Thursday, July 30, 2020

What's Next On My List? Postcards from the Edge

For this summer season, I am going to go back to old movies. The quarantine left many looking for new content, I, on the other hand, went back and wanted to re-watch some movies that I was fond of but never got around to seeing again. A story can be very different if you grow up, if you experience life, if you are no longer just looking for a "happy ending" but for the story that leads there. I decided to talk a bit about all those movies that I re-watched during the quarantine, and will keep on watching this summer. Yes, it is good to have new content to watch, but certain films really merit another look.

Suzanne Vale (Meryl Streep) is an actress that ends up in rehab while still young, and she is forced to move back in with her mom, Doris Mann (Shirley MacClaine) if she wants to leave the facility. As she tries to rebuild her career, she has to also work on her relationship with her mom, which might seem like a much harder challenge. 

I remember that back in 2008 I was looking for movies with Meryl Streep while waiting for Mamma Mia! to come out. My mom was watching it on TV one day, I caught half of it, so I got my hands on a copy so I could watch it and it quickly became my favorite movie. On that same summer I saw an award show where Carrie Fisher spoke: she wrote the book Postcards from the Edge that the movie was based on, and then she also wrote the screenplay for this movie. The book was based on Fisher's life in many ways, and the movie highlighted the relationship with her mom instead of the rehab. The book is very well written, it is actually very raw and it was hard to read at times because of its simple and true. Very few books say things out loud the way this one did, or in any way, this felt unique. The book did not focus on Suzanne and her mom, but that was actually a good addition in the movie. Fisher said herself that a lot of the discussions in the film were actually from real life. Fisher grew up with the most famous parents of their time and there is a pressure that comes when one becomes famous at a young age themselves. Fisher was never quiet about her substance abuse problem, and after she found out about her bipolar disorder she made sure that people learn that the brain is just another organ. You see, I love her writing, and when I think about this movie I always think of all the great works she left behind. She was truly one of my favorite people.
And now about the movie in particular... what can I say? I do believe that Meryl Streep was outstanding and that Shirley MacClaine was a perfect cast to play her mom. These two had such chemistry on screen that puts others to shame nowadays. I do believe that this is one of the greatest movies ever made about two narcissists who both love and hate each other. 

Watch it? The book is very different from the movie, which in this case is no problem, I feel like it adds even more to a universe that exists in Fisher's head and we are all granted access through her work. I am blessed to share this with you all because I can highly recommend both, and all of her work. In a way, Fisher lives on through Meryl Streep for me, as they were close friends and every time I see this movie I cannot help but smile. I do hope more people go back and see this movie and grow to love it as much as I do.

Until the next item on my list!

Friday, July 24, 2020

What's Next On My List? Chi trova un amico trova un tesoro

For this summer season, I am going to go back to old movies. The quarantine left many looking for new content, I, on the other hand, went back and wanted to re-watch some movies that I was fond of but never got around to seeing again. A story can be very different if you grow up, if you experience life, if you are no longer just looking for a "happy ending" but for the story that leads there. I decided to talk a bit about all those movies that I re-watched during the quarantine, and will keep on watching this summer. Yes, it is good to have new content to watch, but certain films really merit another look.

Alan (Terence Hill) and Charlie (Bud Spencer) find themselves unwillingly on a sail boat, and after a small fight, they fall in the sea and end up on an island that is supposed to hold a big treasure. There, they only find fake bills, millions of them, and an old Japanese soldier believing that he needs to defeat the Americans. The island is also raided by pirates and the men that Alan owes money to, so he and Charlie join forces to save the inhabitants of the island and help them hide from everyone else.

