The funny thing about morality is the fact that it’s relative. We assign meaning to action and motivation, marking the act of being a good person something that is defined by society. Such is the life of a sentient being. … Continue reading →
Ever have one of those weeks where you set out to be productive but then Netflix releases something and you just sort of sit, transfixed, like bug drawn to a zapper? One minute, you’re you. The next minute, you’ve just … Continue reading →
How many of you forgot about this little gem from the 90s? Long before there was the Academy Award-nominated I, Tonya, there was Comedy Central’s Spunk: The Tonya Harding Story. Written by Michael McCarthy and starring Tina Yothers, it’s a tongue-in-cheek look at … Continue reading →
While I’m chugging down the nostalgia line, let’s head back to 1984. It seems like we’re getting there already with the political climate (good afternoon, NSA – smashing sweater we’ve got on today), but we’re going for a different reason: … Continue reading →
A while back, I got the chance to see Labyrinth on the big screen. Let me tell you, David Bowie’s codpiece front and center on a large screen is the way that god intended you to see that film, people. … Continue reading →
Cursed by a Legacy of Violence
You’ve probably already seen the trailer for the upcoming movie about Sarah Winchester and her infamous mansion. You may even have visited it for yourself. I’ve never personally witnessed it, but I’ve been fascinated by it ever since I saw a documentary about it years ago (I forget the name of the production). Legend has it that Sarah was haunted by the spirits of those murdered by the very instrument that was said to have won the West – such “winning” came at the bloody expense of the Native American tribes doomed to stand in the way of Manifest Destiny.
As a result, there’s a lot of social commentary to unpack here, and I’ve found one such article that has done it better than I could. Was Sarah was building her house to appease the spirits who haunted her now that she had inherited her husband’s $20,000,000 stake in the Winchester fortune? That’s obviously the theory that is dramatized for the upcoming film starring Helen Mirren. Others assume she was merely keeping carpenters and artisans employed out of a sense of noblesse oblige. Her reclusive and eccentric nature coupled with a nation grappling with his legacy of violence helped fuel the stories of a cursed woman. In my opinion, such a story would have been a powerhouse in the hands of someone like Guillermo del Toro; his early movies are a master class in using ghosts to portray collective national trauma (the linked video is well worth a watch). However, it doesn’t look as though that will be the approach. Jump scares and a terrorized Sarah Winchester a la Insidious or Poltergeist seem to be on the menu. Hopefully, I’m wrong. The subject matter and leading actress are enough reason to draw me to the theater. But I would have liked a telling that left me unsettled and sad. Because we have yet to exorcise our nation’s ghosts.
I had intended to do a Saturday Short yesterday, but I hosted a children’s sleepover party the night before. Plan as you might, you’re never fully prepared for preteen girls scarfing cupcakes. Lately, I’ve been trying to get … Continue reading →
The Shape of Water has something odd going for it: it’s been playing in various places while remaining absent in others for some time. For example, it came out in limited release in the U.S. in early December, then got … Continue reading →
**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE SERIES 4 PREMIERE OF BLACK MIRROR** Oh man, Black Mirror has really pissed some people off lately with the advent of series 4. The introductory episode of the season, USS Callister, has made Star … Continue reading →
Waco: When Faith Becomes Deadly
When I was a little girl, my family belonged to a particular sect of the Evangelical Church known as Fundamentalists: meaning they adhered to a literal interpretation of the Christian Bible as a means of practicing the fundamentals of the Christian faith. The churches we attended tended to be tightly-knit sects that fiercely squashed any questioning of its tenants and often fell under the sway of charismatic and obdurate leaders. These leaders were to be obeyed as if they were God, for they were seen as God’s chosen spokesman. I am not speaking for all members of these types of churches, but as I grew older the line between these I attended and those that wound up on the nightly news blurred more and more. At the time, we were like most people in that we felt we were too smart for a cult. We would never drink poison or live monastically away from family and friends to “help God along” in our destination to the afterlife. And yet…that’s basically that’s what we were asked to do. The only things keeping us from joining the fates of so many were education and our parents’ inability to perpetually swallow inordinate amounts of bullshit.
The story of such a group is being retold in a 6-part miniseries beginning on January 24. Waco stars Michael Shannon, John Leguizamo, and Taylor Kitsch (as David Koresh), and will attempt to convey the story of the Branch Davidians as their leader hurtled them towards a showdown with the United States government that lasted 51 days. There is still some bitter blood between small government types and federal law enforcement, and the Branch Davidian compound is still held up as an example of “big government” enforcing itself onto a group’s right to practice their faith as they saw fit…even if that group suffered severe mental and sexual abuse at the hands of their leader (it was even a key source of inspiration for the Oklahoma City bombing that occurred two years later). One argument is that it didn’t have to end the way it did if the feds hadn’t gotten involved. Another is that Koresh’s crimes forced the hands of local and federal law officials to take drastic measures. In any regard, it proved a recipe for tragedy. And lest we fall to the temptation of elevating ourselves as being free of any such influence, remember that no one is above falling under the spell of a flashy showman with a gift for gab that claims to know exactly what it takes to solve all our problems and is willing to fight the government on our behalf. Sound familiar?