Review: A Year of Biblical Womanhood

I recently read and listened to on audio a book called “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” by Rachel Held Evans. Mrs. Held Evans is a young, married woman with no children who describes herself as an Evangelical Christian and modern woman. She lived for a year under Old Testament law. The book was interesting if you want to learn more about the subject matter. “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” is well researched and informative.

Rachel’s experiment was interesting. She discussed submitting to her husband, focusing on domestic duties, covering her head and not cutting her hair for the year among other thing. I don’t feel like she came to any profound conclusions at the end of the year. She didn’t reveal anything that I found to be particularly enlightening. Rachel seemed glad the year was over. The book is a fine way to pass time and I learned a bit but it wasn’t very meaningful and memorable to me.

Summer Movie Review: House of Gucci

SPOILER ALERT!

“House of Gucci” is about the family behind the famous, high end fashion brand. It was released in November of 2021. It’s long and a bit slow in parts but overall I enjoyed it. The story spans the 70s to 90s. I enjoyed the wardrobe and soundtrack. I thought it was a story about fashion but it’s mostly a story about a tumultuous marriage and family dynamics.

The film features pop singer Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani and Maurizio Gucci. Patrizia met Maurizio at a party in the 70s and she took a liking to him. They must have lived in a small town because she was able to find him after the party and create a meeting that seemed to Maurizio to be by chance.

The two began a relationship and Maurizio fell in love with Patrizia. The two married despite Maurizio’s disapproval. Maurizio’s family had a clothing business. They were successful despite not having the best business instincts. Patrizia came from a more modest background and had very good business instincts.

Patrizia’s instincts and under handed dealings made Gucci a very successful company. She also created tension among the Gucci family. Once Gucci became a top fashion brand Maurizio fell out of love with Patrizia and began an affair with an old flame.

Maurizio divorced Patrizia. He was very matter of fact and cold towards her but it was hard to feel sorry for her because of the way she treated Maurizio’s relatives and business partners. Patrizia thought she would be able to woo Maurizio back but she couldn’t. She became bitter and vengeful. Patrizia put a hit out on her husband with the help of her psychic advisor and friend played by Selma Hayek and had him killed.

I didn’t expect all of that from that story. I would recommend it especially if you enjoy 70s and 80s fashion and music. You’ll also learn a bit about fashion history.

Summer Movie Review: The Batman

I recently watched “The Batman”. It’s the newest installment from the Batman movie series that was released earlier this year. I’ve seen all of the Batman movies including “The Joker”. I wanted to like the movie but I didn’t.

The movie is very long and had about four or five different undeveloped plots and an undeveloped. The director was indulgent and threw in action sequences that are unnecessary and and others that are unrealistic. I understand that it’s a super hero movie but within suspended reality things need to make sense. There were gun fights in pitch darkness and an entire police precinct shooting upward on a flight of steps at Batman but no officers got shot. The writers and director probably just thought it was cool so they just threw it in.

This film had about four different underdeveloped plots. The movie just kind of meandered along. There was a kidnapping and a hostage taken, there were shootings, there were explosions and at the end there was a flood. It didn’t tie together very well.

Zoe Kravitz played Catwoman. I’m not sure she was even referred to as Catwoman in “The Batman”. I think she went by Selina Kyle throughout the story. She wasn’t very cat like and her depiction of the character was kind of flat in comparison to other actresses who played that role. Catwoman is usually over the top.

There was also an underdeveloped love story between Batman and Selina. There was a point where she kissed him and it seemed to come out of the blue. Zoe Kravitz and Robert Pattinson didn’t have a lot of chemistry as a couple.

Paul Dano is a great actor but his talents went to waste in “The Batman”. That’s the most I can say about that. Paul played The Riddler but there really isn’t much to say about that role or Paul’s performance. His face was covered during a lot of his screen time and it was hard to understand what he was even saying.

I kind of liked Robert Pattinson as Batman. The best way to describe his performance is Emo and it works out of the bat costume. However, his vehicles and tools weren’t as cool in this movie and this version of Batman isn’t as macho as others. I think he needed more machismo in the Batman outfit. But then again I’m old and kids are different these days.

If you’re a fan of the movies or comics it may be worth it for you to watch “The Batman” but it’s not a very good movie.

Pandemic Summer: “The Heights”

I saw the musical The Heights last week. I enjoyed it. I think people that enjoy musicals will enjoy it but it’s not the greatest musical ever. Hamilton was better and I can name five musicals off the top of my head that are better than The Heights. It’s not great. It’s OK yet entertaining.

The Heights takes place in a working class, Latin, immigrant community in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. The film focuses the hopes for the future and struggles of the characters. The actors are nice looking, there are movie romances that follow the arc many movie romances do, there are a few laughs and dancing in the streets. The film also addresses modern concerns such as gentrification and The Dreamers.

