Unstoppable

Sometime back, I saw an article that mentioned that Quentin Tarantino highly regarded Unstoppable as one of his favorite films of the past ten years. Srsly, that movie? Isn’t it kinda basic? I added it to my watch pile anyways. In Tarantino we trust.

There’s a runaway train, loaded with hazardous materials, and headed for population. A couple good guys on a second train try to catch it. Even with Chris Pine and Denzel Washington in the lead roles, I’d skipped it in theaters. It just seemed to simplistic, and I couldn’t believe there’d be anything great about it. I eventually got it as part of a Black Friday haul, and very much enjoyed watching it. Then I mostly forgot about it. Tarantino’s comments made me remember that this was a good movie, I just didn’t remember how good.

Yes, the story is straight forward and simple. It’s also very real and grounded, in a way that few Hollywood movies are. On top of that, it’s hella suspenseful. As in one of the best thrill rides of my quarantine viewing. You don’t get that combination of realism and suspense in too many films. Maybe my boy QT was on to something.

I’d even argue that this film fits the positivity rule. Yes I was stressed watching it, but it was a good stress. And there was no existential crisis or bad guys that make me question my faith in humanity. It was very human, and showed the good in people (mostly, cause there were some less than good ones). It was true escapism at its best, with just about everything I’d want in a film, even if it came in a rather unassuming package. I’ll hafta remember this one as a go-to recommendation in the future

21

How have I not written up this movie before? Hell, I coulda prolly written it up cold, without a rewatch, but the rewatch this week made it required. Why is this movie such a big deal? Because it’s the one that most captures (not necessarily best captures) MIT. Yeah moreso than Good Will Hunting, which really only mentions it in passing. 21 actually got to shoot some scenes around campus, and it was about real life MIT kids. And it was filmed while I was in school there. Me and the bestie even went down to the casting office to try and get on as extras (word on the street was they were taking any MIT kids that came in) but we were too late and most shooting was wrapped.

21 is about some real life MIT kids who figured out a card counting scheme and took Vegas for all it was worth–on the weekends, when they weren’t in class. The events were written down in a book called Bringing Down the House. I never got around to reading it, but you couldn’t go more than a couple days on campus without seeing it in someone’s possessions. The movie heavily fictionalizes the story. Or at least I assume it’s heavily fictionalized, because my rewatch came off as really Hollywood-ized–contrived and over the top with drama.

Not long after graduating, I showed this at a movie night with my fellow Beavers (yes that’s MIT’s mascot). The game was “Take a drink every time there’s something wrong about MIT”. Things like how in the opening scene he rides his bike in one direction across the Mass Ave bridge, then rides it in the same direction across the BU bridge that runs parallel. Or how they keep referring to THE 2.09 (there’s no “the” when you mention course numbers), and treat it like it’s this big deal on campus (it’s not, and I kept thinking they meant 2.007 which is more of a competition), and they even have banners up advertising it (there never were). Oh and while exterior shots were on campus, all interiors were at BU.

Some stuff is right. The math prof is in building 2. The clothing store where our lead works really exists in nearby Harvard Square, and even had a movie poster in the window for years after. The little details that you’d have to have gone there to know are there, but the bigger details that everyone else will notice are mostly off. No matter. It’s still a fun game.

I remember really enjoying the thrill of the game before, but now as I’d said before, it does feel so overdone. Manufactured drama and extreme situations. I mean of course you gotta jazz things up, but it just feels so fake now. The cast doesn’t really help. Jim Sturgess is out of his depth. Kate Bosworth doesn’t sell the smarts. And Kevin Spacey has too much baggage to ever enjoy a film with him again. I do like Liza Lapira, and am always happy to see her pop up in other small roles.

So yeah, maybe other films capture the spirit of my alma matter better than this one. Hell, half of the movie takes place in a different state. But given that I was there when it came together, it’s the one that makes me most nostalgic for my old home.

Quick Posts

Just figured out I should have taken this quick post approach to lockdown. At least it’s worth trying. I’m watching LOTS of movies (around 15 a week) but only a handful warrant a full post. But there’s still lots of thoughts I have on the others. So let’s give this a go?

St Elmo’s Fire – The least loved of all the 80s brat pack movies, and for good reason. It’s just not as interesting. I for one have a really hard time buying these characters. You’ve got 3 Breakfast Club actors in a film that was released the same year, but they’re meant to be about ten years older. Sure, they’re acting their real age, but their high school characters are so iconic, I can’t help but see them as babies. Babies doing adult things, because adulting as a twenty something was different then than it is now. Hell, I still haven’t done half of what they attempt (and fail at).

