Thank You, Beverly Clearly….

…..for the joy of a childhood book. When you only had five channels in those boring, lonely pre-Atari days. A good book would make you sad because it ended and you’d miss those characters. I did not know until yesterday that there was a series!!!! I’m thinking about buying it!!! LOL!!!

Just found the below last night. It’s awful (an ’80s product 😉 ) but I SO don’t care! LOL!!!!

229-Word Review of “Genius: Aretha”

It takes all eight hours to get the point of Season 3 of National Geographic’s “Genius,” profiling The Queen of Soul

At one point, Glenn Thurman shows Aretha Franklin The Trust Fall and it takes a little bit of internal work for Aretha to make it. But make it she does. Watching eight hours of Genius‘s third season requires a lot of trust in showrunner Suzan-Lori Parks, because the viewer has to wade through aaaa lottttt of Lifetime-type, music-biopic tropes to get to the core of Franklin’s story: She is a woman who is sometimes-comfortably trapped in concentric gender and music circles, pushing out only when they threaten her windpipe. Each burst-through creates its own cycles of searches. Aretha’s stoic speaking voice is the outer shell that hides deep insecurities but also hidden strengths. The seemingly endless flashbacks show where and why the holding patterns stick; her grown-ness comes in her 40s, as an unavoidable right-of-passage beckons. Parks has said she read all the books and articles, so while the hours went by this viewer had to trust that she was going in a direction worthy of so much (relatively) limited discussion of politics and society that seemingly dominated the show’s first two seasons. What the playwright has shown is how complicated the sexist male circles are to surmount–how it takes time and patience to wedge through, to prove oneself, to burst free into a full identity who can do anything–even sing opera on 15 minutes notice.

98-Word Review of “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” A.K.A. “The Snyder Cut”

Verdict: Much better than Joss Whedon (and I’m not by a long shot Snyder’s biggest fan; he thinks every superhero film is his Watchmen in disguise), but you should watch the chaptered film as a six-part mini-series. (Steppenwolf was actually a great villain! Who would’vethunk?!?) What was fascinating to me was how much the Black characters–Cyborg and his father–were the center of the story; Ray Fisher and Joe Morton are probably celebrating, and should! Worth the wait, and I hope this very dark universe will continue in episodic TV form on HBO Max. Superfriends overload? Never!

UPDATE: So it was supposed to be episodic TV, a mini-series, from the beginning of the HBO Max deal, but…..

Asante Sana, Paul Brock

Paul Brock, the fixer

As my friend Malik Russell once said of him, “He is Black media royalty.” I knew him as a fixer–a guy who knew everybody in Washington, D.C. and every other center of power and could solve anyone’s problem. I will never forget that he let me tag along with him to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Colorado.

89-Word Review of “Coming 2 America”

Wesley Snipes and Eddie Murphy star in COMING 2 AMERICA Photo: Quantrell D. Colbert © 2020 Paramount Pictures

It doesn’t completely work, but not for lack of trying. As homages to funnier movies go, it’s fine, just silly instead of witty. The emotional core of the movie–remembering and knowing who you really are, deep inside–almost saves it. The feminism was refreshing. But the obvious-ness of this kind of (dated) film is supposed to be overshadowed by the humor, not the (musical) performances and extraordinary fashion sense. If there’s a Part III, I hope this Eddie-Murphy-party goes to a script doctor to punch up the hilarity.

Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb” (Inauguration Poem)

This sure beats Maya Angelou’s “a rock, a river, a tree” 🙂

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanda_Gorman

“The Hill We Climb”

When day comes we ask ourselves

Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

The loss we carry,

A sea we must wade.

We braved the belly of the beast;

We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace.

And the norms and notions of what just is

Isn’t always justice.

And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it.

Somehow we do it;

Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed

A nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.

We, the successors of a country and a time

Where a skinny black girl descended from slaves

And raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president,

Only to find herself reciting for one.

And yes we are far from polished, far from pristine,

But that doesn’t mean we aren’t striving to form a union that is perfect.

We are striving to forge a union with purpose,

To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.

And so we lift our gaze not to what stands between us,

But what stands before us.

We close the divide, because we know to put our future first,

We must first put our differences aside.

We lay down our arms

So we can reach out our arms to one another.

We seek harm to none and harmony for all.

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:

That even as we grieved, we grew,

That even as we hurt, we hoped,

That even as we tired, we tried,

That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious—

Not because we will never again know defeat

But because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision

That everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree,

And no one shall make them afraid.

If we’re to live up to our own time,

then victory won’t lie in the blade but in all the bridges we’ve made.

That is the promised glade,

The hill we climb if only we dare it.

Because being American is more than a pride we inherit,

It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

And this effort very nearly succeeded,

But while democracy can be periodically delayed

It can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, in this faith we trust,

For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.

This is the era of just redemption.

We feared at its inception.

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour,

But within it we found the power

To author a new chapter,

To offer hope and laughter,

To ourselves sow. While once we asked:

How could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?

Now we assert: How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was,

But move to what shall be,

A country that is bruised but whole,

Benevolent but bold,

Fierce and free.

We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation

Because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.

Our blunders become their burdens

But one thing is certain:

If we merge mercy with might and might with right,

Then love becomes our legacy

And change our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left.

With every breath of my bronze pounded chest,

We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.

We will rise from the golden hills of the West.

We will rise from the windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution.

We will rise from the lakeland cities of the Midwestern states.

We will rise from the sunbaked South.

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover

In every known nook of our nation,

In every corner called our country,

Our people, diverse and beautiful,

Will emerge battered and beautiful.

When day comes we step out of the shade,

Aflame and unafraid.

The new dawn blooms as we free it.

For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it,

If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Film Mini-Review: J. Edgar Hoover, MLK and the Mixtape Sans Music

This film–a very timely look, particularly with what’s going on now, at this very moment–is quite a detailed look at the real Martin Luther King and the real Federal Bureau of Investigation. With the sheets pulled off everybody, this film is almost an intellectual nudist camp, allowing the viewer to absorb an-often sordid story that, as Ronald Reagan (!) warns at the beginning, isn’t pretty. Yep, King’s extramarital sextape is real, and the FBI did try its best within its own twisted bounds of evil legality to destroy him. Along the way, the viewer sees King’s trajectory through the eyes of the Federal Bureau of Investigation–the radical King, the one only the Left or Black nationalists talk about. The filmmakers punk out at the end, though, choosing not to sift through the detail of the assassination itself and not explaining the larger and smaller intelligence agencies, or philosophies thereof, at work. (The Black context of King’s death is here, in what seems to be a 1969 episode of Black Journal, when the national black public-affairs television show and the wound were both still fresh.) The oral-history-format (just voices, no speaking-heads until the very end) and extensive use of file footage, from newsreels to television shows, is combined with the fine-tooth-comb research of David Garrow and others. This is the proper documentary to watch as America’s scabs are bleeding.