Archive for November, 2017


 

pentatonix

Still enjoying happiness.  Riding it until it last.

This came highly recommended before I found it.  My people know me well.

Enjoy!

 

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luther

I was coming out of the holiday yesterday when it hit me.  2017 has been a year.  Sometimes all in one day, furious, depressed, hopeless, and the list goes on.

The plans for 2018 have been banked, so on a personal level I don’t really have any complaints.  I didn’t even realize anything was off.  The other day I posted a Luther song on one of my accounts, and the homie Ben posed the question, ‘What’s your favorite Luther song?’  Today’s song is the answer.

I realized I hadn’t listened to it in a little while.  I ended up going down a ‘My Favorite Love Songs’ rabbit hole.  My chest opened up.  I felt really, really alive for the first time in, man, I can’t remember.

That’s when I realized this has been the first year of my life where the romantic part of my personality was all but gone.  My lust/libido is as strong as its ever been (thanks Instagram), but just too many other things occupying that time and space I used to make for love.  It is what it is.

So one thing I’m already promising myself for 2018 is not losing track of one of the best parts of my personality. Onward.

Enjoy!

 

 

jl

DC finally got the formula right for the most part.  Now can they get the general goodwill of the fanbase back?

To the degree you can put away what came before it, ‘Justice League’ is actually enjoyable and has some fun moments.  For this generation, Superman has never felt more like Superman, the Flash is fun without feeling like a knock off of the current Spider-Man (which I worried about before I saw the film), the Aquaman take is fresh and different.  We’ll never know how much credit goes to Josh Whedon and how blame goes to Zack Snyder, but this one was fun without feeling like a complete Marvel copy cat.

Are there flaws?  Definitely.  It irked me to hear Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent being referred to, in public, by their alternate identities.  But as opposed to episodes in the past, it didn’t pull the whole movie down.  If, as it seems, Batfleck is done putting on the cowl, I think it’s a little unfortunate he never got a full solo run with the character.  He’s above average as both ‘Asshole Bruce Wayne’ and ‘Older Batman’.  It is what it is.

Ignore the negativity.  Give this one a chance and judge it for yourself.

 

 

shes-gotta-have-it-netflix

I had no expectations for the Netflix version of ‘She’s Gotta Have It.’  We have ‘Insecure’ now.  We have ‘Dear White People’.  We have ‘Master of None.’ We have ‘Atlanta’.  All good to great in different ways, all cover being young and/or black, and/or single, and/or living in New York City.  That’s one.

Two: for all the shows listed above, part of my (selfish) enjoyment is being a generation removed from the ‘voice’ of the show.  Spike is of the generation before me, so right or wrong, I had concerns about someone two generations removed writing about the current scene.

Very happy to say I couldn’t be more wrong.  The Netflix version of ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ is very much its own thing: funny and serious and topical and told through the ‘Spike Lee New York City’ lens.

Add Dewanda Wise to the list of talented, beautiful dark skinned actresses who are taking advantage of the shots they’re given.  The 2017 version of Nola Darling is still a proud Brooklynite with three male suitors; the series fleshes out her artistry and her interest in each of her suitors very well.

I know how problematic Spike has felt about certain elements of his first film.  Pretty much every adaptation here works for the better.  Mars Blackmon in 2017 is a half Puerto Rican hip hop head? (Genius.)  Opal feels less like a lesbian predator and more like, possibly, Nola’s true love? (Brilliant.)  The post-Thanksgiving sexual assault is now a script flipping, female gaze on male sexuality?  (Outstanding).

It was a perfect binge for the holiday weekend.  Well worth checking out when you have time.

 

‘Mudbound’

 

Brody-Mudbound

Dee Rees’ latest feature might be the first great film of this era that ‘doesn’t take place right now’, but speaks directly to ‘right now.’

‘Mudbound’ tells the story of two families, one white, one black, both struggling to make ends meet while working the land in Mississippi, circa World War II.  The film/story is structured so no one actor stands out above the rest, but everyone in cast plays the hell out of their parts.  The poor whites may not be inherently racist, but they are fully aware of the benefits their skin color provides.  The older black generation is proud but they know all too well the consequences of rocking the boat too hard (translation: death).  The brothers who left America (Jason Mitchell is the standout if you had to pick one) see there’s another way to live, and has an understandably hard time coming ‘home’ and swallowing his pride and taking shit from the people whose lives he protected.

Really strong outing by all involved.  Streaming on Netflix. Worth checking out.

 

‘Wayne Thanksgiving’

 

batthanks

I was at the game last night, but this skit was sent to me multiple times this morning.

And for good reason, it’s great.

