About Goldie

Aspiring writer who has pre-retired from the institution of education. Have loved my career (and was thrilled to teac the Common Core, which should not be thrown out due to public misinformation and paranoia) but am embarking on my own creative adventure, while the juices are still flowing.

Juliet, Naked and Mission Impossible

One of the wackier weeks I’ve had as a Floridian including computer hijack scammers, a move to a place I’d only been able to view twice, and a leaning into the old temptation of barking up the wrong trees.

In the midst of all that, I saw two films: Mission Impossible and Juliet, Naked. It was the worst of times and it was the best of times, respectively.

I wanted to like MI, as Tom Cruise, despite his regimented Scientology, is a good actor. But he phoned this in. Don’t be fooled by the B.O.A.T. (Best of all time) malarkey. This movie was ludicrous. Baby Driver had better and more engaging chase scenes. The two women in Cruise’s life (I guess three counting the blonde villainess) were bland, beyond their enticing accents. If you’re going to do bathos, at least add some more humor to the mix.

All fitting though considering my back story involved. Phoning it in would have been an excellent subtitle for the movie and my life.

Juliet, Naked on the other hand was an unexpected delight. I’m not a big Rose Byrne fan, but here she proves emotional range. Chris O’Dowd is a man I loved, then hated and am now respecting again. He also has a stilted Irish/Scottish reserve that is still capable of leaking enough emotion to be believed.

And Ethan (Hawke that is)…we all know, well maybe you don’t, that he holds a nearly McEnroesque stature in my cinematic life; from the glow he first showed in Dead Poets, to his anxiety ridden brotherhood in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, to his sweet charm in the trilogy of Before Sunrise, etc. Not to mention his profound turn as a pained minister in the recent Reformed (here visualize me in a prayer stance whispering: please give this man a nomination).

In Juliet, Naked, Hawke plays, well probably, Hawke, father to children by different baby mamas, a disheveled ‘artiste’ who goes around saying, aw schucks, did I f up my life again? Not that he’s been in that much ‘trouble’, but he appears to be just enough absent minded professor mixed with a lot of testosterone which we all know leads to stolen kisses and broken hearts. His turn here as a washed up rocker was perfection.

So let this be a lesson to you; be the water and not the grinder. Go with the flow rather than paddle upstream.

Book Review of Lisa Jobs Memoir

I had six likes on Good Reads and decided to post it here:
Small FrySmall Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

Lisa Brennan-Jobs new memoir, Small Fry, is searing in a Mommy Dearest expose` way, with me exclaiming and throwing the book down on at least three occasions, with a, “He did what?!”.

And that’s saying something for a former high school counselor, who’d thought I had hardened to any shock at inconsistent parenting and emotional abuse. So let me tell you, Steve Jobs takes the Apple cake. But instead, pick up a copy of Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ book and let her tell you in her very rational, yet compelling writer’s voice.

View all my reviews

Spike Lee’s Signature: Blackkklansman

I enjoy Spike Lee. God Bless him, seriously, every movie he makes really tries to do what his first big film was actually titled, “Do The Right Thing”. And every movie he makes definitely has his signature. Kooky graphics, mystical camera tricks, and ‘hit you over the head morality’. He also has the gift of Scorsese, meaning he’s rich enough that he can pour everything but the kitchen sink into one film, without having to regard any advisers or editors going, “Maybe you could trim back a bit”.

The acting was rock solid. John David Washington, the star of the movie, didn’t have to show great range, yet, he was terrific. Adam Driver, also, isn’t the king of stretching, but can be damn serious and still interestingly watchable all day long. The poor saps that had to play the angry Klansman (Topher Grace as David Duke) were all good, too, even though cringe worthy to watch such hate or even fathoming that type of person existing in the world.

I thought Colorado Springs was an interesting setting choice, being ignorant to the Klan and merely assuming it was mostly south of the Mason Dixon line. And wow, if you check out History vs. Hollywood, you’ll find out just how true the movie is AND, having not read John David Washington’s IMDB bio, I just learned that he is the son of Denzel Washington! Having not seen many interviews or entertainment shows, I think it’s great that they didn’t lead with this, letting JDW stand on his own merit. So a two-fer for me in learning important history as well as trivial movie relationships.