As most 90s kids living either in Hungary or Italy (yes, in that order), you will have watched countless times all the Bud Spencer and Terence Hill movies available out there. I do not know if the distributor made a deal that these have to be shown all over again, or they were so cheap copyright-wise that it made sense to have them be on TV whenever programming needed to be filled with something. Nonetheless, even if I had seen them three thousand times, I still love them very much. And when you move out of your parents' home, and you no longer own a TV, you end up even forgetting about them, but not for long. This year I decided to re-watch my favorite of all the classics, because since last time I saw it, I had a history class that talked specifically about how a lot of Japanese soldiers were forgotten on islands following the Second World War, not knowing that indeed the fighting had ended. This is of course a silly movie, a work of fiction, but I love how it nods to a reality that might actually be unknown to many, I know it was to me prior to my history class. But afterwards I could appreciate this story even more!

Watch it? Well, it would be weirder if you had not seen it yet. This is one of those movies that you remember even if you have never seen it from beginning to end. All of these movies I think mix in together at one point in our lives. I do think that because of the seemingly deserted island, this has a tropical summer feel to it that no other movie of the duo has.

Until the next item on my list!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Blogger: Some Things to Think About

[These are 10 posts that I share on facebook as I have been sitting here looking around the world and just not understanding a lot of things... I decided to write them down and share them here as well because I care about everyone's opinion and I also wish to see discussion on these, I am fine with being questioned and debated. So share those thoughts in the commments!]

I have been sitting here and pondering about a series of things. I decided to share them, because I feel like I could use a good discussion on these topics. First, topical issues. 


Growing up I noticed quite often Asian tourists all over the world, let it be Italy, here in Hungary or in the States, wear a mask over their nose and mouth, both to protect themselves, coming to a foreign land, and others in case of diseases. Looking at people now I think that not only are ALL arguments for not wearing a mask stupid (of course, people with respiratory problems don’t apply, however, they are also not among the many who refuse to wear a mask…), but that we have “flu seasons” which might have never turned into a SEASON had we worn a mask. Most countries have a system in place for sick leaves, but not the USA, which makes it even more obvious that they should be wearing a mask. You have a cough? Mask. You have the flu? Mask. You do not want to smell the dude sitting next to you on the bus? Mask. You have a zit you don’t want your classmates to see? Mask. You are as ugly as the US president? Mask. If these simple masks are good enough for the surgeons and doctors who are keeping us safe, then they are good enough for me. And if you cannot breathe in them, trust me, you have bigger issues than COVID-19…

**Pro-tip: You CAN re-use paper masks, leave them on the side of the apartment to “air out”, also, you can lightly iron them, just make sure you put baking sheet in between so you do not melt the glue holding it together. Do not make more trash (that will end up in our oceans) if you do not need to. 


I find it astonishing that people think that an application that tracks them to ensure that they can stop the spread of COVID-19*, is some form of infringement of their privacy. You people keep downloading apps that make your age look older, younger, turn you into the other gender, NO PROBLEM; not to mention that your GPS location is always turned on anyway because Instagram needs to know where you took that picture of a flip flop half immersed in the sand. God forbid you have an app on your phone that could prevent the spread of a deadly virus. We all click and accept the term and agreements to everything without ever reading it, so stop being stupid, and understand that your privacy is 1, already gone anyway, 2, that you should care about other people. And not even strangers, but visiting your parents, grandparents, friends with compromised immune systems, or just YOURSELF. Care about yourself enough to protect it from a threat. Just stop being stupid…
*COVID-19 was named after 2019, so if anyone asks you who cured the other 18, make sure to tell them that they are as stupid as the US president and all his Republican friends who feel the need to go on television.


I feel, and this is my biggest fear, that not only is the virus not gone, but countries (including mine) have done absolutely nothing to plan for what is ahead. How about the economy? Rents? Jobs? Bank loans? Not only do I feel that the government is not prepared for any upcoming disasters but by restricting nobody at this time (and not even enforcing masks), they are exposing everyone to a second wave, even perhaps a third one. Taking into consideration that the virus is still developing itself and changing strands almost every other day, we should be preparing and not ignoring. I am just deeply upset at the thought that we got lucky this time around, meanwhile there are still people dying DAILY in some other countries, so we need to be damn sure that we will survive again. Every government needs to learn from what happened and many do not seem to do so. It's great that we were able to survive this first wave with so few people dying in Hungary specifically (but they still died, and their families are mourning their loss while we refuse to even protect ourselves in shops or on the bus), but we might not be so lucky next time unless the government stands up and tells people that it is not an issue of your political party preference, but it is something that concerns everyone around the world. Also, make a pandemic response team. NOW.