Pump Up the Volume – I saw someone tweet in defense of physical media the other day, saying that this movie wasn’t on streaming anywhere and the scarce DVD’s were pretty limited. This had been on my watch list for a while, so in a panic I quickly ordered it off Ebay. I didn’t notice that it was an import copy, so all the text on the box was in Korean. All good though, it still played. In English. I very much enjoyed it, but I get how it can get lost in the shuffle of all the great 80’s and early 90’s teen comedies. Still, I love me some Christian Slater. Between this and Heathers and Interview, I think I’m officially declaring him my favorite heartthrob of the era. Throw in today’s Mr Robot for good measure too

Real Genius – If MIT had a favorite movie, it would be Sneakers. But Real Genius is pretty high on the list too. A DVD permanently sat by the tv in my hall’s lounge, although I don’t know that I saw it used that often. The early scenes where the new kid is touring the dorm brought back so many feels. That craziness of smart kids running around building things and experimenting and having fun is exactly the vibe of my undergrad, at least at East Campus, my dorm which was known for its free spirited craziness. I was talking with another friend recently about dorm things, and his frat boy self was shaking his head at my stories. So maybe it wasn’t all of MIT, but it was my home.

Scarface – I only made it about forty minutes into this movie. Actually, I was ready to turn it off after less than ten, but this is one of those movies that I SHOULD know. I fell asleep at that 40 mark, snuggling with my cat, and was awakened by a phone call a little later. I opted not to continue the movie. Why was I so quick to turn it off? The whole thing was just glorifying toxic masculinity. It shouldn’t have come as quite a shock, but Tony Montana’s machismo was unbearable. And then I started thinking about how many IRL guys idolize him and aspire to be him, and I literally started to feel sick. It was so uncomfortable to watch thru that lens, I just couldn’t take it. I had to reinstate the positivity rule for the rest of the night

Now and Then

Do any of you (all three of y’all) have songs or phrases that are irrevocably linked with a movie? You hear it, and the scene pops into your head. You can’t untangle them? I’ve got a lot of such links to Now and Then. Lord knows how many times I watched it as a kid, prolly on some worn out VHS tape recorded from the tv. The other night during Zoom Trivia our trivia guy was playing “No Matter What” by Badfinger. My brain adds in the girls singing the song over the sound of the band, with their extra emphasis on “I will give it to YOU”. I think this will be a good movie for the watch pile. I’ve been in a bit of a funk the past week, so the positivity rule is in play. Except I search the wall and it’s not there. What?! How do I not own this movie? I quickly rectified the situation.

It’s not just that one song that’s stayed with me. It’s the whole soundtrack. This was my original Awesome Mix of 70’s pop hits. And it’s not just the soundtrack. It’s the dialog too. I hear words out of context that trigger entire scenes to play out in my head. I just know every frame of this movie. Sidebar, I realized that as a kid, I had no concept for how long a movie was. I’ve noticed with rewatching childhood favorites like this, I have no clue how long they are. And whereas now, I check the timing and figure out when it’ll be done to plan my day, back then I’d just throw them on. Could be the hour forty of Now and Then, or the two and a half of Forrest Gump (yes I watched that a lot as a kid, we’ve been over that story before).

Four childhood best friends are reuniting as adults (Rosie O’Donnell, Melanie Griffith, Demi Moore, Rita Wilson) for the first time in years. This brings them to reflect back on their best summer ever, as children in the 70’s (the children being Christina Ricci, Thora Birch, Gaby Hoffmann, and Ashleigh Aston Moore). They had free reign over their suburban town, saving to build a treehouse and avoiding the Wormer brothers’ torments. But what they spent most of the summer on was investigating the mysterious death of Dear Johnny, a boy their age who passed away decades earlier. It’s a sweet story of sisterhood and innocense.

One thing I feel makes this film special is how distinct each of the characters are. Four different personality types with four different upbringings. Personally, I always identified most with Roberta (Ricci). She was the tough girl tomboy of the bunch. Although, sadly I never got to kiss Devon Sawa like she did, or anyone remotely close to him. Watching it now, I still feel like personality wise I’m Roberta, but I’ve got a lot of Chrissy in me too. I never cared for her before because she’s the big girly girl (so not me) but she’s the one with the sheltered upbringing and unbroken home. This also makes her the worrier of the bunch, and the one they trust with their treehouse fund (yeah that detail hit close to home). I suppose now it makes sense why the two of them are paired off as besties. I don’t think I ever quite got it before.

