When I graduated from college I told myself I was done. I was burnt out. I didn’t want to see another assignment or read another book that I didn’t pick out myself ever again. I was going to have my 9 to 5 life and my free time back.
But the thing was, a year into working full-time in journalism I felt like there was something missing from my career. I still loved writing, but it no longer felt like I was being able to flex the right writing muscles. I got to read books again; books I had selected for myself! What was I missing?
It took me awhile to figure out that the thing I was missing was school. No matter how cool I try to be the truth is I’m a nerd. I love writing papers. I love being in class and discussing things written a hundred years ago. There’s something about that academic setting, how literature can lead to a discussion about culture and politics that made me want to stay in school forever. So that became the new goal.
My fondest memories of undergrad studies were spent in English classes discussing In Cold Blood and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. I wanted to have those discussions all over again. But this time I wanted to be leading them.
Maybe I would become an English professor.
It wasn’t an easy conclusion to come to. And I truthfully didn’t know much about how someone actually becomes a professor. So the research began, casually at first then more serious, looking into schools. Then I had to be realistic. I couldn’t just quit my job to do a doctorate. And what if I got there and discovered I was wrong and I hated it? Would I be stuck? And most importantly, how the hell was I going to pay for another degree? Continue reading
Blind Runner Completes Boston Marathon, Encourages Others with Disabilities to Get Out of Their Comfort Zones
I thought I would share an article I wrote at work. There’s a lot of terrible news out there on the daily. I feel lucky enough to work for an organization that helps tell stories about the good in the world. It was an honor to get to write about Rachel and her incredible journey. We can all learn a little something from her.
Some people make bets on horse races. Some people lose their minds over the World Series. I like talking about the Oscars. The Academy Awards are Hollywood’s biggest pat on the back and they’re ridiculous. I don’t know if I’ve seen an Oscars as ridiculous as this year’s. No host? Announcing they wouldn’t televise certain categories, only to take back that decision after people complained. Not to mention there’s no clear winner in like any category. It’s the wild west this year. So buckle up because I have a feeling it’s going to be a really bumpy night.
Here’s my attempt at some predictions:
Should Win: This is a tough one. Call me a sucker but I loved “A Star is Born” even with its flaws. And man, not enough people are talking about how great “BlacKkKlansman” is. And then there’s “Green Book,” the feel good choice that, even ridden with controversy, still seems to win a lot. But dear lord let it not be the flaming dumpster fire that is “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Will Win: “Black Panther,” because the Academy has a history of giving people what they want after enough complaints.
Actor in a Leading Role
Should Win: I’ve wrestled with this one all year. I love Christian Bale and his Dick Cheney was great, but I don’t think Bradley Cooper will ever have another performance like “A Star is Born.” Everyone has been talking about Gaga, but B. Coops outshines her in every way. I know he won’t win. But damn do I wish it for him.
Will Win: Rami Malek. Listen, playing Freddie is a hell of a task and no one could be expected to get it right. Rami came pretty close even if the movie as a whole sucked. What would have been better is if the movie had been a hard R so we could have seen the whole story. Maybe then he would deserve this one.
Actress in a Leading Role
Should Win: Gaga. I don’t want to hear your arguments because you’re wrong. She did what Barbra only dreamed of doing.
Will Win: Glen Close, because it’s time. Continue reading
Boy oh boy. Remember when Clint Eastwood said he wasn’t going to act in his movies anymore? Yeah, me neither.
“The Mule” is his latest film that depicts the real-life drug mule Leo Sharp and his years of running product back and forth from Mexico for the Sinaloa cartel. Sharp was 90 when he was caught and plead guilty to everything. It’s a pretty crazy story for anyone that say, has a grandparent. I couldn’t imagine either of my grandfathers doing something like that.
