This week’s poetry entry

I’ve noticed that a lot of my poetry efforts lately end up focused on helping myself understand and come to terms with where my society is in the current political moment. This was no exception, and it demanded to be written this morning. So I present it, without further comment.

What I See

What I see
Is more than we just disagree.
I see hate,
Willful and arrogant.
I see ignorance,
Shameless and proud.
I see fear,
Controlling and winning.
I see the death of empathy,
A hard lack of care.
What you do for the least of these
Is slander and deface
Their beauty in diversity.
If necessity is the mother of invention,
I see a culture in need
Who refuses to create.
I see the pain
Felt by individuals
Aimed at faceless masses.
I see hypocrisy
That drains the color
From a flag
You claim to love
So much.
I see we failed.
I see we lost
To demons we fought
In our grandfathers’ time.
I see a cycle
In violence.
And I see little hope
As it goes on
To see our colors again.

Caffeinated review: Ocean’s 8

I have seen a new movie! -impressive drumroll sound fx- And it was a good movie, so let me share a few words about it, eh?

The movie: Ocean’s 8

A few words:

Well, Danny Ocean isn’t actually in it. But it is an Oceans movie. Pardon me a potential spoiler, but… Danny Ocean was dead to begin with. It says so right at the beginning and then again on the marble his sister and Ruben visit at the cemetery. And Ruben passes along a very clear message from her dearly-departed brother that Debbie Ocean should not do the fool-proof heist she has been planning for 5 years. So make of that what you will, but the baton was certainly passed on to the Ocean sister. (My money’s on the theory that there will be another Oceans movie and that was the setup.)

Armed with the non-blessing of family, Debbie sets out to do the heist she’s been planning for 5 years. She pulls together her team of 7 questionable experts, all of them female because “a man will be noticed” and the job they’re attempting requires invisibility. (That’s actually a conversation they have.) Some of them have worked together before, some are scouted, some are novices so green they give up the gig. It is not a professional team but it is pulled together by professionals with a foolproof plan, so of course it will work. It’s an Oceans movie.

Oh, and no matter what you have heard, they are not robbing the Met Gala, they are only robbing one person *attending* it. So it only needs a few people. They can fence the $150million dollar necklace and make off with their cuts, no one the wiser. Easy peasy…

If you know the Oceans movies, you know they go big and then they go home. This movie went a different kind of big entirely. The big deal in this one was the slight of hand throughout, and they show you the pass offs and the cons and the surprises along the way. They show the plans coming together and they show the places where it gets weak and gets shored up. No tunnel diggers are necessary for this scheme. It is all on the ladies, each of them doing their job flawlessly and anticipating problems. It’s all about the characters of this team and this movie does not let you forget that you are watching a bunch of women kick ass and take names in the criminal world without a single drop of blood.

On that note, this movie is a kind of accidentally big feminist movie. The conversation about women-are-invisible kind of puts it right on the nose. Otherwise, the references are more subtle. Characters put on lifestyle facades that make them the good-girl (or the bad-girl) stereotype, show their hustle and their lives, and then throughout the movie, you see exactly what a con job it was. Cate Blanchett is a human chameleon just as an actress in general, and Anne Hathaway redeemed an absolutely obnoxious character. I have never seen Helena Bonham Carter play a quiet-spoken, nerve-wracked, has-been, and didn’t think she was capable of it, but she was a joy to watch. Mindy Kaling was perfect, and I didn’t know Rihanna could act, tbh. The ladies played full characters off and showed that women work the system and know how to game it, too. Ocean’s 8 working title could have easily been The Secret Life Of Women and not been a lie. It was amusing to see.

That being said, this is an Ocean’s movie that Danny Ocean could not have pulled off. It felt like they had an idea for the story but couldn’t find the character-mix to fill it. So they made it a new movie with a heavy tie-in at the ready, thus continuing the series until the next green light comes along. That’s why it’s an accidental feminist piece, just an afterthought, a bit of a bonus.

Does it pass the bechdel test? Well, yes and then again, maybe not. The one weak spot in the movie involves the long-con, and it doesn’t present itself until the last act when we get James Corden and Richard Armitage’s characters brought in.

Up until that point, all the ladies are signed up to pull this gig for purely financial reasons. It’s part of the daily grind, it’s money, everybody’s gotta eat, and gee, wouldn’t it be nice to eat off a bank account with $16mill in it? But the script itself gets dicey when it tries to break off of that plain and believable motivation and weave the boys back into things. It felt forced and shoehorned and was the least genuine aspect of the script, leaving a few glaring questions unanswered all for the sake of making the story ultimately about all the boys.

Saying more would be unfair spoiling, but not mentioning it would be unfair to me, because I sat in the theater watching that hook play out and just kinda feeling let down a bit. If ever I have had a “Bitch, don’t you do it!” meme moment, it was at that one segment of exposition in the last act that dealt a huge blow to the otherwise Girl Power!!! theme of the movie. It’s like an afterthought they had to toss in to stroke the egos of the movie execs. So when you see it, I’m suggesting everyone ignore it, pretend it never happened, it wasn’t necessary to the story anyway.

But the girls did rally and they kick all ass. It is an Oceans movie, after all. It ended exactly where it promised it would. It’s a fun movie, with a great cast, and an enjoyable adventure into the criminal world of Cartier and the Met Gala.

Review: Solo – A Star Wars Story


At the suggestion of my friends, I have decided to try the whole “movie review” thing. It’s words, it’s movies, I should be able to form a coherent opinion on that, right?

Right.

So, brave reader, press on, if you wish to know my opinion on a movie. Which movie? Fair question!

