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.

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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 

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

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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.

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A Long Ago (sort of) American Camelot on the Mississippi

 I finally finished reading “Empire by Collaboration” by Robert Michael Morrisey. It is a history of the Mississippi River from what is now the general St. Louis area down to its confluence with the Ohio River. This is the area Len and I traveled to see the solar eclipse in August 2017. While we were there, we visited Fort De Chartres and Kaskaskia, we saw old houses in tiny river towns, and we saw one of the oldest cemeteries I’ve seen in the US; it filled with 18th century gravestones inscribed with beautiful French names.

Sandhill Cranes of Kearny at Dawn

We were on vacation and now we are home:

First thing to report: we only had one fight.

Why is it so hard to keep a poor Black man who has committed NO crime out of jail?

(Our Brother’s back story is here:  https://www.marybethdanielson.com/content/what-happens-personal-finances-when-one-grows-poor-and-black-america )

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Our Brother is not in jail. This has been a challenge for him, for the people he loves, and for those of us who try to help and support him. Keeping O.B. out of jail is a modern-day Pilgrim’s Progress.

“Oh,” you ask. “Did he commit a crime?”

Love, two days later.

As some of you know it was an unromantically large number of years ago when Len gave me flowers. (The story is here.) 

The next morning, he drove me home on his way to work (read the first article if you have forgotten how why I spent the night at his house and in his bed…)

He ignored me for a day while I rested and recuperated in my apartment.

#UTLAStrong!

My niece Susan is a speech therapist educator in the Los Angeles public schools. She is on strike and I am proud to be in her family. Teachers are the foundation of everything else we all do. For most of the skills most of us depend on to live our lives - If no one teaches you, you don’t know.   

Some Unrelated Observations 12/31/18

I'm working on some big projects lately, so here are some small thoughts along the way. 

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Mansfield Park is Jane Austen’s weirdest novel. Jane-Readers love Jane because her best characters are bright women stuck in situations too small for them. Their observations are bitingly perceptive; you see their inner spirit and you identify, identify, identify.

I’m amazed at critics who think that those of us who love Jane Austen are not-quite-evolved humans; how can we love a book about a girl in a big dress catching her man?

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