The rest of everything I watched in January. (It was a good month.)
15. (1454.) Eighth Grade (2018)
I like Bo Burnham's comedy and I like coming-of-age films, so of course I enjoyed his directorial debut. It can be very, very hard to watch, but that is so much the point. Totally recommended.
16. (1455.) Holiday (1938)
Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy were certainly movie magic, but the same could also be said of Hepburn's pairings with Cary Grant. Here the two fight against a world of conformity with predictable but delightful results. I loved it.
17. (1456.) Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
What a streak I was on! The formula of the romantic comedy is set in stone because it works no matter the setting as this movie proves once again. The ending is never in doubt, and knowing that in advance can let you just enjoy the ride. Lots of fun.
18. (1457.) Torch Song Trilogy (1988)
The strength of Harvey Fierstein's three act play about a drag queen's very star-crossed love life is Fierstein himself. A good antidote to the soul-rotting commercialism lampooned (but not disowned) in Crazy Rich Asians.
19. (1458.) The Favourite (2018)
I have only two complaints about this period dramedy: terrible musical choices and a worse ending that strikes an extra sour note just before you leave the movie. Otherwise, Emma Stone in a corset: yes, please.
20. (1459.) Rappin' (1985)
Exploitation films can be hard to define, so in the future I think I'll just point people to this, the bastard child of West Side Story meets Breakin'. I promise if you watch this, it will leave an impression. Here's the trailer:
Yes, that was Ice-T. You're welcome.
More to come.
This counts as news only to me, but I fixed my bedside lamp. The switch had worn out.
It's no antique, though it's no spring chicken, either. I "inherited" it when my college roommate graduated and moved to the west coast. (Hi, Jason!) That was only... fifteen years ago. I don't know how old it was then. (Can you shed any light on that subject, Jason?) If I've yanked that chain twice a day ever since, that's somewhere in the neighborhood of approximately 11,000 pulls. Maybe I should have been counting.
Anyway, thanks to a replacement switch found on eBay, I can now read in bed again. Sweet dreams, everyone.
Mother asked for a cake for Valentine's Day, but not just any cake. Instead of the family recipe pound cake that I made her for her birthday, she wanted the Classic Southern Pound Cake from Southern Living magazine.
I've been baking pound cakes for years. This shouldn't be so hard, I thought. That was my first mistake.
Pro Tip: When making a cake, make sure you use the right ingredients.
We have two identical, large yellow Tupperware containers, and they both have flour in them. One of them was the right one. I used the other.
They aren't the only flour containers in our pantry. The bread flour is in a third yellow Tupperware container, but that one is smaller. The cake flour — necessary for sponge cakes — is in a transparent container with its box top. Therefore it's only the containers for the self-rising and the all-purpose flours that look identical. One of these days, I'll remember to label them.
Anyway. As they say, if at first you add the wrong flour, try, try again.
I hate to admit it, but it really might be the best tasting pound cake I've ever made. Totally worth the trouble.
You're welcome, Mom.
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In honor of Valentine's Day, today's blog post is about abortion.
There's been talk here in Georgia that the state legislature has been working on a new resolution to finally pass the long languishing Equal Rights Amendment. The local paper reported that one of the resolution's sponsors recently withdrew his support after talking with "people I know and people I trust" (who are, presumably two separate groups of people).
Before we go any further, to refresh your memory, this is the whole text of that very controversial proposed amendment to the United States Constitution:
"Equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."
That's simple enough. Why would someone want to go on record as being against that? To answer that question, I did a little Googling. You may be surprised to know that the Internet is full of opinions on the topic.
Some people say that the ERA isn't necessary because it duplicates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which promises "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." If that were true, women wouldn't have needed the 19th Amendment to cast votes.
Some people say that the ERA would prevent women from receiving favorable bias in paternity cases. They say it could also force women into the draft. Are either of these such a problem? I would hope that women would have to prove their fitness to be a parent in court. If a war is so damn important that we have to force our citizens into the armed forces, it seems to me that women should serve their country just as men do. (If the thought of your daughter going to war makes you think twice about the need for warfare, all the better.) And God forbid that anyone should have to use a uni-sex bathroom.
Some people say that the ERA is bad because it is just another example of the federal government stealing rights from the states. That's true. Granted, the "right" it would be stealing is the states' ability to treat women like second class citizens, but it's the principle of the thing!
However, the "people" who talked our representative out of supporting the ERA didn't use any of those arguments. No, the persuasive argument against guaranteeing women and men equal rights was — you guessed it — abortion. They said that if we give men and women true equality, they can no longer tell women what to do with their bodies. Horror of horrors!
Frankly, that strikes me as a bullshit reason to deny or abridge equal rights for women. I'm no girl or priest, and I'm generally pretty good at "keeping it in my pants," so I try to have no opinion on the subject, but the logic seems simple. If abortion is murder as the bumper stickers tell me, it should be illegal whether a man or woman is carrying a child. If it's not, then what difference does it make what gender does it? Neither case should have any bearing on whether women should have the same rights as men.
But what do I know? I try not to have an opinion, remember.
If you ask me, the best argument against the ERA is the existence of Valentine's Day itself. If women and men are so damn equal, someone should be buying *me* chocolates today, dammit.
2019 moves, part 2 of... many.
7. (1446.) Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)
8. (1447.) Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)
10. (1449.) Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)
I lump these three together because even though I watched them barely a month ago, I don't think I could tell you which was which. The very definition of popcorn movies, they rely on their fast pace to keep the audience from realizing how little sense they make. I'm pretty sure they all take place inside Ethan Hunt's head while he lies in a coma, but they keep Tom Cruise too busy to make another Magnolia, so I'm willing to cut them a little slack.
9. (1448.) Daddy's Home Two (2017)
Friend Keith challenged me to find fault with John Lithgow's performance in this broad comedy. I couldn't. He's sterling as always. Everyone was pretty funny, including Mel Gibson, playing the character we all believe him to be in real life.
11. (1450.) The Aztec Mummy Against the Humanoid Robot (1958)
Two-thirds of this Mexican B-movie is a recap of the previous two movies in this trilogy about greedy assholes stealing gold from a cursed Aztec tomb guardian. The last third involves building a robot from a corpse to kill a zombie. It has its moments.
12. (1451.) Wizards (1977)
Ralph Bakshi movies are always more meandering acid trips than functional narratives. This one spends most of its time invoking Nazi propaganda as the ultimate evil, then twists at the end to make the good guys look just as bad as everyone else. At least I think that's what happened.
13. (1452.) Old Acquaintance (1943)
Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins are childhood friends who grow to become rivals in work and love. Davis plays the angel against Hopkins' bitch. The animosity between the two is palpable. Pretty good.
14. (1453.) Ghostbusters (2016)
Sure, it's not as good as the movie that inspired it, but rare indeed is the remake that outdoes its inspiration. The movie could have benefited from a director less indulgent of his star's ad libs. (It's most telling that Chris Hemsworth steals every scene he's in.) Still, not bad, assuming you can get past the rampant product placement.
More to come