Hot Girl Summer: “Believe It”

Summer 2019 is behind us and you know what, I didn’t do a darn thing. I didn’t visit one beach, pool or amusement park this year. My “Hot Girl Summer” consisted of going to work, going to church going to brunch a few times. All of my adventures and drama came from reading. That’s a good and bad thing at the same time. Ice could have been covering the ground and it would not have made much of a difference to me. I’m going to share and review what I read this summer.

My last Hot Girl Summer book review is “Believe It” by NFL quarterback Nick Foles.  I ran across this book while I was working my part time library job.  My first reaction to the book was I couldn’t imagine anything more boring than an autobiography of Nick Foles.

believe it

But then I remembered his practical and heartfelt MVP speech after winning Superbowl LII.  It touched my heart.  A lot of the victory speeches that people give at events such as the Oscars are sugary sweet nonsense that sets people up for failure.  I don’t believe that most celebrities tell the entire truth about how they become successful.

I checked “Believe It” out and indeed some parts were boring but overall I enjoyed the book.  I am not an Eagles fan so I skipped over the parts of the book where Nick Foles detailed the Playoff season.  I remember that Playoff season but I am not an Eagles fan and I was following other teams.  All of the teams that I cared about had been eliminated by the end so I gave my support to the Eagles simply because they were playing the heavily favored Patriots which get on my nerves along with most of the rest of America.

In case you don’t know here is the backstory.  Nick Foles is the NFL quarterback that led the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Superbowl victory in 2018.  Nick was a back up quarterback at the beginning of the season to Carson Wentz who was sensational.  Carson Wentz got hurt at the end of the regular season and couldn’t continue to play.  Nick had to step in at a critical juncture of the season and not let his team mates and the city of Philadelphia down.

Nick Foles is kind of like a live action version of Charlie Brown that won the Superbowl.  His life isn’t very dramatic but nothing came easy for him.  He was picked 88th in the NFL draft.  I didn’t realize the numbers went that high.  He played second string to superstar quarterbacks Mike Vick and Carson Wentz.  He also played back up to one of my favs Alex Smith.

charlie brown and lucy

He was a starting quarterback on the St. Louis Rams which was a struggling franchise at the time.  He was in that lead position briefly and was fired.  After his winning Superbowl season Nick played with the Eagles briefly and then became a free agent.  He started the current NFL season as the starting quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars but his collarbone was broken in the first game against my Kansas City Chiefs.

Nick told other anecdotes of being awkward and things just not going quite right.  I think many of us can relate to this book even if we are not athletic or particularly competitive.  Prior to the Superbowl reporters covering the event confused Nick with a different player.  That’s easy to believe because he is a pretty plain looking guy.

nick foles

He went into a restaurant in Philadelphia and went unnoticed by fans that loudly expressed their lack of faith that Nick could bring the championship home.  The woman that he fell in love with on sight and later married was dating someone else when they first met.  The proposal that he planned was a comedy of errors.  A lot of celebrities try to be relatable and it comes across as very phony and condescending.  But I think everyone can gain something from Nick’s encouraging MVP speech.  Please watch.

 

I recommend “Believe It” even if you don’t enjoy football.  I enjoy the game and I skipped parts of it because I still interested in the Eagles Superbowl run and I don’t need to read about it in detail.  But Nick is a likeable and sympathetic character.  Everyone loves an underdog and he was the lead underdog on a team of underdogs.  It would be hard not to like “Believe It”.

 

Review: Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri

Over the weekend I watched the 2017 release Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri.  It’s a very good film and Frances McDormand does great work in it.  The only other movie I’ve seen Frances McDormand in is Fargo.  The two films have a lot in common.

Both films are centered around a mysterious crime in a small town which is McDormand’s sweet spot from what I can tell.  In Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri.  Frances McDormand plays Mildred Hayes, a single mother of two teenagers.  Her daughter Angela becomes a victim of a rape and murder during a night out.  The local police force doesn’t make any progress in finding the girl’s rapist and murderer.  Months go by with no leads and no contact from the police department.

Mildred decides to buy billboard space on the edge of town.  The three billboards have a bold and confrontational message.  The ask the town police chief played by Woody Harrelson in bold block letters why no arrests have been made in her daughter’s case.

ThreeBillboards

The billboards quickly become controversial because they challenge the town’s sense of righteousness.  The Ebbing police department had been accused of race based police brutality but the billboards which spotlight lackadaisical police work in the murder of a local White girl angered the townsfolk.  I’m sure they like to think of themselves as God fearing, salt of the Earth kind of people.

