Josh Gibbs has been posting daily updates over at the Cedar Room about filling your time while on break from school. Today, he recommends five documentaries. Documentaries aren’t my go-to, but hey, quarantine’s like Calvinball. The rules are always changing. We’ll give ’em a shot.
Yesterday, Josh tried to start an internet fight with this sentence: “For my money, Lewis was not a very good theologian.” It’s a sign of how serious our current situation is that no evangelical commentator had the energy to argue.
Americans treat “American” as an ideology, not a matter of blood or country. Historically, there were three things that made a person American: their church, their job, and their family. Americans were churchgoers. Americans were company-men. And Americans worshiped the nuclear family.
Though churches still carry a lot of heft for many Americans, they’ve declined in the northeast and the southwest — the two places most American TV shows come from. Without the church, American identity becomes defined by work and family. Thus, the central concerns of American TV shows are work and family. (And, increasingly, work as family.) Can you imagine an American TV show where a character rejects or is rejected by his family for a reason other than work? I can’t. What about an American TV show where a group of friends remains nothing more than a group of friends, never metastasizing into a familial substitute? Me neither.
I watch good movies because it makes me think, “This is worth doing.”
I watch mediocre movies because it makes me think, “I can do this.”
Back when I wrote reviews for Film Fisher, I had to pick which actors to “tag” in any particular film. The first review I wrote was for Short Term 12. When I posted it, I mulled over who I should tag. As the star, Brie Larson was an obvious choice — her career since has justified that instinct. Keith Stanfield (a.k.a, Lakeith Stanfield) got some big moments in the movie, so I put him in there, too, as well as Kaitlyn Dever, who hasn’t gone on to do much of note.
If you scan the credits for Short Term 12, you’ll find one big name I left off my list. I say “big” because he just won the Oscar for Best Actor.
Yeah, it’s Rami Malek. Whups.