The Story of Hillary and Bernie

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally in Hollywood

The presidential race has just began and if you’re like me you’re already sick of it. It’s a tight race all around and I wanted to share my observations of the race so far. I have a strong preference for one candidate but I’m going to try and write this from a neutral point of view.

  1. I read a quote that perfectly sums up the democratic race, “Sanders sells idealism. Clinton sells pragmatism.”
  2. I think many Democrats are a little drunk off the success of the last 8 years with Obama. Regardless of who we support we shouldn’t go into this elections assuming Republicans will lose.
  3. The tight race between Clinton and Sanders will only strengthen them for a general election.
  4. I can’t decide if it’s smart or stupid of Clinton’s campaign to not focus on her possibly being the first female president.
  5. Bernie Sanders has been a life long Independent. I wonder why he didn’t run as a third party candidate?
  6. Clinton needs more of Sanders’ idealism.
  7. Sanders has done a great job of inspiring young optimistic voters much like Obama did on 2008.
  8. Both Iowa and New Hampshire are very white states. I’m curious to see primary results from states that have more diverse populations.
  9. I wish there could be a combined Republican and Democrat debate now. I think it would be a great indicator of who would do well in the general election.
  10. It feels like the narrative of the campaign so far has been one where everyone attacks Clinton while she defends herself.
  11. I don’t fault a politician for changing his or her mind.
  12. I predict the primary will be very close up until the end and everything will come down to the Super Delegates. Trust me it’s a term we’re going to hear a lot about this summer.
  13. All the infighting between Clinton and Sanders supporters needs to stop. Reality check, you’re going to vote Democrat no matter who’s name is there. Are you really gonna vote or Ted Cruz?

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P. S.

To help avoid the over saturation of the election coverage I’m going to make it a point to not make any more election themed posts until a candidate is chose in July.

Photo courtesy of Salon.com

Movie Review: Carol

The movie Carol tells the story of an upper class housewife who falls for a young shop girl in the 1950s. Directed by Todd Haynes, the movie is beautifully shot and gorgeous to look at. The actual plot of the movie is lacking in emotion. Like a beautiful  faberge egg the exterior is gorgeous but there is nothing inside. I’m assuming that Haynes wanted to avoid the the cliché movie trope of star crossed gay lovers and instead create more of a classic love story because for a period gay drama there is surprisingly few hurdles. When Blanchet’s title character meets Therese (played by Mara) she is already separated from her husband and he already knows she’s a lesbian. There is the expected fight between Carol and her husband and battles over divorce and custody play out in the background of the love affair. The acting is top notch and as expected Cate Blanchet nails the role but it feels like a character she’s already played. She is the perfect repressed upper middle class white woman. All the emotions are so quiet and subtle that the characters are left feeling a little cold. Overall I lacked any real care or concern for anyone in the movie. What struggles did exist were not enough to make me root for either Carol or Therese. In conclusion Carol is pretty and well acted but lacks an emotional touchstone.

An Open Letter To Hollywood

Hollywood_Sign_(Zuschnitt)

Dear Film Industry

The movies you’ve made over the last 3 generations have helped shaped our society. Your work has reflected our nation’s values, struggles, and ideologies. Movies were always on the cutting edge pushing the traditional boundaries of technology and culture. Sixteen years before Caitlyn Jenner made headlines on the cover of Vanity Fair, Boys Don’t Cry told the not so glamorous true story of Brandon Tina. Your industry was where the best of the best went to express themselves. The key word here is was. I am writing you this letter today as a wake up call. You’ve gotten lazy and if you’re not careful you will start to lose relevance.

Over the last couple of years the movies you’ve made have been bogged down by outdated formulas and an overall lack of creativity. We’ve seen all of these formulas before so we’re yearning for something new. There are a too many examples to list here so for the sake of time I’ll focus on casting. Despite constant backlash you continue to cast white, usually British actors as the main characters of stories about other cultures. You can’t seem to get away from the archaic movie trope that says you need a clean cut white central main that everyone can identify with. This trope also implies the idea that no one will ever identify with a non-white main character. It sound laughably outdated to everyone else but for some reason you won’t let it go. For example, let’s look at the upcoming movie God’s of Egypt. It has been the subject of constant ridicule due to the white washing of the cast. The main character is played by Gerard Butler and you guessed it… he’s from the UK. There are two major problems here. First, Egypt is a real place with real people and it’s not some fairy tale land that only exists in story books. Granted I’ll admit finding a genuine Egyptian actor to play the role might be difficult but you could’ve at least gotten a Latino or Middle Eastern actor. Actually anyone with a little more skin pigmentation would’ve been a step up. The second problem with this movie is that we’ve seen it too many times before. Audiences are starting to notice these casting choices more and more because the movies themselves have become so cookie cutter and predictable. If I want to watch a big budget movie about Egypt with an all white cast I’ll watch Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra or Brendan Fraser in The Mummy. We’ve seen it all before. If you’re going to be lazy with a trite concept at least spice it up with authentic casting. It should also be noted that if the actual movie was genuinely good enough people wouldn’t be paying as much attention to the cast.

There is one other factor that is making your creative slump that much more obvious. Television has had a rebirth and is entering into a modern Renaissance period. Premium and streaming services have opened the flood gates to an enormous influx of very talent creators. It seems as though many of the most creative people in your town have turned to television in order to find their voice. The best entertainment being produced right now is on the small screen not the big one. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Master of None, Fresh Off the Boat, Empire, Transparent, and Game of Thrones are just a small fraction of the quality shows that exist. In fact I would say that the best television of 2015 was better than the best movies of 2015. With so many choices diverse in cast and category we as the audience expect the same if not more from our movies. Sadly movie folks, you’ve been dropping the ball.

I’ll wrap this up with some good news and bad news. I’ll start with the bad news. You’re industry is one that moves very slowly. As you know movies are planned years in advance so even if you decide to change your ways right now the results will not show up for a while. Basically that means this creative wasteland you’ve found yourself in is only going to get worse before it gets better. I hate to rub salt in the wound but I don’t think anyone is going to be excited for another Mummy movie in 2017 starring Tom Cruise. But there’s good news. As I said television is seeing a resurgence in creativity and that is in some ways a reaction to how awful TV was only a couple years ago. The major networks had become so dependent on tired formulas that ratchet reality shows and forgettable dramas took over the airwaves. It got so bad that services like Netflix and Amazon were able to break through the glass ceiling. It’s sort of like how the ashes of a forest fire work as valuable fertilizer for fresh new growth afterward. So while you might be in a dry deserted forest right now it will get better. At some point a fire is going to come through and clear out all the old brush and make way for a fresh new growth of ideas.

Sincerely

The Gay Gasp