Mary Beth Writes

Last night we watched last year’s “Happytime Murders” with Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph and a bunch of puppets who look like Muppets. Yes, the director is Brian Henson.

The plot? A former kids’ puppet show is making a comeback, and someone is machine-gunning down alumni puppets in order to get a bigger cut of potential franchise income. Phil Philips, puppet detective, partners with Melissa McCarthy to find the culprit. Along the way we see various episodes of puppet porn.

I laughed a lot and then the movie was over.

Went to bed. Woke up this morning irritated.

“Happytime Murders” cost 40 million dollars to make. Brian Henson!  Imagine the resources that son-of-Jim must have at his fingertips. Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph are fabulously talented women.

Yet the movie asks no questions, presents no original whimsy, entertains the front of our brains while doing nothing to move the core of our hearts. 

Have you heard of the Bechdel test? “It is a measure of the representation of women in fiction and asks whether a work features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechdel_test

This movie fails even that low bar. McCarthy and Rudolph talk to each other ONLY about Phil Phillips – who is a PUPPET man. 

Hollywood plays its violin while Rome burns?

Global warming and climate disasters, policing that is lynching, toxic sexism, Citizens United, oligarchies swamping global politics like a tsunami, NRA’s choking hold on Congress, massive media dumped on humans with minimal defenses, antibiotic-resistant super bugs, anti-vaxxers, unfettered weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, anomie, alienation, suicide, unprecedented addiction, election tampering from sources we can’t even imagine, epidemics, noxious solipsism (nobody has the right opinion on things except me).  And more.

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It is nerve-wracking to be human. Where are movies with oomph and anger and wisdom?

I am done with movies that divert, cover up, and obfuscate. I want to watch truthful movies that are perceptive and smart.

These are some that Len and I came up with – movies that moved our hearts and made us think.

Eighth Grade

Moonlight

A Boy’s Life

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

First Reformed 

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What movies gave you vision and courage, oomph and joy?

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The note of hope is the only note
That can keep us from falling to the bottom of the heap of evolution
Because, largely, about all a human being is anyway
Is just, a hoping machine.

     Woody Guthrie

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Comments

I agree there are so many useless movies and so much terrible TV, and I stopped watching any real violent or frightening things years ago. My own thoughts and imagination, not to mention, the real news of the day, are more than enough for me. However, I do feel the need for beautiful, sweet and laugh out loud funny. Sometimes, it has to be about the joy.
Mary Beth's picture

Any good movies that come to mind, that fill your spirit and make you laugh?

Not a comedy, but a thoughtful one: Cider House Rules
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks. I should watch it again, its been so many years. You are right, it is a complicated story lived by complicated people. Like life itself.

Minding the Gap... a documentary we saw on PBS: POV show. An Incredibly insightful and touching story about three skateboarding friends dealing with harsh realities as they grow up in a town in the Rust Belt. I’m very excited about this young director:Bing Liu (It was also nominated for an academy award)
Mary Beth's picture

Bing Liu. Will look for his films. Thank you.

Green Book

"Call me by your name" made me think,laugh and cry, I like movies like that. The movie Good night and good night" which Michael and I saw when it first came out in2005 I believe is beautiful to look at ( Black and white ) with the most wonderful jazz soundtrack... About the battle between Sen Joseph McCarthy and Edward R. Murrow... Definitely a must see.

I've been watching lots of documentaries, including one about the business of art (can't remember the name at the moment) and the Robert Maplethorpe one (warning: X Rated if you're uncomfortable with men's body parts!). I feel like someone needs to keep watching these and remember that not everyone is the same. I also want to see the Big Little Farm movie. Finally, I recommend the Temple Grandin movie. I bawled my eyes out and laughed just as much. It's beautiful! I want more movies like that...movies about real people who did amazing things and lived authentically.
Mary Beth's picture

We watched this last night and it was astounding: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368264/ Shakespeare behind Bars.

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Some Sore Paw Thoughts

 Last night I read on the sofa for a couple hours. Then I came upstairs, brushed my teeth, and went to bed to read some more. Honest, that’s it. That’s mostly what I did yesterday. A few chores and errands. A lot of reading.

Then while turning one more page - my foot started to hurt! One moment nothing; next moment a big twitchy thing flared along the side of one foot. I rubbed it and tried to stretch the muscles but that made it worse, so I took ibuprofen and went to sleep. I woke this morning and although it hurts less, it still hurts.

Genius & Why you Shouldn't Judge a Fish by What it Can't Do

Someone asked me what I thought might be the definition of genius. (If you send me an open-ended question I might try to answer you, too.)

Here are some of my thoughts.  Because on Halloween, plus the day the House of Reps votes on how to proceed with the impeachment proceedings, plus California is on fire, plus there is a half of foot of snow out my window – why wouldn’t we talk about shades of genius?

Sometimes it's calming to talk about a situation that doesn't exactly affect many of us. 

Why I'm Lukewarm on Heroes

I was emailing with my very smart cousin about heroes. He wrote (in a longer email): Are there heroes left? It seems like some of us have been pretty busy debunking our heroes, and if taking the varnish off is the objective, they’ve been very effective, IMHO. And the follow up question, what are the consequences of a hero-less world? 

 I’ve been thinking about this for weeks. So instead of posting the 17 pages I have written, let me say SEVEN things about heroes.

The Erie Canal; Means and Dreams

This photo is from Schoharie Crossing State Historical Site. The crumbling infrastructure is the oldest part of the Erie Canal -where it crossed Schoharie Creek. 

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Crown Point, Ticonderoga, and Saratoga

Not everyone wants to see where the American Revolutionary War got up and got going - but we did.

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The summer after college I worked in my family’s printing business, trying to earn and save enough to move out. To where I was not sure, but somewhere!

"The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley..."

Thank you, Robert Burns, for that title. 

We were driving from Gaspé to the next town when this happened.

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