Monthly Archives: January 2021

The Dig Movie Review

From the outside looking it, archeology may appear to be akin to an Indiana Jones movie. But anyone with any amount of knowledge of this subject will tell you otherwise.

The Dig premiered yesterday on Netflix. As World War II rumbles in the distance in 1939, Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) is a self trained and unorthodox archeologist. He has been hired by Edith Pretty (Carey Mulligan) to excavate her land and see if he can find buried historical treasure. What he discovers will be known as Sutton Hoo, an Anglo-Saxon burial ship rich in previously unknown artefacts. But with war on the horizon and Basil’s expertise questioned, it looks as if the ship and her objects will remain buried.

I wanted to like this movie. The premise seemed interesting and the cast is stellar. It is a BPD (British Period Drama) with a narrative that is unusual for the genre. The problem is that I was bored, whatever promises that were made in the trailer did not come to fruition.

Do I recommend it? No.

The Dig is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Filed under History, Movie Review, Movies, Netflix

Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation Book Review

Every generation has it’s myths. The myth of the millennial generation (born between 1981 and 1996) is one or more of the following: we are lazy, we are too into technology, we are stuck in perpetual adolescence, etc.

The truth is as far from the stories as one can get.

Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, by Buzzfeed writer Anne Helen Petersen, was published last fall.

According to the author, the millennial generation (of which I am a part of) is defined by one word: burn out. Between the pressures to succeed in the workplace, create a perfect image online, and keep busy, it is no wonder we are exhausted. Her thesis is that this generation was trained early on by parents and teachers that we are judged solely by our achievements. That pressure was compounded by the Great Recession of 2008. Through no fault of our own, the opportunities for professional and income growth will forever be limited. The job security that previous generations were used to no longer exists.

She further explores the growing mental health crisis, the expectations from social media, and that in spite of how far we have come, women are still doing much of the housework and childcare.

I loved this book. It once and for all puts to bed the ideas of this generation and reveals the facts. We don’t want a handout, we are not glued to our phones, and we are far from lazy. We just want the same chances as our parents and grandparents. The problem is that those chances do not exist in the same way as they did in the past.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, Mental Health

How is Marjorie Taylor Greene Still in Congress?

The idea of becoming a lawmaker to represent and speak for the voters in your area is a noble one. But not everyone who is elected is worthy of the job they have been hired to do by their constituents.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has been in Congress for only a short time. But in that short time, she has become a controversial figure. Being a vocal supporter of you know who and QAnon might have been enough, but it was not. She has claimed that the Parkland and Newtown shootings were staged, has advocated for the murders of Democratic leaders, and blamed the recent wildfires on Jewish space lasers.

Minority leader Kevin McCarthy has stated that he will talk to Representative Taylor Greene about her statements. It will be nothing more than a slap on the wrist. She will likely keep her seat on the education committee and be allowed to continue to spew the poisonous lies that are coming out of her mouth.

A slap on the wrist and is the last thing this woman needs. She is entitled to her opinions, as we all are. However, there is a distinct line between one’s cultural/political perspective and making the type of statements she is making. She must be expelled from Congress if we are move on from the chaos and darkness of the last four years.

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Filed under National News, Politics

World on Fire Character Review: Grzegorz Tomaszeski

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series World on Fire. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. When facing an invading army, one usually has two choices: give into what seems to be inevitable or fight for your family, your home, and your nation. On World on Fire, Grzegorz Tomaszeski (Mateusz Więcławek) is introduced to the audience as a young man who wants his father’s approval. He will soon earn in a way that will forever change the course of his life.

When the Germans invade Poland, Grzegorz joins his father and other men at Danzig to prevent the Nazis from entering the country. Their attempts, as history tell us, is not a success. After watching his father being killed by German soldiers, Grzegorz quickly learns about the harsh nature of war. Finding a father figure in fellow fighter Konrad, they plan to get out of Poland and Europe in general. But that journey will be far from easy and they can only pray that they survive.

To sum it up: War has a way of forcing us to grow up quickly as few things can. Grzegorz’s time as young man ignorant of the world around him ends in Danzig. Now fully understanding what he must do, he knows that he has no choice. It is one of those truths about being an adult that can only be learned the hard way.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Flashback Friday: Soon By You (2016-Present)

Dating, as we know it to be, is not as simple as it appears. Though some may find their potential love/spouse/life partner early on, others have to go through several relationships before finding that person.

