Call Jane Movie Review

Though it seems as Roe was settled law (that is until this past June) forever, the truth is that it was just a hair’s breadth away from the half-century mark.

The new movie, Call Jane, is based on a true story. It takes place in 1968 in Chicago. Joy (Elizabeth Banks) is a middle-aged, happily married homemaker with one child and another on the way. During a visit to the doctor, she is told that her pregnancy is endangering her life. She has two choices: end the pregnancy or take a chance that both she and the fetus survive.

Naturally, the procedure is denied by the hospital board. Taking the underground route, fate leads Joy to the Janes. Among them are Virginia (Sigourney Weaver) and Gwen (Wunmi Mosaku). The Janes are a collective of women whose goal is to provide safe (and illegal) abortions.

Joy quickly gets involved with the Janes, causing her husband, daughter, and neighbor/bestie Lana (Kate Mara) to wonder what she is up to. The question is, when will Joy fess up and will she have to be bailed out of jail?

I hate to say it, but I have mixed feelings about this film.

What’s good about the movie is that it is not about politics, but the story of an average woman having to make an incredibly difficult decision. Then, as now, it points out the obvious: those who have money will have the ability to end the pregnancy safely. Those who don’t will have to resort to dangerous and life-threatening methods.

What’s bad about it is the lack of tension and the slow pacing. I wanted to feel Joy’s anxiety and apprehension about what she was getting involved in, but I didn’t. I also wanted to feel like the police were forever on their heels and the Janes had to be one step ahead of them.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Call Jane is presently in theaters.

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Fast Politics with Molly Jong-Fast Podcast Review

Politics is a common subject for many a podcast. What makes one stand out from the pack (at least from my perspective), is the ability to laugh through the anger and frustration.

The new podcast, Fast Politics with Molly Jong-Fast, is a deeply truthful and slightly comedic take on the current state of the American political system. Hosted by Molly Jong-Fast (previously of The New Abnormal), she gets to the heart of the issues and what can hopefully be done to resolve them.

Starts at 18:30

She is one of those political commentators that does not shy away from the real problems. While calling out the bullshit on both sides of the aisle, she speaks for us while encouraging us to do the same.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

New episodes of Fast Politics with Molly Jong-Fast are released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Sanditon Character Review: Tom and Mary Parker

The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*I apologize for not posting last week. I had other writing priorities that came first.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the book and the television show Sanditon. 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.

The best relationships, whether they be personal, romantic, or professional, are ones in which one person balances out the other. In the  PBS/Masterpiece television series, Sanditon (based on the unfinished Jane Austen novel of the same) the narrative is kicked off when the carriage carrying Tom and Mary Parker (Kris Marshall and Kate Ashfield) crashes. Briefly taken in by the Heywood family, the offer to give the eldest daughter, Charlotte (Rose Williams), an opportunity to spend time with them in Sanditon.

Tom is the dreamer. Mary is a pragmatist. His dream is to turn this small seaside town into a fashionable and popular tourist destination. Unfortunately, his financial means are limited and he is not exactly a details kind of guy. The money comes from Lady Denham (Anne Reid). The nitty-gritty of the business comes from his brother Sidney (Theo James). Sidney also happens to be Charlotte’s first love.

Mary does more than take care of their children and maintain their home. She has the ability to bring her husband back to reality when necessary. When it becomes obvious that their carriage is in need of imminent repair, it is Mary who speaks the truth. Her husband would prefer to believe that everything is fine. That does not mean, however, that she does not lose her cool when Tom goes too far. When she finds out that he bought her a necklace when they are in debt, she is furious (as she should be).

To sum it up: In an era in which marriages were often a business arrangement, this is a love match. What Mary lacks, Tom has, and visa versa. It is this balance that allows their relationship to flourish and prove that love matches are possible.

Which is why they are memorable characters.

My Moment: 106 Women on Fighting for Themselves

We all know that we live in a world that is not exactly kind to those of us of the female sex. In order to get what we want, we need to speak up.

My Moment: 106 Women on Fighting for Themselves was published earlier this year. Co-written by Chely Wright, Linda Perry, Kristin Chenoweth, Lauren Blitzer, and Kathy Najimy, the book contains stories of women standing up for themselves. They run the gamut from famous to unknown, young and old, and come from across the world.

Starts at 3:02

I loved this book. Though the subjects are all different, they have one thing in common: they were faced with a moment in which a decision had to be made. They could either use their voice or stand down. They chose to stand up for themselves. In doing so, they changed their lives and inspired others to do the same.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

My Moment: 106 Women on Fighting for Themselves is available wherever books are sold.

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To Leave or Stay on Twitter, That is The Question?

Social media may seem innocuous. It is an opportunity to expand your world, connect with other people, etc. But like anything in life, there is a downside.

After nearly a year of speculation, Elon Musk announced that he had finally purchased Twitter. One of his aims with the platform is to ensure that free speech continues to be the raison d’être of the site. He also plans to limit permanent bans of those who have been considered to be problematic (he who shall not be named among them). By the way, Kanye West‘s account has already been reinstated.

The question is, do those who truly believe in free speech and democracy jump ship or stay and fight?

It’s understandable why many have considered leaving if they have not done so already. The signs are already pointing to the website possibly becoming a right-wing shithole.

But what I think we have to remember is that the ultimate power is in our hands. If we stay and continue to speak up, we can show Musk that he is not the all-powerful deity that he thinks he is. It also comes down to advertisers. That’s the only way the company makes money. At the end of the day, if we, the users stay, that will hopefully show Musk that he cannot allow Twitter a free for all.

