Monday, May 29, 2017

Wizard of Lies

I am never a fan of biopics and have to learn to lower my expectations with them. That said, Wizard of Lies, about Bernie Madoff, was pretty okay.

It didn't cover new ground or offer new insights from all the intense coverage the story got in 2008-2009, but it was interesting to revisit it. I thought the acting was pretty good. Like in all biopics I felt something of substance was missing, some dramatic core.

At the end he asks if he's a sociopath and I couldn't help feeling that his awful nefarious actions are no worse than the legal actions of the Republicans who are currently trying to pass budgets and bills that will have vast and cruel effects. And I think he was right that during the 2008 financial crisis focusing on one evil-doer was more satisfying to the public than trying to grasp the systemic injustices in the system.

Museum of Art and Design: Judith Leiber

There was also a Judith Leiber show at the Museum of Art and Design, Crafting a New York Story. I thought this was kind of boring. Her bags definitely have sculptural and artistic and craft elements that I appreciate as objects. But as bags I think they were tacky. There were many that were dramatic and interesting, but as a show I didn't feel like it it worked. People always think because of my beading that I will like Judith Leiber, but mostly  I think her bags are tacky. Here are two that stood out for me.

Museum of Art and Design: Fashion after Fashion


The Fashion after Fashion exhibition was more interesting than the Counter Couture. This featured deconstructed and reimagined sculptural pieces breaking away from traditional fashion and using fashion as the foundation for art pieces.

Museum of Art and Design: Counter Couture


The Counter Couture show at Museum of Art and Design was just okay. The handmade clothes from the 60s were dramatically lit and the environment was cool but most of the clothes were kind of boring to me. The exception being these crocheted pieces.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Mommy Dead and Dearest


Mommy Dead and Dearest is creepy! An awful, awful story.

It's the story of Gypsy Blanchard, a girl who was raised by a mother with Munchauser by Proxy Syndrome. Since she was an infant, Gypsy's mother made her sick and pretended she was seriously ill. All sorts of diseases and ailments. Drugging her. Not allowing her to walk and putting her in a wheelchair. Lying about her age and dressing her up like silly doll. It is such a disturbing story of very serious, very extensive, very prolonged child abuse.

Then, Gypsy begins an online secret love affair with some weirdo and she has him murder her mother!

The documentary includes many photos and videos, both of Gypsy feigning illness and talking like a developmentally disabled pinhead as well as a perfectly fine Gypsy in bed with her boyfriend. Also included are their text exchanges. The most disappointing parts are the interviews with Gypsy, now in prison. She seems naive and sweet but manipulative and creepy at the same time. The horror of what she went through is unfathomable and she came across as so bland and syrup-y. This documentary raised many more questions than it answered.

Girls Season 6

ARGHH. I have been a stalwart fan of Girls. I enjoyed it and defended it when everyone else was criticizing it for various reasons which never felt important to me. I loved Season 5. But damn, the final season sucked. I was not at all into it.

The pregnancy plot line seemed desperate and grasping. Yes, there were scenes and episodes I liked. But the way they tried to wrap Hannah's story up was very unconvincing and unrealistic and they totally lost me. Parts were utterly preposterous. Very disappointed.

Master of None Season 2

I recently watched al of the second season of Master of None, Aziz Ansari's sweet Netflix series.

The strength of this show is Aziz -- his ebullience, his curiosity, his humor, and his wonderful good nature and seemingly genuine kindness. He throws light on various pervasive forms of racism, gives homage and dignity to the myriad people whose lives are ignored in mainstream storytelling, and performs a running commentary on contemporary upper-middle class urban life.

Both season have an off quality to me. Something awkward in the acting or timing that I can't quite adjust to. Season 2 is cinematically (and to a lesser extent thematically) sophisticated, but there is something amateurish in the execution that I can't quite put my finger on.

The narrative arc of Season 2 is Aziz's budding relationship with a charming woman he met in Italy (those episodes shot in black and white and sending shout outs to Italian movie classics). As this developed I felt myself growing a bit distant. The storylines and scenes with his friends and dates were crisp and fresh to me. But with the love interest it felt a little tired. It dragged a little. I think part of the problem for me is that she was SO charming. A caricature of charming. Hi growing fondness and love for her was understandable and relatable, but her her-ness seemed made up to me.