La La Land

I know it’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a movie, but after seeing La La Land, I decided it was time to return.

I have  been looking forward to this film since I first saw the trailer several months ago and last night I finally saw it. The movie, which seems to be a love letter to Hollywood and classic musicals, revolves around Mia and Sebastian. Mia is a struggling actress working for her big break and Sebastian is an equally struggling musician who seeks to open his own club. They seem to keep running into each other and finally realize their feelings for each other. It seems to be going perfect until Sebastian, upon the urging of Mia, sets out to do what he must to make his dream of owning his own club a reality. It soon seems that their dreams and the currents of life are drawing them apart.

The music and dance sequences throughout the film maintain a dream-like atmosphere and  makes you wish that kind of magic and wonder could be found more readily in the real world. The music itself is memorable and almost addictive. The tunes will linger in your mind long after the final credits.

As I watched the film, it felt like someone had scooped out some idealized version of Hollywood that has only lived in my head and splashed it up on the screen. The struggles of Mia and Sebastian echoed in my soul and I don’t think I have ever  been so invested in an on-screen love story. Ryan Gosling is just about the most perfect leading man to come along in a long time and Emma Stone shines as the strong yet vulnerable ingenue. There’s a haunting beauty to the whole film and it seems to try to recapture some spark of life that many natives to Los Angeles seem to have lost, or simply ignore. This film is a reawakening with vibrant colors, beautiful music and a story that will make you laugh and cry in equal measure.

I enjoyed this movie and I can’t wait until it comes out on Blu Ray so that I can own it. This movie should be made the official film of Los Angeles. That’s all I’m saying.

Audience: The audience was good as gold in this one. Not a mutter or flash of a cell phone for the entire movie. Will wonders never cease?

NC GOP Revolt(ing)

So, McCRory finally conceded his defeat, but now the Repubs are pulling another shenanigan. Trying to strip incoming Governor Cooper of nearly all his power so they can retain control. They say they’re doing it because the legislature is closer to the people than the Governor, yet this argument wasn’t made when McCrory was in office. I think the party has finally and completely gone over the deep end. They, the party that constantly sings about how they love America and all that jazz, are now making one of the boldest moves to completely upend democracy. The people don’t want HB2 and they don’t want McCrory. They voted him out and voted Cooper in. Put on the big boy pants and suck it up. It’s amazing to me every time they lose, instead of examining their positions on the issues, they instead try to change the system to suit their interests. They need to be stopped because if this gambit succeeds, it will set a dangerous precedent for the entire country. The chain of command must be respected and if other states see that they can literally take away the power from the elected officials and take the reigns of power away by force, it will spell the end of America as we know it.

When did the Republican party become such a bunch of whiny little children? Always throwing these hissy fits each time they lose. It’s sickening and we  have to put our collective foot down and demand an end to this childish behavior. They system only works when we all play by the same rules, but somehow Republicans have gotten it into their heads that there’s a different set of rules for them. Which of course there aren’t. If I could address them directly I would tell them the reason they keep losing is because their policies are out of touch with the real world. They keep choosing to stay on the opposite side of progress. They preach this false morality they expect the world to live by, yet they themselves don’t.

Trump seems to have ushered in a new era of corruption. Maybe that’s why they defend him so much. As long as he’s on top, they think they can get away with anything. I don’t know what kind of world they are looking to live in, but I can’t imagine that it will be all that great, based on the issues they fight for. I see for them a world where all minorities are subjugated, the environment is expendable, and all the wealthy live in a beautiful Utopian city while the rest of the country struggles as they serve their rich masters. How that is a sustainable future, I have no idea. They want to rule us rather than legislate. We are not here to serve them, but rather they are here to work for us. No matter the title, from the bottom of the barrel to the top of the ladder, they are and always will be civil servants. It’s time they started acting like it.