OK, this sentence popped up everywhere, allow me to ask, if you understand that if you are not in quarantine you will die? Or are you trying to ensure that there is no way you will live/survive? That is fine, but while you are there beating the table and feeling like you don’t want to scared and that you hate the quarantine… maybe pick up a history book and read about Jewish internment camps. Or the ones made by the USA after Pearl Harbor to “protect” people of Japanese descent. Or maybe better yet, fight for the children kept in cages on the southern border of the USA. If you are going out to protest for your liberty to go to a fucking hair salon, maybe make sure you understand why you are closed up in the first place, and understand the disgustingly privileged position from which you are preaching this bullshit… on the topic of four walls, have your read that people in prison are the ones most exposed to the virus? Granted, no threats to society should be released, but they were not sentenced to death by virus, but for reestablishment into society. No way to live… yes, we all want to go to Hawaii and drink a cocktails and enjoy life, guess what, on a planet that is slowly dying with crippling mortgages and jobs that do not pay enough for a normal (not comfortable), but a normal life, “this is no way to live” has a very different meaning to me that has nothing to do with the virus. Yes, people should not be closed within four walls, EVER. Learn, educate, and only then preach, instead of making emotional Instagram pictures that influence people to break rules enforced for their own protections.

This topic is in between.


It is a very typically Hungarian thing to complain and complain, and compare our complaints, and then agree that one of us is suffering more than the other one. Not only do I hate this, but I am actively trying to fight against it. It is very hard, piling on bad experiences and bad thoughts is suuuuper easy, but it yields nothing. Winning who has the worst life yields no real victory. If there is one thing, we learned from this year is that everybody is in a shitty position. Nobody can win here. So let's stop comparing who is doing worse and let's start comparing success, happiness, accomplishment, and once there, let us share in those successes in order to uplift the people around us instead of fighting over who has it worse. Of course, everybody is allowed to complain a little bit just make sure that those complaints don't take over and they don't guide you, but that they are something that you say out loud to release its weight over your shoulders and allow yourself to be free from the pain of it.

Now, questions regarding education.


If I had a penny every time a friend of mine was crippled by the pressure of their family asking them “so when are you getting that diploma?” and being unable to write their thesis in the following couple of weeks, I wouldn’t be in this country anymore. I do not understand why parents become so paranoid exactly when their children are about to graduate. It would be logical for parents to worry about them if they don't seem happy with their studies, if they keep flunking out of classes, of schools, or of universities, or if they seem unsure about their future. Instead what I see is that parents quietly look at their kids and their studies, and wait for them to be at the very end, just before graduating, and that is when they bring out the “what about your future?” question. I do believe that most parents do not wish to put pressure on their kids but let me tell you that you DID anyway. We are all already comparing ourselves to the other one, feeling like we did not do enough and that we are travelling down a dead-end path. You coming in and wondering out loud if we will ever stop being “students” and become “adults” just piles onto that pressure. I have now seen several people getting a job when they should be writing their thesis, feeling the pressure that they are no longer allowed to act their age, and they will prove their parents right and end up in a situation where: they don't have the energy, the strength, or the time to finish their studies. Which then leads them into the exact position that their parents were fearing they would be in to begin with. If I can ask just one thing from parents: from now on leave your kids alone until the final exam. Ask them about their future during the last summer they will have as “children”. Ask them about their plans after they take their final exam. Ask them what they loved or hated about studying/learning and if they want to continue or quit it once they submitted their thesis. Trust them to finish before you make them start living life with a capital L.


