History is full of myths, half-truths, and stories that over time have been embellished or altered in some way.
Brad Meltzer’s Decoded aired on the History Channel from 2010-2012. Hosted by writer and investigator Brad Meltzer, the series follows a group of history detectives as they look into a variety of symbols, secret codes, and conspiracy theories.
Though the show has been off on the air for nearly a decade, it is available for streaming on Hulu. I watched one episode a while back. As a history nerd, I am all for exploring the narrative beyond the accepted facts. The problem is that it was just background noise. I enjoyed it, but I can’t say that I am excited to sit down and binge the entire series.
Warning: This post contains spoilers about the Netflix series, Behind Her Eyes. Read at your own risk if you have not seen it in full.
The mingling of genres takes a skilled writer. There are two equally important aspects of being able to accomplish this successfully. The first is choosing the right genres. The second is making sure that each of them is given their due while ensuring that they come together at the right moment in the narrative.
One of the newest Netflix series is Behind Her Eyes. It tells the story of a twisted love triangle with Louise (Simona Brown) at the center. At one end is her new friend Adele (Eve Hewson). At the other end is Adele’s husband, David (Tom Bateman), who is Louise’s boss and new lover. It is part psychological thriller, part jealous spouse, and just a little bit of science fiction/fantasy to make it very interesting.
My jaw dropped by the time the credits rolled after the final episode.
I loved the inclusion of Adele’s ability to use astral projection to leave her body. I don’t read or watch many psychological thrillers, but as I understand it, this particular story thread is not often used in this genre. But that is not the twist. The twist comes from Adele’s friend, Rob (Robert Aramayo). He is the master manipulator who is so under the radar that it is impossible to see the ending coming.
Kudos to the author and the screenwriter. If only every story was as good as Behind Her Eyes.
From a writing perspective, one of the upshots of creating a science fiction and fantasy narrative is that the number of stories one can tell is nearly endless. However, that does not mean that the reader or viewer is entertained.
The pilot of the new NBC series, Debris, premiered last night. MI6 agent Finola Jones (Riann Steele) and CIA agent Brian Beneventi (Jonathan Tucker) have been tasked with answering questions about an alien space craft and its effects on human beings.
If I was generous, I would give this program an A for effort. The show tries to live up to the trailer and the genre. But it was nothing more than background noise. Whatever story hook the created is non-existent. Though I did finish watching the pilot, there was nothing that inspired me into continuing on with further episodes.
A political scandal is nothing new. It is as old as humanity itself. The question is, when does it get to the point in which the politician is unable to do his or her job?
Last year, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo became a symbol of how to deal with Covid-19. For months on end, he gave a daily televised press conference going over the most recent numbers of NYers who were hospitalized and/or killed by the virus.
If I am to be perfectly honest, I would have him step down. Though he gets major points for being open and honest about the Covid stats, that cannot wash away the both the fudging of the nursing home facts and these new allegations.
The fact is that sexual assault and sexual harassment (especially in the workplace) is still far too common. The only way we can stop it once and for all is to make examples of those who have been found guilty of committing such acts. If it becomes clear that the punishment is not worth the brief pleasure the harasser gets, then maybe we finally put it in the rear view mirror.
We are all born with talent, ambition, and the desire to succeed. The problem is that while some of us are allowed to see that success come to fruition, others are denied simply based on the fact that we are born with certain skin colors or sex organs.
Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo, was published last December. In the book, Ms. Oluo looks at how white and male supremacy is bringing us all down. Using examples from history, pop culture, sports, politics, and other aspects of our culture, she tells the story of how we are all being dragged down by the idea of who is superior and who is inferior.
I loved this book. The author is able to talk about these very delicate topics in a way that is provocative and eye opening without getting her soapbox. Sometimes, all it takes is one conversation to change the world. This book is the conversation starter we desperately need right now.
We can learn a lot about a specific group of people and their culture by their food. Without stepping into a lecture hall, we receive a history lesson, learn about their traditions, and hopefully begin to see them beyond the stereotypes.
So far, I enjoyed both programs. Tucci approach to his family’s native land is that of love, respect, and curiosity. Like many Americans whose family came from elsewhere, he uses food to introduce viewers to an Italy that only the locals know. Instead of lionizing Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln: Divided We Stand introduces the viewer to the man behind the myths.