Blackkklansman is definitely worth seeing. Is it a perfect film? No. Spike wraps the plot up too quickly and neatly for deep emotional resonance in order to make his other points, but that’s ok, that’s Spike and I like him. He’s trying to get us to wake up and be nice and there’s nothing ever wrong about that.

Eighth Grade, Moving On Up!

Eighth Grade was incredibly moving, especially if you were or are a good Dad to a teenage daughter. It’s also great for anyone who’s been in 8th grade within the modern era. Even though I was in 8th grade long before technology, I could relate to the film. If you were or are a school teacher who loves kids, all the better.

But hold up. That’s not how I started out feeling about the film written and directed by Bo Burnham. At first, I thought the film suffered from the Netflix show “Love”‘s third season syndrome, meaning musical interludes substituting for plot or that the NYT review was true, intimating the people most interested in this film would be those whom it’s about, meaning adolescents.

But the beauty of seeing a film in a theater is you’re strapped in for the long haul. The beginning I now understand was simply the slow burn to a semi surprising and escalating finish.

The acting was gorgeous, particularly everyone! But specifically the lead, Elsie Fisher and then definitely, (hey I’m still a hot blooded woman) for Josh Hamilton…where have you been hiding? I literally looked up the theater company he helped produce in NYC (since closed, bummer) In all seriousness, his monologue during the last quarter is genius, as good as Michael Stuhlbarg‘s shorter, but also poignant’s in Call Me By Your Name. Nominate this man, Josh Hamilton, he’s truly deserving for vulnerability extraordinaire.

By movie’s end, I could have really unleashed a bucket of tears (not easy for stoic me), but held myself in check as not to blubber in front of my friend Carrie. Great film, go see it!

“Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot”…Hmmm…

Ok, I usually have a strong opinion about a film, however, “Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot” is tricky.

Here is a two facts I do know:

One: Joaquin Phoenix should get nominated. Done. He is like Christian Bale was in The Fighter, transformed into being John Callahan. A very close absolute best, tied with his role in The Master, a PT Anderson masterpiece.

Two: Jonah Hill‘s performance is also magnificent, his best ever. He uses Gus Van Sant‘s (writer and director) material like a virtuoso conductor, making his understated role crescendo to a moving denouement.

My main difficulty with the film is the story, it’s more a sweet tribute piece then it is a narrative. I’d almost like to see another layer added to the film, like Van Sant’s reasoning for making the film, his learning about the man, what attracted him.

So a great rental, or if you’re a giant Joaquin fan like me, worth the $6 bucks admission.

Three of Me-Oh: Yikes! Three Identical Strangers

After getting hit up for conversation with two chatty women at the pool this morning before I’ve even had coffee (both lovely ladies), I suddenly thought, ‘if I found out I was one of a set of triplets, I might not like it!’. Lord! But as a documentary, Three Identical Strangers was a 9 and three-quarters of perfection.

This time I really, really can’t say much as to not to spoil your experience, but I beg you to NOT look up any information about this and and to see the film as Madonna, I mean like a virgin, as I did.

I’ll tell you why it’s great; suspense. From the histrionic New York Times reporter to the laconic father to the fantastic background Hitchcockian string music, this documentary was masterful. And having had a crush on Phil Donahue back in the day, I loved seeing clips from his supreme pre-Oprah audience q & a talk show format.

My only tiny complaint, and this happens often with docs (even the recent RBG) is when as filler, they repeat clips. If I heard once, I heard it twice and fitting to this topic, thrice, that the triplets all smoked the same cigarettes and liked older women…ok, ok, got it the first time.

