were more bombastic, I think its important to tell the stories of quiet lives and how they can also be revolutionary acts.

Mildred’s determination, portrayed gracefully by new to me Ruth Negga, is just as inspiring to me as a firebrand. She has a vision of the life her family is entitled to and she refuses to let the backwards hatred of those around her change that. And I think that’s a powerful message for our current dark day.

Image result for loving movie

Incidentally, the ACLU helped the Lovings pro-bono. I have no moral objection to Jeff Nichols, but if you want to practice some extra filmanthropy you can click here to donate to their continuing crusade against institutionalized bigotry. 

Manchester By the Sea

I let out an audible sigh at the end of this movie. I’m not sure I’ve done that since Blue ValentineBut other than a wonderful performance from Michelle Williams, and the copious amount of tears I shed, I wouldn’t exactly say this is similar to BV. In fact, I’m not sure I can think of a film that I would call a direct corollary to Manchester By the Sea (though I haven’t seen writer/director Kenneth Lonergan other work yet, so who knows?)

The plot, a man (my love Casey Affleck) has to return to his small New England hometown after the death of his brother (Kyle Chandler in flashbacks), could be a predictable melodrama, but instead its measured and real.

Grief is hard to describe and therefore hard to dramatize, but this is a remarkable depiction. Due in large part to Affleck’s astounding, layered performance, his Lee is mostly taciturn and angry, but he’s not a cliche hyper masculine man who lashes out (though he could be in less talented hands.) Instead, he’s a human being who has been dealt cards he is simply not equipped to play.

In the review of Loving on Filmspotting, Michael Philips said he wished a plate had slipped in a few of the domestic scenes so they felt less curated and more realistically captured. Though I don’t completely agree on that film (see above), I kept thinking of that while watching this film, cars don’t start and freezers don’t close even when you really need them to. But just as importantly even when the worst (seriously the fucking worst) has happened your nephew may still be juggling two girlfriends and the wind will still come off the ocean on your boat (it’s a very New England movie OK?) and that doesn’t make everything better. Some things you can’t beat, but life goes on, and that’s enough.

I’ve since learned that Casey Affleck has a disturbing past of allegedly sexually harassing female coworkers on the crew of his mockumentary I’m Still Here (which I actually appreciated). It’s hard when artists whose work I truly love are found to be less than stellar humans, but to honor the struggle of those women to be believed I’ve practiced filmanthropy and donated twice this ticket price to the National Organization for Women, who among other things help women sue companies for harassment and discrimination.



Weekly Adventure: George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center

The George Washington Carver Museum is confusingly named, in that though there is a nice little permanent diorama of sorts in the lobby spelling out Dr. Carver’s myriad scientific accomplishments (it goes way beyond peanuts guys), this museum isn’t really about him at all.

This is all you're going to get about GWC (and the only picture I took inside because you're not supposed to...sorry!)

This is all you’re going to get about GWC (and the only picture I took inside because you’re not supposed to…sorry!)

Instead, the galleries are focused on aspects of African American culture in Texas, and specifically in Austin. The first permanent exhibit it dedicated to Juneteenth, a holiday I had heard of before but never understood the historical significance of. Basically, it celebrates the day that slaves in Texas were informed that they were free (on June 19, 1865), and the exhibit has a suitably bright and joyous feel:

Photo Credit: City of Austin

The only problem I had with this exhibit was the constantly looped video of a 2002 Juneteenth celebration in Austin. The video itself is interesting and does a good job of connecting history to the present, but it’s really loud and you can hear it throughout the rest of the galleries. It began to really drive me crazy.

The other permanent gallery includes stories and objects from African American families who settled in and prospered in Austin, some of them were moving and interesting, but my favorite part of the museum was the temporary exhibit of art by UT professor (and School of the Art Institute of Chicago alum) John Yancey titled Can U See. It takes on the (depressingly) contemporary themes of racism and police violence in a way that I found very affecting. (At this point especially I really wished I couldn’t still hear the Juneteenth video).

