Mary Beth Writes

Last night we watched last year’s “Happytime Murders” with Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph and a bunch of puppets who look like Muppets. Yes, the director is Brian Henson.

The plot? A former kids’ puppet show is making a comeback, and someone is machine-gunning down alumni puppets in order to get a bigger cut of potential franchise income. Phil Philips, puppet detective, partners with Melissa McCarthy to find the culprit. Along the way we see various episodes of puppet porn.

I laughed a lot and then the movie was over.

Went to bed. Woke up this morning irritated.

“Happytime Murders” cost 40 million dollars to make. Brian Henson!  Imagine the resources that son-of-Jim must have at his fingertips. Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph are fabulously talented women.

Yet the movie asks no questions, presents no original whimsy, entertains the front of our brains while doing nothing to move the core of our hearts. 

Have you heard of the Bechdel test? “It is a measure of the representation of women in fiction and asks whether a work features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechdel_test

This movie fails even that low bar. McCarthy and Rudolph talk to each other ONLY about Phil Phillips – who is a PUPPET man. 

Hollywood plays its violin while Rome burns?

Global warming and climate disasters, policing that is lynching, toxic sexism, Citizens United, oligarchies swamping global politics like a tsunami, NRA’s choking hold on Congress, massive media dumped on humans with minimal defenses, antibiotic-resistant super bugs, anti-vaxxers, unfettered weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, anomie, alienation, suicide, unprecedented addiction, election tampering from sources we can’t even imagine, epidemics, noxious solipsism (nobody has the right opinion on things except me).  And more.

...

It is nerve-wracking to be human. Where are movies with oomph and anger and wisdom?

I am done with movies that divert, cover up, and obfuscate. I want to watch truthful movies that are perceptive and smart.

These are some that Len and I came up with – movies that moved our hearts and made us think.

Eighth Grade

Moonlight

A Boy’s Life

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

First Reformed 

 ...

What movies gave you vision and courage, oomph and joy?

 …

The note of hope is the only note
That can keep us from falling to the bottom of the heap of evolution
Because, largely, about all a human being is anyway
Is just, a hoping machine.

     Woody Guthrie

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Comments

I agree there are so many useless movies and so much terrible TV, and I stopped watching any real violent or frightening things years ago. My own thoughts and imagination, not to mention, the real news of the day, are more than enough for me. However, I do feel the need for beautiful, sweet and laugh out loud funny. Sometimes, it has to be about the joy.

Any good movies that come to mind, that fill your spirit and make you laugh?

Not a comedy, but a thoughtful one: Cider House Rules

Thanks. I should watch it again, its been so many years. You are right, it is a complicated story lived by complicated people. Like life itself.

Minding the Gap... a documentary we saw on PBS: POV show. An Incredibly insightful and touching story about three skateboarding friends dealing with harsh realities as they grow up in a town in the Rust Belt. I’m very excited about this young director:Bing Liu (It was also nominated for an academy award)

Bing Liu. Will look for his films. Thank you.

Green Book

"Call me by your name" made me think,laugh and cry, I like movies like that. The movie Good night and good night" which Michael and I saw when it first came out in2005 I believe is beautiful to look at ( Black and white ) with the most wonderful jazz soundtrack... About the battle between Sen Joseph McCarthy and Edward R. Murrow... Definitely a must see.

I've been watching lots of documentaries, including one about the business of art (can't remember the name at the moment) and the Robert Maplethorpe one (warning: X Rated if you're uncomfortable with men's body parts!). I feel like someone needs to keep watching these and remember that not everyone is the same. I also want to see the Big Little Farm movie. Finally, I recommend the Temple Grandin movie. I bawled my eyes out and laughed just as much. It's beautiful! I want more movies like that...movies about real people who did amazing things and lived authentically.

We watched this last night and it was astounding: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368264/ Shakespeare behind Bars.

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Let's go to Canada. It will be beautiful and convenient and nothing will get too crazy.

Hi! Len and I returned home at 1:30AM from our 15-day road trip through eastern Canada and Maine and more.  

In case you ever wondered, you CAN go to the “Glazed and Confused” donut shop in Syracuse, NY at 9 in the morning, peruse the  Erie Canal museum https://eriecanalmuseum.org/ and then drive back in Waukesha - all in one 16-hour day. We are generally closer to interesting places than we know.

But I get ahead of myself.

An afternoon in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Sault is a French word that mean topsy-turvy as in the rapids on the St. Mary river that tumbles between the US and Canada. Or summersaults. Isn’t that cute?

We walked a lot that first day. We thought the Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site; which is two old houses that we wanted to see, were just around the corner from where we parked. Nope; more like two miles there and two miles back.  But it was a brisk day and after our hot, humid Wisconsin summer it was delicious to wear a jacket and not sweat.

Mountain Top Toddler

We drove to Chicago to help care for our 2-year old granddaughter. There is a lot going on in their family as is true of any family with a toddler, a new infant, and two working parents. Such as; my daughter went back to work the same week their daycare center closed for a 10-day break. A perfect storm of domestic hoopla. 

We only watched her from 7:30AM until 4PM on Monday and Tuesday. When our son-in-law came home from work, he took over. Other relatives are watching her the next few days. 

Here are three things I noticed about taking care of a toddler.

"Death Comes for the Archbishop" and How to drive to the Y without a map.

I read Willa Cather’s “Death Comes for the Archbishop” when I was in high school. I heard it was an important book which made me curious (still does), so I borrowed it from the library and read the whole thing.

It was mud. I didn’t care about the characters; two middle-aged priests who go to the American southwest to build and strengthen the Catholic church. Snooze. Nothing cohesive happens. They do a bunch of walking around in the desert followed by episodes of trying to be helpful a few days here, a few years there. Yawn.

When Weaving is NOT a Metaphor

I wrote this 12 years ago.  It's long and even I get confused as to what I wrote when one gets about half way through this  - and I was there!   But some of you will be interested to read how those "ethnic weavings" from Guatemala begin.  Next time you buy something hand woven, for less than $20, you will understand that price is not right.

.....

Retirement Smackdown

I just made a list of fourteen friends who have retired in the past five years. Of the fourteen, SEVEN retired early and abruptly when their employer’s business practices, for various reasons, changed or failed.

There is a myth out there that retirement is a fixed event with a date one knows years in advance. Then at the desired retirement age there will be a company party where one gets a memento from their employer - and after that they live aimlessly, trying to find purpose.  

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