This might be the first big time flash for British director, Tim Wardle, but surely it won’t be his last. I see from his IMDB page that he currently has a documentary series called Flatback Empire about the company IKEA. Surely there can’t be much suspense there, though wait a minute, unless he documents a couple killing each other after a fight as to how to put together a coffee table…come to think of it, this doc may have legs!

Sorry to Bother You: A Movie Ray Bradbury Would Dig

Sorry to Bother You (directed by Boots Riley, writer of Superbad) was a movie Ray Bradbury would love.

I was such a huge Fahrenheit 451 fan having taught it for years and Sorry to Bother You certainly had the dystopian society function on high. In Fahrenheit 451, Midlred is addicted to violent tv shows that everyone thinks are hilarious.

And today, if you watch Highly Questionable (a show that I like except for when they laugh hysterically at people beating each other up) you’ll get an unfortunate sneak preview into the dystopian world of Sorry to Bother You with a tv show called (I believe) I Got the Sh*& Kicked Out of Me where people humiliate themselves and get beat up for fame and possibly fortune.

And that’s just one of the many subversive tricks Boots uses to get our attention. His evil corporation looks eerily like what they already have in China, whereby people live like sardines in dormitories attached to their work places.

If it couldn’t actually happen someday, Sorry To Bother You would be knee slapping science fiction. However, due to the fact that we have become a stupid society praising big wealth, numb to social issues that matter, rather obsessing about who the ruler is instead of caring about the issues, and that act like we are helplessly hooked to our devices and violent images makes Sorry To Bother You maybe the most relevant movie of our times, a social satire to wake us up, if it’s not too late.

I am happy to say that I am living life, and thank God, right? Because who knows if our society isn’t on the border of the violent revolution Boots predicts since people have stopped loving each other based on whether you like donkeys or elephants, meanwhile being brainwashed by a vile media. And anyway, my dermatologist may find some deadly mole on my next visit this week. So why not Carpe diem Baby. Crank up the R.E.M. I say, “It’s the End of the World as We Know it.” But seriously, I hope it’s not.

I promise if you see Sorry to Bother You, you’ll surely laugh and then think the same as me. Acting cred goes to the main actor: Lakeith Stanfield, a relative newbie whose biggest known role is probably the hit show Atlanta. And I can’t help but mention that handsome hunk of a man Armie Hammer, who got even sexier in this film by sporting a beard all while playing the most despicably funny role in the film.

What a great way to end a weekend.

The Truth Will Set You Free: Whitney

Leave it to a brilliant Scot, Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) to do a top quality documentary on Whitney Houston. While you may think you know everything you could possibly know or suspect, this doc has a dramatic arc to which I (a huge Whitney fan) was riveted. Macdonald names names and pulls no punches. I do believe even Whitney would be sighing relief at the truth coming out.

Suffice to say, she was not so much an ignorant drug addict and neglectful mother, but a person broken spiritually by abuse.

Does she have culpability in her own demise? Absolutely. However, her parents are just as much to blame. Whitney was better made than the award winning doc on Amy Winehouse. Macdonald was neat and tight in detail, yet thorough in its history telling.

Despite the following distractions, can I just say that while Mr. Rogers can not be beat for his outpouring of love, Whitney the documentary slays Mr. R in that it has much more revealing details than the Won’t You Be My Neighbor including never before seen footage of many of Whitney’s performances including highlights and low lights. I learned a LOT I didn’t know that I won’t spoil. Let’s just say that you wonder whether the root of Whitney’s trouble (and of many people I know personally) doesn’t deserve center stage in research and development of cures/counseling techniques and places designed to help folks heal.

Here’s a news flash for folks approaching a movie theater:
A movie theater is NOT:

a parade. I sat in the front row on purpose, yet out of the corner of my eye I mush have seen at least 10 people walking up an down the stairs. Perhaps they were breaking in a Fitbit, but sit the hell down. Follow my lead, as I think I probably acquired a bladder infection having to urinate after the 35 minutes of previews, but toughed it out not to miss a second of Whitney, the tremendous documentary by .

a chat room. Why can’t you shut the hell up for 120 minutes. Consider it vocal rest. Who would want to utter a sound as Whitney Houston belts her her iconic National Anthem? Apparently the idiots behind me who also had to recline or decline their chairs at least 5 times during the film adding the nails on chalk board flatulence sound they make, leather hitting leather.

a fashion walkway. Some dame had to come in 20 minutes late and instead of ducking under the Disney World maze of walkway to the front row, paraded by us two and half times before landing like a lab trying to find a comfy position on the mantle rug.