Mildred becomes the town pariah but I don’t think it mattered much to her.  She doesn’t seem to socialize much and she doesn’t scare easily.  Through a peculiar chain of events the police department is inspired to put more energy into solving the mystery of Angela’s death.

Frances McDormand plays a resilient and stoic woman that pushes back when she is pushed, or ignored.  I was moved to tears watching this imperfect mother fight for her daughter’s honor.  Angela was a bad girl which may be the reason that the town didn’t rally around her mother.  Mildred is a bad girl too and she couldn’t rest while the world went moved on without anyone being brought to justice for killing her daughter.

This is definitely a good movie and worth your time.  It is dark without being too vulgar and there are several interesting plot twists.  The movie pulled at my heart strings.  If you haven’t seen Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri add it to your to see list.

Hot Girl Summer: “The Boleyn Wife”

Summer 2019 is behind us and you know what, I didn’t do a darn thing. I didn’t visit one beach, pool or amusement park this year. My “Hot Girl Summer” consisted of going to work, going to church going to brunch a few times. All of my adventures and drama came from reading. That’s a good and bad thing at the same time. Ice could have been covering the ground and it would not have made much of a difference to me. I’m going to share and review what I read this summer.

Boleyn Wife

I don’t know why it took me so long to come to this conclusion but Henry the VIII was a murderous maniac.  He was a medieval Charles Manson.  He didn’t kill people himself as far as we know but he used his influence to have others do it for him.  I’ve always been fascinated by Henry the VIII and I was a fan of the show The Tudors.  Henry’s life reads or at least historians present his life as a soap opera.  I’m ashamed that it took me so long to stop believing in the hype.

The Boleyn Wife is about Jane Boleyn, the sister in law of Queen Anne Boleyn.  Jane married Anne brother George Boleyn.  Jane and George had an arranged marriage.  Jane loved George but her feelings were unrequited.  George saw the marriage as a business affair and not a matter of the heart or even respect.  He was not attracted to or fond of his wife at all.  He barely paid her any attention at all.

George had a very close relationship with his sister Anne.  Jane was tormented with jealousy of the relationship her husband had with his sister because she wished to be close to George.  Jane was committed to loving the wrong man.  She never had an affair or attempted to leave the marriage.  But when she had the opportunity to give testimony against her husband she did.  And he, his sister and two others were executed.

Lady Jane lived with guilt and for many years.  She lived a life of quiet desperation.  She loved and trusted the wrong people over and over and she never came to her senses and took back her power.  She conceived a child in a predatory relationship that she was unable to love.  He was given away.  Jane ended up being executed herself along with her Queen Catherine Howard.  Jane was executed despite going insane while in prison due to the pressure of incarceration and being haunted by memories.

If you enjoy historical fiction and have an interest in Henry the VIII you will enjoy this book.  It’s very sad and it’s a point of view I had never heard before even though Lady Jane was portrayed in The Tudors.  There is a lesson to learn from Lady Jane.  Don’t waste your time loving someone that doesn’t love you.  If you find yourself in unrequited love end it, dust yourself off and try again once you’ve figured out what you deserve.

Hot Girl Summer: “Woman of Virtue”

Summer 2019 is behind us and you know what, I didn’t do a darn thing. I didn’t visit one beach, pool or amusement park this year. My “Hot Girl Summer” consisted of going to work, going to church going to brunch a few times. All of my adventures and drama came from reading. That’s a good and bad thing at the same time. Ice could have been covering the ground and it would not have made much of a difference to me. I’m going to share and review what I read this summer.

Woman of Virtue

woman of virtue

I found this book in Hoopla, my library’s digital book database.  It popped up when I put Proverbs 31 in the search engine.  The book is a Biblical guide to being a virtuous Proverbs 31 woman.  For the most part I enjoyed and I would recommend the book.

I like the perspective of the book because it is an alternate view of modern womanhood.  It challenges the influence of feminism in today’s culture and families.  The author encourages women to be modest, dutiful and virtuous which is a sharp contrast to the common messages that women get from the media.  Women and girls are socialized to be vain, self centered and promiscuous.  So the conventional thinking in this book makes it rebellious and counter culture.  I’ve always thought of myself as a rebel spirit.

There were parts of the book that were a bit outdated for my liking.  For instance the book discourages women not to work outside of the home.  I believe this is the ideal and I respect homemaking as a career choice but I don’t think I could ever trust any man that much.  The book also encourages women to tough it out and stay in your marriage if you find yourself married to a jerk.