Solo: A Star Wars Story

The obligatory disclaimer is that I have not submerged myself in the full world of the Star Wars Legends. I am a fan of the movies (minus a few of them…) but I did not once pick up a book (aside from the Shakespeare rendition of the tale) nor watch the animated series that are out there. According to one friend well-versed in the Legends, there were references to the Legends stories in the dialogue and events of this movie, and I will have to take her word for it. All I can comment on is Solo’s standing as its own movie and within the movie-verse I’ve grown up with.

To that end, I think Solo didn’t do so bad at all. It’s was thoroughly beat-up in the opening-weekend earnings race by pretty much every other franchise movie out there so far, and it hasnt fared well at all since, but I don’t think that’s a fair assessment of the movie. (For me, it meant that back when I saw it on a holiday weekend, I didn’t have to contend with a huge crowd or fight for parking, so YAY!)

I know the production had its ups and downs, and I’d forgotten Ron Howard was attached until I saw his name scroll by at the end. Whatever he was given to work with by the time he came on board, I think he got it all strung together seamlessly, as was his job. The script met its markers, and didn’t leave any glaring loose ends from what was promised in the beginning. The heart of the story is still boy-meets-girl, and after all the adventure and the battles and the Kessel run (12 parsecs, rounded down.) they managed to return to that thread in a very Han Solo way without forgetting the aloof nerfherder the rambunctious young scrapper grows up to be.

Since way back when I first learned about the movie, I was never in love with the casting of the lead, but I think what “Han Solo” character the actor lacked, (any utterance of “baby!” stands out as archaic here, for instance.) the script did the job in making up for. By the end, yes, I think they found a good match. This movie’s Han has a bit more energy and determination than Harrison Ford’s original incarnation, which adds to the world-wary charm by the time Han runs into Luke years later. The smuggler has seen some things by then, calmed down, learned better to pick his battles. There’s a believable progression there that adds depth to the character. I also think it respectfully sets to rest the whole “Han shot first” debate with a bit of fun.

The movie seemed to want to tie up a few origin-variances between the old Lucas-Star Wars and the new Disney-Star Wars. Watching Han and Chewie sort out their early differences was a highlight of the flick for me, and Han making all of his still-bold, early mistakes navigating a big universe was, as I said, a complement to the full growth of the character I think. The other characters that he learned from definitely left a mark on him, but none of them felt reverse-engineered or static at all. (And I think, if I’m honest, this is the best acting I have ever seen from Woody Harrelson.) As with the characters from the other movies, such as with Rogue One’s awesome crew, the good guys and bad guys in this one all had their own stories behind them and didn’t feel like they existed just to tell Han’s story. (Also, I kinda loved the implied backstory on why Lando is so attached to the Falcon. So that will be fun to watch for.) ((Also-also, Donald Glover nailed this character.))

This movie did get a little more 80’s style campishness with some of their designs in creatures and costumes and sets, (I promise, you will forget about the dumb Creature From The Claire’s Lagoon by the end of the first act.) but it was only distracting for me a couple of times. Mostly it was a fun exploration of the expansive world they’ve been building. It fits right in. There’s spaceship races and creepy monsters and explosions and an awesome soundtrack. There’s robots and aliens and Stormtroopers who can’t even aim their vehicles. There’s Warwick Davis even, but not an ewok or porg or Jar Jar in sight.

It’s a Star Wars story. I loved it. I wish this movie and Rogue One had been around when I was a kid so I could have seen those pieces in place from the start. If you haven’t yet, and if it’s still out in your area, go see it. You’ll have fun.

So I’m off on my new adventures

It occurs to me that I have been ridiculously quiet on this little corner of the interwebs as of late. And by that I mean, “for nearly the past year or so.”

I think it’s well past time I started wordsing over here. I’m working with words for a living now, quite joyfully, and I haven’t given up on my other writing dreams. There’s a novella in the works, and a few scripts that haven’t moved in an approximate age. I’m working on the novella first, dangit! You Don’t rush these things…

And I’m going to try to make myself get out to movies more often, so the wordsing is expanding every day!

What wordsing is everyone else up to lately?

-Life With A Masters Degree-

ResuMe: I have ten years of data entry experience!
Them: I’m sorry, we passed on your application for a candidate with data entry experience.

~*~

ResuMe: I have four years warehouse experience!

Them: I’m sorry, we will not consider your application because we are looking for someone with at least one year warehouse experience.

~*~

ResuMe: I have a BA in English and an MA in writing!

Them: You laughable fool, you can’t work in a *bookstore* without retail experience.

~*~

Right then. 

… Does anyone else have this joyful experience? What is your favorite Job Hunting Story from the modern day world of unemployment?

When you see it…

It occurs to me that there is a lot I don’t know about the world. I will freely admit this. I will often ask questions of people who don’t want to form answers, because they know things I don’t. I want to learn. I want to experience. I don’t have the means to do everything I might possibly want to accomplish, but I have the resources to learn about them.

There’s a lot out there. The most genius among us as humans have not experienced everything there is to life. 

So the question is, what is out there that I want to do? So far, with what I know, and what I have seen, somehow, that list is still rather small. I don’t have a Bucket List, and at my age, maybe I should.

But what I have learned is that life is the experience. The expectation implied by a to-do list is just an illusion. Life does what life wants. Sometimes the best experiences you don’t see coming until they are at your doorstep and opening the door (because maybe they aren’t always the most polite of guests.) Words and plans are insubstantial, just dreams in the mind. Life is something you don’t know until you see it.

Right now, I have the rare opportunity to seek out my own adventures with my time. I’m not entirely sure I know what to do with it. But I’m going to try. And first up is volunteering in my community, with that very first training day tomorrow. So we shall see how it goes.

 That’s life! Little adventures, learning, exploring, sharing, helping, doing. The collection of stories to tell instead of merely the telling of them.