Snick (snickfic) wrote,

movies watched / books read

I mean to post these on Saturdays, but my Saturdays have been really busy lately, so here we are.

Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock by John Harris, music journalist. I picked this up specifically because a lot of the best anecdotes on Oasis's wikipedia page cited this as a source, but it turns out Harris got all those bits from primary sources that I am now hunting down. HOWEVER. As a history of the Britpop music movement, it was highly readable, really entertainingly written, and very educational.

He conducted interviews with a number of major players (Justine Frischmann, who fronted Elastica and also dated members of both Suede and Blur, gets the lion's share of the quotes). He gets into how the Labour party courted musicians for a while there, which led to situations like Noel Gallagher getting invited to political events, only to be followed around by people trying to make sure he didn't do anything embarrassing like snort cocaine in public. I learned some about the British political machinery of the 90s. I learned about the 80s UK indie music scene.

In conclusion, if you are interested in this period of musical history at all, I highly recommend this book.

-- Midsommar (2019). A grieving college student (Florence Pugh) tags along with her boyfriend and his friends on a vacation to a Swedish commune, where not is all as it seems. This is very much a modern Wicker Man kind of a thing. It's absolutely gorgeous, Pugh is fantastic, the psychological dynamic between Pugh and her boyfriend is deeply awkward and uncomfortable in a very intentional way, and oh yeah, a bunch of people get ritually sacrificed. I loved it, pretty much. This article on Vox talks a lot about pop culture's conversation about community in the 2010s, and it has quotes from director Ari Aster about how he's fascinated by the idea of "toxic catharsis," which he meant to portray in the movie. That's a phrase that really neatly encapsulates an idea I've been interested in fannishly for a while.

-- Bombshell (2019). My first theater watch of 2020! This is the story of the sexual harassment lawsuit at Fox News, which normally I would have avoided like the plague, but it's a movie very much from the women's POV, and there are a lot of women in it, first and foremost Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie, and that's what turned me around on going to see it.

Unfortunately, it wasn't very good. It wasn't a deep psychological study of any of the women involved, but neither did it do a good job of exploring the the structural inequality in society generally and in the culture of Fox News in particular that led to the situation we saw. Despite namechecking Bill O'Reilly here and there, the movie still made it feel like head honcho Roger Ailes was the problem, personally. So since it was neither of those things, it kind of just felt like a recitation of events.

In fact, it was really jarring how little it got into the politics of Fox News. It was like we cast Theron as Megyn Kelly, but then didn't want to give Theron any material that would actually make us uncomfortable about her character. In BlackKklansman, we see how the wife of one of the Klan members if disrespected and treated, practically and ideologically, like a lesser member of the group, and the movie does a great job of showing how she embraces that because she's bought into the ideology herself - both the "woman is the helpmeet" part and the racism. I really believed in her as a character - a character who is understandable and convincing and really awful. There's nothing like that in Bombshell. We're meant to find all the women sympathetic (except one, whose story we never get and who wanders around harassing people into wearing "We Support Roger" t-shirts).

Also, frankly some of the writing was just amateur hour. I had a lot of difficulty tracking passage of time - it turned out from the beginning of the movie to the end, a whole year had passed, which I definitely didn't notice during. And then there's things like when, four-fifths of the way through the movie, Kidman's character says that Ailes plays women off each other, getting them to compete with one another. a) You shouldn't have to tell us that; you should show us. b) You should have shown us that AN HOUR AGO.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)
Tags: topic: books, topic: horror, topic: movies
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