What If We Remade “I Confess”… But Sleazy?: And more movie notes

Wow, guys, this is a lot. Strap in.A Cottage on Dartmoor: British silent revenge flick; very grabby with the intercutting and the emotional intensity; ends with quite poignant scene of forgiveness. Forgiveness, rather than reunion, as the climax of a love story.Laura: Noir (although the noir style mostly doesn't kick in until late) and mostly standard, although I liked how pleasant and undefensive the career-woman scenes were. There's a specific kind of relationship here, the man who … [Read more...]

Work Is a Four-Letter Word: Short movie notes

Let's do this one from worst to best, yes? Or no, "best" isn't what I want, let's do "worst to the one I moat want to talk about."Evil Laugh: '80s slasher, aka the one '80s horror subgenre I can almost never stand. This was an unusually stupid entry. There are organ meat gags (why did this random posh med student do-gooder have a thing for cooking organ meats?) and the music is indeed pleasantly neon-flavored, but that is about all the good I can say for this. I think I dug this thing up on … [Read more...]

“Piety and Hunger”: Nice intro essay on “Kristin Lavransdatter”

why not start your journey w/Kristin during Lent? Undset was an obsessive researcher, and her 14th-century Norway has texture down to the dirt of the smithy floor. She captures annual agricultural rhythms of shortage and plenty, obscure ecclesiastical laws governing punishments for adultery, and the way the men douse themselves in ice water to sober up for church after Christmas festivities. Her descriptions of food, decor, and clothing are precise: the way Kristin strews juniper and flowers on … [Read more...]

“‘Roe’s’ Missing Stories”: I’m at First Things

playwatching: Roe, the new play from Lisa Loomer about the woman at the heart of the 1973 Supreme Court case legalizing abortion, is much like its main subject: easily distracted, unbalanced, but undeniably compelling. Roe (at Arena Stage in Washington, DC through February 18) at first suggests that it will be a story of two women. The play opens with Norma “Jane Roe” McCorvey (Sara Bruner) and lawyer Sarah Weddington (Sarah Jane Agnew) speaking in unison. We're encouraged to think that their l … [Read more...]

More Sex Ed Thoughts Plus Two Disreputable Songs

I'm not especially satisfied with that post I did about sex ed, and this email exchange gets at part of the reason.A reader: This wouldn't normally clear my "worth emailing about" threshold, but you specifically solicited comments, and I do have a question.When you discussed pros and cons for the ownership framework, one of the things you liked was the way it helped the student relate to other actors. The examples, though, were people doing things that were pretty obviously bad in … [Read more...]

Sex Ed in the Renaissance Tavern

Over the weekend I drove to a wedding with a bunch of strangers. We got to talking about our memories of middle and high school. One of us went to either a small-town public school or a private religious school (can't remember which), one to a single-sex Catholic school, and two of us to an intensely progressive private school. And none of us had had any kind of sex ed that struck us as even marginally relevant or insightful.So look, if fools didn't rush in, would we even need middle-school … [Read more...]

Doomed Queen and Beaten Champion: Concert review, Tristen & the Mountain Goats

A few weeks ago I got a chance to see the Mountain Goats in concert. Let me tell you to do this thing if you get the chance. The Mt Goats is sort of one guy, John Darnielle, and the people he gets to help him make narrative, terrifically-structured indie music; I've yapped about their stuff here and here among other places. I super love them but am wary of live music for whatever dumb reason, so when I finally saw them at Calvin College, I was totally blown away. Darnielle was losing his voice … [Read more...]