Soon By You premiered in 2016. Taking place in New York City, it is sort of an Modern Orthodox Jewish version of Friends. The series follows a group of twenty somethings who are trying to find their bashert (soulmate) while juggling every other aspect of life.

Written by Leah Gottfried (who is also the series’ director), Danny Hoffman, and Uri Westrich, this YouTube web series is charming and entertaining. While it uses the rom-com narrative tropes and characters are used as the backbone, they are flipped in a way that does not feel predictable or boring.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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18 Voices: A Liberation Day Reading of Young Writers’ Diaries from the Holocaust

Yesterday was International Holocaust Memorial Day. Looking back on this time in history from a 2021 perspective, what hurts the most is the loss of 1.5 million young people who were killed simply because of their faith. They had their who lives in front of them. But because they were Jewish, they were seen as worthless.

Last night, 18 Voices: A Liberation Day Reading of Young Writers’ Diaries from the Holocaust was released on YouTube. The readings are done by a group of actors and media personalities. It is utterly heartbreaking to hear these voices, some who survived and some who didn’t.

May their memory be a blessing. Z”l.

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Throwback Thursday: The Eighties (2016)

There comes a time when we can look back on the past with a clarity that does not appear until after the fact.

The CNN miniseries, The Eighties, premiered in 2016. Breaking down the political, cultural, and technological changes of the era, interviews and media clips illustrate how transformational the decade was.

I loved this series. It was illuminating, educational, and entertaining.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

A Promised Land Book Review

Political memoirs and autobiographies are an interesting subgenre. The perspective of the subject and their actions while in and out of office is often based on where the reader is on the political spectrum.

Former President Barack Obama published the first volume of his memoirs, A Promised Land last fall. The reader is taken on a journey from the President’s early days to the ups and downs of his first term. When we meet the future President at the beginning of the story, he is a young man who is driven and intelligent, but listless. As he matures, marries, starts his family, and his career in politics, he starts to become the man we know him to be today.

After four years of the chaos and noise of you know who, it is a pleasure to hear from a President who is thoughtful, well spoken, and at the very least listens and considers the opinions of others. What I appreciated was his honesty, especially on subjects that are controversial and/or complicated. It takes an adult to be open and candid, especially when dealing with the difficulties that are thrown our way.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Thoughts on International Holocaust Memorial Day 2021

Democracy, as Americans have recently learned the hard way, is not guaranteed or promised. It must be cherished, protected, and stood up for when necessary. The same could be said for human rights.

Today is International Holocaust Memorial Day. Some may say that we no longer need this day of remembrance, it so far in the past that we can move on. The hard and sad truth is that we cannot move on. Eighty years after the end of World War II, anti-Semitism (and prejudice is general) is as alive and well now as it was then.

Back in the summer of 2019, I went to the Auschwitz museum in New York City. If there is one message that is clear, it is that both the perpetrators and victims were normal people, as normal as you and I.

I recently finished watching the third season of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. It takes place in the fictional Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian patriarchy in which women are second class citizens and non-conformists are enslaved or killed. Though it could be called dystopian science fiction novel, the truth is that this world is closer to our reality than we think it is. The riot in Washington D.C. three weeks ago was a cold slap in the face and a harsh reminder of that truth.

The only way to prevent another Holocaust of any group of people is education, respecting diversity, and remembering the past.

May the memory of those who were murdered because of who they were (my own relatives included) forever be a blessing.

Z”L.

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Filed under Books, History, Hulu, New York City, Politics, Television, Thoughts On....

Saying Goodbye to Melania Trump in the Best Way Possible: With A Song In Her Heart, Melania Trump Returns To New York

Imitation, we are told is the sincerest form of flattery. It can also reveal truths that we would rather not deal with.

For the last four years, actress Laura Benanti has been satirizing former First Lady Melania Trump on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Last Tuesday, Benanti stepped into the shoes of Mrs. Trump for the last time.

Start at 3:53

It’s as if they were saving the best for last. Using the opening number from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as a baseline, the song speaks to how much we want her and her family out of the city.

I hate to say it, but there is one thing I will miss about you know who and his family. It is the comedy that is writing itself.

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Filed under Beauty and the Beast, National News, New York City, Politics, Television