This nostalgic swim was exactly what I needed this past week that I’ve been in a funk. I still remembered nearly every beat of the film, while still feeling like I was watching it for the first time. It’s one of the great family movies of the 90’s and one that I don’t think gets enough attention anymore these days.

Disclosure

I am proud to be an LGBTQIA+ ally. Or at least, I try to be an ally as best as I can. But despite my best intentions, I know there’s still so much more I could do. I’m pretty good with the G’s in that acronym. Some of my closest friends are gay and I’m very plugged into their culture. I’m friends with some B’s and L’s, but I don’t know too many others that make up the beautiful pride rainbow. What this documentary made me realize is how far I’ve fallen short when it comes to supporting the T’s–the transgender community. I’ve especially failed simply by doing what I love most. Watching movies.

Disclosure is a documentary about the portrayal of the transgender community in the media, specifically film and tv. The stat that’s being given right now is that 80% of Americans don’t know anyone who is transgender. I’ve known a few transgender people, but none that have been more than acquaintances. No particular reason, just not every person you meet is destined to be your best friend. Therefore, for most of us, our greatest exposure to these beautiful people is thru the media. And the portrayal that they’ve been given is often not only wrong, but dangerous.

The film interviews members of the transgender community in the film industry. Mostly actors, but some writers and other filmmakers as well. People like Laverne Cox (who produced this), Alexandra Billings, Lilly Wachawski and others. They go thru various films and tv series, many of which were very highly acclaimed, and talk thru the impact that their depicitions of trans individuals had.

First we see trans people as the jokes. Comedians donning drag just for laughs at their expense. Then there’s the films where people (usually men) are disgusted at meeting a trans person. From there it gets really dangerous as we see trans people as psycho killers or as perennial victims. Films that I’ve known and loved that I never realized had such far reaching negative consequences on real people’s lives. It hurt to understand how complicit I’ve been, but I’m sure that hurt is nowhere near the pain that the trans community feels.

Let’s take The Crying Game as an example. (Skip this paragraph if you don’t want that spoiled). I saw it for the first time maybe ten years ago, and I loved it. I was actually excited to see a transgender character on film, stupidly thought that was victory enough. But when the new boyfriend finds out that his girlfriend is trans (not that it even uses the proper terminology at all, another shortcoming) he reacts by vomiting and getting sick. Now think about how many movies since where you’ve seen that reaction? First one that came to mind for me? Ace Ventura.

I’d actually just rewatched Ace Ventura recently. When I remembered the homo and trans phobic ending, I felt disgusted myself over how much I used to love and praise this film, without fully understanding how hurtful it was. The first time I saw it after watching The Crying Game, I remember laughing even harder at the scene where Ace figures things out, because The Crying Game theme song was playing. Now I get that it’s not funny, and not something we should condone any more.

There’s so many examples like this throughout the doc, things I’d never even thought to notice. I can only hope that I’ll be more mindful and sensitive going forward, and that I’ll do whatever I can to lift up the trans community. Give my money to Hollywood for films that portray them in realistic manners instead of those that disparage them. And just understanding how a seemingly throwaway joke or moment in a movie can have far reaching impacts on real people’s lives. I’m not gonna be perfect at it, but I can try.

The King of Staten Island

With the ‘rona closing down theaters across the globe, lots of movies have pushed back their release dates. Others have opted to go to streaming or VOD. For the most part, my reactions to the movies moved to the net have been either “eh whatever, I’ll get to it at some point then” or “oh thank God, I didn’t really wanna see this but was prolly gonna anyway”. If nothing else, I figured that some of these would find their way to a screen once things started opening (I’d heard Trolls was one of the few new things playing at the theaters that have reopened). But it’s looking like the widespread reopenings are being pushed back (which I’m torn about because I don’t wanna go see a movie while I feel unsafe, but also theaters being open means my job working on their software is more secure) and it’ll be sometime until I do get to see those lost films. Well some are on streaming that I have access to, but we know I don’t prioritize those. However, there’s one movie lost in the VOD shuffle that I did need to see. The King of Staten Island. Why? In Judd we (I) trust.

Huge huge fan of Judd Apatow (and his films like 40 Year Old Virgin or Knocked Up), and it’s been a while since he’s had a new movie. Right there, that moves it up the priority list. But was the movie actually was is what made me want to shell out the 20 bucks for the VOD rental. The film stars Pete Davidson and is sorta loosely based on his life as a world class screwup but overall nice guy who doesn’t really try because he doesn’t really know how to. He’s just doing his best. Early buzz was jokes about how with this year’s Oscar pool all screwy, we might see Davidson’s name on some short lists. Except they weren’t really jokes because he really was that good.