I have read again that, yet another actor lost their job because of a tweet from I don't know how many years ago, that was either sexist or racist it really doesn't matter at this point. I am deeply upset at the system that is racist and sexist and teaches its people to be racist and sexist and then is upset with them for having become racist and sexist. I think if somebody at the age of 18 has a tweet that is dubious after being brought up in a situation that made them not understand the weight of their words, but has AFTER grown up to be a person who recognizes the error of their ways then the #cancel culture (the only tool at this time at the hands of the masses) should back off. Somebody who was raised in a racist and sexist culture and is still using it to their advantage many years later, whilst knowing already morally that it is wrong, it is THOSE people that need to be #cancelled. The #cancel culture is getting out of hand and there is a disgusting double standard, depending on the person that is to be #cancelled. I do not want to excuse everyone, but if we do not give them the chance to showcase if they have changed and have learned from the error of their ways, then we are creating a drift among people and this is also the way to create more people who will NOT want to do the right thing as there is apparently no reward for being good and learning. Do not go and #cancel everyone, think first and do not put a rapist, a transphobe and someone with a dumb tweet in the same category, OK?


People are taking down analog clocks because children can’t read them. … This news article made me incredibly furious when I first read it. It reminded me of the time when Japan blamed phones for the fact that young people cannot write. I just… what. Why are you not teaching it to them then? Very easy fix: have tests on it, regularly, do not make writing and clock reading something that they simply have to pass once, but incorporate it in a way that forces them to use it constantly. This is a big step, but if we rather take down clocks than teach children how to read them, let us not be surprised when they assume that the Earth is flat and that climate change is not real. If something so basic as the clock becomes trivial than I do believe there is absolutely no need for education, because education is not easy, giving up is. This is ridiculous, I can’t believe I have to write this down.


Following the riots in the United States I do have two points to make about statues. First, I agree that you should not put up statues of questionable figures in history… and do not keep them up when you can historically prove that it does more damage than good. Second, I do not agree with removing statues without consulting properly, see, there is no need to put up statues of Nazi generals to teach about the Second World War, we will also never touch Auschwitz, as it has to be a reminder so we avoid a tragedy like that ever happening in the history of humanity. Which then brings me to my main point: you cannot argue that a statue/monument/building/site has a historical value that has to be preserved when the education has already failed at teaching people why that statue/monument/building/site is important in the first place. You can have Confederate general statues if you teach how they fought against the Union and what they stood for and how they now are synonymous with the racist attitude of southern states. If you teach that, then the statue WILL be a reminder of why the Civil War was an important lesson in humanity and union. BUT ONLY if you teach it. If you leave statues around displaying dubious figures, then a flawed education will yield people who use said statues to represent their deeply racist way of living. No, I do not think you should put statues down, when education is done right, but until then, you should also not use education as an excuse to keep them up.

Final thoughts.

Do you have any? Can you share some pictures in the comments? I am exhausted. I love pets. No reptiles please, but I am happy that you have them there with you during this hard time. Pets make life worth living!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

What's Next On My List? Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind

For this summer season, I am going to go back to old movies. The quarantine left many looking for new content, I, on the other hand, went back and wanted to re-watch some movies that I was fond of but never got around to seeing again. A story can be very different if you grow up, if you experience life, if you are no longer just looking for a "happy ending" but for the story that leads there. I decided to talk a bit about all those movies that I re-watched during the quarantine, and will keep on watching this summer. Yes, it is good to have new content to watch, but certain films really merit another look.

The story of game show impresario Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell), who is recruited by the C.I.A., through Jim Byrd (George Clooney), to become a hitman and use his TV cover to travel around the world in the Cold War period.

