Every social movement starts with a small step toward change.
The 2021 Netflixdocumentary, 9to5: The Story of a Movement is the real-life 9 to 5. In Boston in the 1970s, female office workers were second-class employees. Stuck in an administrative (aka the secretary) role, they were blocked from climbing the professional ladder due to their gender. Banding together, they raised their voice and fought for better pay, better opportunity, and against sexual harassment.
I loved it. My generation of women stands on the figurative shoulders of these women. Without them, we would still be making coffee and answering the phone for our male bosses. What was also apparent is that though it’s been fifty-odd years, the issues they experienced then are still being wrestled with now.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
9to5: The Story of a Movement is available for streaming on Netflix.
I wish I had learned about her earlier. When we talk about second-wave feminism icons, Martha Mitchell is a name who rarely comes up. After watching this movie, I felt like she should be given a second look by modern feminists and historians. She dared to take on a corrupt administration and tell the truth when many stayed silent.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
The Martha Mitchell Effect is available for streaming on Netflix.
Martha becomes an unlikely hero for democracy as she realizes that her husband is in on the scheme and does everything she can (in her own way of course), to save the nation and her man.
What I am enjoying so far is that the spotlight is not on the usual suspects (i.e men), but on the women whose heroic acts are either ignored or downsized. I also like that Martha is unwilling to stay silent in the face of truth, even if it means opening the door to trouble. The acting is fantastic, the storytelling (so far at least) is easily watchable, and the politics is a reminder that even though it’s been 50-ish years, nothing has changed.
Comedy, like drama, comes from the clash of personalities and ideas.
The 1970ssitcom, Mork & Mindy (1978-1982) took this basic idea and stretched it into new directions. Mork (the late Robin Williams in one of his first major roles) is an alien who is sent to Earth to study humanity and report back to his superiors. Renting a room from Mindy (Pam Dawber), the culture clash, the difference in perspective, and Mork’s charming innocence makes for classic television that will never get old.
I remember watching reruns of this show as a kid and laughing, but not quite getting all of the references. Now, as an adult, I get it and I love it. Mindy is to Dean Martin as Mork is to Jerry Lewis. Mork’s naivete, out the left-field references, and complete lack of cynicism perfectly conflicts with Mindy’s realism and understanding of the world around her. If nothing else, this series cemented Williams’s on-screen persona that has kept the audience laughing for decades.
Every genre has its star, the writer(s) who the symbolize that specific type of narrative. In the world of horror, one of those writers is Stephen King.
In 2013, a reboot of one of his most famous books, Carrie, hit theaters. Starring Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, and Chloë Grace Moretz in the title role, this adaptation (as in the book and the initial film) tells the story of Carrie White. Carrie White is a shy teenager whose is hit by a one two punch that would ground anyone into literal emotional dust. In school, she is being bullied at school by the popular girls. When she gets home, her mother forces her into a sheltered and religious lifestyle that is equally as bad. After discovering that she has telekinetic powers, Carrie unleashes revenge on everyone who has put her down.
The problem is not with the movie itself. As remakes go, its decent. Carrie White is one of those characters that we can all relate to. The issue is that it was not needed. The original 1970’s film is just so dam good that it still holds up nearly fifty years later.
The question of nature vs. nurture is a tempting one to ask. Does our upbringing dictate who we are and what we believe? Or is it our perception of ourselves and the world around us?
Cruella was released yesterday on DisneyPlus. Estella/Cruella De Vil (played by Tipper Seifert-Cleveland as a child and Emma Stone as an adult) has been a rebel and an outcast since she was young. Raised by her single mother, she is left parentless at 12. Arriving in London with only her dog as a companion, she finds family in the form of thieves Horace (Paul Walter Hauser) and Jasper (Joel Fry). Ten years later, they have become a trio.
But Estella wants more out of life than petty thievery. She wants to be a fashion designer. Fate sends her the opportunity she is praying via the Baroness (Emma Thompson). The Baroness is the queen of the English fashion scene. She is also self centered and selfish. What starts out as a door opening to the job of her dreams turns Estella/Cruella into a version of the person she wants to destroy. The question is, can our heroine keep up with the image she has created while being true to herself or will she sell her soul in the process?
What I loved is that this movie it proves that a female led movie does not require a romantic narrative to be successful. There are male characters who have a significant role in the narrative, but their relationships with the Baroness and Estella/Cruella are of a professional and/or plutonic nature.
Among the Disney prequels that have come out as of late, this is the best one. Though there is the argument of an easy cash grab, there are more than enough Easter eggs to keep fans of the original film happy. Expanded beyond the original narrative, it is a loving homage to its predecessor while standing on its own two feet.
The founder of anything, specifically when you are a member of a group who has been disenfranchised is more than the creation itself. It is breaking boundaries and making it easier for future generations to follow in your footsteps.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the career doors were starting to bust open for women. At the same time, the concept of radio was also changing. In April of 1971, NPR aired its first broadcast. As with many new businesses, they had open jobs to fill and were not as picky about who they hired as more established enterprises. As the years passed, these women became formidable and respected, changing the game and giving new voice to those who in the past had been silenced.
Though it is a little slow to start, when it takes off, it really takes off. It is a fascinating read, What I found interesting, is that this book is not just the individual stories of these women. It is the story of how women in general have come a long way in only half a century.
As a fan of NPR and avid listener of my local station, WNYC, it is a good read that is well worth your time.
Audiences love a good antagonist. They have the ability to make the narrative more interesting and challenge both the protagonist and the audience.
The new DisneyPlus series, Loki, premiered on Wednesday. It start where Avengers: Endgame left off. When Loki (a glorious Tom Hiddleston) is able to get his hands on the Tesseract, he evades justice. But it is a short escape. Captured by the Time Variance Authority or TVA, he is accused of changing the timeline. His minder, Mobius (Owen Wilson) is in charge of building the TVA’s case against the prisoner. But when a greater evil emerges, Loki may turn from villain to hero.
What a way to kick off a new series. Hiddleston, Wilson, and company are having fun and it shows. I loved the transition from Loki being a straight up baddie to a complicated character who you want to root for, in spite of his past. Kudos goes to the production design team who created a set colored by shades of 1970’s brown and burnt orange. It is a nice change from the bright and colorful world that the Avengers live in.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
New episodes are released every Wednesday on DisneyPlus.
Every decade has its own unique style. In the 1970’s, there was one name that represented the height of women’s fashion: Halston.
The new five part Netflix miniseries, Halston, stars Ewan McGregor as the the iconic fashion designer. The viewer is initially introduced to Halston in the early 1960’s. His salon in New York City is besieged by customers after he designs the hat that Jackie Kennedy wears at her husband’s inauguration in 1961. We then flash forward to 1968 when the business has dried up. Despite being a talented designer, it appears that his once thriving career is in the past.
Then the 1970’s dawns and his wildest professional dreams come true. But as his star grows, Halston’s past and his demons begin to catch up with him. Addicted to drugs and pushing away even the closest of his friends, it appears that his genius and talent will be eclipsed by the shadows he can never get away from.
*Warning: the trailer above contains strong language and images of drug use.
The narrative is nothing short of a Shakespearean tragedy. This man is brilliant, driven, funny, eccentric, and devoted to his friends. Among them is Liza Minnelli (a fantastic Krysta Rodriguez) and the recently department jewelry designer Elsa Peretti (Rebecca Dayan). He is also selfish, full of it, arrogant, and thinks that he has all of the answers. McGregor is superb as the title character, painting a complete picture of a man who myth and mystique is still with us three decades after his passing. It is one of the best roles I have seen him play in a long time.