In the film, Sharp’s name is changed to Earl. We learn pretty much everything we need to know about him in the first 10 minutes of the film. He grows flowers for a living and is very proud of them; he’s estranged from his family because he’s a terrible father; and he’s a womanizer. A mixture of these things lead Earl to be broke. In a desperate move he uses a contact he makes at his granddaughter’s engagement party to help move drugs for the Sinaloa cartel. It’s meant to just be a one-time thing, but Earl makes a big chunk of change from the cartel for his services so he continues to make runs for them. Eventually DEA investigators get wind from a snitch that there’s a mule running drugs. Enter a disappointingly clean cut Bradley Cooper who is trying to catch Earl. The surprise on his face when he finally does catch the mule and finds out he’s a 90-year-old man, almost makes up for the fact that B. Coops is no longer a scruffy addict rocker. Continue reading
True story: When I was little I carried a purple umbrella with me everywhere I went. You know, just in case an east wind blew up and wanted to carry me away. My strict mother did not let me watch television beyond PBS when I was little. Instead, if my brother and I wanted to watch something we would turn to our huge Disney VHS collection. When I wasn’t watching “The Lion King,” I was watching “Mary Poppins.” I wanted nothing more to be like Julie Andrews when I grew up. Seriously, from ages 3-10 my dream job was flying, magical nanny.
Mary Poppins is the original badass boss lady. She rides in on the wind, doesn’t take no for an answer, and takes children on elaborate adventures while also telling them it’s all nonsense. And then it’s all a lie because we know it’s the father she comes to save, not the children. She’s the coolest female character of all time. MP is the essence of the Disney magic that us 90s kids were lucky enough to grow up with.
The original “Mary Poppins” came out in 1964 and besides the magical story of national treasure Julie Andrews as a flying nanny, the film was famously plagued by drama, mainly stemming from Walt Disney’s battle to turn the MP books into a full Disney-fied film complete with dancing penguins and laughing uncles that also had a nine minute chimney sweep dance solo. P.L. Travers, the author or the books, was a strict little old British lady that didn’t want Disney to add his nonsense to her beloved stories and he didn’t really seem to listen. (Watch “Saving Mr. Banks” for the full perspective.) It seems odd then, that 54 years later Disney made a sequel.
“Mary Poppins Returns” is that sequel, with the lovely Emily Blunt stepping into the nanny shoes. The premise is somewhat similar to the original; Jane and Michael Banks are all grown up, Jane is a social advocate like her mother was and Michael works at the bank like his father. Micheal’s wife has recently died leaving him to care for their three young children. He’s also in some money trouble. If he can’t come up with the money from his father’s shares in the bank by the end of the movie he will lose his childhood home, where he and his children reside. Enter Mary Poppins, who ultimately comes to save the day and teach Michael (and the children) how to have joy again. Continue reading
I am in the middle of obsessing over three separate men this award season. I’m obsessed with Dick Cheney. Is that weird? Not as a politician, but just the idea that a man like him existed in American government. Ruthless? Sure. But isn’t that what makes him fascinating?
I am equal parts obsessed with Adam McKay, who may just be the smartest man in Hollywood. Despite kind of hating everything Will Ferrell has ever done besides “Elf,” McKay might just be my favorite director. Everything you need to know about how brilliant he is is in “The Big Short.” A movie about the 2008 financial crisis that somehow did the feat of explaining something millions of American’s don’t understand about finance and making it entertaining, engaging, and hilarious. There’s nothing I love more than a good piece of satire that actually teaches you something.
Lastly, I’m obsessed with Christian Bale. He may just be the greatest working actor we have right now, and he’s still somehow a bit underrated. He can do anything. He can change his appearance to look like anyone and change his voice to sound like any American. He’s an unlikely choice for anything, and yet, he’s perfect.
