Coming of age movies have been around for decades. Most of these movies are centered around young men. Female characters in these films are usually limited in both the number of characters and their ability to grow beyond a basic character type.
In the new movie, Booksmart, Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) are best friends who are about to graduate high school. The last four years have been all work and no play for the girls. Operating with the belief that their classmates are more interested in the social aspects of high school than the academic aspects of high school, Molly and Amy are shocked to hear that they are not the only ones who prioritize school work.
Wanting to make up for the last four years in one night, the girls decide to make the night a memorable one.
Directed by actor Olivia Wilde (making her directing debut) and written by four female writers, this film takes the basic buddy comedy/coming of age film and elevates it to a new level. Taking the place of traditional male leads, Molly and Amy are intelligent, determined and political without hitting the audience over the head. They are also honest and have a bit of a potty mouth, which works perfectly for these characters and their narrative.
The film also speaks to the oh sh*t moment that most, if not all us realize the night before we are to graduate high school. Our lives are about to change, the four years that we thought would last forever went by in a flash. It is a reminder (though we may not be cognizant at the time), that life goes by fast. Stopping to smell the roses wouldn’t hurt every once in a while.
When the Twin Towers fell on September 11th, 2001, those who were lucky enough the survive the falling of the towers ran from the towers with everything they had. While they ran from the smoldering ashes, the first responders ran toward the smoldering ashes. One of those first responders died today.
Detective Luis Alvarez passed away today at the young age of 53. He spent three months after 9/11 searching for survivors in the rubble. A few weeks ago, Detective Alvarez was among the first responders who testified with Jon Stewart to remind Congress of their responsibility to extend the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
Detective Alvarez is a hero in every sense of the word. A hero is defined (at least in my book), as someone who acts in the interests of others. Putting everything else on hold (his health included), he was one of many who acted in the interest of the city and the survivors.
Major change for good comes when we stand up against hatred and prejudice.
This weekend, we remember the Stonewall riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City and celebrate the remarkable achievements and opportunities that the LGBTQ community has had since then.
Coming out of the closet is often a painful years long process of learning to love yourself and finding the courage to tell the ones you love who you truly are. If you are lucky, your relationship with your loved ones will not change. But not everyone is so lucky.
This week, The Brian Lehrer Show discussed various aspects of the modern LGBTQ movement and how it was created by the Stonewall riots. Yesterday, one of the callers was a woman named Lisa. Lisa called in to tell the story of her son’s coming out and the reaction to the revelation of who he revealed himself to be. The call starts at 21:02.
I would hope that when one comes out, they are seen by their loved ones and their community as no different than before coming out. But the reality is that many members of the LGBTQ community are often ostracized and forced out of their families and communities because they do not fit into the traditional hetero-normative/binary labels.
Change, especially on the cultural and legislative levels, does not not happen in an instant. It takes years of work, fighting for acceptance and facing the demons of the past. But it does happen if you believe and continue to push for it. The members of the LGBTQ community have proved that and will continue to use that model to inspire all of us to push for a just and equal society.
I’ve often spoken about the Columbine shooting and the unnecessary loss of young life twenty years ago. Back then, it was front page news for weeks on end.
These days, mass shootings in the United States are just another blip on list of daily news headlines. The headline may last a week at best on the front page before it slowly fades from the nation’s consciousness.
Earlier this week, Madonna released her new music video. Entitled God Control, the video tells the story of a fictional shooting in an New York City nightclub similar to the massacre at the nightclub in Orlando three years ago.
I will warn you that the video does contain graphic imagery.
There is enormous power in celebrity. In using her voice and her music, Madonna speaks of the heartache and grief that gun violence creates. We need sensible gun control laws. There has to be a way to respect the 2nd Amendment and responsible gun owners while protecting innocent people.
My hope (though it often springs eternal) is that one of these days, sensible gun laws will be the law of the land. Until then, we will continue to grieve for those who are killed simply because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.