I stare at the boxed faces of 60 traditional-aged college students. I speak to them about David Foster Wallace and Audre Lorde, urging them to pay attention to this precious, weird, fleeting time period, to determine how they will use their power—collective and individual—to improve the world. It is impossible to know if I am … Continue reading Going Off Book: I kind of want a ‘Neverending Story’ remake?
There's a moment in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing (1989) that sticks with me. It's the hottest day of the summer and Mookie (Lee) sails down the sidewalk, pizza delivery in hand. He's halted by Da Mayor (Ossie Davis), who he first tries to brush off until Da Mayor insists on being listened to. … Continue reading Going Off Book: ‘Do the Right Thing’
Celebrity-ing While Quarantining During the COVID-19 pandemic, while most of us #shelterinplace, celebrities have been putting out elaborately orchestrated videos to entertain the troops, as it were, and keep up morale. And generally speaking, call me "curmudgeon" if you must, I loathe what feels to me like being pandered to by rich and famous people. … Continue reading Going Off Book: Quarantine Celebrity-ing, + Notions, Late April Edition
Holiday traditions abound and that includes the various sub-traditions within the larger ones. Sure, most of us give and open presents to celebrate Christmas but whether you do so on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning has divided many a newly-joined couple. We have food traditions but whether you and your family prioritize cookies or dinner … Continue reading Going Off Book: My Christmas Movies
In August, Iceland unveiled the world's first memorial to a dead glacier. Okjökull was thousands of years old but succumbed to fatal warming in less than a century. She is survived by countless sisters and brothers, all of whom face the same fate. Her memorial plaque reads, in Icelandic and English, "Ok is the first … Continue reading Going Off Book: Memorial to a Glacier
There are a couple of different ways to do smart horror movies. The first explores a specific topic, what the film is “about,” and the plot serves as scaffolding to unpack that theme. Ari Aster’s first feature, Hereditary, falls into this camp. It’s a movie about grief and how our parents’ worst traits can be … Continue reading Going off Book: Midsommar
Season one of Fleabag knocked me over, picked me up, and then broke me into a thousand pieces. It seemed semi-criminal that something so awkward and cruel and heart-breaking should also be so funny. It deals with grief and regret and being the family scapegoat and making terrible decisions and punishing yourself because you've done … Continue reading Going off Book: Fleabag
Okay, I'm going to go off book, literally, to discuss the two biggest pieces of mass media that came out this weekend: Avengers: Endgame and episode three of the final Game of Thrones season, "The Long Night." It may be a little rough but I'm putting it out there anyway. Both the wrap-up of phase … Continue reading Going Off Book: Avengers and Game of Thrones