It has been quite few years since I watched this movie. But there are a couple of things I noticed back then that still hold true today, so I would like to share them with you in this small post, and allow me to recommend this movie to you, if in any case it has not reached you under the rock where you live. One, George Clooney is a far better director, than he is an actor. Don't get me wrong, he is very talented, but he insists on serious roles, and I wish he would just be fun and easy, because even a Nespresso trailer shows wider range from him. And so far, any movie he worked on behind the camera has received much deserved attention. He does deserve every praise he receives for directing, writing and producing. Two, the star of this movie, Sam Rockwell, despite that Oscar, I fear is still too underrated. He is probably the best actor of my time and just a full blown star. He has played real life people several times now during his career, and everytime I forget that I am watching him. He has a very peculiar face, and yet, he is a total chameleon. I was blown away by his performance in this movie, and have been following his career since. Cannot wait to see what is next for him! And three... real stories are the most interesting. I deal with representation in popular culture, and of course, I know far too well, that Hollywood is in the business of making stories digestible, but if the original story does not make it possible, neither can the writers get creative with it. It is incredible to see the life of a spy, the idea alone gives goosebumps, but the way it was delivered was remarkable. The movie jumps back and forth in time, among undercover operations, and the weight of taking a life, even if it is for your country.

Watch it? Be ready, it is a serious film, with a couple of twists, that will leave you wondering if you are seeing right, or imagining things along with the main character. BUt this is one story that you want to know about, trust me.

Until the next item on my list!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

What's Next On My List? Little Italy

Along with a series of old favorites, I am also trying to keep up with new things coming out. Well, this is going to be one of those rage entries that, is put on paper because somebody has to say out loud if a movie should not exist under any circumstance. So here we go:
Little Italy (2018)

Nikki (Emma Roberts) goes back to her old neighborhood before moving away for good to work for the chef she trained under. Once home, she meets her childhood best friend Leo (Hayden Christensen) and the two connect, despite their families fighting over who has the best pizza place in the street. Whether or not they are allowed to be together, is up to them.

OK, I hated this movie with every fiber in me. I am not even going to try to be nice to it. First of all, it is a Romeo & Juliet adaptation, of course, except the two grandparents who find each other shared more chemistry on screen (even in the terrible product placement Starbucks scene, of which one was just not enough...), than the main characters. Second, who died Hayden Christensen's hair? Just fire that person retrospectively, because why was that necessary?! Three, how did this movie manage to offend Italian-Americans, British people, Asian minorities and gays within the same 90 minutes is outstanding to me. This should be called "Stereotypes: the movie". Nobody is allowed any growth as characters, nobody learns their lesson, nobody gets from A to B. There is only one single attempt at a character showcasing any kind of positive change, when Leo's friend Luigi reveals that he thinks of himself as Italian because his family did not want him when he came out as gay. And I felt that scene to be very strong, and I did not think the movie was going to allow for any depth (besides the importance of pizza!!!!!), and it seemed that we are finally getting somewhere, but then 1, Luigi gropes his best friend... and 2, he also falls in love with the only one other OBVIOUSLY gay character thrown in at the end of the movie and just... JUST DO BETTER MOVIE, YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS.
I did not care if these two were going to become a couple, because they forgot to show us why I should care. They did not give a shit, about the feud among their parents, they were completely untouched by the events unfolding around them, again, the grandparents showcased more emotions in fewer scenes, and the outcome was the dumbest twist in the history of movies... I just don't understand how this movie happened. Of the most disturbing scenes, the worst was one police officer, who started to literally grope Leo in the middle of the street, as a sign of assurance to the fact that apparently if it is men who are sexually objectified and assaulted, than it is "ha-ha" for some reason. Yes, we get it, everyone in the neighborhood is in love with Leo, show that in some other way than by physical assault by a person of authority.

Watch it? NO. I had to, because I am writing my dissertation on the representation of Italian-Americans in Hollywood, and this is literally what we call "research", but I wished this movie had never seen the light of day, especially because I love every actor in it and they deserve better, than whatever paycheck they got for this offensive piece of shit. And before you tell me that I am biased, I am really not. I decided to go into it with an open mind, but I was let down even more than I thought I would after the trailer. How can a movie like this happen in 2018... just do better Hollywood, do effing better.

Until the next item on my list!