Brooklyn 2015

brooklynIt was a random moment in a random film. The film was #Brooklyn. And it really got to me. It was the point where the girl who immigrated to Brooklyn spoke to here priest, and she was distraught over losing her sister back home. She said something to the effect of: “I’ll never see my sister again?” and the priest says: “You know I believe you will, and I believe she’ll look over you every day.”
This writing left me blindsided. As much as I love good writing, I have my moments when hate it too. Those moments when verse comes crashing into the safety of my living room, disrupting my peaceful belief system. The writing got personal. I thought about my Mom, and what I believe about death and the choices we make, when just minutes earlier I was thinking about…what…dinner or a business move. I put the past behind me, and in a way I thought I grew up, and it would never bother me. Do we need the memory of someone long gone? Was my decision that my mother was gone serve me better than a belief that she might be watching over me? A good story kicks us out of our comfort zone and Nick Hornby does that with Brooklyn. Meltdown complete, back to the film.   Brooklyn’s screenplay is strong strong because it’s a simple story.  A simple story with a simple love affair at it’s core.  While never shying away from the more complicated theme of trying to please others.
This is not a Hollywood film, there are no major “Oh, Sh*t!” moments. Just a simple film about people trying to make a better life.  Saoirse Ronan plays Eilis with aplomb, and Emory Cohen pulls off a part that would have been intolerable if played by a less sincere actor. Both characters were played naturally and with great subtlety. Jessica Paré, Miss Fortini was beautiful to watch and although her character played a small part, I think the film was made special by her appearances. This film is to be commended for not falling into tired tropes and stereotypes, I fully expected Miss Fortini to be an adversary, but instead she was an ally to Eilis. Most films would have taken the easier path.
If you have ever moved away from home or family in search of a better life,  if you have ever left things undone…or if you have ever had a cross-cultural romance, I think this movie will strike a chord with you.  Costumes, production design and photography were pleasing to the eye with plenty of pastels to take you back to a different time. This film also has writing that will take you by surprise if you are open to it.
 Films by Director John Crowley

Truth by James Vanderbilt

Reviewed “#Truth”, Starring Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett. I thought both stars were excellent in this tragic story of how journalism in US has been corrupted by corporate and political interests. Written and directed by James Vanderbilt. Worth it. I also liked Topher Grace. He’s always an interesting actor. The payoff was a bitter-sweet, but ultimately the truth wins. Vanderbilt’s story and direction were thorough and smart. Cate Blanchett could not have been better, worth watching.

The Caveman Project

Been working on this project for nearly 5 years. It has a new name…a new focus, and it’s all planned on paper. The concept is there, but I have spent much of that time running into limits. Financial and technological limits mainly…but I’ve also reached the end of my skill-sets. Now it’s up to my creativity. Outsourcing with my limited budget has proven a waste of time and money, and the one or two academics and technology workers I’ve approached with idea don’t seem to see much merit in any idea unless it’s theirs. Now it’s time for me to knuckle down to see if I can build this thing myself. Which means I’m studying again. This makes me wonder how many fantastic ideas are out there that aren’t being heard by the people with the resources to make those ideas real? The barrier to entry in technology is getting higher every day, but this could be changed if someone were to bring ordinary people with great ideas and people with technical know-how (and resources) together. #MITMedialab is probably the only place for me to turn if I can’t master this development environment.

The aptly named

Trainwreck. I honestly have to watch this one with minimal distractions. It’s toilet humor, but Amy Shumer does it so well. I almost feel her movies are a bit naughty, like watching porn…

Southpaw with Jake Gyllenhaul

Why can’t my style-obsessed generation make a decent film? It must suck toes to work as hard as Jake Gyllenhaul did on #Southpaw only to have the writers throw something together.  Mr. Gyllenhaul is almost always good in everything he does. He took to this character with aplomb, but he needed a better story. His wife was interesting…but..well. If you like boxing you may just enjoy this film.

An Evening in Boston

Something happened on the way home. I remembered what I liked and what I didn’t like about the way Boston has changed over the past decade or two. The idea that we are missing something in the rush of technology. How disconnected we are from the people living right next door to us. How we have all bought-in to the social media paradigm Wall St. has sold us. Twenty years ago, everyone thought AOL was the internet, now we believe FB, Snapchat and Instagram are. I think we are missing the power of technology. All the information of the ages at our fingertips, and we want to take selfies.  I remembered that I loved the culture of learning when we come together, but I’m sad that we use technology as a way to keep ourselves shielded from truth, boredom, life, and pain. I came home, and I felt two ways at once…both not wanting to go back to college (at my age) and at the same time loving the human-scale of Springfield and wanting to live in a small city. Where a mile is a mile, and I actually know who my neighbors are. There is a world of fun and culture in places like Boston and NYC, but also…here, I can see it’s a bit of a rat race.

The Cornerstone of Success

Today’s self-care happened late yesterday, It meant me understanding something that has alluded me for some time. When I understood this, my priorities fell into place, and my crew understood better how to help me make this happen. I realized that a strong home life is the foundation of all true success. Not when others decide I’m OK, not when business booms, not when the right person comes into my life, or when I have kids. But today, and I’m loving this philosophy. There is freedom in flying solo, because wherever I am is home and my happiness not contingent upon another. ‪#‎carechronicle‬ ‪#‎october‬ Hope you make time to take care of yourself.

In the future, it will be OK to be different.

Smart is reserved for those who have the support system. I’ve always been more creative than smart and creativity can help you survive. I was born in a lonely pressure cooker, and my mother’s mandate to me before she passed was to survive, and I did. When I have kids, they’ll have the opportunity to be smart, creative, LGBTQ, white, black, Chinese, talented, easy-going, non-talented…whatever and not have that perceived as a threat by those around them. They’ll be able to be whatever they are, and not feel like outcasts. And if that means severing ties with my past. So be it.

I am pretty sure I will raise them on a farm, because being connected to nature is vital for balance in life. I’m not down, I’m an optimist but I really believe the generation coming up (those 16 and younger) are more sophisticated than most adults today. They seem less threatened by differences and seem less preoccupied with conforming to an unattainable “image”. They seem more results based. They may be the ones to save us from ourselves. Of course I could be wrong in which case…being childless is OK too.

Empire: Poor Yorick.

#‎Empire‬ was solid last night. I think if they make the music core, they have something with staying power. This could be a great tool to bring positive change in so many areas. Just keep on that trajectory. Dre is a superb actor and his wife Rhonda is very refreshing for her ride or die devotion in a ride or buy kinda world. She is sexy and against type = cool. I wonder why Jamal’s boyfriend is even there? Give him lines or stop featuring him. More Latino edge to follow, I’m sure. Be nice if they stop fighting family and get more real enemies like Roxanne, who is kinda good too.

Overall, I think Empire‬ is back on track. Taraji and Terrence are magic to watch, just being normal. In short, tonight’s episode was fantastic. If somebody can get me an audition. I’ll name my first-born after you. (or an anagram of your name) BooBoo Kitty needs a brother…maybe someone who can rescue her from the ‪#‎tragicmulatto‬ stereotype the writers have her stuck in. But those are small matters. The addition of Luscious’ attorney is almost too good to tolerate. A lawyer who is willing to help you frame a judge, dig up a dead body and dispose of it has to be worth his weight in gold. Props to the writers for making me believe true friendship and professional courtesies still exists. – Jaden Dumas