If you tell me this is one of the pieces Donald Glover ghostwrote for this episode…I wouldn’t doubt you for a millisecond.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chinatown

We were in Club 112.  It was the first night of the best Spring Break of my life, and we were kicking it with some Deltas from Spelman.  We made fast friends.  College.

A ‘homeboy’ comes to our area and starts hollering at the light skinned girl in our crew.  The rest of us giggle; he was wasting his time the moment he thought to walk over.  The girl I was bonding with leans over and says ‘Malik, watch this fool step to me next.’

Me: ‘Come on, he’s trying to get with your homegirl.  Ain’t no way…’

Homeboy: ‘Aye gal, what’s your story?’

I was stunned.  I was still a baby in the Game, but Homeboy was blowing past EVERY sign of initial attraction:  Is she making eye contact with you? (No.) Is she engaging with you in conversation? (Hell no.) Is she touching your arm as you talk, or any of the other million subtle body language moves that suggest she likes you? (Nein. Negative. Red Light. Sad trombone.)

That night sticks out in my mind as one of the earlier episodes of me realizing, that I was completely naive to how many experiences, played out from the point of view from my female friends, play out completely different.

Now, let’s add power to the equation.  Power corrupts, it just does.  Power feeds into our deepest insecurities.  And unchecked power?  Well…

You didn’t feel like ‘the cool kid’ in school? Maybe you wake up one day, and you’ve surrounded yourself by people who only tell you how great you are, and who never question the choices you make.

You grew up without money?  Maybe you only wear designer brands, have a 10 car garage and three houses so no one will ever question your material wealth again (since you can’t wear a credit score.  Or you shouldn’t…)

You grew up sexually frustrated or denied?  And you get to a station in life where even if people disagree with what you’re doing or frankly, it’s illegal, and you still don’t fear consequence?  Maybe…

I’ve said this in private conversations and I’ll repeat it here: it’s been something to see the tidal wave of momentum in favor of punishing bad behavior that’s been enabled for decades.  But the cynic in me still wonders if everyone is being honest about how much work is necessary to really ‘break the wheel’ (also see: systemic racism).

It’s a year late, but if part of the legacy of a certain someone’s political career is Hollywood looking in the mirror and cleaning itself up…I mean, that’s good.

I still refuse to use the phrase ‘silver lining’ in talking about him, but it’s good.

 

 

bahamadia

It’s the weekend!

The Gold School took me back to a classic today.  Still love this song.

Have a good one gang!

 

‘Nature Boy’

 

naitch

The first 30 for 30 that focused on professional wrestler did not disappoint.  For the hardcore fans, Ric’s biography is well known but the joy comes from hearing so many of his Hall of Fame contemporaries (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, the Undertaker, Hogan) speak of his obvious strengths and weaknesses.

If you’re coming in with a fairly clean slate, then ‘Nature Boy’ is a great primer into the wrestling business through one of its most iconic stars, while also pulling back the curtain to show us how damaged/flawed someone so beloved and influential as Ric Flair is.  The father/son dynamic is a major theme of the story here, and for a lot of wrestling fans a key component for how we were introduced to wrestling in the first place.  (Saying too much more would take some of the steam out of the story.)  There was a very close call not that long ago, but Naitch is still with us to appreciate the respect so many of us have for him, and this film certainly did nothing to diminish the humanity of Richard Fliehr, or his much more famous alter ego.

Highly recommend.

 

‘Thor: Ragnarok’

 

Tessa-Thompson-as-Valkyrie-in-Thor-Ragnarok

So we all agree this was fun right?  Good.  So this will be an ‘actor’s review’…

If one thing bothered me consistently, it was Idris Elba.  Not as an actor or a character, but ‘how is Idris Elba the movie star the sixth wheel in this?’  Having said that, I’m sure one ‘third sequel on a Marvel franchise’ paycheck is equal to ten ‘leading man in movies only film geeks see’ paycheck (and that’s being extremely generous.  So it is what it is.

For we Adler disciples, seeing Mark Ruffalo inhabit all the best parts of Brando (just becoming the character, even in a popcorn movie) is a joy.  And in a time of deconstructing our Hollywood idols, by all accounts he’s a nice guy who is genuine in his social activism.  So double cool points.

Speaking of people ‘above’ being in movies like this, Cate Blanchett has always been in that tier right behind Meryl Streep in ‘she can play anyone convincingly’, so watching her ham it up for two hours was joyful too.  Really, this whole movie was well written and casted.

And as far as Tessa goes…beyond being a bad ass…using the ‘proper’ English accent, well…

Image result for galifianakis gif

So yeah, all the recommends for this one.