Daily Archives: December 25, 2019

Uncut Gems Movie Review

Life is a gamble. Every choice we make is a gamble. But at a certain point, most people know what is a good gamble and what is a bad gamble. The question is, can we recognize what is a good gamble and what is a bad gamble?

In the new movie, Uncut Gems, Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) is a business owner in New York City’s Diamond District. He sells jewelry to the rich and famous. Howard’s life is akin to walking a tightrope. He is a compulsive gambler who loves basketball and makes bets on games worth six figures. His gambling is getting him in trouble as his losses pile up and those who he owes money to are looking to get their money back.

Howard’s personal life is just as much of a tightrope as his professional life. Though he is married to Dinah (Idina Menzel) and they have three children, Howard has a girlfriend on the side, Julia (Julia Fox).

The bets he is making are becoming more precarious and more dangerous. Will his gamble pay off?

This is an interesting film. If the audience goes into the film expecting the man-child character Sandler played in the mid-90’s, they would be surprised. Howard is a complicated character, driven by the need to gamble, but also playing the role of husband and father.

I don’t know about this film. Howard is not an unlikeable character, but he is highly flawed and makes questionable decisions. Though it is obvious that Sandler is stretching himself as an actor, I still kind of prefer the man-child of the past.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Uncut Gems is presently in theaters.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, New York City

The Regency Years: During Which Jane Austen Writes, Napoleon Fights, Byron Makes Love, and Britain Becomes Modern Book Review

History is made in small moments. When we are in that moment, we cannot see how things are changing. We can only see how things have changed when we step back and are able to see the big picture.

Earlier this year, Professor Robert Morrison published his new book, The Regency Years: During Which Jane Austen Writes, Napoleon Fights, Byron Makes Love, and Britain Becomes Modern. In the book, Professor Morrison explains how the Regency era was the beginning of the political, cultural and religious shift that would later create modern Britain.

Using noted figures of the period such as writer Jane Austen, aristocrat, poet, and politician Lord Byron and French statesman Napoleon Bonaparte, Professor Morrison deconstructs the period and changes that would forever affect Britain as we know it to be today.

I liked this book. It was a deep dive into a period that I thought I knew a lot about. I was wrong. This book took me into the intricacies and details of the Regency era that would only be known to someone who lived in that time or a modern historian who had done their homework.

I will say, however, that this book is not for everyone. It is for someone like me who wants to know more about the period outside of the novels of the era. Or, it can be used for academic purposes. But it does not read like a dry college textbook. Professor Morrison writes in such a way that the reader is quickly absorbed and taught about the Regency era without feeling like they are in a lecture hall.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, Jane Austen