There was some controversy about the film. Many thought the cast was whitewashed and did not accurately reflect Washington Heights New York. When I saw the commercial for The Heights I questioned the casting too. I’ve never been to Washington Heights but I would guess there are a lot more visibly Black people in that community than what is portrayed in this film based on what I’ve seen of NYC. The film itself is more diverse than the commercials promoting it.

Here is a clip from my favorite part of the movie. The woman that describes herself as Chile Dominican Rican performs my favorite minute of the movie. She’s a hoot.

The movie has a Hollywood happy ending and is very pro American and patriotic from an immigrant’s perspective. It’s lighthearted if you approach it with a light heart. If you enjoy musicals I suggest you give it a try. It not in my top five musicals but The Heights was very popular on Broadway and it made Lin Manuel Miranda famous so it may become one of your favorites.

Summer 2021 Book Review: Outwitting the Devil

I finished reading Outwitting the Devil by Napolean Hill this week. It’s not something I typically read but it was recommended to me so I gave it a chance. Outwitting the Devil kind of falls under the umbrella of self help which I don’t care for but the fictional narrative made the story enjoyable. It’s interesting and it offers a compelling perspective. The book is written from the perspective of Satan.

The book is about an interview with the devil himself. A man who goes by Mr. Earthbound, asks the devil about his tactics and strategies for deceiving mankind. To make a long story short, the Devil seeks to distract humanity by any means available. He uses our universal human weaknesses and learns our personal vulnerabilities.

Primarily he seeks to control the minds of human beings. He says that’s what we have complete control over and that’s what he wants to control. Everything else in the universe follows natural order. Human minds are the only things that can be manipulated.

Once a person’s mind is controlled by Satan it is called being in drift which is being distracted and filled with fear. He achieves further submission through hypnotic rhythm which means you an individual is stuck in a rut and has accepted their circumstances. The devil says there are only two kinds of people in the world, drifters and non drifters. The vast majority are drifters. That’s it in a nutshell.

Outwitting the Devil was written in 1938. It reminds me of the popular book and documentary The Secret from the early 2000s. I’m glad this book was recommended to me even though it borders on self help. The narrative was creative and made the book entertaining. I would recommend it.

How to Build a Girl: My Review

“How to Build a Girl” is a movie based on a novel by the same name by Caitlin Moran.  The story is about a teenaged girl named Johanna who has a knack for writing.  Johann lives in a working class town with her parents and four younger siblings. Her mother is suffering from postpartum depression after having twins at thirty eight. Her father is suffering from middle aged disillusionment.

After sending a sample of her writing to a music magazine Johanna lands a job reviewing bands. Her column becomes very popular and a star is born. Her success goes to her head and she changes from a bubbly girl to an arrogant and at times mean woman. The negative characteristics are what helped her to become a success.

This movie is OK. Just OK. At times I found it to be a bit unrealistic. Johanna was given a lot of freedom to only be sixteen. The story took place in the 90s in the UK so perhaps that was realistic for that place and time. But I have a hard time believing that many parents would allow their teenage daughter to travel alone to big cities to interview rock musicians.

I also found it to be far fetched how easily success came to Johanna. She became a writer after sending in one sample story and one interview. Again, that may be realistic for that era and place. It also may be realistic for a White person. However, I can not relate.

The best part about this film is the actress that plays Johanna. Her name is Beanie Feldstein and she carried the film with ease. Her role called for her to cover a wide range. She had to play innocent, awkward, and confused as well as confident mature and sexy. Beanie did all of this convincingly.

I would recommend this film if you have time to kill and you don’t mind teenage chick flicks. It’s not bad. The lead actress is charming and effective. But the plot seems a bit far fetched at times and the ending feels like an After School Special. “How to Build a Girl” is merely OK.

Richard Jewell

Last weekend I watched the film “Richard Jewell”. Richard Jewell was a Georgia security guard who happened to be on duty the night a bomb blew up in Centennial Park in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics. Richard Jewell was falsely accused of executing the terrorist attack. “Richard Jewell” is a Clint Eastwood film telling the title character’s story.

Richard Jewell was a thirty three year old man who was fascinated with law and order and police protocol. He studied the law every night and he owned a small arsenal of weapons. Richard had a spotty work his including a termination from a police force and a termination from a university security force where he pulled people over on the road leading to the school where they had no jurisdiction.

There were two casualties due to the terrorist attack at Centennial Park however Richard’s zeal, sharp eye and attention to detail and protocol spared lives. Richard spotted a suspicious package in the crowd and reported it to authorities. He also became the fall guy for the attack.

Richard Jewell

The FBI was under pressure to find a suspect. Richard fit the profile of domestic terrorist due to being a loner with a fascination with weapons and legal matters. His admiration and trust for law enforcement worked against him. He cooperated with the FBI when others would have been defending himself.