When one thinks of the Western genre, the image of shootouts, cowboys, Indians, and a mass expanse of untamed wilderness. Most of the main characters are men. If there are any women, they are either the sweetheart/love interest of the hero, a prostitute wearing next to nothing, or an extra in the background.
The 2017 limited Netflix series, Godless, takes these tropes and fleshes them out. In the American West of the 1880’s, the town of La Belle, New Mexico has lost most of it’s men in a mining accident. The women are in charge, taking the places of their fathers, husbands, and brothers. Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery) is a widow living on the outskirts of town with her son and mother-in-law. In the middle of the night, she shoots an intruder. Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell) is a former follower of Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels), a criminal with a very long rap sheet.
When Frank discovers that Roy is in La Belle, it will be up to the women to defend their home from Frank and his murderous gang.
After watching only a couple of episodes, I have been hooked. I love that instead of being limited in scope, the female characters have finally been given their due. Strengthened by their mutual loss, the women come together to take a stand. From a writing standpoint, I also very much appreciate the equality between the men and women in terms of the spotlight. Each is given a turn to shine without sacrificing who they are and what they believe.
It has been said that a rising tide raises all ships.
Yesterday, President Biden’s 1.9 trillion stimulus package was passed by the House. Among the individual pieces of the bill, there was a proposal to raise the minimum wage nationally to $15/hr. I wish I could say that it succeeded, but it did not.
From the perspective of a small business owner, I understand that it would a financial stretch. But for a multi million or billion dollar company, paying all of their employees a base salary of $15/hr is not going to force the company to go under. If Costco can pay their workers $16 an hour and still stay open, why can’t other companies?
The problem is that Lindsey Graham and other politicians don’t understand that. A living wage is a human right. I’m not an economist, but I have enough common sense to understand that by paying a fair wage, it helps everyone. The less we have to spend on food stamps and substandard housing, the more we can spend on schools, highways, and other important infrastructure projects.
How we treat those who are less fortunate speaks volumes about our society and culture. By keeping a permanent underclass of poverty stricken citizens alive, it tells a stranger everything they need to know about us.
There is something about the power of music. A beloved song has a way of making it’s way into the listeners brain, conscious, and perhaps helping to change things for the better.
Billie Holiday is one of the most beloved singers of the 20th century. Though it has been six decades since her physical form left this Earth, her performances and songs continue to leave a mark on fans. The new biopic about her life, The United States vs. Billie Holiday dropped yesterday on Hulu.
The film stars singer/actress Andra Day as Holiday, Garrett Hedlund as Harry J. Anslinger, and Trevante Rhodes as Jimmy Fletcher. The audience follows Holiday as she battles drug addiction, racism, and gets involved with FBI agent Jimmy Fletcher. Woven into the narrative is the iconic and dark song Strange Fruit, which sadly is as potent today as it was during Holiday’s life time.
I really wanted to like this film. Day’s performance is worthy of the accolades she is receiving. Unfortunately, that is where I have to draw the line. Frankly, I was bored. I wanted to be hooked, but I was not. Whatever tension and drama I anticipated was sadly lacking. Especially with Anslinger’s obsession and persecution of Billie Holiday. That should have been more exciting that it was actually was.
Earlier this month, I chatted with Erin Walter, lead singer of Austin, Texas punk-rock band Parker Woodland. From our conversation, I learned that virtual performances have made the touring process for musicians more comfortable. However, due to the increased accessibility of putting on remote performances, virtual tours can also quickly increase fatigue. Musicians can tire from balancing work and performance – even when it is all being completed from their home. Thus, Erin encourages self-care and taking breaks when necessary. Erin says, “To all the creative folks out there, take it one step at a time, rest when you need to rest, and don’t give up. Get your art out there when you are able. Whatever your timeline is, that is the right time.”
This hobby blog is dedicated to movie nerdom, nostalgia, and the occasional escape. In the late 90s, I worked at Blockbuster Video where they let me take home two free movies a day. I caught up on the classics and wrote movie reviews for Denver 'burbs newspapers and magazines. Today, I continue to revisit the old and discover the new on the screen. Comments and dialogue are highly encouraged. This year, I'm excited to collaborate with other writers via SLICETHELIFE, in which we will share our movie genre favorites in our 2021 Movie Draft!