Hearts Beat Loud, Perfection

Hearts Beat Loud (written and directed Brett Haley and Marc Basch who wrote another great indie called The Hero in which Nick Offerman also starred) is the perfect movie for many generations, especially millennials headed off to college and middle aged parents. It’s also an uplifting movie for anyone with dreams or conflicts that Robert Frost approached in The Road Not Taken.

The acting by Nick Offerman in an almost entirely dramatic role was terrific. Is there anything this guy can’t do? Comedy, drama, wood working, music…Come on man, you must be the photo that pops up first when someone does an internet search for the term renaissance man. Kiersey Klemons has the potential to be the next Whitney Houston, with a million dollar voice and much better acting ability.

While I love Ted Danson, his character was a bit of a throwaway, but who cares, he’s so good and seeing him behind a bar serving drinks again was like his career going full circle. Toni Collette is always a doll.

Definitely worth seeing on the big screen, an ode to brick and mortar record stores and a feel good movie about living your dreams, Hearts Beat Loud was very well done.

Deer in the Headlights: Chappaquiddick

Guess I’ve been a bit of Ted Kennedy myself recently, deer in the headlights, sort of mired in thought. That’s actually a faulty analogy because I didn’t cause an accident that killed anyone. Just not sure where I’m going with projects and relationships.

But I digress. Chappaquiddick the film (directed by John Curran-the only other film I’ve seen of his is We Don’t Live Here Anymore which was rough, but worthy) is worth it’s 80 Rotten Tomatoes percentage points. Certainly not an upper, Chappaquiddick recounts the fatal accident in which Ted was driving and his female companion is drowned.

Here are two sides of a theory that I wonder what others think-possibly even would be Kennedy scholars who have read or know more…the movie wants us to believe that Mary Jo was a confidante and a champion of Teddy to reach higher politically without a sexual component. If this is true, did that make it easier for Ted to walk around in a stupor for 12 plus hours while his car lay upside down in the water?

On the other hand, let’s say the writers’ (Taylor Allen, Andrew Logan) simply left that out and Ted and Mary Jo were lovers. Would that have been more of a reason for Ted to want to avoid the controversy? It wasn’t just a girl drowned, but also a lover, given that he was married. The movie did seem to intimate that Ted really wanted the ‘boiler room girls’ at this party, but leaves it open for debate the reason, leaning more toward it simply being a family of Bobby supporters needing to get together to wax philosophical about past tragedy vs. future hope.

I won’t go further into the dehumanizing way many of these rich folks treated each other, watch the film to be shocked abut the nuances of that cut throat world.

I will mention the acting though of whom Jason Clarke hits it out of the park. He is definitely deserving of an Academy Award nom though that might just seem too morbid to be giving a nomination to man portraying a man who seemingly killed someone without caring. Bruce Dern was also fabulous a stroke victimized and emotionally abusive Papa Kennedy. Ed Helms is admirable as Teddy’s ‘friend’ and tool, Joseph Gargan, who according to the film, attempted several times to be the moral compass. I will research on whether he’s written a book on his thoughts about this tragic time.

An acting misfire that I will now call the LCK (for Louis CK in Trumbo) goes to Jim Gaffigan. Sure he makes a good bumbly chunky guy, but is just too anachronistic in a movie about tragedy. I kept thinking he was going to look at the camera and say, “Hot Pockets’.

So while I wrestle with the belief that people don’t need to see each other daily for closeness or monogamy, I obviously know if a friend or lover is in a life or death situation and you do nothing, you’re a scumbag, no matter what your last name may be.