My son is three. He’s a relatively capable little chap but he’s three. My wife and I have to dress him, prepare his meals, feed him, take him to the bathroom, clean up after him. Parent him. He’s been going to daycare since he was one. He’s never really enjoyed it. Not enough to look forward to daycare days with excitement. Usually, there’s tears or at least severe pouting. I never understood why until I started checking in on the daycare photo feed. What I discovered was both shocking and disturbing. Here was my son scraping his plate, dressing himself, not eating with his fingers, being independent. Here was my son being a little boy. Not a toddler.
I asked him to perform these tasks at home and he looked at me as if I was crazy – why would I want to do that, dad?
My son thinks of daycare as his job. An unwelcome responsibility. He has to go there and do a bunch of things he doesn’t want to do – like eating with utensils and not wetting himself. When he gets home he wants to put his feet up. Relax. Be waited on by his mum and dad. Can’t blame him, really. He’s been running this con on us for months. Now I’m on to him we’ll see how long it lasts.
Beware the Slenderman
Heartbreaking. This documentary chronicling the attempted murder of a 12-year old girl by her two friends, also aged 12, was not what I expected. The title suggests something sensational, an exploration of urban myths in the digital age and how they can warp impressionable minds. Beware the Slenderman isn’t that. Instead, it’s the story of two lonely girls, one a diagnosed schizophrenic, the other suffering her own mental distress, who found each other, bonded, and began to feed each others dysfunctionality, exacerbating it to the point where the murder of their friend wasn’t only an idea but a necessary action. In my opinion, this had nothing to do with slenderman. The girls would have found a trigger in a song, a book, a movie, a painting. The fact the courts tried and sentenced them as adults is frankly scandalous. It shows a complete lack of understanding and empathy for those suffering mental health issues.
In 1996 I tried to be Liam Gallagher. I styled my hair like him, started a band, thought I was the coolest. I wasn’t. It turns out Liam wasn’t either. As this exhaustive documentary makes abundantly clear, the youngest Gallagher was little more than a lager lout with nice cheekbones and a distinctive nasal drone. His brother Noel, on the other hand, was and is the real deal. A genuine musical talent who wrote a collection of the best British songs this side of The Beatles. Definitely Maybe and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory are among the best albums of the nineties. Probably the naughties as well.
I was never the biggest fan of Romero’s Dead films. I admire them as genre-busting socio-political allegories but if I’m going to bat for a film with ‘Dead’ in the title it’s going to have ‘Evil’ in front of it. This documentary was filmed over a thirty-five year period, checking in with Romero once or twice a decade. Intended to be an educational resource for aspiring filmmakers, it grew into something more personal, not to mention archival. I can’t think of any other documentaries that cover such a breadth of time. Watching Romero work as filmmaker one can’t help but respect his work ethic, zen-like calm, and maverick sensibilities. This guy turned down millions of Hollywood studio dollars so that he could remain independent and make the zombie movies he wanted to make. I wonder if he gets residuals from The Walking Dead crew? He should.
The Greasy Strangler
I can’t in good conscience recommend this movie. I won’t put a link here and would caution against watching any footage with a full stomach. Still, I loved every depraved, nonsensical minute of it.
A notoriously troubled production, (which yielded an excellent documentary, check it out – Lost Souls), Moreau is that strange beast of a film that I’m attracted to watch, even though I know it’s going to be bad. I put it on for twenty minutes and was surprised at how much I was into it. Twenty minutes later I regretted not turning it off sooner.
At the height of my teen film buff years, I was heavily into the French filmmaker Luc Besson. I watched all his movies, even managed to track down his rare first black and white flick The Last Battle. Léon remains the high water mark for me but I can’t argue with the brilliance of La Femme Nikita. And then the Fifth Element happened. I was expecting Léon in space, instead, I got a silly space opera with a blonde Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich spouting gibberish and Chris Rock portraying the most annoying character ever burnt to film. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. Since that time, I’ve come to appreciate The Fifth Element’s uniquely French sensibilities. I still don’t love the movie but I appreciate it. The trailer for Luc Besson’s Valerian dropped this week and it looks like the Fifth Element Part II. I’m ready to meet Besson on his own terms this time and judging by the visual imagination on display, I think I’m in for a treat.
Speaking of trailers…
Wow! Could this be a classic King adaptation like The Dead Zone, The Shining, Pet Semetery, Misery, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile or are we going to be a served another Dreamcatcher? I’m optimistic. A guy at work watched this over my shoulder and said, hey, that looks like Stranger Things. I had to restrain myself from slapping him. No! Dammit – Stranger Things looks like this!
Damon Lindelof the co-creater and showrunner of this HBO series about the Rapture and those left in its wake, wrote Lost. Take that as you will. Unlike the vast percentage of the viewership, I didn’t hate the final season of Lost. Yes, it was nowhere near as good as the heights of previous seasons and the whole hippy-dippy purgatory thing was lame as hell, but there were enough grace notes (the return of Vincent, Jack’s expression as he watches the plane take-off) to be worthwhile. The Leftovers is based on the novel by Tom Perotta so I’m hoping that given a concrete structure to follow Lindelof will be able to stick the landing this time. The first episode is suitably melancholic and intriguing. I’m in for episode two.
I’ve discovered Depeche Mode. A couple decades after their heyday but better late than never right? So far, I’m enjoying their nineties output (Violator, Songs of Faith and Devotion) far more than their career defining eighties hits but that may change. Music’s like that. Newer albums can cast older albums into a fresh light. Reach out and touch faith!
That’s it for this week, thanks for reading and, as always, if you have any comments or suggestions leave them below.