Stupid Lists

I recently found a post of a top ten list that listed all the ways people waste their money and offered solutions. On the list of money-wasters was concessions at the movies. It even addressed the fact that the concession stand is the primary income of the theater but still suggested sneaking food in to save $$$. First off, no. No. Speaking as a movie buff and someone who actually enjoys the theater experience, I hate seeing people sneak food in. If you come to an establishment, it’s only right that you at least try to support the business. If everyone started smuggling food in, it wouldn’t be long until the theaters would start losing money and would have to close. The truth about a capitalist system is you have to put into it if you want to get something out of it. Sneaking food into a theater is wrong. Yes, it’s overpriced, but everything is these days and that’s how this crazy world works. You pay, they make a profit and stay in business and you can continue enjoying the services provided. You try and cut corners like sneaking food in, the business suffers and they close. Now no one gets to go to the  movies. Thanks a lot, douche-rag. Besides, if the cost of a soda and popcorn at the theater is going to break the bank, maybe you shouldn’t be going to the movies in the first place. Of course this list also includes cable as another money-waster, so this list really puts you in a bind.

Here’s a tip on how to really save money. Don’t go anywhere, do anything or eat. Ever. You’ll save thousands.

In The Name Of The Author

Lately I have encountered some people who are fellow artists and inevitably the conversations would turn to our work. The first topic of course is, for me, the lack of readership. The fact is my books are not commonly read and that’s mostly because I can’t afford to market them effectively enough to reach a larger reader base. After lamenting this, the person I’m talking to invariably asks if the work itself shouldn’t be the main focus and anything past that is just not that important. I have grown sick of this idea. I am a writer and yes, writing is a very important thing for me but isn’t enough. I admit that. It’s getting people to read my work that holds just as much importance. It’s not about vanity. I don’t expect people to read my stuff and go on about what a genius I am; although if that should happen, who am I to argue? It’s just the same with painters and singers. If their craft was enough for them, they would just paint for themselves or just sing for themselves, but they don’t. They post pictures of their paintings and upload videos of their singing or actually sing in public. Sharing their art with an audience is an essential part of the process. They aren’t doing it for glory or for worship by the masses. Creating something is just part of art. Another large part of it is sharing your work with others. It’s just like in life. It means more and is more precious when you share it with other people. I don’t like being made to feel like I’m some egotist just because I want people to read my books and scripts. I could sit in my room and write until the end of time. I could write piles of books and scripts  until the day I die and then be entombed in a hut made of those books and scripts, but what is the point of writing if your work is not shared with anyone else? Writing in itself is NOT enough, I’m sorry. It’s not. It’s like you keep loading your gun with bullets but never shoot it. The sharing of art is part of the artistic process. There is the artist and the audience. Two equal parts and one cannot exist without the other. The proof of that is museums. If art for the sake of art was such a thing, why do we have museums? Because it needs to be expressed as well as created. Art is like a living creature and  it needs to be appreciated. Being created and then thrown in a dark room never to be seen is like killing it.

That’s all I have to say about that.

Last Word Before Election

Finally, almost over. It seems like this election has gone on forever. Never has it been so divisive and toxic. Lie flying through the air and mud flung like never before. The hate and evil raised up from Trump has awakened a sleeping giant and has mobilized a lot of very scary people who were probably best left to their rest.

My final observations of this election cycle will not be polite. They will  not be measured. I’m jut freaking annoyed! First, I support Hillary. Like many, MANY people do. Every bad thing I hear about her, and I have heard it all since Bill’s tenure in the White House, fail to hold up to good old fashioned research. Read an article. Engage. Everything you hear about the Clintons, come from people who don’t know them, weren’t there when whatever went down went down, and usually just heard it from some drunk talk at the urinal, or worse, Fox News. 25 years of investigations and nothing has been found. Which means she’s either innocent of the charges or she is so smart she has avoided prosecution in the face of these endless probes; in which case I feel it makes her an even better candidate. To do that is the act of a genius, because no one has ever done it before in the history of this country.

