". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ricki & The Flash - Outlaw Country - Jupiter Ascending - Elementary, Season 1

June was the month in which the very many pressing deadlines for the work that gets a book ready for production and creating the materials for the press packet happened.  They all happen at the same time.  Not to mention all the very many other deadlines for the other projects that are going, particularly for el V.  There were times when neither of believed he was going to be able to live through this, much less finish everything.  But he's extraordinary and a hero.  He met the deadlines and he remains, thank Providence, as George Washington would say, among the living.

When not working on these matters, we were much consumed with the tragic events in Charleston and the consequences, as they seem to be playing out.

There wasn't much time for anything else, not even for non-taxing television. We did go up to the Lincoln Center Walter Reade Theater again, for the cast, crew and friends' screening of Jonathan Demme's latest film, starring Meryl Streep as Ricki, in Ricki & The Flash.

Meryl Streep's Ricki is front woman of a rock and roll bar band in Tarzana,CA, performing covers of 1980's hits in the 21st century (the budget went to hiring Meryl Streep and paying the music's license fees, and hiring a terrific team of choreographer and dance instructors). She left her family behind when much younger, thinking she had a good shot at stardom.  She's not a good mother, nor is she a star, she's broke. Family dysfunctions ensue.

Outlaw Country (2011). Filmed as a pilot for FX in 2011, it was never picked up.  FX broadcast the pilot as a television movie in 2012. This leaves the question why wasn't it picked up?

Had Justified, first season 2010, taken all the FX oxygen? Were the two series too similar? while CW’s Nashville rocked it as the regional music soap – though that series didn’t have its first season until 2012. It is likely though that all three of these series were kicking around at the same time, looking for funding and a home. This one was country music meets Nashville organized crime, featuring a young fellow who is too smart and too talented for his own good, who sort of wants to go straight and have a music career instead of being groomed to be his criminal uncle's second banana.  He and his own little gang collide with the Nashville Big Boy criminals and an overbearing, controlling country music diva, with whose talented and repressed daughter he falls in love.

Outlaw Country's excellent cast included Travis Fimmel as protagonist's best buddy (who doesn’t get any notice in the articles, because this is before Vikings but he is good, and one sees Ragnar shining through) and Mary Steenburgen, who ended up on the last two seasons of Justified, i.e. in Kentucky.

Jupiter Ascending. (2015) I’m not sorry I waited until it was on dvd to see this., because I got to watch it on a night in which I couldn't do anything else, not even read Agatha Christy. But it is fun, entertaining, really nice to look at, and unpretentious -- a word seldom used when referring to the Wachowskis.  Moreover, for once it was Chicago that got destroyed by supers, not NYC. Though Chicago got rebuilt. NYC never does, it seems.

From where came the tidal waves of the hate for this movie?  Because Jupiter Jones, the one to whom it all belongs, is a young woman,
and the geeks and nerds hate that?  Jupiter Ascending was called the worst movie ever and -- utter nonsense.  Yet how is it worse and more nonsensical than that incredibly ugly, clunky, stupid, horribly written and acted, and unwatchable Guardians of the Galaxy that everyone drooled on? (I walked out it was so predictable and boring and bad.)  Jupiter Ascending is much better than that one and most of the zap power endless action scenes of over-muscled males and underfed female heroes and heroines flying about in unlikely ways through the air and space. More to the point, Jupiter herself, Her Majesty and owner of earth, isn't underfed -- unlike poor Lucy Liu.  Give that woman something to eat, please.

Elementary (2012 - 2013) Season 1. This was a perfect series for me in June.  It took some episodes before the charms of this Sherlock Holmes in contemporary NYC were revealed to me.  But as this was a network (CBS) series, the series could afford to take some time to find its footing.

I like that it is in New York, especially as White Collar, the most splendid love letter in television to this city, reached the end of what it could do. But, principally, it is Lucy Liu’s Watson who ultimately beguiled me. She's intelligent -- very intelligent -- YAY! an intelligent female protagonist!  and capable, as well as compassionate and caring, but also matter-of-fact, down to earth, and not even Sherlock's tics, tantrums and narcissism fazes her. She also has agency, and Holmes even appreciates her intelligence and ability to act out of her own judgment.  Another primary element I like about this series is Holmes’s clinical approach to sex. Romance doesn’t belong in his vision.  Perhaps, maybe, this is due to his heart having been broken by Moriarty kidnapping his Only Woman, Irene Adler?  When Iren arrives in the series we see him being most romantic in his own manner, not clinical.  But what makes this likeable is that it throws Watson not at all.  The idea that they DO NOT have a sexual chemistry is so refreshing.  How long will this continue?  Please keep it as mentor and pupil -- friends.

It’s a bit embarrassing how desperate the showrunners were in this first season to connect Elementary with the most written about series: using “Casterly Rock” as the name for a security firm, and then, even getting Natalie Dormer to play Irene Adler!  However, I am always happy to watch Natalie Dormer, and she makes a spectacular blonde. There were other references to recent television icons too, but this is the only one I remember.

I've started season two.  I hope that terrible thing that happened with the female character of on Longmire, where the writers just gave up trying to have a woman who was smart, capable and good at her job, and made her into the typical victim female who needs to be rescued by our manly man hero.  I also hope that in season 2 the dressers put her in more attractive clothes -- especially the shoes.  Nobody can be working consulting detective in the footgear they insist on putting on Joan Holmes.

In London, Elementary, Season 2, First Episode, "Step 9"
So far, at that, they have already failed.

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