Anyways, I’d been budgeting 5 bucks a week to rent a movie from Alamo, and after I’d skipped one week cause I wasn’t feeling it, I realized I could just skip a couple more weeks to pool my budget and justify the steep rental price. I know, there’s times where I’ll gladly play twenty bucks to see something at Alamo, but renting a film to watch at home doesn’t quite seem as worth it. Especially due to attention span issues we’ve previously discussed. But I was willing to give it a go. Besides, dialog driven films (as I expected this to be) tend to go better at home than action driven ones. It’d be worth it. And it was.

I gave a high level summary, but I’ll dig in a bit more. As I said, Davidson’s Scott is a world class screwup. Can’t do anything right. No job, no high school degree, lives with his mom. He spends all his time smoking weed and giving crappy tattoos. He has no direction and frankly wouldn’t even know what to do with it if he had it. His firefighter father passed away when he was young, and he’s given up on trying to live up to his saint-like memory. Then Mom starts dating a fireman from the same company, which stirs up all kinds of issues for him. On top of that, Mom now wants him to get his act together and move out. But where does he even start?

The thing that Apatow is most known of his is humor, and it’s certainly woven throughout the film. But it’s not a laugh a minute type of comedy. I say that not as a criticism, but to set expectations. More important than the humor is the heart that carries the movie. I’d recently rewatched 40 Year Old Virgin and I realized that heart is what carries that film too. Everyone remembers the funny lines and awkward scenes, but it’s ultimately a very sensitive and thoughtful character story. So was Staten Island.

When I did my Stardust reaction, I’d said that Davidson was born for this role. I realized later that it’s kind of an inaccurate statement because this role was literally written for him, with his input and bits of his biography. So it’s not that he was such a good fit it’s like he was created for it, but rather it’s like his whole purpose of being here was to inspire and create this film. He really is as good as everyone is saying, and it’s because he’s lived this. I heard Apatow telling Colbert or some other late night host that Davidson was sending him other actors’ resumes right up until shooting started because he didn’t think he was capable of acting this role. He was more than capable.

Oh also sidebar about Davidson, I think I kinda get the appeal. It’s been such a mystery how he’s been able to get girlfriends like Ariana Grande and Kate Beckinsale. The whole BDE idea started because of him. Speaking as someone with a bit (maybe more than a bit) of a Messiah complex (by which I mean a strong desire to help or save someone), I was drawn to him here. He’s a total wreck in desperate need of “saving”, but he’s also just such a good guy. You don’t wanna save the guy who’s gonna be a total ass. You wanna save the puppy dog who deserves it and who will be grateful. You wanna save Pete Davidson.

I will say that while I thoroughly enjoyed this film, it did take a while to get going. When we met our character, he spelled out some of his mental issues and roadblocks in life. “Awesome!” I thought. “We need to spotlight and destigmatize these things.” Then it felt a little stalled, which I think is just the nature of writing around a character who is doing nothing. Nothing happens until he starts making it happen. Once the ball did get rolling tho, this became one of those movies that I loved more and more with every passing frame. By the time we reached the end, I didn’t want it to end. I knew he’d been set on a path, but I wanted to see him follow it. It prolly did end at the right moment, but I wanted so much more.

I don’t typically rate movies I watch at home, but seeing as how I totally would have seen it in a theater (and payed theater prices for it)…
The King of Staten Island – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Primer

I’ve written about this movie before. I generally try to avoid writing up the same movie twice, but I’m making a special exception for this one. Nay, a new mandate for myself. I will write about this one every time I see it, at least until I feel like I properly understand it. I am declaring Primer my new Mulholland Dr, and I am determined to watch it until I get it. Not all at once mind you, but now and again over however long it takes.

I thought about it the other day when I swear I saw Rian Johnson recommend it to Kumail Nanjiani when he asked on Twitter for suggestions of cerebral scifi movies. I can’t find either tweet anymore. But it reminded me that it deserved a revisit.

A refresher, what is this movie? It’s a super low budget indie scifi about a couple of techie geeks who accidentally build a time machine. They begin with a super cautious approach of only going back a few hours at a time and remaining isolated so as to not run into their other selves, while making a few changes to improve their future prospects. But of course, potential that great is hard to take in moderation, so one of them tries to take more risks against the warnings of the other. It strains their friendship as they fight with each other for control of their futures by using their past.