And so you can see why I’ve been so excited to see McKay’s “Vice.” Bale plays former Vice President Cheney from cradle to present as the film chronicles his rocky early 20s to his roles in various White House staffs and eventually how he became the most powerful VP of all time. “Vice” was a lot of things I wasn’t expecting. I learned things I didn’t know. I got angry when Cheney lacked sympathy for, well, anyone. I became obsessed with Lynn Cheney. I was pleasantly surprised by Tyler Perry. And I barely laughed.
Here’s what you need to know right off the bat with “Vice”: it might have been billed as a comedy and put into the comedy categories for the Golden Globes, but “Vice” is a straight biopic. Although it has occasional satire moments like early rolling credits, Shakespearean dialogue, and a hilarious George W. via the always wonderful Sam Rockwell, it’s a drama. This is a hard “Walk the Line”-style pic that tells you about a man’s life and how he comes to power. There’s not a lot of funny, despite what trailers may have told us. The places where I did laugh were when Bale would interrupt a scene to announce to the other characters that he had to go to the hospital again because he was having another heart attack. But even that is more dramatic than “haha” funny. Continue reading
Have you ever watched something and thought, “Huh. What was the point of all that?”
Upon first walking out of the theater that’s how I felt about “The Favourite,” the period piece about Queen Anne of England and the two women competing to be her right hand lady played by Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz. I saw the movie with my aunt and the only comment she had about it was that she hated it. I didn’t. But I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was that I found kind of great about the movie.
“The Favourite” was one of those films you thought was going to end about six different times before it actually did. And really, the story was a bit unbelievable despite it sort of being true. Queen Anne was a real person of course, as were Weisz’s Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough and Stone’s Abigail Hill. Whether or not either one of them had a sexual relationship with the Queen is here nor there I suppose. The plot of “The Favourite” is pretty simple. Sarah and Anne have been friends since childhood and Sarah seems to be at Anne’s beckon call, serving as her head assistant of sorts. Anne, who suffers from gout and depression from losing 17 children, is a bit of a mess, understandably. Sarah is always there to calm her down and take care of her. She’s also there to carry out Anne’s politics when she doesn’t feel like facing parliament, which is a lot. As a result, Sarah often pushes her own political agenda and is constantly convincing Anne what shots to call in the war with France. Think of it as a 1700s version of Bush/Cheney. When Abigail arrives we find out that she’s Sarah’s cousin who is basically a slave because her father gambled her away when she was younger. She asks Sarah for a job and soon proves herself to be clever and likeable. Taylor Swift’s boyfriend has a thing for her and Jennifer Lawrence’s ex-boyfriend asks her to help him spy on whatever Sarah and Anne talk about in private. At first Abigail is very obedient and doesn’t cause trouble. But then she discovers that Sarah and Anne are also lovers and she ends up befriending the Queen and also becoming her lover in order to stay in good graces at the castle and not be kicked back out onto the street. Sarah becomes jealous and Abigail becomes more power hungry eventually leading the Queen to pick one of them and send the other away. I won’t spoil anything beyond that. Continue reading
Yesterday I turned 26. Why does that seem so old? I’m a year away from the age Kurt Cobain was when he died! Twenty-six. I must be a real adult now. My year of being 25 was a lot of things. I changed jobs. I moved states. I looked at grad schools. I broke up with someone. You know, your typical 25-year-old things. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to take all of those experiences and store them away for antidotes later. Everything when you’re in your 20s is a learning experience to become the person you’re supposed to be. I have no idea if I’m there yet, but I do know I learned a lot being 25 that’s prepared me for being 26.
So for fun I made a list of those things:
1) You can move states, apply for grad school, start a new job, and get a dog all at the same time and not die in the process!
2) Listen to your gut. It’s always right. About people, about situations. Never second guess yourself.
3) Never be afraid to ask for help.
4) Remove yourself from toxic people. You don’t have to be friends with people who suck.
5) An unhealthy environment will just make you unhealthy so get the hell out of there.
6) You can absolutely choose to be single and love it. Men in their 20s can be exhausting. Sometimes you need a break from them. Continue reading