Richard was eventually vindicated and cleared of all charges. His lawyer’s secretary was the first to figure out that he was innocent. She simply took a walk from the pay phone where the bomb threat was made to the place the suspicious package was found.

He didn’t have time to make the call and place the package. The FBI and media didn’t investigate that matter until after accusing Richard of being a terrorist. Later a different man confessed to bombing the ’96 Olympics. That man is serving life in prison without parole. Richard Jewell went on to further his law enforcement career and died at forty four of heart failure.

I would recommend this movie. There have been several high profile crimes in the media that seem to go away after they have a suspect in custody. Quite often the suspect is an unfortunate person that fits the profile of a neighborhood creep and they have few resources to defend themselves. They are presented to the public in a terrible mugshot or in a still shot of grainy surveillance video from a gas station and the case is never spoken of again. We can only hope they got the right neighborhood creep.

I remember the ’96 Olympic bombings and oddly enough it popped into my mind shortly before this movie was released. I had done a bit of research and learned about the plight of Richard Jewell so the movie peaked my interest and I looked forward to seeing it. “Richard Jewell” didn’t disappoint. I think you will enjoy it whether you remember the ’96 Olympics or not.

Harriet: My Review

I watched the film “Harriet” over the weekend. “Harriet” is a dramatized retelling of the life of American hero Harriet Tubman. There was a lot of buzz around this film and a lot of think pieces were written and vlogs were made about this movie. People really over thought this. It was a good movie, not great but good and I think it’s worth watching. However, historic accounts of Harriet Tubman are more thrilling than “Harriet”.

Something about “Harriet” made me feel like I was watching an 80s night time soap opera. Violins played in the background of several scenes. This movie told it’s story in a feminine way. It was a love story of sorts. Harriet escaped to freedom in the north and she returned for love of her husband and other family members.

When I envisioned a film version of Harriet Tubman’s life I thought of her as more of a rebel, freedom fighter and visionary. In my mind Harriet Tubman’s life is more of an action, thriller and suspense story. Harriet was bold, fearless and determined.

The actress that played Harriet Tubman often had a deer in the headlights expression on her face and a furrowed brow. There was also a lot of dainty running in this film. It was the kind of running women do in horror films. Actors also fell as they were being pursued. Harriet Tubman commonly had fainting spells due to a head injury she suffered at her owner’s hand. The spells were depicted in the film and she fell pretty kind of like Scarlet O’Hara. None of this is necessarily bad thing I just think the director’s choices were interesting.

I do believe that “Harriet” sanitized Harriet Tubman for White audiences. She was a gentle character and not a fierce revolutionary. Harriet Tubman is famous for threatening to kill runaway slaves if they lost their nerves and wanted to turn around. She is also famous for saying that she freed (paraphrase) thousands of slaves and could have freed thousands more if they knew they were slaves.

Spoiler Alert

There was a scene in the film where Harriet had her slave master on his knees at gun point. She had the opportunity to shoot him but she talked to him and let him live. I think that this plays into the trope of the all forgiving African American that turns the other cheek regardless of how they were treated.

Nonetheless, the film was entertaining and I would recommend it. But I recommend reading historical accounts of Harriet Tubman. Her acts of bravery were absolutely thrilling and she is one of the greatest American heroines.Young Harriet Tubman

Child’s Play 2019: A Short Review

I recently watched the 2019 remake of the 1988 film Child’s Play.  I saw the original Child’s Play when I was a teenager.  Just about everything from the 90s is corny so I didn’t have very high expectations for the film.  I didn’t care for the new Child’s Play.  The film was ridiculous then and it’s worse now.

If you’re not familiar with the plot of the film, Child’s Play is about a homicidal, red headed doll named Chucky that causes chaos for a single mother and her son.  In the 80s version Chucky was possessed by the spirit of a hardened Chicago criminal.

child's play 1988

In the latest version Chucky was installed with artificially intelligent software and was programmed by observing things in his environment.  I there was a part in the film where the Chucky doll that went crazy was hexed in the Asian factory where he was manufactured by a disgruntled employee.

Chucky is eager to please his owner Andy and is very possessive over him which spurs part of the killing spree.  But some of the murdering happens without any provocation whatsoever.  Chucky just goes off on people and starts doing crazy s—.  Early in the film it is established that Andy has a hearing problem.  I don’t know why they writers added that because it played no part in the film whatsoever.

Not only is this film franchise a negative depiction of red heads but there are some very negative depictions of Black people in this movie.  That could be an essay within itself but I don’t feel like editing clips.  Trust me, the Black roles in this film are cringeworthy.

After several gruesome deaths and thousands of dollars worth of property damage the film ends because Andy’s mom twists the dolls head off.  Much like in the earlier film I don’t know mom didn’t destroy the doll in the first place.  The film moves along quickly though and seems short even though it is two hours.  I can’t recommend that you spend two hours of your life on this movie.  But if you enjoy corny horror films you may enjoy Child’s Play.