First of all, time travel movies are inherently confusing. If it’s not warping your brain, they’re not trying hard enough. There’s always gonna be paradoxes involved. I actually did find a super helpful diagram on Wikipedia that helps explain how the timelines work. It certainly cleared up a lot of it for me, but there’s still one detail that’s unique to this film that I can’t wrap my brain around: in order to travel to a particular time, you need to have previously placed “the box” at that time and turned it on. In other words, this isn’t Hermione spinning a necklace X number of times or Doc Brown setting a date on his Delorean. Time travel requires advance planning.

Let’s step back a bit. First act of the film, pretty straightforward. The dudes discover. Second act, still not too difficult (especially with the help of the diagram). Singular time loops with a singular purpose. It’s the third act that’s pure chaos (not necessarily a bad thing).

I’ll admit that once again I was watching this film a little too late, so maybe I need to next attack it in the morning with a fresh brain. I mostly get what they were trying to do. That same Wikipedia article was helpful in keeping plot points straight (although I still don’t get the significance of the party with the gunman). It’s the pre-planning that I’d mentioned before that really cooks my noodle. One guy set up a fail safe machine (I’m with that) but somehow the other did too and there were multiple ones running and when did they think to do all that and how did they record themselves and how many loops have there been and are we really just ignoring the possible physical effects if there are any and what’s with the other dude who did it and was there something about taking a machine into the machine and I have no idea what’s going on but it looks like it’s over now. Yeah.

So okay, I feel like I’ve got 2/3 of the movie straight. That’s basically where I was with Mulholland too and I eventually figured that one out just enough (with multiple rewatches and tons of internet research). I can figure out this one too, yeah? If I haven’t made another attempt by next summer, someone please remind me

Tammy and the T-Rex

I have a new movie obsession. Like seriously obsessed. Can’t stop talking about it. It’s become a thing. Tammy and the T-Rex. This is a staple of Alamo Drafthouse’s Weird Wednesdays. I missed it in the fall, but vowed to catch it when it came back. It had a show scheduled in mid-March that quickly sold out, and added a second. I was waiting until it was within a week of the showtime so I could use my season pass, but that week was when the world shut down. So I missed it. Then Alamo launched their VOD platform, and I was able to rent this for a mere three dollars. I half expected I’d keep renting it again and again, but I unexpectedly got an Amazon giftcard that I used to splurge on the $25 Blu-Ray. It’s officially the only movie I’ve watched twice in lockdown thus far.

So what is it and why the obsession? I’ll come right out and say this is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, but I also haven’t been so joyful watching something in the past three months. Here’s the plot. Tammy, Denise Richards (things are off to a GREAT start), is dating Michael, a pre-F&F Paul Walker (the hits just keep on coming) much to the chagrin of her rage-prone ex. That of course won’t stand for such a bully, so he beats up Walker and leaves him for dead in a lion enclosure. Yes, there’s a lion involved too. Wasn’t this about a t-rex? We’ll get there.

Now Paul Walker is in a coma with a distraught Denise Richards by his side. Enter the mad scientist (there’s always one, isn’t there), who needs a brain to power his lifesize t-rex robot. He fakes Paul Walker’s death and uses some shady science to place his brain in the dino. Dino-Paul Walker escapes the lab and finds all the high school kids at a party where he can easily take revenge on all the bullies and baddies who gave him a hard time. He then reconnects with his love Denise Richards, and they (along with the token gay black best friend sidekick) try to find a new body to transfer the brain into while staying one step ahead of the scientist. Sounds pretty good right? Totally normal film?

Whatever your feelings are towards that plot description is how you’ll feel about the whole film, because it gets better (worse) from there. I find it completely hilarious, so I appreciate the terrible acting, the horrible effects, and every bad decision that made this movie come to be. It’s on par with The Room, although what makes The Room so great is that Tommy Wiseau took every aspect of that film completely seriously, whereas Tammy knows it’s terrible.