Which is why I intend to stay.

P.S. If you want to follow me, you can do so at Writergurlny.

Republican Fuckery Part IV: Ted Cruz in NYC and Lauren Boebert’s Thoughts on Women

Part of the game of politics is working with someone who likely has a different opinion or perspective. That being said, it is impossible to work with another whose views are so extreme that they are on another planet (figuratively speaking).

Last weekend, Lauren Boebert referred to women as “lesser vessels” compared to men.

Her rationale is the following:

“We are created equal, we’re not the same. Women are the lesser vessel and we need masculinity in our lives to balance that, that so-called weakness. Just us being more frail and needing that strength in our lives.”

I have two questions for the Congresswoman: if she is “lesser” than her male opponents, what gave her the idea that she had even a slim chance of winning her election? And then, where did she get the idea that she would be respected by her male colleagues and staffers?

What Boebert does not realize is that she is undermining feminism while taking advantage of the opportunities that the movement created. She can’t have it both ways. Either use it or don’t. Simple as that.

Meanwhile, Ted Cruz was in NYC earlier this week to promote his new book (which shall remain nameless on this blog). The highlights of his trip were an appearance on The View and going to a Yankees game.

Upon entering Yankee Stadium, New Yorkers told Cruz exactly what we think of him. If you shit on us, we shit on you right back.

Warning: this video contains language that might be offensive to some viewers.

Just another day of Republican fuckery and another reason to vote them out on November 8th.

P.S. Did you see how Biden reamed out Cruz, MTG, and others on the right for taking PPP loans while deriding his plan to help out with student loan debt? It was beautiful.

Yesterday was the 4th Anniversary of the Tree of Life Massacre

The massacre or murder is a moment in time that is forever frozen in our individual and collective memories. Though time may pass and things may change, we can never forget who we were and where we were at that point in time.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Tree of Life massacre.

A new HBO documentary, A Tree of Life: The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting, tells the story of that day and the people who were affected by it.

Accompanying the film is a music video for the song “The Tree of Life“. Sung by Idina Menzel, it is both a heartbreaking reminder of the death of 11 innocent lives and the inner strength that it takes to live with that loss.

May the memories of those killed that day be a blessing. Z”L.

A Tree of Life: The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting is available for streaming on HBO Max.

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Flashback Friday: Jane Eyre (1997)

*Spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk if you are a newbie to the novel or its various screen reboots.

There is a reason that Jane Eyre has been given the label of a “classic novel”. Charlotte Bronte‘s story of a young woman who defies all odds and creates her own happiness is a tale that we can all learn from.

The 1997 TV movie stars Samantha Morton as the title character and Ciaran Hinds as Edward Rochester, Jane’s mysterious employer, and love interest. As in the novel, Jane is an orphaned young woman who must make her own way in the world. Employed by Rochester as the governess to his ward, their attraction is electric. But he has a past that she knows nothing of. If it is revealed, the truth could endanger their future together.

Presently, Morton is electric in The Serpent Queen. Hinds was perfectly cast as Captain Wentworth in the 1995 adaptation of Persuasion. The problem is that these two actors in these roles do not get my blood pumping and my heart pounding as other pairings in the same roles have.

There is one scene that rubs me the wrong way. After it is revealed that Rochester is married, he tries to convince Jane to stay. Hinds is a little too physically rough on Jane as the character for me.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

P.S. Rupert Penry Jones plays St. John Rivers. Elizabeth Garvie plays his sister, Diana. Garvie played Elizabeth Bennet in the 1980 Pride and Prejudice. Gemma Jones (Mrs. Fairfax in this film) was Mrs. Dashwood in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility. The Austen force is strong with this one. It is ironic, given that Bronte highly disliked Austen’s wrong.

We Send Our Kids to School to Learn, Not to Die

When I was younger and in school, the purpose of the experience was to receive an education. It was not to be target practice for someone who had no business having access to firearms.

On Tuesday, a young man walked into a high school in St. Louis and started shooting. Two lives were lost, a teacher and a fifteen-year-old student. The shooter was killed by police.

The family of this boy claims that they did everything when it came to his mental health problems.

The point, as I see it, has once more been proven. Did this boy have a mental illness? The evidence, as we have it so far, points to yes. However, that does not preclude the fact that this tragedy and others of its ilk are and were preventable.

I would love to know why a civilian needs access to an AR-15. This is why we need common-sense gun control laws. If this child has not been able to get his hands on that weapon, then both of his victims would still be alive.

May their memories be a blessing. Z”L.

P.S. The girl who was killed was less than a month away from her 16th birthday. For anyone who thinks that we do not need to legislate against gun violence should consider this fact before stating that there is no need for measures of this kind.

Throwback Thursday: Pinocchio (1940)

Disney has been part of our collective culture for almost a century. The characters and narratives have become part of who we are as individuals and as a society.

The original animated film Pinocchio (1940) is one of the company’s earliest classics. Based on the fairy tale of the same name by Carlo Collodi, it is the story of a man who wants to be a father and a puppet named Pinocchio who wants to be a real boy. Guided by a Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio must learn right from wrong and how to trust his instincts.

Though the message is a bit simplistic, it certainly sticks. What makes the movie for me is the story of family and growing up, two subjects that we can all relate to. Do I recommend it? Yes.

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