Perhaps I interpreted Mrs. Brackley’s words wrong but I don’t think anyone should remain in a relationship where they are being mistreated.  I don’t for one minute believe that the Lord called anyone to be in an abusive marriage.  (I don’t specifically recall the author writing about abusive relationships.)

If a spouse is not keeping up their end of the bargain by not honoring their partner I don’t think it’s the other spouses place to try and make up for that deficit in order maintain a marriage.  Marriage just isn’t that important to me.  That’s a big part of the reason that I think that women shouldn’t stay outside of the workforce for very long unless you’re married to a millionaire that can pay a large settlement in the event of a divorce.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  It is thought provoking and challenges the reader to rethink contemporary culture and women’s roles.  I agreed with most of what the book had to say even if I don’t think it was entirely realistic and practical.

 

 

 

Hot Girl Summer: “Girl Wash Your Face”

Summer 2019 is behind us and you know what, I didn’t do a darn thing. I didn’t visit one beach, pool or amusement park this year. My “Hot Girl Summer” consisted of going to work, going to church going to brunch a few times. All of my adventures and drama came from reading. That’s a good and bad thing at the same time. Ice could have been covering the ground and it would not have made much of a difference to me. I’m going to share and review what I read this summer.

girl wash your face

I hate read this book.  I read it expecting not to like it so I could shake my head with disapproval as I read.  Girl Wash Your Face did not disappoint.  I think it’s important to consider the intended audience when consuming entertainment.  I don’t think I’m the intended audience for the work of Rachel Hollis.

Rachel Hollis is a social media influencer and event planner that wrote a book to inspire her fans.  She has 1.5 million followers on Instagram that reach out to Rachel for advice with self esteem and parenting matters.  Her followers sound like they are White housewives from upper middle class backgrounds that drive themselves insane by comparing themselves to images and narratives on social media.

So Mrs. Hollis wrote a book advising suburban soccer moms to feel good about themselves and not to tear themselves apart.  Who told these women not to feel good about themselves in the first place?  She used anecdotes about her life as inspiration.  The problem is her life isn’t very interesting and you can tell she was grasping at straws while putting that book together.

There wasn’t a single idea or story that lead the reader through Girl Wash Your Face.  The book is all over the place and didn’t stay on a linear path.  The choppy path didn’t tie together very well.  It’s as if she was told she had to write a certain amount of words but she didn’t have much to say.

She talked about her courtship with her husband, her start as an event planner in LA and her experiences as a mother.  All of her experiences are fairly common and there isn’t a lot of drama to her life, at least not that she shared.  There wasn’t a universal experience that she shared that really captured my experience to endear her to me.  I would bet money that if you had a middle aged cashier working at Dollar General or serving tables at Denny’s or something to write a similar book it would be %1000 more captivating.

The best portion of the book is about her adopted daughter and the struggles she had trying to adopt.  If she focused on that it would have been a far better book.  I also enjoy when she said that she was from a small, conservative town in California and her family has roots in the Midwest.  Hollis said that her family was like the people in The Grapes of Wrath.  Now those people were interesting.  I would have liked to hear more about those people and the people from her home town and the current culture.

I’m not trying to diminish what a White, affluent housewife goes through.  I’m just not a part of that culture and I don’t relate to it.  Just like I don’t relate to standing in long lines to get into Build a Bear or for Beanie Babies at McDonald’s.  I also don’t understand the fascination with pumpkin spiced beverages and food.  I’m just not a part of that culture.

The most insightful thing I’ve ever experience about White, suburban housewife culture is a short You Tube documentary about the clothing company Lu La Roe.  The women in that documentary are probably the same type of women that follow Rachel Hollis on IG

The documentary was engaging because there was something in those women that I didn’t recognize in women that I grew up around.  When Black women have tortured souls the outward manifestation is different.  There was a sadness about all of the women in this film that I don’t think came from a failed business venture.

The women in this short film were non assuming with soft spirits.  All of them were likeable even if you liked them out of sympathy.  There was a loneliness and quiet desperation about them.  I’m curious as to what made them so vulnerable to the scam.  I understand why a lot of people in the world fall into predatory traps but these women’s material needs were being met, they have a family network and they fit into what global society upholds as it’s standards.  I wish this documentary could become a reality show.  I have questions that need answers.

They weren’t drug addicted, abused as far as we were told but they still have self image problems that lead them to be a part of a leggins selling cult and it’s hard but interesting to understand why.  It’s almost like reading A Doll’s House when I was a student.  I barely remember what this was about but I know it was about a traditional and her quiet suffering.  It was kind of like a 19th century version of Desperate Housewives.