Also, fun fact, the Museum is on the site of the first library in Austin, which later became the first branch library in Austin (known as the Colored Branch) all of which I learned from reading this plaque:


The special exhibit runs through Oct 17th at the Museum at 1165 Angelina St

Award Show Round Up: Tony Awards 2015

I didn’t actually watch the Tony’s last night. I know, I’m not sure who I am right now either. But my friend Madison was in town from Chicago and I wasn’t going to make her watch a jumpy live stream of an awards show she cared nothing about on her last night in Austin. So instead I watched it illegally this evening after finishing a double shift at work. And despite the continued stupidity of the awards given during commercial breaks it was a really great show. (Sorry for pirating CBS, but I’m not actually that sorry.) Anyway, my highlights were:

Something Rotten looks designed for me, and I can’t wait for it to tour/I win the lottery and get to fly to NYC to go to the theater:

(I love the dig at  Les Mis)

Helen Mirren is one letter away from an EGOT!

And I’m actually OK with the fact that Something Rotten didn’t win, because well – this is from a musical based on a great book, by Alison Bechdel (yes…as in Bechdel) and well, just watch this:

This guy, makes me feel lazy, and inspired

Kelli O’Hara, don’t ever change (though maybe stop doing King & I, so I’ll want to go see you in something):

And of course, there were some beautiful dresses!

Helen Mirren in Badgley Mischka

Jennifer Lopez in Valentino Haute Couture

Emily Skeggs in Christian Siriano (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Vanessa Hudgens in Naeem Khan (Photo Credit: Getty)

Taylor Schilling in Michael Kors

Ruth Wilson in Ralph Lauren Collection

Sarah Stiles in J. Mendel

Elisabeth Moss in Oscar de la Renta (Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

Weekly Adventure: Memphis Edition

Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale

Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you are probably already sick of how much fun I had with Julia in Memphis this weekend.We chose the city, mostly because we both had never been there and it was vaguely in the middle of us, and we wanted to…The truth is I don’t really remember our whole motivation for choosing Memphis, because my entire knowledge of the city before this weekend came from this song:

(incidentally, we definitely did land in the middle of the pouring in the rain, but we were not blue)

and this movie:

(Sorry about the janky video.)

Anyway, we had an amazing time, especially because we stayed in the best AirBnB ever, not only was it adorable:

IMG_2392 but our hosts left us a book with a list of things to do (and more importantly eat) while we were in town.

Like I said it rained for most of our first day in town, but we found some fun inside, including the very strange phenomenon which is the Peabody ducks:


After that we followed our hosts’ recommendation to check out Ernestine & Hazel’s for a Soul Burger, and we happened to catch this really fun bar band:

IMG_2404 The next day we went to Graceland! Which is very Disneyland-esque, and surreal, and yet somehow still personal and I left with a new appreciation for Elvis as a person.

Jules modeling her Elvis mug. (I got one too!)

Jules modeling her Elvis mug. (I got one too!)

I hope he was half as good/interesting/humble/charasmatic as the iPad tour (inexplicably narrated by John Stamos) made him out to be. While I was there I took a million photos, here are my favorite 5:

The living room complete with stained glass

The living room complete with stained glass

The truly surrealy 70s TV room

The truly surrealy 70s TV room

The ceiling in the pool room, which he had upholstered in this fabric I'm kind of in love with

The ceiling in the pool room, which he had upholstered in this fabric I’m kind of in love with

The Jungle Room!

The Jungle Room!

His hall of gold records

His hall of gold records

Walking through the trophy room reminded me that Elvis recorded at Sun Studio, which meant of course that Sun Studio was in Memphis, so we went there next!

(Photo Credit: Julia Davidson)

(Photo Credit: Julia Davidson)

And in contrast to Graceland, it felt nothing at all like a theme park. Yes there were pictures of all of the amazing stars that had recorded there, and they sold memorabilia, but they also still sold soda and decorated mostly with albums recorded there. It seriously felt like at any moment Johnny Cash or Carl Perkins could just walk out of one of the rooms.


I have never felt cooler than at this moment.

From there we went to the National Civil Rights Museum, which is really well done, moving and thought provoking. It’s housed in what used to be the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. King was assassinated, and it does a good job of honoring that without focusing too much on him above the contributions of the larger movement.


Jules made a good point that it might be best to reverse the order we did our day, because it can be a somber way to end the day. (But the lines/wait times at Graceland are kind of insane, so definitely make reservations ahead of time.)

After that we drove around a bit, inadvertently crashed a wedding and made our way back downtown to get some barbecue at Central BBQ, where they had this sign that made me very happy as a fan of this song and puns:

IMG_2549 (Then we were tired so we went home and watched Bring It On, which was an excellent decision.)