People say they don’t like her because she’s dishonest. She’s a politician. Of course she’s dishonest, but only about 28% of the time. The rest of the time she is truthful. Trump however has been proven to be dishonest over 80% of the time. He even lied about something he said on live television barely an hour after saying it. Everything that Hillary is accused of, Trump is also guilty of, more so  in a lot of cases. The only difference is he really is guilty and she is only believed to be guilty.

I have seen smart  people turn into complete idiots during this election. Trump supporters will rationalize ANYTHING. He could release a video of him screwing  a mother and her under age daughter and they will just say he’s promoting family values. I think defending him actually destroyed brain cells, by the estimation of his supporters. A panelist on a talk show also claimed that Trump does indeed pay his bills. No, he doesn’t. I have read countless stories of contractors he has left high and dry. He simply thinks he doesn’t have to pay if he doesn’t want to. He then gets his Trump Foundation to funnel in some money for himself. Of all the crap that man has  pulled, why is none of it reported? It’s verifiable, it’s proven and it’s real, but no. Maybe you say things he said 10 years ago have no bearing now. Okay. Then why are Hillary’s words from the past fair game? If you’re going to play by those rules, you have to expect the other side to play by them as well. It doesn’t really matter I guess. It doesn’t matter how much you tear away at Hillary. No matter how bad you make her look, it will never make Trump a better candidate. She could commit murder on national television and I would still proudly vote for her over Trump. Let’s talk about his Russian ties. Let’s talk about his Bromance with Putin. Let’s talk about his outrage over foreign powers,  such as China, yet check out where the clothes that bear his brand are made. CHINA! God damn it people! What’s it going to take for you to see him for what he really is!? The quick facts are Hillary IS qualified. She is not guilty of any wrong doing. What she did many other politicians before her, including George Bush and Reagan, also did. In fact, under Bush Jr, there was a higher body count when it came to embassy attacks. Millions of emails deleted. Tell me how Hillary’s emails mean anything compared to that.

If you’re voting for that man, you are stupid. Flat out. His policies are ridiculous. They are the stuff of Saturday morning cartoons, only the joke will be on us. That wall will never get built, and  if it does, it won’t be done until long after his first term is over. This is all an ego trip for him. Can you really see that man up at 4 in the morning dealing with an international crisis? Him in the Situation Room? He will go right for the nukes, you know it. I know a lot of his supporters love him for that, but those are the real idiots. I have seen these people and got a sample of how they think and deplorable doesn’t even cover it. They must all live on a steady diet of Red Bull and lead paint chips. Whenever they speak I just want to slap them and tell them to shut the hell  up! They base all their beliefs on the words of Fox news and all the other Conservative pundits who, despite their intelligence, bend over backwards to defend and boost up this nightmare of a human being.

Basically, if you aren’t voting for Hillary because you just don’t like her, you should still vote for her. You’re not voting for your new best friend. You’re voting to put someone who is tough, smart, diplomatic and strong enough to face the challenges this country poses in the seat of the president. She may be a bitch. So what? As Tina Fey once said, bitches get s**t done! (paraphrasing). All these calls to impeach her on day one and plans to hit her with constant investigations should she win are ridiculous. It’s actually almost treasonous to plot like that about your president. Openly stating you will not participate in your own duties because of that candidate.

Trump will lose, but in a sense he has won. He has empowered  an army of racist, inbred immature idiots and Nazis. Literally. If you are with Trump, you are aligning with honest to God Nazis. A simple Google search of Hillary’s accomplishments will show you how effective she is and how hard she works. The fact that the FBI has investigated her seven ways from Sunday but still found nothing to prosecute her on should be enough. She and Bill aren’t rich or powerful enough to escape that kind of scrutiny. I don’t know. It just seems like such an obvious choice here. If you prefer to believe heresay, lies and baseless accusations, you’re a Trumper, and you are literally what’s wrong with this country.

Let’s just get to the 8th, get Hillary elected and maybe then we can go about the business of living once more.

