Foxtrot (2017)

This review comes courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics, from whom I received a screener. I was not paid or compensated for this review in any way. 

Foxtrot_poster
Poster

By looking at the poster for Foxtrot, you might draw a few conclusions on the subject, such as life in the midst of war. You would be correct in doing so, but of course the film is much, much more complex than that and honestly I would be at a loss how best to suggest the film’s complexity be expressed in its press material.

In the simplest terms, the movie is an Israeli war drama about the effects of a young soldier’s death on his family. That alone would have held my interest, as war and its cost, when deftly handled, is fascinating enough. However, Foxtrot was not content to showcase such a straightforward premise and instead dives deep into family dynamics and personal demons.

It was warmly received at Venice and the Toronto International Film Festival, where it won awards, but for some reason did not receive an Oscar nomination. Politics may come into play, as it depicts the Israeli Defense Force committing a problematic crime against Arabic people, and so the film was denounced by Israel’s Minister of Culture. There are much, much smarter people out there who can speak to the complexities of this subject, and I will willingly admit to ignorance on many of these issues.

Foxtrot, named for both the dance and the Nato phonetic alphabet, is not a light movie but it was a brilliant depiction of loss and raw emotions.

As always, spoilers below the cut.

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Bits and Pieces

No major post today, just lots of little thoughts rattling around.

  • News – Jesus, what is happening. 
  • Food – Making a chicken under the broiler tonight! I am excite.
  • Hair – Last night I tried the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil conditioning hair masque. It smelled like cookie dough and made my hair amazingly shiny and curly, which is of course ruined by my sleeping on it. I have not mastered the art of “pineappling” and upon removing my scrunchie resemble some kind of slightly flattened tumbleweed. Ah well! I am almost done with the Coconut & Hibiscus products I got, and next I am going to try Dragonsblood & Coffee Cherry, which smells amazing (I’ve been peeping it at Ulta) and is supposed to give curly hair volume.
  • Books – I am reading Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope, which I got for two dollars at the used book store. BEST EVER. I would say it’s helping me cope with the current state of politics, but really it’s helping me hold on to my fantasy that Obama and Biden are setting up a secret shadow government to save us all. It will be run from Biden’s garage, powered mostly by brewskis, and there will be 24-7 grilling in the backyard. When Michelle texts Barry that she’s coming by, there will be a scurry of activity in which bags of Doritos and nacho platters are hastily hidden from sight, and clouds of cigarette (and other!) smoke waved out.

In the meantime, please enjoy this photo of someone’s Grandfather and a goose wearing shoes.

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GOOSESHOES! 

One day, Nebraska inventor and local kindly person Gene Fleming noticed a goose awkwardly hobbling around his sister-in-law’s yard. Inspection revealed the goose had been born without feet, and it was doing its best to get around on stumps, but its skin was raw and would become infected without intervention. Touched, Mr. Fleming tried to help. After a few false starts, he settled on a pair of leather baby shoes stuffed with cotton slipped over the ends of the goose’s legs. The goose was delighted, and was soon running around the yard unassisted. He was an unusually good-natured goose, and didn’t seem to mind the attention or handling. Unable to stop tinkering, Mr. Fleming continued to improve the shoes.

Andy, as the goose came to be named, enjoyed a short brush with celebrity. He appeared on the Johnny Carson Show, and Nike began sending him free baby shoes. Mr. Fleming carried him around, his head nestled in the crook of his arm, his feet dangling like a child’s on a swing.

Unfortunately Andy’s story ends sadly, so I’ll just cut it off there. Here’s a link to the whole story if you want to depress yourself.  I just focus on the good work of Mr. Fleming and all those people who were delighted by a goose in shoes.

Film Review: Under the Shadow (2016)

undertheshadow2
…and barely hanging on.

Longtime readers of my blog are familiar with my constant complaint that quality horror movies are few and far between. It probably makes me a snob, but the older I get the less interested I am in spending time watching something for the sake of supporting the genre. I just don’t have the patience for fountains of gore and crying teenagers in their underwear unless there is an intelligent twist on it, such as Cabin In the Woods or It Follows. 

Enter Under the Shadow. 

The UK’s entry for foreign language film for the Oscars, it was somehow not nominated. I’ve no idea why, and it’s a shame because this film isn’t just a great scare, it’s important. As I mentioned, intelligent horror films are few and far between, and one with such a riveting premise as Under the Shadow is doubly notable. It’s especially worthy of promotion as the world moves into a more xenophobic phase because it is about precisely that: superstitious thinking. 

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Busy Times – Check Back Next Week!

I got busy this week working on a lot of fiction writing and such, so no post today, unfortunately.

Check back next week for a review of Under the Shadow, a horror film featuring a mother and daughter trying to survive both a vengeful ghost and daily life in 1980s Tehran!

Under the Shadow Poster

See you next week!

Hello and Goodbye

While reading the other news, I saw that Miguel Ferrar, one of my favorite character actors, had passed away from throat cancer at the age of 61.

I am being a good citizen by tacitly greeting our new President. I didn’t vote for him and frankly everything about him- his campaign, his troubling personal and professional history, his poorly chosen (or in some cases, not chosen at all) cabinet members, his abrasive personality, underhanded tactics, and the petulant Tweets– terrifies me about the future. But, into the future we must go, so Hello, new Mr. President. Please don’t get us nuked.

So, that’s over with.

While reading the other news, I saw that Miguel Ferrar, one of my favorite character actors, had passed away from throat cancer at the age of 61. So young! And from such a talented person with a razor-sharp comedic timing, even while playing a tough guy. I viewed this supercut of some of his best moments as Agent Albert Rosenfeld, probably one of the best characters ever, on Twin Peaks.

In Allan Moore’s brilliant work The Killing Joke, the Joker posits that all of us, Batman and even the saintly Commissioner Gordon included, are only one bad day away from going completely mad, and that madness might actually be a haven. It is implied that the Joker himself went utterly batshit crazy on his bad day in order to cope with its horrific events, and is the generally accepted canon for the Joker’s backstory (or was, I haven’t kept up with Joker-related things much lately and that may have changed).

I would like to imagine that at some point, Agent Rosenfeld had his bad day. He lost his marbles in a big way on that bad day, but that didn’t stop him. OH NO. He pulled himself together, focused on the shit that really mattered, and now is 100% committed to getting the job done. Sure, he has the social graces of a chainsaw with no safety guard, but he’s got miles and miles of heart. He’s there to fix the broken shit and not to make any friends.

So today, I will honor the memory of this fantastic actor by letting my madness keep me sane, and putting in The Work. I just don’t know what else to do.