Anyhow, I didn’t enjoy Girl Wash Your Face.  I’m even a bit put off by the title.  I think that Rachel Hollis is a nice woman, a smart woman and is probably well intentioned but once again I’m not a part of Hollis’ target demographic.  Rachel has built a huge fan base as a lifestyle influencer.  I don’t understand what a lifestyle influencer does.  She is an unaccredited mental health and relationship guru that is selling millions of books so she has clearly tapped into something that I don’t understand.  Perhaps some of you will enjoy this book but it’s just not for me.

 

 

NW

Over the weekend I watched a film called “NW”.  It is based on a book by the same name by Zadie Smith.  NW stands for north west, no it’s not about Kanye West’s daughter.  I hope that doesn’t disappoint you.  NW refers to the British postal code of north west London where the principle characters of the film grew up together in a housing project.  The film circles around two girlhood friends Natalie and Leah who are now in their thirties with families and careers.

I thought this was a great story and a very well made, meticulously cast movie.  It kind of reminds me of the 2005 movie “Crash”.  “Crash” took place in Los Angeles and had a large cast of ethnically diverse characters with different lots in life.  The people in the story seemed to have nothing in common other than living in the megapolis of LA but their lives are all intertwined through a series of events.

“NW” operates in a similar fashion.  The characters range in social status and experiences.  People that you wouldn’t expect to cross paths do.  There are two other characters in the film that grew up in northwest London.  And just like in real life it’s interesting to see how people with similar starting points take different paths and end up in very different places in life years later.

“NW” is a story and commentary on race, class, femininity, masculinity, identity and how it all intersects.  The mainstreamed, straight laced people make questionable moral decisions and have unrighteous motivations.  You will loathe some of the respectable characters for their deceit and arrogance while some of the edgy ones display honesty, decency and even honor and chivalry.

I don’t believe that Hollywood would or could have made this film.  I don’t think they would have made the right casting decisions.  The casting choices were very important to the telling of the story.  I can tell that the actors were chosen deliberately and the film makers did a great job of choosing personnel.

It took a lot of sensitivity and cultural awareness to be able to choose actors and to understand the cultural nuances involved in being Black, mixed an immigrant and White.  Kudos to them.  I have a hard time picturing Hollywood placing Nikki Amuka-Bird in the role of a trophy wife.  But traditional Hollywood would have seen Zoe Kravitz or Zendaya more suitable for the part of a wealthy man’s wife not a woman so…Black.  She nailed it though.

nikki amuka-bird

 

O.T. Fagbenle gave a great performance in “NW”.  I was reading about the cast after watching it and the article mentioned one of the actors is in “The Handmaid’s Tale”.  I was confused because I’ve been watching “Handmaid’s Tale” and I wasn’t making the connection.  Fagbenle plays June’s husband Luke in “Handmaid’s Tale” and Felix in “NW”.  He is one heck of an actor because his appearance was not drastically different from one part to the other but he was completely unrecognizable to me.  He even appeared about ten years younger in “NW” even though the movie aired on BBC in 2016.

OT fagbenle

There is a lot that can be said about this film but I actually don’t want to spoil it for anyone that hasn’t seen it and may want to watch.  It’s a mature and thought provoking movie with no real heroes and no easy answers.  I would recommend it if you are looking for something to watch.

Here is a link to the film if you can tolerate sparkly stars framing your movies.  Enjoy.  I just got a copy from my local library.

 

 

 

Crazy Rich Asians

I’ve been on a movie kick lately.  I recently watched “Crazy Rich Asians”.  It was great.  I’m not much of a cry baby so I love any movie, book, commercial, sporting event that brings tears to my eyes.  “Crazy Rich Asians” did that.

WARNING:  This brief review contains spoilers!

It’s a very sweet movie and an old fashioned romance.  I love a good romance but Hollywood doesn’t make many of those anymore.  There’s not much to say about the plot because it really is working from Hollywood’s formula for romances.  Honestly, you’ve probably seen a movie like this before.

Man and woman are in love.  Everything is great.  There’s a conflict which threatens to destroy the relationship.  It does.  The woman leaves.  The man realizes he doesn’t want to live without the woman.  He pursues her and stops her before the plane, train, bus takes off.  She looks into his eyes with longing and realizes she doesn’t want to live without him either.  She gets off of the bus, train or plane and runs into his arms.

The end.

There’s not much more to it than that.  If you’ve seen this type of film before and enjoyed it watch “Crazy Rich Asians” if you haven’t already.  Have tissue paper handy.