I’m working on a couple reviews right now that feel a little too big for my normal review format. Plus, they aren’t romcoms, so it doesn’t feel urgent.
Birds of Prey: The Fabulous Emancipation of Harley Quinn was the last movie I saw in the theaters before the 2020 pandemic shutdowns, and for that reason alone, I hadn’t revisited it in ages. There was just a big flip in my life shortly after it came out. Now I feel like I can’t review it without talking about Suicide Squad, The Suicide Squad, and Barbie, because the four movies are all part of Margo Robbie’s search for a big IP girlboss feminism outlet.
Lucy (2014) is another movie I saw in theaters. This one comes from the days where I would watch anything in the theater, and I didn’t know Luc Besson married a fucking child, so I thought seeing another action movie from the guy who made The Fifth Element would be interesting. Lucy completely baffled me in 2014. Even knowing I would hate it, I wanted to know what I missed, so I watched again.
I’ve now taken enough drugs and encountered enough rapist abusers to parse the movie, and I have a *real* angry review to write about it. I just don’t know where to start when I’m this disgusted.
Anyhoo those reviews will be coming at *some* point.
My mood is really negative today because I’m having health problems. I need to take time to reorient myself in love and peace because I’m also deciding to withdraw on Substances (namely mood-boosters cannabis and caffeine) so it’s going to be a lotta feeling real crappy for a minute. Right now, you’re getting the crabbiest read of the news possible.
Balloon Juice has a current covid news roundup. The tl;dr is that you should be masking again if you stopped.
Variety rounds up tributes to Andre Braugher from Brooklyn 99 cast members. My heart hurts, so I’m glad I got to laugh at this story.
“Insecure” showrunner Prentice Penny, who also wrote for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” recalled an on-set memory between himself, Crews and Braugher: “He was so warm with us and then when a white person would walk by, he’d look serious again. He then leaned in and said ‘Gotta keep ‘em on they toes.’”
Brian Cox reads a poem by Palestinian teacher Refaat Alareer. Sorry for the twt link.
Guttation is one of my favorite things my plants do, and I don’t actually love this art. (Colossal) It feels meant to evoke gross-out feelings with the drippy look of the statues, and the amount of guttation depicted.
To me, guttation is a graceful thing, a happy thing my plants do when I’m tending them well. I have occasionally reached out my tongue to take a tiny drop of guttation off a philodendron leaf. I don’t poison my plants with pesticides or anything, and a tiny drop has a lot of flavors from something inedible, and it feels precious to be able to taste it. Or I will take the guttation on my finger and see how it streaks like a tear. Guttation feels sweet and intimate to me, but these sculptures feel loud, gross, and visceral–something I’d enjoy, probably, if framed by anything besides guttation.
Extremely rich man James Cameron is talking about his jerk-off project to people who just can’t wait to hear what extremely rich man is doing to waste money next. (Variety) Apparently Avatar 3 is going to be more complex. I assume that means he’s going to double down on being racist and tell an even worse story about it.
If you’d like to hear about how he wasted money in the past, there’s also an article about hiring short people to make his Titanic set look bigger. I feel like there’s a dirty joke waiting to happen here. I’ll get back to you later.
This article about ChatGPT getting “lazy” (Ars Technical) is thought-provoking to me, because marketing really, really wants us to attribute humanlike qualities to ChatGPT and it’s succeeding. We talk about large language models hallucinating, we conveniently like to pretend it isn’t stealing from everyone, and people keep acting like these things learn.
It’s similar to the fallacies that lead us to compare human brains to computers, when they don’t work similarly even a little bit. Psychological pareidolia is natural to us; we humanize everything instinctively. It’s adorable. Marketing is taking advantage of it, and we’re just letting them do it.
Variety again: Anne Hathaway is right to say that she couldn’t have done Barbie instead of Margot Robbie, though I think Hathaway does have the look/charm. She’s simply not on the girlboss feminist arc Margot Robbie has been. Literally only Margot Robbie, coming out of her experiences with WB as Harley Quinn, could have made Barbie the way it turned out, and people seem really happy with its level of engagement with gender issues.
They also note that Hathaway would have been Black Cat in Raimi’s Spider-Man 4, which means there’s no universe where we don’t get subjected to an extremely shallow portrayal of a feline-themed comic book character by extremely flat Hathaway, who is much more Barbie Comics than DC Comics. (No insult.)
“Ew, animal sacrifice from ancient cultures!” says the title of a blog published within a culture that lives off meaningless mass death. (Ars Technica)
It’s a good read after the title, though.
Ancient writings describe equid sacrifices in the Mediterranean, sometimes involving hundreds of animals, but there had previously not been much evidence to back this up. There were far fewer than a hundred at Casas del Turuñuelo, although most were equids. The ages of all sacrifices at their time of death were estimated by signs of wear on their teeth. Most were found to have been male working animals in the prime of life, and eight of them had wear caused by iron bits found in their mouths. This provides further evidence for them having been used for war, transportation, or agricultural work.
Something that stood out in Phase 1 was that the equids in that phase had evidently been sacrificed in pairs or at least positioned that way postmortem. The archaeologists suggest they might have pulled carts together before death. There was also an instance in Phase 2 where the necks of two skeletons were crossed in the center of what was once a courtyard. Whether this was part of a ritual associated with either a deity or the afterlife of a deceased owner is unknown.
Why horses, in particular, were sacrificed remains an open question. The researchers think there is a possibility that they were used in a funerary sacrifice so the deceased could enter the afterlife alongside their loyal companions. This has been evidenced in other ancient cultures, such as the Scythians of what is now Russia and Ukraine, who would sacrifice horses at a funeral. Whether this was the case for at least some of the equids at Casas del Turuñuelo is still a mystery.
The New Yorker spends more time reviewing Wonka than I would bother, and it sounds like what it looked like in the trailers.
My absolute favorite read of the week was this article about a mother helping her local addict community with harm reduction. It’s wonderful, meaningful work, and NPR handled it with great sensitivity.
Renae occasionally monitors illegal drug use at her home for Christina and a few dozen other people she’s grown close to over the years. It’s an informal, rarely discussed version of the controversial overdose prevention centers, also known as supervised consumption sites, where trained staff supervise people using drugs. Those clinics are endorsed by the American Medical Association and other leading medical groups but condemned by critics who say they sanction, even endorse, drug use.
Heavy but good read. Very human. Very loving.
Fun photos over here on Al Jazeera English: A new kind of quinceañera celebration — for Mexico’s elderly