The next day we had another delightful meal, and then walked around a bit downtown. Julia’s flight left hours before mine, so I wandered a bit on my own, and attempted to get some homework done. (Because I decided the week before final projects started being due was the best time for a vacation) and stumbled upon this great cafe:

IMG_2577 It’s called Cafe Keough, and it had an Irish Tricolor hanging on the wall and I had a meal made almost entirely of cheese:

IMG_2576 Overall we had a fabulous time, but feel like we really only scratched the surface of what Memphis was really about. I for one can’t wait to go back. (And not just to stay in that carriage house again.)

And the Nominees Are 2015: Round 5

I had a cold this week so I only watched a few things this week, but the last 2 were the most moving that I’ve seen this awards season so I’m glad they won’t lost in a long list of a post.

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Has Helen Mirren entered that Meryl Streep category where she just gets nominated every year she makes a movie? Because while there’s nothing wrong with this movie there’s nothing especially interesting or remarkable about it (or her nominated performance, except her French accent I suppose.)

I don’t want to seem too negative, it’s a beautifully shot, feel-good immigrant tale with a culinary bent and two charming couples, but I saw it six days ago and I couldn’t tell you any of the characters’ names…

Inherent Vice

For the most part this movie was the topsy-turvy strange combination of drug trip and hippie mystery that I expected based on the trailer. And Joaquin Phoenix, Joanna Newsom, and the previously unknown to me Hong Chau were all delightfully weird and at times even charming. But there’s one scene towards the end with Doc (Phoenix) and his “ex old lady” Shasta (played by Katherine Waterston) that frankly made me sick. The whole movie borders on vulgar, and nudity doesn’t bother me, but their reunion scene, where she nakedly provokes him to punish her for bringing him into her mess, felt misogynistic and violent in a way that was completely out of step with the rest of the film. It was very jarring and honestly the way the film asked me to continue to look at Doc as a goofy drugged out likable guy seemed to send the message that Shasta’s straying had provoked the brutality. I’m choosing to blame this on Thomas Pynchon, mostly because I tend to hate his fiction and I really don’t want to have to hate Paul Thomas Anderson – not just because I’ve never thought of him as a misogynist before, but also because it would break my heart to think of Maya Rudolph married to one.


Hands down this is the most important movie I have seen in a long time. Before watching this I knew vaguely that there was unrest in Eastern Congo, but this film puts an excruciating human face on what is at stake there. Following the incredibly brave park rangers at Virunga National Park and the animals (especially gorillas) that they care for as they try to protect against poachers and rebel groups and the oil company (British company Soco) that is backing them to gain entry to the UNESCO World Heritage site to exploit its natural resources. At times, the hypocrisy and complete lack of human empathy that the filmmakers and Mélanie Gouby, a French journalist also investigating Soco’s actions in the Congo, capture on hidden camera from company officials and those they hire seem like they can’t possibly exist. (Seriously, at one point she catches their top man suggesting unironically that the only way to being stability to the region is to recolonize it, because Africans aren’t mature enough to rule themselves.) But of course this ugliness does exist and thanks to this movie it’s now impossible for me to ignore.

I’m inspired now to help Virunga in any way that I can and I encourage you all to watch this movie or educate yourself about the situation in another way. It’s on Netflix, it’ll wreak you, but it’ll hopefully inspire you too.


 It took an hour for me to stop shaking after I walked out of this theater. The Academy are incredibly wrong and frankly I’m angry that they didn’t nominate Ava DuVernay. She created a film that is emotional and heart-wrenching and makes the story of the march from Selma to Montgomery and MLK & others’ community organizing feel immediate and awe-inspiring. The performances are great and go so far beyond biopic aping, especially the also grossly overlooked David Oyelowo as MLK and Stephan James as a young John Lewis.

The “controversy” surrounding this movie is, in my opinion, completely inflated. LBJ signed important legislation, which this movie gives him full credit for, but it was the incredibly brave people on the ground, like Annie Lee Cooper (played by Oprah) and Jimmie Lee Jackson (Keith Stanfield), who was murdered by a state trooper, fighting for their rights in the face of violent, virulent hatred who deserve to be remembered for provoking progress.

This movie made me think about how prejudice and hatred work, about what motivates people on both sides of the line, and about how we can move forward now. We may lack a charismatic leader like King, but I know so many people who passionately care about justice, which is both heartening and sad in the face of the obstacles we as a society still face.

In other words this movie is difficult and galvanizing and really, really worth seeing.