Television Show Review: The Young Pope: Season 1

The Young Pope

The Young Pope: Season 1 created by Paolo Sorrentino (Wildside, Haut et Court, Mediapro) Starring Jude Law, Diane Keaton, Silvio Orlando, Javier Cámara, Scott Shepherd, Cécile De France, Ludivine Sagnier, and James Cromwell. Let’s Go to the Vatican! I have yet to traverse the globe. My wife and I want to travel; we plan to do so once the kids are out of the house. When we go, I want to see history. I look forward to walking along cobblestone streets in places where people have strolled for centuries before me. When I think about Rome, the Coliseum emerges as a destination. But I might consider the Vatican to be the highest target. The amount of history, the art, the… Read More →

Book Review: The Throwback Special

The Throwback Special

The Throwback Special: A Novel by Chris Bachelder (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2016. 213 pp) Chris Bachelder is the author of Bear v. Shark, U.S.!, and Abbot Awaits. His fiction and essays have appeared in McSweeney’s, The Believer, and the Paris Review. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Cincinnati, where he teaches at the University of Cincinnati. Rhythms and Rituals We are a species addicted to rhythm and ritual. In college, we sit in the same seat day-by-day and class-by-class. At work, we grab the same coffee order and check our emails around the same time. As parents, we do our best to create rhythms and rituals for our children. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner… Read More →

Film Review: Minimalism

Minimalism

Minimalism: A Documentary About Important Things directed by Matt D’Avella (Catalyst, NR, 79 min) Starring Dan Harris and Joshua Becker. The Pursuit of Happyness What makes you happy? This enigmatic pursuit devours everyone who tries to crack the code. In philosophical ethics, the hedonist’s paradox provides an odd truism for the fleeting pursuit of happiness. In essence, the hedonist’s paradox suggests that the hedonist, a person pursuing pleasure as his or her ultimate end, will never find it. Story after story narrates this fruitless endeavor. The more a person pursues happiness, the unhappier she gets. And yet, when she stops trying to discover happiness, it serendipitously arrives. Thus, the only path toward happiness is to not look for happiness. Yea… Read More →

Film Review: La La Land

La La Land

La La Land written and directed by Damien Chazelle (Black Label Media, Gilbert Films, Impostor Pictures, PG-13, 128 min) Starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Make Hollywood Great Again We live in an era of nostalgia. The largest television phenomenon of 2016 focused on 1980s synths, hairstyles, and sci-fi horror. Beyond cultural nostalgia, we saw an election where a clear motivation at the polls focused on policies pushing America toward the past, toward a time where the nation was considered “great,” at least for a certain kind of American. Trends ebb and flow. Beliefs move in and out of season as if they are fashion chic. While many rightly criticize much of the policies bringing fear to certain groups of… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Man in the High Castle: Season 2

The Man in the High Castle Season 2

The Man in the High Castle: Season 2 created by Frank Spotnitz (Amazon Studios, Big Light Productions, Electric Shepherd Productions) Starring Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank, DJ Qualls, Joel de la Fuente, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, and Rufus Sewell. Wake Up I had planned to write an in-depth review about the tenuous balance this show aims to achieve. It humanizes fascists while pointing out the brutal, sickening policies of the Third Reich. It also paints the resistance as terrorists similar in tactics to present-day Jihadists. But, I don’t feel like talking about that stuff today. “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched… Read More →