Campaign 2016

After this last debate, I am sure there are still Trump supporters convinced their guy will win. People who believe despite the atrocities this man spews, he is a better choice than Clinton. Have you googled her accomplishments? Have you done the real research on her or are you basing this opinion on all the rumors and unsubstantiated rumors that have dogged them for decades? When you go to the trouble of learning about her, you will discover she is a capable, intelligent and hard working person who has done amazing things and have helped countless people all over the world and still inspires. Perfect? No, but no candidate is perfect, but she will do something Trump will NOT do and that is fight for this country. Hundreds of papers are endorsing her. Papers that haven’t endorsed a Democratic candidate in literally hundreds of years. I think that in itself says a lot. I know, you say it’s all liberal media bias. Whenever things conflict with what you believe, it’s a lie. Sure she has a few black mars on her record, but there is nothing she could have done that would make Trump a better choice. She’s a liar, they say. She does lie. About 28% of the time, which is average for a politician. Trump, your boy, lies 80% of the time. He lied after the first debate about something he said during the debate. He lied about something millions of people heard him say barely an hour after saying it on camera and into his mic. You trust that? You honestly trust that!? All the failed business ventures, the late night Twitter rants. This man is a child and I honestly believe if he is elected, he will probably resign before his first year is up because he won’t be able to handle it. This isn’t hosting a reality show or being a suit. This is a 24/7, super important job that never ends and he just doesn’t have the fortitude. Although, to his credit, I agree with term limits in congress and the senate, but we don’t need him to get that done.

You say anything is better than Clinton, and I say, NO!!! We’re going to be fortunate to have her as our president. So much progress has been made in these past 8 years. We can’t slip back. I admit, I’m less concerned with foreign policy than I am with the war at home, but even still, if your complaint about her is still Benghazi, remember that the Republicans cut security funding for that embassy shortly before the attack, so there is plenty of blame to go around there.

The point is, she is uniquely qualified for this job and he is the exact opposite. It’s not even a subtle shade of quality. If you fall in the camp of being against marriage equality, conservation of our environment and all that, well, all I can say is the world is changing and you can only fight it for so long. If the problem runs that deep in you, maybe you should look into moving to a remote island where you can found your own civilization and you can create that narrow minded world you dream of. Until then, we’re all going to have to find a way to get along until that big asteroid comes and sets all accounts right.

The Girl On The Train

The Girl On The Train is a subtle, well paced mystery thriller about a woman, Rachel, as she struggles with alcoholism after her divorce from her husband Tom. She is forced out of the home they put together in favor of Tom’s new wife, Anna and their new child. Rachel drifts in and out of sobriety as she clings to the life she once had and longs for something better. The focus of her longing is a young couple in a house a few doors down from her old one which she can see from her seat on the train which she rides each day. She watches them make love and cuddle and she feels that missing part of herself.

One day, Rachel witnesses the young woman with another man. Having been cheated on herself, the pain is deep and maddening and mixed in with alcohol, dangerous. Rachel gets off the train to confront the woman. In that brief space of time, something happens which Rachel can’t seem to remember and the next day the woman she was about to confront is found to be missing. Things go from bad to worse when Rachel reaches out to the woman’s husband and informs him about his wife’s infidelity. This sets forth a chain of events that ensnares everyone’s lives and Rachel’s sanity is on the brink as the police close in on her as a prime suspect. With no memory of what happened and all evidence pointing to the unthinkable, Rachel must fight to recover her mind and discover the truth, not only to what happened that night, but the truth to her own life.

This is a deeply psychological thriller that attacks from all sides. With the shifting perspective you never know quite what’s going on and whose side you should be on, but you also can’t wait to find out. Emily Blunt turns in a strong performance as a broken woman clinging to the last of her sanity as she tries to see the truth. There are times her drunk performances can seem a little forced or pushed, but it’s easily forgiven when you can feel her power coming through the screen.

Audience:  A very well behaved audience. It looks like we’re on quite a roll.