Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Take 41: Just Mercy

Tuesday: My "take" on a film.


Just Mercy (2019)


Every generation has its hero. Meet ours.


(Based on a true story, and currently streaming free of charge through FandangoNow and Amazon Prime.)

I read the book in February (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson) and pondered on it for weeks after. Then, with the issues of race and justice currently raging across our nation, I felt a pull to watch the movie, too.

Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer from Delaware who founded the Equal Justice Initiative (a nonprofit law office in Montgomery, Alabama) and has "dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned."*

The film mainly focuses on the case of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), a man unfairly tried and convicted for a crime he didn't commit. In fact, he was put on death row even before his trial, and had been in prison for six years by the time he meets Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan).

When Bryan first interviews him as a potential client, Walter has very little (if any) hope that the efforts of this young lawyer will make a difference. He underestimates Bryan's tenacity and drive.

The injustices and lies uncovered regarding Walter's original trial are maddening! We are all children of God, and it breaks my heart to see such blatant disregard of human rights. It's not an easy film to watch, at times, but so worth it.

I love what Bryan tells the US Senate during a hearing on the Death Penalty:
BRYAN STEVENSON
Through this work, I've learned that each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done; that the opposite of poverty isn't wealth, the opposite of poverty is justice; that the character of our nation isn't reflected on how we treat the rich and the privileged, but how we treat the poor, the disfavored, and condemned.
Well-said, Mr. Stevenson, well-said.


Notes on Content:
  • No sex and no full nudity. A man is stripped searched, and shown bare from the waist up.
  • Threats at gunpoint, fistfights. A prisoner is placed in the electric chair and prepared for execution... his death is not fully shown on screen, but the intensity is there.
  • Language includes racial slurs, derogatory remarks, and some mild swearing (no f-words).

https://eji.org/bryan-stevenson




Friday, June 12, 2020

Food in Film: Lamb

Friday: Comic Relief

I came across the draft of a  post I had intended to use during the 2017 Blogging from A to Z Challenge with my Food in Film theme. It would have been used for the letter L -- Lamb -- but I went with "Lobster" instead.

Still... why waste the post? It can give some comic relief.

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I love this scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) when Ian Miller (John Corbett) meets Toula Portokalos' (Nia Vardalos) Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin).

AUNT VOULA
Ok ok. Why don't you come to
my house and I cook for you.

TOULA
That may be a problem.

AUNT VOULA
Why it a problem? Don't you tell him
I'm the best cook in the family?

TOULA
Oh, I did.

IAN
Twice!

TOULA
Ian is a vegetarian. He doesn't eat meat.

AUNT VOULA
He don't eat no meat?

TOULA
No, he doesn't eat meat.

AUNT VOULA
What do you mean he don't eat no meat?

(Everyone in the room stops and stares.)

AUNT VOULA (cont'd)
Oh that's ok. That's ok, I make lamb!


I used to eat lamb when I was little. Lamb chops, leg of lamb. But when I was in high school, I went with my mother to a neighboring town to pick up a lamb from a slaughter house. It had been killed and skinned in preparation for my parents to cut and wrap in freezer paper.

The skinned animal, cloaked in a white bed sheet, was loaded into the back of our station wagon and we drove 30 miles home with the smell of the carcass attacking my senses.

I was no stranger to the butchering of our own meat. Our kitchen table turned butcher table numerous times. I'd even helped my brothers skin deer. But something about the smell of that lamb made me so nauseas I have not been able to eat that type of meat since.

So even if I was a vegetarian and your Greek aunt wanted to cook meat for me anyway, please don't let it be lamb!


(To find my 2017 Food in Film posts, click here and scroll down.)

Monday, May 25, 2020

Whether I write or not, I will pay a price.

Monday: Dialogue, Lines, or Quotes

Browsing through past blog posts, I came across this one published May 28, 2012 and it struck a chord. I am re-posting because it's a message I need right now.

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"I have no shrewd advice to offer developing writers about this business of snatching time and space to work. I do not have anything profound to offer mother-writers or worker-writers except to say that it will cost you something. Anything of value is going to cost you something."  (Toni Cade Bambara)

Anything of value is going to cost you something. As I've contemplated that phrase I've come to realize that everything comes with a price whether it's of value or not. I can choose to pay the price for writing time (neglected chores, lack of social time, loss of sleep) or I can choose to pay the price for not making time to write (frustration, resentment, loss of dreams).

Whether I write or not, I will pay a price.

What price are you willing to pay to follow your dream? What price will you pay if you don't?

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Friday, May 15, 2020

Comic Relief: Raccoon Toons Quarantine

Friday: Comic Relief

These videos -- created by a friend -- gave me a much needed laugh. Thanks for sharing your talent, Matt!


Raccoon Toons: Quarantine Part 1


Raccoon Toons: Quarantine Part 2


For more of Matt's comics and videos, visit his website: Raccoon Toons.