I learned that Tammy was made because somebody was going to have access to a T-rex robot and wanted to make a movie. A script was thrown together in a crazy short period of time to be filmed in an even crazier timeline. Word on the street is that even while shooting, the filmmakers would be asking people for suggestions to try to fix what they were working on. Overall it gives off a vibe that it recognizes it’s faults, but still has fun with it. And isn’t having fun what watching a movie is all about? I for one can’t wait for a post-rona world where I can host a movie night featuring this gem. I’ve already got half my trivia team renting it on my recommendation. I’m sure I’ll be watching it again soon

Da 5 Bloods

Normally I’d complain that a prestige pic like this, from one of my favorite filmmakers was dropping on Netflix instead of theaters. Especially because I’m focusing mostly on the movie wall, and not getting too many streaming flicks. This was so good tho. I didn’t have the usual attention span issues from when I’m watching a film at home. There were several times where I even dropped my crochet (which really just functions as a fidget spinner) and I stared at the screen. I’d suspect Alamo Drafthouse will pick up this film once they open back up, and I might be making a trip down there to see it again in all its big screen glory.

This latest Spike Lee joint is about a group of black Vietnam veterans. Each were changed by what they saw in the war, but have gone on to live their lives in their own way as best as they can. They reunite for a trip back to ‘Nam, with the primary mission of finding their commander’s body and bringing him home. There’s also a secondary mission of locating some gold that went missing on their watch, promising enough wealth to change what’s left of their lives. That is if the trip doesn’t tear them apart first.

As I’d already began saying, this film was incredible. The story is strong, made so much stronger by Lee’s signature racial commentary (it sounds so trite to put it that way, but that really is the strength of the film). IMDB trivia told me that the original screenplay centered on white soldiers, and I cannot see that film having the same impact that this one did. I loved how Lee spliced in past and present footage to illustrate the parallels between their micro struggles and their macro ones. When he added the protest footage to the end of BlacKkKlansman, I’d worried that people would think it was too preachy and heavy handed. Instead, that addition received so much well deserved praise. He basically took that technique one step further and used it throughout much of the film to great effect.

Phenomenal cast as you would expect since Lee really does have his pick of actors. Chadwick Boseman, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters. But the major standout was Delroy Lindo. He’s one of those actors that you’ve definitely seen before. Maybe you did know his name before this movie, and you had a passing familiarity with him. This is the role of a lifetime for him. You will definitively know this man after watching this. Calling it for the Oscar nomination too. I don’t even wanna talk about specifics lest I spoil the impact, but oh damn, he was something special to watch.

I really liked how Lee used the same older actors for the flashback scenes, with only Chadwick Boseman being age appropriate. On the one hand, it seems so practical, to not need to figure out who is who, thus keeping the storylines more connected. But there’s more reason than that. Again according to IMDB trivia (srsly, if you’re not in the habit of looking up every movie you watch like I am, you are missing out some really cool stuff) the real reasoning was two fold. One is that it emphasizes that these are memories the now old men are experiencing and reliving today. The second is to highlight that 4 of them grew old while the fifth was KIA. It’s really effective and I’m surprised you don’t see this type of thing done more often. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a trend going foward.

Anyways, this is definitely required viewing, which should be easy enough to catch on Netflix in quarantine. It’s gonna be an extra long awards season this year, and we’ve already got one contender that will be in that conversation for the long haul.

Malcolm X

I took a bit of a break from the blog. Not sure how noticable it was, especially since I still had a few future dated posts ready to go. In the wake of all the Black Lives Matter protests, it didn’t feel right to talk about something so frivolous as movies. That wasn’t the conversation that needed to be happening, and I wanted to keep my socials free to listen to those on the front lines fighting for basic human rights. I didn’t even post on Stardust for two weeks. In three years, I hadn’t missed more than a day. Even though I may be wading back into social media, I recognize that the fight is far from over. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. Now and always, black lives matter.

Those first few days in my particular, my heart was so heavy. I was hearing so many heartbreaking stories of injustice and inequality. I’ve always been a very empathetic and compassionate person, so it both hurt to see so much pain, and infuriated me that so many people (especially ones in power) don’t share an ounce of that compassion. It would only take the most basic level of caring about others over yourself to solve many of the world’s problems.

While I was really sitting in my feelings, I tried to watch movies that reflected that. Screw the positivity rule. I needed to sit with this. Most of them I’ve already written up (movies like Fruitvale Station or Attack the Block). One that I haven’t talked about yet is Malcolm X.

It doesn’t feel appropriate to switch gears and just talk about the cinematic aspects of this. I don’t want to be dropping any criticisms right now. But I will say what I felt watching this was more of that rage and confusion towards the world. This movie is nearly twenty years old, set even further back in the past. And yet it reflects everything that’s happening today. The same ideas and cries and thoughts I’m seeing blasted across twitter are all woven in the DNA of this movie. Are we really still in the same place? God, I hope not.